A Factual Response to the Hate Attack on the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF)
 © Friends of India and Authors of the Report
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Abhay Belambe, a software engineer, is a Regional Vice President of the India Development & Relief Fund (IDRF).  Abhay graduated with a B. E. (Honors) from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, India and with an M. S. from Northeastern University, Boston. 

Ashok Chowgule is an industrialist, managing sections of the family business, a well-known, successful, and respected business house.  The group is headquartered in Goa.  The family has set up schools and a college in Goa, operations in which Ashok takes keen interest. 

Ashok completed his schooling in Belgaum, India after which he went on to graduate in Economics and Statistics from Bristol University in the U. K., and completed his business studies at the Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio.  Upon returning home, he has looked after the finance and administration of the business group, and lately has been supervising the shipbuilding component of the family business. 

As a part of his social responsibilities, he has been actively involved in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad since 1991, and at present is the President of the Maharashtra State unit of the organisation.  He has written several articles and books on the socio-political issues of Hindutva.  Ashok and Hindu Vivek Kendra  (HVK) have also recently published an analysis and of the Sabrang/FOIL Report titled “An Analysis Of The Report 'The Foreign Exchange Of Hate.”  It is available on http://www.hvk.org/specialrepo/hate/index.html

Narayanan Menon Komerath is a Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, (GIT) Atlanta, Georgia.  A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in Aeronautical Engineering, he went on to get an M. S. and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from GIT.  He directs the Experimental Aerodynamics Group including the John J. Harper Wind Tunnel at the School of Aerospace Engineering, since 1990.  He has taught and guided over 1700 aerospace engineers at all levels in aerodynamics, propulsion, flow diagnostics and space applications. 

Professor Komerath is one of the senior researchers at the U.S. Army/NASA Center of Excellence in Rotorcraft Technology at Georgia Tech since its inception in 1982.  He has conducted over 70 projects for the U.S. Army, USAF, NASA, National Science Foundation, and industries.  He holds 3 U.S. Patents, and has published over 250 papers.  He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Fellow of the NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts.  Awards won by his team include 3 Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis awards at GIT, and 5 Institute awards for excellence as a Ph.D. advisor, research author, and mentor.  Media attention to their work on advanced space exploration concepts and flight experiments in the NASA KC-135 aircraft includes the Wall Street Journal, New Scientist magazine, the Hindi “Josh” magazine in New Delhi, and the “Malayala Manorama” in Kerala.

Since May 1999, he has taken an active and public interest in events in the Indian subcontinent.  He initiated the Martyrs for National Integration Fund with the help of the IDRF, a permanent, growing philanthropic resource to help families of those hurt in the war against terrorism. 

Mihir Meghani lives in Fremont, California (USA).  Born in Philadelphia and raised in Michigan, he went to the University of Michigan for his Bachelor of Arts in History and his Medical Degree, in the Honors and Accelerated INTEFLEX Program.  He completed a residency-training program in Emergency Medicine at Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center in 2000, and now works for a large integrated health care delivery system in the San Francisco Bay area.

While in his training, he spent 5 months in India doing medical work, including a month in the North-Eastern Indian state of Meghalaya. He served at the World Trade Center as part of the San Francisco Bay Area Disaster Medical Assistance Team (now part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security).  He served in Gujarat after the terrible earthquake of 2001.  In recognition of his volunteer efforts in India after the earthquake, he was honored by his employer with the HERO Award and Outstanding Service to the Community Award. 

Later this year, he will travel to the Ukraine as part of a U.S. Government team to assist the nations of the former Soviet Union.  Dr. Meghani believes in the universal Hindu ideals of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” - the whole universe is one family; “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti” - Truth is One, Sages Call it by Various Names; peace, acceptance, tolerance, and respect for all. 

Beloo Mehra is an Assistant Professor of Education at Antioch University McGregor, Ohio, where she designs and teaches face-to-face and online graduate level courses in qualitative research, applied curriculum design, and academic writing.  Before obtaining her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she taught at a high school in India for five years and also volunteered with the National Literacy Mission.  Her other education includes a Master’s in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and a Master’s in Education.  Her academic interests include cultural models of schooling in ethnic minorities, especially Asian Indians in the US, qualitative and practitioner/action research, women’s ways of knowing, role of self in knowledge construction, and bridging academic and creative writing. 

Beloo Mehra’s writings include Multiple and Shifting Identities: Asian Indian Families in the United States (forthcoming), Lives in Transition: Stories of Three Foreign Elementary Students from India (forthcoming), Bias in Qualitative Research: Voices from an Online Classroom (2002), Research or Personal Quest?: Dilemmas in Studying My Own Kind (2001), and Teaching Online and Teaching Adults: Issues of Course Design, Academic Quality, and Community Building (2002).  Dr. Mehra has presented in several conferences and is also a regular contributor to the online magazine, Sulekha.

Kannan Raghunandan is Radcliffe Killam Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Texas A&M International University.  He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering before getting his Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Indian Institute of Management (IIMC), Calcuttta, and his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Iowa.

Chitra Raman is a freelance writer proficient in both creative and technical writing fields.  She was most recently hired as an independent academic consultant by her local school district’s Special Education Department to conceptualize and write adapted instruction modules in science, language arts, and social studies for children with autism.  She holds Bachelor’s degrees in English Literature (University of Delhi) and Journalism (Cum Laude – Wayne State University) and also has diplomas in Export Marketing (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi) and German language (Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi). 

