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Vol 45 | Issue 45
18th March to 24th March 2017 Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party gave an exceptional performance, sweeping Uttar Pradesh off Akhilesh Yadav's feet as local political parties sulked in response. It was a gamble of the century, with all odds against the BJP, now a mere endorsement of megabrand Modi. The win follows a series of heart-breaking losses, including Delhi and Bihar in 2015, then a win in Assam. However, what really mattered was UP. Land of the Yadavs' 'goondaraj'. BJP remained quite low on the popularity meter lately, with Modi's November 8 demonetisation pinning a final nail in what seemed to be Modi's political career. UP elections was a bigger bet for the NDA; a peak into the prospects of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It demanded a stellar performance from our Prime Minister. Modi's touted skills as a communicator, and an orator was called upon and also criticised as many saw it as mere despotic. "One party wants to save its family, the other its party but only one party wants to save UP," Modi stated in Lucknow. "Our fight against corruption and black money won't stop." Vehemently against the fantastic voting results, Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati claimed the voting machines to be rigged. Yes, Mayaji, as much as we all want it to be true, there is no denying the Modi charm. "There was some immediate distress due to notebandi. But people also saw how big contractors and local bigwigs were scampering to save their illegal money. The sullenness of those seen to deal in black money was proof that Modi had hit the right target," said a senior BJP MP from UP. The party along with its alliances won 325 seats out of 403 in the state assembly, the biggest majority for any party in
Uttar Pradesh since 1980. The saffron rejoiced at its headquarters in New Delhi. Modi said the results indicate emergence of a "new India". "A new India is on the horizon. I am seeing the election results in the five states as foundation for a New India- a New India of the dreams of 65 per cent population of under-35 youths and of uniquely aware women groups. A new India in which the poor are looking for an opportunity to do something instead of seeking something is a new change," he said. Five states in India went into polls this year, and from the look of it, Modi is set for a second term as Prime Minister.
UTTARAKHAND The BJP took 57 out of the 70-seat constituency, leaving the ruling Congress weeping with a petty 11. The win came as a result of a year-long campaigning, with Modi addressing four major rallies in three days between February 10 and
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Let noble thoughts come to us from every side
UP UP AND AWAY!
12, this year, a few days ahead of the February 15 polls. The Bahujan Samaj Party and the Aam Aadmi Party fared poorly, failing to claim even a single seat. To make matters worse, several AAP state leaders defected either to the Congress or the BJP. Uttarakhand Chief Minister aka Congress' one-man army, Harish Rawat failed to impress either of the two constituencies he fought, losing by over 12,000 votes in Haridwar (rural) and by 2,000 votes in Kiccha. Currently, BJP's senior leaders Satpal Maharaj and Trivendra Singh Rawat are both in the race for the new CM. Maharaj won from Chaubattakhal by a margin of 7,354 votes, and Rawat secured the Doiwala seat by 24,869 ballots.
GOA Meanwhile in Goa, dirty politics peak, even after Union defence minister and former chief minister Manohar Parrikar is
appointed as the new CM by the Governor. BJP, after
winning 13 seats, stole the Congress' wind by submit-
ting a list of 21 MLAs. However, the Supreme Court has issued an order for a floor test to be held on March 16. "We request the Governor to hold a floor test at 11am on 16 March and complete all prerequisites before 15 March," said a bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar. On being denied first shot at government formation in Goa, despite having won 17 seats in the 40-member Goa assembly, Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar moved the Apex Court, challenging the Governor's decision to appoint a BJP-led government in the coastal state. A press note issued by the Governor's office said, "Shri Manohar Parrikar has submitted evidence before Honourable Governor, the support of 13 MLAs of BJP, 3 MLAs of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, 3 MLAs of Goa Forward Party, Continued on page 26
IMPORTANCE OF INDIA GROWS IN 'A PEACE-BUILDING COMMONWEALTH'
Indian dancers performing outside the Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day (13 March 2017)
Britain is trying to redefine its relationship with Commonwealth countries, especially India, as Brexit becomes a reality. March 9th was the opening of the Commonwealth Trade
Summit. Indian Commerce Secretary Ms Rita A Teaotia spoke on the country's focus this year on trade facilitation in services; short-term movement of professionals, skilled workers and import of goods.
Creation of a Commonwealth Accord is also on the cards, with rules, regulations and shared experiences in member-states that could be subscribed to. Homage was paid to Commonwealth soldiers at the Memorial Gates, Constitutional Hill on Monday. This year's theme was the Battle of Saragarhi. HM The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, PM Theresa May along with High Commissioners from across the UK and Commonwealth, faith leaders and 800 school children attended the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. For full story see P16
ONE ONE with Keith Vaz, MP
Asian Voice 18th March 2017
been very organic, allowing me to be instrumental in playing my role. If there was a challenge, it’s not being able to offer my services to everyone as, unfortunately, it’s just not possible to be in two places at the same time.
Chanda Vyas is the first ‘Hindu Female Priest’ in the U.K. She is married to Manoj and they have three children and grandchildren. During her time at Leicester City Council, Chanda worked on Health and Social Care as well as other roles in different departments. Chanda has worked with people with mental health issues, elderly people, people with challenging behaviour and with profound learning disabilities. She enjoyed her time at the Council, stating that although it was challenging, it was a very rewarding career. Through her current role as a priest, Chanda wants to continue to support people during situations in which they may need her assistance. Chanda also wants to be a role model to other women, encouraging them to follow her example and become priests, urging them to ignore any negativity that may discourage them. Chanda believes that this message is extremely beneficial to an evolving generation who need open minds, flexibility and adaptability for them to hold onto tradition, culture and religion. 1) What is your current position? I’ve established myself as the UKs first female Hindu priest and conduct all ceremonies and rituals, including wedding and funerals, within the Hindu and wider community. 2) What are your proudest achievements? Becoming a priest has come with its own challenges and obstacles, as women are not widely accepted as being able to fulfil the role of a priest. I’ve been blessed to have been encouraged and supported by my family and fantastic friends so that I could fulfil my childhood dream and become a practicing priest all
over the world. More dear to my heart was being able to conduct the wedding ceremonies of two of my daughters, which came with its emotional challenges, but was more rewarding and satisfying as I was able to marry both couples with the utmost spiritual awareness, love and religious devotion. 3) What inspires you? What inspires me is being there for people in their time of need whether they are happy occasions like conducting house blessings that aim to help people to bring calm and prosperity in their home by conducting religious rituals; helping couples
toestablish what is most important to them on their wedding day; or a sadder occasion such as conducting the funeral of a lost member of their family. I love helping and supporting people, this is my blessing. Receiving a heartfelt thank you, this is my motivation. 4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? I have been very fortunate with gods blessings and can’t say that I have had any obstacles that would hinder my community service. Receiving and giving love and support amongst the people that come into my life has
British Bengali jailed for terrorism-related offences An Acton accountancy firm worker was jailed for nine years for trying to travel to Syria to join terrorist group ISIS and carry out what a judge described as "death, destruction and disorder". Jabed Hussain, 22, admitted two counts of preparation of terrorist acts after he was caught by an undercover police officer. The Bangladesh-born Hussain had attempted to travel to Syria previously, but was detained by Turkish authorities at the Turkey-Syria border and returned to the UK. He changed his name by deed poll to Ishaq Jabir Hussain, and attempted to apply for a passport in this new name to evade the authorities. His attempt was unsuccessful and he was arrested on April 28. Jabeed did not show
Jabed Hussain, 22, of Acton, convicted of terrorism-related offences
any emotion as he was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday (March 10). Hussain admitted that between March and August 2015, he engaged in the preparation of committing acts of terrorism, and assisting others to commit such acts. He pleaded guilty to the same offence, said to have taken place between August 2015 and April last year. Upon his initial return
to the UK, he told officers with the government's prevent counter-terrorism strategy that he travelled to Istanbul for a holiday and to carry out humanitarian work. It later emerged that Hussain had invented another cover story, telling his family that he was spending time at a mosque in the UK. After the first attempt failed, Hussain sought help from others to get to Syria, including the undercover officer who would later help catch the suspect. The police raided a mosque in west London where Hussain was staying and found terrorist material, electronic devices containing images of decapitated heads and the Houses of Parliament in flames with an ISIS flag flying above it.
5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? The most influential person on my career to date has been my husband, the father of my three beautiful girls, and my best friend. He is my hero and has always supported me with my decisions, helping me to become the person I am today. It’s because of him I had the confidence to follow my dreams and take this journey to becoming a priest. Having such pure unconditional love, support and consistency enables an individual to move mountains, as he has done for me. 6) What is the best aspect about your current role? Just being there for people from all walks of life who face different challenges and need clarity, support and guidance. I love what I do and am happy to always go the extra mile for anyone that needs my time and confidence. There is nothing more rewarding than helping to clear the clouds and create certainty.
7) And the worst? There are none, I get only pleasure from what I give to the communities. 8) What are your long term goals? I want to continue to support, guide and enable people from all walks of life and situations as and when they need me. I also wish to continue to encourage women to follow my example and become a priest, to ignore negativity and criticism that may discourage them from pursuing this goal. I believe that if the younger generation want to hold on to and embrace tradition, culture and religion, they require open minds, flexibility and adaptability. Encouraging women to become priests will facilitate this. 9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? All education should be free. 10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why? I would be the beautiful late Princess Diana. She was a very compassionate woman, always so willing to help people in need whilst maintaining her stature and presence as a royal. We must all learn to give to others without the desire to receive rewards, as spiritual reward is far greater than any other. Om Shanti.
Police appeal for help in finding two missing people from Hounslow Police have launched an appeal to find two missing women from Hounslow. Morgan Reynolds, aged 14, and Kiran Joshi, aged, 22, have been missing from the area according to officers from Hounslow Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Anyone with information on Morgan’s disappearance should call 101 quoting reference 17MIS010334 and contact the same number and quote 17MIS009897 for information on Kiran. Both appeals were made last Thursday March 9.
(Left) Kiran Joshi and Morgan Reynolds (right) are both missing from Hounslow
Slough woman moves out as council housing regulators deem private rental inadequate A woman has moved back home with her mother after the home she rented was deemed to be below standards by a council housing regulator. Samah Rehan lived in the home in Bader Gardens, Slough for more than two months before she handed the keys back to the estate agents concerned. Among a list of complaints, Mrs Rehan said
that the company had not installed appropriate heating, there were faulty electrics in the property and that the hot water supply was inadequate. Mrs Rehan said: “I’m not happy to move out. It’s not really fair on my mother to take on my family’s responsibilities, but financially we have no other options available to us. “The house was adequate for living in. They
shouldn’t have rented it out to me and I want people to know before anyone else ends up living there.”
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Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Celebrating Women’s Day in India Women’s Day is justly an international event. It cannot be otherwise. Societies the world over have, to a lesser or greater degree, been scarred by the evils stemming from patriarchy. Nations have lived with this debilitating affliction in silence for too long, enduring the shame of domestic violence, sexual abuse, harassment, intimidation and the like. Gender inequality has been sanctified by religious and social codes. But over time women everywhere have awoken to injustices they have borne with little demur. Freedom and social justice are contagious. Mrs Pankhurst and the suffragette movement lit a light in Britain whose rays spread across continents. Annie Besant became President of the Indian National Congress and electrified her adopted country with her oratory and message of emancipation. Her torch was taken up by Sarojini Naidu and Amrit Kaur, Cornelia Sorabjee and other feminine voices. India has achieved much but she still has a mountain to climb before the uplands of enlightenment are reached. However, hope springs eternal, and there is genuine cause for hope in the advances made despite myriad obstacles. In urban areas in particular women at the workplace are a common sight. Bank managers, company executives, civilian pilots etc do have women, as old taboos wither. One graphic example are the numbers of women joining the country’s science and technology and IT communities. One such instance we can share and enjoy with pride and satisfaction were the consecutive tests – both successful – of India’s missile shield, that is, an interceptor missile destroying an incoming hostile missile high up in
the skies in mid-flight. A significant number of women scientists and engineers at the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), led by Project Director Shashikala Sinha, was in the vanguard of thrillingly ambitious venture. ‘Shashikala Sinha, the nation is proud of you,’ said Union Minister of State for Defence Subash Bhamre at the auditorium in Hyderabad. The 56 year-old bespectacled Shashikala, modest to a fault, replied, ‘I was just doing my job… so much of the spotlight is …unnerving. I wish my entire team of 300-odd scientists and others were here to share these accolades. After all, it is a team effort and I was just the music conductor,’ exclaimed the Project Director. This special occasion was a celebration of International Women’s Day. Shashikala Sinha came to Hyderabad at about the turn of the century with her Naval Officer husband Gaurav Sinha. He was killed tragically in a road accident, leaving her with two young daughters to bring up. She overcame adversity and joined DRDO in 2001 and has been Project Director since 2011. Coming from Tamil Nadu and having graduated from IIT-Kharagpur, she declares , ‘There is no gender here (DRDO). You are here for what you do.’ Shashikala Sinha is not the first or only woman to achieve such rank in the DRDO. Tessy Thomas, the present Director of Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) was previously head of the 4000km Agni IV intermediaterange ballistic missile, being dubbed at the time as India’s ‘missile woman.’ India’s defence projects are in capable hands. International Women’s Day is surely an occasion for gender celebrations by women and men.
Vista of defining opportunities for Indo-British ties As Britain readies to stamp its departure from the European Union, a new chapter beckons to elevate Indo-British relations to the next level of fulfilling opportunity and achievement. This year marks the 70 th year of Indian independence, with Britain laying out the red carpet for the occasion. The Queen invited a troupe of Indian classical dancers to the Palace and their performance and the Royal appreciation and enjoyment, said the dancers, were an experience that would live with them for the rest of their lives. This was an appropriate curtain-raiser. India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was in London with close aides and a delegation of business heads to flag off the celebrations. There is a new, positive mood in London on the institution of the Commonwealth and its future. There is even talk of issuing Commonwealth cards for ease of travel and business. The Indian diaspora in the UK, well educated and increasingly prosperous, is one of the bastions of the country’s middle class with its footprint in the professions and in Parliament more visible than ever before. Voting Conservative is as smooth an undertaking as voting Labour or Lib Dem. An inaugural Commonwealth conference in London, with a large business component in the audience, was addressed by British Trade Secretary Liam Fox. The two-day meeting included a series of round table discussions between ministers from over thirty countries and chief executives capped by a ministerial conclave on cross-Commonwealth trade and investment, preparatory to next year’s Commonwealth Summit of heads of State and Government in London. In the recent Commonwealth meet, India’s discus-
sant on the panel was Commerce Secretary (civil servant, not minister) Rita Teotia. She will be followed by M.J.Akbar, Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, who will attend the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting, also in London. Rewinding to the past and the speech of Liam Fox, the British Trade Secretary emphasized the need for his country to look beyond the EU for forging stronger ties with nations beyond across continents. Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council pointed to the disparity of populations between the EEU and the Commonwealth, the latter with a third of the world’s total figure, yet with only 15 per cent of trade. There was thus an immense opportunity to align Commonwealth trade to its higher population, he said. Other factors in the mix were language, broadly similar legal systems, regulatory regimes, all of which could limit the costs of trade. Her trade with the Commonwealth presently stands at around $750 billion; this could be scaled up to $3 trillion and more, said Liam Fox. So let’s get on with the job and move forward and not be taken in by careerist Shashi Tharoor’s rabid simplicities. An acquaintance with writings of Rammohun Roy, Vivekenanda, Bankim Chatterjee, Rabindranath Tagore, Aurobindo, Ranade, Gokhale, Naoroji and historians Jadunath Sarkar and Ramesh Majumdar should suffice. The incendiary commerce in hatred has no place in civilized discourse. ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,’ pronounced Dr Johnson in the 18 th century, when he denounced black slavery long before its abolition in Britain in 1833.
India Modified: BJP sweeps UP, Uttarkhand Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands tall, following the Bharatiya Janta Party’s demolition of the SP-Congress coalition, in India’s most populous State of Uttar Pradesh (UP), where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 325 seats to the latter’s very modest 68 for the contested 403 Assembly seats. No ordinary victory, this, but a tsunami. UP was the cynosure of all eyes. Narendra Modi threw his hat into the ring, campaigning tirelessly with his message of development and his excoriation of the Akhilesh Yadav regime. His Man Friday, Amit Shah. calibrated the strategy on the ground in meticulous detail, choosing candidates through local constituency consultations: charisma and attention to detail produced the critical mass of a truly extraordinary triumph. As Congress leader P. Chidambaram acknowledged, Mr Modi is without peer on the national stage, the tallest figure in the land by many cubits.. He learnt the lessons from the BJP defeat in Bihar two years ago and came back stronger. His opponents counted on a demonetization backlash but none was seen. The Modi wave crested
to daunting heights. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Congress Party. Having been trounced UP and Uttakhand, Congress achieved a notable victory in Punjab, where it demolished the governing Akali DalBJP coalition. Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh played a true captain’s innings, the victory was his and not Rahul Gandhi’s, was the pointed comment of Navjot Singh Siddhu, cricketer-turned politician, who played a seminal role in the Congress victory. Congress organization was top class, as was its planning. Hopefully this will encourage leadership change. India needs a stable two-party system. The poor showing of Arvind Kejriwal’s ballyhooed Aam Aadmi and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress outside their bailiwicks in Delhi anf Bengal respectively illustrates this point. Congress has done well in Goa defeating the ruling BJP. Manipur has been a neck-and-neck Congress-BJP tussle, with a BJP-led coalition likely to form the next government. It has indeed been a riveting weekend.
Don't let one cloud obliterate the whole sky - Anais Nin (1903-1977)
Strategic Advisor Global Business & Government
Commonwealth 2.0, not Empire 2.0 India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa explains why he believes that a reformed Commonwealth, with the UK and India working in harmony, could create the world’s largest trade bloc. The Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ Meeting in London offered the 52member bloc a unique opportunity to fashion agreements on increasing trade and economic collaboration in a scenario in which many developed countries are pulling up their drawbridges to shut out foreigners. In that sense, this initiative, the first of its kind within the Commonwealth and the brainchild of the spirited Lord Jonathon Marland, chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), is a welcome one. It at least is attempting to swim against the rising tide of protectionism in the Western world. In a politically incorrect throwback to the colonial era, however, an unnamed British official has dubbed the initiative “Empire 2.0”. Now that is exactly the kind of language that many Commonwealth countries, including India, dislike intensely – and with very good reason. Some people, thankfully only a few, in the UK still view the days of the Empire only with rosetinted glasses and see it as an era of benevolent British paternalism that brought order to a chaotic world. But in countries such as India, the nearly two-century-long British Raj is seen with either ambivalence or mixed feelings. In fact, according to data compiled by economist Angus Maddison, the Raj led the systematic impoverishment of what was, when the British took over, the richest country in the world.
Indian parliamentarian and author Shashi Tharoor has in his recent well publicised book called this period "an era of darkness” – and provided documented evidence of how British rule left India bereft of its riches. But I do not wish to harangue against Britain’s imperial history. It is only to point out that harking back nostalgically to the days of Empire and treating the Commonwealth now as an extension of British foreign policy will not only not help the UK in post-Brexit world, it will actually turn many potential allies in the Commonwealth away. The UK faces very hard negotiations over the terms of Brexit with Brussels. It needs equitable trade deals with as many of the world’s leading trading blocs/nations as much as the latter need access to British technology and investments. It is in these areas that the trade ministers meeting in London can be an important milesotne in charting out a path for the future. Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could not be present owing to the ongoing Budget session of the Indian Parliament. So, the India, the only country not to send its trade minister, is being represented by Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia. But this does not mean India is according any less importance to this meeting. “The key messages are around ease of doing business in India and all the initiatives being taken by the Government of India. To a large extent there is a recognition that India is doing well in this area and gone up in the World Bank rankings. Continued on page 16
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Lord Loomba debates women's rights in the HOL Lord Loomba CBE, recently participated in an International Women’s Day debate at the House of Lords. For the past two decades, he has worked extensively on human rights, women’s economic empowerment and the education of children. He emphasised that these are "important areas to promote gender equality in an increasingly globalised world." “The United Nations says that our planet should be 50:50 by 2030. In essence, we need to achieve gender parity... We now have our second female Prime Minister, which is another landmark for the United Kingdom. As more and more women are able to achieve their goals and the “glass ceiling” begins slowly to be eroded, women can reach the top if they work hard. It is this pursuit of more women being in powerful roles that we should celebrate and embrace.”
Lord Loomba CBE
“As the sustainable development goals show, there is still a great need to help many women in the world today who do not have the kind of lives that they should have. They are not able to go about their daily lives without discrimination, which holds them back from their goals, desires and dreams, and from truly achieving their potential.” Detailing how many women in the developing world "do not get access to even basic education,"
Lord Loomba outlined a Loomba Foundation initiative in partnerships with Rotary India Literacy Mission to "skill-train 30,000 impoverished widows—1,000 widows in each of the 30 states of India." “If around 50% of the world’s population does not have a voice of its own, we will not have the world we could and should have, with a more balanced and equal society in all its forms.” Praising the government for putting women and girls at the heart of its policies, Lord Loomba highlighted the plight of widows as a "formidable bar to achieving" the sustainable development goals. The World Widows Report, published in 2016, and commissioned by the Loomba Foundation, shows the plight of widows and their dependants’ to hold back the aim of achieving their goals by 2030.
Father and son cleared in 'turkey sold as halal lamb' meat scandal A father and son were celebrating clearing their names after being found not guilty in the turkeysold-as-halal-lamb meat scandal. Mohammed Anwarul Hoque (56) wept with relief after a jury acquitted him of charges that he knowingly helped to supply turkey that was labelled as lamb. His accountancy graduate son, Mohammed Zunaid Hoque (25), who worked as a part-time deliveryman for the meat wholesalers involved said "justice has been done" and those responsible have
Mohammed Anwarul Hoque (left) and son Mohammed Zunaid Hoque
been rightly convicted. He said he and his father had "no idea" a meat fraud existed until their arrest. Hoque junior added that as a Muslim he was particularly "disgusted" that anyone could pass off halal lamb as non-halal turkey. A jury at Leicester Crown Court found the
father and son, from Oadby, not guilty of all charges. They had denied any involvement from the outset. The boss of the now defunct Peterboroughbased meat suppliers, Dutch Bangla Direct Ltd, Mahmudur Rohman, was found guilty of all allegations levelled against him, and his businessman friend, Kamal Rahman. As Mr Hoque and his son celebrated their acquittal outside, sentencing against Rohman and Rahman was adjourned to April 11, pending the preparation of pre-sentence reports.
BAPS to open new temples in London On 20 August 1995, Pramukh Swami Maharaj opened the Neasden Temple in northwest London, having ridden through the streets on an elephant followed by hundreds of dancing adherents. Today the Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden is a magnificent landmark, that attracts many tourists and devotees annually. The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam
Swaminarayan (BAPS) community is about to start building its next temple project in Chigwell, East London. This particular tradition has more than 30,000 devotees in Britain using 40 temples and centres- many of them converted warehouses and chapels. Another new centre is expected to open in Birmingham next year. In the past few years
new temples have opened in Ashton-under-Lyn in Manchester, Preston and a converted jeans factory in Leicester. Yogesh Patel, the media relations co-ordinator of BAPS uk told The Times “We have recently acquired some land in East London on the site of a disused school in Chigwell, where a centre will be built and we are planning a similar centre in South London."
Pupil who died of 'allergic reaction' named A nine-year-old schoolboy who died after suffering a suspected allergic reaction at his Birmingham school has been named as Mohammad Ismaeel Ashraf. Ashraf collapsed in school at 2.30pm on Friday after reporting ill. He was taken to the
Heartlands Hospital but could not be saved. Investigating police officials said that he suffered an allergic reaction. The school had said in an earlier statement that the Al-Hijrah School is in great shock after the sudden death of its nine-yearold students.
East London gang who stole £3m in high-end cars caught on camera in stolen car
Sufiyan Mahmood and Faisal Khan
A gang who stole high-end cars worth nearly £3 million were captured on camera as they queued up for a McDonald’s drive through in one of the thieved cars. The eight-person gang broke into peoples’ homes during the night to steal car keys before making off in expensive Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes.Police caught the gang after raiding a pub in east London’s Manor Park belonging to the father of the gang’s Manjit ringleader, Sandhu, 32, where they found bags of stolen car keys in the basement. Sandhu went into hiding but police tracked him and his fellow gang members down during raids at their home addresses. Police discovered the
Khuram Zaman and Manjit Sandhu
gang had carried out more 120 crimes between March 2015 and August last year, working out as more than seven a month. Sandhu, from Hornchurch, Heena Bux, 21, from Leytonstone, Khuram Zaman, 20, from Walhamstow and
Mohammed Islam, 21, from Forest Gate, were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to steal All eight are due to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on April 11 and 12.
CCTV from a McDonald's drive thru captured two of the criminals, Mahmood and Bux, in a stolen car
Muslim teenager received death threats after twerking in street wearing hijab A Muslim teenager has been sent death threats by online trolls after footage of her twerking while wearing a hijab emerged online. The 17-year-old, who has not been named, was filmed dancing in Birmingham city centre while shopping with friends last week. After a clip of the moment was uploaded to the internet, trolls began targeting the teenager – calling her a ‘stupid b****’ who ‘needs to be killed’. In the short clip, the girl is seen dancing with two people – one wearing a mask. In the barrage of hate messages that were posted after the video was
aired, one person said: ‘That’s so disrespectful. If you are wearing a hijab you are representing Islam. How can you act like a fool and show disrespect.’ Another said: ‘Truly disgusting. Some people don’t understand the meaning of the veil.’ After the comments
emerged online, the unnamed teenager gave an interview to Muslim YouTube star Ali Dawah. According to The Sun, she said: ‘To all the girls that wear hijab and wear abaya, I’m sorry for disrespecting it. I’ve learnt from my mistake. ‘It’s gone viral and I’m just hurt, I just want everybody to leave it alone and keep everything away, I don’t want it to be how it was and I am not going to do anything like that again. ‘I am sorry for disrespecting it and thank you to all of you that helped, it’s up to Allah to judge, at the end of the day I will be judged for it, not you guys.’
