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Woven T E X A S

I N D I A

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INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

We are a nation of immigrants. I am the son of immigrants, and it’s been one generation after another contributing to the fabric of America. And that’s truly what makes America a great nation – the fabric of different cultures, different religions, different ethnicities, all woven together. And that is unique, and that’s something worth fighting for.


Walmart’s businesses in India – Walmart India Cash & Carry, Flipkart Group, Global Sourcing and Walmart Labs – are helping to grow the economy, creating thousands of job opportunities, and boosting opportunities for farmers, suppliers & manufacturers, while giving members and customers quality and affordable goods and services.

Aim for elimination of single-use plastic: Walmart India by 2019 and Flipkart by 2021

Follow us on Twitter @walmartindia @BestPriceWMT @Flipkart @WalmartLabsInd @WalmartInc www.corporate.walmart.com


Contents

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INTRODUCTION Narendra Modi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

HISTORY The Indian Diaspora in the United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Reflections on a Shared Journey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Timeline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The “First Days Project” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Firsts: Indian American Pioneers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Sanjay Lal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

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LIFESTYLE The American Quest for Gurus and Sages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Yoga: The Spiritual Bridge Between India and the United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Making of an International Yoga Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 At Your Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Not Your Same Old Curry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Parag Mehta & Vaibhav Jain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Spelling S-U-C-C-E-S-S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Eastern Soul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

36

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PROFILES Balan R. Ayyar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Ved Nanda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Dr. Renu Khator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Naman Mahajan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

44

Arvind Manocha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Dr. Rahul T. Pandit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Judge KP George . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Indian Muslims Association of Greater Houston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Dr. Saleha Khumawala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

46

Jagdip Ahluwalia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

PHILANTHROPY Indian American Philanthropy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Indian American Women Entrepreneurs & Philanthropists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

POLITCS Dalip Singh Saund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 Pramila Jayapal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Ami Bera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77 Ro Khanna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 Raja Krishnamoorthi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Kamala Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

64 82

GENERATIONS The Bhakta Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

CONTRIBUTIONS Committees, Patrons, Chairs, Members, Partners, Volunteers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

Woven T E X A S

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INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

A C U S T O M P U B L I C AT I O N B Y

Envisi n

C U STOM P U B L I CAT I O N S

E N V I S I O N C U S T O M P U B L I C AT I O N S . C O M


G OVERNOR G REG ABBOTT

Greetings: As Governor of Texas, it is my honor to welcome the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi, on his visit to Texas and all in attendance at “Howdy, Modi!” in Houston. Over the course of Texas history, our relationship with India has grown into an invaluable asset in the development and diversity of our state. Texas has long been a place where people of different cultures and customs come together and where that unity lays a foundation for a future that is better than ever before. People of Indian descent who call Texas home have contributed greatly to this enrichment of the Lone Star State. From the cultivation of the arts to the advancement of technology, Indian Americans have helped to make Texas the best state in the nation. My fellow Texans and I join in wishing Prime Minister Modi a productive trip to Texas and the United States. Additionally, I commend the efforts of the “Howdy, Modi” event to not only celebrate our bond as well as the arrival of Prime Minister Modi, but also the accomplishments and goodwill of the Indian American community. As we maintain our relationship as trading partners and continue strengthening our robust economies, I believe the key to future success lies in unwavering dedication to free enterprise and faith in the power of our citizens’ entrepreneurial spirit. First Lady Cecilia Abbott joins me in wishing you an enjoyable event and a prosperous 2019. Sincerely,

Greg Abbott Governor

POST OFFICE BOX 12428 AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711 512-463-2000 (VOICE) DIAL 7-1-1 FOR RELAY SERVICES

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS


Narendra Modi Taking India’s Global Standing to New Heights

N

arendra

Modi

was

born in Vadnagar, a small and nondescript town in North Gujarat’s Mehsana district, in 1950, just on the cusp of India becoming a republic. His beginnings were humble: His family struggled to make ends meet, living in a small one-story house. His father (and Modi himself) sold tea at the local railway station. But the city’s rich history of spirituality informed his entire life. As a child he celebrated the duality of the nation, often celebrating both Hindu and Muslim festivals with his diverse friends. At age 17, he decided to leave his home and travel the nation. With his parents’ blessing (and a tilak from his mother) he traveled from the Himalayas to West Bengal to the Northeast, exploring the diverse landscape and cultures within India. He traveled for two years, before returning home for a scant two weeks. His next destination was set: Ahmedabad, to work with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Quickly, his life’s work came into focus. As the period of emergency was declared, Modi sprang to action and joined the movement to preserve and restore citizen’s rights. By 1987, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and soon rose to prominence in the organization, attaining the role of national general secretary. In 2001, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee appointed Modi chief minister of Gujarat. His work in Gujarat led to a record win inthe2002GujaratAssemblyElections and helped to usher in economic growth. In 2013, Modi was chosen as the BJP leader and helped the party attain a majority in the lower House of Parliament — a first for any single party since 1984. This led to his appointment as prime minister in 2014. In addition to his political accomplishments, Prime Minister Modi enjoys writing and has authored several books and pieces of poetry. He begins each day with yoga, which provides him with the power of calmness as he approaches his role of shepherding the nation.

Our vision and commitment is towards the country’s progress, its place in the world and the happiness of its people.” JOURNEY In the recesses of my mind, I travel far into the past And each face I see, unfolds a memory. My recall comes with ease Each visage easily recognized, Nothing stays hidden. For this is the truth, plain to see That our companions, with whom we suffered Never forgotten Together endured Those sufferings They become the journey in the end. -NARENDRA MODI, TRANSLATED BY RAVI MANHA

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Achievements of the First Term of the Modi Government (2014-2019)

I

n his first term, Prime Minister

Narendra Modi implemented several development and welfare programs directed at both urban and rural India. Many programs focused on bringing participants in the informal economy into the formal economy. The signature program for this effort, the Jan Dhan Yojana, resulted in 367,900,000 individuals opening bank accounts for the first time. These bank accounts opened the door to participation in the Mudra Yojana microlending program, with 199,959,165 loans sanctioned; the Suraksha Bima Yojana accident insurance program, with 161,000,000 people enrolled; and the Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana life insurance program, with 61,200,000 citizens enrolled. Other programs focused on quality of life. Under the Swacch Bharat campaign for a clean India, 105,970,784 toilets were

constructed, eliminating open defecation in 599,972 villages — or in nearly 95% of Indian villages. The Ujjwala Yojana provided 80,339,993 natural gas connections to households experiencing poverty, freeing mostly women from the drudgery of charcoal or wood cookstoves. The Awas Yojana built 17,800,000 rural houses while the Gram Sadak Yojana constructed 156,260 kilometers (some 97,095 miles) of rural roads. And for the first time, 100% of India’s 640,867 villages have access to electricity. Prime Minister Modi also worked to improve access to health care: Mission Indradhanush vaccinated 33,900,000 children, the Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana opened 5,569 pharmacies offering generic medicines at affordable prices, and the Jan Arogya Yojana has provided hospital-based treatments in over 4 million cases.