Chitra began her career with the Confederation of Indian Industry (formerly AIEI), writing country profiles and background papers for business conferences.  She subsequently worked for an import agency, preparing commodity and market profiles for overseas principals.  Freelance assignments in India included promotional audiovisuals, features for radio and print media, and ad copy.  After immigrating to the United States in 1985, Chitra joined the non-profit Focus: HOPE in Detroit as proposal writer.  The following year, she was promoted to a management position at the organization’s Machinist Training Institute, where she steered the school through a difficult transition to national accreditation.  She subsequently freelanced for The Citizens for Better Care, Detroit, a grassroots agency engaged in reforming Nursing Home care for the elderly.  She has also freelanced for The Gale Group, publishers of print and electronic reference materials for schoolchildren.

Chitra Raman’s publications have appeared in Horizons, Autism Society of Michigan Quarterly, (Speech: “Be Part of the Solution,” Winter 2002; Article: “Educating the Educators,” Winter 1999), Charity: True Stories of Giving, Anthology, Red Rock Press, NY (Story: The Compassionate Crusader, 2001); Femina Women’s Magazine (Poetry, 1997), The Detroit News, (Editorial Rebuttal of the paper’s position on the Kargil Conflict, June 30, 1999), The Book Review, New Delhi, (Review of a two-Volume impressionistic version of the Mahabharata by Maggi Lidchi-Grassi: ”The Battle of Kurukshetra” and “The Legs of the Tortoise” Roli Books, March 1997).

She sings both Carnatic and Hindustani classical music.  She takes a keen interest in World Music, which she believes contains clues to forgotten migrations and cultural contact.  Chitra has acted in plays staged by the Delhi-based Yatrik and Masque theater groups. 

Sugrutha Ramaswami has a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics (Madras Christian College, Chennai) and a Master’s in Rural Management (Institute of Rural Management, Anand) and has worked in the field of Information Technology in various capacities such as Systems Analyst, Application Architect, Technical Leader, and Project Manager. She has been living in the US for the past 5 years, working as a Senior Consultant and is currently positioned as a Senior Systems Engineer/Solutions Architect with a leader in Business Messaging Services. 

Sugrutha is a trained vocalist in the Carnatic and Hindustani music traditions, having been tutored under the late Chembai Sri Anandan and Smt.  Pramila Gurumurthy (of Madras University).  She hopes to attain a formal education in law and spend her Vanaprasthashram working for children’s rights.  She contributes through IDRF to a certain Indian charity that runs an orphanage.  Her only motivation for involvement in this project is because she completely believes that her money is being spent exactly for the cause(s) for which she donated it. 

Nagendra Rao is a Strategic Planning Expert, with over 30 years of varied global experience, working on Strategic Planning, Budgeting & Management Controls, Diversification Strategy, Technology Planning, and Global E-Business Development.  He has served in varied positions e.g., Certified Executive Consultant, Vice President of Corporate Development, Senior Policy Analyst in the Executive Office of the Governor.  Nagendra has both led and served on elite multi-national/multi-cultural consulting teams on projects around the globe.  He is also very active as community mentor, spiritual counselor, and teacher of non-dualistic metaphysics (Advaita Vedanta) and meditation, in a syncretistic mode. 

Nagendra had a distinguished academic career including honors in national competitive examinations.  He graduated from the Calcutta University with a Bachelor’s in Physics (Honors), where he was a National Science Talent Search Scholar.  He proceeded to get a Post Graduate Diploma in Management MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) where he had a merit scholarship.  He added another Graduate Diploma in Managerial Accounting from the famous Bajaj Institute of Management, Bombay.  He subsequently moved to the Wharton School, Philadelphia, where he joined as a Management & Behavioral Sciences Center (MBSC) Scholar and completed all the course and examination requirements for a Doctoral degree in Multinational Enterprise Strategy. 

He was Asia-Pacific Mentor for e-Business Strategy in the Global Consulting practice of the world leader in Information Technology - consulting services, and the manufacture of computer hardware and software.  He received the coveted corporate Award for Distinguished Project Management and numerous other commendations. 

Currently, he consults as Senior Advisor - Strategy, Organisational Development, and Media Relations, to several Indian cultural and religious organizations in the United States and India. 

Ramesh N. Rao (formerly Closepet N. Ramesh) is Associate Professor, Communication, at Truman State University, Missouri, where he teaches a variety of communication courses.  Ramesh Rao, has a B. A. in Sociology, Political Science and Economics from Bangalore University, India, worked as an executive in the banking sector for a few years before taking up teaching in a residential school.  After completing a graduate diploma course in journalism, he found himself with the editorial staff of one of the most widely circulated English language newspapers in India.  Later, he acquired an M. S. in Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University.  Ramesh Rao’s research interests include the role and nature of conflict in modern Indian politics, culture, and society; Indian-American identity issues; and the impact of the Hindu or dharmic philosophies of life in the modern world. 

Rao is the author of two books: “Secular ‘Gods’ Blame Hindu ‘Demons’: The Sangh Parivar through the Mirror of Distortion,”Coalition Conundrum: The BJP’s Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs,” and co-editor, with Koenraad Elst of “Gujarat After Godhra: Real Violence, Selective Outrage.”  He is a regular contributor of essays, reviews, and commentaries for Sulekha.com and Hamarashehar.com, and his op-ed pieces, essays, and book reviews have been published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Columbia Daily Tribune, Rediff On the Net, India Currents, and India Post. 

Rajeev Srinivasan is a well-known columnist for Rediff.com, India's most [widely read] portal. He writes on economics, society, and foreign policy with an Indian-American perspective. He is also a software entrepreneur and divides his time between India and the U.S. Rajeev graduated with a B. Tech. (EE) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai (Madras), and an MBA from the Stanford Business School. He has worked with high technology companies in Silicon
Valley and in India, and also with management consultancy Booz, Allen & Hamilton. 


Note: All the views expressed in this report are the contributors’ own and do not in any way represent the opinions and ideas of the organizations they work for or belong to.


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