Grieving mum of schoolboy Amar Atwal releases footage of crash that killed him The heartbroken mum of a schoolboy killed by a speeding taxi driver bravely agreed to release harrowing CCTV footage of the crash that claimed her son’s life to encourage others to wear seatbelts. Sukhi Atwal was joining West Midlands Police officers on Monday morning at the start of a week-long awareness campaign, highlighting the consequences of not wearing a belt. Her son Amar, 12, was not wearing a seatbelt when a Mitsubishi Outlander he was travelling in was hit by a taxi in West Bromwich. The Queen Mary’s
Nadeem Hussain at Birmingham Crown Court
Grammar School pupil was a back seat passenger and was thrown from the vehicle in May 2015. He died two days later at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Speeding taxi driver Nadeem Hussain, 35, had
Schoolboy Amar Atwal who died in a car crash
ignored Give Way instructions when he drove across the junction without stopping or braking. He was jailed for six years in December after a jury found him guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Viscount Rhodri Philipps charged with making online threats to anti-Brexit lawyer Gina Miller A viscount has been charged with sending racially aggravated messages to renowned antiBrexit campaigner Gina Miller. 4th Viscount St Davids Rhodri Colwyn Philipps, 50, was arrested by officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Falcon team. The Metropolitan Police said the arrest followed a complaint made on 6 November last year. "Rhodri Colwyn Philipps, 50 (16.09.66) from Knightsbridge was charged on Tuesday, 7 March with malicious communications with racially aggravated factors," the police said. Miller, 51, has been one of the figureheads behind the campaign to attempt to overturn the Brexit vote. The founder of a private investment firm, she won a Supreme Court bat-
tle to demand Parliament have the final say on whether to leave the European Union. She said that fronting the campaign had made her the most hated woman in Britain. "I've been told that 'as a coloured woman', I'm not even human, I'm a primate and only a piece of meat and I should be hunted down and killed," she told The Guardian recently. "I've had somebody tell me I needed to be 'the new Jo Cox'," referring to the Labour MP who was
4th Viscount St Davids Rhodri Colwyn Philipps
AMAZING FLIGHT OFF O ERS S
killed last summer. "I've had people say there only three jobs a woman of colour can have, that of a prostitute, a cleaner or for having babies. People have said, “I know how you've made your money: on your back'." Philipps, from Knightsbridge, was bailed and will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 4 April. According to the Mail Online, he can trace his descendants back to Norman times and is known for his love of polo.
Rare £5 note sold on eBay for over £60,000 A rare £5 note which was put up for sale on eBay for just £1 has gone for over £60,000 on the online marketplace. The fiver, which has the unique serial number AA01, went for £60,100 when the action ended on Sunday morning. Seller Piotr Sobczuk, from Telford, Shropshire, put the new polymer note – with the serial number AA01 444444 – on the auction site after finding it in his change and realising its worth. Notes with low serial numbers are considered valuable by collectors, as
they want to get their hands on notes made early on in the printing process. The folded £5 note has now sold for over 12,000 times its street value, after 21 bidders tried to get their hands on it 136 times. The seller is expected to post the valuable note by a first class standard deliv-
ery, having listed postage for just 64p. eBay will also rake in over £250 in fees thanks to the hefty sale, according to the site’s fee calculator. But there’s no guarantee that the seller will actually cough up the cash. At a Bank of England charity auction in October, one new fiver sold for £4,150. The note, with serial number AA01 000017, was the lowest number offered to the public. The lowest numbered note, AA01 000001, was given as a gift to the Queen.
Indian-origin woman officer sues Scotland Yard over sexism, racism claims An Indian-origin female officer is among three policewomen suing Scotland Yard over racism and sexism claims, a media report said on Sunday. Police constable Usha Evans, detective constable Nighat Hubbard - the Metropolitan Police's first Muslim policewoman to be awarded an honour by the Queen - and Hubbard's colleague Catherine Bell allege they had faced discrimination from white male officers, The Sunday Times reported. A judge ruled last week that it would be "just and equitable" for Hubbard to bring the legal claim after the Met Police was trying to block her from making the employment tribunal claim. In a preliminary judgment, among the allegations made by the three officers included white colleagues being allowed to work on more complex investigations, while the women were held back. The allegations date between 2013 and 2014.
Detective Constable Nighat Hubbard was presented with an MBE by the Queen in 2014
Hubbard also alleged that male officers had made discriminatory comments on her and other women in the force. An internal inquiry by Scotland Yard found the men had "no case to answer", but Hubbard described it as a "whitewash". One senior officer she accused of discrimination, former detective inspector Mick Standing, was "protected" by the Met and, after her complaint about him, was allowed to retire and join the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC),
according to Hubbard's claim. Standing, who left the organisation earlier this month, denies the claims and said he had been "completely exonerated" by a Met investigation. According to Hubbard's witness statement, Bell reported that Standing had told another female Asian officer, "You need to grow a beard, shout more and be more masculine". Hubbard's claim makes allegations about another white, male officer who she claims mocked Evans' religion.
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Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
‘Broken Images’ is one of my most technically 'India’s youth instrumental to bring challenging performances: Shabana Azmi For all theatre-lovers who believe that art is meant to provoke, think, and give meaning to life, the play Broken Images is a treat. Shabana Azmi, one of the leading Hindi cinema icons, who graced the screens with her powerful and spellbinding performance, was in London to perform Broken Images on the 12th of March, Sunday at Logan Hall. This play was originally written in Kannada by the legendary playwright Girish Karnad. The English version is directed by the Indian theatre personality Alyque Padamsee. Azmi enacts the protagonist Manjula Sharma, a Hindi story writer who shoots to fame overnight after writing a best-seller English novel. As the play unfolds, it is revealed that Manjula is attempting to cover up a horrifying truth with multiple layers of selfadmittance. She begins to question her own competence and whether she has betrayed her own language and identity, leading to her own “mirror image” playing confessor, psychoanalyst, inquisitor, and her finally, her own deceased sister. The character of Manjula is a dual role that
Shabana Azmi in conversation with Sangeeta Datta
Azmi on stage, there is a TV screen with pre-recorded conversations, requiring perfect sync of both the voices. Broken Images is a monoact, a psychological thriller about identity, betrayal, the politics of language the all-pervasive nature of technology and social media in 21st Century life. In an exclusive interview with Asian Voice, speaking to Shabana Azmi with our reporter our reporter Charusmita Charusmita, Shabana demands exceptional techelaborated on how it was nical skills, as except for one of the most technically
challenging performances of her career. She said, “Alyque (Padamsee) and I had a lot of disagreements on technical aspects of the performance, but he left a lot of room for improvisations. He understands the pulse of the audience.” She further added, “It was a continuous performance for an hour without any interval, and hence, there was no room for mistakes.” The complexity of human psyche is embodied in the two characters that Azmi plays. According to the actress, “we are flawed in some way, and that’s what makes us human”. This is the premise that the script rests on. ‘Broken Images’ was presented by BAITHAK UK and the Bagri Foundation. BAITHAK UK showcases the grand legacy of South Asian arts, encourages cultural dialogue and offers a unique artistic experience for the audience. The Bagri Foundation provides philanthropy across the fields of fine art, film, music, literature and theatre in order to create awareness and promote engagement with Asia’s rich cultural heritage.
Diaspora celebrates Holi in the UK Holi is one of the most colourful festivals in the Hindu calendar and falls on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Fagan (Fagan Purnima). It welcomes the onset of spring and celebrates the new life and vitality of all that follows. It also celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the saving grace of God, symbolised by the lighting of the Holi bonfire. The diaspora celebrated Holiday across the country over the weekend with the first ever Foreign and Commonwealth reception on Wednesday 8 March.
FCO hosts its first ever Holi reception
For the first time ever, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted a reception to celebrate the Hindu festival of Holi. The reception took place in the historic Durbar
Bhanot from Ilford Vishwa Hindu Parishad Temple; Nilesh Solanki from Event Gurus and Dr Rami Ranger from Sun Mark Ltd.
Holi Celebrations at Neasden Temple
Alok Sharma with community representatives at the FCO reception
Court with over 300 members of the British-Indian and British-Nepalese communities in attendance on Wednesday 8 March. Durbar Court was decked out with colourful decorations, including models of elephants and peacocks with the help of Nitin Palan and his team at Neasden Temple. Tony Wong and musicians Ramesh Ladwa and Ajit Chandegra provided traditional music. And the Binal and Kuntal Dance compa-
Mayor Rekha Shah celebrates Holi with youngsters
nies provided spectacular dancing. Alok Sharma MP , Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the High
The beauty, energy and profundity of Holi were celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Sunday 12 March 2017. Devotees and visitors arrived at the Mandir throughout the day and paid their respects to the murtis which were adorned with vibrant
Holi celebration at the Neasden temple
Commissioner of India to UK, Y K Sinha made speeches and Shrutidharma Das from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) gave a blessing. Guests included representatives from BAPS Neasden Temple; Urvashi Patel and the sound crew from Brahma Kumaris; Harsha Trivedi from the Brahmin Society; Ravi
colours to mark the occasion. The ceremonial activities of Holi commenced in the grounds of the Swaminarayan School opposite the Mandir, where the traditional bonfire was lit shortly after 4.30pm. Devotees placed newly harvested grains and coconuts in the bonfire as an offering made in thanksgiving to Agni, the
about social change'
HE Y K Sinha, High Commissioner of India to UK
Indian Chamber of Youth Entrepreneurs (ICYE ), an organisation of social entrepreneurs based in the UK, organised its official launch on March 10th at the High Commission of India, London. The event was attended by the team members of ICYE, young professionals and students from India or of Indian origin. His Excellency Mr Y.K. Sinha, High Comm issioner of India to UK was the chief guest for the launch ceremony. Also supporting the initiative were Rt. Hon. Lord Swraj Paul, PC and MP Virendra Sharma who graced the occasion. ICYE is comprised of young professional Indians, both in UK and India, who aim to provide vital mentoring to the underprivileged sections of the Indian society in order for them to emerge as motivated and inspired future leaders. ICT, education, healthcare, environment, transport, and policy are key areas that ICYE aims to create an ecosystem of opportunities for. It plans to bring the expertise from UK into India to enhance, augment and fortify the different social care systems within India. Their work so far includes two traffic awareness road showsone in Bangalore and another in Mumbai, and free education outreach lectures for children in government and private schools in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. They also Deity of Fire. A local resident attending the festival shared, “It was fascinating to experience Holi here in London. We normally think of it as just a rave of colours, but the volunteers kindly explained the history and meaning behind the rituals which helped me to understand its deeper significance. It was also great to
provide thought leadership, capital investment, mentoring, prototyping labs, expertise and knowhow that would help them succeed internationally. ICYE is shortly launching their projects in Kalahandi district in Orissa and other parts of India. ICYE is headed by Tejinder Sekhon, who is a young entrepreneur himself. Mr. A.S. Rajan, Minister (Coordination), High Commission of India also provides guidance and support to ICYE. The organisation is now a five hundred plus strong fold group, with its members representing multiple geographical, cultural, professional and demographical backgrounds. It urges its members, volunteers, well-wishers to contribute in terms of knowledge transfer, volunteering, monetary help, and contributing ideas for new relevant project. At the launch, His Excellency Mr. Y.K. Sinha said, “It is only with the energy and enthusiasm of the youth, the objectives of ICYE can be fulfilled. I urge everyone to ideate and implement their ideas on nation-building to give back to a nation where we were born and raised, or our ancestors come from.” MP Virendra Sharma and Rt. Hon. Lord Swraj Paul too, had a similar message for the young members- calling upon them to build a better future for the people who were left behind in the nation-building process. see so many local residents take part.” In the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, devotees also celebrate the birth of Brahmaswarup Bhagatji Maharaj, the second spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. A special evening assembly was held in the prayer hall inside the Mandir to honour his life and message.
St Luke’s Hospice caring for families in their own homes
Bala's mum was cared for in her own home by the Hospice at Home team at St Luke's. Bala says, ‘My mum had taken part in a walk organised by Kenton Swaminarayan Temple in 2008 where funds were raised for St Luke’s. In 2010 my sisters and I took this inspiration and took part in the hospice’s Midnight
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Walk. However, in May that year Mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Our world was literally turned upside down and we went through a whirlwind of emotions. Mum had been in hospital for 3 months and her condition did not improve. As a family we
decided we wanted mum to spend her last few weeks at home rather than in a hospital. We were all quite anxious and nervous about taking care of her as she was unable to do anything for herself. The staff from St Luke’s Hospice at Home service took the time to show us how to do things for mum, so that we were confident in doing them when they were not there. They made this difficult time easier with their compassion, advice and support. Sadly mum passed away September 2010. In 2011 we took part in our first Midnight Walk, in memory of our mum and to support the work that St Luke’s Hospice do.
Over the years we have managed to encourage work colleagues and friends to join in and participate in the Midnight
Walk. They have all said what a brilliant night it is and it’s such a bonus that they have also helped raise money for a worthy cause. My family and I take part every year to show our appreciation.’ If you would like to enter the Midnight Walk, visit www.stlukeshospice.org/midnightwalk
St Luke’s rely on the generosity of the community to raise over £3.5 million each year in order to provide free end of life care to people whose illnesses are no longer curable, enabling them to achieve the best possible quality of life at home and in the hospice. Find out more about their work and the different ways your family or community group can support them in their 30th birthday year at: www.stlukeshospice.org/30birthday or phone 020 8382 8112.
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Parliament witnesses International Women's Day celebrations Shabana Azmi delivers a very powerful speech about the multi-layered and multi-faceted concept of 'identity' Rupanjana Dutta London witnessed a number of International Women's Day celebrations last week. On 9th March, the UK Women's Network (UKWNET) organised their first ever half day seminar at the House of Commons, where wellknown women from different walks of life shared their life journey with a room full of women mainly from the Tamil community. The speakers also highlighted the challenges they faced, and used intriguing ways including social media to beat the financial blues and develop successful businesses and careers. The event was presided over by Virendra Sharma, MP and was graced by Ruth Cadbury, MP. There were speeches from two chief guests and others including Dr Geetha Venkat, Director of Harley Street Fertility clinic and Anu Hasan, the TV actress. In the evening on the same day, Indian Ladies in the UK (ILUK) launched their website in the Parliament, which was attended by famous Bollywood actress Shabana Azmi. The evening was chaired by Virendra Sharma, who spoke about how his mother influenced him to become what he is today. The panelists that shared their own stories and included food expert, author and motivational speaker Pinky Lilani CBE DL, London's Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal, Poonam Patnaik wife of Ambassador Dinesh Patnaik, Deputy High Commissioner of India to UK, and Shabana Azmi. While Pinky shared her journey as a food expert, she emphasised that it is very important to be yourself in order to be successful. Rajesh speaking about women empowerment and raising two daughters said,
Inspiration for all ages at Neasden Mandir’s 8th annual International Women’s Day
Virendra Sharma MP, Shabana Azmi, Rajesh Agrawal and Pinky Lilani at the ILUK event to celebrate International Women’s Day
“I am a proud feminist. I grew up in Indore in a matriarchal family… “London is a city of opportunity and we have women leading in a number of fields… However women need a huge amount of encouragement right from their young days and stereotyping of their professions needs to change. Mayor Sadiq Khan is doing a lot in the City Hall to ensure equal opportunity for women...” Poonam Patnaik, who was a journalist and is now a teacher in Vienna, spoke about her identity other than that of being a diplomat's wife. Sharing her mother's story, she emphasised on communication as the most powerful tool to progress. Shabana Azmi also elaborated on identity and gave a beautiful speech in the Parliament. She said, “Yesterday was International Women’s Day and I would like to begin by saluting women pioneers for their historic struggle that has paved the way for the freedoms we enjoy today as women...” Speaking about the aim of ILUK and how migrants are not separate from mainstream, she said, “The ILUK has a formidable
16000 members and its motto is ‘Empowered Women Empowering Women' because women anywhere must stand together in solidarity and sisterhood. ILUK believes that a deep rooted understanding and appreciation of one's culture is vital in helping to understand one's adopted culture, thereby improving and strengthening a better integration of the migrants with the mainstream. “But we need to recognise that today migrants are not separate from the mainstream - in fact in most countries they are the mainstream and we must stop regarding them as ‘the other’ if we have to reach any understanding of the complexities of Identity and Integration… Moving on to the issues women still face today and the multilayered and multifaceted concept of one's identity, Azmi added, “We live in a world where misogyny is evident in the violence on women. There has not been a bigger civil war on this planet against any class. And in this context, if we do not look at the world from the eyes of the most excluded women, then we haven’t touched the question of identity at all...
UKWNET organised their first ever International Women’s Day celebration
“If you ask me who I am, I will say I’m a woman, an Indian, a daughter, wife, actress, Muslim, activist etc - my being Muslim is only one of the aspects of who I am but all over the world it seems as though a concerted effort is being made to compress identity into the narrow confines of the religion I happen to have been born into at the exclusion of all other aspects of my identity… “I am an Indian Muslim...and I feel much closer to my Indian Hindu, Indian Christian and Indian Sikh friends. What I have with them in common is a shared history, a shared identity and a shared future. As a Muslim in India, because I live in a democracy I have a stake and a claim in aspiring to be the President of India, a world famous cricketer, a global film star, a successful entrepreneur because I have the space and the opportunity to dream and the wherewithal to attain it... “Do not box me, do not try to restrict me in the desire ‘to integrate’. For narrow political gain do not polarise the atmosphere and force people to create a ‘model community’ - a model community of either women, dalits, tribals or any other label that can be used to make me feel like ‘the other’... Today a call for ‘integration’ must remain a complex one with many layers. It must recognise that identity is not static - it flows and changes. Identity is not a melting pot in which individual identities are subsumed. It must be a colourful mosaic where each piece retains its uniqueness whilst contributing to a larger whole. “'Separate but Equal’ is what I demand and will fight for with every breath I take.”
Over 1,300 women came together at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London celebrated its eighth annual International Women’s Day on Saturday 11 March. The event, themed ‘Celebrating Women: Inspiring Generations’, was aimed at breaking down the barriers of age and seeking inspiration from fellow women. Focusing on three key messages from His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj – Think Big: “Be the best”; Service: “In the joy of others lies our own”; and Dedication: “The future is bright” – the fun-filled programme featured a host of sketches, videos, a chat show, a game show, and motivational speeches by inspiring women. A mother-daughter team compèred the evening, which concluded with a climactic musical ensemble. Bharulata Kamble, who broke a world record and became the first woman to drive solo through the Arctic Circle and 32,000 kilometres from England to India, was one of the inspirational speakers of the evening. She recounted her arduous journey and shared insightful reflections, encouraging the audience to push personal boundaries and think outside the box. She was presented with a cheque of £751 by BAPS Charities for her nominated charity, Kedi: The Untrodden Path, a higher learning and self-reliance project for girls in India. Other women who regularly attend the Mandir also shared their experiences. Shreeya Patel (18) spoke about her trip to Mongolia where she helped to build an orphanage, while Ila Patel (68) recollected her experiences of selfless service while growing up in East Africa. Kashmira Popatia (55) gave a poignant reflection on how her faith has given her strength to continue serving the community, despite her debilitating long term health condition. All three shared lessons about independence, collaboration, determination and discipline. Janhavi Dadarkar, a corporate and media lawyer, is the youngest and only Asian member on the Institute of Director’s Board of Examiners. She is also an advisor and facilitator for the Football Association’s leadership programme for women. Ms Dadarkar delivered an inspirational talk threading together all the key themes of the event by drawing on her own personal experiences. She urged the audience to “value your family and as a Hindu women, we must promote a dharmic narrative for the betterment of the world.” Summing up the event, Swati Desai-Patel, a lead volunteer for the event, added, “From the modest and admirable values of a young girl, to the incredible life journeys that many women have taken, today’s programme portrayed the simple yet often forgotten message that age should not be a factor in acknowledging a person’s character, strength, knowledge or wisdom. And that’s why we wanted to celebrate women across generations for their unique skills, talents and virtues. By highlighting these women of all ages, and understanding what has inspired them to achieve their goals, I really do believe that many will have left feeling motivated and inspired to take a new step towards achieving their own life goals.”
UK Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Rani Singh, Special Assignments Editor
British Indian Solicitor; Gurpal Oppal, On Reversing A Trend This is a story of a second generation Punjabi who reversed the traditional Indian route of coming to the UK to make a career. UK- born, 44-year old British solicitor Gurpal Oppal’s work as an immigration lawyer means he regularly goes to work in Punjab. Gurpal Oppal MA, LLB (Hons) is a Partner at Charles Simmons Immigration Solicitors and an active Trustee at World Cancer Care.
Childhood and Background
“My father is from Karputhla - from a small village called Kot Gobind Pur, Punjab. My mother’s from the village of Rapur Balan in the district of Jalandhar,” he starts, as he interviews at his busy surgery in Southall. The main Charles Simmons Immigration offices are in Ilford. Gurpal continues; “Both my parents were uneducated; they came here in
the late sixties. My father became a builder on a construction site. Eventually he became self employed. Like many others, he came here with little and grew from the ground upwards.” But the Oppals Senior always wanted their children educated. “My mother’s mother passed away when she was little and she became almost the kitchen help for the family.” Yet she had her children schooled; Gurpal became an Gurpal Oppal immigration dreams of succeeding in lawyer and his sister, a matlife. They had spent much rimonial lawyer. money with unscrupulous Gurpal recalls, “I used agents; people smugglers, to help my father on the just to come to the UK. building site.” Most of the They could have come here people who worked for through the proper means Oppal Senior were unedubut didn’t know how. cated Punjabis, he states. “A This led to me to realise lot of them came here with
that this hard-working community is being misled. In coming to the UK or going abroad; a fantasy for many, a lot of people struggled, especially after 1984 with the Punjab riots. Gurpal related to the workers; finding them fun as well as serious. His Punjabi improved too by interacting and eating with them. His parents took him back to their Indian village every year. He compared lifestyles, aspirations, and the differences between the UK and India. “Parents didn’t want me to become a builder. Asians, they said either be a doctor or a lawyer. Law was slightly easier than becoming a doctor.” Gurpal got good A Level grades, did a Law degree at Kingston University, his professional exams and a Masters at East London University. Gurpal’s aim was to become a corporate City lawyer. But in the late eighties when the UK was going through a recession, “it meant that interest rates went up to 15%- it was the Norman Lamont days,” he recalls. “I had few options apart from going back to my father’s business on building sites to become a builder.”