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION:

100% OF 640,867 villages electrified

CLEAN INDIA:

599,972

villages made free of open defecation

CLEAN INDIA:

105,970,784 toilets constructed

RURAL HOUSING:

17,800,000 houses built

COOKING GAS:

80,339,993

natural gas connections provided to below poverty households

RURAL ROADS:

156,260 kilometers of road constructed

VACCINATIONS:

33,900,000 BANKING:

ACCIDENT INSURANCE:

367,900,000

161,000,000

people opened bank accounts

people enrolled

MICROLENDING:

LIFE INSURANCE:

199,959,165

61,200,000

loans sanctioned

citizens enrolled

children newly vaccinated

GENERIC MEDICINES:

5,569 pharmacies opened

HOSPITAL ACCESS:

4,093,453

cases treated without cost

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS


DR. AMI BERA

LONGEST-SERVING INDIAN AMERICAN MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS. REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA’S 7TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

REPRESENTATIVE AMI BERA. READ HIS FULL STORY ON PAGE 77.

history

Our nation is built upon a history of immigration, dating back to our first pioneers, the Pilgrims. For more than three centuries, we have welcomed generations of immigrants to our melting pot of hyphenated America: British-Americans; ItalianAmericans; Irish-Americans; Jewish-Americans; MexicanAmericans; ChineseAmericans; Indian-Americans.

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M

U

S E U Hous ton, Te x as www.eternalgandhi.us

M

Mahatma Gandhi Library introduces the Eternal Gandhi Museum, a 10,000 sq. ft., LEED certified facility in Southwest Houston. We are seeking generous support from the community to successfully open the museum in 2021. This facility will educate visitors about Gandhi’s life and provide an array of interactive experiences inspired by Gandhian thought.

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Multimedia Exhibits

Stamp Exhibition

Colorful Murals

Library

Multipurpose Hall

Multisensory Garden

Glimpses of Gandhi Gallery

Outdoor Spaces

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS


The Indian Diaspora in the United States By The Numbers

METROPOLITAN AREAS WITH

THE LARGEST POPULATION OF INDIAN IMMIGRANTS NEW YORK-JERSEY

336K

CHICAGO

129K

SAN JOSE

104k

SAN FRANCISCO

101k

WASHINGTON DC

90k

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

84K

LOS ANGELES

84K

HOUSTON

74k

PHILADELPHIA ATLANTA

69K 59K

50K

100K

3.9

THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY

million

individuals in the U.S. who were either born in India or reported Indian ancestry or race.

200K

250K

300K

350K

SOURCE: MPI TABULATION OF DATA FROM THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU POOLED 2011-15 ACS.

education

AMONG INDIAN AMERICANS

population

150K

77%

Religious diversity

AMONG INDIAN AMERICANS

51%

Hindu

HOLD A BACHELOR’S DEGREE OR HIGHER

11%

Protestant

immigrants and 31% of adults.

10%

Muslim

10%

Unaffiliated

5%

Catholic

5%

Sikh

2%

Jain

of Indian adults compared to 29% of all

MORE THAN

50% 2nd largest

IMMIGRANTS FROM INDIA ARE THE

OF COLLEGE-EDUCATED INDIAN IMMIGRANTS HOLD

ADVANCED DEGREES

immigrant group after Mexicans.

THERE ARE AT LEAST

800,000 2nd generation

U.S. born individuals with at least one Indian born parent.

POPULATION GROWTH FROM 1980-2015 2.39M

2.4M 1.78M

2M 1.02M

1M 200K

450K 206K

1980

1990

2000

2010

2015

SOURCE: MIGRATION POLICY INSTITUTE | PEW RESEARCH CENTER

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history

Reflections on a Shared Journey The bridge from India to America is built on a shared bond of democracy. BY DR. SUBROTO GANGOPADHYAY

BANKS OF THE GANGES RIVER, VARANASI, INDIA.

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

T

oday we gather to cel-

ebrate a festival of democracy. India and The United States, representing over a fifth of the world population, exemplify the power and potential of their people expressed through the modern democratic state. Together, we are emblems that people anywhere in the world can chart their unique paths to democratic nationhood on a foundation of their own history, culture, and tradition. The modern historical narratives of the United States and India are intertwined by the fact that both were British colonies subservient to the interests of the East India Company. In India, the company’s annexation of taxation rights, Diwani, led to the famine of 1770, which wiped out a third of Bengal’s population. In the United States, the East India Company’s pursuit to monopolize the tea trade led to the Tea Act of 1773. The Boston Tea Party of 1773, in response, ultimately sparked the American Revolution. It is no coincidence that early Indian immigrants to the United States launched the Ghadar Party from San Francisco in 1913 to fulfill the dream of Indian freedom. The Indian National Army, which played a seminal role in the Indian freedom movement, had its seed in the Ghadar party. India’s engagement with the United States spans more than two centuries and has historically involved trade, culture, and philosophy. During the transition between the 18th and 19th centuries, Salem, Massa-


India’s engagement with the United States spans more than two centuries and has historically involved trade, culture, and philosophy.” chusetts, rose to be a premier port and established itself as the city with the highest per capita income in the United States. Through maritime trade with the East, Elias Hasket Derby, a Salem naval merchant, became one of America’s wealthiest merchants. It was the era when philosophic bonds blossomed. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, in the spirit of Gita, Upanishads, and Vedanta, laid the foundations of American transcendentalism. Emerson wrote of the oneness of the human and transcendent, the “unbounded, unboundable empire.” Thoreau contemplated the mystical connection between the Ganges and his Walden (“God’s Drop”). The Boston Brahmins, including Walter Whitman, led the literary and philosophical discourse in America, but it would be another 50 years before ancient thought found a voice and mesmerized America in the persona of Vivekananda. His universal message found resonance in America. In 1894, he established the first Vedanta Society in New York. Vivekananda spoke of Raj Yoga, but it was Yogananda, in 1920, who brought yoga into the American mainstream through Self Realization Fellowship. Yoga today is part of the American cultural fabric. Many have since followed, from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to AC Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada to Swami Muktananda.

