It was in the late 1981, after I founded the Federation of Indian Associations in New York and served as its president for 5 years, I saw a news item about Inder Singh, who organized an India Independence Day celebration in the Los Angeles area under a platform of the India Independence Day Celebration Committee. I called him up and shared our successful experience of bringing all Indian American community groups in the New York area under one umbrella of the FIA and suggested him to do so.
He immediately changed the group to FIA Southern California and organized the next celebration under that banner. Since then, I had worked with him very closely and brought him into the National Federation if Indian American Associations and organized a very successful national convention in 1986 in Los Angeles. I handed over the NFIApresidency to Inder in 1988.
In the same year, he came to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee against massive military aid to Pakistan. In 1989, when NFIA did the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York, Inder was NFIA president and was a great team player and travelled to Canada to reach out to our community and bring them to the convention. He took over as the president of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin in 2004 and served as its chairman from 2009 to 2016. Later he became the executive trustee of the GOPIO Foundation till his death.
One of the major contributions of Inder in Southern California was launching the Indian Heritage Foundation, a society that celebrates and honors academic excellence and achievements of Indian American youth. Since 1987, Inder and his team had honored Indian American high school students who excelled in academic fields as well as in extracurricular activities.
Inder has also been responsible to honor the forgotten Gadar heroes. He, as president and later as chairman of GOPIO, sensitized the Indian government to organize a symposium on Gadar heroes and their contribution to the India Independence movement during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. He was also instrumental in the Government of India deciding to renovate and establish a Gadar Center as a museum in San Francisco.
A Republican, Inder Singh also co-founded the Asian & Pacific American Republicans Coalition, which became an officially chartered organ of the California Republican Party in the 1990s. In the late 1990s, he was involved with the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging. With offices in most states, the national body of Asian Americans caters to the needs of Asian seniors.
I have had the longest association with Inder Singh in Indian American community activities; he became an Indian Diaspora institution in Southern California and whenever any broad-based pan-Indian community event happened in Southern California, it was always under the leadership of Inder Singh.
It is a great loss for all of us, GOPIO, Indian community in the USA and the Indian diaspora. May his soul rest in peace.
GOPIO will do an appropriate tribute for his contribution to build GOPIO.
Dr. Thomas Abraham