larity amongst the Punjabi/ Indian community internationally grew following Eventually someone offered weekly appearances on Zee Gurpal Oppal a position as Panjabi, MATV and an immigration trainee Doordarshan in Punjab, solicitor. India. “I did it in order to qualDiscovering just how ify. I started promoting much his compatriots got good immigration amongst duped reinforced his comthe Punjabi and Asian commitment to his work. munity. That’s why I go to “Everyone wants to succeed India to do all the work I do in life, but it doesn’t mean with the Punjabi communiyou can dangle a carrot and ty.” mislead people. Gurpal was a Partner Unfortunately it happens in with two firms before India a lot. India’s not an Charles Simmons. easy place to work. I’ve been Motivation to Give doing it for 15-20 years. I’ve struggled.” Back Mr Oppal is one of the Gurpal regularly attended most socially and prothe Home Office, fessionally comF o r e i g n mitted Punjabis Commonwealth around. He I’ve been Office and also cares British High fortunate being deeply about Commission, able to represent his World New Delhi with Cancer Care people with an clients for interviews. He understanding of camps. And he now uses this their notes an experience to irony. background. give proper Immigration “Considering advice in the UK and how many people in India through newsleave India to come abroad papers, radio and TV. to work, I’ve probably done Mr Oppal is one of the the opposite. I’ve gone to first Punjabi Sikh solicitors India to work! I’ve been forof England and Wales to tunate in being a qualified host an independent comimmigration lawyer, seeing munity Punjabi radio show the ups and downs of peowhere up to date informaple, and being able to repretion on Immigration Law, sent them with an underImmigration Policy is prostanding of their backvided. Every day problems ground as well as the immifacing UK arrivals are dealt gration laws of the UK.” with live on air. His popu-
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Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
‘Sheru’ means Lion Recently I watched the film ‘Lion’ - a true story of a small boy called ‘Sheru’ who while travelling in a train goes to sleep and when he wakes up finds himself very far from his village with no money and could not speak the language. In an unknown land he nearly became the target of child trafficking but he was very clever and ran very fast. A good lady helped him and an Australian couple who had no children adopted him and took him to Australia and educated him. One day he remembers his birth village and his family and with the help of Google he found the village and went to his birthplace and found his mum and sister and so happily the hugged each other. Every parent should teach children’s about their identity, name, parents name and place where their house is etc because in India every year a horrible incident takes place involving around 80,000 children. ‘Sheru’ part was played wonderfully by Dev Patel and he has worked in many films and received Bafta awards. Sudha Rasik Bhatt Glasgow
Brexit and the House of Lords
Is it right, that the House of Lords should defy the wishes of the majority of the citizens of the UK? Why was it that the members of the House of Lords were willing to elevate the rights of EU citizens in the UK over thosue of the British people? The EU citizens in the UK should have the same rights as the UK citizens in the EU. If any EU citizens settled in the UK feel uneasy about their future residence in the UK then they should apply for UK citizenship. The problem with the EU is its constitution, which does not unite its countries and citizens and has caused high unemployment, poverty and unnecessary suffering. The ‘Euro’ should be the currency o fhte European bank only and not the currency of an individual country, see the problems of Greece, Italy and Spain. A country should be allowed to vary it’s interest rate and also the exchange rate mechanism of it’s currency, in order to prosper, in the cause of freedom and democracy. Mr Jal Framji Cheshire
Vandals in India’s churches
In Jubel D’Cruz’s letter dated 04/03/17 whom he cites as miscreants are truly speaking ruffians or thieves who destroy religious statues and consecrated things, but they can’t escape from police actions in Mr Modi’s government. Inferring from media, under teh pretext of helping poor, foreign and local people of other religions provide funds to convert them into their folds to increase their numbers for political purposes in democracy. They neither truly help the poor to supply them with food, money, shelter etc without converting them to their religion. Mahatma Gandhi had declared unequivocally that the indigenous people including ‘adivasi’ are Hindu people from ancient times; and Hindus, the Indian counstitution and government are sufficient to help them in their needs during their life-time. All religious people are God fearing but the problem arises when each one of them individualise the One and Only God, and indoctrinate the poor people with their own ideas and beliefs for conversion. Zoroastrians (Parsee) who were welcome to India by the Hindu king in Gujarat in the past never threatened to take the law into their hands. RN Patel Dagenham
In the last 400 years Europeans built global empires in which many nations where not spared. To my surprise and puzzlement one nation avoided invasion, both by Islamic and Christian Empires, allowing it to keep its ancient Hindu traditions, culture, customs and Buddhist religion. That country is Thailand. I found the answer to this puzzle while in Vietnam, where I read a book on Ho Chi Minh by a General Vo Nguyen Gaip, who fought the Americans. In his introduction he gave a brief history of South Asia, he explained how the British ruled over India Malaysia and Myanmar while the French colonized Vietnam Cambodia and Laos. By accident of geography, the Thai Kingdom formed a buffer state between the two combatants. Since the 18th century, Kings Rama I and II played each invader off saving the Kingdom and its ancient Hindu culture to this day, of which it is immensely proud. From its airport's Suvarnabhumi (Sanskrit for "Land of Gold") and the depiction of "Samudra Manthan" (The Hindu story of creation) within it, to its current King Rama X, its ancient capital of Ayutthaya, the worship of Buddha and "Phra Phikanet" or Ganesh and much more. Jayesh A Patel Wimbledon
Good Karma Hospital
Now and then our television industry comes up with real jewel programmes that warm our hearts, joy to watch during cold, damp winter months when most OAPs are confined to their warm, comfortable homes. This winter, it has exceeded all expectations with three such serials, Good Karma Hospital, Real Marigold Hotel and Death in Paradise. First two were serials were filmed in India, in ever green, tourist’s favourite State of Kerala, with thick jungles, millions of palm trees and criss-crossing waterways. No wonder Kerala is described as “God’s Own Country” Venice of Asia. Good karma Hospital tops all, with in-depth iconoclast story-lines, tackling real issues affecting people, like illegal organ transplant, drug, drink abuse and rape, sickening gap between poor and rich where poor survive on one dollar a day while rich pays $2000 for a single meal in 7* hotels and resorts with lackeys in attendance. Beside story-line, the location and especially actors who give accomplish performance, steal the show. Amanda Redman, (Dr Lydia Fonseca) Amrita Acharya (Dr Ruby Walker) James Floyd (Dr Gabriel Varma) and Darshan Jariwala (Dr Ram Nair) top the list, some white actors posing as Indians and vice-versa, with ease and charm! It is indeed a feather in ITV’s cap for giving us such wonderful serial. I hope it will be followed by many more episodes. I would urge our elderly who are mostly glued to Indian serials to watch this, on “Catch Up” telly for the missed episodes. Kumudini Valambia By email
Life after death
A number of contributors to this column (Kumudiniben, Upendrabhai and Rudy Otter) have been discussing the mysterious and yet pertinent question of what happens to us (our soul) after we die? I would like to enter the fray and try to explain it from Jainism’s point of view. Our body is only a container for the essential part of us, our soul. After death, it passes into another container and thus the cycle of birth and death goes on. The ultimate aim of Jain path in life is to liberate the soul from the eternal cycle of birth, misery, death and re-birth. Deeply rooted in India is the belief in reincarnation, the belief that the essential part of the individual, the soul, passes after birth into a new body which is reborn as another living being, perhaps human, perhaps not. The nature of our rebirth (including whether it is favourable or unfavourable) is determined by the accumulated effects of our actions, our attitudes, mode of life in this and in previous lifetimes. The accumulated effect of previous lives is called karma (the result of bad deeds in the present and previous lives). The fundamental objective of Jain teaching is how to purify the soul of its karma and manifest its natural virtues, like complete bliss and happiness: how one can attain total liberation (moksha/nirvana) from the eternal cycle of birth, pain, misery, death and re-birth – and achieve a state of permanent bliss and peace. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford
Comings and goings
I am grateful to Asian Voice readers Ramesh Jhalla, Upendra Kapadia and others for their enlightening views on reincarnation, a subject we discussed here many months earlier but now taking the topic further by wondering how one can attain moksha (freedom from reincarnation’s ever-revolving cycle of life after life). Jhalla says one must pursue a “virtuous life” and be “absolutely selfless” – no show of pride or desire for reward. However moksha is not the end, says Jhalla. Such a soul would stay in “heavenly environs” until its good karma is exhausted, then it would surface again in a new human body, subjected to more advanced spiritual processes. Hinduism, according to reader Kapadia, is based on “renunciation and simple living” – not on “unbridled worldly desires and lavish lifestyles”. One can expect to be fast-tracked to higher levels and attain freedom from the “vicious circle” of reincarnation, Kapadia says, if you renounced society and led a “lonely, pious life” existing on any scraps to keep you going. These thoughts spark other questions. It would seem that Hinduism has no time for people who are ambitious, who wish to accumulate wealth by using any talents they may possess, who strive to lead fuller and more comfortable lives. Materialism and Hinduism don’t mix and come under Kapadia’s heading of “unbridled worldly desires”. Or is materialism only acceptable if you are willing share the wealth and possessions you have worked hard to achieve with less fortunate people? Yes, I think the latter course would find favour with Hinduism – and other religions too. Asian Voice carried just such a story a couple of years ago where an Indian multimillionaire businessman got rid of all his wealth and chose to become a sadhu. Rudy Otter By email
I am glad to have an enquiry by Rudy Otter about moksha and events after that. It is obvious that a person pursuing a virtuous life attains moksha, ie escape from cycle of birth, worry, illness, death and reincarnation. But that person must be absolutely selfless. Moksha is denied if one attaches pride, wish of reward, or sense of obliging the receiver. But moksha does not take centuries because soul that escapes from physical or gross matter vibrates at much more faster speeds. Thus century time is spanned in seconds. Three possibilities that may happen after moksha: n Soul stays in heavenly environs till good karma is exhausted. Then it reincarnates in new human body. n Perfected soul may turn back and spot, guide or speed up aspiring souls’ journey towards perfection. n Super-perfected souls may carry on towards higher levels of divinity, till it merges with causal fctor, the KEVAL. More spiritual experience are added as newer and fresher bits of knowledge are experienced by souls. Thus divinity becomes more and more aware about vibrations never seen before, and adjusts goal post of truth, joy and mental ethos-(sat chit anand). Horizon of knowledge is elusive and moves always further away. Ramesh Jhalla By email
Holier than thou HOL
Although most politicians were against leaving EU, British voters gave resounding yes to Brexit, thus dethroning EU enthusiast PM Cameron, handing premiership to Mrs may unopposed who has done sterling job so far. HOC almost unanimously approved the bill to begin negotiations by end of March. Yet, unelected HOL, with bleeding heart, pro EU politicians is throwing every spanner in the process, delaying tactic that may harm PM’s effort to get best deal under difficult circumstances. HOL’s main concern is to give three million EU citizens living here; a permanent right of settlement even before negotiations begin, thus taking moral high ground at the expense of one million British citizens living in EU. PM’s effort to come to such reciprocal agreement ASAP, before negotiations begin, thus securing every one’s right, fair and just request, was flatly turned down by arrogant, Shylock German Chancellor and French President who are determined to extract pound of flesh and £50 billion bounty from British tax payers, who dared to vote against EU, thus installing fear in other EU nations with similar aspiration. But in British PM Mrs May, they have found worthy opponent who would walk away rather than accept bad deal, may scruple their plan to punish Britain, especially as there is £86 billion trade deficit in EU favour that will harm Germany most. No wonder there is clamour to abolish unelected, interfering HOL! Bhupendra M. Gandhi By email
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Malala receives conditional offer from top UK university Nobel prize winning campaigner Malala Yousafzai has received a conditional offer from a top UK university. The 19-year-old, who is studying for A-levels, told at a conference that she was focussing on the applications. "I have received a conditional offer which is three As," said Malala, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for her campaign on girls' rights to education. Her speech drew a standing ovation from the Association of School and College Leaders conference in Birmingham. Malala, who narrowly escaped death after being attacked on her way home from school in Pakistan, did not confirm which university had made the offer. But earlier this year she told Newsweek magazine that she had recently had an interview for a degree at an Oxford college.
Lady Margaret Hall was the first Oxford college to educate women and former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto also studied there. "I'm studying right now. I'm in Year 13, I have my A-level exams coming and I have received a conditional offer which is three As. That's what my focus is right now and I hope to continue my work and also continue my studies," Ms Yousafzai told the conference. She confirmed that
alongside her degree, she would continue to work for the Malala Fund, which campaigns for girls across the globe to get a minimum of 12 years quality education. "My goal is to make sure every child gets an opportunity to go to school. It is their basic human right, so I will be working on that and I will never stop until I see the last child going to school. I'm really thankful to you all for you support for encouraging me for my mission. That's what makes me and keeps me strong, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak." The teenager also provoked laughter from the audience when she revealed she thought she was in trouble when she was called out of a chemistry lesson to be told she was the next Nobel Prize recipient.
Revision App customers complain of unexpected payments Students using an exam revision app say they have been charged repeatedly, even when they no longer need it or have not been able to use it. Revision App claims to offer effective online revision through its website or phone app. A BBC investigation has found the company has taken people's money
then failed to respond to their complaints. Its founder said the cases were a "poor representation of the experience customers actually encounter". Revision App offers animated videos and quizzes to help with exam revision. The Revision App website includes the logos of four major exam
boards, but they have all told the BBC that they have nothing to do with the service and their logos have been used without their permission. Another discrepancy is a promised discount on access to GCSE videos. The website calls it a "1 day sale" yet it has appeared on consecutive days over 24 hours apart.
Degree apprenticeships 'on verge of significant success' Degree apprenticeships, encompassing university and work, are "on the verge of significant success", says a report. Almost 5,000 people will begin degree apprenticeships in 2017-18, nearly eight times more than 2015, when the scheme was launched, says Universities UK. The scheme was already reaching people
who would not otherwise have gone to university, a report found. But more was needed to be done to communicate the benefits, said UUK President Dame Julia Goodfellow. The degree apprenticeship scheme operates across England and Wales, although people can apply from throughout the UK. The UUK study, launched to coin-
cide with National Apprenticeships Week and based on a survey of 66 English universities, found that at least 60 higher education institutions (91% of the sample) were currently looking to introducwe degree apprenticeships from September. By then, there will be more than 7,600 people on degree apprenticeships courses.
Music 'could face extinction' in secondary schools Music "could face extinction" as a subject in secondary schools in England, researchers have warned. They say music is being squeezed because of pressure on pupils to take subjects included in the EBacc school league table measure. Almost two thirds of 650 state school teachers, surveyed by Sussex University researchers, said the EBacc meant fewer students were taking GCSE music. The English Baccalaureate or EBacc was brought in by the coalition government in 2010 for pupils achieving GCSE grade C or better in English, maths, the sciences, a language and geography or history. The percentages of pupils entering and achieving the EBacc are among several measures used by government to determine a
school's performance. Government figures show the proportion of GCSE candidates in statefunded schools who took the EBacc subjects rose from 22% in 2010 to almost 40% last year. But critics say this increase has come at the expense of the arts, with just 47.9% of pupils being entered for at least one arts subject in 2016, down from 49.6% the previous year. Researchers, from Sussex University's School of Education and Social Work, surveyed secondary
music teachers at 657 state and 48 private schools across England over five years. Staff at about 60% of the state schools specifically mentioned the EBacc as causing a negative effect on the provision and uptake of music at their school, while just 3% believed it had benefitted the subject. In the five years to 2016-17 the schools in the survey entered fewer students for music qualifications, with schools offering Music BTEC level 2 falling from 166 in 2012-13 to just 50 in 2016-17 and the number offering music GCSE falling by six percentage points - from 85% in 2012-13 to 79% in 201617. For students aged 13 to 14, the study found music was compulsory in 84% of schools in 2012-13 but by 2016-17 this figure had fallen to 62%.
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Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
G.N.Saibaba, a professor at Delhi University’s Ram Lal Anand College, has been given a life sentence together with accomplices, Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote, Hem Mishra, Narayan Sanglikar and Vijay Tirki by a sessions court in Maharashtra for Maoist terrorist activities. Judge Suryakant Shinde said: ‘Several lives were lost from 2009 due to your activities and there was huge loss of public property. The sentence was the maximum sentence allowed the court under the law.’
There are already eight metros in operation in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur (Mint March 10)
New opportunities for Indian skills
Time was when Indian graduates from Business schools and engineering institutes were content to restrict their sights to the US and UK, but with these doors closing and the welcome tepid at best, the younger aspirants are now looking to Japan , Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, and westward to the United Arab Emirates.
Maoist leader and Delhi University academic G.N. Saibaba
Saibaba comes from Andhra with MA and PhD degrees in English. Disabled and wheel chair bound, he was not an operative on the ground but the brains behind a terror Maoist (Naxalite) organization whose tentacles have spread to many areas of India into Nepal and beyond, including Kashmir, where the group renders active support to Jihadi separatists.
Saibaba had been arrested on previous occasions but granted bail – which was subsequently withdrawn. . With anti-terrorist police squads with special expertise on Maoists keeping close watch, the evidence against Sai baba kept piling up. The clinching evidence was the capture of an incriminating chip and hard disk. Saibaba had made trips to Britain, Holland Germany and Brazil (Times of India March 8) How were these trips financed? And by Whom? The answers will surely emerge in the fullness of time.
He belonged to the same terror module as Saifullah (above) who was killed by police commandos. Saifulla’s father has denounced and disowned his son; Khan’s sons have done the same of their arrested father.(Times of India March 10)
PM unveils coastal modernization plan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled an ambitious plan for the development of India’s coastline for the benefit of local fishing communities. He also announced a project for the development of a smart city around the Gujarat port of Kandla, one of the 12 ports to get a smart city on its outskirts. Addressing a public meeting at Kandla, the prime minister said: “The country’s vast coast can bring in a revolution…this will
Over the past five years, there has been a definite shift. Postings to the US and UK have become almost negligible,‘ said Sapna Aggarwal, Head, Career Development Services, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore . ‘Postings in the Far East, including Singapore, and Hong Kong have increased. Japan is a new destination….A vibrant culture, shortage of skilled force, proximity to home, better career prospects and flexible immigration norms are the key attractions. A number of foreign trade commissioners are conducting shows to promote opportunities for Indian students and professionals in their respective countries, ‘ said Rohin Kapoor, Director, Deloitte. Companies based in key Asian business hubs are picking up graduates from elite Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). (Mint February 28)
IISc in global top ten
For the first time, an Indian educational institute has broken into the top ten global university rankings published by the
Blast suspect shot dead
‘Self radicalized’ terror suspect Saifullah, believed to have been involved in the recent Ujjain train bombing, - in which 10 people were injured- was killed by police commandos following a 12-hour shootout on the outskirts of the city of Lucknow., the capital of Uttar Pradesh. The police recovered an IS flag, night pistols, 650 rounds of ammunition 1.5 ks of gunpowder, explosives, gold, passports and Indian Railway time-tables. A wire was strapped to the stomach of the dead man (Times of India March 9)
Ex-IAF man held for Ujjain bombing
A former Indian Air Force employee of 15 years, Ghouse Mohammed Khan, has been arrested for his part in bombing of the Ujjain-Bhopal train, taking the total number of arrests to eight.
Kandla port (Gujarat)
include 40 ports in Gujarat alone.’ These projects would improve the livelihood of fisher folk by creating substantial job opportunities, he said. (Mint March 9)
Metros in second-rung for Indian cities
India’s economic landscape is set to change with 42 new metros coming up in second-tier cities across the country. This expansion of the mass transport system will give a major boost to the economy, increasing consumption, media and market penetration, investment, job opportunities and multiplying businesses.
Times Higher Education survey, 2017, London. In the category of small universities, the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science has been placed eighth, with the US California Institute of Technology heading the list. IISc is a public institution devoted to research and higher studies in science and technology. IISc Bangalore was founded by Jamsetji Tata and the Maharaja of Mysore Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. IIT Guwahati and Savitribai Phule Pune University, were ranked 14 th and 18 th respectively. (Times of India Marchy 7)
Arunachal Pradesh connectivity surge Once high up in the mountainous terrain of India’s North East, but remote no longer, Arunachal Pradesh is in the midst of allweather connectivity, including roads, bridges, airports and rail links, integrating the State into the mainstream. The new bridge across the Lohit River, a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra and the civilian airport at Tezu will facilitate transport to certain high altitude districts. In view of China’s territorial claims to the State, these developments carry a message to Beijing that India will defend what she considers rightfully hers. The bridges at the Dhola Sadiya ghat and Digaru ghat are already in place, but the bridge at Sadiya at 9. 15 km, nearing completion, will be the longest after its formal inauguration. The new bridge will be part of an integrated communication network to facilitate the rapid movement of the Indian Army’s Mountain Strike Corps (Hindu March 5)
US spymaster ‘shocked’ by Indian satellite launch
The Trump Administration’s new Director, National Intelligence, Dan Coats, told the US Senate, during his confirmation hearing, that he was ‘shocked to read of India’s one rocket launch depositing more than 100 satellites in space.’It was a wake-up call for the United States. (Times of Indi
China reaping the Korean whirlwind
North Korea, once considered a Chinese surrogate, is spreading its military wings much to the discomfiture of its former patron. North Korea was part of China’s web of deceit, involving Pakistan’s rogue scientist A.Q. Khan who, having stolen nuclear secrets from the European centrifuge facility in Holland, then protected from exposure by the Reagan administration’s closeness to the Zia and Musharraf military regimes, returned to Pakistan, from where conducted an illicit commerce in nuclear weapon and missile technologies. China provided Pakistan with a readymade nuclear bomb; Pakistan passed this on to North Korea who, in turn, transferred its missile secrets to Pakistan.
Tweaking China’s nose
With the Trump Administration and South Korea Japan ready to respond to North Korea’s nuclear
and missile tests with the installation on South Korean soil of a cutting edge anti-ballistic missile system and its equally lethal radar, the Chinese leadership is clearly worried. Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during an extensive press conference in Beijing proposed a trilateral relationship between China, Russia and the United States for the preservation, he said, of world peace and development. Does he expect President Trump and President Putin to stand shoulder to shoulder with China on its disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines on its maritime claims in the South China Sea; against Japan in the East China Sea or be supportive of China’s claims to the Indian State of Aruncahal Pradesh, and oppose, as China does, the Dalai Lama’s forthcoming visit to the territory? It’s too preposterous for words. Utter cheek. Simply laughable. (Hindu March 9)
TV outreach of Indian companies
A recent international Emmy Award winner was Dehradunbased Lord of Battles whose medieval armoury is in high demand from global production houses. The popular TV series Game of Thrones, with Jon Snow in the lead role, with his valerian steel sword and armour were made in India. But Game of Thrones (GoT) is not the only production serviced by this Indian company. Lord of Battles is now supplying costumes and ancient weaponry for the small screen serials as diverse as ‘Hobbit’ ‘Morte d’Arthu,’ the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘Bastard Executioner,’ the Russian movies, ‘Kolovrat,’ ’The Treasures of Lake Kaban,’ and the French film ‘Excalibur ‘
Starting small, ending big
‘We started in 2005 with just two craftsmen. Currently, we employ over 120 full-time craftsmen and over 100 part-time workers ….’ says Saurabh Mahajan, MD and founder of Lord of Battles. ‘Previously, international houses would procure through middlemen. In the past 2-3 years they have been approaching us directly. In fact, most studios send their costume designers to our manufacturing units and we work in accordance with their demand.’ He had scaled up production to keep pace with demand. (Business Line March 8) See page 3 for Assembly polls significance.
Nominate your favourite charity
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Nomination deadline 31 March 2017.
Holi and Borders Matter I write to you having just finished an interview about Brexit and Scottish Independence on the BBC alongside Lord Nigel Lawson. I was asked by one panellist why I am against Scottish Independence, when I am the child of immigrants who benefitted from Independence. I pointed out, Scotland is not India! The Scots were the masters! I don’t want more borders. But this week, when we commemorate Commonwealth Day, we know borders matter. And this translation of a beautiful rendition of a famous Indian song reminds us that whilst borders exist, they do matter. As you celebrate Holi, remember, this Commonwealth Day, those who played with their blood the game of Holi... O! the people of my motherland! Raise all the slogans you desire, This is a great day for us all, Hoist your beloved tricolor, But don't forget on the border, The brave did lose their lives, And remember each great soldier, Who did not return home ever, O! the people of my motherland! Shed a few tears, For those who martyred on ice, Remember their great sacrifice! You don't forget them, That is why I am reciting you the tale When injured was the Himalayan might,
Famous Gandhi Memorial in London now available to buy as a sculpture
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by Finance the Indian Minister Arun Jaitley on 14 March 2015 in Parliament Square, London. Speakers at the unveiling included the Indian film actor Amitabh Bachchan, Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Prime Minister of the UK David Cameron who described the work as “a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of world politics.” Now, collectors have the chance to own a version of it. The sculptor, Philip Jackson has a worldwide reputation for his public commissions and includes the National Memorial
Our freedom was in jeopardy, Till their last breath did they fight, And then laid their dead body, Resting their head on the soil, Sacrificed and slept immortal, For those who martyred on ice, Remember their great sacrifice! When the country celebrated Diwali, They played with their blood the game of Holi, When we were sitting safe at our homes, They dealt with deadly bullets and bombs. Blessed they were those soldiers, Blessed were their youths, For those who martyred on ice, Remember their great sacrifice! Some Sikh, some Jaat and Maratha, Some were Gurkha or Madrasi, But each soldier who died on the border, Was a brave Hindustani. The blood that stained the mountain, That blood was that of an Indian, For those who martyred on ice, Remember their great sacrifice! With blood their body was drenched, Yet they lifted their rifle and aimed, One killed tens of the enemy, Then fell down unconsciously. When the final moment came on, They said they will die now, Be happy! O beloved of the nation, We embark on eternal journey now, How great were those patriots, How great was their pride.
Do you know of any UK based charities / individuals who are solving pressing social issues of our time, both in Britain and globally Nominate them for the Asian Voice Charity Awards 2017 by visiting our website w ww.asianvoicecharityawards.com
Top 10 Charities by Overall Rating Empowering Donors. Supporting Charities. That’s what Charity Clarity is all about. CC have come up with a special rating system which assesses a charity across 18 metrics for Financial Health, Accountability and Transparency, and Accessibility. We have 390 charities on CC right now, and will have around 500 in May 2017. These are the Top 10 Charities from the ones we have measured, according to Charity Clarity. They are assigned a rating out of 5, based on 18 metrics within the three categories of Financial Health, Accountability and Transparency and Accessibility. A rating of above 2.5 achieves three stars and a rating of less than 0.25 receives no stars. 1. Divine Onkar Mission - 4.16 2. Magic Bus UK - 4.11 3. International Society For Krishna Consciousness London - 4.09 4. London’s Air Ambulance Limited - 4.09 5. iPartner India- 4.03 6. Radha Soami Satsang Beas British Isles - 4.03 7. Shree Kutch Leva Patel Community (UK) - 4.03 8. The Community Of The Many Names Of God (Skanda Vale) - 4.02 9. Birmingham Royal Ballet - 3.96 10. Children Care Centre - 3.92
Sculpture to HM Queen Elizabeth and dozens more. It is rare for a publicly commissioned sculpture to be reproduced and made available to the public making this a very special investment indeed. A limited edition of twenty, 45cm high bronze maquettes of the national momument is now on sale at the Catto Gallery costing £14,000.
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The Awards ceremony will be held on Friday 19th May 2017 at the Hilton, Park Lane , London
For Charities and Not-for Profit Institutions I Charity of the Year
This award recognises a UK-registered charity for their outstanding work and contribution to society, as well as demonstrated excellence service and achievement in its work over the last five years.
Start-Up of the Year
This award is similar to Charity of the Year, but specifically for charities that have been operational for three years or less.
I Outstanding PR Team
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I Most Enterprising
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I Social Impact Award
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For Corporate Partnerships: I Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility
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Manjit K Gill: ‘Dignity, Period.’ Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
happens so naturally? Lack of education, and a perpetuated stigma around the subject.
Where, in your opinion, are we in the fight for women’s rights? There’s a lot of potential with the advent of social media: we’re able to get our messages out there and spread good ideas. Together with a mobilising global movement I feel there’s a lot of positivity.
‘Spotlight on India’ at The London Book Fair: A series making India’s publishing industry global
'Every girl deserves their dignity'
For award-winning CEO Manjit, ‘being bold for change’ this Women’s History Month means diving into the very depths of gendered stigma to retrieve for women everywhere an immediate and visceral - right to their own bodies. Running for nearly 3 years now, her company Binti International has worked to dispel the unfair taboo around women’s menstruation, raising cultural awareness through different public platforms such as company and school workshops, TV and radio appearances for driving discussion, and actively manufacturing high-quality sanitary products on production lines themselves. Local women of underdeveloped countries where the charity is based are actually employed to make the Binti towels, both practically and emotionally empowering: “just seeing the smiles on these women’s faces when they’re given access to their basic dignity’, Founder Manjit shared, “is priceless. It may not seem like much, but being able to own and manage a simple yet defining part of your existence, makes a real and ultimately political statement. It’s a deep source of confidence.” *** Indeed, there is a historically violent culture of repression around periods, as if to literally say: ‘to be a woman is to be dirty.’ As Manjit poignantly elaborated, during her research on Nairobi, she found that those living in squalor were hit hardest by the philosophy, with women routinely selling their bodies to buy their sanitary towels and basically live for the month. “It’s a legitimate need, just like food and water,” Manjit told us, “yet sanitary towels aren’t included for aid supplies in crisis times for conflict-torn countries. In India 88% of women don’t have access to vital feminine hygiene, with some sanitary pads costing the equivalent of £3.00! Our low cost pads produced in the projects retail at the equivalent of 25 pence.” But, as the Binti Founder also pointed out, the mystification factor around menstruation, happens in the most developed parts of the west:“In our cushy offices, women feel the need to be secretive when they’re on their periods, whispering bashfully amongst themselves. The adverts also ironically sanitise images of menstruation by using clear blue liquid when they’re showing you an organic process - the censorship is what implies the impurity.” Clearly then women’s body shaming is a vast and global crisis. But Manjit and her team at Binti International aren’t interested in playing the victims; their final goal being to channel a universally painful experience towards a passionate grass-roots cause: “I was at the historic Women’s March in January in central London, and the atmosphere was electric. It just went to show how many women - and men – turned up to support equality, and the protection of women's bodies. People were jointly concerned for each other. And that’s what it’s about – people. Being appreciated in and of yourself.” Thus by brightly shining a light on female selfhood, Manjit and those at Binti International affect the precious process of woman experiencing herself whole.
What is a common obstacle you’ve faced? A lot of our work involves raising awareness, from organising events to appearing in the media, and you can sense when someone’s already made up their mind when they’re talking with you. That’s very frustrating. One such incident was when I was speaking with a Hindu Priest who likened menstrua-
tion to aids. He said he strongly believed women shouldn’t be allowed in the Temple when they were on their period because they might contaminate people. I was mortified that such a man was revered as an instructor, and considered a guardian of culture. Why do people have such an aversion to something that
Is there a personal story behind Binti? I’ve always had an emotional rollercoaster with my period – and if it wasn’t considered so arbitrary or dark, perhaps someone could have recommended that a healthy diet and exercise such as yoga to manage myself earlier on in life. It makes a huge difference to the way you feel and experience the days. It’s spiritual in a way. If girls know what they are dealing with, they can really be in charge of their bodies and feel more stable overall. When you can own your body – you automatically feel more defined. In terms of the actual business, I’ve run various start-ups in my life, and at one point when I was working for the Cherie Foundation I discovered that many women in Africa had to use straw and dung to manage their periods, and this was just horrifying. I began researching into what could be done and later down the line Binti was born. Tell us a highlight moment with the charity? Getting to visit my country of origin, India, 3 or 4 times a year and the continued success of the organisation: little moments such as the UN retweeting our content and the light we bring to women’s faces make it worthwhile. Our tagline is: ‘every girl deserves dignity. Period.’