Literary and philosophical exchange was not a single-sided relationship. The genius of Mark Twain found a kindred spirit in India. His travelogue describes his long visit in 1896 and views the old country through eyes of wisdom and wit unique to Twain. In 1930, the young Will Durant, during his visit to India, so imbibed the suffering of the nation that he argued for India’s freedom through his book, “The Case for India.” The book, predictably, was censored by the British masters. As the struggle for Indian independence matured, America entered World War II to lead the allied forces to victory. India was integral to the success of the Allied armies of WWII, as 2.5 million Indian troops fought along with them in theaters of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Some 87,000 Indian troops were martyred for the new world order before India could aspire for her own freedom in 1947. American vision after the war reorganized global order, advocating free democratic societies. Freedom of creativity and trade with international institutions ushered an era of unprecedented prosperity and worldwide progress. Ancient India had once attracted a global body of scholars to the world’s first universities such as Takshashila and Nalanda. Now beckoned by the outstanding American Universities, Indians came to

participate as co-creators of this new epoch of knowledge. From universities to Silicon Valley, from healthcare to the plurality of faiths, from the halls of Congress to social service, Indians today are constituent threads in the gilded American fabric of assimilation, integration, and creative energy The Indian diaspora is the bridge between the ancient culture and the progressive ideals of the modern democratic state. India and America are not embarking upon a new relationship. They are awakening to the bond they have shared over two centuries. While celebrating their past, they dream of new destinations. Today, the 1.6 billion people of our countries are committed to the global citizen’s dream of realizing lasting peace and prosperity through this century of human and humane excellence.

BY DR. SUBROTO GANGOPADHYAY Dr. Subroto Gangopadhyay is the President of Indian History Awareness and Research in Houston, Texas. A longtime resident of Houston, Dr. Gangopadhyah practices cardiology and has served on the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine. His wide range of interests include literature, music, politics, and philosophy, but he is interested most of all in the history and traditions of India that have been seamlessly integrated both with its spiritual foundation and common cultural practices.

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Timeline

Indian Americans through the decades.

history

SIKH IMMIGRANTS TO CALIFORNIA POSING FOR A GROUP PORTRAIT IN 1910. CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY

1899 1913

1918

1923

1899-1914: A significant wave of Indians arrive in California, mostly Sikh farmers and businessmen from the Punjab region of British India. They began to disperse throughout California, Oregon, and Washington to found industry, farms, and lumber mills.

Private Raghunath N. Banawalkar is one of the first Indians recruited into the U.S. Army and serves in the Sanitary Detachment of the 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division, American Expeditionary Forces in France. He’s later awarded the Purple Heart medal.

The Supreme Court declares people from India are ineligible for citizenship in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind.

A.K. Mozumdar became the second Indian to earn U.S. citizenship by convincing a Spokane district judge that he was “Caucasian.” Unfortunately, it’s revoked in 1923.

1969 1976 1989 1996 1997 Yogi Bhajan comes to California to teach Kundalini Yoga, “the yoga of awareness.”

Rohit Jagessar The first Hindu founds the first temple, Sri Asian Indian radio Venkateswara station, RBC Radio. Temple in Pittsburgh, opens in the United States. THE SRI VENKATESWARA TEMPLE IN PITTSBURGH. GREATER PITTSBURGH ARTS COUNCIL

SABEER BHATIA, FOUNDER OF HOTMAIL. WIKIPEDIA

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

Sabeer Bhatia (and his colleague Jack Smith) create Hotmail, on Independence Day, honoring email “freedom” from ISP-based and location-based inboxes.

Kalpana Chawla becomes the first woman of Indian descent to go to space. She would later pass away in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.


PRESIDENT TRUMAN SIGNING THE LUCE-CELLER ACT IN 1946. WIKIPEDIA

PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON SIGNING THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION ACT OF 1965. WIKIPEDIA

1946 1959 1964 1965 1968 The Luce–Celler Act of 1946 allows for 100 Indians to immigrate into the United States per year. This grants those who’ve attained citizenship to own property and petition for family from their nation of origin.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduces Transcendental Meditation (TM) to the United States.

Amar G. Bose founds the Bose Corp. Bose was a former professor of electrical engineering at MIT and gained an interest in stereo systems after being disappointed by a speaker he bought.

President Lyndon Johnson signs The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which eliminates per-country immigration quotas and introduces immigration on the basis of professional experience and education.

Hargobind Khorana is among those who win the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their work to discover how RNA codes for the synthesis of proteins.

1998 2007 2008 2013 2017 Bhairavi Desai found the New York Taxi Workers Alliance to advocate for the over 15,000 taxi drivers in NYC.

Bobby Jindal becomes the first Indian American governor when he’s elected in Louisiana. (He had previously been only the second Indian American in Congress.)

At age 29, Raj Chetty becomes one of the youngest professors to ever receive tenure in Harvard’s Department of Economics.

Both the U.S. Congress and NYC (in Times Square) celebrate Diwali.

Nikki Haley is sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

BHAIRAVI DESAI, FOUND THE NEW YORK TAXI WORKERS ALLIANCE. WIKIPEDIA

NIKKI HALEY.

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history

The “First Days Project” The South Asian Digital Archive presents stories of immigrants’ and refugees’ first experiences in the United States.

T

he “First Days Project”

launched in 2013 because organizers realized that stories of immigrants’ first experiences in the United States were not systematically being collected, preserved, and shared with others. Regardless of whether their first day in the country was five, 20, or 40 (or even more) years ago, it is a day that most immigrants remember very vividly. After all, the first day in a new country is so much more than just one day. A first day can be full of excitement, nervousness, loss, humor, sadness, adventure, confusion, and a mixture of many other emotions. A first day both encapsulates what came before and anticipates what will come after.

Sarmistha Bhattacharjya

Organizers’ hope is that the diversity of stories represented in the “First Days Project” will reflect the diversity of the American immigrant experience. Please browse the stories in the project and submit your own at firstdaysproject.org

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

DEPARTED FROM Kolkata, India ARRIVED IN Boston, Massachusetts YEAR 1970 AGE 22

I

WAS EXCITED TO SEE THE airport covered with snow. My first impression was that it looked like a fairy tale ... I felt a sense of freedom, though there was both fear and joy in the back of my mind. We had never seen so much snow. My husband and others started a snowball fight, and it was so much fun that I pretty soon forgot that I was there all alone and leaving all my friends and relatives in India behind.


