Flash, Dash and Panache at First Global Indian Awards

Gala Evening of Recognition and Pageantry in San Francisco



Sep 28, 2003, 01:00 ET from Global Indian Congress

    SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A parade of luminaries that ranged
 from an actor who plays villains in "Bollywood" movies to a Minnesota senator
 who predicts that an Asian Indian will someday be elected President of the
 United States were recognized Saturday night in the Global Indian Awards, a
 first-of-its-kind event that honors prominent achievers of Indian descent
 throughout the world.
     Nineteen distinguished individuals from several fields of endeavor
 received statuettes during the black-tie ceremonies at San Francisco's
 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.  During a night of entertainment, wit and
 wisdom, honors also went to 23-year-old Purva Merchant, a dentist from India,
 who won the Thirteenth Annual Miss India Worldwide 2003 pageant from a field
 of contestants representing 22 countries, including the U.S.
     The event, produced by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ary Sarkar and his San
 Mateo-based Global Indian Congress, an organization that seeks to unite all
 Indian communities, drew more than 1500 guests and participants.  It was
 hosted by two of India's leading television personalities, Shekhar Suman, who
 is known as the "Jay Leno of India," and Archana Puran Singh, an actress and
 talk-show host.
     The awards were interspersed with high-energy Indian dancing and singing,
 and the entire affair was filmed by Sony Television Asia for future broadcast.
     Winning the award for Cultural Ambassador of the Year was actor
 Gulshan Grover, who has made a career of being the designated "bad man" of
 Indian films and may soon get wider international recognition for a role in a
 forthcoming James Bond movie.  Grover uses grotesque makeup and heavy voice
 contortions to scare the wits out of audiences.
     His award contrasted with the one to Youth of the Year honoree
 Satveer Chaudhary, 32, a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, who predicted that
 Americans of Asian-Indian descent will continue to flex their political muscle
 and may someday run for the office of president.
     Other crowd favorites included debonair actor Anil Kapoor and classical
 Indian musician Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
     Following the awards, the Miss India Worldwide 2003 pageant featured 22
 young women, ages 17 through 24, who wore sparkling designer gowns and wowed
 the audience with their charm, intelligence and beauty.  Among the countries
 represented were Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong,
 Indonesia, Spain, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
     Crown winner Ms. Merchant is from Pune, India, and is a dentist who works
 in children's programs.  According to pageant director and choreographer
 Shekhar Rahate, she scored highly with the judges in the talent segment for
 her unique simultaneous dance and narrative that covered the multiple facets
 of the Indian woman.  First runner-up in the contest was Miss New Zealand,
 Pooja Chitgopeker, and second runner-up was Miss U.S.A., Meghna Nagarajan.
     Here is the complete list of honorees from the Global Indian Awards:
 
      *    Excellence in Music: Ustad Ali Akbar Khan of San Anselmo,
           California, well-known classic Indian musician and master of the
           sarod, a 25-string instrument related to the guitar.
 
      *    Excellence in Performing Arts: Pandit Swapan Choudhuri of
           San Rafael, California, an eminent tabla player whose musical genius
           and virtuosity have earned him world acclaim.
 
      *    Excellence in Entertainment: Anil Kapoor of Mumbai, India, one of
           India's leading, most versatile "Bollywood" actors.
 
      *    Excellence in Sports: Vijay Amritraj, top-ranked tennis player who
           competed at Wimbeldon 17 years in a row, sports television
           commentator, and entertainment media entrepreneur.
 
      *    Excellence in Literature: Dr. Gurnek Singh, author, religious
           scholar, researcher, and head of the prestigious Professor Harbans
           Singh Department of Encyclopedia of Sikhism at Punjabi University,
           Patiala.
 
      *    Excellence in Media: Munish Gupta, prominent print and television
           journalist, international entertainment media entrepreneur and
           founder of Asian News International (ANI) news agency.
 
      *    Excellence in Journalism: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, medical advisor for
           CNN-TV, host of CNN's "Weekend Houscalls with Dr. Gupta" and
           practicing neurosurgeon at Emory Hospital, Atlanta.
 
      *    Excellence in Design and Architecture: Harshad Patel of Bel Air,
           California, leading architect, Pritzker Prize winner and founder of
           the Design Consortium, listed among the top 25 U.S. architectural
           firms.
 
      *    Excellence in Science: Dr. Mani L. Bhaumik, internationally known
           physicist and fellow of the American Physical Society who helped
           develop the first excimer laser (corneal sculpting) at Northrop
           Corp.
 