Laurie Penny, a popular feminist columnist for the New Statesmen, has spoken of her frustration with people accusing her of being ‘too emotional’ for slightly raising her voice, and basically having essentialist biology used – quite inaccurately – against her. Do you have a comment on that? Well it’s another double standard. Feminists must be ‘emotional’, even more so if they’re really passionate so it’s *almost* as if you can’t win. Whether you stay quiet, or speak up, you’re always wrong. But we can only tackle that through awareness. When I raise my voice it’s still not loud enough so it’s about unity and more people being enlightened about menstruation. I always think: ‘I’m speaking for every girl who can’t. It’s not a fight against anyone – it’s for someone and people need to realise that.
Tell us a bit about your previous experience with start-ups and how its brought to Binti? I started life in sales, and this was at a time when we only had directories. I started a number of sales divisions so my ability to compile an effective worker database of able an like-minded people is very strong. I’m good at research too, and I can think outside the box. Twitter @Binti_Period Instagram @binti.period
Charusmita A ‘Spotlight on India’ series of events are taking place at The London Book Fair (March 14th-16th) at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, Kensington. This series is the first event to mark the British Council’s India Year of Culture 2017 initiative, which is an exciting festival of cultural and literary events throughout 2017. This programme celebrates the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and UK cultural ties, and was announced by the Prime Ministers of both India and the UK during Prime Minister Modi's visit to the UK in 2016. On the afternoon of March 14th, the ‘Spotlight on India’ series was declared open for the
visitors. The London Book Fair, in association with the Indian government’s export trade body Capexil is exhibiting over forty exhibitors related to Indian publishing over four pavilions. This series is aimed at showcasing the global importance of the growing Indian publishing industry, especially its digital innovation. British publishing industry is looking at India for more marketing opportunities. As David Taylor, Senior Vice President of Content Acquisition at Ingram Content Group said, “We’re currently investing time and resources into helping Indian-based publishers distribute print and digital books throughout our global network of sales
channels.” The ‘Spotlight on India’ series’ opening ceremony had words of encouragement from Jacks Thomas (Director, The London Book Fair), High Commissioner of India, His Excellency Mr. Y.K. Sinha (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India), Jim James (Senior International Trade Advisor at Department for International Trade), and Richard Charkin (Executive Director, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, which publishes Wisden India). Visitors can enjoy Indian exhibits from 14th16th, including a session with author Amit Chaudhuri in conversation in the PEN Literary Salon, readings by the S a h i t y a A k a d e m i authors, titled My World, My W r i t i n g : Readings by Indian Authors, a discussion titled Indian Worlds: From Book to Screen with author Shrabani Basu (author of Victoria & Abdul), a symposium on Indian Writing Today featuring discussions from a delegation of authors from the Sahitya Akademi, a session on How to access the Indian Book Market – Opportunities & Challenges, hosted by Sumeet Gupta, Director, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), featuring speakers from Cambridge University Press, Nielsen India and Lonely Planet, an especially curated Rights catalogue of Indian writing co-created by FICCI and LBF, product demonstrations of Indian publishing and printing technology and expertise, and a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the National Book Trust of India.
UK Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Akshaya Patra hungers for eliminating starvation The first aspect of existence is food as it is the most fundamental spiritual stuff that goes in every one’s life. But not every child in India is privileged enough to enjoy a good square meal. According to 2011 Census, India’s child population is 472 million. But almost half this population is malnourished (48%), slowing down growth and obstructing the ability to learn. These children face the double whammy of “no food, no education”. However, Akshaya Patra Foundation’s massive food programme is bridging the gap between hunger and education. With innovative ideas, smart scaling up and cutting edge technology, Akshaya Patra is addressing childhood hunger and malnutrition by working to promote education for underserved children in India. The whole idea is to attract and retain children in schools and get full value of their classroom experience. A not-for-profit organisation based out of Bengaluru, India, Akshaya Patra provides food to government and government-aided schools. In India 120 million children are in government schools. The mega kichens of Akshaya Patra are building future generations by serving unlimited nutritious meal to 1.6 million children every afternoon. They have already crossed 2 billion meals in the last 17 years. In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Akshaya Patra alludes to an inexhaustible vessel of food. What began as a dream in the year 2000 has today become a movement. Akshaya Patra is not only feeding thousands of underprivileged schoolchildren across India everyday but also giving them an opportunity to dream. In an exclusive chat with L. George, CEO, ABPL – Shridhar Venkat, CEO, Akshaya Patra Foundation, and Bhawani Singh Shekhawat, CEO, Akshaya Patra Foundation UK, gave some food for thought about their vision of eliminating classroom hunger. Shridhar, how did Askhaya Patra start? Well, Akshaya Patra effort started in Bangalore in 2000 with a very lofty vision that no child in India will be deprived of education because of hunger. We started feeding five Government schools (1,500 children) in Bangalore. The news started spreading to other schools and we found there was a request for feeding 100,000 children in Bangalore. That gave us an insight that we should leverage technology to solve this problem. And that’s how we set up India’s first centralised kitchen infrastructure in the NGO sector to feed children. Our
kitchens typically have a capacity to prepare 50,000 to 100,000 meals a day. So in just 6 hours 100,000 children will get fed from one kitchen. Shridhar, how you got involved in Akshaya Patra? I used to be a volunteer with Akshaya Patra. I am here for the last 11 years. I used to work for corporates like Philips, Cisco WebEx. I was on a job transition to take over as CEO of a company. At that time I was staying in the guest house of Akshaya Patra Foundation. Madhu Pandit Dasa, the chairman of the Akshaya Patra Foundation, called me. A graduate from IIT-Powai (Mumbai), Madhuji said ‘Sreedhar, why are you building empires for others? Do it for these poverty-stricken children who are the future of India.’ That was the turning point. I dumped the company which I was supposed to join and decided to do something for the children of India. While I did well in corporates, I was basically looking for existential purpose in life. And Akshaya Patra was the perfect calling or platform from where I could get the purpose of my life. Why Akshaya Patra started in Bangalore, not in any other city? You know the visionary seed of Akshaya Patra is spiritual. It has come from one of the foremost spiritual masters of the world – Swami Prabhupada, the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Long ago Swamiji was in a temple at Mayapur near Kolkata. There was a big feast in the temple where food is served in plantain leaves. So after the feast he was resting in his apartment and suddenly he heard cries of children. And when he opened the window, much to his dismay, he saw children fighting with stray dogs for scraps of leftover food. Tears rolled down from his eyes and he said ‘where our Supreme Father (Lord Krishna) is there children should not go hungry’. He gave a mandate that within the 10mile radius of a temple nobody should go hungry. He had a temple (Radha Krishna Temple bu ilt by Iskcon) in Bangalore 30 years later. His disciples built it. And they took for-
we are experimenting with 25,000 to 30,000-capacity k i t c h e n s . Altogether we have about 50 new kitchens in the pipeline in the next 3 years. Are there any specific projects that cater to G u j a r a t and Punjab? In Gujarat we are setting up a new kitchen in Jamnagar, L. George, CEO, ABPL, Shridhar Venkat, CEO, Akshaya Patra, India Bhavnagar and and Bhawani Singh Shekhawat, CEO, Akshaya Patra, UK Bhuj. We are open capacity to prepare ward this idea and that’s to setting up kitchens in 100,000 meals a day will how Akshaya Patra came Porbander and Rajkot if we cost about 2 million into existence. We incorpoget supporters. We already pounds. If we get a good rated it as a secular foundahave kitchens in supporter and a running tion. And that’s how govVadodara, Surat and expenditure visibility for ernment came forward and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, next 3 years, we set up a supported us. while in Rajasthan we have kitchen. kitchens in Udaipur, Cooking rice, sambar, What impact Akshaya Jaipur, Nathdwara daal or khichdi for 100,000 Patra had on society? and Ajmer. In Punjab we beneficiaries a day is not Akshaya Patra is are open to starting up easy. So, we rely on techaddressing the fundamenin Chandigarh and Amritsa nology. We started using tal problem of classroom r. Talks are already going industrial steam for cookhunger. Parents who canon in this regard. ing rice. In North India, not afford a good meal for children don’t eat rice so the child, they won’t send What’s your role as CEO of much, they want rotis, so the child to school. So food Akshaya Patra in India? we worked with a papad becomes a big incentive for Akshaya Patra has got manufacturing guy and these children to come to about 6,000 people workcreated a machine which school. We serve unlimited ing in 27 different locacan make 40,000 rotis per food. That’s the first attractions. Our head office is hour. tion. That is Akshaya Patra inBangalore. Besides solvdraws a child to the school. ing problems, a typical day How do you go about The second is – as we serve revolves around empowerchoosing the various nutrious hot meals every ing my team. I also look places? How do you day, the schoolchildren’s into Akshaya Patra’s encourage the children and power of thinking, attenbiggest challenge – sustion span, scholastic perchoose the schools? tainability. We have a new formance go up. The Bhawani: See this is a initiative called the impact of Akshaya Patra public-private partnership. Akshaya Nidhi where we has been phenomenal. We In Bangalore we started on use the existing capacity of have excellent cases of chilour own. But after that, Akshaya Patra to feed the dren becoming doctors, many other state governbottom of the pyramid. engineers, sub-inspectors, ments started inviting us. We are going to feed many of them even teachThe government will give a 40,000 municipal working in the same school. list of schools to be fed. We ers who clean the roads, all Akshaya Patra has created sign a MoU with them and for a small profit. And a model how government, identify a location with the when we make small profpublic and a not-for-profit help of government to set it, the Akshaya Patra chilcan come together and up the kitchen. Typically a dren will get benefit. I work for the society. The 100,000-capacity kitchen spend time on building single biggest problem this will need about 3 acres of that up. We have already great nation faces is land. Many a time the govgot funding from Ratan hunger. 30% of world’s ernment comes forward Tata from the Jamshedji malnourished children are and gives us or we take it Tata Trust to scaling this in India. So our idea is to on lease. venture. I visit schools, stay focussed on this probmeet workers and staff lem. Where all Akshaya Patra is mainly to keep them motiactive and what are the vated. Would you like to add to it, projects in the pipeline? Bhawani? Shridhar: We are curWhat’s the biggest chalWell, a challenge is rently in 11 states and 27 lenge you have faced hithreally worth taking when locations. We are in Tamil erto? one initiative addresses Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, When we started this multiple problems. By just Karnataka, Telangana, programme in Lucknow, serving food – teachers Odisha, Chattisgarh, Assa the very first day 30 chilcome to school, children m, UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, dren were admitted to attend school. It also takes etc. Of the 27 locations, 2 hospital. We were serving away some burden from are decentralised. milk. We were really worthe government. It allows Currently we are catering ried. Our kitchens are ISO many activities to come to 1.6 million children over certified. So we were wontogether which otherwise 13,000 schools. India has dering how come this has would have had to be about 1.2 million governhappened? Next day the addressed separately. ment schools. For upcomnewspaper had headlines ing projects we have signed – “30 children admitted to How challenging was it to up with the UP governhospital after eating set up a mega kitchen like ment for 8 new kitchens. Akshaya Patra meal”. this and how this cenWe also got invited by When we investigated we tralised operation works? Jharkhand government for found out that these chilShridhar: If you get a 3 new kitchens. dren had never had milk good philanthropic supMaharashtra government in their life. So it reacted porter, a kitchen with a too is keen. In Rajasthan on them. It was not the
fault of Akshaya Patra. These children were having allergies, because they never had milk. So these are some of the challenges we have. Keeping the food fresh, nutritious, and serving on time is a big challenge, besides making sure the kitchen runs everyday without fail. Where do you see Akshaya Patra 5 years down the line in India? We took about 12 years to feed the first billion meals, cumulatively. We took four more years to serve the second billion meals. In the next 5 years my goal is to see if we can do feed cumulatively 5 billion meals. What’s the mission of your UK visit? The main aim is to build awareness. The second is to build advocacy for this programme. We intend to meet the supporters mainly to let them know how innovatively we run this programme and how can we jointly address this problem. Do you have any suggestions for other charities? Build trust and be sincere – money will come. Second is scale. I would encourage charities to scale up and run them professionally. The idea is if we can blend the missionary spirit of the notfor-profit and professionalism of the corporate, then you are here to stay. Bhawani, what’s your take on it? Well, the world of charity needs to do bit more than feeling good and doing good. So as much as the charity sector could take a leaf out of the corporate sector, it also needs to act even more honestly, responsibly and professionally and if you do that I tell you there are enough forces in the world that will collaborate to help you solve the problem. For this you need the heart of service and mind of a corporate. You need financial integrity. There is also the commitment to growing the organisation. The reason we are building the initiative of Akshaya Nidhi is primarily to support Akshaya Patra. Shridhar: In Akshaya Patra we have taken an audacious goal of solving this problem by 2040 by which there won’t be a hungry child who misses out school because of not getting a meal. For every pound that we get from the donor, 92% goes into the programme. Only 8 per cent is our administrative cost. Continued on page 20
IMPORTANCE OF INDIA GROWS IN 'A PEACE-BUILDING COMMONWEALTH'
Asian Voice | 11th March 2017
With Brexit worries looming large over Britain, it is apparent that the country is trying to re-assess its relationship with the Commonwealth countries, focussing on ease of doing businesses and creating a strong export economy. On the Commonwealth day (Monday 13 March), the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson looking forward to a strengthened partnership with the Commonwealth to deliver prosperity and economic growth said: “This year’s theme of ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth’ demonstrates the relevance of the network in tackling the shared challenges we face... “Together we can prosper and deliver economic growth for all. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with the Commonwealth and to welcoming the Commonwealth family to the UK in 2018.”
"This represents not only a great opportunity for their citizens to share in the proceeds of global prosperity, but it represents tremendous opportunities to importers and exporters from across the whole Commonwealth, a genuinely win-win situation." Fox also highlighted an upcoming small and medium enterprise (SME) summit will be held in India next month. Speaking about potentials of the Commonwealth countries, Baroness of Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, reportedly said, “This was an incredibly important moment for us with all regions across the Commonwealth being rep-
On Thursday 9 March, at the opening day of the Commonwealth Trade Summit, jointly convened by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and the C o m m o n w e a l t h Secretariat, the focus was on a series of roundtables as an exchange of ideas between the member nations, while Friday 10th was meant for exclusive ministerial meetings. The two-day meetings brought businesses and politicians from around 35 Commonwealth memberstates together and is the first meeting of trade ministers from across the region in the past 12 years. Among other participating countries, India was represented by Commerce Secretary Ms Rita A Teaotia. She spoke of India’s focus on trade facilitation in services, which aims to ease the short-term movement of professionals and skilled workers, and efforts to help some less developed countries connect to the value chains. The event was opened by UK minister for international trade MP Liam Fox, who highlighted that India was among the fastest growing import economies over the next five years. In his speech the Minister explained: "According to the IMF, the Commonwealth countries whose imports of goods and services are likely to grow fastest over the next five years are Mozambique, Bangladesh, India, Brunei, Ghana and Sierra Leone...
Harrow marks Commonwealth Day for unity and equality
Cllr Rekha Shah and Deputy Lieutenant John Purnell hoist the Commonwealth flag
photo credit Dermot Carlin
Commonwealth Trade Summit
in an effort to raise it to around $1 trillion. The role would lie within the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, headed by Lord Marland, who also hopes that the creation of a “Commonwealth Accord” is possible: a standard of rules, based on the shared experiences, rules and reg-
Harrow Council marked Commonwealth Day on Monday by taking part in the global flag raising ceremony. Deputy Lieutenant John Purnell joined the Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Rekha Shah to raise the flag. As one of the most diverse boroughs in the country, the flag raising confirms Harrow’s commitment to keeping the values of the Commonwealth Charter – which is to serve one another in the spirit of respect and understanding. Mayor, Cllr Rekha Shah said: “Commonwealth Day is a great day to celebrate our differences and learn more about each other. We should all be proud of the fantastic examples we have set here in Harrow with people of all faiths, communities and backgrounds living together peacefully - that is through understanding and tolerance. Everyone can make a difference and I hope that we all continue to inspire future generations to pass on the message of unity and equality.” resented. There is huge agreement across the board between national states about what we need to do to advance economies…but also what we need to do is to advance trade, which is globally at its lowest level since the Second World War,” the Hindu reported. One of the ideas being considered is that of a Commonwealth ambassador, who would be commissioned to determine practical ways in which intra-Commonwealth trade could be promoted,
ulations in member-states, that could be subscribed to, which, he said, would give greater certainty and help SMEs looking to enter new markets in particular. Following the discussion, speaking about India and its role, Baroness Scotland reportedly said, “India has been incredibly supportive, in particular, of our trade facility and has committed a considerable amount of resource to that trade-facilitation process concentrated on SMEs.”
Homage to Commonwealth soldiers at the Memorial Gates
The Commonwealth day was a sunny and crisp morning in London. Like every year, people gathered at the Memorial Gates in the Constitutional Hill to pay tribute to the Commonwealth soldiers. This year's theme was ‘The Battle of Saragarhi’, which was fought before the Tirah Campaign on 12 September 1897 between the British Indian Army and the Afghan Orakzai tribesmen. It occurred in the NorthWest Frontier Province (now KhyberPakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). The British Indian contingent comprised 21 Sikhs of the 36th Sikhs (now the 4th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment), who were stationed at an army post attacked by around 10,000 Afghans. The Sikhs, led by Havildar Ishar Singh, chose to fight to the death, in what is considered by some military historians as one of history's greatest laststands. The post was recaptured two days later by another British Indian contingent. Sikh military personnel commemorate the battle every year on 12 September, as Saragarhi Day. Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Memorial Gates Council, Inderjeet Singh Nijhar said, “we exist to tackle the ‘historical amnesia’, these gates are here to remind the fact that we also served. Today we remember one of the significant battle, the battle of Saragarhi on its 120th commemoration year... This year we also remember who served on the Western front. Here at the Memorial gate we wish to bring to life, memory of service and sacrifice for future generations through collaborations with the likes of the National Army Museum and others
by delivering education projects...” Speaking to Asian Voice, Army's Warrant Officer, Ashok Chauhan MBE said, “This day is a reminder to thank those who gave their lives, so that we can have our wonderful lives.” The ceremony was attended by the President of Memorial Gates Council, Baroness Shreela Flather, Rt Hon Earl Howe from the Ministry of Defence, representatives of the British Army, Navy and Air Force, Met Police, representatives from the High Commission of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Burma Star Association, Punjab Force, Gurkha Brigade Association and the Brigade of Gurkha to name a few. On 6 November 2002 HM The Queen officially inaugurated the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill in London to honour the five million men and
women from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars. They also celebrate the rich diversity of the British society today. HM The Queen, the Head of the Commonwealth attended the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey to celebrate Commonwealth Day. The Queen was joined by TRH The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, The Duke of York and The Earl of Wessex. The Prime Minister of the UK, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, was in attendance as well as High Commissioners, dignitaries from across the UK and around the Commonwealth, senior politicians, faith leaders and 800 school children and young people.
Commonwealth 2.0, not Empire 2.0 Continued from page 3
There is a recognition that trade and investment go together,” India’s Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Dinesh Patnaik, told the media. “The other focus is on how to create an export economy. The Commerce Secretary will highlight the steps India is taking and also take note of what other countries have done in the field.” But I feel the meeting will break new ground only if it can re-imagine the Commonwealth as a dynamic trading bloc. The UK and India can provide leadership to this new thrust. For instance, Commonwealth’s first business hub can and should be established in India. Then, the two largest economies in the
Commonwealth should engage other members to draw up the architecture for easier intraCommonwealth trade that could become the starting point of what might one day emerge as the world’s largest trading zone. There is huge potential. As Canada’s trade minister Francios-Phillpe Champagne pointed out to me over dinner yesterday – Canada does $3.5 billion of trade with the US daily, but only $8 billion with India, annually! It isn’t an impossible dream. In some ways, freer trade and freer movement of people within the bloc would be taking the grouping back to its foundational principles – but this time without the shadow of the Empire looming over it.
MOTHER’SAsian DAY SPECIAL Voice | 18th March 2017
The best Smita Sarkar
y mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it - said Mark Twain. Now we did not get a reaction from the iconic writer’s mother on his son’s thoughts, but it is true that all mothers are taken for granted and we do not acknowledge what they have had to deal with while raising us.
Spend time this Mother’s Day to thank her and get her an innovative gift to match her unique spirit and style. Is she the real adventurer, the foodie, the fashionista, the highflying professional, the strict, cool, techie-gadget lover or the plain home-maker; every mother will be excited to get a gift from us that shows we care and understand her - respect and love her for what she is. For the fashionista mother, watches, charm bangles, printed springcolorer scarfs, silver plated treasure boxes and bags are functional and good gift choices. Grey, muted gold and silver colours will go with her clothes. A simple pearl bracelet, matching button stud earrings, multi-stone bangle or muted stainless steel bracelet strap watch can be mixed and matched well with various attires. Clarins Face Treatment Oil, Liz Earle Superskin Overnight Mask, Gucci’s Eau de Perfume, Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath, Ginger Souffle Body Cream, Yves Saint Laurent Luxurious Mascara sets or the Hourglass No.28 Lip Treatment Oil, Estee Lauder Anti-Aging Skincare and Firming Skincare gift sets are good products for the gracefully ageing moms. The L’Occitane Verbena Discovery collection is good for mothers who have taken up nurturing the gardens after their children have grown up. The Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Hand Therapy Cream, Molton Brown’s Comice Pear & Wild Honey Handcare gift sets will take care of her hands.
gift ever You can give her seeds for her kitchen garden. Oria Kiely’s Grown Your Own Chillies, Coriander or Basil Gardening Gift kits, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens Growbox Italian salad, Proverbial Herbs and Pocket Tomatoes will give her garden-fresh organic food. Garden accessories like an
Engraved Bird House, Scion Spike Garden Tools or Burgon& Ball Cream Herb Pots will make her day. The real foodie mother will be happy to have her fresh herbs plucked f r o m the gardens and some new gadgets to make it easier to host parties at home. You can buy her a Gourmet Gadgetry Retro Popcorn maker, a Weber Spirit Burner Gas BBQ kit for her garden parties, or a sleek food processor. An Edingurg Gin Cocktail set, Chocolate Fountain maker, Hambledon Handmade bowls or a set of Cast iron casseroles will bring back her memories of
spending hours in the kitchen, making your favourite dishes while you were growing up. If your mom is a freespirited, sporty, adventurous woman; a Fitbit Flex 2 Wireless wrist-
band or an Alta Wireless Activity Fitness or Tom Tom Spark 3 GPS Fitness Activity watch will be functional gifts for her. A GoPro will also be easy to carry and handle - there are several choices to look at. Sport apparels, Asics Tiger Gel-Lyte III Fleck Women’s Trainers, Nike Pro Hyperwarm Training Tights, Adidas ZNE Full Zip Travel Hoodie are good; or simply a voucher from Red Letter - an introduction to indoor skydiving should make her ecstatic. Most moms are all fumbles when it comes to new technology, but there are the supertechiebreed of moms who embrace new technology, play X-box with equal measure and pleasure along with her kids. Techie gifts like an Amazon Echo S m a r t Speaker with voice recognition and c o n t r o l could be apt for her. You could gift her a 6” Kindle eReader. or the sleek 32GB Apple TV. You can give her a Moleskine Smart Writing Set - she would love keeping a note of things in them. A RED5 V2 Micro Drone will also be exciting. If you still cannot decide what to give her, simply get her some vouchers for a spa treatment. Get her to relax, let her hair down and get pampered. Raise a glass to celebrate her by giving her a gift hamper of her favourite champagne and wine, special condiments and preserves by Crabtree & Evelyn, Tiptree, Liberty Preserve Selection and Wilkin & Sons Jam Tasting Selections to give that twist to her breakfast and snacks. Whatever you give her will be special - what will make it extra special is the time, laughs and the love that you share by spending time with her. That will be the best gift possible for Mother’s Day.
Send your personalised messages to your mom by 20th March 2017. Inbox: firstname.lastname@example.org
No honour in killing me, mom trators and secondary A mother’s love for her victims, forced by child is like nothing else in other male members the world. it knows no law, to be compilcit in the no pity, it dares all things abuse, particularly and crushes down given the stereotypical remorselessly all that view of mothers as stands in its path. That is non-criminal, nurturwhat motherhood is suping and supportive,” posed to be, but a new said Rachael. research in UK has sugLaw enforcement gested that mothers play a to involve multiple perpeand social services need to central role in honourtrators who act together, reassess their strategies for based crime against their and mothers were key playdealing with honour-based daughters, potentially leavers; carrying out all types of abuse, taking full account ing the victims to greater abuse, physical violence, of the roles the mothers of risks. threats, false imprisonthe victims play - to ensure In an analysis of a 100 ment, intrusive surveilyoung women are not cases of honour-based lance and cruel violence on returned to or remain in crime by researcher pregnant daughters to dangerous situations. Rachael Aplin of the Leeds induce a miscarriage. “There is also a lesson Beckett University, 49 “As many victims are in this for policy makers,” cases involved mothers children, there is a risk that adds Rachael. “Any action while 76 per cent involved agencies place them back to try and end honourwere women. in their mother’s care, misbased crimes needs to Honour crimes are focus on female as committed to protect (or defend) the supposed “My mother's gifts of courage well as male perpetrato me were both large and tors, if it is to have any honour or reputation of a family or community, small. The latter are woven so chance of success.” As many victims where the victims are ususubtly into the fabric of my would agree, what ally women. The UK psyche that I can hardly cannot be communipolice forces have recorddistinguish where she stops cated to the mother, ed more than 11,700 cases and I begin.” cannot be communiof honour crimes between Maya Angelou, cated to the self. So 2010 to 2014. this Mother’s Day, let As per Rachael, the Mom & Me & Mom us appeal to mothers level of involvement of to stop the abuses, mothers in these cases takenly believing that this deception and crimes was a real surprise, as was will ensure their protecinflicted on their children the level to which this was tion,” she said. in the name of honour not acknowledged in police “The police can struggle because these leave behind reporting. Unlike other to distinguish between deeper psychological bruistypes of domestic abuse, mothers as primary perpees that never heal. honour-based crimes tend
46 Church Road, Stanmore, Middx, London HA7 4AH *All prices are from and subject to change and availability
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017 point out that taxes on wealth were "wrong".