Roshan Sharma

Shadiya Manadath

DEPARTED FROM Bhumbli, India

DEPARTED FROM Thrissur, India

ARRIVED IN San Francisco, California

O

YEAR 1949 AGE 22 NOW LIVES IN Richardson, Texas

UT OF NOWHERE, THE FIRST-CLASS American passenger whom I had befriended during the ocean voyage came over and asked me if everything was going well. I said no; I told him about my hunger. He vanished and sometime later brought me a sandwich. I was so hungry that I finished it in a jiffy. The sandwich was simply delicious. When I collected my breath, I asked my friend its name. He told me that I had just eaten a hamburger. The sound of “hamburger” suggested some kind of meat. That shook me. When I asked my friend to confirm my hunch that it was pork he told me that I had relished a holy cow. The sudden realization made the earth disappear from under me. The thought of a Brahmin boy eating of the holy cow tore me apart. According to the Hindu code book, I had committed the greatest sin of all. But when I observed that many Americans were tall, healthy and vigorous, a voice within me told me, “To hell with the holy men and holy cows of India.”

ARRIVED IN Raleigh, North Carolina

YEAR 1966 AGE 22 NOW LIVES IN Cary, North Carolina

W

E DEPARTED TO RALEIGH, NORTH Carolina. The tall trees were still an amazing sight to me. The natural beauty surrounding me somehow made this foreign land feel more welcoming. Four hours later, we arrived at our one bedroom apartment. Then, my husband and I went to a nearby grocery store. It was much different than the markets in india — so many choices and different foods I had never tasted. It is at Harris Teeter I finally learned what the lady in Germany meant by “muffin.” We bought a few essentials like curd, which I found out is called “yogurt” in the U.S. and returned home. I made a mental note of all the distinctions and eventually started recording them in a notebook so I would not forget.

That night, as I fell asleep in a new bed, in a new city, in a new country, I felt my first wave of homesickness even though the main emotion I felt on my first day was excitement. It’s been 25 years and I still feel homesick at times. My heart resides in two different countries, and I love each one for helping me become the woman I am today.

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1s Indian American Pioneers

Firsts:

history

1912

1928

1635

The FIRST INDIAN IS DOCUMENTED in America—an “East Indian” was documented in Jamestown, Virginia

Dhan Gopal Mukerji wins the Newbery Medal, solidifying his place as the First successful Indian man of letters in the United States and the FIRST POPULAR INDIAN WRITER IN ENGLISH.

1909

Bhicaji Balsara is first known Indian-born person to GAIN NATURALIZED U.S. CITIZENSHIP.

The FIRST SIKH TEMPLE (Gurdwara Sahib Stockton) opens in Stockton, California.

1956

Dalip Singh Saund becomes the FIRST ASIAN IMMIGRANT FROM ANY COUNTRY TO BE ELECTED TO CONGRESS, joining the U.S. House of Representatives for California.

1962

Zubin Mehta became the FIRST PRINCIPAL CONDUCTOR OF A MAJOR AMERICAN ORCHESTRA when he was appointed music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He went on to become principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic.

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS


st 1974

1997

THE FIRST PATEL BROTHERS OPENS in Chicago, owned by Mafat and Tulsi Patel. It’s one of the first Indian grocery chains in America.

Kalpana Chawla flies on the Space Shuttle Columbia, becoming the FIRST PERSON OF INDIAN DESCENT TO GO INTO SPACE. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. The late astronaut is recognized as a national hero in India.

1984

Alexi Grewal, first ever Indian American TO WIN AN OLYMPIC MEDAL, wins gold for cycling.

1987

2005

FACEBOOK HIRES ITS FIRST FEMALE ENGINEER, RUCHI SANGHVI. She later leaves to found her own company, Cove.

President Ronald Reagan appoints Joy Cherian to be the first INDIAN COMMISSIONER OF THE UNITED STATES EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (EEOC).

1994

Rajat Gupta elected managing director of McKinsey & Company, the FIRST INDIANBORN CEO OF A MULTINATIONAL COMPANY.

2014

Dr. Vivek Murthy is confirmed as the FIRST SURGEON GENERAL OF INDIAN DESCENT.

2014

Nina Davuluri is FIRST CONTESTANT OF INDIAN DESCENT TO WIN THE TITLE OF MISS AMERICA.

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Firsts

...CONTINUED

Sanjay Lal Perspectives from a first.

Anytime one is considered a “pioneer” in some area, it is an honor and a source of pride. I understand and appreciate my place as the only NFL coach of Indian descent. I also appreciate the fact that those in the younger generation who have the same aspirations as I once did now have a concrete role model to follow. To that end, I feel proud and acknowledge and appreciate the responsibility I have in my role.

Have the mindset: ‘I am going to be the best’ - not the best of a particular ethnicity, just the best period.” As the first NFL coach of Indian descent and currently the only Indian American on or off the field in the NFL, Sanjay Lal serves as the wide receivers coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to this assignment, Lal worked with receivers for the Oakland Raiders (2007-2011), N.Y. Jets (2012-2014), and Buffalo Bills (2015-2016) and coached the wide receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. Born in London, Lal enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and played college football for the UCLA Bruins in 1989. He was a member of the 1989 Cotton Bowl Classic winning team. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he played for the Washington Huskies from 1990 through 1992. He was a member of the Huskies’ national championship team in 1992. Additionally, he played on two Rose Bowl teams while at the University of Washington before being inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame. After graduating from Washington with a degree in business administration (1993), Lal was invited to the Oakland Raiders’ training camp and subsequently signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Rams (1998) and then with the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe (1999).

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

However, the message I would really like to impart is the following, and it is a core belief of mine: If you have a PASSION for something and a deep desire to achieve something in your life, do not allow external artificial barriers to block or hinder your mission. Just because there is no one of your ethnicity doing what you are trying to do really means nothing, because AN INDIVIDUAL’S DRIVE FOR SUCCESS IN A PARTICULAR AREA CAN OVERCOME ANY BARRIERS. There will always be naysayers along the way. Do not pay any attention to the doubts they will try to create. Only you truly know what you have inside and how great you will be in your chosen field. Focus your attention on each small task that will get you to your goal. Conquer each one. STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF, block out the noise, and strive every day to be the best at what you do regardless of circumstance. Have the mindset: ‘I am going to be the best’ — not the best of a particular ethnicity, just the best period. If you think that way and diligently perform the tasks to get you there, you can achieve anything you set your mind to achieve. This is the mindset I had during my journey and still have today, and it has served me well. Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you.


PARAMAHANSA YOGANANDA

lifestyle

Yoga is a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts, which otherwise impartially prevent all men, of all lands, from glimpsing their true nature of Spirit. Yoga cannot know a barrier of East and West any more than does the healing and equitable light of the sun.


lifestyle

The American “S Quest for Gurus and Sages

eek, and you will find it in Bharat

that

is

India,”

could be the phrase for a new India and a spiritual message for the world. This is true for those who wish to rid themselves of the pain and loss that

BY RAMESH RAO

comes with the unbridled pursuit of a materialist heaven.

KAINCHI DHAM, THE ASHRAM OF NEEM KAROLI BABA, INDIA.