      *    Excellence in Medicine: Dr. Harvinder Sahota of Bellflower,
           California, pioneering cardiologist and inventor of the Sahota
           Perfusion Balloon, which allows blood to flow to the heart during an
           angioplasty.
 
      *    Excellence in Psychology: Aruna Broota, much-published clinical
           psychologist, counselor, and professor at the University of Delhi.
 
      *    Excellence in Social Works: Dr. Romesh Japra of Fremont, California,
           cardiologist, publisher of the English-language India Post and
           president of the Indian American Forum for Political Education.
 
      *    Excellence in Philanthropy: Lal Bhatia of Walnut Creek, California,
           president of Carver International Project, which promotes economic
           self-reliance and independence, especially among underprivileged
           youth.
 
      *    Excellence in Technology: Amrit Das, one of the world's leading
           technology entrepreneurs and founder, chairman and CEO of netGuru,
           Inc, headquartered in Orange County, California.
 
      *    Excellence in Sikh Community Service: Surjit Tut, of Sacramento
           County, prominent Sikh leader and owner of a major transport
           company.
 
      *    Entrepreneur of the Year: Vivian Reddy, the guiding force behind a
           South African business empire with diverse interests in energy,
           power, health, casinos, telecommunications, and property
           development.
 
      *    Cultural Ambassador of the Year: Gulshan Grover, international actor
           who is the designated "badman" of India's film industry and the
           recipient of the prestigious BBC Asia Award in 2001.
 
      *    Youth of the Year: U.S. Senator Satveer Chaudhary, at 32, the
           youngest member of the U.S. Senate (D-Minnesota) and only the fourth
           person of Asian Indian descent elected to a U.S. state legislature.
 
      *    Women of the Year: Two awards were made. One was to Punita
           Kumar, who is a managing director of Oppenheimer Asset Management,
           one of the largest and oldest overseas funds focusing on the Indian
           market. Considered an expert in the region, she has been featured on
           Fox News, CNBC and various American periodicals. The second award
           went to Shahnaz Husain, India's undisputed queen of herbal care,
           head of an international salon chain, and relentless promoter of
           Indian Ayurvedic salon treatment products.
 
 

SOURCE Global Indian Congress
    SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A parade of luminaries that ranged
 from an actor who plays villains in "Bollywood" movies to a Minnesota senator
 who predicts that an Asian Indian will someday be elected President of the
 United States were recognized Saturday night in the Global Indian Awards, a
 first-of-its-kind event that honors prominent achievers of Indian descent
 throughout the world.
     Nineteen distinguished individuals from several fields of endeavor
 received statuettes during the black-tie ceremonies at San Francisco's
 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.  During a night of entertainment, wit and
 wisdom, honors also went to 23-year-old Purva Merchant, a dentist from India,
 who won the Thirteenth Annual Miss India Worldwide 2003 pageant from a field
 of contestants representing 22 countries, including the U.S.
     The event, produced by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ary Sarkar and his San
 Mateo-based Global Indian Congress, an organization that seeks to unite all
 Indian communities, drew more than 1500 guests and participants.  It was
 hosted by two of India's leading television personalities, Shekhar Suman, who
 is known as the "Jay Leno of India," and Archana Puran Singh, an actress and
 talk-show host.
     The awards were interspersed with high-energy Indian dancing and singing,
 and the entire affair was filmed by Sony Television Asia for future broadcast.
     Winning the award for Cultural Ambassador of the Year was actor
 Gulshan Grover, who has made a career of being the designated "bad man" of
 Indian films and may soon get wider international recognition for a role in a
 forthcoming James Bond movie.  Grover uses grotesque makeup and heavy voice
 contortions to scare the wits out of audiences.
     His award contrasted with the one to Youth of the Year honoree
 Satveer Chaudhary, 32, a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, who predicted that
 Americans of Asian-Indian descent will continue to flex their political muscle
 and may someday run for the office of president.
     Other crowd favorites included debonair actor Anil Kapoor and classical
 Indian musician Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
     Following the awards, the Miss India Worldwide 2003 pageant featured 22
 young women, ages 17 through 24, who wore sparkling designer gowns and wowed
 the audience with their charm, intelligence and beauty.  Among the countries
 represented were Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong,
 Indonesia, Spain, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
     Crown winner Ms. Merchant is from Pune, India, and is a dentist who works
 in children's programs.  According to pageant director and choreographer
 Shekhar Rahate, she scored highly with the judges in the talent segment for
 her unique simultaneous dance and narrative that covered the multiple facets
 of the Indian woman.  First runner-up in the contest was Miss New Zealand,
 Pooja Chitgopeker, and second runner-up was Miss U.S.A., Meghna Nagarajan.
     Here is the complete list of honorees from the Global Indian Awards:
 
      *    Excellence in Music: Ustad Ali Akbar Khan of San Anselmo,
           California, well-known classic Indian musician and master of the
           sarod, a 25-string instrument related to the guitar.
 
