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Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th Birth Anniversary celebrated across the U.S.

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Consul General of India in San Francisco, Ambassador Ashok Venkatesan lights the ceremonial 'Diya'

Ambedkar_float0416-e1460667084452UNITED NATIONS (Diya TV) — The architect of the Indian Constitution and the biggest advocate for equality and social justice in modern India, B.R. Ambedkar, was born April 14th 1891. Fondly known as ‘Babasaheb‘ Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th birthday was celebrated across the U.S.

In New York by the United Nations, where members examined the relevance of his legacy to their global development goals. The U.N. also heard a plea to make April 14, the birthday of the champion against discrimination, henceforth known as “International Equality Day.”

“I believe Baba Saheb’s lifelong struggle for equality was not only for the people of India but for people around the globe,” Punjab Assembly Speaker Charnjit Singh Atwal said at the Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations on Wednesday. In a “true tribute and honor,” he called for the designation of the day.

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, agreed that Ambedkar’s ideals were unique and relevant to the U.N.’s ambitious program of sustainable development goals.

“Ambedkar understood that inequalities pose fundamental challenges to well-being, and the U.N. had adopted the elimination of inequality as its goal,” she said.

Clark currently serves as the head of the U.N. Development Program, and is also a candidate for the organization’s Secretary General in their upcoming elections.

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India’s permanent representative to the U.N., Syed Akbaruddin, said: “Last year, when the U.N. adopted the universal and transformative Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, we, as Indians, noticed traces of Ambedkar’s vision in the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’.”

More than 550 people — diplomats, international officials, academics, civil society activists and Indian residents from across the U.S. — packed into the conference room for Ambedkar’s birthday celebration. Additionally, the celebrations featured two Dalits, who said they owed their positions to Ambedkar.

While the celebrations took place, Pakistan’s U.N. mission to organize a briefing on regional cooperation in Asia was happening just down the hall.

Consul General of India in San Francisco, Ambassador Ashok Venkatesan lights the ceremonial 'Diya'

Consul General of India in San Francisco, Ambassador Ashok Venkatesan lights the ceremonial ‘Diya’

In San Francisco, the Consulate General of India in association with the Indo-American community in Bay Area, celebrated ‘Babasaheb’s birth anniversary at the India Community center in Milpitas. Hundreds from all over Northern California attended the event along with several public official & dignitaries. Also in attendance were many academics and social activists. The event was inaugurated by Consul General Ambassador Shri Venkatesan Ashok by lighting the ceremonial ‘Diya’. He also paid floral tributes to Dr. Ambedkar’s photograph. In his address, the Consul General spoke about the many contributions of Dr. Ambedkar in bringing about social change in India through constitutional means. He spoke about the invaluable role in the making of the Indian Constitution and his tireless commitment towards the poor, disadvantaged & the ‘untouchable’.

“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved” – Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Quoting the late ‘Babasaheb’,  Ambassador Venkatesan also reflected upon another time in the history of India, when many people came from the subcontinent to the West coast of the U.S. as part of the ‘Gadar‘ movement. Calling the Gadar memorial a “standing torch” of this freedom movement, he made the announcement that the Government of India has taken a decision to rebuild the entire Gadar Memorial as a Museum.

The evening was concluded with a dinner reception as various dance troupes took to the stage showcasing the rich diversity of Indian classical dance.

Arts & Culture

Indian CEO’s meet with President Trump in London

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Indian CEOs and Trump

LONDON (Diya TV) — A number of prominent Indian CEOs from the US and the UK met with President Trump during a breakfast roundtable on his visit to London. Members of the American cabinet were also in attendance, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, as well as the president’s daughter, Ivanka.

The Punjab government announced free education for girls in government schools and colleges from Nursery school to the PhD level. They also announced free Wi-FI for 13,000 schools and all 48 government colleges.

Rayna Gokli McIntyre will be a new District Court Judge in Colorado, becoming the second South Asian member to the bench in that state.

In New Jersey, Zahid Quraishi was named a U.S. Magistrate Judge, becoming the first Asian American federal judge in that state.

And Karamjit and Karawjit Singh took danger to new heights with this coconut and melon smashing display on America’s Got Talent, all while wearing a blindfold.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Trump ends $5.6B GSP trade preference for India

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President Trump is ending $5.6 billion worth of trade concessions for India under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences program effective this week, saying India failed to assure the U.S. that it would provide ‘equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India.

Bay Area Congressmembers Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo reintroduced a bill to save work authorization visas for H-4 holders whose spouses are on track to get a green card. Many of those eligible are Indian American women.

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education released new social studies standards, which for the first time include Sikhism. Nearly 700,000 students in Oklahoma public schools will now learn more about the Sikh community, in this effort spearheaded by the Sikh Coalition.

The Golden State Warriors played through two more injuries to rotation players to beat the Raptors in Toronto 109-104 to even the NBA Finals at a game a piece.

Diya TV’s Ravi Kapur and Jonathan Choe are on-site and will have more courtside.

And we talk to the stars of Netflix’s newest romantic comedy ‘Always Be My Maybe,’ a feature that offers a story & characters Asian Americans will find relatable from some of the most talented names in Hollywood.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Campaigning stopped in West Bengal due to violence

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West Bengal violence

KOLKATA, India (Diya TV) — For the first time in India’s electoral history, the Election Commission ordered campaigning to stop a day early in West Bengal because of violence between political factions in Kolkata.

SAALT released an overview of the growth in the South Asian demographic around America and it shows the community is increasing exponentially.

SAALT says the South Asian population in the U.S. grew a stunning 40% in seven years, from 3.5 million in 2010 to 5.4 million in 2017.

The first ever Sikh American mayor of a large city, Ravi Bhalla, was portrayed by a New Jersey-based website in a photoshopped image as an Arab dictator. Supporters of Bhalla, who is the mayor of Hoboken, are denouncing the image as racist and want the “Hudson Mile Square View” to take it down.

And the Indian government held an event at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the world’s largest film industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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