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First & Foremost Asian Weekly in Europe

Let noble thoughts come to us from every side

VOL 40. ISSUE 37


Pakistan PM Gilani in fix; gets SC contempt notice Uncertainty prevailed in Pakistan as the coalition partners discussed changing the prime minister hours after PM Yousaf Raza Gilani was on Monday summoned to appear in the Supreme Court on Thursday for contempt of court for failing to reopen graft cases against president Asif Ali Zardari. The National Assembly, meanwhile, passed the pro-democracy resolution which asks all institutions to work within their limits under the Constitution.

Yousaf Raza Gilani, Asif Ali Zardari & Ashfaq Pervez Kayani

“The President and his allies held a meeting (also attended by Mr Gilani). The coalition partners asked Prime Minister Gilani to

continue but the chances of his ouster have not diminished,” a senior government official privy to the latest developments said.

Italian ship mishap: Indians on board recollect horror The Italian luxury liner, Costa Concordia, which capsized off the coast of Italy’s Giglio island, has shaken up the confidence of hundreds of Indians working on it or people wishing to work on such cruises. While thankful for being saved from the sinking ship, Costa Concordia

Double murder mystery remains unsolved Three men have been arrested so far by the police regarding the ‘atrocious’ murder of a couple, who were found dead in their home. As the investigation continues, condolence messages, cards and flowers keep pouring in from friends and family. The dead couple’s children have also left card and flowers at the spot filled with agony for their irreparable loss. A card left with a bouquet of roses read: ‘Nanny and grandad, we love you to the moon and back. Our life will never be complete again.’ Another card, which read ‘In Loving Memory of a Dear Mother’ read: ‘No life will ever be the same without you. We adore you and miss you so much. The pain is unbearable.” The bodies of retired businessman Avtar Kolar, 62, and his wife Carole, 58 (pictured), were discovered at their home in Handsworth Wood, Birmingham, by their policeman son on


Continued from page 28

He added, “The names of Aitzaz Ahsan and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi are being considered now (for PM). But the allies will give some other names too if president Zardari finally agrees to change the PM.” During the meeting with coalition partners, President Zardari said relations with the Army and the judiciary were getting better, adding that the government would not clash with these institutions. He said they had faced the same situation in the past and would tackle it this time as well. During the meeting, Mr Gilani offered to step down as PM in the wake of the worsening political situation and agreed to appear before the Supreme Court. Mr Gilani said he was willing to make a sacrifice for his country. A seven-member Supreme Court bench issued the notice to the PM for not implementing the National Reconciliation Ordinance case verdict. Before the court issued the order, Continued on page 26

21st January to 27th January 2012

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Wednesday morning. Post-mortem tests confirmed the couple died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and that both had been struck a number of times. Earlier this week a large cash reward was been offered to encourage people to come forward with information about the ‘atrocious’ murder. Crimestoppers have described the killing as a ‘vile crime’ and put up a reward of up to 10,000 for details leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. The couple were due to look after their grandchildren, but when they could not be contacted Continued on page 28




Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

one to one Keith Vaz MP with Dr Aneela sMajid Dr Majid has a degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a PhD in molecular biology. She studied at the University of Sheffield before moving to Cardiff University and then Columbia University in New York. She moved to Leicester in 2002 and has been working in the field of Leukemia research since. She has sat as an advisor on a number of committees and is currently an executive member of the UKCLL forum, an organisation that aims to advance the care of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Her research has been published in a number of high profile journals, presented at a number of international meetings and she has been invited speaker at several academic institutions. Recently she became involved in setting up the public engagement lectures for GENIE (Genetics Education Networking for Innovation and Excellence), centre for excellence in teaching and learning (CETL) at the University of Leicester. She was particularly attracted by the success of the existing Outreach programs, both in schools and the wider public through taster evenings and their general enthusiasm for public engagement. The synergy between genetics education and world class research has resulted in the development of new educational resources. She is keen to use this expertise to further promote these activities in the Asian community. 1) Please tell us about the lecture programme you have set up? This series of public lectures are designed to help make cutting edge science more accessible to the public. The hope is that we would be able to engage the public ( from schools through to postgraduates and the general public) in debating topical issues, promoting further dialogue and provide ourselves, as scientists, with an

opportunity to reach out to them 2) What are your proudest achievements? One of the things that I am particularly pleased with is setting up the current series of public engagement seminars. This was done on a voluntary basis, in my spare time and to get the positive feedback we have had has been tremendous. 3) Please tell us

to conform to traditional roles for women still exists.

about your current position? Currently, I am taking a 6 month sabbatical from leukemia research and concentrating my efforts on reaching out to the community. I have been lucky enough to be offered a position by GENIE, at the University of Leicester to this end. I am particularly excited by the prospect of promoting science to the public and engaging them by what we do. 4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career? Being an Asian female in science has been challenging at times. There is a definite lack of Asian female role models in science and a real lack of support for women who may want family and a career. Although times are changing, the pressure

5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? I always wanted to go into scientific research from a very early age, but there hasn’t been anyone who has specifically influenced my career. I have been very privileged to work with some amazing people over the course of my career and I would say that everyone I have interacted with has influenced me in some way. 6) What is the best thing about your current role? To be given the opportunity to reach out and give something back to the community. I hope that I can communicate my passion for genetics and research in a way that may inspire others to take it up as a career. I am also excited by GENIE’s active role to promote women in science. 7) And the worst? It may sound clichéd but I am really enjoying what I do, I guess what may be frustrating in the future is if our attempts to engage the community are less successful than I

would hope. 8) What are your long term goals? Genetic issues affect everyone and understanding some of the basic concepts could have huge implications for the community. It would be wonderful to make people aware how changes to their lifestyle and eating habits could affect their future health. Raising awareness of the resources available both for counselling and general queries would also be a long term goal. 9) If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change? I would put more money into scientific

research. We have a lot of good young talent in the UK, but lack of funding means we often lose good scientists to other careers as funding for positions is so competitive. There is often no long term career structure for young scientists. 10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figures would you like to spend your time with and why? Charles Darwin would be an incredible person to be marooned with. To be able to discuss first hand his theories and engage in deep discussion would be unbelievable.

Two arrested and charged following Asian gold burglary Thames Valley Police have charged two 22-year-old men with burglary, following an incident in Slough where Asian gold jewellery worth several thousand pounds was stolen. John Hadley Doran, of Priory Close, Denham, Uxbridge, Middlesex, and John Purcell, of Oak Lane, Kingswinford, Staffordshire, were arrested during the evening of Thursday 5 January following a burglary in Cockett Lane, Langley, Slough, earlier that day. The pair were charged the following day, and kept in police custody overnight to appear before Reading Magistrates’ Court the following day. Following their court appearance, the two 22-

year-olds were remanded in custody. Hadley and Purcell are also charged with being in possession of cannabis. They were due to appear before Reading Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. During the burglary in Cockett Lane, Langley, on 5 January, an untidy search of the house was carried out and items of Asian jewellery were stolen from the main bedrooms including rings, bangles, and earrings. Four watches and a sum of cash were also stolen. The stolen jewellery was recovered shortly after the incident. However the cash and watches remain outstanding.

The Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards 2012 It is that time of year again…The Asian Voice Public and Political Life Awards nominations. The awards celebrate the achievements of those who have made a special contribution to our political or public life over the last 12 months in a variety of fields. The Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards represent Asian Voice’s modest effort to honour a number of outstanding individuals from different communities, walks of life and diverse political persuasions who serve society in their own special way, and who contribute significantly, in whatever they do, towards making a better world today and for the future. These awards are given annually to individuals who have made a special impact in the preceding 12 months, ranging from international politicians to individuals who have made a big difference in their local communities. It is the fifth year the awards have been presented and as in previous years, the event will be attended by 250 high profile politicians from all political parties, business men, community leaders. The awards for the achievements in 2011 will be handed out at the prestigious ceremony in the Members Dining Room of the House of Commons on 23rd February 2012.

The nominations for the political awards have been drawn up, and are as follows:

We’re seeking your nominations for the following categories:

l Cabinet Minister of the Year – last year’s winner was Rt Hon Michael Gove MP This year’s nominations are: Andrew Mitchell, Ken Clarke and William Hague MP l Lib Dem Minister of the Year This year’s nominations are: Vince Cable, Danny Alexander and Sarah Teather MP l Shadow Cabinet Minister of the Year – last year’s winner was Opposition Leader Ed Miliband. This year’s nominations are: Yvette Cooper, Rachel Reeves, Andy Burnham MP l Junior Minister of the Year – last year’s winner was Ed Davey MP This year’s nominations are: Alistair Burt, Lynne Featherstone, Stephen O’Brien MP l Labour Backbencher of the Year – last year’s winner was Anas Sarwar MP This year’s nominations are: Stella Creasy, Lisa Nandy, Gloria de Piero MP l Liberal Democrat Backbencher of the Year – last year’s winner was Dr Julian Huppert MP This year’s nominations are: Jo Swinson, Duncan Hames, Sir Alan Beith MP l Conservative Backbencher of the Year – last year’s winner was Nadhim Zahawi MP This year’s nominations are: Nicola Blackwood, Adam Afriyie, Henry Smith MP

l TV Personality of the Year – last year’s winner was Rudolph Walker l Journalist of the Year – last year’s winner was Paul l Lewis of the Guardian l Restaurant of the Year – last year’s winner was Curry Fever l Asian Broadcaster of the Year l Business Person of the Year – last year’s winner was Fukhera Khalid l Busines in Community – last year’s winner was Ken Popat l Broadcaster of the Year – last year’s winner was B4U l Parliamentary Journalist of the Year l Local Government Award – last year’s joint winners were Lutfur Rahman and Dr Neeraj Patil l Diversity Award l Face of the Future Award – last year’s winner was Arjun Rajyagor l Sports Personality of the Year Award l Community Award – last year’s winner was Ranjit Mathrani l Lifetime Achievement Award – last year’s winner was Nirmal Sethia

Please send your nominations into Political and Public Life Awards at:

Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012


Indian views of education in Britain have been somewhat shaken The New Year has sent shockwaves among Indian parents whose children are studying in UK or who are considering sending them there for higher education. The three recent cases of murder of Indian students in the UK has given rise to panic about student’s safety in what used to be an educational haven. Britain has always been considered safe and known for quality education but has now become a question mark for the Indian parents. How safe is my child in UK? Recently Indian student Mr Anuj Bidve, 23, was shot at close range by a gunman in an apparently motiveless attack in the Ordsall district of Salford. Police arrested and charged Kiaran Mark Stapleton for the murder of Bidve. Bidve’s father, Subhash Bidve, has been critical of the way the British and Indian authorities have handled the case. He found out about his son's death on Facebook at home in Pune, India, before police in the UK could contact him. Such was the tragedy of a bright Indian student who was full of hope for the future. Same was case of Indian student, Gurdeep Hayer who had come to Britain to make his life, but instead lost his life. He was found dead in Manchester City Centre. He had been missing for eight days. Later his body was recovered from River Medlock. Gurdeep had reportedly taken a taxi and got out at Hathersage Road before reaching an address in the Rusholme locality in Manchester. It is not yet known by whom and how he had been murdered. To look back, such murder had taken place in Australia, when a 17-year- old was given 13 years in prison for killing Indian student Nitin Garg in a botched mugging in January 2011. Such murder of Indian students in foreign countries is becoming frequent, and has shifted Indians in panic mode. Countries like the UK and Australia are being listed in the bad books of Indian parents. Bidve’s father commented, “I feel myself, as a father that this should not happen again because a lot of Indian students come here for their education and they go back to their own countries.” He said his son “was very happy staying here and doing his work and I feel he could have been a very great asset not only to India but to the whole globe.” There have been moves in Britain to pre-empt a crisis of confidence among overseas students.

Operators in the UK and India will be mindful of the market decline faced by Australia after a spate of racially motivated attacks on Indians in the country in 2009. The attacks caused outrage in India and led to a 46% drop in Indian student migrating to Australia to study. Now the same could happen in Britain. Whether it is the killing of an Indian student or racist insults hurled at a football player in Liverpool or even the rioting in London and some other urban areas last year, this is a problem. Sadly, it appears that social unrest and an underlying racism may once again be raising its ugly head in the UK, as the economic downturn worsens. Social tensions in a multicultural society such as the UK usually do tend to get accentuated in times of economic slowdown. Race crimes are a manifestation of this unrest. But as of today, students and those unused to being in such environments will be more apprehensive than before. And it would raise big problems if such tragedies keep on occurring. Indians will be reluctant to come to the UK. It’s a myth that locals lose jobs to immigrants or that immigrants take away opportunities from the locals. Due to such false notions, immigrants are visualized as big villains in Britain. In fact immigrants have actually contributed to the betterment of the economy and development of Britain. Specially Indians immigrants have contributed their talent, skills and workforce that has also generated a lot of revenue to the country. It becomes the need of the time to investigate the case of murder of Indians students and take steps towards the accused being punished and more importantly to keep a check that such incidents do not happen again. For the sake of human fraternity, British police and Government should also look into the matter and take remedial steps. It becomes the duty of the Indian counterpart to ask the British Government to act speedily to book the culprits. The trust of the Indians has to be gained back. It would align future immigration flows with the national interest. And any country prospective to compete in the global economy should not lose its immigrants.

Pakistan facing a political cyclone Pakistan is going through a major turmoil of political instability. Pakistan's Supreme Court has slapped a contempt notice on Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, demanding him to appear in court to explain why he had ignored its directives to reopen graft cases against his party boss and President Asif Ali Zardari. The order escalated the political crisis that could lead to early elections and cost Gilani his job. Pakistan's National Assembly convened for a special session and passed a resolution reposing "full confidence and trust'' in the government that could help Gilani offset the SC ruling's implications. The resolution asked "all state institutions (to) act within (constitutional) limits" in an apparent reference to the military for meddling in politics. The resolution is seen as the government's attempt to reassert parliament's supremacy amid mounting pressure from the judiciary. Earlier, Gilani and Zardari, pummeled for days for making statements against army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, went into a huddle after which the PM was quoted as saying that he had offered to resign in order to defuse the crisis created by the confrontation between the military and the judiciary on one side and the government on the other. There is no immediate threat to Gilani, as the contempt case is expected to be drawn out. But he could be disqualified from holding office and have to step down if convicted of contempt. He also faces up to six months in prison. "We are left with no option, as a first step, to issue a show-cause notice. The PM should appear personally in court on January 19," the court said in its notice. The court initiated proceedings after the government failed to respond to its order outlining six options that it could exercise if it did not comply with its orders. The options included disqualifying the PM and the president, holding early elections besides contempt proceedings. The court was incensed after attorney general Maulvi Anwarul Haq told it that he had no instructions from the

government on how to respond to the court's orders. Later, Gilani, who is the second head of the government to face contempt of court proceedings since Nawaz Sharif faced the similar situation in November 1997, agreed to appear before the court after an emergency meeting with his coalition partners and Zardari. Sources said the government would act according to a plan and buy time till Senate elections in March that would give PPP a majority in the upper house and an important say in legislation for the next six years. "The PM's decision to comply is a bid to buy time. They will try to drag the court's proceedings until the Senate elections," said political analyst Amir Mateen. Analysts said Gilani would appear before the court, commit to implement its orders and have himself discharged of the contempt notice. The government has vowed to complete its term that ends in 2013. But it may call earlier elections after the Senate elections. The PM last week blinked in a standoff with Kayani and Pasha over a memo that sought the US help to rein the country's powerful military and prevent a coup in May. A probe into the memo threatens to implicate Zardari and could lead to his impeachment. Former Pakistan envoy to US Husain Haqqani is accused of authoring the memo on Zardari's behest. The court had called Gilani "dishonest'' and warned him of disqualification if he did not open the cases last week. It has repeatedly asked the government to do so since it threw out the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) that extended immunity to politicians and bureaucrats from prosecution in graft cases, as illegal in 2009. The moot question is whether the army, which ruled the country for more than half of its life, time will allow the democracy to take root in the country. The lure of the power is such that it can corrupt even the honest. Now the future of democracy is in the hands of army and the court.


Thought for the Week We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. - Bill Gates (1999)

Cllr Rabi Martins Watford Borough Council

Change the rules on sub contracting Do skills and training schemes created to address unemployment really work and do they give real value for money to the tax payer ? Even more to the point do these schemes actually deliver the benefits to the target group or do merely enable a small group of providers to get rich at the tax payers expense? Take the example of the government’s current apprenticeship scheme which has been thrown into sharp focus by revelations that a football coach training scheme (leaving aside the question of what demand there is for football coaches) contracted to the nowdefunct scheme run by Luis Michael Training (LMT) in about 80 English and Welsh football clubs including Leeds, Millwall and Nottingham Forest. What strikes me is that LMT were subcontracted by eight further education colleges to provide training paid for by the Skills Funding Agency and that LMT in turn sub-contracted other firms to deliver thr training . Between this myriad of providers they signed up just 2000 teenagers and promised them the chance to gain coaching qualifications while learning in a football club setting According to press reports the vast majority of teenagers who undertook the training never received any formal qualification or certificate. So did the pLMT and the other provider really provide any value for money ? The coalition Government uses apprenticeships as a way of tackling the problems of Neets - young people not in education, employment or training and also providing the skills that employers want. Those attending fulltime apprenticeship schemes must work a minimum of 30 hours per week, and are entitled to a weekly wage - currently £2.60 per hour not much of an incentive Should some of the money wasted on

administration be diverted to increasing the payment to learners? Apprenticeships are supposed to provide onthe-job training leading to nationally recognised qualifications, developed by industry. They were set up to help attract high-quality new recruits into industry, from the age of 16. The objective behind the scheme is laudable . They are meant to encourage younger people into a workforce and help employees of all ages to keep pace with new technologies and working practices. If properly well the scheme should benefit all of the real stakeholder – the job seeker, employers and ultimately you and me as taxpayers. There are around 25 000 providers able to deliver Apprenticeships across the UK. Each apprentice must have an employer and be paid. About 130,000 employers in England have apprentices. The apprenticeship brand clearly has much to commend it However it is difficult to gauge whether the manner in which it is governed represents real value for money either for those it is aimed at or the taxpayer G o v e r n a n c e structures for apprenticeship in England do not look very different across eight leading apprenticeship countries (Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland). However despite the fact that England’s governance structures are complex and receive more public funds than in those other countries it is clear from the shambles of the football scheme that it is providers who benefit most from the scheme It would be a pity if the apprenticeship brand continued to suffer damage and led to our young people losing out more than they already do. One quick and easy way to address the abuse of the system by unscrupulous providers would be to change the rules on sub contracting.


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

In brief


Leicester Voice

By Meera Majithia

Educating women on domestic violence

The founder of an NGO, which helps women suffering from domestic violence, made a special trip to Leicester to speak to local females about the issue. Dr Ilaben Pathak, who runs the Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group (AWAG) and is also the international Vice President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), was invited to the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, Rothley Street on Wednesday 11th January by the Asian Foundation for Philanthropy (AFFP). Bala Thakrar, founder of the AFFP, which has been running for six years, said: “The purpose of this talk is to discuss the domestic violence issues in India and in the UK as it’s an area that people don’t talk much about.” AFFP work actively with AWAG by sending volunteers from the UK to help the organisation in terms of any development and funding and support them by raising awareness of their work. In a shocking statistic revealed by the AFFP, people present learned that 18 women die everyday in Gujarat as a result of domestic vio-

Founder of AFFP Bala Thakrar with Dr Ilaben Pathak

lence – and that is just the official figure. According to further research conducted, India was in the top five places in the world for being the worst place to live for a women. Speaking to the Asian Voice, Dr Ilaben Pathak said: “One of the

study’s conducted found that 80% of married women suffer from domestic violence. We find that for women survival is the biggest problem.” The NGO, which started work in 1981, has six centres in total, four in the rural areas of Ahmedabad and two in the urban areas, dealing with over 600 cases every year. Dr Pathak added: “I was here (in Leicester) in 2009 and I could see that women here also suffer from a lot of domestic violence but they don’t open up.” Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan runs a local organisation called the Zinthiya Trust, which helps local women in Leicester. Since they began offering their services to the community in 2009, they have supported more than 50 women with a domestic violence background. It is believed that many women do not come forward because of the stigma and fear attached to leaving a partner and this is a problem that organisations like AWAG and the Zinthiya Trust are trying to resolve. The sad truth is that the national statistic shows that one in four women are believed to be victims of domestic violence.

New service for people with hearing disability Police officers in Leicester are hoping to make their services more accessible for people who are deaf and hard of hearing by supporting a new drop-inservice. The drop-in sessions will begin on Wednesday 1st February 2012 and from then on will be held on the first Wednesday of every month from 10am to 12pm at the Action Deafness offices at the Peepul Centre on Orchardson Avenue. D/deaf awareness training sessions have been provided to 16 police

officers by Action Deafness Cultural, and it is from this group that the drop-in service will be staffed. The training ensures officers understand and are better prepared to work with people from the Deaf and hard of hearing communities. However, British Sign Language to level one standard will be provided to police officers by Action Deafness in the future. Sergeant Sarah Widdowson is the team leader for the Belgrave and Latimer neighbourhood beat teams who work in

this area, and has also received the awareness training. She said: “The presence of the police at the drop-in sessions will ensure people from the Deaf and hard of hearing communities benefit from advice on a variety of police subjects, for example neighbour disputes, anti-social behaviour and crime reporting. “The service will increase their accessibility to mainstream services, and provide a wide range of advice and information to a group within the community that has always

been difficult to reach. The Peepul Centre is in exactly the right location, and is able to host this service within its wide range of community services.” Jaz Mann, Manager for the Action Deafness Cultural department said: “We are so pleased that the Leicestershire Police have recognised the need to make their services accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing people, and it is encouraging to see the innovative ways we have been able to work together.”

Leicester leads the way to reduce traffic congestion in Europe A major project aimed at easing road congestion across cities in Europe will be launched at the National Space Centre, after a funding of £2.4m has been secured. Set to be launched on Wednesday 18th January, the project, which brings together research clusters from five European regions, is being led by the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council and will help establish the East Midlands region as an international leader in traffic management research. Other local partners are De Montfort University, The University of Nottingham and Astrium Services (Leicester). They will be working in partnership with research clusters from the Molise region in Italy, the Midi-

Pyrenees and Aquitaine regions in France and the Mazovia region in Poland. Funding of €2.7 million (£2.4 million) has been secured from the European Commission for the project with the University of Leicester acting as scientific lead and Leicester City Council assuming the role of accountable body for the overall project. Called THE ISSUE (Transport Health Environment – Intelligent Solutions Sustaining Urban Economies), the three-year project will support scientists, engineers and development agencies from the different regions to work together, using the latest space and information technologies, to develop

more effective methods of easing road congestion and improving the urban environment. Around 70 delegates from all the partner regions and representatives from business, other universities and local authorities will gather at the launch conference for THE ISSUE Project. Cllr Rory Palmer, deputy city mayor and cabinet lead on transport and climate change, will give a welcome address to delegates at the conference. He said: “THE ISSUE Project is an excellent example of our commitment to working closely with Leicester’s two universities, and other partners, to the benefit of all people in the city and, in this case, much further afield.

“Making Leicester a low carbon city is one of our main priorities and this kind of research will be essential to helping tackle issues around congestion and air quality in the future. I am proud that the city council can help make this work possible.” Professor Alan Wells, at the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre, is the scientific leader of the project. He said: “With the EU funding we have secured, we can now coordinate different research activities in the same general areas of traffic and the environment that are being carried out by partners from across Europe. These sort of outcomes have never been brought together in this way before.”

Prime Minister rewards officers for their bravery Two brave officers were selected to attend a special reception at No. 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister. The event which, which recognises the bravery and significant contribution made by the police and fire services during the period of disorder in England and Wales in August last year, was held on Wednesday 11th January. The two police officers from Leicester chosen for the honour are tactical advisor PC Eugene Kirby and Special Constabulary Sergeant Shakeel Hasham. Special Sgt Shakeel Hasham said: “I was most humbled and honoured to learn that I had been given the opportunity to represent Leicestershire Police and most importantly the wider Special Constabulary at the reception. “I felt it was my duty to support the organisation in a time of need, to keep my communities safe. The night in question will be with me for a very long time and I know that effort of the police and emergency services were appreciated by the wider community. “Meeting the Prime Minister, David Cameron is a great privilege. This recognition should, rightly, be shared with the team I worked with on the night.” Barrie Roper, Chairman of Leicestershire Police Authority, added: “I’m pleased to see the exceptional efforts of these two officers being recognised in this way, which reflects their tremendous commitment to their role and the safety of local communities. However, the work of everyone involved in the work to contain the disturbances should be acknowledged.”

Loughborough scoops up loo awards

Toilets in Loughborough Town Centre were voted amongst the best in the country, scooping up Loo of the Year Awards last month. The Biggin Street facility was rated five-star for the fifth consecutive year and Market Yard for the eighth successive year in the national national awards The awards recognise high standards in all types of ‘away from home’ or public toilets. Each toilet received a dedicated inspection and received a grading certificate to promote the awardwinning facilities. Five Stars is the highest level available in the public toilets category of the awards, which are promoted by the British Toilet Association and are now in their 24th year. Councillor Paul Harley, Charnwood Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “We are extremely proud to have won these awards yet again. It demonstrates the Council’s commitment to maintaining high standards for customers and for making spending a penny in Loughborough a hygienic experience. “Since introducing a small charge, which helped us keep our toilets open while some local authorities closed theirs, we have received a huge amount of positive feedback from customers.”

School catchment consultation

People are being urged to make their views known on school admission arrangements and catchment areas. Leicester City Council is carrying out its annual consultation on school admissions, and this year is also consulting on proposals to simplify school catchment area arrangements. Both consultations began in December and are due to end on 10th February. This year people can also comment on a review of school catchment areas, which proposes a single primary and secondary catchment school for each address in the city. Catchment areas have remained the same since 1997, despite the closure since then of five secondary schools. The proposals make the links between primary and secondary schools much clearer, so that parents have a better understanding of the paths open to them. The city council and schools will make a decision on admissions arrangements for 2013 by 15th April, 2012. People wanting to take part in the admission arrangements consultation can view paper copies of the arrangements for the academic year 2013/2014 at any of the council’s customer service centres, or online at Packs are also available from the school admissions service on 0116 252 7009 or by emailing Leicester assistant city mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, Cllr Vi Dempster, said: “Every year we make sure parents have their say on admissions arrangements, and this year we are also focusing on catchment areas to ensure it is as straightforward as possible for all pupils to get fair access to schools in their catchment areas.”