Hammond's Budget fails to thrill
Chancellor Phillip Hammond's unsavoury Spring Budget promises to hit the middle class below the belt, also spelling utter misery for all those who have put their money on stock market, property and other assets. The "interim statement in disguise of a full Budget" while, fairly addressed several key issues including business rates for small businesses,
increase in the NICs for the self-employed, and a gracious £2 billion for what is an over-stretched social care system, remains a combination of the good, the bad, and the ugly. His first-ever budget as the Chancellor, Hammond gave a lukewarm speech as he mixed tax grabs on the self-employed and dividends with new spending on social care and financial help for small businesses. He also effectively man-
aged to cook up a storm with his National Insurance for selfemployed workers- one of the driving forces of the economy, claiming it to be upto 2 per cent. Tory MPs were quick to point out that it broke the party's 2015 manifesto pledge not to put up National Insurance, Income Tax, or VAT. It will only come to effect in April 2018, when real trouble will begin to brew. A direct attack on common households, Budget documents reveal that the amount families pay in capital gains tax and inheritance tax is most likely to rise, as the government further pushes the middle class over the brink. Wealth taxes are set to cost families over £ 80 billion in the span of the next five years. Critics were quick to
NATIONAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS (NICS): As per current rules, employees pay Class 1 NICs at 12 per cent on earnings between 827 and 3583 per month, and 2 per cent on earnings above that level. After this, employers pay an additional 13.8 per cent on salaries and the majority of benefits. In contrast, selfemployed individuals pay Class 4 NICs at 9 per cent on profits between 8060 and 43,000 with 2 per cent being paid on profits above that level. Considering the 3 per cent differential in Class 1 and Class 4 rates, and the abolition of Class 2 NICs, the government consider that the differential between NICs paid by employees and those paid by the self-employeed is massive. Which is why, Hammond announced an increase from 9 to 10 per cent in the main rate of Class 4 NICs in April 2019. PENSION HIKE: The ONE bonus everyone agrees with, is the raise on the basic state pension from £119.30 to £122.30, worth an extra £156 a year, to be put into effect from April 6. People on the new flat-rate pension can expect weekly payments advance from £155.65 to £159.55, worth £202.80 annually. The 2.5 per cent
hike are a merely a few metres away from the forecast inflation rate of 2.4 per cent for 2017. LIFETIME ISA: Good news for the young, the new Lifetime ISA set to launch next month, will give those aged between 18 and 39, a generous incentive to save for their first home or retirement. Under the scheme, one can save up to £4,000 a year and claim a 25 per cent bonus of up to £1,000 on top, which gives them a maximum contribution of £5,000. Those intending to benefit from it, must open a 'Lisa' before they turn 40, and then can save every year until 50. Those contributing the maximum every year from 18 until 50, will be entitled to a total bonus of £32,000 under current rules. However, the money can only be used as a deposit on the person's first-ever home. Savers who draw money before the age of 60 for any other reason, will be entitled to pay a 25 per cent penalty. After 60, money can be taken penalty-free as retirement income. Between everything's that been said, and done, one cannot help but notice a few key points that the Chancellor seems to have deliberately overseen. Someone who claimed Brexit to be priority, Hammond failed to talk about the size of the UK’s
AsianVoiceNewsweekly ‘exit bill’ from the EU. The UK is expected to pay the EU somewhere between €40 billion and €60 billion, before it can commence any trade talks. The weight of the sum will supposedly all on UK's liabilities such as unpaid budget commitments, pension liabilities, loan guarantees and spending on UK-based projects. The Office of Budget Responsibility has not made any explicit allowance for exit-related payments, instead stating that none can be made until "more information becomes available." Immigrants. While they were entirely overlooked from the Budget speech, OBR forecasts assume net migration will fall to 185,000 a year from 2020-21 onwards, from 273,000 over the year to September 2016. While it remains important to cut down on the number of immigrants coming over each year, the UK government merely said it is "considering very carefully the options that are open to [it] to gain control of the numbers of people coming to the UK from the EU." While Hammond declared that "real wages will continue to rise in every year," he failed to mention that wages will grow at a tortoise's speed as compared to prices this year, and that the earnings growth forecast for the next four years will be much lower.
Increase in National Insurance Mukesh Ambani has made most contributions aggrieve diaspora aggressive business bet
Chancellor Philip Hammond's declarations of a sudden increase of the Class 4 National Insurance contributions (NIC) from 9-11%; and a dividend cut in allowance from £5000 to £2000, announced during the Spring budget has deeply affected the self employed, contractors and single person businesses. The Asian community (that forms a significant percentage of this section) feel betrayed, as many had voted for the Conservative party in the last General Elections. It is believed that this change will lead to an increase in expenses by 16% among the middle class families. The devastated business owners who neither have employment rights nor the security enjoyed by the employed, expressed why they feel they do not get enough support from the government. Many of them have called it a further step by the Government to penalise those who are taking risks and starting businesses, often giving up their regular pay cheques to take a chance at creating something great.
Kiran D Patel BA (Hons) FCA from Albury Associates told the Asian Voice, “It is very difficult to assess the size of the industry as there are many small owner-managed businesses in the country. However, one can comfortably state that they are likely to comprise of the largest sector of “entrepreneurs” and are likely to have the largest impact as a result of the budget proposals. “Owner managed businesses and business owners are built to adapt to most circumstances and regulations, however, there will be some fall-out as a result of a loss in margins and profitability. This can only go towards putting an extra burden on the state to support these fall-outs. “By introducing tax rises that predominantly affect certain sectors of the economy, the government may have inadvertently triggered an enlargement of the black economy which may eventually resulting a reduction in tax collections.” Lucy-Rose Walker, CEO, Entrepreneurial Spark said, “Removing the few remaining incentives of being self-employed is
counter-intuitive and will lead to fewer enterprises and consequently fewer jobs.” Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent – who introduced the award-winning cloud accounting software for freelancers, microbusinesses and their accountants – said, “We are worried that the government increasingly sees the self-employed as an easy target. It is very unfair to position freelancers and contractors as not being on a level playing field with those who are employed. “These business owners have none of the employment rights or the security that employed workers do and there must be some recognition for that - unless they want to cripple this very important and growing part of the UK economy.” Labour party said it would oppose the policy, with the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, saying: “Labour will oppose the £2bn Tory tax on selfemployed lower-middle earners.” People have also suggested a petition, but it has been established that their confidence in the government is shaken.
India's richest man Mukesh Ambani, made one of the biggest bets in the world of business, last September, when he launched mobile telecom network- Jio. The connection went on to become such a massive hit, it has over 100 million customers in the past six months, with users ranging from slums to the country's elite. It has been known that Ambani spent a whopping amount of $25 billion, without a rupee of profit, causing panic amongst his investors and competitors. While the market remains stunned by his newest business venture, it is evidently known where the man gets his gambleplaying streak from. Dhirubhai Ambani, who came from very humble roots, is known for creating a fortune for himself, and his large appetite for giant industrial projects. He set up Reliance Industries Limited in 1957, a venture that went on to claim several sectors including textiles, oil refining, and petrochemicals. Mukesh Ambani, and his brother Anil, took hold of the conglomerate in 2002, later splitting in 2005, leaving the elder
brother in full control of RIL. Mukesh's record remain patchy ever since. The elder Ambani has punted several huge projects, one such being a massive investment to modernise the petrochemicals and refining business. While this decision proved to be a success, his other operations have been a flop. RIL, in 2010-15 spent $ 8 billion on shale fields in America. With the lower oil prices, they have been losing money. The company also invested about $ 10 billion in energy fields off India's east coast, and have produced less gas than expected and are worth little. These are just two of several examples where Reliance seemingly lost more money,
that it made. Unfazed by the losses, Mukesh soon pursued yet another betJio. Not an over-night operation, Jio is known to be a decade in the making. Following its entry in the telecom market, there has been a brutal price war. A rival executive states it is carrying more data than either of the worlds' two most valuable operators; China Mobile or AT&T. Jio will begin charging from April 1. Even if one assumes, it will raise prices at a steady pace, and win a third of the market, a discounted-cash-flow analysis suggests it would be worth only two-thirds of the sum that Ambani has spent. Jio would need to earn the same amount of profit that the country's entire telecom industry made last year, at some point. In other words, there is no escaping the punishing economics of pouring cash into networks and spectrum. For every customer that Jio might eventually win, it will have invested perhaps $100. Compare that with Facebook or Alibaba, both asset-light internet firms, which have invested about $10 per user.
INCORPORATE OR PAY THE NEW RATE, IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY? AsianVoiceNews
Currently there is an environment where some people are pleading plain ignorance, some are putting their heads in the sand, and then there are those who know and are reacting positively to the coming changes in the BTL tax regime.
Sow & Reap London Property Investment
One thing is for sure, the property investment animal will evolve and change, it will not die. Property ownership is deep in the psyche of the population, and Britain has one of the highest number of private landlord’s in Europe. So how are landlords reacting to the imminent changes? Some are transferring their assets into a Limited company, however, this has its own issues, such as additional stamp duty, capital gains tax and the ongoing cost of holding a company. By holding the property in a Limited company the landlord only pays cooperation tax on the profits alone, currently 20%. The number of landlords who have set up this structure has increased from 1% in January 2016 to 6% at the end of 2016, that’s approximately 120,000 landlords. The
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
environment has also spurred some interesting tax saving structures which can be put into play, however, these have professional fees which are prohibitive to the average BTL punter. The other option is to venture out of London, far into the wilderness; where the properties are £45,000 and the yields are plentiful. However, be warned someone could nick your boiler and the copper pipes too. By venturing out you might be breaking the first sacred mantra of property, which is Location, Location, Location. Here is a summary of the attack by the government on landlords: July 2015 – Government reveals plans to hike landlords’ tax bills by cutting mortgage interest tax relief to 20% between 2017 and 2020. This does not apply to limited companies, leading to many landlords buying houses through special purpose vehicles. November 2015 – Government announces a 3% stamp duty surcharge on second homes and buyto-let properties.
May 2016 – Bank of England governor Mark Carney says buy-to-let is risky and the Bank is monitoring it closely. September 2016 – The Prudential Regulation Authority confirms it will bring in two waves of tougher underwriting standards for buy-to-let lenders in 2017. January 2017 – Buy-to-let lenders begin to roll out the PRA’s changes, including assuming a minimum borrower interest rate of 5.5% for the first five years of the loan.
September 2017 – Buy-tolet lenders to enact the second wave of PRA changes, which include lenders considering future interest rate rises for at least the first five years of any buy-to-let loan. This is unsurprising, as property is one of the few sectors which is active and producing money. Where there is frequency and money being made, sooner or later the tax man will focus on this, as on the other side of the balance sheet there is a black hole which cannot be filled. These changes have also
increased the level of deposits required when purchasing. There is a way to cut through all the above issues, with one clean surgical cut. Where you can invest in central London from as little as £1,000, and the tax changes disappear. It’s open to HNWI or Sophisticated investors, and as always, capital is at risk. Here’s the link to find out more: https://www.codeinvestin g.com/investmentopportunity/?cbid=10belgrave-gardens
AGONY AGENT Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords needing pointers about contracts to experienced owners. Agony Agent, is here to help! This week's question is one that normally happens around winter and Christmas time. Q. Richard what should I do, my tenants have split up? A. There are a couple of points that I would recommend.
Don’t get involved. Breakups can be dramatic and much as your tenants would love to get you involved in the nitty-gritty of the split. Don’t. It is not your place to do so. Stay professional. You let a property to responsible adults, you are not a therapist, so just stay out of the way and find out what the tenants want to do. Does one of them want to stay on? If so, are you sure they will be able to afford the rent, plus bills? If they can afford the rent and bills, you can let them stay on, but you may want
to change the tenancy agreement. If you do choose to change the tenancy agreement then you will have to refund any deposit taken and ask for a new deposit, which you’ll then have to re-protect. Please don’t miss out this step. It is very important to ensure any deposits taken from tenants are protected in one of the Government approved tenancy deposit schemes. If you think the tenant who wants to stay can’t afford the rent on their own, and you have no legal right to chase the former tenant for rent, then you
may be better off issuing a Section 21. If they both want to leave, then you can accept a notice to quit from them, and end the tenancy in the normal manner. If there is still a fixed term to wait out, then you may still have a legal right to the rent. You might want to negotiate with the tenants on this point though, because really your new focus now should be on getting new tenants in. If there is a history of rent arrears or persistently late rent, then you may be able to use a Section 8 to get
them out. However, if you know the tenant can’t really afford to live in the property without the second income, but there have been no arrears in the past, you may have to sit and wait until the rent is sufficiently late to allow you to issue a Section 8, or until their fixed term ends. If you can’t issue a Section 8, then issue a Section 21 as soon as you can, and as soon as you believe there may be a problem. Whatever you do, always keep the lines of communication open between you and your tenants, just don’t get
involved in the “he said she said”. Just remember you are not the only person that this has happened to and that many landlords have experienced this, and come out of the other end. If it is getting too much for you, get in touch, I am more than happy to take over this situation and see it through.
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Consultant Editor Financial Voice
LSE debates: The MacroMicro perspectives on India
Dear Financial Voice Reader,
I neglected to comment on International Womens day last week. So much to say, so little time…as my wife often says. There can be little doubt about male dominance when only one out of a hundred of the UK’s largest companies are headed by a woman. Even in the US, it’s a similar proportion of women who head Fortune 500 companies. How ironic. Research shows 46 per cent of all US businesses are owned by women, and employment at women-owned businesses is growing at 18 per cent, compared with 8 per cent for all companies, according to business magazine Forbes. Actually, US women have an average net worth of £1.96 billion compared with the men, at £1.45 billion. And when it comes to investment, research also shows women make better investors than men. Luckily for men, there is much they can learn from women. What is it women do in stock picking, research, trading, that produces better results and how can men use the web to close the gender gap? Women’s portfolio’s earned 1.4% annually more than men’s did in a study of over 35,000 investors by the University of California at Davis. Indeed single women earned 2.3% annually more than single men. Poor male performance is due to over-trading according to the study. Men trade their accounts 45% more often than women. And single men shuffle their holdings 67% more than single women. Perhaps the adage about men’s fear of commitment is true after all. A National Association of Investors Corporation ten-year study found all-female investment clubs outpaced all-male investment clubs by producing 23.8% average compounded lifetime annual returns compared to 19.2% for male clubs. So what lessons are their for men? After all, as a sex, we men are always ready and willing to learn from women, aren’t we? Do not male drivers at the first opportunity admit they are lost and ask passersby for help? First, save transaction costs by not churning your portfolio. Second, men should spend more time researching before investing. Fear of making a mistake was 50% to 60% higher among women than among males according to the US National Center for Women & Retirement Research. Consequently, women spend 40% more time than men researching and are also less likely to trade on a ‘hot tip’. Third men need to reign in their overconfidence. 52% of men express confidence in their ability to invest wisely, compared to just 38% of women according to the American Savings Economic Council. Men are overconfident in their abilities to pick market beating stocks. This in turn often makes women better traders – more risk averse, awaiting clearer market signals for good trading opportunities and more diversified. So what do women need? A little more confidence to start investing, but not so much as to make them bad investors, appears to be the difficult resolution. From my own research, I have as many women learning trading from me as I do men from my own free website. So the future at least is equal.
“You hold cash, you lose money. Keep demonetising,” said Lord Lord Meghnad Desai, UK Economist and Labour Politician at the Indian Forum, organised by the London School of Economics on the 11th of March. The topics discussed and debated during the day-long sessions were “Is Modi-fied’ India the modified India?” Modulated by Dr Mukulika Banerjee – Associate Professor at LSE, the panelists were Ajay Maken President of DPCC Inc, Shazia Ilmi Spokesperson of the BJP and Meera Sanyal AAP Leader. The Business & Entrepreneurship panel discussed ‘Paradigm Shifts for Business in India’, Driving Innovation.’ Sudhir Mehta, Chairman & MD, Pinnacle Industries Ltd and Shiv Khemka, Vice Chairman of the Sun Group were the panelists. It was moderated by Prof Alnoor Bhimani of LSE. “Financial Reforms in India: Challenges and Opportunities” was the keynote address given by the Chairman of HDFC Ltd, Deepak Parekh. The seminar closed with “Bollywood and its Omnipotence” discussed by Farhan Akhtar and moderated by Naman Ramachandran. It covered Indian films stars going beyond the realms of Bollywood, the influence of Bollywood's soft power on Indian viewers and on how to strike a balance between censorship and freedom of artistic expression. The economic panel had a strong league of economists – Moderated by Amrita Dhillon, Professor of LSE, panellists included Lord Meghnad Desai, UK Economist and Labour Politician, Dr Surjit Bhalla of Oxus Research and
Aveda takes inspiration from 'Haldi' to make new products
Farhan Akhtar speaking at the LSE
Investments and Prof Maitreesh Ghatak , Professor at LSE. “Demonetisation and Digitisation - India’s readiness for a Cashless Economy” was the topic. “No one will say go ahead and do it, this experiment was never done before but I was an ardent supporter because this is the only exercise that will bring down tax evasion in India,” Lord Desai said. Corruption is a problem, but should we be over-obsessed with it? What will be the outcome? Prof Ghatak said “it’s a hypothetical question. BJP has won a landslide win in UP. The magic of Modinomics is yet to be criticised, but what is Moditics? Politically it was a successful move – a credible signalling device. The poor were hurt but they still voted for Modi,” he said. But is India ready for a Cashless Economy? “The only rationale is that it’s a shock therapy to move it to the digital economy. But what is getting missed? The informal sector is uninformed. We can shift to online, but we cannot ban the local kiranashops,” Prof Ghatak said. Dr Bhalla said “people are coloured, they still have their pre-2014 blinders on. Political economy is the most important issue and people are biased.” “Creation of black
money can be regulated only by attacking the sinks of black money – real estate, political funding and tax evasion. ‘Tax terrorism’ and corruption in India is deep-rooted. The demonetisation drive has reduced it,” he said. On the question of the economic impact or outcomes, Prof Ghatak said “I am less optimistic. It’s a classic mid-point till 2019. I worry about the government having a sharp arsenal against the people without proper safeguards... Reducing the power of the government is a paradox we have to grapple with. We need to empower state institutions to act as safeguards for citizen rights,” he said. As per Lord Desai, “eliminating corruption is difficult to stop through arbitrary power.” In that case, is India ready to get into the league of superpowers? “We need the economy to grow fast by uplifting the poor,” said Prof Ghatak. “That is the moral model. Getting a cleaner environment, alleviating gender discrimination, uplifting the tribal, eradicating untouchability and becoming more inclusive is how you should measure your power. Exclusive might should not be measured only on the country’s military expertise,” affirmed Prof Ghatak.
USA-based company Aveda recently launched its newest products Tulasāra™ Wedding Masque Overnight and Wedding Masque Eye Overnight to help brides retain that glowing skin on their wedding day. While the products won't seem groundbreaking, what is worth noticing is the company's influence. Hindus have for decades, practised the "Haldi" ceremony, where in turmeric paste is put on brides by her relatives. The paste, which is bright yellow in colour, is used to keep evil spirits and omens away, and is washed off after setting for three or four hours. It is usually a mix of turmeric, chickpea powder and rose water. Divyesh Patel, Director of Skincare Research and Development, at Aveda, said, "Haldi refers to the paste that is used in the Haldi ceremony, which is part of a traditional Indian wedding." He adds, "Turmeric is a known skin brightener, so the Haldi also helps the bride and groom look for their best on their wedding day." While the products do not necessarily have to be used on the eve of one's wedding, they do share ingredients with the popular Hindu ritual and promise brighter, more luminous skin. Formulas of the masques contain Curcumonoids, a kind of turmeric extract that won't stain your skin. It also contains apricot seed oil, an ayurvedic ingredient that repairs the lipid barrier of the skin. Divyesh recommends applying a thick coat of the masques and allowing the formula to sink in overnight. He elaborates that "applying a product that helps brighten overnight is an effective way to wake up radiant, as your skin shifts into repair mode while you sleep."
Akshaya Patra hungers for eliminating starvation
Continued from page 15
How has UK contributed to the efforts of Akshaya Patra? Bhawani: The UK office started out predominantly as a fundraising outpost for Akshaya Patra. Our primary objective for long was to mobilise support, channelise funds and direct those funds into Indiatowards the programme. We have had a step change in that strategy. We want to build significantly strong advocacy platforms for Akshaya Patra. We want the world not just to get involved with
Akshaya Patra but also to utilise its resources, capabilities and learnings. Whether that means using the platforms, skill and knowledge base of Akshaya Patra to work with large organisations in the world, whether it is working with governments or working with children who go to university who need a transformation purpose. Another thing is how do we leverage our mission and ambitions of Akshaya Nidhi to be able to support the cause of Akshaya Patra? We are also looking at the possibility of creating a service programme in the
local community areas where we operate. So we are interested in actually starting a feeding programme in theUK. Is Akshaya Patra doing any such feeding programme in the UK? India may be one of the fastest growing economies in the world but it also has the hunger problem. So the challenge is to resolve this paradox. And the paradox is how do you grow the country as well as solve the problem that comes as part of this growth. In the UK there is homelessness, malnutrition, a large number of
students are missing meals at schools, a large number of students go to school hungry – the problem is the same, so what we are intending to do here is create awareness about this to begin with by local partners and advocacy platforms, including universities and youth ambassadors at high school levels. Media and government will do its job. But at the grassroots level how do we hold the local community in solving this problem? Right now we are starting a pilot where we are starting a feeding programme collaborating with another group and our
intent is to give them the scale and the know-how so that together we can actually start a tangible initiative in the UK which we can grow and scale. It is a trisector model – the government, individuals and institutions cannot solve every problem, but the problem impacts all the three. Would you encourage partnering with other charities? Absolutely. I think the DNA of Akshaya Patra is collaboration over competition. We don’t compete with anyone and we are open to collaboration with everyone. The fundamental
of our model is around the trisector philosophy. Of course, provided our philosophies match, provided we are only committed to actually doing what we are committed to do, we are open to collaborating with anyone. How can the UK audience support you? Engage, talk, get in touch with us and get the communities engaged with us. Own a part of our problem. We are trying to solve the problem, but we cannot solve it without the help and support of the community.
Hafiz brother-inlaw takes charge of JuD
LAHORE: Following Hafiz Saeed's house arrest, his brother-in- law Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki has taken over charge of the head of Jamaatud-Dawah, an official of the group said. Makki, who holds a $ 2 million bounty on his head, was the second in command of the militant group, although several reports suggest Saeed still runs the show from his house. Makki has led more than half a dozen rallies in Lahore and other places ever since Saeed was put in detention by the Punjab government, for a period of 90 days in exercise of powers under section 11EEE (1) of Anti Terrorism Act 1997. Several offices of both JuD and FIF were closed following the house arrest. Both the organisations were also put on observation under the AntiTerrorism Act, 1997. Names of Saeed, and 37 other members of JuD and FIF have also been placed on exit control list, preventing them from leaving the country. Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had claimed that the government was fulfilling its obligations under United Nations Security Council's resolutions. As Saeed, the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attack, carrying a US bounty of $10 million on his head, Makki has also $2 million on his head. In a statement, Makki demanded immediate release of Saeed.
Trump asks Bharara, 45 other attorneys to quit
WASHINGTON: The Trump Administration has pulled away any remaining existence of the Obama administration prosecutors at the justice department, by ordering 46 holdover US attorneys to put forth their resignations immediately. The firings came as a surprise, especially for Preet Bharara, US attorney in Manhattan, who had held a meeting with then Presidentelect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, and was told to stay on. However, Bharara was one of the several federal prosecutors to receive a call from acting deputy attorney general Dana Boente, who instructed him to resign. While several prosecutors publicly announced their resignations, a spokesman for Bharara declined to comment. Justice department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores responded via email, saying that all remaining holdover US attorneys had been asked to resign, leaving their deputy US attorneys in place in an acting capacity. "As was the case in prior transactions, many of the US attorneys nominated by the previous administrations already have left the department of justice. The Attorney General has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed US attorneys to
tender their resignations," she said. The rather unexpected order came just two weeks of increasing calls from Trump's allies asking to oust appointees from former president Barack Obama's administration. Several officials revealed the firings were planned last week. The move also came the same week government watchdogs wrote to Bharara, asking him to investigate whether Trump had violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars federal officials from taking payments from foreign governments. Bharara. 48, has made a name for himself - both nationally and internationally, with several high-profile cases and investigations including foreign countries, insider trading, and those involving
US politicians. It was his prosecution that convicted Indiaborn former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta for insider trading in 2012. New York Senator Charles Schumer said he was "troubled" to learn the reports of requests for resignations from the remaining US Attorneys, particularly that of Bharara. "The President initiated a call to me in November and assured me he wanted Mr Bharara to continue to serve as US Attorney for the Southern District," he said. "By asking for the immediate resignation of every remaining US Attorney before their replacements have been confirmed or even nominated, the President is interrupting ongoing cases and investigations and hindering the administration of justice," Schumer added.
UK Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Trump's choice Seema Verma to head Medicare & Medicaid
NEW YORK: President Donald Trump's nominee for administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma was approved by the Senate in a 55-43 vote. Verma is now second Indian-American to be in charge of a plum administration post, after Nikki Haley- the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Verma's confirmation comes as congressional Republicans escalate their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Verma, who is an ally of Vice President Mike Pence, has been working on health care policy for more than a decade and developed an alternative Medicaid plan in Indiana.
Indonesian Buddhists get sharia lashes
JANTHO: Two Bhuddists in Indonesia's Jantho city opted for sharia law after they were accused of cockfighting. They were lashed in front of residents in the city of Jantho, Aceh province. Caning is common in Aceh for breaking the province's strict Islamic laws, for offences ranging from drinking alcohol, to gambling to gay sex. In the past only Muslim residents could be caned but that changed in 2015, when Aceh's regulations were overhauled.
Madhesis serve ultimatum to Nepal PM
KATHMANDU: The agitating Madhesi group has threatened Nepalese PM Prachanda that they would withdraw their support to his government if their demands were not addressed in a week. They had earlier served a five-point memorandum to Prachanda. In the memorandum, Madhesi leaders have demanded withdrawal of local elections' programme, discussion on the Constitution amendment bill in the Parliament, probe of police firing in Saptari and action against persons found guilty in the firing incident.