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS


This new phrase is not telling anything new about India. We know there was a renewed interest in India in the 1960s and ‘70s. But in the 1930s, there was Paul Brunton writing about his search in “Secret India” and of meeting with yogis, gurus, teachers, mystics, and magicians. Brunton’s meeting with the great Ramana Maharshi convinced him that there was a way out of the bonds of human ignorance: “He has taken me into the benign presence of my spiritual self and helped me, dull Westerner that I am, to translate a meaningless term into a living and blissful experience,” he wrote.

that they knew of life and contemplated about it beyond his limited understanding of it. Prior to that, there is the seal of the yogi in the moolabhandasana posture, of Harappan vintage, going back 5,000 years or more, indicative of the unremitting quest of the followers of Sanatana Dharma for enlightenment and for the release from this world of maya. Among such stories of Westerners journeying to India, we hear of Richard Alpert, the Harvard psychologist who experimented with psychedelic drugs in the company of Dr. Timothy Leary. Alpert met with the great Neem Karoli Baba, who gave him the name

In the 1960s and ‘70s, the Beatles found their spiritual guru in Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, and hippies trekked their way up Himalayan paths to explore what was there under the snow-capped mountains.” In the 1960s and ‘70s, the Beatles found their spiritual guru in Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, and hippies trekked their way up Himalayan paths to explore what was there under the snow-capped mountains. Before even Brunton, there were others stretching far, far back. Take for example Alexander the so-called “great” who met with Indian sages and philosophers and discovered

Ram Dass’ “Be Here Now,” published in 1971, has become a classic, and the book “continues to be the instruction manual of choice for generations of spiritual seekers.” Ram Dass, now 88, inspired Steve Jobs of Apple fame to go in search of Maharaj-ji. By the time Jobs went to India in 1974, Maharaj-ji had attained mahasamadhi, but Jobs found his calling and his center. Another example of the modern trek of Western men and women going in search of themselves, seeking direction, and seeking relief from pain and doubt, is Mark Zuckerberg, who it is said was advised by Steve Jobs to go to Kainchi Dham, the ashram of Neem Karoli Baba, to find his way out of confusion and dead-ends. The thread that weaves through the life of these men and women, famous or unknown, is the wisdom and light of Sanatana Dharma, which we Indian Americans need to refocus on, celebrate, and share.

of Ram Dass, and he was transformed by his time with Maharaj-ji. In his book on Neem Karoli Baba, “Miracle of Love,” Ram Dass begins: “In 1967 I met my guru. That meeting changed the course of my life, for through him I came to perceive my life in spiritual terms. In him I found depths of compassion, love, wisdom, humor, and power, and his actions stretched my understanding of the human possibility.”

BY RAMESH RAO Ramesh Rao is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA. He is the author of “Intercultural Communication: The Indian Context,” and “The Election that Shaped Gujarat & the Rise of Narendra Modi to National Stardom.”.

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lifestyle

Yoga: The Spiritual Bridge Between India and the United States

S

wami

Vivekananda

is

widely credited as being the first person to introduce yoga and Hindu spirituality to the United States. “In America is the place, the people, the opportunity for everything new,” he wrote before leaving India in 1893. Vivekananda had learned from his guru, Sri Ramakrishna, that the world’s religions “are but various phases of one eternal religion” and that spiritual essence could be transmitted from one person to another. He set out to transmit his spiritual essence to America.

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The first few decades of yoga in America focused on the spiritual aspects of the practice, looking very different from the sleek exercise classes many Americans practice today. It wasn’t until the 1950s and ‘60s that yogis — American and Indian born — began emphasizing the physical benefits of yoga, hoping to gain followers who would then be motivated to learn spiritual philosophy and meditation. The approach doubtlessly worked. Today, millions of Americans of all different backgrounds practice yoga in some form or another and are

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

connected in that way to Indian spiritual philosophies and practices. Some consider yoga purely physical, but many are, indeed, motivated to look further into the spiritual, Indian roots of their practices, fostering strong ties between the two countries. In under a century, yoga went from being a virtually unknown spiritual practice in the United States to being an integral part of Western wellness routines. To understand how this cultural phenomenon progressed, we’ve created a brief timeline of yoga in America:


1893 1920 1924 1947 1950 Swami Vivekananda gives his famous speech at Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, which begins an EastWest philosophical exchange

Paramahansa Yogananda begins spreading the message of Kriya yoga to the West. In 1946, he pens “Autobiography of a Yogi,” his most influential work.

United States imposes a quota on Indian immigration, which stands until 1965. The quota forces many Americans seeking spiritual enlightenment to travel East.

Indra Devi opens a yoga studio in Hollywood. She was the first Westerner to study with the grandfather of American yoga, Sri Krishnamacharya.

Richard Hittleman returns from his studies in India to teach yoga in New York, introducing more Americans to yoga through classes and a television show.

1959 1960s 1966 1969 1970 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brings Transcendental Meditation to the United States, claiming to provide “a way for the conscious mind.”

Some of the biggest yoga school networks open, including those of Swami Vishnu-devananda and Swami Satchidananda.

B.K.S. Iyengar publishes what has been called the bible of yoga, “Light on Yoga.”

1981

2009 2012 2013 2014

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar opens the Art of Living Foundation, which today operates in some 140 countries.

The Obama administration includes yoga in the annual Easter Egg Roll, the largest annual public White House event.

A study by Yoga Journal estimates 20 million Americans practice yoga.

Swami Satchidananda opens the Woodstock festival, solidifying yoga culture into U.S. hippie and counter culture.

The Smithsonian opens its exhibit “Yoga: The Art of Transformation.”

Swami Rama amazes the medical establishment when he proves he has uncommon control over his heartbeat and skin temperature through yoga.

The United Nations names an International Day of Yoga.

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lifestyle

The Making of an International Yoga Day

I

n 2014, India’s perma-

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world, and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well-being. Let us work toward adopting an International Yoga Day.” - NARENDRA MODI, U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

nent U.N. representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji introduced a draft resolution to the U.N. General Assembly proposing International Day of Yoga. A total 177 nations co-sponsored the resolution — the highest number ever for an initiative of its sort — and it was adopted without a vote. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed June 21 as the date for the annual event. June 21 is summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the

longest day of the year, and has special significance in many parts of the world. For yogis, the date marks the transition to Dakshinayana, and the second full moon after summer solstice is known as Guru Poornima, which is when Shiva, the first yogi, is said to have begun sharing yoga with the world. For the past five years, people around the world have gathered on June 21, International Day of Yoga, to practice the ancient tradition, which is stronger today than ever.