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Young female plumber avoids jail sentence In what has been described as a ‘highly unusual and exceptional’ case, Sheona Keith 22 was spared a prison sentence after throwing a glass at a male’s head causing actual bodily harm, whilst out in an Exeter nightclub. Keith, described by acting judge Philip Wassall as having an ‘impeccable character’, had recently been made reduntant from her job as a plumber due to ‘intolerable’ sexual harassment in a male-dominated environment. She had ‘uncharacteristically’ decided to drown her sorrows, and affected by the sexual intimidation she’d experienced at work, she had believed that the male victim was ‘eyeing her up’. Judge Wassall has explained that while it was not an excuse, he was understanding of the threatened state she was in, due to the previous

Sheona Keith

unwanted sexual attention, and gave her a conditional discharge and a fine of £400 for compensation. Keith has shown ‘immense remorse’ for her actions.

More Gurkhas to lose job in MoD cuts One in eight Gurkhas will lose their job under Ministry of Defence plans to make 4,000 members of the Armed Forces redundant, ministers announced on Tuesday. More than 400 Gurkhas, equivalent to almost an entire battalion, will be among the 2,800 soldiers to lose their jobs, while the RAF is cutting 1,000 and the Navy 500. The news has perhaps embarrassed Andrew Mitchell, the I n t e r n a t i o n a l Development Secretary, who landed in Nepal on Tuesday as part of a trip to demonstrate how Britain is helping Gurkha families. The MoD has sent more than 14,000 notices to personnel in each of the three services offering them voluntary redundancy but it is expected some compulsory redundancies will have to be made. Soldiers serving in

Afghanistan are among those to receive the notices, although they will be protected from compulsory redundancy. The 3,400-member Brigade of Gurkhas has been more vulnerable to redundancies after their terms of service changed four years ago, allowing them to serve for 22 years rather than the previous 15 years. Nearly all Gurkhas chose to extend their contracts, which increased the number in the brigade. The MoD says the changes made it more expensive to employ them, making them more vulnerable to cost-cutting redundancies. The Daily Telegraph reported that RAF and Royal Navy commanders hope that this will be the final round of redundancies but the Army is likely to announce at least one more tranche of job losses.

Plan to bar foreign students in shops stirs protests To advertise in

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A plan to restrict the entry of foreign students into shops to combat rampant shop-lifting and theft in Britain’s southwestern coastal city of Plymouth has sparked an outrage, with residents and immigrants branding

it as “racist”. It provoked scorn and a welter of protest from people across Britain who branded it as ‘racist and ridiculous’. The plan envisaged ‘special stickers’ in shops restricting the

entry of students at any one time. Leaders in Plymouth apologised following an uproar over the plan to prevent shop-lifting and theft by restricting the number of foreign students.


Oxford don released over death of professor

Prof Steven Rawlings

Oxford University don Devinder Sivia, who was arrested on suspicion of the murder of his longterm friend and colleague Professor Steven Rawlings, has been released on police bail. Sivia, 50, was arrested on Wednesday night at his home in Southmoor, Oxford, after police discovered the body of 49year-old Prof Rawlings, a married astrophysicist. Thames Valley Police said the post-mortem examination had proved inconclusive and Dr Sivia was being released on police bail until April 18. D e t e c t i v e Superintendent Rob Mason, from the force’s major crime unit, said: “This is a tragic incident and our investigations are ongoing to establish

Devinder Sivia

the cause of death.” He added: “I would emphasise that the police are investigating all potential circumstances that could have led to his death. Due to the post-mortem examination results proving inconclusive and further examinations being required, this has necessitated a lengthy bail date.” Prof Rawling’s family who were struggling to come in terms with death and did not wish to talk to media any further did not believe that Prof Sivia could have murdered his friend and blamed his death on “a tragic accident”. Linda Davey, 64, Prof Rawling’s older sister, said he was not the type of man to get into an argument over anything.



Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Cllr Sachin Rajput Conservative Greater London Assembly Candidate For Brent & Harrow By Spriha Srivastava

AWAG – for the voiceless Domestic violence is an issue that affects many women across the globe today. And while many women come out to fight with it, some get battered by the stigma associated with it and suffer silently. Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group (AWAG) is one such organisation that helps those women who suffer from domestic violence as a social evil. Last week, the founder of the organisation, Ila Pathak was in London to talk about AWAG and enlighten the audience with the work that this organisation has been doing for a long time now. Organised by Asian Foundation for Philanthropy, the talk brought to light the issue of domestic violence in rural areas in Gujarat and how AWAG has gone a long way in supporting women suffering from this. In her talk she said that the aim of the organisation is to empower women through assertion of their individuality, to assist them in getting social justice and to help them to regain their health. AWAG, believes that when a woman’s self-awareness is raised, so is her self worth and they support women in getting social justice in their struggle to survive and develop as human beings. The organisation has six aims that it strives to work upon - raise the image of women in society; protest against elements in society which demean the image of women; establish women’s equal status in society; contribute to women’s participation in the development of the country; support the rights of women to live with dignity and to support their welfare and education and work for the economic betterment of poor women. AWAG undertakes work in both the urban and rural areas of Gujarat. It has offices in the following four areas, Bhudarpura (west Ahmedabad), Bapunagar (east Ahmedabad) and in the rural areas of Radhanpur and Rapar. Its work in Bapunagar was in response to the communal riots, between Hindu and Muslims, which broke out in August 1986. It became apparent to

AWAG that many women died within their own homes. Women would often liken their husbands to Gods, which meant that they were reluctant to speak out against their abusive husbands. They would

in Gujarat and Gujarat Vidyapith”, she said. AWAG provides a number of services to women in Gujarat. For instance, there are counselling centres across the state with a different approach from the tradi-

Dr Ilaben Pathak with others at a London event by AFP

seek to protect the reputation of the husband and the wider family, at the expense of their own well being. Consequently, incidents of domestic violence against women are increasing not only in Gujarat, but also in India, causing many women to take their own lives, said Ms. Pathak. Ms. Pathak also said, “The numbers of reported unnatural deaths (suicides, suspicious deaths) are alarming. However, we have noticed that in recent years the number of complaints to the police exceed the number of deaths.” It was also found that women were at their most vulnerable between the ages of 1130 years. In excess of 62% of those reported deaths fell in this age group. 50% of these deaths were caused by supposed kitchen accidents. Ila Pathak founded the organisation with the aim of women’s welfare in mind and the organisation has now reached various heights. “We in AWAG rapidly learned that we had to empower women and to teach them not to be pressurised to give up life, nor to protect the evildoer by making false statements. This and similar cases keep haunting me, they drive me to work with women in distress and to study legal provisions to help us protect them. With this in mind I have forged close links with the Centre for Social Studies

tional counselling. The counselling units are women-focused and this differs from the traditional interventionist models, where counsellors support the family unit and tend to encourage the woman’s return to her marital home. Counsellors at AWAG are pro-woman. In essence they operate on the premise that women are oppressed, exploited and often rendered powerless by comparison to men in society. Having said this, they believe that women are capable of challenging the oppressive structures in their lives and the counsellors assist them in this process and their empowerment. AWAG also provides legal aid for women preparing their cases in court. It also provides for a short stay home for women who have nowhere to go after they have left their husband’s home. According to AWAG statistics, approximately 75% of the women, suffering from mental illnesses, had at one time or another considered ending their own lives. They often feel that there is no point in living, because they do not add any value to society. This is a recurring sentiment and much of the work is aimed at changing this perception. AWAG has gone a long way in supporting women in the state of Gujarat and is a model that should be adopted not only by other states in India but across the globe.

Let us know what you think. Email Spriha at

For the benefit of Londoners In addition to my political and voluntary commitments, I was Called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple some years ago now. The Middle Temple is one of four Inns of Court, the others being Lincolns Inn, Gray’s Inn and Inner Temple. These Inns historically played a significant role in both the teaching and training of ‘would-be’ barristers and to this day still remain a focal point and valid entity for the profession, including but not limited to through offering courses, lectures and networking sessions with other barristers and senior members of the judiciary to help provide a solid foundation for anyone embarking on a career at the Bar to gain the necessary support and skill required to practise the vocation. As a practising barrister I retain links with my Inn of Court and often attend dining sessions and other activities and also generally support junior members and students alike. During the year, on a few occasions an activity referred to as a “Bench Call” takes place where senior members of an Inn of Court are made “Benchers” of that Inn which in summary is a prominent and significant role within the Inn which is awarded to those on merit, mainly to senior members of the judiciary and eminent Queens Counsel. In addition to

these Benchers who are from within the profession a handful of people are awarded the title of “Honorary Bencher” of the Inn where they are ‘made a barrister and Bencher on the same night’ (without practising rights) and bestowed the title of “Honorary Bencher” for their merit to society. Historically in our lifetime for example, the late-Queen Mother was made a Bencher of the Middle Temple and more recently both His Royal Highness Prince William and the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP were awarded the honour. More recently, I was pleased to note that in an Honorary Bench Call ceremony held in November 2011, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson was made an honorary bencher of the Middle Temple. Mayor Boris Johnson has certainly made a huge contribution in London and it is wonderful to note that he has been recognised for that contribution to society. Not only has Boris been addressing housing concerns, crime and the fear of crime and creating significant employment opportunities for our youth since coming into office, but he has also made significant improvements to transport despite what the Labour opposition may claim. Affecting Brent & Harrow alone he is responsible for new trains and signalling on the Bakerloo and

Piccadilly Lines and for new air-conditioned trains with an increased capacity of 27% on the Metropolitan Line. Further, he has managed to secure £130million worth of funding from the Government to ensure that on average, fares increase only slightly above inflation. For London to remain a first class-city we need to invest in our transport system and any reduction in fares would hinder the improvements that transport users want in infrastructure and that money has been earmarked for. It is to his credit that Boris Johnson has committed to significant investment in the transport system and that he continually delivers for Londoners whilst minimising the financial impact on commuters by seeking and obtaining significant sums of money from the Government to offset against fares increases. With Boris Johnson as Mayor, not only do we see improvements in London but we see a politician who is honest and delivers on his pledges and I trust voters will recognise this in the May 2012 Mayoral and Greater London Assembly elections, particularly as Boris has managed to achieve all of this without any increases in his precept element through Londoners Council Tax which he has frozen for three years in a row now for the benefit of all Londoners.

Councillor makes fraudulent claim for housing benefits for a second time A close colleague of Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman faced cross-party calls to resign after fraudulently claiming housing benefits for a second time, a daily has reported on 11th January. Shelina Akhtar, pictured, an independent councillor, pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly claiming housing and

council tax benefits for a property in Poplar at Snaresbrook crown court on Monday. Despite committing benefit fraud for a second time she has been allowed to keep her council seat. The housing benefit falsely claimed totalled 1,085 and 29 council tax benefit. The charges related to two periods between

November 2009 and September 2010 at her Swan Housing Association-owned property. Before Akhtar entered guilty pleas on Monday, a warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to turn up at court. She sent a doctor’s letter saying she was unwell and unfit to stand trial. But the judge threw out her plea and threatened to issue an arrest warrant if she did not turn up. Akhtar was bailed and is due to be sentenced on February 6.


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012


Asian Tory fundraiser lands in controversy Redbridge’s first Labour mayorelect in 10 years announced regarding his comments to MoS A major scandal erupted as the Mail on Sunday reported about an Asian Tory fundraiser and a prominent activist who was caught in an undercover investigation boasting to Mail on Sunday about his ability to arrange for meetings with PM Cameron and supply his personal mobile number for £10,000. Rickie Sehgal, 50, allegedly also said that donors could dine with the PM - or any other Ministers - and raise any issue they wanted, including relaxing immigration curbs. He allegedly claimed that he could arrange for Tory MPs to make personal appearances in support of business ventures, as reported by the Mail on Sunday. However when he was later confronted about his claims, Mr Sehgal (pictured) apparently admitted to the Sunday newspaper that he was ‘highly embarrassed’ to have been caught making his boasts, which he said he had exaggerated to impress the undercover reporter. It was also reported in the MoS that Mr Sehgal, the chairman of British Asian Conservative Link (BACL), was asked to leave the Tory Party after senior officials studied the evidence gathered by the newspaper. Fears grew that BACL, which stages fundraising events to boost the number of Asian Tory MPs, might also

face being stripped of its right to use the official Conservative logo. But the most disturbing disclosure that Mr Cameron’s most private contact details are being touted around to wealthy businessmen has prompted fresh concerns over ‘cash for access’ at the heart of Government. The Mail on Sunday apparently began its investigation following a tip-off from a leading legal source who claimed that Asian businessmen were using BACL to gain access to senior Tory Ministers. An undercover reporter posing as a businessman who ran a domestic cleaning company in East London met Mr Sehgal at his office. The reporter said he was keen to join BACL’s exclusive 1000 Club, which its website claims can give members access to Ministers and MPs for business and personal benefits.

Membership of the club costs £1,000. This is the latest in a series of cash-for-access scandals to hit the party since the General Election win of May 2010. Last December, PR firm Bell Pottinger was accused of offering clients access to Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron’s chief strategist; Ed Llewellyn, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff; and even Foreign Secretary William Hague. And shortly after Mr Cameron entered Downing Street, it emerged that the Tories were offering private dinners and lunches with the Prime Minister to businessmen who paid £50,000. Since it was set up in 1997, BACL has proved to be the Tories’ main contact with the Asian community, especially wealthy businessmen. BACL has hosted a series of lavish dinners at the Carlton Club, an exclusive Conservative Party haunt, where key Tory politicians have been wined and dined. Asian Voice wrote to Rickie Sehgal asking about his reaction on the news printed by Daily Mail. Dan Kirkby from Kirkby Monahan Publicity on behalf of Rickie Sehgal wrote to Asian Voice saying “Mr. Seghal does contest much of what was printed about him in the Mail on Sunday and other publications....but on legal advise he is reserving his position....”

Cllr Muhammed Javed, who has served as councillor of two Ilford wards for 30 years, was announced mayor-elect last week. The 60-year-old father of four was the only council member to put their name forward, meaning a ballot was unnecessary. A new system of electing the mayor was put in place last year. Before this, many of the elected mayors belonged to the Conservative group. Cllr Javed, of Dudley Road, Ilford (pictured) will succeed Cllr Chris Cummins in May, when he officially puts on the robes and takes up his busy schedule of appointments as mayor – which consist of around 500 visits and trips a year. He has not yet decided on the charities he will support but told a local paper: “Elderly and vulnerable people are very important. We should all give some

time to help them, even if it’s one hour a month. On Christmas Day I took one of my residents to church for a service, and I also bought one other elderly lady Christmas dinner as she hadn’t had one in ten years,” he added. Cllr Javed also said: “Being a mayor is an honour. I would like to thank my colleagues and all the party members for having this faith in me.”

Five Muslim men on trial for stirring up hatred Five muslim men are due to appear in court after being accused of breaking new laws against inciting hatred due to sexual orientation. Ihjaz Ali, Razwan Javed, Kabir Ahmed, Mahboob Hassain and Umer Javed, all from Derby, are on trial for distributing anti-homosexual leaflets, which claim that gay people should be killed. One leaflet entitled ‘The Death Penalty?’ portrayed a mannequin being hanged and stated that buggery led to hell. Another

labelled ‘Turn or Burn’ showed a person drowning in a lake of fire. Prosecutor Bobbi Cheema described it as ‘horrible, threatening literature, with quotations from religious sources and pictures, which were designed to stir up hostile feelings against homosexual people.’ Leaflets were handed out outside Jamia Mosque, as well as being posted through letter Continued on page 30


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

“Who is my Krishna?” - the guru / shishya relationship in the City context A guru is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom, and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others – according to Wikipedia. (Funnily enough that definition would probably put Wikipedia itself as a guru for many of us, but let’s leave that for another day.) A shishya is simply a student, a devotee, a follower of the guru. It is worth dwelling on the definition of the guru for just a minute. Increasingly in the Indian sense, the word has become interchangeable with ‘teacher’, giving it an almost exclusively academic taste. In the Western world, we are at the other extreme, where almost anyone with subject matter expertise becomes a ‘guru’, irrespective of his or her bhavna (loosely, ‘attitude’) to imparting the knowledge. In the Vedic (or Wikipedia-ic) sense, both parts – the beholder of knowledge, wisdom and authority; and the selfless impartation to guide others – are equally important. Now, the next frequently asked question – is each shishya (the young man or woman working his or her way through life) constrained to having just one guru? The answer, in my mind, is a starch ‘no’. Gurus, to me, come in two broad categories. First there is the academic or technical guru – your teacher at school or university – the one who equipped you with your technical skills. For the sake of this argument it doesn’t really matter whether the academic guru is singular or plural. In today’s world having a singular guru from year one at kindergarten to the end of university education can broadly be ruled out. At the spiritual level, the Advaita Vedantic will tell you that it doesn’t matter because it is the qualities and the essence of the guru that the shishya aspires to, not the individual person. To that extent, both singular and plural are one and the same, so ‘sub-gurus’ are

fine. Too deep. Let’s move on to the second type of guru – the trade or business guru. No, not Lord Sugar or Peter Jones from Dragon’s Den. The trade guru is more personal than that – a bit like the academic guru. The overriding role is to impart softer skills, such as influencing and creating gravitas, and to provide guidance or work as a sounding board in times of difficulty. Once again, it is the qualities of the guru that will attract the shishya – the aura, the character, the respect, the wisdom and the authority. It is no coincidence that these qualities overlap with our earlier definition of the guru. But just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, these qualities will reflect differently to different shishyas, and it is up to the shishya to find their own trade guru. So maybe Lord Sugar does qualify as a trade guru to some of his apprentices. But not necessarily to all. Is the concept of having two different gurus for technical training and for learning the tricks of the trade, as it were, a new phenomenon in an increasingly complex world? Not really. I avoided it so far, but it is almost impossible to complete a gurushishya debate without discussing Dronacharya and Arjuna – probably the most discussed gurushishya pairing in Hinduism. “Aha, so Arjuna just had one cradle-to-grave guru, right?” Right? Wrong. He had at least one technical guru in Dronacharya, who was the school master, if you will, combined with a university professor. H o w e v e r , Dronacharya only taught Arjuna the art of warfare and theoretical war strategies. Chapter One of the Bhagavad Gita (verses 26 to 29) will tell you that Arjuna’s limbs still quivered at the onset of the great battle of the Kurukshetra, his body trembled, his bow

The Government of India has recognised the fine journalism of one of our reporters. Dhiren Katwa was presented with the Bharat Samman Award in New Delhi. He was the youngest recipient of the 20 NRIs who were each recognised for their exemplary work in their respective fields. Dr Rami Ranger received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Full story next week.

Tarang Katira

was slipping and his skin was burning. Later verses of the Mahabharata will tell you that time and again through Arjuna’s battle, he had decisions to make where he himself may have erred if it wasn’t for the timely guidance of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna, Arjuna’s trade guru. Hence I decipher that Dronacharya and Krishna were both his gurus, and both in and of themselves, playing the roles they played, would have been inadequate for Arjuna’s (and therefore the Pandavas’) success in the Mahabharata. The young man or woman entering the City today, or indeed one who has been in the City for a few years but is still seeking to become the “top dog”, is no different from Arjuna at inception, and/or part-way through the battle of Kurukshetra. Asian culture today places emphasis in making the most out of academic life, and learning as much from the technical guru’s knowledge as possible. The emphasis seems to have diminished on the trade guru. I would urge the ambitious young man or woman working, or about to start work, in the City, to remember to continually ask of themselves “Who is (are) my Krishna?” Don’t let your ego, or the self-perception of weakness, get in your way. It may cost you your success in the City. The City Hindus Network offers an informal mentorship program to amateur and mid-level professionals in the City. It also offers numerous networking opportunities with other City professionals through regular networking and educational events. Tarang Katira is the Community lead in the CHN. You can sign up to be a member or find out more about the CHN at w w w. c i t y h i n d u s n e t

India on its path to discover its own car design identity Rajesh Kutty, a Malayli man, with an MA in Automotive Design from Coventry University (2004), currently works with Bentley and was a part of a team that designed a train that will be used at London Olympics 2012. Rajesh spoke exclusively to Asian Voice about growing up, his passion for designing cars, his future plans and the journey so far. AV: As an Indian coming to Coventry to study automotive design, how different was it for you? Why did you choose Coventry? I already had a background in Design from NID, Ahmedabad, also prior to this I had worked at a car studio near Coventry on a tractor that I had designed. Thus I was not alien to what I was to expect. I chose Coventry as I was already familiar with the place, and it is a pretty reputed place for Car Design in the world. AV: You were the winner of The best Model of the Show’ at the Uni, and runner up for ‘Best Concept Design’ at the Graduate show held at the British Transport Museum, Coventry in 2004. How important were they in your career? For my final project, there is no doubt that I did eye to be up there as one of the better designs in class. So it did make me feel proud to be judged well amongst a bunch of very talented and hard working individuals. I felt rewarded for the effort I had put in during the year, and thus grew in confidence. AV: Tell us something about your childhood, your family, where you grew up, what aspired you to be an automotive designer. I was quite car mad as a child, and on hindsight I liked to draw more than other kids. My father worked in the Automotive industry, and he was a great influence for my love for cars. After graduating in Engineering I learnt more about the Design world, and realised that is where I wanted to be. This lead me to post graduating in Industrial Design (at the time there was no Automotive design course in India), which then led me to a tractor design immediately after. While working on the tractor I pursued my ambition of working in the Car Industry with what I loved doing - Design.

Rajesh Kutty

AV: Being an Asian in the field, has it been difficult for you to make a mark? I was looking to work in Europe as I like European Car Design. This however was not easy as it meant obtaining visas, which very easily limited my scope of getting a job in Europe. It took me a couple of months and lots of emailing to get the visas for my first car design job in Turin, Italy. This anyway was only for 3 months!! But as far as design was concerned it didn’t affect me as I enjoyed what I was doing. AV: Has the current economic climate affected your field of work? I have been fortunate in this regard. But it could have very easily gone the other way. AV: What is the latest trend in car designing? Car Designers carry a lot of influence from other fields, be it furniture design, fashion, yachts, lights or lifestyle products. Similarly Product design and other fields look at cars for inspiration. Thus there is a lot of overlapping in terms of design cues etc, while focussing on the brand of the car. AV: Are you the only Asian in the Bentley design team? Indeed I was the only Non European in the Bentley Design team. Although last year the Exterior Design team inducted a Korean. AV: Today’s youth relate to car designing, as an extremely ‘cool’ job. Some also aspire to take the same path as you. Do you have any tips for them? Please don’t join Car Design if you think it is a cool job. While it is a thoroughly enjoyable thing to do, it’s best to pursue it only if you are passionate about it. Also

even if you get Automotive Design at university is it really what you want to do? Especially since it is a highly specialised job. I was once told by my teacher at Coventry that there are more Hollywood stars than there are Professional Car Designers! The ones with the best skills get through while others may pursue other fields. So if you truly believe in your dream then you can get what you want with talent, the right skills and some luck. Once you get there then it’s a pleasure working on what you liked since your childhood. AV: Do you plan to go back to India and use your skills in designing there? I would love to do that someday, when the time is right. AV: How far do you think India has excelled in this field? Car Design as we know it today is a ‘western concept’. Thus obviously its way advanced in the western world than in India. However like many other things (non Indian) India is doing the catching up. There are various Design schools that have come up in the last decade, training Automotive Design amongst others. A lot of automotive companies boast of in house designers where it was almost non existent a decade back. Also there are a quite a few Indians like me in other car studios around the globe, which is very encouraging. So we are catching up for sure. AV: What do you think the future of car designing in India would be like? As India is so unique, like every other foreign concept/product that gets introduced in India has to respect the culture and tradition to be successful there. Similarly, I think the Indian designer would have to be very sensitive to what is liked or preferred within India. It is a matter of time before India would get its own Car Design identity. Our own signature forms, use of colours and functions offered that we would portray to the rest of the world. Currently I think it is on the path to discovering it.