Pak parliament passes Hindu marriage bill Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
ISLAMABAD: The landmark Hindu Marriage Bill, 2017, has finally been passed in the Pakistan Parliament, regulating marriages of the minority community in the country. After a lengthy process of enactment, the law was finally passed, giving Hindus in the country an exclusive personal law to regulate marriages. This was the second time that the National Assembly passed the bill. It was passed in September last year, but had to be passed again as its version of bill was changed by the Senate when it adopted the bill in February.
'Nikahnama' in Muslims. The Shadi Parath will be required to be signed by a pundit, and will be registered with the relevant gove r n m e n t
Rules dictate, the same text should be passed by the two Houses of Parliament before it is sent to the President for his signatures and promulgation for implementation. The final approved text includes the Shadi Parath- a document similar to the
department. The simple document has eight columns including the date of marriage, and followed by the name of the union council, tehsil, town, and district. It has columns for particulars of the bridegroom - his name and
father's name, date of birth, date and place where the marriage is solemnised, temporary address, etc. It also contains the matrimonial status - single, married, divorced, widower and the number of dependents. Similar details are required for the bride, except for one change. Her mother's must also to be written in the document. Both the bride and the groom have to sign the document along with one witness and the registrar. The Hindu marriage bill will help Hindu women to get documentary proof of their marriage.
Khalistan supporter gets 15-year jail in US NEW YORK: A 42 year old Indian has been sentenced to 15 years in jail in the US, for plotting terror attacks in India. Balwinder Singh, member of not one, but two terrorist groups, provided material support to the Khalistan movement to "intimidate" the Indian government, and harm those not in support of the groups' cause. He was sentenced to 180 months in prison, by US district judge Larry Hicks in Reno. US attorney Daniel
Bogden said, "This case is an example of multi-law enforcement agencies work-
ing together to protect the United States and our foreign allies from a terrorist act." Singh, who is an Indian citizen and a permanent US resident, had pleaded guilty in November last year. Court documents suggest that Singh conspired with others to support terrorist attacks in India, between September and December 2013. In October, the same year, he and others agreed that one of them would travel to India and carry out a terror attack "likely an assassination or
maiming an Indian government official." In November 2013, Singh purchased two sets of night vision goggles and a laptop and supplied them to a coconspirator. The co-conspirator attempted to board a flight from the San Francisco International Airport to Bangkok in December 2013 but law enforcement prevented him. After these events, Singh continued to plan the terror attack in India until Singhâ€™s arrest in December 2013.
India's offer to become permanent member in expanded UNSC UNITED NATIONS: India, along with other members of the G4 have offered to initially forgo veto powers as permanent members in a reformed Security Council, in a bid to get the reform process moving. India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin, who spoke on behalf of the G4 at the Inter-Governmental Negotiations on Council reforms, said, "The issue of veto is important, but we should not allow it to have a veto over the process of Council reform itself." The G4 constitutes of India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan, which lobbies for Council reforms and mutual-
ly support each other's candidatures for permanent seats on any expanded body. While the new permanent members would in principle have veto powers, Akbaruddin informed that "they shall not exercise the veto until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review." Meanwhile, the G4 released a statement saying, "While we are aware of no other way to proceed but this, we are open to innovative ideas to rework the UN system." It rejected suggestions to create a category of longer-term elected members of the Council as a plan to block adding new permanent members.
Akbaruddin said expanding the non-permanent categories would only worsen "the imbalance of influence" in the Council and "tilt the scales" in favour of an outdated set up. However, the Uniting for Consensus (UfC), a 13-member group including Pakistan, opposed expanding permanent membership and suggested creating a new category of elected membership with longer terms than the current two years, instead. Brushing aside the proposal as "old hat", Akbaruddin said the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks conference held in Washington to negotiate the shape of the UN had rejected suggestions
for the longer-term Council membership. Any proposal for Council reforms without an expansion of the number of the permanent seats does "grave injustice to Africa's aspirations for equality," he said. The G4 also pointed out that the number and allocation of non-permanent seats have outlived their relevance since the UN was formed and the reform in 1965 when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to 10. Akbaruddin said that 53 members of the Asia-Pacific group of nations have only two elected seats on the council, while the 26member Western Europe group also get two.
S Korea court ousts president over graft scandal SEOUL: South Korean Constitutional Court has removed President Park Geun-hye from office, over a graft scandal involving the country's conglomerates at a time of rising tensions with North Korea and China. While she did not appear in court, a spokesman said she would not be making any comment nor would she leave the presidential Blue House residence. The ruling was followed by severe protests from hundreds of her supporters. Two of them even died in police clashes outside the court. Park is the country's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office after months of tur-
moil over a corruption scandal that also gave the head of the Samsung conglomerate a one-way ticket to jail. Acting Chief Judge Lee Jungmi said Park had violated the constitution and law "throughout her term", and despite objections of parliament and the media, had
concealed the truth and cracked down on critics. Park, 65, no longer has immunity as president and could even face criminal charges over bribery, extortion and abuse of power in connection with allegations of conspiring with her friend Choi Soon-sil. This isn't the first time Park will make a tragic departure from the Blue House. In 1979, when serving as first lady after her mother was killed by a bullet meant for her father, she and her two siblings had to leave the presidential property after her father was killed.
She was impeached by parliament on December 9. An election to pick her successor must be held within 60 days, the court ruled. The President's supporters and detractors rallied outside the court as police officers and police buses were deployed to prevent a possible clash. The court's decision strips Park of her immunity from criminal prosecution, which will force her to undergo interrogation by prosecutors over her alleged crimes. Park was the first female President of South Korea. She took office on February 25, 2013. Her father, Park Chung-hee, was the President from 1963 to 1979 after he seized power in 1961.
Sikh man arrested for killing daughter-in-law in US
WASHINGTON: A Sikh man was arrested for killing his daughter-in-law during an argument at the family's home in California's Suisun City, the police said. According police, Amarjit Singh, 63, confessed that he was upset with his daughter-in-law Shameena Bibi for being "disrespectful." The attack took place earlier this week and Singh told the police that he was angry with Bibi over a bicycle and confronted her in the garage of their home in the Solano County city, east of the San Francisco Bay. The IndianAmerican attacked his 29-year-old daughter-inlaw with a hammer, the police said. Bibi was living with her husband, two-year-old son, and husband's parents. Her mother-in-law and son were inside the home when the fatal attack occurred, said officials.
Lanka to release Indian fishermen
NEW DELHI: India's Ministry of External Affairs said that all 85 fishermen, who are in custody of the Sri Lankan Government, would be released soon. "The Government of Sri Lanka has informed the High Commission of India in Colombo that all 85 Indian fishermen, currently in custody, will be released. We understand that the instructions in this regard have been issued. We are awaiting further orders from Sri Lanka in this regard," MEA official spokesperson Gopal Bagley said. With regards to the killing of an Indian fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, Bagley said that the High Commission has reached to "the highest possible levels in Colombo" and was assured of "thorough investigation" into the matter.
IS jihadis using Telegram to dodge sleuths in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The Islamic State terror group militants in Pakistan are dodging authorities by using a messenger app to communicate instead of calling each other to avoid detection. The militants have been using the Telegram messenger app and not the traditional communication channels like mobile phones to avoid detection and so far their strategy has proved more than successful, a police official said. The application has proved beneficial for militants to communicate and the most important feature is that it is `self-destructible', he said. â€œOnce a voice message is sent via Telegram app it is deleted automatically from the phone so you have no backup and that is why it is currently impossible for the police and intelligence agencies to intercept it,â€? he said.
17 trapped miners found dead in China
BEIJING: Rescuers found bodies of 17 miners who had been trapped underground after the mine accident in Heilongjiang Province on 9 March, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted local officials as saying. The workers were in a cage which suddenly fell down during operation after its electric cable caught fire at Dongrong Second Mine of the Shuangyashan branch of Longmay Mining Holding Group. A total of 256 miners escaped, local officials said.
Egypt's ex-President Hosni Mubarak to be released
CAIRO: Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was on Monday ordered released in view of his having served his maximum pre-trial detention sentence. In May 2014, Mubarak was sentenced to three years in jail after he was found guilty of appropriating millions of Egyptian pounds which had been allocated to the presidential palaces. The Attorney General's release order in this regard declared that Mubarak served his term during the pre-trial detention period, according to Al-Ahram. Back in April 2011, an Egyptian prosecutor ordered Mubarak's detention for 15 days pending an investigation into charges of corruption and abuse of power. The former President was subsequently tried for murdering protestors who demonstrated against his rule in 2011.
INDIA - WORLD Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Strategic Advisor - Global Business & Government
Bharat’s Thank You Note to PM Modi It took its time coming, but in the end Bharat (more on that later) trumped the socalled political experts from New Delhi’s gin-n-tonic cocktail circuit. And how! The recently concluded round of elections to five State assemblies returned a verdict that can only be described as a thumping endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership of India. The final tally reads BJP: 4 states; Congress: 1 state. Of the five states in question, Uttar Pradesh was undoubtedly the most important. Occupying about the same area as the UK, the state would have displaced Brazil as the fifth most populous country in the world had it been independent. Conventional wisdom has it that the road to power in New Delhi runs through this
30 killed in attack on Kabul hospital
KABUL: Afghanistan's largest military hospital was attacked last week, by gunmen dressed as doctors who stormed into the facility and killed over 30 people in a sixhour stint. Over 50 people were wounded in the assault made on Sardar Daud Khan hospital, as explosions and gunfire shook Kabul's diplomatic district. Medical staff hid in the hospital wards, as they posted desperate messages for help on the internet. Administrators informed that three gunmen wearing white laboratory coats, began shooting bullets, after a suicide bomber blew himself up at the backdoor entrance, sparking chaos inside the 400-bed facility. "I saw one of the attackers, armed with an AK47 and dressed as a doctor, shooting at patients and guards on the third floor. They shot my friend but I managed to flee... I had to jump over the barbed wire to escape," said hospital nurse Abdul Qadeer. The Islamic State attackers were gunned down after special forces landed on the roof of the hospital in a military helicopter. Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said, "More than 30 people were killed and around 50 wounded in today's attack. Most of the victims are patients, doctors, and nurses." At least two more loud explosions, including what the defence ministry called a car bomb in the hospital's parking lot, were heard as Afghan special forces launched a clearance operation. The country's warring factions have almost always targeted medical facilities, negatively affecting the country's health system.
crucial state and that whoever rules Uttar Pradesh rules India. So, the overwhelming victory (325 out of 403 seats) in the state has sealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reputation as India’s most popular politician and the BJP’s status as the most prominent pole in Indian politics. Many analysts have called this round of elections, considered the semi-final before the 2019 General Elections, a watershed – and with good reason. For it marks a decisive rejection of the sluggish and corruption riddled top-down development model followed by the Congress and the many regional parties that have sprung up over the last quarter of a century to fill up the political vacuum caused by its decline. That space has now been occupied by the
BJP across most of India. Addressing party workers, as well as the nation, following the landslide win, Modi said: “A new India is emerging… The poor seek opportunities, not sops. The more opportunities you give them, the more the country will shine...” Modi was once again reaching out to the last person in the queue – the people of Bharat, the person who toils hard in small towns and villages. Since Independence, the Congress had perfected the art of giving hand-me- downs that tied multiple communities and special interest groups to the its party (and its first-family) for generations and created captive vote banks. I interpret the mandate as Bharat’s thank you note to a Prime Minister who at last understands their struggles and their aspirations. The results have also clearly demonstrated that Prime Minister Modi’s inclusive slogan of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas (Development for all, discrimination against none) still resonates with the electorate, who have rejected the obstructionist policies of
the opposition parties led by the Congress. These elections were held in the immediate aftermath of the demonetisation (dubbed Demo by the media) of high value currency notes that, according to anecdotal evidence, had caused great economic dislocation. The results show that Modi was able to convince voters that the long-term benefits of Demo would far outweigh its short-term pain. Does this mean Modi’s re-election as Prime Minister in 2019 is a foregone conclusion? A week is a long time in politics; so, it is impossible to forecast a verdict two years in advance. But suffice to say that the 2017 election results show that the BJP government under Modi is far better placed than its rivals to return to power. Indeed, Modi is already talking of his 2022 vision for India, which coincides with India’s 75 th anniversary. Manoj Ladwa is the founder and chief executive of India Inc. - publishers of India Global Business and India Investment Journal @manojladwa
Sun Mark hosts gala annual dinner in Dubai Sun Mark held its annual Celebration Dinner in Dubai during the Gulfood exhibition at the lavish Shangri-La Hotel on 27th February 2017. It was, as always, a glittering affair with esteemed guests from the Middle East and South Asian region but with many flying in from as far away as Canada, Grenada and South Africa with the array of guests resembling a gathering of the United Nations. Sun Mark is the only British company to have been awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade for an unprecedented 5 consecutive years and is currently engaged in sales in over 130 countries and its reputation extends far and wide; so much so in fact that the Guest of Honour was Her Majesty’s Deputy Consul General to UAE, Mr Alastair Long. Sun Mark is the only company to have received this honour and continues to hold this British business record. The evening began with Mr. Harmeet (Sunny) Ahuja, Director of Sun Mark, welcoming the guests before showing a video of the developments at Sun Mark and the wider business group over the last year. The video showed how the group has developed further in the hotels and hospitality sector to add to its commercial property, marketing and distribution and freight forwarding businesses. The video told the audience of the continued acknowledgement of Dr. Ranger’s successes through his receipt of numerous accolades over the last year. The video showed how the highlight of 2016 was when the company’s Chairman and Founder, Dr. Rami Ranger, had formally received from Her Majesty the Queen, the award of CBE, in full, “Commander of The Most
Harmeet Ahuja with Dr Rami Ranger CBE
Excellent Order of the British Empire”. This is now the eighth time that Dr. Ranger has been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen and an achievement of which both he and all who know him are rightfully proud. Dr. Ranger, in his speech, paid tribute to all those who worked closely with him and how the success of Sun Mark is a result of a combination of customers, and suppliers and other service providers coming together to help each other to progress. He thanked his team from Sun Mark for all of their efforts. He reminded his guests that with the right values anyone can succeed and told his own story and how it can inspire anyone to do the best they can. The guests were then addressed by Her Majesty’s Deputy Consul General to the UAE, Mr Alistair Long, who spoke of the importance of trade and reiterated its importance in forging improved relations across the world. He also acknowledged Dr. Ranger’s philanthropic efforts and achievements. He spoke of the British food industry being a major employer in the
UK and an unsung hero of the British economy. He encouraged British companies to work in the UAE and to use it as a base to grow their business further Sun Mark then recognised some of its regional partners and distributors in the region who had made a significant contribution to the growth and development of business in the region. They were Mr. Jeevan Chouhan of Vivan International from India who was joined by his son Varun in accepting the award; Ms. Cathy Baptist of CBN Distributors from Grenada who was joined by her family in receiving her award; Mr. Harish Kishanchand of Harry’s Imports from Belize and Mr. Imran Raja of Oversees Corporation from Pakistan. The Vote of Thanks was given by Mr. Harmeet Ahuja, who thanked Dr. Rami Ranger and Sun Mark UK and UAE team for making the evening possible and for bringing together such a myriad of people from all over the world. The formal part of the evening was then concluded and dinner was served.
Pope open to married men being priests
BERLIN: Pope Francis said in an interview that the church may consider ordaining married men who could potentially then work in remote areas faced with a shortage of priests. “We must think about whether viri probati are a possibility,” Francis said referring to older, married men who are already involved in church business. “Then we have to decide what tasks they can take on, for example in remote communities,” he said when asked about lack of priests in many places. Pope Francis said in May 2014 that “there are married priests in the Church” citing married Anglican ministers who joined the Catholic Church, Coptic Catholics and the priests of some Eastern churches.
23 Asian countries meet in Pakistan to mull union like EU
ISLAMABAD: Representatives of 23 Asian countries are meeting in Islamabad to talk about creating a regional block similar to the European Union. The chairman of Pakistan's upper house of the parliament, Raza Rabbani, addressed the gathering. He urged the participants to take steps to ensure "that the destiny of Asia must not be directed by the capitalist Western" states. However, with huge rivalries among the countries of the continent, the possibility of an Asian bloc similar to the EU is remote. India and Afghanistan have both sent envoys to the gathering, which comes amid increasingly tense relations the two of them have with Pakistan.
Pak govt to act against Imran Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Government has decided to take action against Pakistan Tehreeki-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan under cybercrime and defamation laws for what it described as trying to influence the Supreme Court's judgement in the Panama Papers case and damage Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's reputation through vilified media campaigns. According to reports, Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb and the ruling PML-N's MNA Daniyal Aziz said that the PTI chief had tried to damage the Prime Minister's reputation by levelling false allegations against him during his speeches and on the social media. The government had a right to proceed against him under the country's cybercrime and defamation laws, they added.
Muhammad Ali's son stopped again at airport
WASHINGTON: One day after Muhammad Ali Jr spoke with members of Congress about being detained at a Florida airport last month, he was briefly stopped again before boarding a flight on Friday afternoon, his lawyer said. When Ali arrived at Reagan National Airport in Washington for a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he gave his Illinois identification card to a JetBlue agent to get his boarding pass, said his lawyer, Chris Mancini. Almost immediately, Ali was told that there was a problem and that the agent needed to call the department of homeland security, Mancini said. Ali, 44, was asked his date of birth, where he was born and his social security number, Mancini said. After answering the questions, he was told that his Illinois-issued identification card, which expires in 2019 but is not a driver's licence, was invalid for flying. Mancini said that the episode lasted between 20 and 25 minutes.
Sharif asks clerics to preach peace
LAHORE: Pakistan's PM Nawaz Sharif appealed to clerics to use the mosque's pulpit to spread the message of peace and counter the extremist mindset. Sharif made the remarks while addressing a seminar at Jamia Naeemia in Lahore, a leading seminary of majority Sunni school of thought, on the eighth death anniversary of its founder Maulana Sarfaraz Hussain Naeemi, who was killed by militants. Sharif said the religious scholars should promote true teachings of Islam and stand up against those who are sowing seeds of discord and disunity.
Dramatic increase in Naidu son’s assets Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's son, N Lokesh's personal assets have seen to be drastically increased from £1.45 million in October 2016, to over £33 million by the end of February. The 34 year old has filed an affidavit declaring his and his family's assets to the Election Commission when he filed his nomination to contest for a berth in the Legislative Council. Lokesh, in the affidavit, declared £27.38 million as movable assets in the form of shares in the family-owned Heritage Foods Ltd. Earlier
promoted by Naidu's family, it was partially sold off to Future Retail Ltd., led by Kishore Biyani, on November 8, last year. He was the executive director. Lokesh also
Protest against moral policing in Kerala KOCHI: Hundreds of people gathered in protest against moral policing and to reclaim their rightful space in Kochi's Marine Drive, last week. Just a day before, a group of Shiv Sena members had chased couples away with sticks, shouting and harassing them, while policemen looked on. One of the protesters, Lasar Mazhavil said, "We want to change mindsets. What is happening is not democratic." Several Shiv Sena workers have been arrested, and Aditya Thackeray, son of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, suspended the six major accused from the party. A police official was suspended for alleged inaction, and nine others have been transferred. After being targeted by the Opposition, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan posted on his Facebook page saying, "Marine Drive incident is a shame to Kerala. Won't allow any moral policing or goondaism in the state. These people think they can continue in the old ways of patri-
archy, of subjugating women." Just last month, a 22 year old man hung himself outside his house after he and a female friend were filmed, abused, and attacked by a group of men on Valentine's Day at an isolated spot on a beach in Kollam. Their video was uploaded on social media by the men, who have been arrested. "Love is not a sin. Young men and women have every right to love those they like. Mine is a love marriage. We are living happily as a couple. The lovers come to parks and such public spaces to get to know each other. Nobody will be allowed to stop them," Lazar said. He said the socalled guardians of morality were opposing all types of male-female relationship. They don't like men and women to walk together in public spaces, travel together in a car, sit in a room, or eat together at a restaurant. "The people who see sex in these activities have a sick mentality,” Lazer said.
Jat protesters observe ‘Black Holi’ in Haryana ROHTAK: Effigies of BJP leaders, including those of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, were burnt in Rohtak and adjoining districts, by Jat protesters, who also observed a 'Black Holi'. The move came as part of their ongoing dharnas to press for their demands, including reservation and withdrawal of cases against the community youths in connection with last year's agitation. Upset with the national party's clean sweep in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the All India Jat Aarakshan Samiti president Yashpal Malik, a UP-local, said the party polarised the electorate on communal lines and secured the Jat votes as well. Addressing protesters at Jassia village, Rohtak, Malik said, "However, we will not be disappointed. It's because of our movement that BJP President Amit Shah had to repeatedly say in his election
rallies in UP that they are with the Jat community. Our protest made them nervous and they had to hold meetings with local Jat leaders to win their confidence. PM Modi also had to invoke former Prime Minister and Jat leader Charan Singh's name in his speech during an election rally to woo farmers and the Jat community." He said it was now BJP's turn to support the Jat community and accept its demands after the party's exceptional victory. "The BJP has won in UP and the Captain is being arrogant in Haryana. He should resign and contest the elections again to see where he stands," he spoke about finance minister Captain Abhimanyu's criticism of him. He said Jat protesters would go ahead with their proposed ‘Delhi March’ on March 20 and their plan to gherao Parliament. “The government has a few days to agree to our demands if it wants us to end our agitation.”
declared immovable assets worth £1.8 million, inheritance worth £3.85 million, and liabilities of £628,000, totalling around £33 million. His wife Brahmani owns assets worth £538,000 while his one year old son Devansh is worth £ 1.12 million, including an inherited house valued at £917,000, and £200,000 in fixed deposits. Lokesh said he did not acquire assets in the last five months. "My declaration of assets last October was based on acquisition value. EC guidelines stipulate that the true market value should be disclosed so I declared the
assets' value as per latest market rates. I had inherited Heritage Foods shares from my father in 1998 and I own 23,66,400 shares and the market value of each share was less than Rs 200 till 2010. Now the share value is around Rs 1,100 which increased the total value of the shares that I own to £27.38 million." He also added, "The value of the house was also calculated according to existing market rates while it cost us a few thousand rupees when we purchased it in 1989. I have not purchased or acquired any new assets recently."
TN Assembly told to hand over trust vote video to Stalin CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu assembly has been asked to hand over a video of a chaotic trust vote last month to Opposition DMK's MK Stalin, who has challenged Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami's election. Stalin has also challenged the eviction of DMK lawmakers from the house before voting, urging the court to cancel the trust vote. The Madras High Court will take up the case on March 24. Stalin's party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham had demanded a secret ballot, alleging the lawmakers of the ruling AIADMK were being forced to vote for a candidate handpicked by VK Sasikala. The state assembly secretary told the high court that there is no provision for a secret ballot, which saw E Palaniswami win. He smoothly sailed through the trust vote, win-
ning 122 votes after 88 DMK legislators were evicted by Speaker P Dhanapal for violence in the house. The only 11 votes against him were from the AIADMK's rebel faction led by former Chief Miniter O Panneerselvam. The DMK says the trust vote is illegal because it was introduced twice- once in the morning and again after two adjournments in the house. In the chaos, the Speaker was escorted out of the house, after which a DMK lawmaker was seen laughing and sitting on his chair, Stalin's shirt was unbuttoned and dishevelled when he was finally led out of the assembly along with his party legislators.
By-election in Jaya's constituency on April 12
CHENNAI: The Election Commission has ordered by-election to Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency in Chennai on April 12. It has been necessitated following the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa. "The commission has decided to use electronic voting machines in the by-poll. Adequate numbers of EVMs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines," the commission said. Meanwhile, the model code of conduct comes into force with immediate effect. Also, the commission has decided that the voter's identification will be made mandatory at the time of poll.
OPS faction fasts for probe into Jaya's death
CHENNAI: Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam led rebel faction of the AIADMK, observed a day-long hunger strike demanding a judicial probe into the death of former CM J Jayalalithaa. Opposition leaders last week, rejected the treatment summary released by the Edappadi K Palaniswamy government which had cited reports from Apollo Hospitals and AIIMS to state that Jaya had died from a massive cardiac arrest. Veteran leader E Madhusudhanan and former ministers K Pandirajan and C Ponnaiyan, along with Rajya Sabha MP V Maithreyan led their cadres in the fast across the state.
BJP leader hacked to death near Bengaluru
BENGALURU: Unknown assailants on Tuesday morning hacked to death BJP leader Vasu alias Kittaganahalli Vasu near Bengaluru. Assailants blocked the car of Vasu, pulled him out and then hacked him to death, police said. A case has been filed and a man hunt is on to nab the accused, police said. Bengaluru Rural Superintendent of Police Vinit Singh refused to comment on the possible motive behind the crime." Reacting to the incident, RSS Media Coordinator for Karnataka, Rajesh Padmar said the state government should take strong steps to stop such killings and demanded an immediate and impartial probe into it. "In the last two years, more than 10 RSS-VHP-BJP activists have been killed. It is a dangerous development in a democratic set-up," Padmar said.
Cong man wins Amritsar Lok Sabha by-poll
Parkash Singh Badal
CHANDIGARH: Congress candidate Gurjit Singh Aujla won the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat with a margin of 1,99,189 votes over his nearest BJP rival Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina. The by-poll was held along with the Punjab Assembly elections. The Congress candidate got 5,08,153 votes, Chhina got 3,08,964, while AAP's Upkar Singh Sandhu got 1,49,984 votes. The seat fell vacant ever since Captain Amarinder Singh resigned it last year, in protest against the Supreme Court's verdict on the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal water sharing agreement. He had won the seat by defeating the incumbent Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a high profile battle during the 2014 general elections. Before that, it was represented by Navjot Singh Sidhu who won it on three occasions, as a BJP candidate.
steps they take will come before you." SAD president Sukhbir Badal said, "The kind of development work we undertook, has never happened in the state. But if there was any deficiency or wrong propaganda launched against us, we will analyse these and then take corrective measures." He said that the SADBJP alliance lost the elections due to a drop in the vote share. The alliance received a 31 per cent vote share while the Congress and the AAP got 38 per cent and 23 per cent respectively, he added.
CHANDIGARH: Only six of the 81 contesting female candidates managed to secure a place in the 117-member Punjab Assembly. Three from Congress, and three from the Aam Aadmi Party, the winning candidates only account for 5 per cent of the Assembly. Among them, Congress' Aruna Chaudhary won Dinanagar constituency by the highest margin of 31,917 votes, and AAP's Rupinder Kaur won Bathinda rural seat by the lowest vote. Other winners include AAP's Sarvjit Kaur (Jagraon), and Prof Baljinder Kaur (Talwandi Sabo), and Congress' Satkar Kaur (Ferozepur Rural) and Razia Sultana (Malerkotla).
