Happy Holidays and we wish you all a happy new year from the entire IAGB team! Since coming on board, the new IAGB Executive Committee has had a busy few months. We had two extremely successful outreach programs, Consulate@Yourdoorstep on Nov. 18th and Cradles to Crayons Donation drive on Dec. 9th and a successful amendment of the Constitution. Presently IAGB is gearing up for the annual mega event - Republic Day Mela 2018 on Jan 27, 2018.
In this edition you will see:
  • Note From the Director's Corner - Umesh Rao
  • Guest Column From IAGB Member - Dipali Trivedi
  • Community Spotlight: Jayanti Bandyopadhyay, Co-founder of Stage Ensemble Theater Unit
  • IAGB Recent Events (Consulate@YourDoorstep, Cradles to Crayons Drive, IAGB Constitution Update)
  • IAGB Upcoming Events
  • Community Calendar
  • Our Sponsors
  • Our Media Partners

This issue we shine SPOTLIGHT on Jayanti Bandyopadhyay, co-founder of Stage Ensemble Theater Unit (SETU) and Professor of Accounting at Salem State University. Our guest columnist in this issue is Dipali Trivedi - and the topic of her column is "Women in Technology (Fighting Gender Stereotypes!)". Like always we invite you to submit guest columns on diverse topics for inclusion in the newsletter. Your feedback and suggestions and welcome!!

Please contact via Email if you wish to make community event announcements through this newsletter.

Please visit our Website to become a / an annual / life / corporate member of IAGB or Contact Us if you are interested to volunteer at our upcoming events.


IAGB stands with #Metoo campaign
India Association of Greater Boston like the rest of the nation was shocked with the revelations of sexual abuse especially by the men with power and influence. We hope this moment leads to a paradigm shift towards safe environments for women in workplace, in homes and everywhere.

As we get ready for the flagship republic day event on Saturday, January 27th, 2018, we are happy to announce 13 competitions along with a cultural segment. The competitions will be held in parallel in the afternoon followed by the cultural program in the evening. This year for the cultural program we will have an open theme. Many entries are pouring in and we are expecting a lot of variety in the performances. We will also be presenting an IAGB central musical item. 

New England is blessed with so many talented people, we really look forward to a power packed performances and healthy competitive spirit!!


Contributing Author: DIPALI TRIVEDI

Women in Technology (Fighting Gender Stereotypes!)

A few years ago, I mentioned my plan to quit my job and start a business to a colleague of mine and his response was, I quote, “Do you really think that women are “cut out” for success? Can they find work-life balance while running a business?” Another colleague wasn’t quite so suave in his remark. He added, “Women are not good at coding, they are not suitable for a technical job.” I expressed my disappointment in a timid fashion, but those comments got my attention to start thinking about underlying prejudices against women in technology and entrepreneurship.
I looked up the statistics, which are not encouraging; a ratio of men to women is 4:1 in technology companies. This ratio is much worse in the startups, entrepreneurship, and VC firms. As per my personal experience, it is more difficult to get the attention of VCs for women entrepreneurs.
·          Women own only 5 % of startups.
·          They earn only 28 % of computer science degrees.
·          Only 7 % of partners at top 100 venture capital firms are women.

We need a balanced gender ratio in technology and startups to build a better business environment that avoids the bro- culture and compensation discrimination. We need more woman CEOs and entrepreneurs as role models to inspire young girls to chase their dreams.

In last couple of years, this issue got a lot more attention in media due to gender pay gap, the bro culture in Silicon Valley and the memo by James Damore. People like James Damore blamed biology for the fewer women in Technology, while few others blamed women’s maternal instinct and risk-averse mentality. As Tech companies started to publish gender ratio, they tried hard to hire women employees, but the pool of applicants has fewer women. There are fewer girls taking computer science or engineering courses in undergrad, fewer girls interested in Mathematics and Science in high school. It is easier to blame companies and system for the scarcity of women in technology but it's a ground-up problem in my opinion. We need to build pipelines- encourage young girls to study math and science, to get rid of the barriers, and teaching computer science and engineering curriculum at the college level. This will help them to be prepared for the kind of entry-level jobs that are available in the workplace regardless of gender. There just needs to be more women who are willing and able to mentor the next generation, to encourage them to take on these kinds of positions.