Midland Voice Dhiren Katwa is currently away

Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012




Another White Elephant T he Government has given a green light for the project to build a, 250 miles per hour, train from London to Birmingham. It decided on 10 January to proceed with the development and delivery of this national high speed rail network. The rail will initially link London to Birmingham, and eventually go beyond to Manchester and Leeds.The project is estimated to cost in the region of some £33 billion. This is over three and a half times the cost of 9 billion pounds for the Olympic Games. Protest groups formed to oppose the scheme say that the planned route crosses an area of outstanding natural beauty and it will damage the environment. They say that there is no business case, no environmental case and there is no money to pay for it. This is going to be another waste of Government and taxpayers’ money. What would the project achieve and what would be the take up in ticket sales? If there is not sufficient take up by passengers this may turn out to be a white elephant of monumental proportions with irreparable damage to the countryside and the environment. The money could deliver more benefits to more people more quickly for less by investing in the current rail infrastructure. This vast amount of money could be better spent in repairing leaking school roofs or investing in better health care services. It could be used in not clawing back on Civil Service pensions by unilaterally changing the way the pension increases are calculated in line with the changes in much favourable RPI to the changes in CPI. It could be spent in providing free higher education or in reducing our taxes. Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford

Elephant statues There is a photograph of elephant statues being covered with pink clothes published in the Time magazine.These statues are in the park in the northern Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. Because these elephants happen to be the symbol of the ruling party, the statues must be covered ahead of upcoming state Assembly elections. When you read or hear such news about India, it disturbs the minds of all of us thinking what the hell is happening in India. It appears that our top political leaders and the court judges have no common sense to deal with such issues. Elephant statues are everywhere in India and practically in all the temples and Shri Ganesh ji himself is a symbol of an elephant, whom we all Hindus worship. Such kind of orders issued by the court must not be obeyed and Mayawati should resist the foolish stunts of the central Government for such actions. It appears Government has lost its common senses, and important issues such as providing minimum standard of living for every citizen is also being over looked. What a Shame! Dharam Sahdev Ilford

Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Body of Brit-Indian student found in Manchester river Murders of Indian students, Anuj Bidve and Gurdeep Hayer, of Manchester invoke question if both were selected, were at wrong place at wrong time, victims of jealousy and frustration among tinderbox of cashless, hopeless and jobless yobs? Unlike Black community and Muslims, Indians have no gang culture to frighten yobs who target Indians. If Britain, Indian community and Indian High commissioner downplay attacks under names - racism, hate crime, and temporary insanity, murderous psychos may be emboldened to stage more attacks like in Australia. Unplanned, un-patterned lethal attacks, on impulse, are painful to families, police and Britain, showing failure of police, priests, parliament and parents to curb killer attitude. Add to this violent films and television dramas where emotionless violence is projected as shortcut to solve problems. Broken family institution undermines parents’ attempts to inculcate humanism and to feel pain at violence and deaths. It is time for army of priests of all denominations to educate yobs non-violence and humanism. This can help all aspirants to develop positive attitude without losing face or dignity. Secular Yoga and meditation can be utilised by schools, churches and police to reform miscreants. Creation of jobs, cash and hope can also ease xenophobia. Ramesh Jhalla Via Email

A National Shame I always enjoy reading Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook column in Asian Voice. In his article A National Shame (AV 14 January 2012) about child malnourishment in India, he quotes, in a tone implying utter dismay and frustration, a Member of the House of Lords who is a patron of a charity in India as saying “it’s so difficult getting the very wealthy Indians in the UK to give.” Towards the end, Alpesh hammers home this point by saying, in his characteristic sarcasm, ‘You see, it is not the super rich Indians in the UK who give in proportion to their worth, it is the middle and working class Indians in the UK who gives disproportionately to their work.’ How true – and how utterly shameful, too! I have been a trustee of a national community charity in the UK for many years. In a small way, we give support to poor children in India and try to fulfil their needs, be it towards education, disability, malnutrition, etc. Our support comes from donations from middle and working class people only. Yet, there are many wealthy Indians in the UK who may be able to fund a substantial part of a charitable project but choose not to. And these are the same people who will, unhesitatingly, finance the cost of a lavish wedding of their children or liberally socialise themselves or even exploit their

Education and Religion In spite of India obtaining independence over 60 years ago, the division on the basis of religion and caste still persist and it takes major role in the incoming election in Uttar Pradesh next month. India was divided only on the basis of religion and it is outrageous on the part of some political parties to use religion to divide the society. According to the Indian constitution some sections of the Indian community who were educationally backward such as OBCS and Dalits were reserved more than 50 per cent of the seats and it clearly states that there should not be reservation on the basis of religion and only on the basis of backwardness. The present appeasement policy of Indian government has resulted in several parties based on caste and religion and they are trying to impose how India should be run. In the name of pseudo secularism Indian government has allowed thousands of Madrasas and Christian schools and colleges to operate in India. Madrasas give more importance to religious studies rather than concentrating of basic subjects and hence students coming from these schools and colleges cannot compete for jobs with students from secular institutions. It is not surprising that Muslims are under represented in higher educational institutions. If government wants to provide good education for Muslims, they should force all private institutions funded by the government whether run by Christian, Hindu or private charities to take at least 5 per cent of the children starting from nursery schools from Dalit’s and Muslims irrespective of their social back ground and fees paid by the government. In addition the children from these groups should be given free meals and grants for uniforms and classify them as special needs children and provide additional coaching to bring up to the same level like other children with middle class back ground. The way in which Indian politics in UP operates, it divides the Indian society on the basis of caste and religion and it may lead to division of India again in 50 years. Arun Vaidyanathan Via Email position in the UK parliament by making false expenses claims! For me and I am sure for many of us ordinary folks in the UK, I am content and secure in the knowledge that in our community charity - as in other very many similar charities in the UK - everyone involved is an unpaid volunteer and so is their counterpart in India who works selflessly in helping the poor without any expectation of reward or position. Let us all keep it that way! And thank you, Alpesh, for highlighting this issue so succinctly! Uttambhai D Mistry Bolton

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‘Smile Pinky’ too gets the Oscar Boyle says Mumbai dwarfed the statuette


Cricket crazy Indians for the first time was seen so euphoric on Monday morning, as they expected a couple of Oscars. British Indians in the UK, Dharavi slums, the shanty township of Mumbai, a village in Uttar Pradesh and almost the entire Bollywood waited in expectation, glued to their TV sets. They burst into celebrations as one by one, their heroes, the actors of the British Indian film and the music maestro, A R Rahman bagged the top awards in the world of entertainment. British actress Kate Winslett also won the Oscar after having missed it almost five times earlier. ‘Smile Pinki’, a short documentary on a cleft-lipped Indian girl in Uttar Pradesh directed by American director Megan Mylan, won the Oscar for the Best Documentary (Short). -/1% /. 0!'%


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As usual British newspapers had a field day in coming down like a ton of bricks on Sophie Windsor, wife of Prince Edward, for accepting gifts, expensive jewellery from the Bahrain royal family, although it will not go to her personally. The recent unrest in Bahrain where the majority is Shia but ruling family is Sunni provoked a widespread condemnation in the West. But in reality, most Middle East Kingdoms are ruled by a minority, prime example being Sadam’s Iraq and Syria where a tiny minority of Shia rules over 80% Sunni leading to daily riots and thousands of deaths with no end in sight. Yet when these demonstrations, people power overthrow the dictators, it does not result in democratic rule. It gives a licence to the majority to suppress the minority, mainly Christians, as is the case in Egypt where the Coptic Christians are under constant attack from the followers of Muslim Brotherhood. Half of Iraq’s Christians have migrated to Syria and Jordan. No wonder the ethnic minorities in these countries back the present rulers, as under so called democracy, vote bank politics take priority over the safety and wellbeing of the minority. The so called butcher of Sudan, President Umar Hassan al-Bashir for whom there is arrest warrant for crimes against humanity, was given a hero’s welcome in recently liberated Libya. Gaddafi was a saint compared to alBashir who is alleged to be responsible for the death of some half a million Sudanese in the province of Gharb Darfur, mainly black Sudanese Muslims. I wonder whether Britain has spent £2 billion wisely in liberating Libya who may end up being another Iran. Arab spring of hope, democracy and prosperity may yet turn out to be a false horizon, a distant land beyond the reach of the masses. Bhupendra M Gandhi Via Email

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Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

University to open campus in Thailand A UK university is to open a campus in Bangkok in what is claimed as the first UK university to establish a branch in Thailand. The University of Central Lancashire has signed a deal with a Thaibased entrepreneur to open a university campus in Bangkok in 2014. Degrees will be taught in English and validated by the UK university. This will be the latest example of universities "globalising" with overseas branches. It follows a path set by the University of Nottingham which set up a branch in China. The greatest concentration of such branch universities, from UK and US universities, has been in Asia and the Gulf states. Newcastle University is

establishing a medical school in Malaysia, where Nottingham also has a campus. University College London has a campus in Qatar. The announcement of the University of Central Lancashire's plans will give this "new" university an international identity and an opportunity to expand. The University of Central Lancashire's vicechancellor, Malcolm McVicar, said its market research showed "strong demand" for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Thailand. Thailand has been identified as a hub for South East Asia, and is expected to be a "key area for future global growth". The UK university will invest £7.5m and will work alongside the entrepreneur

Sitichai Charoenkajonkul. There are other UK universities which have partnerships with universities in Thailand, but the University of Central Lancashire is claiming to be the first from the UK to set up a full university there. It expects to have 5,000 students in 10 years and will offer courses in areas such as business, built and natural environment, engineering, creative and performing arts and languages. Kevin Van-Cauter, higher education adviser at the British Council, says this is part of an increasing pattern of globalisation in higher education. Setting up overseas branches allows universities to "establish a global brand", he says.

Graduate jobs 'taken by work experience students' More than a third of jobs for new graduates are taken by people who have already had work experience with that employer, according to the latest update on the graduate jobs market. The report from High Fliers Research shows that employers are recruiting more graduates - but there are record numbers of graduates chasing jobs. Employers are report-

ing a 19% average increase in applications. Those without any work experience have "little or no chance", says the report. The Graduate Market in 2012 report, based on a survey of a hundred leading employers, reveals a recovering jobs market for graduates. There will be 6% more graduate entry jobs for university leavers in 2012

than there were in 2011, suggests the research. But this optimism is tempered by the increase in job-hunting graduates, with record numbers of university leavers competing with those who are still looking for jobs from previous years. The research suggests that a third of job applicants for the current round of graduate entry posts are from previous cohorts.


Tower Hamlets 'worst area for child poverty' claims map A 'child poverty map' claims London borough Tower Hamlets is the worst area in the UK for child poverty. More than half (52%) of children living there are in poverty, compared to the national average of one in five, claims the Campaign to End Child Poverty. London boroughs Islington, Hackney, Westminster and Camden all feature in the top 10 list of areas worst affected. The government says it is "tackling the root causes of poverty." Children were classed as in poverty if their fami-

ly's income fell below 60% of the average income of £25,000. Bethnal Green and Bow was named as the worst parliamentary constituency for child poverty - while Prime Minster David Cameron's Witney constituency and Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg's Sheffield Hallam constituency made the top 20 lowest child poverty levels list. A total of 89 constituencies already meet the government's headline target for 2020 by having child poverty rates of 10% or lower, the report said. It warned tax and benefit changes outlined in

the recent Autumn Statement showed the greater burden was being placed on society's poor, which "not only puts children's wellbeing at risk, it carries economic risks too." The Institute for Fiscal Studies recently warned that a couple with two children will be £1,250 worse off per yearby 2015 as families "shoulder the burden of austerity". At below 60% of the average income of £25,000, families struggle to meet basic needs like food, heating, transport, clothing, school equipment and trips.

Have your say on a better future for Harrow Harrow Council’s proposed vision for the future of Harrow Town Centre, Wealdstone and Station Road has gone out for consultation this week. Alongside a blog with information and space for comments on the Council website, ten drop in sessions are being staged across the borough over the next six weeks where people can find out more, talk to planning officers and voice their opinions on this major planning policy. The Council has drawn up a draft masterplan for

the area following workshops with residents, businesses, developers and community groups throughout the last year. Once completed, the masterplan is expected to shape the planning and related investment decisions in the area. It could see millions of pounds of new investment by private enterprise, the Council and partners over the next decade, creating 3,000 new jobs alongside new homes and infrastructure. Cllr Keith Ferry, portfolio holder for planning and

economic development on Harrow Council, said: "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help create a clear future vision for this important area right in the heart of Harrow. "This is about protecting what is great about the area while putting in place the planning guidelines that manage future development and exploit it for the good of everyone in Harrow.” Find out more or have your say online at fharrow



Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Scrutator’s India’s relationship with the State of Israel is of seminal importance. India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s two-day visit to Israel last week, the first since his BJP counterpart Jaswant Singh made his trip to Jerusalem in 2000, was clearly time to update ties in the light of a fast changing region and world beyond. Mr Krishna gave voice to India’s desire to fast track the relationship and take it to new heights of endeavour across a broad spectrum, from trade and agriculture to science co-operation, defence and intelligence sharing

President Shimon Peres (R) with Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna in Jerusalem

Welcoming Words Mr Krishna was accorded the warmest of welcomes by his hosts, who included President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor

Mr. Krishna described Mr. Peres as a “statesman of high calibre” and credited Israel for being an inspiration for India in its efforts to attain food security through increased production of foodgrain.Mr Krishna paid fulsome tribute to Israel for sharing with India its unri-

Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu meets India's Foreign Minster S.M. Krishna in Jerusalem

Lieberman. Agreeing to set the agenda for the next decade, India and Israel toasted each other, with President Peres saying: “For us, India is first of all a culture; then, it is for us the greatest democracy on earth, and then the unbelievable achievement of overcoming poverty without becoming poor in freedom…..India was most fortunate that it had two great and unforgettable leaders – one was a prophet and the other a king.” The combination of Gandhi and Nehru was most unusual,” he averred. He continued: “We are following India with great care and interest, not just in the political sense but being citizens of the world, we think that without India and China hunger would govern the world.”

valled expertise in new farming techniques, drip irrigation, water harvesting and much else. India had benefited exponentially from such generosity on Israel’s part, Mr Krishna said. The time had come for the leaderships of both countries to set the agenda for the next decades. Mr Krishna said he looked forward to the signing of an Indo-Israeli Free Trade Agreement (FTA), now in the closing stages of negotiation that would lead to a quantum jump in their bilateral commerce and investment to mutual benefit. He was happy at the high numbers of Israeli visitors to India, sign of a thriving people-to-people interaction. Finally, Mr. Krishna appealed for greater co-operation between the intelligence servic-

es of both countries in the battle against international terrorism, which, he said, should be eradicated from the earth. Mr. Krishna’s visit ended with a visit to a 700-year-old Indian hospice (it has flown the Tricolor from 1947) in Jerusalem which had fallen on hard times, with steady encroachments on the site. The Foreign Minister gave a grant of $25,000 for the management of the hospice and promised that his External Affairs Ministry would defray the annual cost of its upkeep. The family in charge of the building has also offered hospitality to Indian visitors to the Holy Land. The Ottoman authorities gave the land to a visiting Sufi traveler, Baba Farid, from Punjab all those centuries ago (The Bengal Post January 10, the Telegraph January 11, 12). Mr. Krishna’s visit to Israel (followed by a detour to Palestine) is ample testimony to a relationship that continues to wax, where once, many moons ago, it had waned, largely due to the political myopia of Indian leaders ever sensitive to proArab lobbies at home and abroad. Such shackles have mercifully been dispensed with under the belated recognition that Indian goodwill was never fully reciprocated in the Islamic world. We move on. The past is behind us. The future beckons.

Single-brand Retail passed The Government of India has passed into law 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in single retail, paving the way for international furniture maker Ikea and several fashion brands like Louis Vitton to set up stores in the country and also boost sourcing from local manufacturer. Apart from the entry of new players into the market, the decision is also expected to result in several existing players who operate through tie-ups with Indian companies as their previous investments were limited to 51 per cent. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board has already cleared French retailer Christian Louboutin’s proposal to set up retail chains in the country. Global brands such as Mothercare and Marks

Raytheon, whose spokesman said that Stingers would be available for other aircraft if required. The US authorities have informed the US Congress of the upcoming deal as required by law, so there should be no impediments to the deal (The Times of India, January 10).

India praised for food security Visiting American Economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, giving the Convocation Address at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, praised India’s lead role in recognizing food security for all its citizens as a basic human right. By doing so, India was “leading the way for the rest of the world and is on the verge of implementation of the world’s

Upbeat India Inc Bengal Leads was a week-long meet in Kolkata which brought together the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and senior ministers in her government and the captains of Indian industry and their foreign compeers. Ms Banerjee assured them that West Bengal was ready to do business, that land acquisition for new industries were not a problem and would be fast-tracked. The era of strikes, shut downs and goslows etc, once the staple of Communist-Left Front rule, was over. She promised speedy responses to investment proposals and administrative transparency. Feasibility studies are to be conducted on ways to surmount the difficulties they represent (Sunday Times of India January 8). Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been invited to address an invited business audience in February by the influential Mumbaibased Indian Merchants’ Association whose members include the Tata Group, Reliance Industries, Godrej, Mahendra & Mahendra etc. She has a splendid opportunity to make a pitch for West Bengal, assuring these captains of industry that the bad old days of Communist misrule, of strikes and violent protest were over, that the new investorfriendly dispensation would render every possible help to those keen to set up plants, factories and offices in the state. West Bengal may be on the cusp of seed-time and remedy.

Nobel laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz meets Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi

& Spencer who have been operating in India via local firms are certain to take advantage of this new opening.

Indo-Bangla ties deepen Indian Home Minister P.Chidambaram has spoken in favour of deepening India’s ties with Bangladesh by granting Dhaka privileged access to the Indian market. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on a visit to the eastern Indian state of Tripura, has also appealed for a deeper relationship between the two countries, but asked India, as the bigger power, to act more generously on water and power- sharing on which there were currently significant differences. She asked Indian investors to come to Bangladesh, offering her government’s help to facilitate the process if they did so.

Stinger missiles for IAF The Indian Air Force has chosen the US Apache Longbow heavy duty attack helicopters, 22 of which are to be supplied to the IAF complete with an arms package of Stinger missiles, the contract worth $1.4 billion. The helicopters are manufactured by the Boeing company, the Stingers by

largest social protection programme against hunger.” Hunger, he said, was not caused by an absolute shortage of grain, but by the lack of income of those in poverty in getting access to it, he said, citing the work of fellow Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. Professor Stiglitz said, one out of seven Americans today were on food stamps, almost an equal number still faced food insecurity, ruing that, “while India debates whether there should be basic economic rights like the right to food such debates are still not part of the discourse in America.” Professor Stiglitz warned his audience not to be carried away by the statistics related to the gross domestic product (GDP) as the sole measure of economic advance. There was little lasting profit if in posting high levels of GDP, the rich became richer and poor poorer, as was the case in his America. Proof that is all is not well with India, recently released figures show that 42 per cent of Indian children are underweight, surely a serious failing of the state and society. The good news is that during the past year not a single case of polio has been registered in the country, a most heartening achievement, of which every Indian should take justifiable pride (The Hindu January 13).


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Alpesh Patel’s

Political Sketchbook

The Politics of Charity and Hard Choices Which is worse: eighty per cent of India‘s rural poor rely heavily on agriculture for their livelihoods and in 2009 alone, 17,368 farmers across India killed themselves? Or is this worse: Unemployment is rife among marginalized and underprivileged youth in the urban slums of India. Their families, surviving on as little as £10 a month, depend on them? Politics is about hard choices. Ed Milliband, David Cameron agree on that at least. This week, like all weeks, I was asked to choose between good causes. But this week was especially difficult. I was a member of the Prince of Wales’s Charity, the British Asian Trust’s Selection Committee for donations to charities in association with Coutts Bank at Clarence House. So how do I judge? As a Barrister we used to call Circuit Court judges, ‘Circus Court Judges’ such was the lack of respect held by Barristers for the intellect of an average judge. We did respect those in the Court of Appeal and the now Supreme Court – all two dozen in total of them out of the entire judiciary. So how do I now apply my intellect to judging? How do I choose between the eye clinic in Pakistan and the education of rural girls in Rajasthan? Each one of projects was equally efficient, effective, with solid governance, clear what they would do with funds we would allocate, their impact, ability to affect policy etc etc. Let me tell you a little about them, so you can see what is going on in the world, then I will tell you how I used the wisdom of Solomon to come to my decision. The Mann Deshi Foundation helps

illiterate women in rural Maharashtra, often heading their households, by providing training that leads to livelihoods and self-sufficiency. Eighty percent of India‘s rural poor rely heavily on agriculture for their livelihoods. The SAATH-Umeed programme prepares young people with little education and few social skills for employment through practical training that meets the needs of local employers. Aangan Trust‘s work begins when laws, state policies, communities or parents fail to protect a child from abuse, violence, conflict, neglect and exploitation. Aangan‘s Project Shakti, launched in 2008, encourages vulnerable girls to realise their rights, and gain access to services such as health care and education. Vulnerable girls in India‘s poor communities are at risk of exploitation, sexual abuse, deep neglect and violence. Half of all girls aged 10-13 in India are robbed of their education. Girls aged 6-14 spend an average of 8 hours a day caring for other children in the family. Some 50% are married before they are 18. Educate Girls works to improve the quality of girls‘ education in rural Rajasthan. Children of mothers with up to five years of primary education are 40% more likely to live beyond the age of 5. Katha works in the slums of New Delhi to ensure that children receive a high quality education to build better futures. Some 18% of children aged 7-14 are not enrolled in schools in New Delhi. The percentage is much higher in Delhi‘s slums. Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust of Pakistan (LRBT) aims to provide free

state-of-the-art eye care across Pakistan. There are 1.7 million blind and 16.5 million visually impaired people in Pakistan. Eighty percent of blindness is curable, yet nearly 170,000 people become blind every year in Pakistan. 36% of population in Pakistan lives below the poverty line and at least 30% of the households in the country are unable to meet their medical expenditures. Developments in Literacy (DIL) aims to open the doors to quality education for all children, especially girls in remote, rural areas of Pakistan. Pakistan is expected to have the second largest outof-school population in the world by 2015. The Pakistan Mental Health Initiative, in partnership with BasicNeeds, aims to introduce a sustainable, communitybased mental health programme to enable mentally ill people to live and work successfully in their own towns and villages. It is estimated that mental health problems exist in every fifth household in Pakistan, and every tenth houses a patient that needs psychiatric help So how did I choose? I analysed everything of their business plans you would expect. My solution, since they were all equally worthy and capable…I ordered them by the ones with the least money to date, so where our donation would make the most difference. That’s politics at its best, not worst. Alpesh is the co-founder of a trading platform, the profits from which go to the Prince of Wales’s Charity, the British Asian Trust.


The Times 100 people to watch in 2012 The countdown has begun of the top 100 people thought to be important in 2012. Included in the list so far is Indian national Cyrus Mistry, who will be taking over as chairman of the Bombay-based Tata Group, the owners of Jaguar Land Rover and Corus Steel. He comes from one of the richest Indian families who are worth 4.2 billion and who own 18% of shares for Tata Sons, which is the largest single amount. As an individual, he has worked for Shapoorji Pallonji & Company and moved his way up through the ranks. He lead them during their expansion from just construction to international projects involving the marine, oil, gas and rail sectors, leading to a huge profit increase. Sajid Javid, the conservative MP of Bromsgrove and CCP to the chancellor, is also featured. He is particularly well-recognised for his speciality in helping to raise investment in developing countries. His previous work includes being the Vice-President of Chase Manhattan Bank in New York at the mere age of 25, and going on to beome a senior managing director at Deutsche Bank. Furthermore, he is actively involved in ample charitable work, including raising 710,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee. He is tipped to be one of the top individuals in the latest Tory intake. Qatar leader, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa alThani is another name to remember as his ambition and actions have helped put Qatar back on the map. He has played a part in the conflict in the Middle East by backing NATO and Lybian rebels in overthrowing Gadaffi and has recently expressed his desire for the Middle East to help ‘stop the killing’ in Syria. Emir Hammad is seen as a progressive muslim leader and aside from general running of the country, he is known to actively promote and participate in sport. This has led to Qatar hosting numerous sporting contests and winning the bid for the 2022 Football World Cup. Emir Hammad is a husband to 3 wives and a father to 24 children.


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Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Independent advice now challenges Banks There has never been more scrutiny on UK Banks in providing assistance to Small and Medium sized firms – scarcely a week escapes us without numerous statements by either Politicians or the Banks. However, there is one highly complex area in which Banks have, and continue to take great advantage of SME’s – ‘hedging’. Hedging in this context means protection against Financial Risks. A retailer may wish to protect the cost at which it imports its goods in US Dollars from the Far East; or a Nursing Home owner may wish to protect themselves from rising loan costs through higher interest rates. Many firms, both large and small routinely use financial hedging, and when used appropriately, they can be a very effective risk management tool. However, Banks make staggering amounts of profits from hedging that are actually ‘hidden’ from their clients since there is often no initial ‘fee’ to be paid for the hedging. These ‘hidden’ profits are from the excessively large profit margins that Banks make on the day they sell the hedging instrument to the client. In fact, the ‘salespeople’ who work in the

Abhishek Sachdev

hedging departments could quite easily make over £250£500k p.a. which is many multiples of what Relationship Managers typically earn. Too often Banks ‘advise’ clients to take on more complex hedging, or for a greater amount or term than required. Due to the recent febrile environment, Banks have struggled to make profits from traditional lending, thereby forcing them to rely on ever increasing profits from selling these hedging instruments and making excessive margins on these products. Just how widespread is this problem? "We understand tens, and possi-

bly hundreds, of thousands of these products have been sold by High Street banks, mainly in the period 2006 to 2008," says one lawyer who specializes in cases against Banks. The worrying aspect of this is that until now there has not been any independent advice available to these firms. This led Abhishek Sachdev, who was an Associate Director at Lloyds Bank for 8 years, to set up his independent advisory firm, Vedanta Hedging. Vedanta Hedging is fully authorised by the FSA to advise clients on hedging. Mr.Sachdev has recently been interviewed by the BBC on the matter, given the growing number of accusations that are now emerging regarding Banks mis-selling to businesses. Vedanta Hedging has invested in the same highly sophisticated market pricing software that the UK Banks have, meaning that they can price any hedging instrument in real-time. This allows them to negotiate better and potentially lower hedging terms for clients, saving them tens of thousands of pounds. In its short birth, Vedanta Hedging has already advised dozens of Hotel Groups, Nursing Home

MP Vara Takes Hindu Delegation to Hungarian Embassy

Ms Eszter Pataki, Counsellor of Press and Culture; Gauri das, Spiritual Commissioner of the Hindu Forum of Britain; His Excellency Janos Csak the Hungarian Ambassador; MP Shailesh Vara; Pranabandhu das, Senior Temple Member; Sruti Dharma das, Temple President

MP and Minister in the Coalition Government, Shailesh Vara, along with a delegation of Hindu leaders, went to the Hungarian Embassy on Monday 9th January to protest about the treatment of Hindus in Hungary . The delegation from the Hare Krishna Temple at Bhaktivedanta Manor near Watford, comprised of Temple President Sruti Dharma das, Spiritual Commissioner of the Hindu Forum of Britain Gauri das and Senior Temple Member Pranabandhu das. Since 1989, the Hungarian society for Krishna Consciousness has been registered in Hungary as a State Church. However, from 1st January 2012 the Hindu group will have to re-regis-

ter in order to qualify as a State Church under the terms of a new constitution. Mr Vara and the delegation expressed their concern to the Hungarian ambassador, His Excellency Janos Csak. They were particularly keen to seek assurances from the Ambassador that the Hungarian Hindu community would be treated equally under the new constitution. Whilst the Ambassador made no formal commitment, he said that he would convey the delegation’s concerns to the Hungarian Government and that he hoped that there would be no problems in the process of reregistration. Following the meeting, Mr Vara said “The

Ambassador was left in no doubt as to the strength of feeling on the matter. It was made clear to him that Hungarian Hindus are not seeking special treatment but simply the right to be treated equally. He has promised to convey the delegations’ concerns to the Hungarian Government and I hope that they will listen and take the necessary action to rectify this discrimination.” Gauri das added “We are very pleased that the Ambassador made time to see us. The Hindu community have deep concerns about what is happening in Hungary and clearly it is our hope that the Hungarian Government will listen to our message. We will be monitoring the situation.”

owners and Travel companies on the most appropriate hedging solution for their business (rather than just what the Bank may show the client) as well as helping them reduce the cost of their hedging. Vedanta works with clients either by negotiating directly with the Banks, or providing advice and pricing information to clients. Recently, the company saved a Nursing Home group over £40k on their hedging costs! Clearly the Banks do have to make a profit, but it shouldn’t be so excessive as is so often the case. Mr.Sachdev feels that there is very little awareness of being able to negotiate with Banks on hedging – so many businesses are too trusting of their Bank and Relationship Manager, and hence leave themselves open to be taken advantage of. The kind of clients that Vedanta can help are any businesses turning over between £1m - £500m, that have more than £1m of Bank borrowing, or purchase more than £1m of currency per annum. Unfortunately, there are now many cases coming to light where Bank’s may have taken advantage of firms who did not understand these complex

hedging products. The risks of these products were rarely discussed in detail, and now that interest rates have fallen to such low levels, firms are faced with crippling costs to exit these products. In fact, despite such low interest rates, many firms are shocked to discover that they are not able to benefit due to how some of these hedges work. Banks often insisted that clients enter into these hedging products, or they would not be able to receive their loans. A cynic may argue that it was the tremendous profitability of these products that drove this Banking behaviour, rather than a genuine concern by a Relationship Manager for his client’s risks. Vedanta Hedging has been inundated with stories of hedging that clients feel may have been ‘mis-sold’ to them. Vedanta carefully reviews all aspects of the advice and sales process versus the FSA rules, and also use their special pricing software to expose just how much profit the Bank made at the time of selling the hedge. The aim is to try to use this specialist advice to negotiate with Banks, rather than involving solicitors which can sour the Banking relationship.