      *    Excellence in Performing Arts: Pandit Swapan Choudhuri of
           San Rafael, California, an eminent tabla player whose musical genius
           and virtuosity have earned him world acclaim.
 
      *    Excellence in Entertainment: Anil Kapoor of Mumbai, India, one of
           India's leading, most versatile "Bollywood" actors.
 
      *    Excellence in Sports: Vijay Amritraj, top-ranked tennis player who
           competed at Wimbeldon 17 years in a row, sports television
           commentator, and entertainment media entrepreneur.
 
      *    Excellence in Literature: Dr. Gurnek Singh, author, religious
           scholar, researcher, and head of the prestigious Professor Harbans
           Singh Department of Encyclopedia of Sikhism at Punjabi University,
           Patiala.
 
      *    Excellence in Media: Munish Gupta, prominent print and television
           journalist, international entertainment media entrepreneur and
           founder of Asian News International (ANI) news agency.
 
      *    Excellence in Journalism: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, medical advisor for
           CNN-TV, host of CNN's "Weekend Houscalls with Dr. Gupta" and
           practicing neurosurgeon at Emory Hospital, Atlanta.
 
      *    Excellence in Design and Architecture: Harshad Patel of Bel Air,
           California, leading architect, Pritzker Prize winner and founder of
           the Design Consortium, listed among the top 25 U.S. architectural
           firms.
 
      *    Excellence in Science: Dr. Mani L. Bhaumik, internationally known
           physicist and fellow of the American Physical Society who helped
           develop the first excimer laser (corneal sculpting) at Northrop
           Corp.
 
      *    Excellence in Medicine: Dr. Harvinder Sahota of Bellflower,
           California, pioneering cardiologist and inventor of the Sahota
           Perfusion Balloon, which allows blood to flow to the heart during an
           angioplasty.
 
      *    Excellence in Psychology: Aruna Broota, much-published clinical
           psychologist, counselor, and professor at the University of Delhi.
 
      *    Excellence in Social Works: Dr. Romesh Japra of Fremont, California,
           cardiologist, publisher of the English-language India Post and
           president of the Indian American Forum for Political Education.
 
      *    Excellence in Philanthropy: Lal Bhatia of Walnut Creek, California,
           president of Carver International Project, which promotes economic
           self-reliance and independence, especially among underprivileged
           youth.
 
      *    Excellence in Technology: Amrit Das, one of the world's leading
           technology entrepreneurs and founder, chairman and CEO of netGuru,
           Inc, headquartered in Orange County, California.
 
      *    Excellence in Sikh Community Service: Surjit Tut, of Sacramento
           County, prominent Sikh leader and owner of a major transport
           company.
 
      *    Entrepreneur of the Year: Vivian Reddy, the guiding force behind a
           South African business empire with diverse interests in energy,
           power, health, casinos, telecommunications, and property
           development.
 
      *    Cultural Ambassador of the Year: Gulshan Grover, international actor
           who is the designated "badman" of India's film industry and the
           recipient of the prestigious BBC Asia Award in 2001.
 
      *    Youth of the Year: U.S. Senator Satveer Chaudhary, at 32, the
           youngest member of the U.S. Senate (D-Minnesota) and only the fourth
           person of Asian Indian descent elected to a U.S. state legislature.
 
      *    Women of the Year: Two awards were made. One was to Punita
           Kumar, who is a managing director of Oppenheimer Asset Management,
           one of the largest and oldest overseas funds focusing on the Indian
           market. Considered an expert in the region, she has been featured on
           Fox News, CNBC and various American periodicals. The second award
           went to Shahnaz Husain, India's undisputed queen of herbal care,
           head of an international salon chain, and relentless promoter of
           Indian Ayurvedic salon treatment products.
 
 SOURCE  Global Indian Congress