SAD to review election outcome: Badal CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal will hold a meeting to review the party's performance in the Punjab assembly elections, as announced by outgoing chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Congratulating the Congress on its victory, Badal said his party would support the new government if it works in the interest of the people and the state. "We will call a meeting of the party in which we will discuss the reasons," he told the press after submitting his resignation as chief minister to Governor VP Singh Badnore. The Congress bagged 77 of the state's 117 Assembly seats, while the ruling SAD-BJP combine won just 18. Speaking on the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link canal issue, he said that "not a single drop of water" will be shared. Responding to another question on the Congress' resolve to wipe out drug menace from the state in four weeks, Badal said, "Whatever
Just 6 women make it to assembly
HERITAGE - HISTORY Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Bhopal Plan and the Hindu Maharajas AsianVoiceNews
Tradition of Women Nawabs and Hindu Dewans in Muslim State
Dr Hari Desai
Bhopal has been the heart of British India and even post- independence India. The last Nawab Hafiz Muhammad Hamidullah Khan Bahadur used to be on the British side as a tradition of the Bhopal Nawabs since 1778 when the first Anglo-Maratha War broke out. During the Second World War, Nawab Hamidullah delivered such a forceful speech in support of British that Adolf Hitler, the German Dictator, started inquiring about the location of Bhopal in the map so that he could bombard it first, according to the
Bhopal-based Historian Dr. Mohd. Haneef Khan, who wrote the history of Bhopal Princely State. Bhopal as such was established as Bhojpal by the Hindu King Bhoj in 11th century with the capital at Dhar. Gradually the State of Bhopal was established in 1724 by the Afghan Sardar Dost Mohammed Khan, who was a commander in the Moghul army posted at Mangalgarh, which lies to the north of the modern city of Bhopal. Dost Mohammed helped the Gond Queen Kamalapati in executing her husband’s assassins and restored Gond kingdom to her. After her death and declining Mughal Empire, Dost Mohammed acquired the title of Nawab and declared Bhopal as an independent State. Bhopal always sided with the British in 1857 and even after. According to the list Dr.Khan sent on 27 October 2007, most of the Dewans of Muslim Bhopal were Hindus. They included Vijaya Ram, Raja Kishori Lal, Ghasi Ram, Kesari Singh, Himmat Ram, Gulshan Ram, Khushwant Rai, Thakur Prasad, Awadh Narayan and Chatur Narayan Malviya along with many Hindu officials. Bhopal must be rather
Hamidullah Khan,the Nawab of Bhopal who merged with Indian Union
The Founder of Bhopal State Dost Mohmmad Khan
the only State where the women Nawabs ruled continuously for more than a century. In 1819, 18 year old Qudsia Begum( also known as Gohar Begum) took over the reins after assassination of her husband.She was the first female ruler of Bhopal. Although she was illiterate, she was brave and refused to follow the purdah tradition.She declared that her 2 year old daughter Sikander will follow her as the ruler.None of the male family members dared to challenge her decision, according to the official history of the Bhopal State. Nawab Gohar Begum Qudsia ruled till 1837.Before her death, she had adequetately prepared her daughter for ruling the State. Nawab Sikander Jahan Begum took over in 1844 and ruled till 1864 to be followed by Nawab Shah Jahan Begum( ruled during 1864-1901) and Nawab Sultan Jahan B e g u m “ S a r k a r Amma”(ruled during 190126).She was the first President of the All India Conference on Education and first Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University(AMU), who
"Nawab" Saif and Begum Kareena Kapoor
abdicated the throne in favour of her son Hamidullah Khan in 1926. He nominated his eldest Nawabzadi( daughter), Abida Sultan, who gave up her right to the throne and opted for Pakistan in 1950.
Pakistan's Former Foreign Secretary and PCB Chairman Sahabzada Shaharyar Khan
Begum entered Pakistan Foreign Service and died in 2002.Her son Nawabzada Shaharyar Khan also entered Pakistan Foreign Service and rose to become the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan as well as the
Nawab Mansur Alikhan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore(Ayesh Sultan Begum)
The Government of India excluded her from the succession and her younger sister Begum Sajida succeeded her. Abida Sultan
Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board. Nawab Sajida Begum married Iftikhar Ali Khan, the eighth Nawab of
Saif and Kareena with their son Taimur
Pataudi, the region now is part of Haryana state. She was mother of Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, the famous Captain of Indian cricket team who married the well-known film actress Sharmila Tagore (Ayesha Sultan Begum Sahiba). Nawab Sajida Begum, who died in 1995, was succeeded by her son Nawab Mansur Ali Khan and after his demise in 2011 ,his son and famous actor Nawabzada Saif Ali Khan is considered the head of the Bhopal Royal family and even “ Nawab”. His elder son, Nawabzada Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan( born in October 2001) by his first wife and film actress Amrita Begum(Amrita Singh) is first in succession. Saif, as Sajjid Ali Khan, got his second marriage registered with another film actress Kareena Kapoor and has one son Nawabzada Muhammad Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi born on 20 December 2016. Hamidullah Khan was the Chancellor of Chamber of Princes in 1931-32 and during 1944-47, he was enjoying so much of influence over other Princely States. Being very closed to the British rulers and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Hamidullah tried his level best to have a thirds Union apart from Indian Union and Pakistan Union. But when partition was accepted by the Congress and the Muslim League, he defected from the Central India States’ Union he had founded. “ The Maharajas of Jodhpur and Indore were under the Nawab’s influence. Against the advice of Sri C. S. Venkatachar, ICS, then his Prime Minister, the Maharaja of Jodhpur approached the Maharajas of Baroda and Udaipur to join him in acceding to Pakistan. With Jinnah’s blessings, he attempted to project Pakistan right across India through the States of Jodhpur, Udaipur, Indore, Bhopal and Baroda. The territories would extend from the borders of Pakistan to Bhopal in the East and Navsari in the Surat (now
Navsari)District of Gujarat in the south.”, records K.M. Munshi in “Pilgrimage to Freedom”. This was the Bhopal Plan, the brainchild of Hamidullah. Unfortunately for his Plan, Munshi had taken the Maharajkumar of Jaisalmer to Gandhiji and Sardar Patel. Even after that he was induced by the Maharaja of Jodhpur to accompany him to see Jinnah, he raised certain questions. The Maharaja of Jodhpur threatened to kill the Constitutional Advisor to the Viceroy, V. P. Menon, ICS, whipping out a revolver since Menon was keen on the Maharaja joining the Indian Union. Udaipur was a link between Jodhpur on the west and Indore and Bhopal on the east, and the dream of the Nawab of Bhopal acceding to Pakistan could succeed only if Udaipur came into the proposed Pakistan enclave. Munshi who was the Constitutional Advisor to the Maharana Bhupal Singh of Udaipur notes : When the Maharana of Udaipur received the invitation from the Maharaja of Jodhpur to join the Bhopal Plan, the descendant of Rana Pratap replied : “ My choice was made by my ancestors. If they had faltered, they would have left us a kingdom as large as Hyderabad( which was the largest then).They did not; neither shall I. I am with India.” The Bhopal Plan was blasted off by the Maharana of Udaipur i.e. Mewad. As a last resort, the Nawab of Bhopal even tried to convince V.P. Menon to agree to hold plebiscite but the proposal was flatly refused saying : “It was absolutely unnecessary; that even in the case of such large States as Gwalior and Indore, we have not held plebiscites.” And the Nawab signed the merger agreement on 1 June 1949. Next Column : The Nizam of Hyderabad and Sardar Patel (The writer is a Sociopolitical Historian. E-mail : email@example.com )
Saif's daughter Sara and son Ibrahim with their mother Begum Amrita
INDIA - WORLD
Ahmedabad-London AI plane loses ATC contact over Hungary Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Two Hungarian fighter jets had to escort an Ahmedabad-London flight, after it lost contact with air traffic control for almost an hour last week, while flying over the east European country. The flight carrying 231 passengers and 18 crew later landed safely at London's Heathrow Airport. The incident closely follows a similar scare, when the German Air Force had to send two fighter planes for a Jet Airways Mumbai-London flight on February 16. Last week's Air India flight scare may have been triggered by a communication failure as the AI pilots were surprised to spot the
Hungarian fighter jets escorting their Dreamliner. They switched to a different frequency to speak to one of the Hungarian pilots, asking why their plane was being escorted. They were soon told that the fighter jets were scrambled as the plane had been "out of touch" for a while.
Despite the conversation, the Hungarian jets kept flying with the AI plane, and the pilots had to speak to the fighter pilot and told him the passengers were alarmed as they could see the jets, informed a highly placed source. It was only after this that the two jets flew away and the AI plane
kept flying to London. When contacted, a senior AI official said, "Our head of flight safety is investigating how the plane lost contact for somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour during which, given its speed, it would have flown over 600-800 km crossing over at least two EU nations." Spokesman GP Rao said, "The plane took off from Ahmedabad for London at 7 am Friday. It lost control with local ATC over Hungary for some time. The flight landed safely at London Heathrow at 11.06 am (all times local). The airline is conducting an inquiry into this."
In a first, SC issues bailable warrant against sitting judge The Supreme Court has taken a stern view of Calcutta High Court Judge CS Karnan defying its order to present himself in court, and in an unprecedented move, issued a bailable warrant against him. A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar decided it had had enough of Karnan's defiant ways and acted tough as he refused to comply with two SC orders seeking his personal appearance despite a notice being served on him. The court said it was left with no option but to issue a warrant against him to secure his presence in the court on the next date of hearing on March 31.
Justice CS Karnan
This is the first time a sitting judge of the higher judiciary is facing contempt proceedings and the apex court has been forced to issue a warrant against a judge. Karnan has maintained that he is a victim of caste bias and has often accused his colleagues of discriminating against him. He has also claimed that the proceedings
against him are vitiated by the same sentiment. Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi informed the bench, including Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, that Karnan had refused to mend his ways and there is no let-up in his contemptuous behaviour as he recently passed an order against the SC order on the "suicide note" of former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul in which allegations were levelled against certain judges. He added that Karnan had sought a meeting with
him and fellow judges to discuss allegations levelled by him. "It would be pertinent to mention that the registry of this court received a fax message from Justice C S Karnan, dated March 8, seeking a meeting with the Chief Justice and the judges of this court, so as to discuss certain administrative issues expressed therein, which primarily seem to reflect the allegations levelled by him against certain named judges. The above fax message cannot be considered as a response of Justice Karnan, either to the contempt petition, or to the notice served upon him," the bench said.
UP UP and Away!
Continued from page 1
was CM from March 2012 to November 2014. Incumbent CM Laxmikant Parsekar's electoral defeat paved way for his return to state politics. PUNJAB
and 2 Independent MLAs, thus having a total strength of 21 MLAs in the 40-member assembly." However, the Congress cried foul, claiming itself to be the largest party in the petite state. "The Governor cannot elect the government. It is the governor’s constitutional obligation to apply his mind and satisfy himself on who has a right to form the government," senior advocate and Congress party leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued. Parrikar, who served as the Union Defence Minister, resigned from his post when the Governor called him. He
One ray of hope for Congress amid dark, doubtful clouds. Captain Amarinder Singh, senior party leader of the Congress, is all set to take oath as the Chief Minister of Punjab, on March 16. The victory was a feat solely achieved by Singh, who has
also been unanimously elected as the Congress Legislature Party leader by the newly-elected party MLAs. The brand new MLAs list includes Navjot Singh Sidhu (Amritsar East), who had last year defected from the BJP, Pargat Singh (Jalandhar Cantt), and Raj Kumar Verka (Amritsar East). The Congress put a full stop on the decade-old rule of the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine, by winning 77 seats, one short of a two-
Infosys founder Murthy gets Thomas Jefferson Medal
The University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello announced the winners of the 2017 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Architecture, Law, Citizen Leadership and Global Innovation, who included entrepreneur and founder of Infosys N R Narayana Murthy. Murthy, the recipient of the Global Innovation medal, founded Infosys in 1981 and grew the Bangalore-based global software consulting company into an IT powerhouse through the design and implementation of its global delivery model for outsourcing services, the foundation said in a news release. At Infosys, which was listed on NASDAQ in 1999, Murthy served as the chief executive officer from 1981 until 2002, as chair and chief mentor from 1981 to 2011, and as chair emeritus from August 2011 to May 2013. “In the early ’80s, as a computer engineer, Murthy seized what he saw as great potential in software services and built a company and
ultimately an industry that has pioneered major changes in India’s business culture – creating jobs, raising business standards and launching a foundation to help the underprivileged,” said Scott C Beardsley, dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. “His innovations and leadership in the creation of a global software and services industry have created true value for humanity.” In addition to Infosys, the entrepreneur serves on several boards, including at the Ford Foundation, United Nations Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., as well as a member of the University of Tokyo’s Global Advisory Board. Previously he served as a member of the HSBC board and the Unilever board, as well as the boards of Cornell University, Wharton School, Rhodes Trust and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He has also chaired the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.
Raj Kumar Verka, who won from Amritsar West (SC), said the Congress government’s priority will be to end the state’s drug menace which "flourished under
(4), LJP (1) and two others lone independent Ashab Uddin and T Robindro Singh, who was elected on a Trinamool ticket. Meanwhile, incumbent Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh submitted his resignation to the Governor in the evening. However, he claimed that as the single largest party, Congress should be invited to prove its majority in the House. Parallelly, Governor Heptulla clarified in a statement that she had not asked any party to prove majority. "I had told the chief minister that he needs to resign first for me to even begin the process of government formation. I have not asked any party to prove majority," she said. While the Congress won 28 seats, its strength is down to 27, after Andro MLA Shyam Kumar defected to the BJP.Presently, the Election Commision has issued a notification in all five states, allowing the formation of a new government. As per protocol, either the incumbent chief minister has to resign or the EC has to issue a notification by which a party can stake its claim
the 10-year long regime of SAD-BJP." "A road-map has been prepared to end the source of drugs," he said. MANIPUR
Captain Amarinder Singh
third majority. Aam Aadmi Party managed to get 20 seats, while SAD-BJP won 18 seats in the state polls. Two seats went to AAP’s ally Lok Insaf Party (LIP). The winning margin of Amarinder from Patiala seat was the highest in the 117-member Punjab Assembly. Congress MLA
Following two days of intense drama, a BJP delegation including Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal, and chief ministerial candidate Nongthombam Biren Singh, met Governor Najma Heptulla at Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form the first ever BJP government in the state. The party, which won 21 seats, claimed the support of National People's Party (4 MLAs), Naga People's Front
Family, friends and strangers are urged to call 999 as soon as they notice any single one of the three key signs of a stroke: Face, Arms, Speech
To Our Readers
We are publishing these items in good faith, kindly consult your Doctor before you try to implement it. We do not hold any responsibility for its efficacy...
Laughter is the Best Medicine
quick thinking of my wife that saved my life. She noticed that my speech became slurred whilst watching TV one evening and insisted that I needed urgent medical help, so I was rushed to Hammersmith hospital. If it wasn’t for my wife I would have ignored the signs and gone to bed to rest, I dread to think what would have happened to me if I had followed my instinct. Three years on and I am well and I value every day of my life. I urge everyone to know and understand the signs of a stroke and to not take any chances with their life. If you or someone you know is experiencing facial weakness, arm weakness or speech problems, call 999, do not delay. It could save your life, like it did mine.” Stroke is now the fourth largest cause of death in the UK and South Asians are at a higher risk
My cousin always “borrows’ money from her older brother’s piggy bank, which drives him crazy. One day, she found the piggy in, of all places, the freezer. Inside was this note: “Dear sister, I hope you’ll understand, but my capital has been frozen.” *** Needing to look up a phone number at a friend’s house, my teenage daughter asked for a phone book. She might as well have asked for a papyrus scroll. “A phone book?” asked her friend. “You know,” said my daughter. “A book with numbers in it.” “Oh,” said her friend as it dawned on her. “You mean a math book.”
*** A two-year-old scared his family one summer by disappearing during their lakeside vacation. More than a dozen relatives searched the forest and shoreline, and everyone was relieved when they found Matthew playing calmly in the woods. “Listen to me, Matthew,” his mother said sharply. “From now on when you want to go someplace, you tell Mommy first, okay?” Matthew thought about that for a moment and said, “Okay. Disney World.” *** This couple was heading to the hospital with their 16year-old daughter, who was scheduled to undergo a tonsillectomy. During the ride they talked about the procedure. “Dad,” the teenager asked, “how are they going to keep my mouth open during surgery?” Without hesitation her father quipped, “They’re going to give you a phone.” *** A couple of hours into a visit with my mother she noticed I hadn’t lit up a cigarette once. “Are you trying to kick the habit?” “No,” I replied, “I’ve got a cold and I don’t smoke when I’m not feeling well.” “You know,” she observed, “you’d probably live longer if you were sick more often.”
of having a stroke than their white counterparts due to diabetes and high blood pressure being significant factors causing stroke. New statistics reveal that stroke kills over 40,000 people a year and almost two thirds leave hospital with a disability. People are most likely to have a stroke when they are 55 years of age or older, but South Asians are at a greater risk of experiencing a stroke at a younger age. Research shows that 24% of people would wait to call an ambulance because they wrongly believe that they need to see two or more symptoms of stroke to be sure. Other barriers to dialling 999 include feeling that they need permission to act on behalf of others. Whether you are a stranger in the street, a family member at home or the person themselves – do not ignore the key symptoms, call 999 immediately if you notice even one of the symptoms. Getting appropriate treatment can reduce the amount of brain damage and ensure a better chance of making a good recovery.
| Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Stroke survivor Jaswant Naker shares his story in a new ACT FAST film
Public Health England has released a series of films as part of the national Act FAST campaign, to help raise awareness of the vital role anyone can play when they see someone having a stroke. Jaswant Naker from Ealing is featured in a film sharing his story alongside Emmerdale actor Bhasker Patel describing the common signs of stroke. They are joined by Dr Sreeman Andole who highlights why people need to Act FAST and call 999 if they notice any single one of the three key signs of a stroke: Face, Arms, Speech. Jaswant Naker, stroke survivor said: “It was the
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Drinking Blueberry Juice May Boost Brain Function in Elder People A member of the prestigious category of superfoods, blueberries boast of health benefits, which are bound to leave you by surprise. These berries are not only a store house of antioxidants but also play a significant role in boosting immunity, regulating blood sugar and undoing the damage of a high-fat diet. A recent study suggests that drinking 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice daily can improve brain function of elderly people. The brain function in older people tends to decline with age, but a glass of blueberry juice can improve brain blood flow, boost brain activation and some aspects of working memory amongst older adults. For the study that was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, the team of researchers
studied 26 healthy adults, out of which 12 adults were given concentrated blueberry juice - providing the equivalent of 230g of blueberries - once a day, while 14 were given a placebo. Those who consumed the blueberry supplement showed increased signs of blood flow to the brain and cognitive function, compared to the group that was given placebo. Experts also indicated a significant improvement in working memory. The researchers point-
ed that blueberries are rich in in flavonoids, a component found abundantly in plants. These flavonoids possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which prompt in causing these positive effects in the elderly. Joanna Bowtell from the University of Exeter in Britain said, "The study shows that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation and some aspects of working memory were improved in this group of healthy older adults.” Researches conducted previously has already proved how an higher fruit and vegetable intake reduces the risk of dementia. A diet rich in plantbased foods also preserves the cognitive function better in healthy older adults.
Soy Foods May Increase Survival Chances in Breast Cancer Patients Soy is commonly used across the globe as a alternate source of animal protein and well as dairy products. Soy is a legume and available in a variety of forms - soy milk, beans, tofu, sauce, soya chunks, etc. These products provide a food source of essential vitamins and minerals, especially the unprocessed products. If you have been looking for vegetarian sources of protein. According to a new study by Cancer Prevention Institute of California - a US-based non-profit organisation consuming soy products may prove to be beneficial for some women diagnosed with breast cancer. Contrary to earlier belief, of soy raising the potential risk of breast cancer
because of its estrogen-like properties that are found in isoflavones, this report paints a different picture. The new findings showed that soy foods not only prevent breast cancer but also benefit women who have breast cancer.
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Amy will fight with Vijay Sethupathi meets Vijay-Vikram in Mani Ratnam's next? Rajinikanth and Akshay Thala Ajith; upsets his wife
18th March 2017
hoot for Thalaivar's '2.0' is coming to a close and the entire project is expected to wrap up within a few days. While it was earlier reported that the female lead Amy Jackson, and lead villain Akshay Kumar will be seen locking horns in a fight sequence for the
film, latest reports revealed that the actress will also film a mass fight scene with Rajinikanth. It has been revealed that the actress also plays a robot in the movie. Produced by Lyca Productions banner, '2.0' is scheduled to hit the screens in October 2017.
ell hath no fury, like a woman scorned. Actor Vijay Sethupathi has apparently upset wife Jessie, by meeting up with superstar Thala Ajith in Chennai. The 'Dharmadurai' actor when came to know that Thala was in the city to shoot for his 57th film 'Vivegam',
sought an appointment and was immediately called upon the sets. This however, did not go down well with Jessie, who herself is an ardent fan of Thala, and was deprived of a chance to meet him, by her own husband. We just hope Vijay makes proper amends.
f reports are to be believed, Mani Ratnam is working on a fullfledged action movie on the lines of his super hit 'Thalapathy' starring Rajini, Mammotty, and Arvind Swamy. The new adaptation will star Vijay, Vikram, and Ram Charan
Teja. It has also been almost confirmed that while talks have already been held with Ram Charan, Vijay and Vikram have both heard the script and given their nod. Still the official confirmation is out nothing can be sure in the show business.
Kamal Haasan urged to Nandamuri Balakrishna’s 101st film goes on floors join active politics
eteran actor Kamal Haasan's Alwarpet office was abuzz with leaders of his fan clubs from across the state, along with senior advocates. It is reported that the meeting saw topics of discussion range from the current political scenario in the state, to procedures to face the legal hassles from the AIADMK government. There was also a collective sentiment from the leaders, asking Haasan to
enter politics. He, however, told the leaders they were in politics right now and their job does not end with casting votes. There are whispers that the clubs were advised to become completely functional as far as social issues are concerned. Knowing the Ulaganayagan this could well be a strong indication that he is indeed ready to take the plunge for what he believes even if it has forces a plunge in the murky waters of politics.
andamuri Balakrishna's 101st film has finally gone on floors in a grand launch ceremony in Hyderabad. The first clap was given by 'Baahubali' director SS Rajamouli. Balayya, this time has collaborated with Puri Jagganadh, and fans are going berserk. It has been correctly pointed out that the veteran actor might just be following Chiranjeevi's footsteps. Also, certain reports suggest that Puri's script for Balayya, was originally written for Chiranjeevi, and was based on his 'Rowdy Alludu' character. But since Chiru didn't take to the second half, they dropped the project. The same script has seemingly been given a new title.
Sridevi's next film is titled 'Mom'
Actress walks out of Dhanush's 'VIP 2'
Actor Arun Vijay gets a pat from Rajinikanth
r u n Vijay's l a t e s t release 'Kuttram 23' has been received with good reviews and is headed towards a successful second week. Directed by Arivazhagan, the medical crime thriller's success is expected to help boost Vijay's career as a hero. The movie also caught superstar Rajinikanth's attention, who, according to Vijay's social media page, called him and congratulated him
for his matured performance and body language. Thalaivar also loved the concept and making of the film, and proceeded to say that Vijay has proved himself with the movie.
eteran actress Sridevi made a stunning comeback in 2012 with 'English Vinglish' which was a super hit in Hindi and its Tamil version also well received by audience and critics. Now the dream girl of the 1980s is acting in the lead role in a film after a gap of five years. In the meantime she had made a guest appearance in the 2013 Hindi film 'Bombay
Talkies' and played a pivotal role in the 2015 Tamil fantasy entertainer 'Puli' that had Ilayathalapathy Vijay in the lead role. Sridevi's new film has been titled as 'Mom' and it is being directed by Ravi Udayaawr. The film will be hitting the screens on July 14, 2017. Like 'English Vinglish', 'Mom' will also be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages on the same day.
hanush has written and is starring as hero in ‘VIP2’ directed by Soundarya Rajinikanth. The film has Kajol in a pivotal role while Amala Paul, Samuthirakani, Saranya Ponvannan and Vivekh are also in the cast. Monal Gajjar who has played the heroine in ‘Sigaram Thodu’ was signed to play
a role similar to the one Surabhi played in the original and also shot for two days. Now Monal has walked out of the film as her commitments in Gujarati films has prevented her from continuing in ‘VIP2’. There is no information as to who will replace her in the film which is nearing completion.
Foreign media confused between Deepika and Priyanka
he West seems to be mistaking the identities of Indian actors, something they have been religiously doing for years. More recently, a video surfaced on the internet showing local Los Angeles media confusing Deepika Padukone with Priyanka Chopra. 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage' actress Padukone, faced the paparazzi outside LA Airport, most of whom tried to gain her attention by calling out "Hello Priyanka". Dippy, however, refrained from responding to any one them. This isn't the first time the actress has been mistaken to be Deepika. Back during the promotions of Vin Diesel's 'xXx', the same YouTube channel had posted a video of her, with the title citing
Priyanka's name. While they did realise their mistake soon and corrected it, the video description still identified her as Priyanka. Another incident involved her during a dinner 'date' with tennis star Novak Djokovic in LA.
Karan Johar becomes father of two babies
ilmmaker Karan Johar is now a proud father of not one, but two babies- Roohi and Yash. The news came as a wonderful surprise, as Johar cleverly managed to keep it under wraps and it only broke out almost a month after they were born. Reports say that except Gauri Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Manish Malhotra, nobody in the film fraternity had a clue that Karan was on his way to embrace fatherhood. Even people who work at Dharma Productions were left bereft of the update.
Spat with Kangana The 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' director has recently been busy in a verbal spat with 'Queen' actress Kangana Ranaut. All hell broke loose, after her appearance on his talk show 'Koffee With Karan' where she called him a "snooty flagbearer of nepotism." Karan had later said in an interview that she was confused about the understanding of the word nepotism and if she was so "terrorised" by Bollywood, she should leave it. The statement did not go down well with Koko who came back with a harsh retort. "I can't speak for Karan Johar's understanding of nepotism. If he
thinks that it is restricted nephews, daughters and cousins, I have nothing to say. But, to say that he chose not to give me work is to mock an artiste. As importantly, his memory appears to be poor because we worked together in a movie, which was produced by him." The actress also responded to Karan's statement asking her to stop using the "woman card". "I use every card possible. At the workplace, it’s the badass card to fight cutthroat competition. With my family and loved ones, it’s the love card. When fighting the world, it’s the dignity card, and for a seat in a bus, it’s the woman card. What is important to understand is that we are not fighting people, we are fighting a mentality. I am not fighting Karan Johar, I am fighting male chauvinism," she said. She did not stop there. "Now that Karan is the father of a little daughter, he should provide her with all these cards - the 'woman card' and the 'victim card', as also the 'self-made-independent-woman card', and the 'badass card' that I flashed on his show. We will use whatever we need to ensure no one rocks our boat."