Abishek Bachchan enjoys a meal at Chak89 Following in his father’s footsteps, Abhishek Bachchan has become the latest Bollywood star to sign the famous Chak89 wall. Abhishek visited the exclusive Chak89 Restaurant and Banqueting Suite to promote his new film, ‘Players’. After saying a few words about the movie and ordering a meal, Abhishek was delighted to receive a signed black Chelsea shirt, presented to him by Chak89 owner, Frank Khalid. It was also a joyous occasion for 3 lucky winners of the Chak89 ASDA competition, who attended this event and got the chance meet and

Frank Khalid presents Abhishek Bachchan with signed Chelsea shirt

greet Abhishek. Chak89 is known as the home of Bollywood and is renowned for its quality, standards and passion. The venue, which boasts a wide range of delicious cui-

sine, attracts all kinds of celebrities from around the world. Abhishek’s autograph can now be seen next to Amitabh Bachchan’s on the well-known Chak89 wall.

Breast enhancement products soar at 99p stores Women are going DIY in the wake of the breast implant crisis. While such products have always been popular 99p Stores says its’ padded bras have surged three-fold in the last three weeks and there has been a 600% increase in sales of 99p breast enhancement and antiwrinkle creams. Boss of the chain Hussein Lalani says all this could indicate the public is losing confidence in cosmetic surgery. He suggests woman may be putting “future plans of implants on hold in view of the crisis” and in the meantime looking for “practical non-surgery

profile boosts.” A little over a decade ago 99p Stores was a oneman band, but in now has 173 UK and Ireland branches with a family of more than 2 million week-

ly customers and it is continuing to expand. Mr Lalani adds that Briton’s “demanding value” will be one of the only good things to come out of the recession.

British Museum to display 8th century Koran In a unique exhibition devoted to the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of oldest Koran’s in the world, dating back to the 8th century will be on display. The exhibition known as Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam will be held at the British Museum from January 26 to April 15, and will consist of a large collection of items based

on the Hajj. This ancient copy of the Koran has been provided by the British Library for the duration of the exhibition. The Prophet Muhammed first discovered the revelations in the 7th century at Mecca, making it a holy place that all muslims are encouraged to visit at least once.


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

f ashionista

by Debasree Ghosh

Be a Fashionista, Be You! If you have any questions or a story or a new style to share with us, please write to Shree at

Too cool for school I have a dark blue Miu Miu bag that’s been going everywhere with me for years. The insides of the bag are ink-stained and you might find a ticket stub from the third Harry Potter if you really looked. It was what fashion magazines call an ‘investment purchase’ and I have earned twice the return on it. My friends all know the bag and unanimously love it, they’d describe it as a

blue leather satchel. Yes, a satchel... that universal accessory to school years that most of us were glad to leave behind along with the compass and the Bunsen burner. When I bought it (way before Mulberry made Alexa), I hadn’t even heard of geek-chic, but always had a hint of preppy in me. Geek has been chic for a while, but in 2011 it really hit the mainstream and shows no sign of letting up. You may not have owned a satchel

since you were at school, but might want to give it a go if not for hated ‘itbag’ tag then for it’s sheer functionality. Big enough to hold all your daily essentials, they are ideal for both work and play and the range of colours ensures you’ll find the right one to fit very neatly in your wardrobe. Just about every designer label has one in their line -from Marni to Proenza Schouler and Chloe - and the most desirable style is a slouchy briefcase shape, in traditional tan, with a long shoulder strap, a handle on top and two smart buckles. For affordable versions, look in Asos, River Island and Forever21. The satchel is one of the easiest to wear. They are sturdy, practical, real bags that are meant to carry your life and not permanently fix your elbow in a bent position like so many of the fashion bags do. The satchel looks best when worn with preppy collegiate attire - think blazers with elbow patches, printed floral minidresses, crew neck jumpers and brogues. But my own experience says that it will go everything, even a worksuit if you just hold it by it’s top-handle instead of letting it swing from your shoulder. For those, who unlike me, are

capable of being in a working relationship with more than one bag at a a time, neon satchels are a key trend. The Cambridge Satchel company is top of the line for it’s old-school bags in modern, zingy, fluoro colour. Can’t afford a new bag? Vogue suggests that you take an existing bag and knot a long scarf over the handle to fashion a shoulder strap, then wear side-swung. And take your time saving money for one,because this bag is not likely to go out of fashion any time soon.

My experience at Ibar Therapy transports us to a magical world of peace and bliss. Relaxation, rejuvenation, pampering and comfort are among the positive associations with beauty therapy. You relax to gentle background music, while you have your feet soaked and massaged. Your hands are pampered and your face is steamed and exfoliated to slough away old dead skin CELLS to allow for deep penetration of active ingredients. This is what you will get at the Beauty Saloon called IBar. IBar offers exquisite therapies for women as well as men IN A RELAXING ENVIRONMENT WITH ITS CALMING AND SOOTHING PINK DECOR, STUNNING SHINY FLOORING AND STATE OF ART EQUIPMENT. ITS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN FEEL THE STRESS EVAPORATE AND PEACE TAKE OVER. The various treatments offered at IBar are Dermalogica facials, a variety of massages including Indian Head Massage, Manicure, pedicure, facials, FULL BODY WAX, FULL BODY MASSAGE, threading, various nail enhancements including shellac and Bio Sculpture, OUR CREATIVE NAIL TECHNI-

Witness torture fear stops Qatada being deported Al Qaeda’s “right-hand man in Europe”, the extremist cleric Abu Qatada, cannot be deported because it would breach his human rights, European judges ruled on Tuesday. In a ruling denounced by MPs, the European Court of Human Rights said that 51-year-old Qatada, whose videos were found in the Hamburg flat of 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta, could not be sent to Jordan to face terrorism charges. The judges said the reason was that there was a “real risk” that evidence obtained by torture would be used at his trial and that it would be a “flagrant denial of justice” if he were deported. The decision means that fears over torture

now extend not only to the suspect, but to anyone contributing evidence to the case against him. In a key part of the ruling, the European court rejected

this claim, accepting that a “memorandum of understanding” struck between the British and Jordanian governments has eliminated this risk. However, the judges still vetoed his deportation because of evidence that defendants in two earlier trials, during which Qatada (pictured) had been convicted in his absence, had been tortured. Home Secretary Theresa May reacted with dismay, saying that she was “disappointed” with the ruling while vowing to study all possible options for ejecting Qatada from this country. The Government’s former terrorism watchdog Lord Carlile also hit out, warning that the European judges had “stepped way over the mark”


CIANS WILL ALSO PROVIDE MATCHING NAIL ART WITH YOUR OUTFITS, eyelash extensions and MUCH MUCH MORE. In today’s world we all need some pampering and relaxation. I Bar pro-

vides various treatments for MEN as well, this includes Manicure, pedicure, facials, chest wax, back wax, massage for shoulder, neck, back, half leg and foot and threading. At I Bar the therapists are fully qualified with ongoing training and offer a wide range of treatments for body, mind and soul. They are specialized for fields ranging

thorough cleaning deep down into the pores. To conclude the facial with added touch therapy, facial skin is toned, moisturized and cleansed and is wrapped up in blanket to lock in heat and the client is allowed to sleep for a while to ensure they are fully relaxed. Every facial is individually designed to suit individual skin types. At I Bar we like to provide massage before the mask as the mask can ensure that all unnecessary oil from the massage is removed and not left to build on the skin. The facial massage includes chest, shoulders, neck and face. This is a ten minute massage although this can be

Special offer for Gujarat

Samachar and Asian Voice readers: Pay for 12 facials and get 2 facials complementary. Also take a cut out of this coupon and get 10% special discount. Call and book now.

from luxury facials, speed waxing to nail enhancements and relaxing massages. IBar professional therapists answer any questions you have on treatments for instance one-to-one consultation with the c l i e n t s regarding facial skin therapy. IBar only use the best products, they are very particular when it comes to perfection with hygiene, health & safety procedures and cleanliness. The process of f a c i a l s includes cleaning the face twice to remove any surface germs and any moisturizer and make up. This was followed by an exfoliate to ensure removal of dead skin cells without damaging the regeneration of new skin cells underneath. This helps to soften and brighten the skin whilst providing deep exfoliation and

modified to suit client’s needs and wants. The Indian head massage for men and women is done with Macadamia Hair Oil and shoulders are massaged with stress relief oil. Such treatments are one of a kind available only at IBar. They assure a hundred percent satisfaction to the clients with relaxing treatments and a soothing environment. IBar is famous for its treatment on nails i.e. manicure, pedicure as well as nail art. They have professional and well trained staff to give your nails a new dimension. The salon provides loyalty cards for the clients to show appreciation for their commitment. It also offers gift vouchers and special discounts to suit individual requirements. Delivering high standardS of treatment is the motto of IBar Saloon. They take every effort towards enhancing natural beauty from within and out. Special Seasonal packages are offered throughout the year, these include discounts for Xmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, Monsoon and Summer promotions.

Contact Details: Ibar Beauty Saloon and Nail Bar 6 College Hill Road, Harrow, HA3 7HH

Tel: 020 8385 8444

Timings: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am to 6pm, Sunday-11am to 5pm (Monday closed)


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Shruthi Haasan’s lesson for her father

Kamal Haasan said his daughter Shruthi Haasan taught him American English while he was acting in the film “Dasavatharam.” Kamal said, “Shruthi was not introduced in film through my production house Raj Kamal. She made her debut through some other production house. She has taken her own efforts in Tamil and Hindi and has become a successful actress. This gives me happiness. ‘Unnai Pol Oruvan’ is a film which was produced under my banner. She was the one who composed the music for this film. Many are asking that whether we both will share the screen. Even Shruthi is interested in it. But there should be a script which would suit us. There is no point in acting for the name sake. Now she is a star. I want to produce a film for her.

Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Katrina Kaif has bagged the coveted role opposite legendary actor Rajinikanth in “Kochadaiyaan,” being directed by his daughter, Soundarya Ashwin. “Kochadaiyaan,” an epic love story of a king who is a devotee of Lord Shiva, will be shot in 3D. The music has been composed by AR Rahman who has reportedly signed 130 musicians from Germany to record the background score for the film. Most portions of the film have already been shot and once Katrina wraps up Yash Chopra's next opposite Shah Rukh Khan, she will be ready to work with this "Rana" for the first time!

Vijay beats Ajith, Surya and Vikram Vijay‘s blockbuster “Velayudham” has been voted as the Best Movie of 2011. The year-end poll conducted by for various categories gave opportunity for our readers to choose the Best of Kollywood in 2011 and they have given thumbs up for not only ‘Kavalan’ star’s movie but also for his performance in the film. The closest competitor for ‘Velayudham’ is ‘Mankatha.’ While, Vijay‘s film secured 46.9% votes, Ajith starrer film received 31.9% votes. The remaining movies like Vikram‘s ‘Deiva Thirumagal,’ Surya‘s ‘7am Arivu’ and Jeeva’s ‘Ko’ got 10.4%, 7.3% and 3.5% votes, respectively.

Hot Garam masala Veena Malik won’t strip for Hollywood Veena Malik, who is currently in Dubai for finalising her projects for the year 2012, confirms that she will not strip for Hollywood. "I will never strip for any industry. These are absolutely silly comments coming from press and media which upset me and my fans. I'm an actress and every actor in this industry does what their role requires. So, I will act according to my roles, but that does not mean that I've forgotten my values.' 'She is looking forward to the release of her debut item song ‘Channo’ in Nitin Manmohan's “Gali Gali Chor Hai” that will release in 2012.

Karan Johar offers role to Anil Kapoor Following his stint in Hollywood, Anil Kapoor's career seems to be at an all time high. And filmmakers are not wasting any time to approach the actor. It is learnt that Karan Johar has recently offered Anil his first role in a Dharma Production, which will be directed by Rensil D'Silva. A source close to the film revealed, "After the way ‘MI 4’ was touted, Anil has been regarded as a big star in the industry. And since his career has taken off as well as it has, he brings a lot of value to a project. That's why Karan Johar and Rensil D'Silva decided to get Anil on-board." According to the source, Anil is yet to sign the film, however, the modalities are currently being worked out. Rensil's untitled venture reportedly stars Emraan Hashmi in one of the male lead roles. "The rest of the cast, including the film's leading lady is yet to be finalized," added the source.

Bipasha Basu lived on oranges for ‘Dhoom 2’ Bipasha Basu escalated her position as not only a leading lady, but one who can dare to bare in Dhoom 2. Her bikini scene in the film was the topic of discussion at many a dinner table. Even though Bipasha is a fitness freak, getting a perfectly toned body for the character that she played in Dhoom 2 was not a very easy task. Did you know that before filming her bikini scene, Bipasha Basu lived on oranges for the three days before shooting it? And she also used to work out thrice a day as she was going paranoid asking, 'am I fat?' And all this was because Bipasha did not want to look very oomphy in the shot.

Katrina to woo Rajinikanth in ‘Kochadaiyaan’

Angela Jonsson to act opposite Salman in 'Sher Khan'

Kareena joins the `1 billion Bollywood club

After patiently waiting in the sidelines for her Bollywood debut for quite a while now, Angela Jonsson has now landed an exclusive deal with Salman Khan's home production. The Kingfisher calendar model will not only now star in “Sher Khan,” she will also star in the sequel of “Partner” and the remake of “Amar Akbar Anthony,” that will feature all the three Khan brothers Salman, Arbaaz and Sohail, both slated for 2013. According to report, "Angela's career in Bollywood wasn't taking off. But Salman and Sohail saw her potential and offered her an exclusive contract before she made the wrong career moves. Now she will be eligible for all of Salman's home productions, though they don't necessarily have to sign her for every film they make." Confirming this, Sohail says, "Yes she has signed an exclusive contract with us. But we haven't decided which film or films she will be doing. We think she has great potential. We will launch her." Earlier there was buzz that adult-content actress Sunny Leone would be starring in “Sher Khan.” However, the Khan brothers are said to have dropped Sunny after they came to know that the Bhatts were looking to sign her. According to a report, "Besides, Sher Khan is designed for Salman's young fans. An adult actress didn't quite fit the bill."

Sanjay Dutt compensates Ajay Abhi-Ash to meet Oprah Devgan him with film script on her maiden India visit my films should touch the Sanjay Dutt, who is a close Rs 1 billion mark. I am friend of Ajay Devgan, happy even if they gross Rs has gone all out to 600 million, as long as make up for the they benefit the industry, debacle that my friends, and the peo“Rascals,” their latest ple around me. Besides if film together suffered. The actor said, "I have I fall into this trap, I risk just bought the rights losing focus as an actor of ‘Badri’ (for an estiand a person." mated Rs 4000,000), a This warmth and super-hit Telugu action camaraderie extends to film, and gifted them to all his friends, even Ajay. He can decide how when they are rivals. and what to do with the Salman Khan and film. I feel I let him down Shah Rukh Khan are in ‘Rascals.’ He is more a case in point. than family to me and I Sometime ago, Dutt should have looked into all had said that he would try and patch aspects of the film. It is my them up. Asked about fault, and I apologise to him. it, he said, "They are two I want to compensate him mature people and not children. I don't well with Badri." Speaking of which, Dutt explains, know what happened between them, and I "Sanju Baba ko sabhi pyaar karte hai. I don't even want to know. I love and respect don't compete with anyone nor do I think them both.”

Talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey is coming to India next week and has expressed desire to meet Bollywood couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, whom she hosted on her popular talk show, and the junior B has confirmed the news. 'Oprah is coming here to shoot a documentary and she has expressed a desire to meet us,' the actor said. Aishwarya made her maiden appearance on the 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' in 2005, the year in which she featured in an Indo-British production v e n t u re 'Mistress Of Spices'. In 2009, she was invited w i t h Abhishek to the show.

I am still auntyji for Imran: Juhi Juhi Chawla says she had met Imran Khan on the sets of ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ when he was six-year-old and she really liked Imran Khan’s gesture of dedicating a song to her in his upcoming film. Imran has come up with a special tribute for Juhi with a new song called ‘Auntyji...’ in ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’, which has pleased Juhi. "I am still auntyji for him. I know him since he was sixyear-old. He was a cute kid and I used to like him a lot. He used to call Aamir ‘mamu’ and me ‘auntyji’ on the sets. He once proposed to me also but I only told him that I am auntyji for you," Juhi said. Even actress Rani Mukerjee will pay a special tribute to Juhi through a song in her upcoming film ‘Aiyaa’. "I recently read about it. She will recreate one of my favourites ‘Tu Tu Tu Tara’ from my film ‘Bol Radha Bol’. I have full faith in her. I believe, she will do better than me," she said. The 44-year-old mother-of-two is currently busy shooting Ajay Devgn starrer “Son of Sardar.” "It’s a very funny multi-starrer film. After a long time I will be doing a comic film. Comedy has evolved in Bollywood with the passage of time. These days they have become very subtle but at the same time it will tickle your funny bones.”


Ash-Abhi is looking forward to meeting Winfrey. 'She is always very respectful and very loving towards both of us and it'll be wonderful to meet her,' said Abhishek. Buzz is that the Bachchan clan is planning to host a private dinner for Winfrey. This is Winfrey's first visit to India and she is also expected to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival scheduled for later this month. The visit is largely a part of her new show 'Next Chapter', which will see Winfrey travelling around the world and interviewing celebrities. Re p o r t e d l y, she is planning to interview Indian spiritual guru D e e p a k Chopra for her new show.

It is very common to give credits to the male protagonists of Bollywood films when the box-office collection gets multiplied, but it cannot be denied that actresses also play a pivotal role for the success of films. And actress Kareena Kapoor is undeniably one of the best actresses in the industry who had delivered some of the biggest grossing films. Adding another feather to her hat, Kareena Kapoor recently emerged ETC's Most Profitable Actress at the Bollywood Business Awards. With a domestic box office collections of `2 billion plus movies under her belt, Kareena emerged the unquestionable money spinner female actor. The actress in the year 2011, had two Rs 1 billion plus films – ‘Bodyguard’ (`1.41 billion and RA.One and was honored at the Bollywood Business Awards, on pure basis of box office collections. Kareena said, "Receiving an award wherein you are being adjudged considering the economic quotient as a cornerstone for mapping the success gives you a sense of pride. I've always maintained that commercial success is as important as the critical success of a movie. A commercially successful movie pays evidence to the fact that viewers loved watching your movie. Thank you, for appreciating and recognizing my work." Standing tall amidst an industry ruled by the leading men, Bollywood's Numero Uno Kareena is the first actress to join the much coveted Rs 1 billion club. Having starred in four films that have netted over `1 billion at the domestic box office in less than 2 years, a feat no other Bollywood star has achieved so far.

Asha Bhosle to get lifetime ‘Munnabhai 3’ to commence in September achievement award Veteran playback singer Asha Bhosle will be felicitated with lifetime achievement award at an award ceremony. The 78year-old singer, who recently entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of single studio recordings, will be honoured with the award at Colors Screen Awards to mark her contribution to Indian music. It is also reported that she would appear on a grand chariot to receive the award, singing some of her favourite numbers for the audience.

Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani have been finalized for the third edition of “Munnabhai’ series, while the rest of the cast is yet to be decided. The third edition of the super hit comedy series “Munnabhai” is all set to go on floors in September this year. The film will be directed by Raju Hirani, who also helmed “Munnabhai MBBS” and “Lage Raho Munnabhai.” It has been six years since “Lage Raho Munnabhai” was released but the makers wanted the third edition to be better than the first two. At that time when producer

Vidhu Vinod Chopra decided to make the third part of “Munnabhai,” he had titled it “Munnabhai Chale Amrika,” where Sanjay and Arshad's characters would take off to the US to meet the President, but the film got delayed due to various reasons. Later Karan Johar made “My Name Is Khan,” which had a similar theme and Chopra decided to shelve his project. But now they are almost ready with the new script for “Munnabhai 3” and are all set to commence shooting in September this year, confirms the lead actor.


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Foreign brands ‘prefer’ JV mode in India Dear Financial Voice Reader: 7 Warning Signs That You Really Should Start Worrying I am not saying the market is bad. I am saying there will be several warnings signs when it is. These are the things to watch out for: Warning Sign 1: The Dow won’t be this close to it’s all time high. The Dow Jones industrial Average, ‘the Dow’ which is currently over 12,000 and so 2,000 points away from its all time high, just before the credit crunch, and some 5,500 points above the low it hit during the credit crunch – will move 2,000 points lower. Close you may think. Actually those are 1999 levels. Warning Sign 2: A Dollar will buy one Euro. It currently buys 0.8 Euros. Close you may think. Actually, you would have to go back to 2003 for last time that happened. Warning Sign 3: Gold will hit $2,000. I’m kidding. That isn’t a warning sign at all. Gold got close and the world survived. Warning Sign 4: The price of UK stocks is so low that that the dividends the average dividend of the top 10 best paying largest UK companies (those in the FTSE 100) goes over 10%. At the moment, if you own stocks such as Vodafone, you get around 6% in dividends annually. Something like GVC holdings pays 12.75% and has risen 36% in the past 6 months – but are a higher risk small company. Warning Sign 5: The pound only buys one Euro. At the moment it buys 1.2 Euros. Close? We would have to be at an all time low weakness for the pound for this to happen. Warning Sign 6: The FTSE 100 goes below its low points of 2010 and 2009, ie below 4,800. It’s currently at around 5,500. That would mean more than a 10% drop. Warning Sign 7: Lack of profits in companies. You may think this has happened. With the current markets of the 100 largest UK companies, only 6 showed a loss in their most recent accounts. By the way, the most profitable was Shell, then BHP Billiton. Vodafone hit £12billion in profits. You may think banks don’t make money. HSBC showed £12 billion in profits too (this is all pre-tax – so probably the same post tax). Barclays too is right up there with £5bln. Lloyds only made £1bln. But surely not retail stocks? Well Next made half a billion. Bet advertising is down though in the environment? ITV made £270m in profits. I am not saying things are rosey. But if we’re looking down the barrel of a gun, I’d rather be starting from this position. Oh by the way, whilst I am at it, I get dozens of enquiries of people looking for jobs. Some quick pointers – in my experience –it helps if before you contact anyone if you have already tried LinkedIn – where you can see who may know people at your target companies, you have a list of companies you’d like to work for, have contacted them, and have an idea of which sectors are profitable and making money so likely to hire – for instance – Shell might be a good idea?

Suzlon subsidiary wins order from UK company

Wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy said its German subsidiary REpower has signed a contract to supply 10 wind turbines to England-based RWEnpower Renewables for the Bradwell wind farm. The turbines at Bradwell, with an output of 2.05 mw each, will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 12,000 homes annually, Suzlon said in a state-

ment. Value size of the contract was not mentioned. “Signing the contract for Bradwell has boosted our RWE Npower Renewables portfolio to over 70 mw,” REpower England managing director Rick Eggleston said. REpower has delivered 36 onshore wind farms in Scotland, England and Wales and one offshore wind farm, Project Beatrice, in the North Sea.

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Enhancement of FDI cap in single brand retail has come as no game-changer for foreign brands in India. Nor has it altered much for fresh entrants, as adopting a franchisee model still continues to be a favourable option for many. Most retailers said they had no intentions of revising their partnerships with foreign brands and vice versa. Despite the growing potential of the Indian retail market, not many see the increase in the FDI cap as a golden opportunity. From shooting real estate costs to a still nascent luxury market, Indian retail industry is too rife with problems to be entered into alone, they say. For instance, British brand Marks & Spencer, that has a 51:49 joint ven-

ture with Reliance Retail, has no plans of re-considering its partnership. “We have benefited from working with a partner which has significant local experience and expertise in managing logistics. We don’t plan to do anything differently following the recent announcements on FDI,” said Martin Jones, CEO, Marks & Spencer Reliance India. American premium lifestyle brand, Tommy Hilfiger, which has a 50:50 joint venture with apparel major Arvind Brands, said that there are no changes in their plans either.

Arvind Brands, which also has licensing agreements for nine international brands, says that the experience of foreign retail brands in India has been not as great yet for them to be looking aggressively at the market. “ T h e re are currently only s e v e n internat i o n a l brands in India with a turnover of more than `1 billion. The market has yet to pick up. Hundred per cent FDI in single brand retail is no gamechanger. Those that have no expertise of the market, will certainly look for a local partner,” said J Suresh, CEO,

Samsung eyes major expansion plan for the current year Analysts said the company was keen to use its strong financial position to further strengthen its hold on the market. "Samsung's got strong cash flow to make bold bets in new technologies," said Lee Sun-tae of NH Investment & Securities. "No other IT company can beat it in terms of investment and that's how Samsung finds new revenue sources ahead of rivals and widen its gap." Rival South Korean competitor, LG Group, announced earlier this month that it is reducing its spending by 15% in 2012.

Arvind Brands. Spanish brand, Zara, which has a joint venture with Tata Group subsidiary, Trent Ltd, and French luxury brand Hermes refused to comment. International luxury brand, Van Laack, which recently opened its first store at Delhi’s DLF Emporio, has been in the queue since three years. The German fashion house, which could not gain entry in 2008 due to lack of a proper store location, has recently entered into a franchisee agreement with Bird Group. “The Indian retail industry still has some bottlenecks. We need an Indian partner for better understanding of the market here,” said Christian Von Daniels, CEO, Van Laack.