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lifestyle

At Your Service

More than half of the hotels in the U. S. are owned by Indian Americans. Let’s trace the history. BY KIM MOREAU JACOBS

26

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

H

ave you stayed in a hotel recently? Well,

there’s a 50% chance an Indian American owned it.

According to the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Indian Americans own approximately 26,000 hotels nationwide — or more than 2.5 million rooms. In Pawan Dhingra’s book “Life Behind The Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream,” he pin-


According to the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Indian Americans own approximately 26,000 hotels nationwide or more than 2.5 million rooms.” points the earliest appearance of Indian hotel owners to the 1940s, when Kanjibhai Desai, who came to the United States via Mexico, opened the first Gujarati motel in San Francisco. That first motel more closely resembled a youth hostel, but the concept quickly caught on with other Indian Americans attracted to the autonomous nature of motel life. Owners could work for themselves and live rent free, running a business model they and their families understood. Take for example Chan Patel. In 1976, he opened the Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts Dallas, while also working as an airline executive. Though his hotel job necessitated a different pace of work, he told Dhingra that it didn’t bother him. “It was a tough life managing both my airline job and the motel at the same time. I had to sacrifice a lot, especially in terms of my family life, but I realized soon that I was saving a lot of money in terms of rent, utilities, and phone bills because I was staying on my own property and using the motel’s phone and power connections,” Patel explained. “When you do this type of work —

managing the front desk and other odd jobs like fixing an electrical connection or even helping with laundry — as an employee of somebody else you will perhaps feel bad, but not really so when you do such work at a motel that you own. Then you really don’t feel it’s a big deal! You feel you are working for a better future for yourself and your family. You really don’t feel bad when you are earning good money.” Roadside motels flourished, leading to what many call the “Patel Motel” phenomenon. The AAHOA estimates that Patels own between 80-90% of small-town motels. In the early days, that network was intense and insular, with owners traveling miles to chat and trade information. As hotels were passed down through generations, younger Indian Americans helped expand from one-off motels to modern franchises, growing the scope of places to stay. Of course, the entire explosion wasn’t resistance-free. Wouldbe hoteliers faced discrimination within the industry, particularly from banks and insurance companies. After several organizations sprang

up to help overcome legal obstacles and to trade information, they consolidated into the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) in 1989. Today, the association represents more than 18,500 members, who exchange tips and tricks on navigating the industry.

LIFE BEHIND THE LOBBY: INDIAN AMERICAN MOTEL OWNERS AND THE AMERICAN DREAM Pawan Dhingra, professor of American Studies and contributing faculty in the Department of Sociology/ Anthropology at Amherst College investigates not only the Patel phenomenon and the prevalence of Indian hotel owners, but how these successes perfectly exemplify and grapple with the drive for American exceptionalism.

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lifestyle

SOUTH INDIAN DISHES AT THE NEW EAST VILLAGE RESTAURANT, KHILADI, IN NEW YORK CITY. CREDIT NOAH FECKS

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS


Not Your Same Old Curry

Indian Cuisine with all its diverse offerings is having its moment in the U.S. BY CHARU SURI

O

ften, the numbers do

the talking: Compared with 40,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States, there are only 5,000 Indian restaurants. The good news is that leaves Indian restaurants with lots of room for growth, and many entrepreneurs are meeting the challenge by raising the bar on quality and showcasing more diverse regional cuisines. When I first came to America as a freshman at Princeton University, I was pretty shocked at the lean and mean cafeteria options. Often, I’d just eat cereal or rice and beans and rejoice whenever I could find a decent vegetarian restaurant. When I moved to New York City, the list of options expanded by a wide margin. I feasted on the delicious tandoori naan and paneer tikka at Dawat, a restaurant in Midtown East; craved the thali platters at the all-you-can-eat Vatan restaurant in Curry Hill;

and spent hours marveling at the spice selections at the Armenian-run store Kalustyan’s. I would buy fresh turmeric, coriander, and garam masala and attempt to make the curries my mom used to make during my South Indian upbringing. And then I started to discover new South Indian eateries, especially a cluster of street food shops in Jersey City near Tonnelle Avenue, which brought back great memories of home. Over the last two years, Indian cuisine has had a real growth spurt in the United States, with excellent eateries opening in such cities as San Francisco, Boston, Houston and even in outliers such as Rochester, New York. Meanwhile, many Indian restaurants are focusing on more quality ingredients. Dosa Grill in Syracuse, New York, consciously avoids the use of packaged curry powders and canned meats. Junoon, the only New York City

Indian restaurant to boast a Michelin star, uses only freshly ground spices and boasts a dedicated spice room. Some restaurants have modernized the cuisine with a definitive American twist. Houston’s Pondicheri, the industrial chic café started by Sindhi Anita Jaisinghani, has eminently interesting takes on traditional Indian street food. Take, for example, the beet uttapams and cauliflower curry with an avocado masala paste. The restaurant has been nominated for a James Beard award. At Kiran’s restaurant, also in Houston, the food is inspired by the Awadhi style of cooking (the art of cooking food over a slow fire with subtle spices). The menu is upscale and modern with a special section called “street foods of India,” featuring mushroom and feta samosas and garbanzo, pomegranate, and mint-tamarind pani pooris. TEXAS INDIA FORUM

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themselves, many restaurants try to now include both North and South Indian dishes in the same menu: something not as common even five years ago. Taste of India, a restaurant that is a five-minute walk from the Indiana University campus, offers students a lunch buffet that combines both South Indian-style dosas and North Indian dishes such as saag paneer.

MODERNIZED PANI PURI AT KIRAN’S IN HOUSTON, TEXAS. COURTESY KIRAN’S

At Khiladi, a new restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village, chef Sruthi Chowdary has partnered with the team behind

In Chicago, the Nepalese restaurateur, Swadesh Shrestha, started Chiya Chai café which offers more than 150 types of chais from ginger cardamom to peppermint chocolate. “When I was growing up,” Shrestha explains, “my grandfather had a tea shop in the village, and I wanted to do the same thing. People just got together to drink chai, and this has been my passion for such a long time.” he said. In 2016, Shrestha expanded into a restaurant, offering several dishes including vegetable jalfrezi and small plates including samosas and masala curry fries. “I went to school in Delhi, so we have a lot of influence from both Nepal and India,” he says. This sort of harmonious blend — a fusion of sorts — has started to appear in many dishes from all regions and is one of the hallmarks of the Indian American culinary movement today. And if the fusion is not present in the dishes 30

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

DISHES AT THE NEW EAST VILLAGE RESTAURANT, KHILADI. CREDIT KHILADI


This sort of innovation is sparked by the melding in America of Indians from diverse backgrounds” the popular Indian restaurant chain Godavari to create dishes inspired by Chowdary’s childhood. The result is a menu that is an innovative take on traditional South Indian cooking, with items such as a fresh spin on Maggi Noodles and an Indian Chili Dog spiced with shishito peppers. Though South Indian food is having a culinary moment

in America and gaining wider acceptance, “many people still tend to lump the cuisine as ‘vegetarian,’” says Vikram Sunderam, group executive chef of Rasika, Rasika West End, and Bindaas in Washington D.C. At Rasika, guests can order dishes such as kale uttapam, beetroot goat cheese tikki, duck galouti, and a scallop moilee.