While a leading tabloid cited the sportsman, they mentioned Deepika as his "female companion". This incident occurred at a time when she was shooting for Diesel's action film and was visibly making an impact in Hollywood.
Ranveer Singh is amazing to work with: Aditi Rao
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
diti Rao Hydari who plays Ranveer Singh's onscreen wife in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's upcoming periodical drama 'Padmavati,' said it was great working with the eccentric actor. "Ranveer is amazing. I love his energy... He is just a ball of affection. He is really amazing to work with. He gives you space and encouragement," she said. Both the actors had previously worked together with director Shaad Ali, and Saroj Khan, on a skit for a festival in Paris. Rao will play Kamala Devi, Alauddin Khilji's wife, in 'Padmavati' which also stars Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor. The 'Murder 3' actress has an interesting line-up this year with movies like Mani Ratnam's Tamil venture
Salman, Sonakshi to come together after 5 years
ollowing a reported fall off between Salman Khan, and his 'Dabangg' heroine Sonakshi Sinha, the two will come together to set the stage on fire for their Da-Bang concert tour. Confirming the news, Sona said, "Words cannot describe how special 'Dabangg' is for me and I absolutely love live performances because of the energy of the audience. It's an opportunity to take 'Dabangg' international and I'm looking forward to it."
The concert will take place in April, in Australia and New Zealand. Curated by Chocolate Room's Yaju Vaghela and Cinestar's Yogesh Sharma, both the actors will perform to their hit tracks. Sona also pulls a plug on speculations circling her replacement for Rajjo in the hit franchise. "'Dabangg' is my debut film. I love Rajjo and Chulbul Pandey's love story and if the script continues to have Rajjo, you can be assured that nobody but me will play the part."
'Kaatru Veliyidai' and Omung Kumar's 'Bhoomi'. However, she refrains herself from stating she is at the peak of her career. "I would rather like my work to speak for myself. I strive for challenging experiences, I strive to work with directors who challenge me and that's what I am doing right now. And that's what my dream is. I hope I
keep doing better. I don't want to be complacent ever," she said. "I had wished to work with both, Mani Sir, and Sanjay Sir and it came true. I hope to get to work with Mani Sir again. When you work with directors like them, you get addicted. The experience of working with them is incredible, it moves you as an actor."
nothing works out, in June-July I will start crowdfunding and by September-October, I will start shooting. There are three scripts so I don't know which one I will start first," Rajat added. He said that despite his popularity, it failed to make enough money, which comes as an important yardstick for investors. "Everybody loved the film, yet it is funny that I can't find a producer. It hasn't become easy for me, I still have to struggle every damn time. It didn't make enough money. Finally, it is the box office which matters." Visibly frustrated, Rajat said, "What people don't realise is, these things are not in your control. Nobody knows what will or won't work. My duty is, at least make something that you believe in."
Rajat Kapoor is bent on making his next film
ven after garnering several awards and critical acclaim for his last film 'Ankhon Dekhi', actor-director Rajat Kapoor finds it difficult to bag a producer for his next scripts. "I am ready with three scripts. I have been meeting all kinds of people from all over he world (but things aren't working out). But this year, I am going to make it. I promise this year I am going to shoot my next film. I will beg, borrow or steal, mostly steal because begging and borrowing is not working, but I will make this next year," Rajat said. His 'Ankhon Dekhi' only got a chance after he tweeted out his struggle to find a producer and Manish Mundra, of 'Raghu Romeo' fame eventually agreed to back the film. "If
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
Lets celebrate Mother’s Day with Maya Deepak
A Tribute to Mothers, Who Gifted Us Our Lives
Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice will be paying homage to all mothers through a series of unique programmes commencing from March 26, 2017. Matruvandana will celebrate motherhood through the exceptional medium of music. Celebrated Indian singer Maya Dipak will be paying tribute through melodious songs, promising it to be an evening to remember. Our readers are welcome to share this memorable evening with us, and pay testimonial to their mothers in our special Mothers’ Day issue. You can send us an ode, your mother's profile and photograph, or an advert and let this Mothers' Day be special for her. Be a part and give your mother the love, appreciation and respect she truly deserves. Gujrat Samachar and Asian Voice has collaborated with the local organisations listed below to celebrate Mother's Day.
l National Association of Patidar Samaj has arranged a Mother's Day Eve Party, on March 25, 7.30 pm onwards. Those interested can call Pravinbhai Amin on 020 8337 2873 or 07967013871. l Gujarat Hindu Society has organised a Bhajan Bhojan event, on March 19, Sunday, from 9.30 am to 2.00 pm l Attend Gujarat Hindu Society's Sanskrit Speaking-Taster Class, on March 22, Wednesday, 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm. l Om Shakti Day Centre will celebrate International Women's Day on March 22, Wednesday, from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm at Byron Hall Harrow Leisure Centre Christchurch Avenue Harrow HA3 5BD.
ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 You will probably have little
cause to complain this week. Expect everything to run smoothly and luck to attend your efforts. However, underneath this positive surface you may be plagued by a feeling of restlessness. Try to strike a balance between material and emotional affairs !
TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 Try to take things in your
stride rather than anticipating what might happen. Keep calm as conflict and disagreement could be sparked off by your short-sightedness. Think carefully about the implications of your actions. Intense focus is what is needed now so do not let yourself be distracted by non-essentials.
GEMINI May 22 - June 22 You are likely to experi-
ence some tension in close relationships - it may be a time to take careful stock of things, especially your own attitudes. You will continue to be in a restless mood for some time to come. This makes you impatient with restrictions and even more determined to cut your own path.
CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22
Much enthusiasm goes into professional ambitions right now, but you need to be your own boss in many ways. You will be determined to place your lifestyle on a foundation of greater security. Taking a broad perspective on the prevailing cosmic pattern, far-reaching change begins to gather momentum.
SCHEDULE Sunday 26 March, 2017, 5:30 pm for 6:30 pm onwards Venue: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 4A Castletown Road, West Kensington, London W14 9HE. Invite only Contact: Kamal Rao 020 7749 4001 / 07875 229 211 Aashiyana Presents Saturday 1st April 2017 - 7pm onwards Venue: Barking Abbey School Hall, Entrance from: Woodbridge Road, Barking IG11 9ET Tickets: £15 (incl. refreshment) Tickets Contact: Rohitbhai Patel 07931 712 878 Pushpaben Patel 07983 539 318 or Anand Pan House Sunday 2nd April 2017, 3.00pm to 7.00pm Venue: Shree Hindu Community Centre, 541a Warwick Road, Tyseley, Birmingham, B11 2JP Tickets: £12 (including dinner). Tickets Contact: Anjuben Shah 07814 583 907 Jayantibhai Jagatia 07808 930 748 Friday 7th April, 2017 8.00pm Venue: Shree Lohana Mahajan Hall, Hildyard Road, Leicester LE4 5GG Tickets: £10 Numbered Seats , £8 First come first seat. Tickets Contact: Vasant Bhakta (Mr B) 07860 280 655 or Radia’s Super Store 0116 266 9409 Saturday 8th April 2017 6.30pm Venue: Gujarat Hindu Society and Community Centre, South Meadow Lane, Preston PR1 8JN Tickets: £10 (including dinner) Tickets Contact: Temple - 01772 253 901. Those who wish to organise Matruvandana through their association, organisation, or mandal, please contact Kamal Rao 020 7749 4001 / 07875 229 211
Queen to approve Brexit Bill
The Queen will approve the Government's Brexit Bill in the coming few days, Prime Minister Theresa May has said. The Independent has reported that Mrs May has confirmed that she expected royal assent to be granted "in the coming days" to the Bill granting her the power to begin negotiations with the EU. She has promised to come to the Commons before the end of March to inform MPs she had formally triggered Article 50. On the other hand Nicola Sturgeon has indicated she
Sneh Joshi LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23
could delay a fresh Scottish independence referendum until after Brexit, in the hope of a deal with Theresa May on its timing. The Guardian reported that in a statement issued on Tuesday, as we went to press, after the Scottish government cabinet formally endorsed her decision to stage a second referendum, Sturgeon insisted there was a “cast-iron mandate” for the poll. Ms May has warned the SNP that it's "not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty".
Middle-aged adults who get dizzy when they stand due to a temporary drop in blood pressure may be at increased risk for dementia when they're older, new research suggests. These episodes of sudden low blood pressure -called orthostatic hypotension -- may leave lasting damage due to reduced blood flow to the brain, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For the study, the investigators analyzed data from more than 11,500 adults, average age 54, who were followed for 20 or more years. People with orthostatic hypotension at the outset were 40 percent more likely to develop dementia than others. They also had a 15 percent increased risk of cognitive (mental) decline, the findings showed. However, the study could not prove a causeand-effect relationship. "Even though these episodes are fleeting, they may have impacts that are long lasting," study leader
The UK’s leading Vedic writer and TV personality
A good time for restructuring and rethinking your aims and interests. You now have an excellent opportunity to sort out where things may be going wrong. The hard part is that you will have to be honest with yourself. Do not get over-anxious if everything seems to be in slow motion - it is time to pull a few strings.
VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23
Resist making any hasty moves when it comes to finances - this is a time to focus on consolidation of current assets rather than attempting to make any new investments. Guard against being too impatient and restless. Any obstacles that have stood in the way of your heart's desires should melt into the background soon.
LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23
Either you or your partner have been going through a phase of inner doubts and uncertainties, and perhaps the main source of tension has simply been the need for breathing space in your relationship and a need to look at things more objectively. Wait before going full steam ahead with grand actions and gestures.
SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22
Dizzy Spells in Middle-Age Tied to Dementia Risk Later
Do not kid yourself that emotional problems can always be solved by material means. This only covers the cracks and does nobody any good in the end. If love has left you feeling rather dejected or cynical, it looks as though soon events will pull you out of this mood of despondency.
Andreea Rawlings said in a Hopkins news release. She is a post-doctoral researcher in the department of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School in Baltimore. "It's a significant finding, and we need to better understand just what is happening," Rawlings added. It's not known if orthostatic hypotension is a sign of another underlying disease or whether the drop in blood pressure itself is the cause of cognitive decline, the researchers said. "Identifying risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia is important for understanding disease progression, and being able to identify those most at risk gives us possible strategies for prevention and intervention," Rawlings said. "This is one of those factors worth more investigation." The findings were scheduled for presentation Friday at an American Heart Association meeting in Portland, Ore. The findings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
020 8518 5500
SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21
If lately you have had all sorts of demands being placed on you from all sides, don't despair. Try and work out where you want to make changes in your busy life. Once you know, don't hesitate to implement it. The planetary activity in your chart signals a time of mixed emotions as well as personal issues to be dealt with.
CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20 The need to push ahead with personal interests and to assert yourself with added force will take precedence over everything else for some time to come. Mentally you will be in top form, perhaps feeling quite passionate about expressing your ideas and views. This is also a time when you will develop fresh insights into other people.
AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19 At home, be at your diplomatic best and try not to tread on anyone's toes. Passions will run from hot to cold, and relationships may suffer. Even the most strong-willed Aquarians will be more open to compromise to keep the peace. Plan your spending and set sensible budgets. All things considered, your health should be robust. PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20
The focus is on finances this week, but that doesn’t mean you should worry yourself sick. Rather, it is about finding new and improved ways to boost your earnings potential. Don’t let nebulous tendencies interfere with your plans. It’s fine to consider several options but don’t get caught up in indecision. Schedule networking opportunities later this week.
England thrash West Indies to win ODI series 3-0 AsianVoiceNews
Centuries by Alex Hales and Joe Root launched England to a 186-run win over the West Indies and a 3-0 sweep of their one-day international cricket series last week. Hales made 110 and Root 101 as England posted 328 all out. The home side was then routed for 142 inside 40 overs. West Indies never looked like they could chase down the target set for them. Kieran Powell looped a catch to square leg off the fourth ball of the innings, Evin Lewis gave a soft caught-and-bowled to Chris Woakes for a duck in the next over, and Kraigg Brathwaite gave Woakes another wicket in the fourth over. West Indies were 13-3 before the end of the fifth over and were thus unable to recover. England won a third straight ODI series in the Caribbean, after 2009 and 2014, This is the first time that England have done a
clean sweep over West Indies on the latter’s home turf. Woakes took 3-16 off eight overs and fellow fast bowler Liam Plunkett had figures of 4-2-4-3 before he was hit around at the end. Plunkett finished with 10 wickets in the series. Only once had the West Indies won an ODI by scoring 300-plus in the second innings. The odds were against this depleted side, but its chase was over before it really started. West Indies started the game well, dismissing the in form
Jason Roy early in his innings. But Alex Hales and Joe Root didn’t let them capitalise and shared a 192run stand for the second wicket. Hales departed in the 37th over and Root in the 43rd, both caught off fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, who was recalled for the injured Shannon Gabriel. While Hales scored 110, Root made 101 before being dismissed off the very next ball. In support of Hales and Root, only Ben Stokes impressed with 34. Hales was playing in his first
match of the series after a broken right hand that he sustained during England’s tour of India, replacing the out-of-form Sam Billings. He was given out lbw on 93 off Kraigg Brathwaite but asked for a video review which showed the ball would have missed off stump. Moments later, he reached his fifth ODI century by hitting his fourth six over fine leg. He got there in 99 balls, and smacking nine boundaries and five sixes. Hales hit another six before he was out for 110, a mishit to fine leg. Root was on 86 at the time. Root also had reprieves, being dropped on 1 at square leg, and on 12 at slip. He’d go all the way to his ninth ODI hundred, off 107 balls, including 10 boundaries. Next ball, in the same 43rd over, he was out, hitting straight to long on. Joseph and captain Jason Holder shared seven wickets.
Virat Kohli’s T20I record broken by Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad notched up 1,779 career T20I runs to surpass Indian skipper Virat Kohli as the fourth-most successful batsman in the shortest format of the game. Shahzad hit his 1,779 runs in 58 T20I matches to go past Kohli’s 1,709 runs from 48 games. He now sits behind former Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum (2,140 runs), Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan (1,889) and New Zealand’s Martin Guptill (1,806) on the all-time highest run-getters list in T20 Internationals. The 29-year-old Shahzad has an average of 32.34 and a strike rate of 136.84. In comparison, Kohli, who has played 10 fewer T20I
SPORT Jadeja joins Ashwin as top-ranked bowler
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have become the first pair of spinners to be jointly topranked in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers. The announcement was made by International Cricket Council (ICC) after the rankings released after the second Test against Australia in Bengaluru. Jadeja, who claimed seven wickets in the second Test against Australia at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, moved up one rank to reach the top position for the first time in his career. The last time two bowlers shared the top spot was in April 2008 when Dale Steyn and Muttiah Muralidaran were at the top. Ashwin, who claimed eight wickets in the match, including his 25th five-fer in Tests, played a crucial role in the series-levelling win on Day 4 against Steve Smith's men. Ashwin's tally of eight wickets took him past spin legend Bishan Bedi’s tally of 266 wickets and made him the fifth-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests with 269 wickets. Australia spinner Nathan Lyon’s eight wickets in the match have lifted him two places to 16th rank while his team’s leftarm spinner Steve O’Keefe and India pace bowler Umesh Yadav have gained one place each to reach career-best 28th and 29th places, respectively.
De Villiers dethrones Warner to retain top spot in ODIs South Africa's star batsman AB de Villiers has regained the top spot in the latest ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen after leading the list of run-scorers in the recent
series at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground.
Virat Kohli and Mohammad Shahzad
matches, has an average of 53.50 and a strike rate of 134.77. Wicket-kreper-opener Shahzad achieved the feat with his knock of 72 runs in the third of a threematch series between
Afghanistan and Ireland in Greater Noida. His contribution helped the Afghans post a target of 234. Ireland could only reply with 205. With the 28-run victory, the Afghans completed a whitewash of the
Winning streak: Afghanistan are currently on their best-ever winning streak in T20Is having won 11 in a row. They have surpassed England and Ireland’s joint record for most consecutive T20I wins; both nations having managed eight consecutive wins in the past. Afghanistan’s winning run began in March 2016 with a victory over West Indies in Nagpur’s Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium during the World T20. They have gone on to beat the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Ireland since then.
series against New Zealand which his side won 3-2. De Villiers's 262 runs in the series, including a highest of 85 in the third ODI at Wellington, have helped him overtake Australia opener David Warner at the top of the ladder, reclaiming the top spot within two months of losing it to India captain Virat Kohli. The star Proteas batsman is on 875 points, four points ahead of Warner and 23 clear of Kohli in the rankings, that take into account performances in 15 ODIs, also including West Indies' 3-0 loss to England, Afghanistan's 3-2 win over Zimbabwe and Ireland's 2-0 verdict over the United Arab Emirates. It is for the 10th time that the 33-year-old de Villiers is at the top of the rankings since first taking the spot in May 2010. He has never been ranked outside the top five since September 2009.
Schoolboys trekking to Everest Base Camp for St Luke’s
Sechan and Luxman Chandrasekaram, two brothers aged 11 and 15 from Chiswick, will be trekking to Everest Base Camp to remember their grand-uncle, as well as Northwick Park Hospital physiotherapist Jaanki Palan, who will be trekking in memory of her grandmother. Both parties’ loved ones were cared for by St Luke’s Hospice. The schoolboys will undertake their 40-mile haul at the end of March. Sechan said: “Our grand-uncle, Sivaumar Sangarapillai, always encouraged us to do charity work and he believed it was the backbone of humanity. We hope to raise much needed money to help the
Sechan and Luxman will be joined on the trek by their father and uncle. (Photo: St Luke's Hospice)
charity that helped him.” The boys are no strangers to trekking challenges, having hiked both the Alps and the Brecon Beacons. They have also started a rigorous training regime, including walking 27 miles in a few days along the South Downs, as well as
ten-mile yomps along the Thames. They will be joined on the trip by their father and uncle. Sechan and Luxman so far have raised almost £300. Ahead of her trek on April 20, Miss Palan said: “The team at St Luke’s have been nothing short of
The "Ain't no mountain high enough" team set off for Base Camp on April 20. (Photo: St Luke's Hospice)
amazing and supportive in the last and most memorable moments of our time with my grandmother, Lilaben Bhudheo, keeping her comfortable in a dignified manner.” The 25-yearold added: “Our family are forever grateful to St Luke’s Hospice, and I hope to raise all I can for such a worthwhile cause.” Miss Sechan’s team of physio’s have aptly named themselves ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, and the team of three have already surpassed their joint target of £1,500. St Luke’s Event Fundraiser, Alex Duffy, said: “The money raised by those trekking for St Luke’s will help towards providing care for people with a lifelimiting illness living in
Harrow and Brent. “Whether that is through our 12 bed InPatient Unit, our day services at the Woodgrange Centre or supporting people in their own homes. The donations will help local people access the care they need to live well, to know that their family and carers are supported, and to die with dignity in the place of their choice.” For more information, or to donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/ fundraising/TheEverestBase or http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiserweb/fundraiser/showFundra iserProfilePage.action?user Url=EverestBaseCampChalle nge2017&isTeam=true
Asian Voice | 18th March 2017
War of words between Australian, Indian cricketers over DRS row
The second test match between India and Australia which the hosts won at Bengaluru ended in a sore note, as India captain Virat Kohli had accused Aussie captain Steve Smith and Peter Handscomb of repeatedly looking towards the dressing room for assistance in whether or to pursue the DRS for reviews, which as per the rules of the sport is not allowed. The BCCI had lodged an official complaint trying to press Level 2 charge against Smith and Handscomb for violating spirit of the game. However Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland met his opposite number Rahul Johri at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai to resolve the issue. It was decided that the two captains would meet in Ranchi to resolve the issue. 'BCCI and CA have resolved to restore focus on the ongoing series amidst the increased attention towards issues which have emanated during the course of the 2nd Test match in Bangalore,' a press release stated. Johri and Sutherland discussed the matters at length, agreed the importance of bringing back the focus to the game and the much anticipated next Test match in Ranchi. Sutherland said, 'A series between India and Australia is bound to generate considerable excitement for fans in both the countries. On the field the two teams are fierce competitors who represent their countries with pride. As we have seen this week in Bangalore, with so much at stake, tensions can bubble over. 'We are half way through what has already been a riveting series - and there is still much to look forward to. In discussing the relevant issues in depth, we have agreed that it is in the best interests of the game to put these differences aside and clear the way for the focus to be on the cricket, and the remaining matches of the series.' Johri on his part said 'India has always cherished a contest with Australia and over the years, the performances of both, the teams and the players, are testimony to the level of competitiveness that exists between these two teams.
While having responded officially to one such incident which happened in the last Test, together, we believe that the focus of the teams and the joy they provide to the fans, should not be diluted and it is imperative to ensure that the rest of the series, which promises a great cricketing contest, not be compromised,' he concluded. No action against Kohli and Smith: ICC The International Cricket Council (ICC), meanwhile, has concluded that it will be taking no further action against either Virat Kohli or Steve Smith in the DRS row. The ICC has confirmed that no charges have been laid against any player under the ICC Code of Conduct following the second Test match between India and Australia in Bengaluru. "Specifically in relation to Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, the ICC has considered both incidents in the context of this match and concluded it will be taking no further action against either player," read the statement. ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: "We have just witnessed a magnificent game of Test cricket where players from both teams gave their all and emotions were running high during and after the match. "We would encourage both teams to focus their energies on the third Test in Ranchi next week. Ahead of that, the match referee will bring both captains together to remind them of their responsibilities to the game." Earlier in the day, Sutherland termed as "ageous" Virat Kohli's suggestion that Australian players, including
skipper Steven Smith, had gone against the rules of the sport when using the controversial DRS during the recent Bangalore Test, while the BCCI has come to the defence of India's captain. "Virat Kohli is a mature and seasoned cricketer and his conduct on the field has been exemplary. Kohli's action was supported by ICC Elite Panel Umpire Nigel Llong who rushed in to dissuade Steve Smith from taking recourse to inappropriate assistance. BCCI sincerely hopes that the rest of the matches are played in the true spirit of cricket," the BCCI statement said. On his part, after the defeat, Smith had admitted to what he termed a "brain fade" - that is, looking in the direction of the dressing room after being given out lbw to Umesh Yadav. While Kohli did not refer to the Australians as cheater, he was firm on his assessment of what he believed was unfair and claimed to have brought up the matter with the on-field umpires and Chris Broad, the ICC match referee. `Smith's wrong, but he is no cheat' When former Australian cricketers Jason Gillespie and Jason Krezja were asked about the accusations against Smith, they mentioned that Smith â€œshouldn't haveâ€? done what he did. But Gillespie added that it's time to move on. â€œThe reality is that Smith has acknowledged that he shouldn't have done it. Peter Handscomb has come out in social media and said that he wasn't aware of the rules. I think we all know that you don't look up to the dressing room. That's a No-
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No. He has apologized and we should move on,â€? said Gillespie, who played major roles for the Australian teams that enthralled the Indian fans during the 2001 and 2004 series. Krejza, whose Aussie record of having the best figures in India was broken by Nathan Lyon in Bengaluru, felt it was a heat of the moment thing and an â€œerror of judgementâ€? on Smith's part. â€œI don't think it was the correct thing to do, but it was all in the heat of the battle. He was prompted by Handscomb's look up signal. He looks up, without really thinking about what he was doing and after a few seconds particularly when the umpire walks up he realized that wasn't the right thing to do. â€œWhat he did was definitely not within the rules. But if he was trying to cheat, he would have been a bit more sneaky about it, don't you think? I think it was just an error of judgement in the heat of the battle which I'm sure he will regret now,â€? said the former Aussie off-spinner. Both Gillespie and Krejza stressed that Aussies â€œplay hard and fairâ€? but they are â€œno cheats.â€? â€œAustralians have long been accused of these things. But I can assure you we Aussies play the game hard and fair...try and uphold that all the time. It's in our DNA. People can look at it negatively. Aussies show a lot of pride and passion at what they are doing. We play the game to the best of our abilities, if another team beats us, we put our hands up say well done..shake hands and move on,â€? added Gillespie.
Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath became the most successful leftarm spinner in Test cricket on Saturday, claiming six for 59 to bowl his team to an emphatic 259-run victory over Bangladesh in the first Test at Galle International Stadium. Leading the side in the absence of injured regular skipper Angelo Mathews, Herath mowed down the Bangladesh middle and lower-order as the tourists, chasing a mammoth 457-run victory target, collapsed for 197 an hour after the lunch break. Bangladesh began the final day needing 390 runs for an improbable win at a ground where no team has scored more than 300 in the fourth innings. They received an early jolt, losing opener Soumya Sarkar to the second delivery of the day. Sarkar could not add to his overnight score of 53 and was bowled by Asela Gunaratne and the tourists kept losing wickets regularly.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim (34) joined forces with Liton Das (35) to hold off Sri Lanka's victory charge for 19-odd overs before the wheels came off. Herath struck twice in the 27th over, dismissing Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah in the space of three balls to equal New Zealander Daniel Vettori's 362 test wicket mark. Herath, who turns 39 on March 19, dismissed Liton to enter the record books and went on to complete a ninewicket match haul which took his tally to 366 in 79 matches. He said his aim is to target 400 Test wickets. Herath has so far maintained his 100 per cent record as captain since taking over from Angelo Mathews who has been injured. Colombo hosts the second and final test from Wednesday. Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 494 and 272 for 6 declared beat Bangladesh 312 and 197 (S Sarkar 53, M Rahim 34, L. Das 35; R Herath 6-59)
Paceman Patrick Cummins has replaced injured Mitchell Starc in the Australian squad for the remainder of the Test series against India, Cricket Australia said. Starc was forced out of the series due to a stress fracture to his foot. Cummins has played
only one Test in his career. Competing against South Africa in 2011, he took seven wickets, including six for 79 in the second innings to shape Australia's close two-wicket win. â€œIt's unfortunate to lose Mitch out of the squad in India.
Pat Cummins replaces injured Mitchell Starc
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Canada - 7 Nights Eastern Journey Escorted Tour
Travel : 13 May - 9 Sep 17
India - 8 Nights
Thailand - 8 Nights
Glimpses of Kerala
J.W W. Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa 5*
Travel : 1 Oct - 9 Dec 17
Travel : 1 May - 12 Jul 17
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