Infy, HDFC Bank in HBR’s elite list

Two Indian companies, Infosys and HDFC Bank, along with the US-based company of Indian-origin Cognizant, figure in an elite group of 10 companies identified by Harvard Business Review (HBR) as the companies that have consistently performed better than others around the world over a ten year period. Calling this elite group of 10 companies as the ‘Growth Outlier’ among nearly 4,800 listed companies with market capitalization of at least $1 billion, HBR said some of the things these corporates do ‘don’t match up well with some conventional ideas about growth’.

South Korea's Samsung Group has said it would invest a record 47.8 tn won ($41.7bn; £27bn) this year to expand its various businesses. It will spend 31tn won to upgrade its factories and equipment and 13.6tn won towards research and development. The announcement comes as global economic uncertainty has seen rival firms cut back their growth plans. Samsung is the world's biggest maker of TVs and memory chips and is South Korea's largest company. The firm has also been

steadily increasing its share of the mobile phone market. The company also said it would hire 26,000 new employees this year. 'Widen its gap' Samsung is South Korea's largest business conglomerate with 80 affiliate companies ranging from electronics to finance. Though the company did not provide a breakdown of how much money will be invested where, analysts said that the majority of investment was likely to go the company's electronics and memory-chip business.

India's exports accelerate in December

Legal Advice for Your Business

India's exports grew at a faster annual pace in December than in the preceding month but the overall picture is still not rosy, trade secretary Rahul Khullar said on Monday. December exports rose an estimated 6.7 per cent from a year earlier to $25 billion, while imports were $37.8 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $12.8 billion, Khullar told reporters. "It is not rosy... I am not saying that exports from India will not grow, but in a better time, when things were more buoyant, they would grow faster," he said. The next fiscal year, starting on April 1, may be difficult for exports, he added. "If you get anything between 20-22 per cent (growth) I would be more than happy in 2012-13." Indian exporters enjoyed record growth last fiscal year, but have struggled in recent months in the face of economic turbulence in the euro zone, India's biggest trade partner. Exports between AprilDecember rose 25.8 per cent to $217.6 billion, Khullar said.

Hi, I'm Bhavini Kalaria, and I'm a Solicitor and the head of the commercial law firm The London Law Practice. I will be teaming up with Asian Voice over the next few weeks to offer help and legal advice to readers who run or manage their own businesses. There are almost 5 million small and medium businesses in the country, employing more than 50% of the private sector workforce. Small business is the lifeblood of British commerce. But these are difficult economic times to be running your own venture and it’s at times like this that relationships that once were smooth now get strained. Suppliers are late with stock, invoices go unpaid, contracts are broken, staff may need to be let go. On top of all this, businesses continue to face legal challenges. This year alone will see changes to parental leave and the national minimum wage. If you're a small business owner faced with these types of challenges, it can be difficult to know what your rights and responsibilities are, and what you can do to protect

and grow your business. But that's where I can help. Having trained at a City law firm, and worked in a well known Legal 100 firm, I have a great deal of experience in dealing with business clients from all backgrounds, whether large and small scale. Also, as head of The London Law Practice, I'm a business owner myself (as well as coming from a large family of business people) and I understand first hand the issues businesses have to deal with every day. My firm is committed to helping businesses work together and succeed – as such my firm is running Free Seminars covering key issues for businesses; our most recent ones looked at employment law and debt recovery. And because business people are busy people, we keep them short, sharp and practical! Over the next few weeks I will be writing about the legal issues fac-

Bhavini Kalaria

ing businesses, and offering advice on how to deal with legal problems. If you have any questions you can contact me, and I will do my best to respond and deal with your queries in my forthcoming editorials. You can contact me on and sign up for my upcoming free seminars at


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012


Your House: A Liability or an Asset?

Suresh Vagjiani Managing Director Sow & Reap A Property Investment & Financing company.

Owning your home is defined as a liability by some individuals including author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kioysaki. This statement may seem surprising as the value of your residential home has increased, right? The reason why it is not seen as an asset by some is because it does not put cash in your pocket. Instead it strips money from your income. There are only two ways to make money from property one is income and the other is capital growth. Owning your own home strips you of income. However, although it is true the mortgage payments do come off your income, a deeper look at this may mean all though it strips money from your income on a monthly basis, over a 10 year period the underlying asset is likely to increase by more than what you contribute to the mortgage. The alternative to owning your own home and paying the mortgage is to rent. This however also means your monthly cash flow decreases. There are two advantages to owning your own home. One, there’s a strong chance medium to long term your house will increase in value, secondly the rent will be paid in perpetuity, however the mortgage payments will hopefully drive your debt down to zero.

So saying yo ur own home is a liability is n ot quite so black and white . Thinking in terms of cash flow ho wever is a goo d way to think. Rather than purchasing items which drain your monthly cash flow such as a car which requires monthly payments, purchasing properties with a positive cash flow instead will give you an income and instead you can use this income to purchase whatever you fancy. In this way your net cash flow is never decreasing. And increasing your cash flow may not be the best idea for everyone, as if you’re a high rate tax payer gaining extra income and having to pay almost half to the government may not appeal to you and many other people. We have a scenario where a two bedroom property was sourced along the canal of Little Venice and purchased for £290,000. The property could be purchased in two ways: one, to get a mortgage on the property itself and raise the 25% from a draw down from the purchaser’s main residential home, the other was to raise the whole funds from the drawdown. It makes sense to use the cheap money first and so the full amount of £290k was used from the drawdown of the client’s main residential home. The borrowing was only 1.5% so the cost of finance was only £4,350pa while the rental income was £495pw giving an annual income of £25,740. So there’s a net income of around £20k. They are very happy with the purchase and wish to do the same again rather than having a fully paid property, they are in a dilemma, on one hand they like the idea of developing strong income streams on the other they don’t want to give half away to the tax man! So they have a choice either to do the same again and pay the tax

The Real Deal Real scenarios from the street A client came to see me who had held assets in central locations such as Pimlico and Kings cross. He had focused on the council houses and picked up 4-5 properties over a few years all with extremely high yields. This was in the 80’s when you could get stonking rental yields of 12% to 20%. At the time these properties could be picked up for around £45,000 during this period ex-council properties really did have a stigma attached to them and not many people were touching them, now the stigma has decreased but still exists. The client sold these properties many years go, they were all sold because financing was difficult hence you could not be remortgage them very easily. The client runs an import/export business in north london, and is aged 50, he plans to retire in 10 years and wants to develop an income stream of about £3040k by the time he retires. He again like the idea of purchasing ex-council with the

intention of streams cash flow. On retirement he wishes to spend his time helping his local temple, so he has a noble intention. Sow & Reap will be sourcing properties to ensure he meets his aim. In my opinion this is a very achievable goal given that he has £250k in cash and a commercial property worth £500k fully paid for. I couldn’t help but tell him how much the flats would be worth now if he had kept them and I bet he hasn’t managed to save this much!

man or focus on capital growth properties, where the net income stream is very little or even soaks up money so the current stream of income can get sucked back in. In this scenario concentrating on capital growth may suit the client more, as there is a tax break of £10,600 per tax year, and a flat rate of 18% after. The biggest and simplest point to bear in mind is you only pay capital gains tax when you sell. If you never sell you will never pay. That does not mean you cannot extract the gain, you can take out the gain by refinancing your property. I have met many successful property people who have followed the basic strategy of just never selling their property, reasoning what do you do with cash? Except look for another deal to put it back into. The first step in property investment is trying to decide what you require in terms of capital growth and income. This must be decided in consideration of you tax situation and future plans. If you would like help defining these why don’t you give our office a call?

The Victorian House Types and Styles of Housing The terraced house is the most economical use of the land to build a house. These were built with great quantity during the Victorian period. The dimensions were two rooms deep and one room a corridor wide. You can see rows of these types of properties all over England, normally the front garden is non existent and they have small back yards where sometimes the toilets were located and they are packed as tight as sardines, like the ones you see on Coronation Street. In early Victorian houses the kitchens and associated service rooms were in the basement. Later on these had disappeared with the kitchens being relocated to the rear of the houses. The size of the houses got bigger too. In the 1800’s the poorest house consisted of only one room whilst in the 1900’s the minimum would be 4 rooms. Terraced houses, in order to look more

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affluent, used various techniques to give the appearance of semis. One would be to stagger the houses on a curved road, another would be to have subtle decorative differences. Another popular method was to be used in the 1840’s were bay windows. Bay windows were associated with seaside towns like Brighton. They were done to maximize the sea view. These were used in terraced houses to increase their appeal.

Tips of the Week l You do not need to sell your property to release capital it can be refinanced. This way you never have to pay Capital Gains Tax l Property is an ideal way to prepare for your retirement, it gives steady monthly cash flow, now is a good time to start

financial voIce

Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

India’s inflation falls to twoyear low of 7.47 per cent

India’s industrial output up from negative to 5.9% in Nov


On the back of decline in the prices of food products, India's annual inflation based on the wholesale price index fell to a two-year low of 7.47 per cent in December as compared to 9.11 per cent in the previous month, official data showed. Inflation has declined sharply after remaining stubbornly near doubledigit for the last two years offering the much needed relief to the common people and the policymakers. Inflation was at 9.45 per cent during the corresponding month of 2010, according to data released by the ministry of commerce and industry. Reacting to the monthly data, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said inflation would continue to moderate in the coming months and it would be in the range of 6-7 per cent by March. Factory output, measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), rose by 5.9 per cent in November against 4.74 per cent contraction in the previous month on the back of a significant

rebound in manufacturing activities, according to official data released last week. Easing inflationary pressure and rebound in factory output will give the Reserve Bank of India room to keep a pause on the rate action when it reviews its monetary policy next week. The RBI last month kept policy rates unchanged after hiking the key rates 13 times since the beginning of 2010. The build up inflation in the financial year 201112 till December was 4.95 per cent compared to a build up of 7.12 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year. The primary articles inflation fell to 3.07 per cent while food inflation dropped to 0.47 per cent. Several food items including onions, potatoes and other vegetables and wheat became cheaper year-on-year. In fact, the food inflation was in the negative zone in the last two weeks of December. Annual food inflation was recorded at minus 2.9 per cent for the week ended Dec 31.

The New Year seems to be bringing some cheer with the emergence of some green shoots in the economy. Industrial production rose by 5.9%, the fastest pace of expansion in five months, on account of a better performance by manufacturing and electricity sectors. What's more, it reversed sentiments, which fell to new lows following a 5.1% dip in factory output

in October when the government released the data last month. Those numbers have now been revised to a 4.7% contraction. In November 2010, the index of industrial production had grown by 6.4%. In the last few months, policymakers have been hit by a series of bad news on the economy as inflation has remained above 9% and economic growth has been moderating every quarter,

prompting the government to lower the forecast for the year to 7%. To add to it, investment decisions have been put on hold as interest rates have risen and consumer demand has been impacted. With food inflation also falling 2.9% for the weekended December 24, the good news seems to be flowing in. But the bad news is that the recovery in industrial output may just

prompt the Reserve Bank of India to defer a rate cut in the monetary policy review later this month. After raising key policy rates 13 times since March 2010, RBI opted against increasing rates in December. Economists said RBI governor D Subbarao may want to watch how the situation pans out over the next couple of months and opt for a rate cut later.

No bailout for Kingfisher Airlines, says Ajit Singh

India’s civil aviation minister Ajit Singh ruled out any bailout package for Vijay Mallya promotedKingfisher which is under financial strain, and added that the state-owned Air India needed to get its act together. "It's a private enterprise and the banks can only lend if they are satisfied with the business plan of the company," the minister said. Singh's response came when asked if the government was willing to give any financial support to Kingfisher. Mallya had

written to the minister and said the airline would not be able to sustain the present scale of operations if it did not get funding soon. "So, they have to give the business plan and if the banks feel they can recover their money and make profits, they will lend money. Otherwise they won’t," said Singh. Asked about ailing national carrier Air India, the minister said the government had an obligation towards sustaining the company as it was a staterun firm. "Air India is a public

line with the industry as a whole because government cannot keep pouring money." Currently, the national carrier has a total debt of Rs.437.77 billion, including loans and dues it owes to vendors like oil firms and airport operators. A financial restructuring plan is being worked out by SBI Caps ( a financial advisory subsidiary of the State Bank of India) and consulting major Deloitte. "There was a hitch in the plan given by SBI Caps, but I think it will work out," said Singh.

Ajit Singh

sector unit, so government has an obligation. But there also, Air India will have to become competitive, they will have to restructure their costs in

Should we worry about the track record of the major rating agencies? By Roger Aitken The ‘Big 3’ rating agencies hardly seem to be out of the news these days with their ability to move markets at a stroke. And, rating agency bashing has become more pronounced in the light of the recent chequered history of leading agencies in making rating pronouncements over Sovereign, corporate or structured debt. These organisations are not news agencies, but their actions hit the headlines. Now following US agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) decision to reduce its assessment of the health of France’s Sovereign debt by one notch to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’ status, leading German politicians like Michael Fuchs and others have jumped on the agency bashing bandwagon berating them for “inconsistent” ratings. The action on France, which came out after the European markets had closed (Friday, 13 January) was communicated concurrently with downgrades for eight other European countries from Austria to Spain. It

also came just several months after S&P “accidentally” downgraded France through an internal communications error. This time they did not repeat the mistake. Not surprisingly the big agencies have their detractors. They were heavily criticised in the wake of the credit crisis for given vehicles like Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDO) triple A ratings, largely based on the strength of the underlying financial institution issuing the debt. Olli Rehn, an EU Commissioner, even slammed S&P’s move this week to downgrade by one notch - to ‘AA+’ (from ‘AAA’) - the European Financial Stability Fund (ESFS), which is charged with supporting indebted countries. He referred to the agencies as being the tools of “American financial capitalism”. Should it matter and can the agencies ever really win? Probably not. Downgrades made too early will always result in a backlash in certain quarters of the market or politicians in Paris, Berlin or Brussels. Conversely, a

Roger Roger Aitken is an Associate Analyst with benchmarking firm BISS Research and a former ‘RNS’ editor at the London Stock Exchange.

perceived failure to act fast enough through upgrades, downgrades or affirmations/confirmations angers others. So, what’s all the fuss about and how big a deal is this? Well, ‘AA+’ and ‘AAA’-rated securities differ very little in their yields, usually by only 10 basis points (0.1.%) on average. But it’s perception. According to data from Moody’s Investors Service, one the ‘Big 3’, the ‘average’ cumulative issuer-weighted global default rates from 19202009 (excluding AssetBacked Securities (ABS) and munis/local government) indicated that over a 1-year period ‘AAA’ rated

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debt exhibited 0.00% vs. a 0.07% rate of default for ‘AA’ rated debt. Over a 5-year period this moves out to just 0.16% vs. 0.72%, respectively, and over the 10-year horizon, the historical default rates reach 0.85% and 2.22%. The +/- addition adds another level of granularity similar to exam grades. Double-digit percentage default rates only start at sub-investment territory level. More concerning perhaps is whether the market, investors and subscribers can rely on the agencies for the accuracy of their ratings. A number of examples in recent years illustrate just how behind the curve S&P, Moody’s and Fitch were. Given their financial clout and the analytical resources on hand you might have expected better. Collectively these three top agencies are today estimated to control c.97%98% of the entire ratings market and c.90% of all revenues. Other agencies do exist and nine firms are registered with the U.S. SEC as Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organisations (NRSRO’s).

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argues that there is nothing [under that system] that guides the market to the real differences between two ratings grades. Rapid was the first agency to signal financial problems with MF Global, a U.S. commodity broker, as far back as May 2009. This was around 30 months before the broker filed for bankruptcy late last year and years before the big boys made any similar moves. This also appears not to be a fluke. They made early calls on U.S. housebuilders, which were an early signal of the sub-prime crisis, as well as providing alerts on Bear Stearns, Enron, Parmalat, Ford and US Steel. It would appear that the incumbent agencies could do better. However, suggestions recently put forward the EU’s financial market watchdog ESMA to effectively ban ratings on a state or nation - at certain critical times - would restrict the analysis available and more likely increase the crisis of confidence. The problem not being addressed here is that the quality of some of these ratings may not be very good in the first place.

Not surprisingly the dominant players resist changes to their business model, which is based on an ‘Issuer-Pays’ model. By contrast some rivals such as Rapid Ratings (, an agency headquartered in New York, espouse a ‘Subscriber-Pays’ model. They are also not remunerated by the issuer of the debt/entity they are rating. Rapid, for example, has no access to the company they are rating or their management. Nor do they seek it. Instead they use a more quantitative approach with algorithmic techniques to crunch socalled Financial Health Ratings (FHRs) - from 0 to 100 - across a range of weighted financial rations (62 in fact). One school of thought expressed by Rapid’s CEO James Gellert has it that their Cardinal-based system (i.e. numbers) provides a greater granularity and a more ‘absolute risk’ vs. ‘relative risk’ perspective. The Ordinal or alpha scale (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) used by traditional ratings firms only tells you that one ranking is better or worse than another. Rapid


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Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012


Foreign Exchange Rajesh Agrawal is the Chairman & CEO of RationalFX, Currency Specialists. For any further information call 020 7220 8181 or e-mail

Is there a future for the Euro The Euro has taken centre stage in the last few months with it expected to remain at this spot for the months to come. As markets expected, more countries within the EU have been downgraded but the main news was with France being included in the list. This swept the markets last Friday and seems to have filtered through over this week causing the Euro to fall. However the Euros doesn’t seem to be getting much weaker from the 1.21 mark it reached before the new year, with it managing to keep its head above water at this level. The market is also

concerned about the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) also being downgraded, which may cause fund managers to sell any non AAA assets. This could hit the markets in a big way with it already being looked at closely by investors. Further added turmoil in the Eurozone also came from last

weekend as Greece debt talks collapsed, which caused further nervousness in the markets. There however didn’t seem to be much movement; this was due to a bank holiday in the US. Greece seems to be floating further and further away from all the other European countries with an uncontrollable tide swaying it further and further away from the shore. Other EU countries are following in the footsteps of this debt stricken region with further downgrades and turmoil expected in the near future. Another date for discussions has been confirmed for Wednesday 18th January. Another bond auction from France and Spain is also due this week, which will give a clear indication of how the downgrade has affected confidence. This week will therefore be another critical week for the single currency. On the back of all this news, the dollar went straight into the 1.52 levels against the GBP and 1.26 mark against the Euros. Although there wasn’t a big movement due to the bank holiday, the dollar strengthening further was expected to take place on Tuesday. The GBP managed not to fall too much against the USD and found strong support

Weekly Currencies As of Tuesday 17th January 2012 @ 3.30pm GBP - INR = 77.70 USD - INR = 50.63 EUR - INR = 64.40 GBP - USD = 1.53 GBP - EUR = 1.21 EUR - USD = 1.27 GBP - AED = 5.64 GBP - CAD = 1.56

at the 1.5250 level as EUR/USD selloff took place. The market is still however looking to sell GBP against other currencies as further negative news is expected against the Eurozone. The UK has their minutes this week, which will be closely looked at by investors. The market is expecting Mervyn King (Governor of the Bank of England), to talk down the British pound in order to increase exports. This could be the reason the GBP/EUR maybe resisting the 1.21 levels. If sterling was to cross this level the Exports will definitely be effected if not already and will cause

further economic problems within the region. So to sum it up, a critical week for both the Euro and the Sterling, with the USD following the results of whatever happens within the Eurozone countries. If the Eurozone do not come up with some type of austerity measure that shows any indication of recovery, then global markets including the UK and US will once again head into a recession. If this does happen, the question is, how will the global economies recover and will the Eurozone pull something out of the bag which could turn all this around.

GBP - NZD = 1.92 GBP - AUD = 1.47 GBP - ZAR = 12.38 GBP - HUF = 375.94 Information provided by RationalFX. None of the information on this page constitutes, nor should be construed as financial advice. The exchange rates used are the commercial foreign exchange rates provided by RationalFX. For a live quote or to find out more about how RationalFX can help you, call us on 0207 220 8181.


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Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Move towards expeditious political settlement, India urges Sri Lanka

Colombo: A political settlement to Tamils in Sri Lanka and a solution that answers the aspirations of the Tamil community is the most important issue to be resolved, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, here on Tuesday. During the 90-minute breakfast meeting between the two leaders at Temple Trees, the official residence of the Sri Lankan President, a wide range of issues were discussed but the focus remained firmly on the Tamil question. With relations between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance, the only credible representative of the Tamil people of the north, hitting an all time low, Mr Krishna urged Sri Lanka to move towards an expeditious political set-

Pakistan invites Anand Sharma to sign trade pacts Islamabad: Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has been invited to Pakistan next month to sign three agreements removing non-tariff barriers in bilateral trade. “We have extended a formal invitation to the Indian Commerce Minister through the Pakistani High Commission in India,” an unnamed official was quoted as saying. The official was speaking after the Special Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir was briefed on trade liberalisation with India. Signing of the proposed agreements on customs cooperation, mutual recognition and redressing grievances is expected to remove all tariff and nontariff barriers that hinder Pakistani exports to India, the report said. The Indian government has been asked to get approval from relevant departments for signing these agreements during the Minister’s visit, Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood said during an in-camera briefing for the parliamentary panel, the report said. The chairman of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Fazlur Rehman, had sought a briefing by the Commerce Ministry on the issue of granting India Most Favoured Nation-status. The meeting discussed Pakistan’s move to change its trade regime from a positive list to a negative list as part of the liberalisation process. Trade of items in the negative list will not be allowed. Pakistani industry has proposed 1,000 items for the negative list, the Commerce Secretary said. The list is expected to be finalised early next month.

India’s External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa offer prayers at Temple Trees, the official residence of the President, in Colombo

tlement of the Tamil issue. Mr Krishna’s call comes at a time when reports have appeared in a section of the Sri Lankan press, saying that the Government had called off talks with the TNA because the TNA had not named its members to the Parliamentary Select Committee constituted on the Tamil question. The

government was also unhappy with the TNA roundly criticising the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which studied the war years, and made recommendations on how to achieve the goal of a peaceful and united Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa’s assurance Rajapaksa again

assured Mr Krishna that he stood by his commitment to follow the “13th Amendment plus approach” to achieve a political solution to the Tamil question. “I discussed this matter [political solution for Tamils] with His Excellency the President this morning. The President assured me that he stands by his commitment to pursuing the 13th Amendment [to the Sri Lankan Constitution] plus approach,” Mr.Krishna told presspersons here after meeting the Sri Lankan President. “The Government of Sri Lanka has on many occasions conveyed to us its commitment to move towards a political settlement based on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, and building on it, so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers.

Bill Gates condoles death of computer genius Faisalabad (Pakistan): A young, promising computer genius Arfa Karim Randhawa aged 16 from Faisalabad, Pakistan died on Saturday night after complications resulting from an epileptic stroke. She became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of nine in 2005. Microsoft founder Bill Gates who had offered to pay for Karim's treatment, told the family that he was sad to learn about her death and the loss of such a rare talent, her father said. Condolences have also poured in from around the world. Funeral prayers were offered on Sunday in Lahore before her body was taken to her native village Ram Dewali, Faisalabad for burial. Scores of people, including chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, ministers, politicians, friends and Karim's

Arfa Karim Randhawa

fellow students gathered to support the grieving family during the procession. According to local reports, Karim went into a coma on December 22 after suffering an epileptic attack and cardiac arrest. She was admitted for treatment at Combined Military Hospital in Lahore and was on life

support at the Intensive Care Unit when she suffered a tracheotomy complication on Saturday evening that resulted in bleeding in her throat. Despite earlier reports her condition had improved, doctors were unable to save her. Karim rose to international fame when she became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional - a title awarded to those who master Microsoft programs - at the age of nine in 2005. After earning the certification, Karim was subsequently invited to visit Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington by founder Bill Gates. Karim, then 10, met with Gates and other Microsoft executives during the visit, undoubtedly impressing them with her knowledge of programming at such a young age.

US disapproves of Marines urinating on Taliban corpses Washington: US Defense secretary Leon Panetta strongly condemned a video posted online that purportedly shows US Marines urinating on corpses of insurgents in Afghanistan, and promised a probe into the abuse. "I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," the Pentagon chief said in a statement, adding that "those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent." The US military is investigating the "disgusting" online video, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The video shows what appears to be four servicemen, dressed in US mili-

tary uniform, relieving themselves onto three bloodied bodies on the ground, apparently aware that they are being filmed. "Have a great day, buddy," one of them says, giggling. It is not clear from the video whether the dead Afghans were Taliban insurgents or civilians. The Pentagon has not yet verified the video, but spokesman John Kirby said: "Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is... egregious, disgusting behavior, unacceptable for anyone in uniform." "It turned my stomach," he added of the video, which was posted on the Live Leak website. If authenticated, the images -- which conjure up

previous abuses committed by US troops during the decade-long war -could spark deep anger and resentment in Afghanistan and the wider Muslim world. A military official who asked not to be named said the helmet and weapon carried by one of the men seems to indicate the four could be members of an elite sniper team. The official also said such conduct would be punishable under the US code of military justice. The Washington-based Council on AmericanIslamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent US Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, condemned the alleged desecration of corpses.

US fires 1st drone in Pakistan in six weeks; four dead

Bannu: The US carried out its first drone strike into Pakistan since errant November airstrikes by US forces killed two dozen Pakistani troops along the Afghan border. The latest missile attack killed four militants, three of them Arabs, according to Pakistani intelligence officials. The drone strike took place near Miran Shah in North Waziristan, an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold that has been pounded by the US since the drone program began in earnest in 2009. The intelligence officials didn't give their names because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Relations with Pakistan plummeted after the Nov. 26 airstrikes prompted Islamabad to shut down vital supply routes into Afghanistan and force the US to vacate Shamsi Air Base in southwestern Baluchistan province. The US used the base to service drones that targeted militants in the tribal regions close to Afghanistan.

15 Indian MPs in Pakistan for talks Islamabad: A 15-member multi-party parliamentary delegation from India has arrived in Pakistan to take part in the third round of the Pakistan-India Parliamentarians' Dialogue. The two-day dialogue will be held from Jan 17-18 in Islamabad where parliament members from both sides will interact on trade and economic relations between the two countries, the Online news agency reported. Two rounds of dialogues were earlier held in January 2011 in Islamabad and in August 2011 in New Delhi. The Indian delegation comprises Rajya Sabha members Mani Shankar Aiyar, Derek O'Brien, Nand Kishore Singh, Naresh Gujral, P Rajeev, Rajniti Prasad and D Raja. Member of the Lok Sabha joining the delegation are Yashwant Sinha, Asaduddin Owaisi, Baijayant Jay Panda, Deepender Hooda, Hamdullah Sayeed, Shahnawaz Hussain, Shatrughan Sinha, Supriya Sule and Bhartruhari Mahtab.