 I have witnessed equal pressure to be successful irrespective of gender growing up in India, but surprisingly a lot more gender stereotypes and prejudices in one of the most advanced nation. Gendered toys encourage boys to play with Lego and Puzzles while leading girls to pink aisles filled with makeup tools, kitchen toys and princesses. Are we not putting seeds in young minds that boys should strive for ambitious career while girls should find "a job" with work-life balance? Aren’t we supporting stereotype of “geeky can’t be pretty” with TV series like “ Big bang theory”? The marketing of toys for girls is a great place to change perceptions. The toy options for girls should go beyond dolls and dress-up so we can cultivate their enthusiasm and inspire them to grow up to become engineers.

We need to encourage girls to participate in coding, STEM courses, and hackathons starting from middle school. “Girls can code” is an excellent initiative to encourage girls to develop the interest in coding early on. Mass Challenges is a great accelerator for girls to get involved in startups as early as high school.

In a nutshell, we need to suppress gender-based stereotypes early on to let kids have an equal opportunity to explore their interest and choose their careers. While we encourage girls to play with Lego and puzzle, we need to allow boys to play with dolls and kitchen toys to raise feminist men that will help avoid more Harvey Weinstein in the society. 

Members interested in submitting a guest column in our newsletter can send an email to iagb@iagb.org.
eNews edition shines SPOTLIGHT on an individual (or a team) who has (have) founded and/or running an organization that impacts positively and significantly on the lives of New England residents.

This month we are shining the SPOTLIGHT on Jayanti Badyopadhyay - the Co-founder of Stage Ensemble Theater Unit (SETU)

I AGB: Welcome to the SPOTLIGHT. I thank you sincerely for finding time to chat with me during this busy holiday season. Before SETU what was your connection to Theater.

Jayanti Badyopadhyay : I love theater and acting. My first acting role was when I was in my 2 nd Grade. I played the central character – a role of a boy, in a Tagore’s play – Daak Ghar (Post Office). Currently Subrata is planning a production where male roles will be performed by females and it reminds me that I had already done such transforming role right at the beginning of my acting career. Starting from then I did lot of theater all through my school days. After moving to United States I continued to do theater in Bengali community setting. In year 2000 I wrote and produced a Bengali movie back in Calcutta – Shesh Thikana (The Last Address) – I realized then that when one is passionate about something you will find right people and the right resources. It was an awesome experience working with a film Studio and many artists, some of them were celebrities too. The only downside of this experience was financially it was not a profitable venture. But when I add all the intangibles of learning and experience, it was certainly worth it. 

IAGB: Is there an event/incident/experience to which you can trace your passion to theater?
Jayanti Badyopadhyay: I just knew I wanted to act. I did not become a professional actor (one who earns livelihood through the practice of this art) but I have no regrets since I enjoy teaching too equally and so being known as an amateur actor is still a matter of great pride for me. My mother guided me from the very first foray into acting and has been a consistent support. 

IAGB: Of the many roles you played which one you cherish the most?   
Jayanti Badyopadhyay: The role of Sarita in Kamala stands apart for me as it gave me an opportunity to display a wide range of emotions in that role. I start of as a faithful wife of the male protagonist and end as a free thinking rebellious individual. My very first SETU production was as Sarita in Kamala . But very recently I had another opportunity to reprise this role. Between these two productions I sense that I have enhanced as an actor and hence this time performing as Sarita was even more fulfilling. But that said, I have to mention that I loved my role as Kunti in Mahabharata Play especially performing the Karna – Kunti Samvaad. Finally, the role that I found most difficult to play was that of a Malati - a politician with centrist views in Once upon time Not in Bollywood . In this role I had to connect with the audience through speeches and minimally through the interactions with other co actors on stage and hence I call it the toughest role to date.