Now, many more chefs are opening restaurants because it’s their passion, and they no longer view it just as a commercial venture or as a means to support their family. There’s a sense of risk-taking too, with some restaurants offering innovative spins on cocktails and mocktails with turmeric, ginger, coriander, and garlic. Rasa in Burlingame, California, has received a Michelin star for the past four years, and serves cuisine with a global inspiration, such as the Genovese Basil Dosa and the Truffle Dosa made with potato hash, truffle oil, and curry leaves. This sort of innovation is sparked by the melding in America of Indians from diverse backgrounds: many have lived in several countries and continue to gather inspiration and influences from everywhere. Indian American cooking is entering a very exciting phase now, in which style and innovation complement tried-and-true cooking techniques and recipes. The best is surely yet to come.

TRIO OF CHAIS AT CHIYA CHAI CAFÉ, IN CHICAGO, ILLLINOS. CREDIT CAREN LEONARD

TASTE OF INDIA BUFFET IN BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA. COURTESY TASTE OF INDIA

BY CHARU SURI Charu Suri is a freelance writer based in New Jersey who contributes frequently to the travel beat in many publications. She hails from South India. She is also a jazz pianist and composer whose new “Book of Ragas” will premiere at Carnegie Hall in December. In her spare time, she loves eating fantastic food and is always on the hunt for fresh spices.

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lifestyle

PARAG MEHTA AND VAIBHAV JAIN WITH THEIR PARENTS AT THEIR GARBA NIGHT, BEFORE THE WEDDING CEREMONY. TOMAS RAMOS PHOTOGRAPHY

Parag Mehta & Vaibhav Jain Breaking barriers to celebrate their same-sex marriage in traditional Indian manner. BY AZIZ HANIFFA

T

he recent wedding of

the most high-profile and openly gay Indian American couple — Parag Mehta and Vaibhav Jain — attended by over 500 guests over three days in Texas was a high-energy celebration of the

32

duo who have been held out as exemplars to the Indian American/South Asian American community. Mehta is the son of physician parents, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1972, and was born and raised in Temple, Texas, and Jain is the son of a

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

businessman and a homemaker and grew up in New Delhi. The wedding was the culmination of a love story that unfolded over years on Facebook, exemplifying that love and commitment have no barriers despite all the entrenched cultural taboos.


It was important for me to challenge the notion that I couldn’t have the same sort of wedding as others in my family. ... Why didn’t I deserve the same?” - VAIBHAV JAIN

In interviews with India Abroad, Mehta, an official in the Obama administration and now executive director of Mastercard’s philanthropic arm and vice president of the company’s Center for Inclusive Growth, and Jain, a researcher who works on global public health issues, advocating on behalf of vulnerable populations, including LGBT people and linguistic minorities, described organizing an elaborate wedding incorporating all the Indian traditions. They discussed what lies ahead for them as they’ve set a trend for same-sex South Asian couples who may still fear to come out.

The wedding celebration — a three-day affair held in Killeen, Texas — kicked off with a sangeet and garba — a colorful night of music, street food and dancing, with the venue transformed into an Indian village, with food carts having chaat and Tex-Mex items as well as paan-flavored ice cream. There was also a gift cart, from which the hosts gave away colorful bangles, bindis, bags, bandhani-style scarves and dandias to the guests. Meanwhile, mehendi artists decorated people’s hands and Bollywood- themed photo ops were on display for

people to enjoy. Family and friends of both grooms performed choreographed dances, and close friends made speeches about the couple. The highlight of the evening was Gujarati garba and raas featuring the couples’ parents, with the guests joining in and dancing the night away. The wedding festivities began as Mehta and Jain rode in on separate horse-drawn chariots coming to the wedding venue from opposite directions. Each baraat had its own dhol player, and DJ Rizwan Moosa (“DJ Riz”) setup speakers on both routes to synchronize the music to which the guests danced. Upon arriving at the venue, the two dulhas were welcomed by their soon-to-be mothers-inlaw — who performed a tilak and aarti ritual to welcome and bless the grooms. The subsequent wedding ceremony was performed in a modernized and open-form mandap (wedding altar) following vedic traditions by a

THE GROOMS’ CEREMONY INCLUDED A JAIMALA (EXCHANGE OF FLOWER GARLANDS), FOUR PHERAS (CIRCLES) AROUND THE SACRED FIRE. SINCE THERE WAS NO BRIDE, THE TRADITIONAL KANYADAAN WAS CHANGED TO A VAR DAAN — TWO WORDS WHICH, SEPARATELY, TRANSLATE TO “GIVING AWAY OF THE GROOM.” WHEN COMBINED INTO ONE WORD, HOWEVER, VARDAAN MEANS “GOD’S REWARD OR BLESSING.” TOMAS RAMOS PHOTOGRAPHY

Jain wedding officiant, Ashok Sanghavi. Since Indian wedding ceremonies are gender specific, the grooms made a few modifications to make them gender neutral. The ceremony included a jaimala (exchange of flower garlands), four pheras (circles) around the sacred fire.

... with blessings from our parents and support from progressive and open-minded religious leaders, we built a meaningful and inclusive ceremony that kept what needed keeping and changed what needed changing.” - VAIBHAV JAIN

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My favorite moment was at brunch the morning after our wedding. People were intermingling and eating together - often with people they had never met until two days earlier. ... They were exchanging phone numbers, adding each other on Facebook and offering to share rides to the airport.” - PARAG MEHTA

MEHTA AND JAIN DID THEIR FIRST DANCE AS HUSBANDS TO MUSTAFA ZAHID’S SONG, “MAINE KHUD KO.” TOMAS RAMOS PHOTOGRAPHY

Since there was no bride, the traditional kanyadaan was changed to a var daan — two words which, separately, translate to “giving away of the groom.” When combined into one word, however, vardaan means “God’s reward or blessing,” which was befitting the occasion. Both sets of parents then individually gave their sons away to the other during this part of the ceremony. After the formal wedding ceremony concluded, one married gay couple and one married lesbian couple came on stage to share marital advice with the grooms. This was a substitute for the traditional saubhagyavati bhava (blessings for a bride). Jain renamed this activity chiran- jeevi bhava (live a long and happy life). The wedding concluded with a traditional Gujarati lunch.