Bangladesh 'war crimes mastermind' Ghulam Azam arrested Dhaka: Bangladesh has arrested an Islamist leader on charges of masterminding war crimes during the 1971 liberation struggle against Pakistan. .Prosecutors say that Ghulam Azam, 89, was detained after the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) rejected his bail application. They accuse Mr Azam of crimes against humanity - including murder, rape, arson and looting - in 1971. He denies the charges, arguing that they are politically motivated. Mr Azam, the former leader of the opposition Jamaat-eIslami party, is alleged to have created and led proPakistan militias which carried out numerous murders and rapes during the nine-month war.

BlackBerry refuses to hand Memogate data to Pakistan

Islamabad: BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has said it would not release data regarding a memo that said president Asif Ali Zardari had feared a military coup last year. BlackBerry maker has refused to release data related to the memo that led to the stepping down of the country's US envoy Husain Haqqani and a festering row between the military and the political leadership. The phone manufacturer, based in Canada, has said that their privacy laws prohibit disclosure of a customer's data to any other party without the consent of the parties concerned, hence Pakistan cannot have the information. Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz had reportedly forwarded the memo to then US military chief Gen. Mike Mullen in May last year.

Sheikh Hasina honoured by Tripura University Agartala: Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari conferred an honorary doctorate of Tripura University on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Ansari said as the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and as Prime Minister, your excellency's tireless efforts in upholding democratic values and women's rights in Bangladesh are recognised and serve as a global benchmark. "We admire your courage, Prime Minister, in facing the threats of terrorism and extremism afflicting humanity, your advocacy of pluralism, moderation and tolerance, and the ambitious agenda of economic growth, welfare and social justice that you have planned for, and implemented in Bangladesh," he added.

Avalanches kill 14 in Afghanistan Kabul: Avalanches caused by heavy snowfall have killed at least 14 people in a mountainous region in northeastern Afghanistan. Rescue crews were trying to reach the remote areas of Badakhshan province where a number of houses were reported to have been destroyed said Shams ul-Rahman deputy provincial governor. Between 6-9 feet (2-3 meters) of snow have fallen in the area, making roads to the provincial capital of Faizabad impassable. "We have reports of at least 14 dead and several others injured," ul-Rahman said, adding that several other people were missing.


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Myanmar frees many prominent political prisoners

Image Courtesy:

Yangon: Myanmar freed some of its most famous political inmates, sparking jubilation outside prison gates while signaling its readiness to comply with demands of the US and its allies for a lifting of economic sanctions. Among those released were prominent political activists, the leaders of brutally repressed democratic uprisings, a former prime minister, ethnic minority leaders, journalists and relatives of the former dictator Ne Win. The releases were part of a presidential pardon for 651 detainees that state radio and television said would take part in "nation-building." It was the latest in a flurry of accelerating changes in Myanmar sought by the West, including the recent launching of a dialogue with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the signing of a cease-fire in a long-running campaign against Karen insurgents. Myanmar likely now feels the ball is the West's court to lift the crippling economic measures. But the United States and allies may take a waitand-see approach, to see if government truces with various ethnic rebel groups hold, discussions with Suu Kyi move forward and scheduled April elections appear free and fair.


Lord Meghnad Desai and his aspersions on Mahatma Gandhi and the Gita

At a recent event in Ahmedabad, India, Lord Meghnad Desai gave a lecture entitled, 'Gandhiji's Views on Violence'. He questioned Gandhi's endorsement of the Hindu holy scripture of the Bhagvad Gita. The Gita according to Desai gives a message that killing was legitimate and the Mahabharat war if taken literally was similar to a holocaust. The inference was how could a man of non - violence believe in the Gita. Lord Desai also claimed that Gandhi's attitude to Hitler was beyond belief. The inference here is that Gandhi somehow supported or ignored Hitler's monstrosity. Let us look first at the Bhagvad Gita. Throughout the Gita Lord Krishna is emphasising that compassion and non - violence towards all living beings are ideals that a self realised soul should follow. The Mahabharat war took place after every possibility of avoiding war was exhausted. Lord Krishna himself urged Duryodhana to avoid war by giving the Pandavas the bare minimum. Though Bhagvad Gita actively encourages non - violence it does not preach pacifism at any cost. It is indeed ones duty to fight injus-

tice. War is justified only On 24th December when it is meant to fight 1940 Gandhi again wrote evil and injustice not for to Hitler: the purpose of aggression ''But your own writand terrorising people. ings and pronouncements Mahatma Gandhi underand those of your friends and admirers leave no stood this message and room for doubt that many adopted to a fighting stratof your acts are monegy of non - violence strous and unbecoming of which was best suited to human dignity, especially the circumstances he was facing. Lord Desai may doubt Gandhi's non - violence but leaders of far greater stature than him have successfully adopted his ideals to fight injustice. Lord Desai first accuses Gandhi of endorsing the message of violence from the Gita and then goes on to question his appeasement of Hitler. Gandhi never appeased Hitler. On 23rd July 1939 Gandhi wrote to Hitler: ''It is quite clear that you are today the one person in the Lord Meghnad Desai world who can prevent a war which may in the estimation of men reduce humanity to the like me who believe in savage state. Must you pay human friendliness. Such that price for an object are your humiliation of however worthy it may Czechoslovakia, the rape appear to you to be? Will of Poland and the swalyou listen to the appeal of lowing of Denmark. I am one who has deliberately aware that your view of shunned the method of life regards such spoliawar not without considertion's as virtuous acts. able success?" But we have been taught

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from childhood to regard them as acts degrading humanity." The then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain also tried very hard to avoid a war with Hitler. One has to understand the desperate conditions of the time to see why many people would have been desperate to avoid another war. It is obvious that Lord Desai like so many Indian intellectuals of his generation have a deep seated negativity of the country of their birth and its cultural and religious traditions. They miss no opportunity to highlight the many failures of India. They seldom have a single word of praise or even an acknowledgement that without the education they had received in India they would not have achieved success abroad. This is a very peculiar Indian phenomena. You will never find intellectuals of other countries so eager to pass negative judgments without any balance on the countries of their birth. India being India it treats these intellectuals as heroes and

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even give them prestigious national awards! Lord Desai was recently embroiled in the controversy of a Phd degree awarded to Saif al.Islam, the son of Libyan dictator colonel Gaddafi. Lord Desai who was Professor Emeritus at London School of Economics was one of the professors who marked the paper submitted by Saif. The rumours are that the paper was ghost written and was widely plagiarised. Lord Desai has said that he was not aware of any problems with the paper submitted. The Gadafi Foundation donated £1.5 million over five years to LSE and some of the money from which has gone to a research body called ' Global Governance ' which has been set up by Lord Desai. Lord Desai is on record defending the donation from the Gadafi Foundation. He said : “Academic research needs money. Rockefeller was a robber baron but we take his money. There is nothing for LSE to be ashamed about.” There is irony in Lord Desai questioning Gandhi's non - violence and defending accepting money from one of the most ruthless and violent dictators. -Nitin Mehta MBE

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Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Salman Rushdie persuaded to stay away from Jaipur Literature Festival

A major flashpoint ahead of the Jaipur Literary Festival has been avoided with a jittery Rajasthan government persuading organizers to ask Salman Rushdie, the main draw at the book-lovers' jamboree, to call off his visit. Rajasthan chief secretary Salauddin Ahmed is learnt to have called the organizers to discuss Rushdie's presence that, sources in the state government said, would have created a huge security risk, given the threat of protests by Muslim groups. "Rushdie's trip has been cancelled. We have been informed," said a senior Rajasthan police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The organizers, however, didn't confirm the cancellation but the Booker Prize-winning author's events on the January 2024 programme were purged from the JLF website. Anxiety in the ruling Congress in Rajasthan as well as the Centre during this election season has grown ever since Darul Uloom, Deoband's vicechancellor wrote to the Union government earlier this month, insisting the author of 'The Satanic Verses' be barred from entering India, a surprising demand since Rushdie has been to the country five times since the controversy over the book erupted, including one to JLF's inaugural 2007 edition. The Deobandis had asked the government not to give him a visa but within hours, Rushdie tweeted that he didn't need one since he was categorized as a Person of Indian Origin and could come

By Rajen Vakil

and go as he pleased. That put the government in a spot and forced them to lean on the lit fest organizers to plead with Rushdie to back off. The author hasn't made any comment since news of his cancellation broke. Cong leaders wanted Rushdie kept out of India : Rajasthan's sensitivities over the visit of controversial author Salman Rushdie to the Jaipur literature festival, however, are easier to comprehend. The state government has been on the defensive after the state police were accused of failing to protect Muslim protesters in Gopalgarh where riots last September left nine Muslims dead. It's learnt that Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Union law and minorities affairs minister Salman Khurshid met to discuss Rushdie's visit and the demand by conservative Muslim groups, including clerics in Rajasthan who had organized a 7,000strong protest in Jaipur. Some Rajasthan Muslim organizations had announced a protest against Rushdie's visit with one even declaring a reward of Rs 1 lakh for anyone ready to hurl a

Sex ratio in Vapi is the lowest in India

Two cities of Gujarat, both industrial hubs, top the list of cities with lowest sex ratio in India. Vapi, the industrial town in south Gujarat, has got the lowest sex ratio in the country with only 734 women per 1,000 men. Diamond city Surat is second with 754 women per 1,000 men. In Vapi, of the 1.63 lakh population, there are 94,338 men against which there are only 69,267 women. In 0-6 age group, the ratio is comparatively better at 870 girls per 1,000 boys. The town, known in Asia for large number of industrial units, especially chemical units, has 19,899 children in this age group. In fact, the town is a reverse reflection of the situation prevailing in Mehsana which has lowest child sex ratio of 760 while the sex ratio is comparatively better at 893 women per 1,000 men. Diamond city Surat, also known for high population of immigrants, has 754 women per thousand

In divine light

men. Valsad district collector CL Patel said the low number of women in the town is a reflection of the high number of migrants who have made the town their home for earning a living. “Over 50 per cent of Vapi’s population constitutes of migrants from other states who work in the industrial units, mainly small-scale chemical factories. In Vapi, there are homes where 10-12 men live in a single room,” said Patel. Curiously, the town has 100 per cent literacy rate, as per the Census 2011 figures. This is one fact which even took the collector by surprise. “I was not aware of this figure,” Patel said. Social scientists say that Vapi’s lowest sex ratio in the country has to be because of high number of migrants. However, the high child sex ratio poses a teaser with no easy answers. “Similar situation prevailed in Surat a decade ago.

shoe at the author. Rajasthan PCC chief Chandrabhan had demanded a ban on Rushdie's visit and the Congress MP from Jaipur Mahesh Joshi had backed him. Rushdie had two sessions, 'Midnight's Child on Jan 20' and 'Inglish, Amlish: The chutneyfication of English' the next day. Organizers told reporters on Sunday that Rushdie's first session was postponed. "We have removed his trip itinerary from the website in view of the ongoing controversy," said a JLF organizer. TIMES VIEW: Salman Rushdie's decision to not attend the Jaipur Literary Festival sends out all the wrong signals. It would appear the government failed to reassure the Indian-born author that he need have no fears about visiting the land of his birth; on the contrary, the festival organizers were told by the Congress-run state government that Rushdie's visit could cause a law and order problem. The result is the impression that India is a soft state which succumbs easily to pressure. As for the Congress, it is open to the charge of appeasement once again.

‘Google best tool to predict flu outbreak’ Scientists may have found a way to counter an upcoming influenza outbreak — Google. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found ‘Google Flu Trends’ a powerful early warning system for emergency departments. They say monitoring Internet search traffic about influenza may prove to be a better way for hospital emergency rooms to prepare for a surge in sick patients compared to waiting for outdated government flu case reports. A report on the value of the Internet search tool for emergency departments, studied over a 21-month period, was published in the journal ‘Clinical Infectious Diseases’. The team said ‘Google Flu Trends’ collects and provides data on search traffic for flu information on a daily basis by detecting and analyzing certain flu-related search terms. The search queries, when combined, are good indicators of flu activity.

We last saw Ashtavakra being questioned by King Janaka’s doorkeeper, to which he replied, “O doorkeeper, one is not old by the colour of one’s hair (the Sanskrit word for old being ‘vrudh’, one who has grown). The rishis say that only a person who knows every aspect of the Vedas is called knowledgeable. I have come here to meet Bandi, the king’s scholar. Today, you shall see how we defeat all the scholars, including Bandi, in arguments.” The doorkeeper said, “You are a child of twelve and I am not to allow you inside, but still I will take you to the king.” He then took Ashtavakra and Swetaketu to the king. Ashtavakra addressed King Janaka, “You are a great king to have arranged this grand yagna on your own. We have heard that Bandi defeats other Brahmins in arguments, and then has them tied up and drowned in the river. I have come to discuss the aspects of non-duality and truth with him. Just as the light of the sun overpowers the lustre of the stars, today I will take away the light of Bandi.” The king answered, “You do not know the strength of your opponent, yet you talk of defeating him. Many Brahmins have come, lost the argument, and their lives. You are still a young child, please go back.” To this, Ashtavakra replied, “Bandi has not

The Story of Ashtavakra (Part-3) met an opponent like me and that is why he is roaring like a lion. Once he meets me, he will break him down, just like a cart with a broken axle.” Janaka said, “Before I allow you to enter, you have to answer my questions first. What wheel has six faces, can be arranged in twenty four groups, and is made up of twelve divisions supported by three hundred and sixty spokes, thus giving thirty degrees to each division? The one who answers this is a great poet.” Ashtavakra answered, “The six faces at the hub of wheel are the six seasons. The arrangement surrounding the hub in twenty-four groups is that of fortnights, each beginning with either a full moon or a new moon. The rim or periphery of the wheel is made of twelve months, each ruled by one of the twelve astro-

logical houses. From within the hub rise three hundred and sixty spokes to support the periphery of the wheel, resulting in each month comprising of thirty degrees or days. This, O king, is the wheel of Time, which is perpetually turning and may it guard you from evil.” The King asked, “What two are attached like a pair of mares and dive like a hawk. Out of all the gods, which is the one that bears both of them in his womb, and to whom do these two give birth to, and who is the charioteer of the one born?” Ashtavakra replied, “O king, those two are lightning and electricity whose nature is to dive like the hawk. The two of them are born in the womb of the God of the clouds (Megha), the two of them in turn give rise to clouds, whose charioteer is the wind.” To Be Continued…

All past articles on the Mahabharata can be accessed from or from

GSNP+ organizes marriage fair for HIV positive people AV Correspondent The disease may isolate them in society, but the HIV positive people are finding an institutional support to find love and companionship of marriage in Gujarat thanks to the efforts of Gujarat State Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GSNP+). The network of HIV positive people, which has been working for the improvement of the quality of the life of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) has been organizing marriages between the eligible couples. The network recently organized a marriage fair, which was attended by 132 men and 27 women from all over the state. The event saw finalization of 14 couples. “We have been trying to link the positive people and arrange such marriages for quite sometime now,” said Daksha Patel, General Secretary

GSNP+. An HIV positive herself, Daksha has been working for the positive people in Gujarat for almost a decade now. “Though we have been arranging such events for last four years, it was only this year, that things got a little big and we had so many people,” she added. “We had put up notices at all the ART (anti retroviral therapy) centres across districts as well as in our offices and even called people up individually,” Daksha said. “The turnout was little bigger than we had expected,” she added. “This was inspiring to see that people from all walks of life came for the fair,” Daksha said. “We had the uneducated villagers as well as the educated urbane individuals walking into the venue this time and this was great,” she added. “We also had many parents with HIV positive children who came in search of partners for their

children,” she added. “Apart from the quest of a life partner, since many of the positive people do not want to reveal their HIV status openly and since they can’t get married, the social pressure also starts taking a toll on them,” said Rasik Bhuva, the treasurer of the organization. Bhuva too was diagnosed positive in 1998 and has been associated with the network since 2004. “As a matter of fact, I too had found my wife through the network and got married in 2006,” Bhuva adds. “We maintain the profiles of all the eligible HIV positive individual’s profile and update them regularly,” Bhuva said adding that apart from organizing such events, the network gets in touch with the positive individuals wanting to marry with possible matches and even arranges one on one meetings to fix up marriages as and when possible.


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Google, Facebook oppose Web control in Delhi High Court

Internet giants Google and Facebook told the Delhi High Court on Monday that it is not possible for companies to block offensive content that appears on their websites, in a case that has stoked fears about censorship in the world's largest democracy. Google and Facebook are among 21 companies that have been asked to develop a mechanism to block objectionable material, after a private petitioner took the websites to court over images deemed offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians. At the heart of the dispute is a law passed last year in the country that makes companies responsible for user content posted on their websites, requiring them to take it down within 36 hours in case of a complaint. The case was originally filed in a lower court, but the companies have appealed to the Delhi High Court, challenging the lower court's ruling asking them to take down some content.

Vishwa Gujarati Samaj honours famous expats Vishwa Gujarati Samaj conferred Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel Vishwa Prathibha Award on Lord Bhikhu Parekh, renowned academician, author and political analyst at Gujarati Sahitya Parishad Hall. Former director of IIM-A Bakul Dholakia presented the award to Parekh. Four other dignitaries including author and Gujarati language scholar from UK Dr Jagdish Dave; engineer who has developed $ 200 million business empire in New Jersey, Piyush Patel; diamond businessman and member of Belgium Jewelry Council Paresh Sanghvi; and hotelier and founder of Association of Indian Americans in North America Sunil Nayak were also conferred upon Distinguished NRI Award. Former Supreme Court judge C K Thakkar was the chief guest at the event. Other dignitaries who presented the awards to NRIs include president of Vishwa Gujarati Samaj Krishnakant Vakharia; author Kumar Pal Desai, and Suruchi Trust head Shambhubhai Patel.

"The search engine only takes you till the website. What happens after that is beyond a search engine's control," Neeraj Kishan Kaul, a lawyer for Google's Indian unit, told a packed High Court hearing on Monday. "If you use blocks, which is very easy for people to say, you will inadvertently block other things as well. For example: the word 'sex'. Even a government document like a voter ID list or a passport has the word 'sex'," he added. Siddharth Luthra, a lawyer for Facebook told the court it was not possible for the social network to "single out" any individual on the basis of religion or views and said the users should be held responsible for content they post. Less than a tenth of

India's 1.2 billion population have access to Internet although its 100-odd million users make it the third biggest Internet market after China and the United States. Internet users in India are seen nearly tripling to 300 million over the next three years. Despite the new rules to block offensive content, India's Internet access is still largely free unlike the tight controls in neighbouring China. Civil rights groups have opposed the new laws. But politicians say that posting offensive images in the socially conservative country with a history of violence between religious groups presents a danger to the public as Internet use grows. The high court will resume hearing the case on Thursday, Justice Suresh Kait said. The judge was last week quoted by local media warning the websites of China-style controls if they did not create a means to curb material seen as offensive.

Cong vows to implement minority reservation after polls Congress Party on Thursday vowed to implement the proposed reservation for minority communities following the conclusion of upcoming assembly polls in the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur. "The Election Commission is an independent, constitutional body. Its main duty is to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections. We do not comment on the decisions taken by the Election Commission while discharging its duties. The government had proposed to implement a reservation for minority communities before the polls were announced," said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi. "The Election Commission can only prohibit the implementation of minority reservation for two months, that is, till the polls are over. After the elections, the government will definitely implement reservation to the minorities," he added. Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid had on Monday promised to raise to raise the minority reservation as against

the existing quota of 4.5 percent reserved for groups bracketed under other backward classes, if his party is elected to power in Uttar Pradesh. The Election Commission later on Wednesday asked the government to put on hold its decision on 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities in five poll-bound states till election process ends there as a controversy raged over the issue. "It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the Central Government has carved out 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities from within 27 per cent quota for OBCs in violation of the Model Code of Conduct and should be stopped by the Commission," said the Election Commission in a statement. Further defending the government, Alvi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of spreading communalism and attempting to divide and rule. "The Bharatiya Janata Party has taken the mantle of spreading communalism in the nation. The BJP wants to divide the nation.


Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first lady of the lens, dead at 98 Her lens captured some of the most iconic moments of India’s 20th Century history, – from the departure from India of Lord Mountbatten, Britain’s last viceroy, to the outpouring of mass national grief that followed the shooting of Mahatma Gandhi. But for the last 40 years of her life, Homai Vyarawalla lived alone and in virtual anonymity, shunning photography, the craft in which she had made her name, in favour of gardening. Vyarawalla, India’s first female photojournalist, whose images chronicled the birth pangs of the world’s largest democracy, died in a private hospital in Baroda on Sunday morning. She was 98 and had contracted an illness after falling out of bed last week. Born in the town of Navsari in Gujarat to a

Homai Vyarawalla poses with her Rolleiflex camera at her home in Vadodara

family of Zoroastrians in December 1913, Ms. Vyarawala attended school and university in Bombay, as the city was then known. She first learned how to handle a camera from her boyfriend in the 1920s, shortly before starting her career in photography and moving to Delhi in 1942. Her skill as a photographer and ability to capture powerful images documenting India’s independence struggle quickly earned her nationwide fame – although when she started out, prejudice against her as a woman

forced her to publish photographs in her husband’s name. She later worked under the pseudonym, Dalda 13. Her pictures covered landmark events including the hoisting of the first Indian flag at Delhi’s Red Fort after independence in 1947, and the funerals of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri. She also covered the horror of partition as well as visits to India by Queen Elizabeth II and former US President Dwight Eisenhower. In 2005, she told her biographer that it was only 50 years after taking photographs that “I started seeing the value of my work.” At the time, she said she “was just earning a living” and had little “thought of preserving it for posterity”.



Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

India’s Army chief takes govt to court on age row India’s Chief of Army Staff, General V.K. Singh, has reportedly filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court with regard to the ongoing controversy surrounding his age. General Singh had earlier on Sunday said that he has 'no clue' of any early resolution of the ongoing controversy surrounding his age issue, but insisted that the matter be allowed to rest and not become a public debate. To a poser on whether he is expecting an early resolution of the issue surrounding his age, General Singh said: "I have got no clue. I am working as I am." "I don't want to say anything. He has expressed his confidence and I am following that. Earlier also I have said that I am working for the organisation. I appreciate his confidence and will try to stand upto that," he added, when asked to comment on the confidence expressed by Defence Minister A K

Mamata blasts Congress, CPM After taking a day's break from bashing her ally, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was back in action. At a programme organized by the West Bengal Minorities Development and Financial Corporation at Netaji Indoor Stadium, the Trinamool Congress chief again took a swipe at Congress and CPM. Alleging that the two parties were trying to derail her effort to put the state back on tracks, she said, "Babu chale bazar, kutta bhowke hazar. Keep shouting on television, I will keep working - nothing bothers me." Referring to Congress without naming it, she said some parties along with CPM are making an issue of Nazrul Academy.

Antony in him regardless of the ongoing issue. When asked to clarify whether the issue has been settled by the Defence Ministry, General Singh said: "Why do you want a clarity? I have said this is an issue that should be allowed to rest, and not become a public debate. So there is no requirement to give it any spin, or to give it any more wings than what it actually is." "I think I have already said a lot of things on this subject. Actually there is no requirement for me to say anything on this subject. The reason is that, whatever I say will either be misinterpreted or interpreted in a manner in which somebody will write it," he added, when asked whether he would accept the government decision, if the age issue is delinked from his tenure in office. General V.K. Singh had earlier this month disassociated himself with the reports of fresh representations by him con-

General V.K. Singh

cerning his date of birth. Reports in the media had earlier indicated that General V.K. Singh had written to the Government that his date of birth was May 10, 1951 and not 1950 as entered on the basis of his application when he entered the National Defence Academy. According to certain reports, the controversy stemmed from different sets of records in the adjutant general and military secretary branches of the Indian Army Headquarters. While the adjutant general's branch that deals with pay, perks and pensions maintains 1951 as

his year of birth, the military secretary branch that deals with appointments and promotions has 1950 in its records. The Ministry of Defence had earlier rejected Army Chief General V. K. Singh's statutory complaint seeking a correction of his date of birth in the army records. According to reports, General Singh has been conveyed that that he will have to retire from service on May 31, 2012 on completion of his two-year tenure. General Singh, who has consistently claimed that he was born in 1951 and not 1950 as maintained, had in his statutory complaint asked the Defence Ministry to consider May 10, 1951 as his date of birth. Government files caveat in Supreme Court: Meanwhile, Government has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court against the petition of Gen Singh challenging the decision over his date of birth.

Team Anna to hit the campaign trail on January 21 Team Anna on Monday unveiled its campaign plans for the assembly polls in five states starting with Uttarakhand on January 21 and spending a major part of February in Uttar Pradesh but will not ask people to vote in favour or against any particular party. However, they will not target a single party during the campaign but put forward the need for a strong lokpal. "During these tours, the response of various parties to the movement and their stand on Lokpal Bill would be told to the people. People would be encouraged to ask all parties whether they would bring a strong Lokayukta Bill. "The movement would

not ask people to vote in favour or against any particular party. It would be left to their wisdom," Team Anna spokesperson said. The first state Team Anna would visit is Uttarakhand, where they would tour for three days till January 23 followed by Punjab for two days on January 24 and January 25. After this they will return to Uttarakhand on January 27 and January 28. "The month of February has been primarily dedicated to Uttar Pradesh elections, which Team Anna would visit from February 2nd till February 25," a Team Anna spokesperson said. The tour program

would coincide with the different phases of election in UP. On February 28, 29 and March one, the campaign will be in Goa. "The nitty-gritties of the visit like the cities which Team Anna would visit, the members visiting the rallies, etc are yet to be finalised. The campaign meetings in different cities are being organized by small committees that are being formed especially for this purpose," the spokesperson said. Team Anna had faced criticism for its antiCongress stand earlier and it revised its stand early this month after a meak response to Anna Hazare's protest in Mumbai.