IAGB: How have you leveraged your Business faculty experience with your art and vice versa?
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : The cross connection between my day job (teaching) and my passion (acting) is one of the reasons why I love acting. My every performance is different and unique and so is my experience as a teacher. The students, like the audience members react differently and uniquely to each of my lectures the same way like my theater audience. When I am teaching in the classroom I am always thinking if my students understand me, my pronunciation, my projection and so on. Additionally, I have used my experiences with theater and movie making to write few case studies which have been published in refereed journals. So, yes there is an active feedback loop between theater and teaching and I thrive on it.

IAGB: Name one person to whom you are most thankful to in this journey.
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : My mother has always been the fuel of my passion. She has been helping me right from a very young age. Gautam – my husband has been a great support along with my entire family. Then of course Subrata Das – my cofounder of SETU has been a constant source of inspiration and I got to learn a lot from him. One thing I would like to add is that all of our productions have a social message and introducing Indian cultural values and system to the expatriates here is always very satisfying. 

IAGB: Your plans for the future with respect to theater.
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : I have a dream to work on a project with children and also write and produce a short film. I have some definite ideas, a project that will need four to five children. As I said earlier, I wouldn’t mind to call my role of ‘Sarita’ as capstone of my acting career but that said if a well written project comes along – something that is written for my age like in the movie Bucket List with Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino et al. I would certainly be up for such a challenge. The one thing I know I don’t want to do in future is to finance a full length movie again.

IAGB: Some rapid fire round to know more about you as a person. What are you more passionate about: Accounting or Acting?
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : ( Laughter)…. I am more passionate about teaching Accounting but then I also feel that teaching is a type of acting.

IAGB: What is your p reference: Comedy or Drama?
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : I enjoy comedy but I love performing in a Drama.
IAGB : What is easy when acting it out: Laughing or crying?
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : Crying is easier than acting out laughter.

IAGB: Saree or Western outfits?
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : This is an easy question for me – I love wearing sarees and I look good in them.

IAGB: Bengali Sweets or Fish and Rice?
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : I love Fish and Rice .

IAGB: Time with grand children or time at practices?
Jayanti Badyopadhyay : At this stage of my life spending every moment with grandchildren is more precious. That said I like to keep my commitment on practices and would sacrifice almost anything to keep my time.

IAGB: Thank you so much sparing your precious time for a sitting with me during your grading week and the busy holiday time of shopping and cooking. We wish you happy holidays.
Note to Readers: Information on future productions and acting and volunteer opportunities can be found at Stage Ensemble Theater Unit

IAGB interviewing team: Sanjay Kudrimoti
Consul General of India, NY Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty was received cordially by the event organizers co-led by IAGB at the Chinmaya Mission, Andover. From 9 AM to 3 PM visa camp was was run by support staff of Consulate. IAGB volunteers played key role in regulating the flow of camp attendees. IAGB volunteers even served food to all the folks waiting to get their queries answered by the Consulate staff.
During an afternoon session a light cultural program was organized in the auditorium which was followed up by brief remarks from event organizers and Consulate General. This formal event was capped off by opening up the floor for a question-answer session. Mr. Chakravorty patiently answered all questions and took notes on some for a follow up. Mr. Chakravorty also promised to keep the communication channel open and will plan to make more visits to greater Boston area in near future. Below are some FAQ to CGI.

Queries /clarifications by Consulate.
  1.       The new deadline for PIO-OCI conversion and its consequences.
A.     The deadline for converting PIO to OCI is 31st December 2017. Beyond 31st December, the fee will be payable for conversion. International Civil Aviation Organization has also intimated that beyond October 2018, no handwritten travel documents will be accepted. PIO Cards being handwritten will hence not be accepted for travel beyond October 2018 though they may be valid.
2.       Any procedural changes to simplify the process of passport/visa/OCI applications
A.   Changes in procedures relating to issue of travel documents is a continuous process and FIA and other Associations will be intimated.