Pak PM Gilani in fix; gets SC contempt notice Continued from page 1 Attorney-General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the court that no directives were received from Zardari and Gilani to implement the NRO verdict. Earlier, Gilani and Zardari, pummeled for days for making statements against army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, went into a huddle after which the PM was quoted as saying he had offered to resign to defuse the crisis created by the confrontation between the military and the judiciary on one side and the government on the other. There is no immediate threat to Gilani, as the contempt case is expected to be drawn out. But he could be disqualified from holding office and have to step down if convicted of

contempt. He also faces up to six months in prison. "We are left with no option, as a first step, to issue a show-cause notice. The PM should appear personally in court on January 19," the court said in its notice. The court initiated proceedings after the government failed to respond to its order outlining six options that it could exercise if it did not comply with its orders. The options included disqualifying the PM and president, holding early elections besides contempt proceedings. The court was incensed after attorney general Maulvi Anwarul Haq told it that he had no instructions from the government on how to respond to court's orders. Later, Gilani agreed to appear before the court

after an emergency meeting with his coalition partners and Zardari. Sources said the government would act according to a plan and buy time till Senate elections in March that would give PPP a majority in the upper house and an important say in legislation for the next six years. A probe into the memo threatens to implicate Zardari and could lead to his impeachment. Former Pakistan envoy to US Husain Haqqani is accused of authoring the memo on Zardari's behest. The court had called Gilani "dishonest'' and warned him of disqualification if he did not open the cases. It has repeatedly asked the government to do so since it threw out the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) that extended

immunity to politicians and bureaucrats from prosecution in graft cases. The tiff between the government and the army started after Gilani sacked the defence secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi. The decision comes during intense friction between the civilian government and the powerful military over an unsigned memo that sought US help in reining in Pakistan's generals. Gilani's office said in a statement that retired Lieutenant General Naeem Khalid Lodhi was fired for "gross misconduct and illegal action which created misunderstanding" between state institutions. While the tiff with the army and the government was going on Zardari went to Dubai for a day’s visit sparking rumours that he had fled the country anticipating a coup.

Boy falls from 13th floor, only breaks leg It was a miraculous escape by any stretch. An 18-yearold youth, who fell from the terrace of his 13-floor building in Powai, Mumbai. survived the steep fall and ended up with only a leg fracture. H was working out on the terrace when he lost his balance and hurtled down. “Pai survived because his fall was first broken by a tree and then his father’s car, which was parked below the tree,” said Powai police. He is in a hospital, and his condition is stable. The youngster was first discovered by the building’s security guard, who heard a loud thud behind the building. “Initially I thought a coconut must have dropped to the ground but then I realized there is no coconut tree around,” said the guard. “So I, along with a driver, rushed to where the noise had come from. There, we found Pai on the roof of his car. He was conscious but could not speak.”

Dalai Lama urges youth to join politics to end corruption

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has appealed to the Indian youth to join politics to end corruption. Dalai Lama said that it was necessary for the youth to come forward and join politics so as to end corruption from the country. "So I say that the dirty politics must change. Who is going to change that? If we pray to God please come to India and clean this up, it is unrealistic. Young India, you should clean up all these negative things. No one else can. So if you must join in politics within political groups. Then clean up the change. That is the only way," he added.Corruption in India has been a long standing problem and last year the stand against it grew as a result of the anti-corruption movement led by social activist Anna Hazare.

Fake ration card in Sonia name found A ration card issued in the name of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, enlisting names of her two children as Rahul and Priyanka, has been found in Maharashtra’s Thane district. The card was issued in August last year by the Thane authorities. The family’s annual income was shown as Rs 30,000 and it bore Sonia’s New Delhi address, activist Praveen Pandey said. The card was found in a parking lot of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC), around 60km northeast of Mumbai. “My friend Premchand Jha and I had some work at UMC and while we were parking our vehicle, we found a ration card lying in the parking lot. We thought someone must have lost it. But we were shocked to see that it was issued in the names of Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul and Priyanka. It even bore Sonia’s New Delhi address,” he said. Pandey said that with municipal polls round the corner in several parts of the state, such bogus ration cards may be used for illegal voting. He said that their NGO, Ulhasnagar Bachao Abhiyan, had written to the Election Commission and requested that the ration card be disqualified on the basis of the Delhi address.

Kutch camels get recognisation The ‘swimming camels’ from Gujarat got national recognition from scientists and experts when two breeders of Kachchhi Kharai were felicitated by LIFE Network and National Biodiversity Authority at a function held in Chennai on January 10. A booklet on the Kharai camel, the only camels which can swim, was also released on the occasion. The duo got the Breed Saviour Award for breed conservation. The two breeders, Adam Abdreman Jat from Abdasa and Amand Varindh Jat from Bhachau in Kachchh, received a cash prize of Rs 15,000 and a certificate from BK Joshi, director of National Bureau of Animal Genetic Research (NBAGR), Karnal. Ramesh Bhatti, project coordinator from Sahjeevan, a Bhuj-based NGO involved in camel conservation.

Nehru Jacket finds place among the world's top political fashion

The stylish 'Nehru jacket' popularised by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's has been listed among the top global political fashion statements.Nehru's attire has found place in the list that includes the tracksuit of Cuba's communist leader Fidel Castro's and former Chinese leader Mao Zedong's safari suit."The Nehru jacket is a descendant of the northern Indian achkan, a closed-neck, coat like garment usually considered court dress for Indian nobility.Indeed, it was when the jacket was marketed to Western audiences that it took the "Nehru" title, the charismatic Prime Minister having popularised its style in public appearances during his tenure in the government," according to the magazine. Nehru wasn't the only prominent figure associated with it; the minimalist aesthetic of the jacket inspired the likes of the Beatles (who wore the style at their Shea Stadium performance) as well as Sammy Davis Jr, who claimed to own more than 200 of the jackets. Mao Zedong also started a fashion trend. Labelled in China as the "Zhongshan suit".

festival & HISToRy

Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012


Kite enthusiasts from 42 countries flocked to Gujarat

Purvi Apurva Shah

The 20th international kite festival of Gujarat saw a huge response and kite enthusiasts from different countries flocked to Ahmedabad in order to participate in the event. As many as 200 kite-flyers from 42 countries and others from different states of India had gathered in the kite festival organized on Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad. Inaugurated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the festival was celebrated with different verities of hand-made kites. Most impressive was the kite with the remote control which was being launched for the first time in India. Paulin Marshal from France had designed such a kite that can be flied in the sky without the help of string. Another remarkable was an organic kite which was made out of leaves of the tree and was designed by Helmi and Bagush from Indonesia. Sixty–year-old old Japanese woman Mechiki Yamamura is kite devotee and she had brought traditional Japanese kite for the competition. Australian women Jrin had made a huge kite with traditional Nepal idol of God and symbolic eyes.

But the one which raised eyebrows was a kite with a camera. Bert Maeters from Belgium had mechanized such a kite that carries a camera and clicks pictures of the sky around when it is flying. He had a remote control with a screen that transmits the videos captured by the camera. As soon as

the flying kite takes pictures, it can be seen on the screen on the ground. It was a good competition with categories of Indian fighter kite, foreign type painted kite, Cobra kite and Rokaku (Japanese style) kite. Kite festival also had adventure sports, foodcourt, craft-bazaar and kite workshop all on the show to entertain kite-lovers. Pavan Solanki had

made a 40- feet huge kite which reminds us of our history when Lord Krishna sat on the lap of dangerous snake with seven heads. Another kite had designs of Indian rangoli and mehndi. A long huge kite in shape of tiger was displayed which propagate the message of saving tigers. Mr Solanki is also the founder of Royal Kite Flyers Club (RKFC) which is a group of kite makers and flyers. It has participated in kite festivals in various parts of world. It has used the medium of kites to educate children, and to introduce our rich cultural heritage to the world. He says “The RKFC is a club of passionate kite flyers eager to promote the activity of kiting in all its various aspects. Kiting involves not only the enjoyment of flying but includes the aspects of design, engineering, aerodynamics, experimentation and innovation as well as the cultural and historic side of kiting. Our interests run from kite making to multi-line kite competition, from miniature kites to kite festivals and many more. Some of us are in the kite trade, but we are not a trade organization. RKFC is eager to gear up the involvement of people in kite flying.”

By Purvi Apurva Shah

India Book of Records 2012 I

ndia Book of Records is a compilation of so many Indians who has done the ‘impossible.’ The book records the landmark achievement of Indians who has dared to be different. Each one of us is born with some special, unusual and unique talent that makes us stand apart from the rest. To know the hidden, untapped genius within us, read the book which opens the world on new possibilities for all. It chronicles the Indians who has done the impossible and also inspire the comman man to go and break the record. The record of Vishnu Mehta and his bike expedition proved to be faster than the running of trains in Gujarat. Disabled Samir and Madhavi for traveling from Ahmedabad to LehLadakh by driving self designed hand operated SUV. Blowing 10,000 candles in only 6.2 minutes

and also the record of descending 5,500 steps in 55 minutes. Record attempt for standing still for longest duration, and also for the longest scream. One of the interesting records is of cutting vegetables on the stomach

of a person. A painting in a minute or football stunts, all such records that inspire us also to do record breaking feats. The book chronicles two and half feet tiniest mother of India and 6 ft 8.5 inches tallest woman

of the country. Oldest surviving man in the country is 110 years old. The book is also about possibilities, while reading one is charged and wants to challenge oneself. The book gives all information about how to set a record and how to be a winner. For the first time record breaking festivals were held, when the book launch was made in 12 cities all over India. The book records 20 recording breaking events of India. The book is the final outcome of 12 years of hard work by Guinness World record holder Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury, the chief editor of India Book of Records. The book comprises various categories of records like human body, biggest and smallest, strange but true, creativity, science and technology and others, portraying the extraordinary acts of the citizens of India.

By Dr Anil Mehta

Great Indian Uprising of 1857 Part III : Empire strikes back Delhi rebels were defeated 8 km from the city in September 1857 after a bloody fight. Kanpur was relieved in mid July of the same year. However, a real drama was played out in Lucknow, where during the siege in June some 2000 people including Europeans and Indian soldiers, families, and servants had taken refuge in the British residency making a defiant stand against the rebels. The siege lasted nearly five months during which several deserted or died through enemy firing or diseases. It was lifted in November 1857. The city itself was recaptured in March 1858 after fierce fighting. The siege captivated the imagination of India’s entire community. It is one of the best known episodes of the uprising. With the fall of Lucknow, t h e British gained the upper hand and the Great Rebellion lost all its momentum. The last bastions of defence Jhansi a n d Gwalior w e r e recaptured in April and June 1858 respectively ending the 13-month old conflict. The rebels’ butchery in Meerut, Kanpur, Jhansi and Gwalior was equally matched by British barbarism in Punjab, Delhi, UP, and MP after their recapture, resulting in a considerable loss of lives. The victorious Britons often razed cities and villages, killing and looting terrified civilians including women and children. Two of Bahadur Shah’s sons and a grandson were shot in cold blood while in custody in Delhi by a British officer ‘to ensure the total extinction of the Mughal dynasty’. Bahadur Shah in his turn was exiled (jailed) to Burma where he died in 1858. Not a dignified end to a Mughal Emperor or to a once mighty empire. Nana Saheb who disappeared in Nepal was reported to have died of fever. Begum Hazarat Mahal and her son, who had also escaped to Nepal decided to stay there. She died in 1879. Captured mutineers were hung or blown from a mouth of a cannon in spite of protest by some British officers at

the bloodshed. Final number of deaths from the mutiny is not clear. Estimate varies widely between tens to hundreds of thousands. Reasons for defeat: The uprising failed through a serious lack of co-ordination, funds, and ammunition. Rebels learned that the British were not removable by military means. They were no match for the welltrained government army, experienced commanders, and weaponry. While the rebels had fighting spirit, there was little discipline among them and were divided. There was never any coherent strategy for campaign or any effective, central leadership emerged. Also civil support gradually ebbed away. The mutineers failed

the casualty of the great uprising. In the aftermath of mutiny a sea-change occurred in Britain’s relations with India. British became socially conservative and politically cautious. They treated their subjects with increasing suspicion and the proportion of British to Indians in the Indian army was greatly increased. Also they built separate residential areas (cantonments) outside the towns and cities across the country. In public work programme rapid expansion of roads, railways, and telegraph further precluded the danger of mutiny. In education, English language continued to be promoted. The issue of the offending cartridges had,

Revenge : Public execution of mutineers

to cut British lines of communication while, on the other hand, the use of telegraph gave the British a vital advantage in gathering information about rebels’ movement and transmitting orders to the troops. According to one senior British officer ‘The electric telegraph has saved us’. Crucially, Sikh, Afghan and Gurkha units remained loyal and so did the Bombay and Madras armies ensuring that southern India remained relatively quiet. Also except some rulers affected by the Doctrine of Lapse policy, most stayed away. Aftermath: Following the restoration of law and order, the East India Company’s rule was abolished and the British government assumed direct rule (Government of India Act) in 1858, through an appointed viceroy. Lord Canning previously Governor-General became the first Viceroy of India who formally proclaimed peace on 8th July 1859. East India Company’s authority thus ended after a century (since Plassey) of rule and like the great Mughal dynasty became

of course, long been resolved, and the troops now greased the cartridges themselves with whatever lubricants they preferred. British officers were ordered to abstain from interfering with Indian beliefs and traditions. Although annexed states like Awadh were not returned, there was to be no further annexation. Also, government announced its support for existing rulers of princely states, claiming that they would not interfere in local matters as long as the states were loyal to them (the British). The uprising, after all, was not entirely a lost cause. It was a wake-up call for British rulers in India. They learned a few clear lessons from the mutiny. It was widely felt that the lack of communication with Indians had helped precipitate the crisis. From now on the government consulted Indian leaders more closely for their opinion and interest before taking any major decisions. Moreover, far greater emphasis was placed on respect for India’s complex social and religious structure.



Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

Italian ship mishap: Indians on board recollect horror Continued from page Indian crew members bitterly regret the loss of the Costa Concordia, which was their only source of income. These stuff have also challenged claims that the crew had deserted passengers and were too busy saving themselves. “We have heard of reports (about the unseemly behaviour of the crew) but they are not true. The Indian crew members made themselves safe because if we are not safe, how can we save others? Then, we saved the lives of others. We were the last to come off,” Santosh Lelhal, 31, a security guard who hails from Mumbai, told The Telegraph. It emerged that of the

Russell Rebello

203 Indians on board, only one was a passenger and the person has been listed as safe. The remaining 202 Indians belonged to the crew, of which one Terence Russell Rebello is still missing. A crew member said that Rebello, a waiter, was last seen helping passengers. Debabrata Saha, the Indian ambassador in Rome, was on the island of Giglio to supervise the rescue of the Indian nationals. Saha was accompanied by two Indian officials, V. Negi and Sunil Aggarwal, reported the Telegraph. External affairs minister S.M. Krishna said India was making efforts to trace Rebello and was in touch with his brother Kevin who had reached Italy. A rescued Indian crew member spoke to said Rebello was last seen helping passengers. An Indian official said: “What we know from them is that while the ship’s captain deserted the ship, the crew members continued to help passengers with life jackets.” Tw e n t y - o n e - y e a r - o l d Sharan had taken up his first cruise job with the Italian cruise liner only the last month. In fact, he got his first salary the day the liner sank, taking with it all of Sharan’s hard earnings, reported a Indian media. While Sharan and all his colleagues made it to safety, his family complained that the Indian embassy did nothing for them. Not just Sharan’s family, but kin of another survivor Jonathan Paturi too made similar charges. Jordon Paturi- brother of Jonathan, who was one of the heroes of the miraculous rescue drama which played out as the cruise liner listed

Russell Rebello’s wife Wilma with his parents Gladys and Frank

dangerously- said the latter helped save hundreds of lives while manning the life boats. “The Indian embassy was the last to reach there and the Indian crew has asked for compensation and salaries and that this should be given before they leave Italy as they don’t know if the company will remain,” Paturi said. Jonathan’s uncle Srinivas T. said, “He called his parents saying the ship was sinking and after two hours he called us to tell us that he was safe. Once he reached safety he decided to try and help others and he made four other trips on life boats to get more than 400 people to safety.” It was not just the crew, but even the chefs who hailed from India were at the forefront saving lives on the fateful Costa Concordia. The fallout could have been worse if the capsized Italian cruise vessel had run aground a few hours later, when most people would have been asleep, or if the ship had been further out to sea, an Indian who survived the tragedy said. John Fernandes, 28, was a waiter on Costa Concordia, whose fate has been described by passengers as ‘Titanic-like’. Fernandes, who hails from Goa, said, “We were working in the restaurant - it was the second sitting - and suddenly there was a bang, and the plates and bottles started falling on the floor.” Fernandes told the Sunday Telegraph, “After five minutes there was another bang, this time it was very big, and the lights went off. There was then an announcement of a technical problem, we were told everything was under control. People were scared, there was panic. Then the ship started to tilt.” He added, “There was a general emergency alarm, which means you have to go to muster stations. After another 10 minutes there was an announcement to abandon ship.” He said, “Some of my colleagues had no option but to jump - they were on the tilted side, they saw the water was very close. They survived.” Russell Rebello’s brother Kevin Rebello said, “Why did god chose my brother for this disaster? I don’t want to believe that he is no more,” A resident of Vasai, Russell, 30, has been working as a steward on the

cruise for five years. His family cannot believe that he is the unlucky one. Russell’s wife and threeyear-old son are going through anxious moments. “His wife is very worried,” said Kevin. “I reached the spot immediately after hearing about the accident. I am keeping my fingers crossed.” “My sister is desperately waiting to hear some good news. We are praying for Russell’s safety,” said Russell’s brother-in-law Vikram Pinto. Kevin said Russell boarded the ship in October 2011 and called his family whenever the cruise docked at a port. “I spoke to him last in November,” he said, adding that Russell brought lots of gifts for everyone whenever he returned home. Since the news broke, hundreds of concerned relatives have been visiting the Rebello residence at Oasis Park, Naigaon (West), hoping to bring some solace to his aged parents, and his 29year old wife, Wilma. Russel's father, Frank (69), has been paralysed for the last three years, and is bedridden. His son, Rhys, is three-and-a-half years old. 'I am hoping for a miracle, I want my son back, I do not want to lose my son," uttered Gladys (63), Russel's mother. "I wish I could have gone to Italy to look for my son, but I am helpless. I can't leave his ailing father behind," said Gladys, her voice quivering with emotion. Russel's kin are upset at the misleading information they were given by a Mumbai-based recruitment company, which hired most of the Indian crew members that were aboard the liner. "The recruiting company first told us that Russel was safe and had been admitted to a hospital. Later, they said that he was in a hotel," Gladys said. "When we relayed this information to Russel's elder brother Kevin (38), who is based in Milan, Italy, he rushed to the Tuskan Coast and rummaged all the hospitals and hotels, but could not find him." "We were praying the whole night, hoping to get some positive news from Kevin. But he called on Monday afternoon to say that Russel was nowhere to be found and that the local officials were not cooperating," Gladys said. "None of

the government officials, from Delhi or the Indian embassy in Italy, have contacted us till now. Even the recruiting company is tightlipped about the matter," Gladys said. Alister Nunes (25)- one of the crewmembers on board the luxury cruise ship-- has escaped miraculously from the wreck. After a nail-biting wait, Alister's father Hillary Nunes finally spoke to his beloved son on Saturday afternoon. "We were at a function on Friday night. After coming home, we saw on TV that a ship had sunk in Italy. We were petrified when we discovered that the ship was the Costa Concordia. Our son was on that ship. We finally heard from him on Saturday afternoon. Alister said that after being rescued, he and some other survivors had been accommodated in a church for a while. It was overwhelming to hear his voice. I can't describe the feeling," said Hillary, a retired BMC official. The Nunes family expressed its gratitude for Meetal, Alister's friend, who was the first one to inform them that their son was safe. Indian External affairs minister SM Krishna said,“We have no information as yet on any Indian passenger missing apart from the crew member.” Meanwhile, the Indian embassy to Italy is arranging air tickets and documents for the rescued Indians. “They are safe, and will be sent to India,” said Indian ambassador to Italy Debabrata Saha.

Fresh appeals one year after Ilford murder A friend of murdered Sukhwinder Singh has spoken of the enduring anguish suffered by his family as police make fresh appeals to catch his killers one year after his death. Mr Singh, pictured, was stabbed through the heart after chasing two muggers at the junction of Uphall Road, Ilford, and Victoria Road, Barking. Police have put up a 20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Investigators are also hoping to find a mobile phone – a silver Samsung E250 –and a brown leather handbag which was stolen by the pair before they were chased. Upkar Singh Rai, 45, a friend of Mr Singh, said: “These are difficult times. It is not easy to recover from such a shock but Sandeep (Mr Singh’s wife) has been coping fairly well. She has a strong character and a strong family. Gurjinder (his 11-yearold son) still misses his dad.” Mr Singh was planning to return to India to be reunited with his family for the first time in 10 years when he was killed. The builder, of Harts Lane, Barking, was attacked at about 6.40pm on January 8, 2009, and was pro-

nounced dead at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, later that night. Police say there may have been more than two people involved in the attack. One suspect is described as black, 5ft 10in to 6ft tall, skinny with a young face and wearing a black hooded top and light grey jogging bottoms. The second is thought to be a lighterskinned black man, around 6ft tall, of stocky build with possible facial markings or facial hair. He was wearing a light blue hooded top with markings on the sleeves. Anyone with information should call 020 8345 3775, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Double murder mystery continues Continued from page 1 their son went to their semi-detached home and discovered their bodies. Detectives leading the hunt for the killer say they are looking into whether the couple’s murder was a reprisal killing connected to their son’s work. They are also examining possible links to a string of break-ins by thieves tar-

summer when more than 50 women were targeted for their jewellery in street attacks in the city over just a month. Police say the couple, who have four children and eight grandchildren, were attacked and killed at their Birmingham home some time between 7.15pm on Tuesday and 8am on Wednesday. Police also said it was

Michelle Kirwan and her brother wept as they spoke about their love for their murdered parents

geting Asian families for gold. Gold prices have risen in the credit crunch and Asian gold is the purest available, making it particularly valuable. Birmingham has seen a spate of such burglaries and robberies, peaking last

too early to say whether the house had been broken into and refused to comment on whether anything had been taken. Mr and Mrs Kolar, who had been married for 40 years, last spoke to family at 7.15pm on

Tuesday. The couple are thought to have been alone at home overnight and no grandchildren were in the house. Gurdial Singh Atwal, a local councillor, said: “I’m shocked by the news, they were my constituents and they were very nice people. I’m sure the police will arrest the people responsible.” A 37-year-old was arrested on Monday lunchtime on suspicion of the murders of Mr and Mrs Kolar. Two other men arrested have been released, a 24-year-old on police bail and a 41-year-old without charge, by detectives leading the enquiry. The time extension would take detectives until the early hours of Wednesday morning, when they must decide to charge or release the third man or apply to magistrates to detain him further. Meanwhile, forensics specialists on Monday continued to examine the couple’s home for any shred of evidence that could lead to their killers. It is thought they could be at the house until Wednesday.

HealtH WatcH

Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

How to get rid of headaches at office Headaches can arise due to various reasons among which stress, sleep deficit, poor nutrition, muscular problems and wrong posture are the primary reasons. Having a headache at office is perhaps one of the most common workplace issues across the world. Popping a headache-relieving pill is useful but its effect lasts for a few hours and using it regularly can turn into an unwanted addiction. It is better to get acquainted with some easy tips that can be followed at office for relieving headache: Laughter might not be the best medicine but it is still a handy remedy Any healthcare practitioner will tell you that when our senses are occupied with something laughable, we instantly tend to forget our bodily discomforts. Whether you need to download jokes on our laptop or get hold of some witty colleague who can dole out the office rumors with his hilarious version, try to find some source that can help you with a few laughs. Laughing is known to promote the release of endorphins - the feel-good hormones in our body that is also a very potent painkiller.

Refresh your senses: Headaches linked to anxiety and poor sleep are the most disturbing ones since they surface for longer periods and are not resolved with over-thecounter painkillers either. When faced with a recurring headache, it is better to ditch the pills and rejuvenate yourself. This can be done in many ways:

activity that requires physical strength, your body automatically gets desensitized from its pain centers, instantly relieving your worries. • Get Chatty - seek the company of someone in or around the office with whom you can talk for 10 minutes or so. Having an engaging conversation might just be the stimulus

• Get Caffeinated yes, coffee isn't nature’s best painkiller because when the caffeine rush subsides, you might feel the headache again but it works wonders for a couple of hours, helping you overcome sleep deprivation headaches. • Get Sweaty - try to complete two rounds, up and down, the office staircase. When pushed into an

you need to forget your anxieties. Establish a break schedule: Your productivity is going to be hampered even if you are seated at your desk throughout the day with a bothering headache. It is better to sacrifice a few moments of your work time for improving the overall efficiency. Try to seek more breaks. The idea is to take

Sleep apnoea ‘can raise heart attack risk’ Sleep apnoea is a condition in which people stop breathing momentarily while sleeping. Suffering from sleep apnoea? Do not ignore it, better consult a doctor, for researchers claim that people with the condition have high blood fat levels and an increased risk of heart attack. An international team, led by Sydney University, has found treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device reduced post-meal blood fat (triglyceride) levels. The researchers investigated blood fat levels across a 24-hour period after standard meals in 38 patients with sleep apnoea. Patients were studied both before and after two months of CPAP and two months with a placebo CPAP device. “We know that blood fat levels after meals are

an important predictor of future cardiovascular disease. This research provides a possible reason why patients with sleep apnoea are at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes,” said lead author Dr Craig Phillips. “Although the results need to be confirmed in larger studies, we estimate that the extent of the improvement in triglycerides with CPAP could reduce the risk for heart attack in these patients by as much as 25 per cent,” he added. Co-author Prof Ron Grunstein said that another interesting aspect of the study was that triglyceride levels were particularly high in the middle of the night during sleep, almost seven hours after the evening meal. “There may be an influence of the body clock that pushes up blood fat levels at these times,” he added.

shorter, timed and productive breaks. Start chewing away your headache: Chewing the gum is one of the easiest ways of releasing the muscular tension across the face that often arises from the lower neck region. Chewing gum relaxes the entire facial surface, increasing the flow of blood minimally. This cannot cure your headache but it can contribute towards lowering its intensity. Get your posture right: Try to maintain an ergonomic posture at work. This is aimed at reducing the stress on your back and shoulder muscles. These muscles are known to cause headaches when strained. Use office exercises to your advantage: To relieve tensed neck and shoulder muscles, you need to undertake some basic exercises like the Seated Neck Release. Get started by placing your right hand against the right ear. Push your hand towards the left side and resist this force using your head. Now, do the same by using your left hand placed against the left ear. This exercise is used in various types of alternative medicines and yogic postures, underlining its effectiveness.

Health benefits of mint leaves Mint is one of the oldest and most popular herbs that is grown around the world. There are many different varieties of mint, each having its own subtle flavour and aroma. This herb is used in a range of dishes from stuffing to fruit salads. It is an essential ingredient in many Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and is popu l a r l y mixed with natural p l a i n yogurt to make a 'raita' or b r e w e d with tea to make the famous Indian 'Pudina Chai'. In Thai cooking, it is added to soups and to some highlyspiced curries. Mint grown in Asia is much more strongly flavored than most European mints, with a sweet, cool aftertaste. Mint as Minta Spacata is a plant that has been long used in diverse cultures, such as India,

Middle East and Europe. Mint has a sweet flavour, with a cooling after-sensation. Both, fresh and dried mint are used in preparing a large number of recipes, including curries, soups, chutneys, salads, juices, and ice creams. Its health benefits include: • Soothing the digestive tract and if you are having stomach ache then it can be of great help • Drinking herbal mint tea reduces irritated bowel syndromes, cleanses the stomach and also clear up skin disorders such as acne. • Mint acts as a cooling sensation to the skin and helps in dealing with skin irritations. • Mint helps in eliminating toxins from the body. • Crushed mint leaves helps in whitening teeth and combat bad breath. • Mint is a very good cleanser for the blood.

Why one should eat bananas

Eating bananas are beneficial to our health. Here is the lowdown on why you should go for bananas: Naturally rich in Potassium. With ample amounts of potassium in them, bananas help maintain the electrolyte balance in the cells of the body.

Higher levels of potassium in the body can help lower the risk of strokes. Being low in salt, it's good for BP patients as they need to be careful about their daily intake of salt. Loaded with Vitamins, minerals: Large size bananas are known to be

packed with high amounts of vitamins A, which is especially important for the development of optical tissues present in the eyes. Vitamin A is also essential for healthy skin and bone development. Other benefits: Being high in fibre, they are an

ideal cure for constipation, and an alternative to chemical laxatives. Bananas are also known to be mood elevators as it triggers the production of serotonin. It's a great fruit for those suffering from ulcers as it is easily digestible and has acidity neutralising properties.


cell phones may soon help you shed those extra kilos

Researchers are now searching for ways in which cell phones could help its users lose weight. Researchers with Calit2's Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems (CWPHS) and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, at University of California, San Diego are expanding a previous study aimed at finding out if cell phone technology can help with weight loss. For one year, researchers with the "ConTxt" study will evaluate the use of cell phone text messages to remind participants to make wise nutritional choices throughout the day. Participants randomized to the intervention conditions will also be given tailored messages for weight loss and lifestyle changes as well as a pedometer to monitor their daily activity. "ConTxt is an innovative, yet straightforward approach to getting people to monitor their diet and physical activity," said CWPHS project principal investigator Kevin Patrick. "We are trying to

make this as pain free as possible. People won't stick to something that's too difficult and they're all multi-tasking anyway. We're doing this study to increase what we know about using the cell phone to get messages to busy people on the go." ConTxt is recruiting more than 300 participants for the study. As a part of tailoring of the program, surveys completed during baseline visit will help assess the participant's lifestyle, for example, assessing nearby grocery stores, finding opportunities for physical activity and possibly enlisting the support of friends or family. The intervention is designed to send "prompts," text or picture messages, with specific suggestions or tips regarding diet and improving lifestyle habits. "It seems like everybody has a cell phone. Those who do usually carry it with them at all times," explained ConTxt study coordinator Lindsay W. Dillon. "We want to see if we can use that same technology to get people to think differently," Dillon added.



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Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

CB Live is only a Gujarati programme in UK on MATV SKY 793 In this week's CB Live, CB Patel will talk about his india trip. Cllr Vina Mithani from Kenton West area (Harrow council) will join CB to discuss about current affairs, developments in her ward and her input in the Health and Social care system. Call CB Live at 020 7043 3025 to ask questions during the show. If you do not have a SKY, go to and watch CB Live on TVU Player Channel 75203

Five Muslim men on trial for stirring up hatred Continued from page 7 boxes, which led to numerous homosexual people feeling personally ‘threatened’ or ‘targeted’. One gay man who had been posted 2 letters was scared into wondering whether the next thing through his letterbox would be ‘a flaming rag’. The accused men accept handing out leaflets but deny charges of intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of

sexual orientation, the penalty for which is a maximum of 7 years in prison. Ihjaz Ali had previously been arrested for attempting to stage an anti-homosexual protest before the start of a Gay Pride festival. Ali had allegedly explained it was his duty to convey Allah’s laws. The trial, which is taking place at the Derby Crown Court, is set to continue for 3 weeks.

Coming Events l Indian Republic day Celebration- Thursday 26th January 2012 from 12pm to 1pm, Maha Prashad from 1pm to 2.30pm, Flag Raising followed by National Anthem (Rastra Geet). For more details contact Shree Jalaram Mandir Greenford on 0208 578 8088 / 9285 l 22 January, 2012: Mahayagna, Social Club Hall, Northwick Park Hospital, Watford Road. HA1 3UJ. 020 8459 5758/ 07973 550310 l Annual general meeting, VHP South London. 22nd January, 10:30am. Hindu Centre Hall. CR7 6JN. Ph: 020 8665 5502 l Cervical cancer and cervical screening in BME communities: raising awareness and overcoming barriers.10am until 3pm on Thursday 26 January 2012, at The King’s Fund, 11-13 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0AN l Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) organises a major function on the 4th of Feb, 2012 at the Sattavis Patidar Centre, HA9 9PE to raise funds for school in East Africa Editor: CB Patel Associate Editor: Rupanjana Dutta Tel: 020 7749 4098 - Email: Senior News Editor: Dhiren Katwa Freelance Correspondent: Rudy Otter Chief Operating Officer ABPL: Liji George Tel: 020 7749 4013 Email: Chief Financial Officer: Surendra Patel Tel: 020 7749 4093 - Mobile: 07875 229 220 Email: Accounts Executive: Akshay Desai Tel: 020 7749 4087 Advertising Managers: Alka Shah Tel: 020 7749 4002 - Mobile: 07944 151 893 Email: Kishor Parmar Tel: 020 7749 4095 - Mobile: 07875 229 088 Email: Media Consultant: Rovin John George - Email: Tel: 020 7749 4097 - Mobile: 07875 229 219 Nihir Shah - Email: Tel: 020 7749 4089 - Mobile: 07875 229 111 Business Development Manager: Urja Patel - Email: Design and Layout: Harish Dahya & Ajay Kumar Tel: 020 7749 4086 Email: Customer Service: Ragini Nayak Tel: 020 7749 4080 - Email:

Sneh Joshi - 020 8518 5500 Get out as much as possible. Do not be misled by inconsequential issues as you will have better opportunities if you stick to your main objectives. A tremendous amount of planetary activity in your chart signals a time of mixed emotions as well as personal issues to be dealt with.

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20

7pm to 8pm Every Thursday

For more information e-mail:

Muscat Gujarati Samaj Oman member awarded

Regardless of the limits, you have the capacity to turn the course of your life in a more fulfilling direction. Saturn in Libra, the sign of balance and diplomacy, will help you to find a work and home equilibrium. People entering your life now will encourage you to move beyond your established boundaries of safety.

TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21

It would be a mistake always to blame the other person if your experience and expectations of love turn out to be disappointing. It is said that if you do not learn from past experience you will be condemned to repeat it until you do learn. You now have an excellent opportunity to sort out where things may be going wrong.

GEMINI May 22 - June 22

CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22

This week you will make your best progress by focusing your mental and physical energies on what you want to achieve. Intense focus is what is needed now. The underlying trend seems to be pulling you into a much wider social circle now. This is bound to enrich your life and give you a deeper sense of purpose. Pratibha Patil awarding Kiran Asher

Founder Partner & Group Managing Director of Al Ansari Group of Cos. as well as MGS Board Member, Mr. Kiran Asher was conferred with the highly prestigious Pravasi Bhartiay Samman Award at the hands of President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Patil at the valedictory session of 10th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Jaipur yesterday. Muscat Gujarati Samaj is greatly very proud of being associated with such an eminent leader & visionary who has relent-

lessly worked towards enhancing India’s image abroad, in Oman & beyond. Kiran Asher became the fifth individual from Oman to win this coveted award. The previous winners from Oman include Sheikh Kanaksi Gokaldas Khimji (Khimji Ramdas) in 2003, P Mohammed Ali (Galfar) in 2004, P N C Menon (The Sobha Group) in 2009, and Suresh K Virmani (Bahwan Engineering Company) in 2010.

LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23 Resist making any hasty moves when it come 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. All close ties of love and affection will benefit from the gentle influence of Venus. If you are married or have a well-founded relationship, it seems that the pattern of events will somehow draw you closer together emotionally. For some of you a good time to do some serious thinking about your career.

VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23

It has been a time of slow and steady progress. There still are challenging issues on both a personal and practical level. You have got where you are by making important decision and choices. You will achieve more, especially when motivated by your own desires.

LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23

SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22

It seems that the winds of change begin to gather momentum and put a strong focus on domestic and family matters. Besides spending more time tending to domestic affairs, the focus can be on cultivating and nourishing your inner foundations, so to speak. Extra energy and drive will serve you well in getting things accomplished.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21

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This week you will be mentally alert and have the ability to sort out any practical problems. Matters of the heart are favoured this week, so expect some setbacks. Plan ahead for the long term where finances are concerned as this is a good time to invest. The atmosphere at home is likely to be convivial and joyous.

CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20

Make a very conscious attempt to stick to main priorities. Organise your time so that it is not taken up entirely by the demands of other people. You can create your own opportunities. A good time for restructuring and rethinking your aims and interests. Affairs of the heart are likely to flourish.

AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19

Don't take short-cuts in legal or official matters. It will be only too easy to feel exasperated by bureaucracy but you won't be doing yourself any favours if you lose your cool. This is a fine time for you to get away from the mundane realities of life and relax. Some of you will probably go abroad. The transit of Sun in your Solar 12th House indicates that experience will put you in a deeply reflective mood. This is a favourable time for getting away from usual routines and seeking a retreat for a few days. Meditation, yoga and therapies will help you to get in closer touch with your inner self.

PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20

Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

SPort wOrlD

SA thrash Lanka by 258 runs in 1st ODI

England Cricket Board offers amnesty to reveal spot- fixing incidents

Hashim Amla hit a century before South Africa's opening bowlers sent Sri Lanka crashing as the host nation swept to a huge 258-run win in the first one-day international at Boland Park last week. Replying to a South Africa’s total of 301 for eight, Sri Lanka lost their first six wickets for 13 runs before being bowled out for 43, a record low total for the tourists. Amla anchored the South African innings and made 112 off 128 balls. He shared in partnerships of 144 for the second wicket with Jacques Kallis (72) and 91 for the third wicket with new captain AB de Villiers (52). It was a tough target for Sri Lanka to chase but their hopes were dashed almost immediately as they made a disastrous start with new ball bowlers Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe both taking three wickets in their opening spells. Morkel finished with four for 10 to take the man of the match award, while the left-arm Tsotsobe claimed three for 19. Sri Lanka captain Tillekeratne Dilshan acknowledged that South Africa had produced "fantastic bowling" at the start of his team's innings.

Hashim Amla

"After that it was very difficult to come back," he said. Dilshan took heart from Sri Lanka's comeback in the Test series when they won the second Test after losing the first by an innings. "The same thing can happen again," he said. De Villiers said it had been a "dream start" to his captaincy. "It was a quality team performance," he said. Morkel started the collapse when Upul Tharanga fell to a diving catch by JP Duminy at gully off the second ball of the innings without scoring. Dilshan also went second ball for a duck, caught behind off a ball from Tsotsobe which bounced and cut back at him.

Dinesh Chandimal, promoted to number four in the batting order, was bowled by Tsotsobe before Kumar Sangakkara edged a lifting delivery from Morkel. Angelo Mathews lasted only two balls before fending another lifting delivery from Morkel to midwicket. When Mahela Jayawardene was caught at point off Tsotsobe, Sri Lanka's innings was in tatters at 13 for six. Kosala Kulasekera showed some fight and made 19, the only Sri Lankan to reach double figures, before Morkel returned to the attack and he was caught at deep midwicket pulling a short ball. Sri Lanka's previous lowest total was 55 against the West Indies in Sharjah in 1986/87. Their collapse happened on the same ground where they dismissed Canada for a then world record low 36 during the 2003 World Cup. South Africa seemed on target for a total in excess of 300 until pinch hitter Albie Morkel and Amla were dismissed off successive balls by Lasith Malinga in the 46th over. Six wickets fell in quick succession while 22 runs were added in the final 4.4 overs. Malinga finished with five for 54.

Sachin, Parthiv and Irfan Pathan in India's ODI squad Sachin Tendulkar, who has not played a one-day international since last year's World Cup, was named in India's 50over squad on Sunday for a Tri-series with Australia and Sri Lanka next month. Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who has not played limited overs cricket since India won the World Cup final, is also back in the 17-member squad. While the 38-year-old Tendulkar, who is still one short of an unprecedented 100 international centuries, has selected his one-day appearances, Zaheer has been out of action because of a troublesome ankle. Pace bowler Praveen Kumar, who missed the test series in Australia with a fractured rib, was named as well by the selectors who met in Chennai, the Indian board said in a statement. Yuvraj Singh,

Sachin & Parthiv Patel

a key player in India's limited overs setup, is yet to recover from a lung tumour and was left out. India travel to Adelaide for the fourth and final test starting on January 24, hoping to avert their second succes-

sive whitewash abroad. They play two Twenty20 internationals against Australia on February 1 and February 3 before Sri Lanka join them for the Triseries starting on February 5. Harbhajan Singh was ignored again as the selectors kept faith in off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, currently with the team in Australia, and leg-spinner Rahul Sharma. Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag,(vice-captain), Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan.


The England Cricket Board has offered players a three-month amnesty to disclose spot-fixing incidents without the fear of prosecution. "Information is critical in addressing the threat posed by corruption in sport. The decision of the board to provide a window for retrospective reporting of alleged approaches will greatly assist in compiling a more complete picture of the source and focus of approaches which may have taken place in the past," reports quoted an ECB Anti-Corruption Commission for Education member, Chris Watts, as saying. The statement comes after former Essex pace bowler Mervyn Westfield, 23, admitted to receiving 6,000 pounds from bookies to bowl badly in a 2009 match. Former England and Essex skipper Nasser Hussain said the ECB must impose a heavy penalty on Westfield to root out corruption in the game. "It shows it's not just one country, one team, but that there are other people involved and it is something we have to keep monitoring," he said.

Rafael Nadal slams Federer for snubbing players' campaign Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal has criticized fellow Grand Slam champion Roger Federer for failing to back a players' campaign to change the way tennis is organized and played. Tennis players around the world have been demanding a reduction in the number of tournaments that they have to participate in and more cash from Grand Slams. A players' meeting before the Australian Open discussed possible strike action. Nadal has accused Federer of staying silent to protect his "gentleman" reputation. "For him it's good to say nothing. Everything positive. 'It's all well and good for me, I look like a gentleman,' and the rest can burn themselves," said Nadal.

Sports need to change if it is not to lose its moral values By Alina Polianskaya Award-winning sports journalist, author and enthusiast Mihir Bose, has released a new book entitled 'The Spirit of the Game'. This book explores the ways in which sport has changed over the years, and speaks of how it's morally sound roots and Corinithian spirit have been lost, and how corruption, politics and celebrity have taken over. With stories of sportsmanship and sellouts from the world over, this book is bursting with interesting examples of how sport has changed the modern world, and who is really benefiting from it all. I spoke to Mihir at his book launch to find out more..... Why did you decide to write this book and what was the inspiration behind it? The inspiration was to examine where sport has come to. London is hosting the Olympics, and as a journalist I played a part in making sure that London put in a bid. We talked about the spirit of sport... it is a great thing that improves human beings and I wanted to find out if that was true any longer? What is the aim of the book? To just inform people how sport has changed, or to actually make change happen through your book? I'm hopefully going to alert people as to how sport has changed. A lot of people do not know the history of sport... where it has come from, what it has done and why we are in the present state. I wanted to make people aware that modern sport, which is a British creation, has a problem. That the management of sport is no longer compatible with the amount of money, sponsorship and commercialization that has come into sport. Therefore it needs to change, it needs to get better governance

Alina Polianskaya interviewing Mihir Bose at his book launch

if sport is not to lose its moral values. So why do you think that sport has lost the original spirit it used to have? Because it has been used by many people. When sport started it was a recreational thing. Now politicians use sport... Sportsmen have become leaders, rolemodels and celebrities. For example, David Beckham is a celebrity. He's on the front page, not because he's doing anything but because he's in the stand clapping for somebody else. That's the difference. If they are going to become that, they have to maintain higher standards. So, more integrity? Yes, more integrity and more idea of what sport is. You see, we no longer value politicians, men of business or men of religion, we don't even know their names! But Beckham is a household name. That's true, every 5 year old child will know the name David Beckham! Do you think sport will ever return to the pure and morally right way it used to be? I think that is difficult but sport can at least try and be properly run. People should know what all the money coming into sport is actually for, and should not

Mihir Bose with his new book

be given a false message. The Olympics will be here and winners will be given medals not money, but we know that a gold medalist is going to become a millionaire. That needs to be explained. So what do you think can be done to make sport go back to how it was before? Awareness of where sport is, what it is for, and who benefits from it. That is what my book's about. Do you feel that the spirit of the game defers from country to country? For example, in football there appear to be differences in the Spanish and English leagues as to what is accepted, how do you feel about that? There is a difference. But you have to distinguish between gamesmanship and illegality. A lot of gamesmanship takes place and people do try to take advantage, but this has always been the case. I suppose this probably happens more in some countries than others. Despite your view that sport has changed, do you still love it as much as always? Absolutely! Sport can bring people together and make you feel happy. When your team wins you feel uplifted. It does-

n't put money in your bank account or give you material rewards but it gives you a spiritual satisfaction that very few things can. So would you say the spirit of the game is still there in fans? Definitely, just not in the administrators. Throughout your career, you've written columns and blogs as well... how does the experience of writing a book defer, and which do you prefer? This is my 25th book, I've written a lot! Writing a book is a long term project and it's great fun. I would love to write a bestseller! But with journalism you get an instant response. There's not really a preference, I like them both. It is a great moment to get a book published, like today. What have been the highlights of your career? I started the 'Inside Sports' column in the Daily Telegraph, I edited the Sunday Times sports, I became the first BBC sports editor and I've attended loads of sporting events... There have been quite a few highlights. You've met a lot of great people throughout your career, who made the greatest impression? Meeting Nelson Mandela. You've had a lot of success, so what advice would you give to someone who wants to become a sports-writer or commentator like yourself? Be dedicated, know what you want to do, and keep at it despite the setbacks. And what's the next step for you after this book? Well, I'm going to write another book! And the London Olympics are coming up so it's going to be a busy time.


Asian Voice - Saturday 21st January 2012

MS Dhoni hints at Test retirement by 2013 Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhon surprisingly revealed that he might consider retiring from Test cricket to improve his chances of playing the 2015 cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. "If I have to see through the 2015 (World Cup), I would have to retire from one of the formats," Dhoni told mediapersons ahead of the third Test match against Australia. Dhoni, who has played in 66 Tests so far and won 17 of the 36 matches in which he has skippered, almost casually mentioned it, but it took everyone by surprise at the press conference. Disclosure by Dhoni seems to convey what he feels about his future in the game. Dhoni now being acknowledged as a better one-day than a Test captain, given his above average batting exploits in the shorter versions of the game. He had earlier been quoted as saying that he would decide by 2013 whether to play the 2015 World Cup or not. At 2013 end, I have to decide if I am fit enough to proceed in one of the formats. It's not for personal, but for country and for the individual who is taking my position. He should have played 70-80 ODIs before he goes in World Cup. That's my personal thinking," he had said.

Srinath appointed referee for England-Pakistan Tests Former Indian pacer Javagal Srinath will be the match referee for the first two Tests between Pakistan and England in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this month. According to the list of officials announced for the Test, ODI and T20 series, New Zealand's Jeff Crowe will replace Srinath after the first two Tests as match referee for remainder of the series. Interestingly, the ICC has appointed one of the lesser known umpires on the elite panel, Australian Bruce Oxenford to supervise the first two Tests of the highprofile series with New Zealander Billy Bowden and Australian Steve Davis who has also struggled in recent series. The well-known Simon Taufel will join Davis for the third Test. The ICC and Pakistan cricket Board have also decided to give proper exposure for the first time to Pakistani umpire Sozaib Raza who will stand in the one-off international against Afghanistan. Raza will also supervise two of the three T20 internationals. Umpires: First Test: Billy Bowden and Bruce Oxenford Second Test: Steve Davis and Bruce Oxenford Third Test: Simon Taufel and Steve Davis First ODI: Simon Taufel and Ahsan Raza Second ODI: Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena Third ODI: Aleem Dar and Simon Taufel Fourth ODI: Kumar Dharmasena and Zameer Haider First T20: Ahsan Raza and Sozaib Raza Second T20: Ahsan Raza and Zameer Haider Third T20: Zameer Haider and Sozaib Raza.

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Australia crush India to seal series triumph A rampant Australia blitzed India's tail to crush the hapless tourists by an innings and 37 runs with more than two days to spare in the third test and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. India's misery was compounded when skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was banned for the fourth and final test in Adelaide after his team were found guilty of failing to maintain an acceptable over rate in the match. In a dramatic climax to the rout, Ben Hilfenhaus (4-54) took three wickets in five balls before Peter Siddle (3-43) removed Virat Kohli for 75 in the next over to end India's second innings at 171, just 10 runs better than their first. Australia reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar trophy they relinquished in 2009 and skipper Michael Clarke paid tribute to Man of the Match David Warner, whose innings of 180 included the fastest test century by an opening batsman in 69 balls. We should be very proud to have beaten the number two ranked test team in the world "It's a very satisfying victory," he added. "A lot of credit not only to Davy, who batted brilliantly, but also to his opening partner Ed Cowan. "Our bowlers also deserve a lot of credit for taking 20 wickets again against a very good batting side. I think we played really well and I couldn't be happier as a captain." It was a seventh successive overseas test defeat for India after the 4-0 drubbing they received in

Australia get together after winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

England last summer to lose the number one test ranking, and questions will be asked about several of their experienced batsmen. "Class is always there, they have the experience, it's just in back-to-back series that we have failed," Dhoni said in the postmatch presentation. "We have not adapted well to the conditions quickly enough. Winning in Adelaide is the only motivation we have now, the bowlers have shown they can take wickets, we need to put more runs on the board." India had resumed on 88 for four still needing 120 runs to match

Australia's first effort of 369 and make the hosts bat again. On a blistering morning at the WACA, which had the fans crowding around the complimentary sunscreen dispensers as they streamed into the ground, the Australians were kept at bay for the first hour. The Australian bowlers, oustanding in all three tests, continued to make full use of the bounce on offer from the wicket but were forced to wait for the breakthrough as Rahul Dravid (47) and Kohli put up stiff resistance. Under Pressure Kohli has been under pressure for his place in the side

Dhoni suspended for 4th test Mahendra Singh Dhoni's casual approach to the art of test captaincy caught up with him when he was banned for India's fourth test against Australia. The one-match ban for his team's failure to maintain an acceptable over rate completed a miserable day for Dhoni, who was dismissed for

two runs as India crumbled to an innings and 37run defeat at the WACA to go 3-0 down in the four-match series. "The India team has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the third test against Australia in Perth," read an International Cricket Council news release.

for much of the tour but once again proved to be one of his team's more impressive batsmen, bringing up his fifty with a flicked four through long on. He and Dravid had put on 84 for the fifth wicket when Ryan Harris finally separated them, fooling the senior partner with a ball that swung in, crashed through the gate and removed the leg stump. It was the fifth time in six innings in the series that the 39-year-old Dravid, known as "the Wall" for his strong defence, had been bowled. Dhoni lasted just 20 minutes before edging a Siddle delivery to Ricky Ponting in the slips for two with the former Australia skipper taking a fine low catch. The tourists scrambled to lunch at 165 for six but many in the 14,000 crowd were still getting back to their seats when the end came. Hilfenhaus, who took 4-43 in the first innings, despatched debutant R. Vinay Kumar (six) and Zaheer Khan (0) in successive balls and Ishant Sharma lasted just two deliveries before he too departed for a duck. Clarke took all three catches in the slips. It was left to Siddle to perform the last rites in the second ball of the next over, steaming in to end Kholi's stubborn resistance with an edge to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. Australia won the first test in Melbourne by 122 runs and the second in Sydney by an innings and 68 runs.

Indian batsmen useless rubble, MS Dhoni passive captain: Australia media The Australian media on Monday described the star-studded Indian batting line-up as "useless rubble" and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a "passive captain" as it taunts the visiting team for its abject surrender in the ongoing Test series. India meekly surrendered the four-match series after being humiliated by Australia by an innings and 37 runs in the third Test and the local media targeted the visiting side's highly-rated but struggling batsmen and captain Dhoni for the spineless show. Under the headline 'India's pillars of strength reduced to useless rubble', 'The Australian' wrote, "Dhoni is not the only shaky pillar of what only eight months ago was the number

one cricket nation in the world. VVS Laxman, once the scourge of Australian bowlers, is being flayed himself at home after scores of 2,1, 2, 66, 31 and 0. "Virender Sehwag, who warmed up for this series by scoring the fastest double century in one-day international history, also is trending south faster than Scott and Amundsen, having followed up his whirlwind 67 in Melbourne with innings of 7, 30, 4, 0 and 10. "Worst of all, Dhoni has failed with the bat. The Indian captain is no thunderer at the best of times -neither is coach Duncan Fletcher, which may be part of the problem -but how can he demand more of his batsmen when he has nowhere to

hide behind scores of 6, 23, 57no, 2, 12 and 2? India has not had a single century-maker in the past three Tests," it said. Dhoni was described as one of the most passive captains to have led a side in Australia and one who doesn't inspire his teammates. "Dhoni is the most passive captain to visit these shores since Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff, whose 2006-07 England side also was coached, wait for it, by Fletcher. He allows matches to drift aimlessly and by the time he acts, it usually is way too late. Why, for instance, did he allow Warner and Cowan to put on 88 runs before introducing his fastest bowler Ishant Sharma?" a write up in 'The Australian' asked.

Asian Voice  

Asian Voice weekly news paper

Asian Voice  

Asian Voice weekly news paper