3.       Renunciation requirements.
A.     There are two types of documents issued by the Consulate for renunciation:
A Renunciation Certificate (RC) is mandatory in cases of issuing visas as well, as per latest Government of India (GOI) rules, without an RC only 6 months validity visa is granted. RC is now being issued separately and can be obtained directly from the Consulate (not through the service provide CKGS along with an OCI application as processed earlier), where the applicant has their last held Indian Passport and a declaration of renunciation where the applicant does not have all the documents. 
The Declaration is acknowledged by the Consulate on the basis of any Indian documents available with the applicant, which proves holding and subsequently surrendering their Indian Passport. CKGS cannot act on their own as they only follow laid down procedures and have been instructed by the Consulate not to reject any application without checking with the Consulate. The Consulate can be approached directly to resolve this issue and the document processed the same day.
New OCI and Renunciation updates will be posted on the CGI website shortly .
4.       Elimination of separate mailing of multiple applications from the same family.
A.     It is practically difficult as each application is processed separately and dispatching of the processed ones cannot be delayed or held due to ones not processed or ready. Further, courier companies give tracking number for each document and there is some indemnity towards loss. If all documents are put in the same envelope there is no way of claiming any loss or damages.
5.       How to obtain PAN and Aadhaar cards and their requirement by NRI’s and PIO/OCI card holders.
A.     PAN card can be applied online. Aadhaar card is required for only those Indian citizens who reside in India, Non-residents holding NRI account do not need one.

Organized under the "Consulate@YourDoorstep" initiative of the Consulate General of India with the support/assistance of Global Indians for Bharat Vikas ( www.gibv.org ), India Association of Greater Boston, Milan USA, Art of Living, Chinmaya Mission, VHP America, and other local organizations.
Saturday, December 9, 2017 turned out to be the first snow day of the winter season in greater Boston area. In spite of the hazardous driving conditions IAGB was humbled to see all the volunteers and donors join us in the donation drive. We had many kids showing up to enthusiastically design 'well wish' greeting cards to spread holiday cheer to other kids who may not be as fortunate. At the end of the day, we shared 42 Well Wish Cards, over 40 clothing items, many new toys, boards games, baby items and many books and a cash donation of $263. IAGB thanks everyone who braved the weather and joined us with their active participation in this Donation drive.
Building on the work begun by prior IAGB Executive Committees (EC), the current IAGB drove forward with much-needed changes to the IAGB Constitution. The goal was to bring the constitution current with changing times and remove ambiguity in language. A proposed draft was shared with the membership for their review and feedback. During the three week open comment period, IAGB EC received several comments. Each feedback point was individually addressed and changes incorporated, where possible. On Dec. 9th, a Special Hearing was organized for current members where all proposed changes were discussed. Voting on the new IAGB Constitution was concluded on Dec. 9th where all the new Constitution was approved unanimously (46-Yes, 0-NO) in a secret ballot. The revised Constitution can be found on the IAGB website.
IAGB will be organizing the annual Republic Day Mela on  Saturday, January 27, 2018 . This day long Mela will include 13 competitions along with a cultural performance segment. Competitions include  Science Quiz, Geography Bee, Kite Making, Art Competition, Poetry Writing, Essay Writing, Chess Competition, Trivia, Photography, Carrom, Elocution, Story Telling and Skit Enactment.   Program timing will be shared at a later time. For detailed rules and participation related to the competitions and the cultural performances, visit  www.iagb.org

There will be no participation fees for both the competitions and the cultural segment. However, the participants and selected performers must be a member of IAGB. Members can participate for free in multiple competitions and cultural performances, if selected. If you are not currently a member, please sign up for membership at: www.iagb.org/membership
Venue: Burlington High School, Burlington, MA
Saturday, January 27th. Time: 1:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Pratham’s New Apps Enhance Children’s Learning Skills
Pratham , one of the largest and successful non-governmental education organizations in India, has developed two free apps for Android devices. The apps are designed to “make learning fun and take a young mind on a journey of self-discovery.”
Pratham’s New Apps Enhance Children’s Learning Skills
Pratham , one of the largest and successful non-governmental education organizations in India, has developed two free apps for Android devices. The apps are designed to “make learning fun and take a young mind on a journey of self-discovery.”
PraDigi or Pratham Digital offers interactive content to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills, support subject-specific competencies, and promote the ability to think critically and work collaboratively.
Pratham Books is a library of books with Indian content in multiple languages for different age groups.
Editors: Sanjay Kudrimoti and Umesh Rao
IAGB Communications