At the formal reception, held on

the following evening, a few close family and friends spoke about Mehta and Jain’s relationship and the power of this celebration to change hearts and minds. Then Mehta and Jain did their first dance as husbands to Mustafa Zahid’s song, “Maine Khud Ko.” As they danced, their sisters and bhabhis encircled them on the dance floor, showering the couple with flower petals in a sort of human rakhi (protective ring). The first dance was followed by a mother-son slow dance to Arijit Singh’s “Mai Teri Chunariya Leheraye.” At the reception, guests enjoyed a vegetarian Mughlai dinner, with dishes such as paneer makhani and malai kofta. DJ Riz played popular Bollywood and Punjabi songs, getting not just the Indian guests but also American friends to dance to a desi beat. The evening concluded with a big surprise: a spectacular vidaai of the couple by helicopter. Aziz Haniffa is the Managing Editor and Chief Diplomatic and Political Correspondent of India Abroad the oldest South Asian newspaper published in the United States. indiaabroad.com This article originally appeared in India Abroad and has been edited for space.

THE EVENING CONCLUDED WITH A BIG SURPRISE: A SPECTACULAR VIDAAI OF THE COUPLE BY HELICOPTER TOMAS RAMOS PHOTOGRAPHY

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We say that desi weddings are the unions of two families. For us, it was indeed the marriage of our families - the ones God chose for us and the ones we chose for ourselves.”

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

- PARAG MEHTA


Spelling S-U-C-C-E-S-S OF THE 8 WINNERS OF THIS YEAR’S SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE, 7 WERE INDIAN AMERICANS. IT’S NOT A COINCIDENCE. BY KIM MOREAU JACOBS

I

n June, 562 young spellers

rattled off letters in hopes of winning the increasingly high-profile Scripps National Spelling Bee. When 20 rounds resulted in eight champs, seven were of Indian descent. Over the years, Indian Americans have over indexed at the top of the competition. Why? In 2017, Sam Rega followed four Indian American contestants for the documentary “Breaking the Bee.” In an interview with CBS News, he hypothesized that success comes from a “perfect storm of events.” His guess for how it all started: “What we found was, it was from 1965 when there was a change in immigration laws and that allowed highly educated individuals to come into this country. So we brought in a big wave of Indian Americans and that really set the foundation.” Next came inspiration: first with 1985 winner Balu Natara-

SPELLING BEE WINNERS CELEBRATE THEIR HISTORIC EIGHT-WAY TIE IN THE FINAL ROUND OF THE 92ND ANNUAL SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE AT NATIONAL HARBOR IN OXON HILL, MARYLAND, U.S., MAY 31, 2019. COURTESY SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE

Writer Gurnek Bains credited India’s ‘15 elaborate mnemonic devices.’ ” jan, then from the documentary “Spellbound” showcasing Nupur Lala winning the 1999 bee with the word “logorrhea.” Anthropologist Shalini Shankar, who researched the bee for six years, told the Los Angeles Times that new spellers consistently pointed to that moment. “I kept hearing the same sentiment over and over: ‘If she can do it, we can do it.’” Culture and language play a factor as well. In an opinion piece for CNN, writer Gurnek Bains credited India’s “15 elaborate mnemonic devices,” which were used to create a near-perfect oral transmission of India’s sacred Vedic texts including the “Mahabharat” — a feat so impressive that in 2003 UNESCO said it represented “a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.”

Combine that with preparation and proud parents — and a host of regional feeder competitions courtesy of the South Asian Spelling Bee (founded in 2008) — and you’re ready to see the rewards. Shankar, who also wrote “Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success,” told CNN that bees can be a prestige activity for Indian American parents, as many well-educated, South Asian immigrants are success-driven — and want their kids to be too. It’s a trend that’s now extending to other parenting types. “A shift may be underway — away from a play-based childhood to one marked by competition and recognition, especially through digital platforms.” TEXAS INDIA FORUM

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lifestyle

PHOTO BY SADU BAJEKAL

Eastern Soul Nagavalli blends pure Eastern tradition with traces of American pop and rock to share her traditional Indian roots with her fans in American and abroad. PERSPECTIVES FROM NAGAVALLI

I

call my music “Eastern soul.”

It has been described as East Indian soul with delicate touches of pop, rock, trance, and pure Eastern tradition. My repertoire ranges from original songs in English to East Indian, Bhakti spirituals. My music is a reflection of my collective experiences growing up in a cosmopolitan, yet traditional environment in India and of my

36

life as an independent adult in the United States. I grew up on the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Mumbai, India, where my late father, Dr. M. J Rao, was a professor of Physics. My family included my mom, Ratnamala, a creative, talkative, and talented homemaker, and my elder brother, an intellec-

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

tual who followed my father’s example to pursue science. I was born and raised Hindu; we celebrated the big festivals and read the Ramayana and Mahabharata. However, never once was I told that we had to believe anything in particular. It left me open-minded to seek my own path. What I incorporated in my daily life were the


By fusing East-West styles of music, I also found my own way of introducing the rich, soulful Indian sound to a Western audience. ” values around humility, treating others with respect, and of vegetarianism and karma. I came to the United States in 1998 for graduate school at Florida State University to pursue a Ph.D. in physics, following in the footsteps of my father who had come to the United States from 1958 to 1964 to pursue his doctorate. But then I grew restless and moved to pursue a graduate program in Information Systems. This led to my first technology job in Austin, Texas, where I continue working as director of technology at a major corporation. Looking back, Austin was an easy choice. I had

heard that it was the live music capital of the world. My mother was a bit distraught when I was leaving India, worried I would give up on music. I knew otherwise but had no idea what form my pursuit would take. Living in Austin, I started writing songs, influenced by the culture of songwriting around me. I wrote mostly in English because it is the language that I write best in. The Indian-influenced melodies came from my musical training and the music I heard growing up. I had trained in Carnatic classical music since age seven and later pursued Hindustani music while attending college in India. What little exposure I had to Western music was through pop music and some vinyl records from the United States that my father had at home from his time here. By fusing East-West styles of music, I also found my own way of introducing the rich, soulful Indian sound to a Western audience in an easily

accessible manner. I released two albums – “Eastern Soul” in 2012 and “Immersion” in 2019. While “Eastern Soul” has several original songs in English, “Immersion” was recorded as a 50-minute continuous piece of music with chants and devotionals by ancient Indian saints such as Meera Bai and Sant Kabir. In Austin and beyond, I have worked with artists representing genres from Latin American rock and jazz to East Indian and Middle Eastern classical and folk, both in live performances and in the studio. My audiences span across the Indian and American diaspora. Music, indeed, has no boundaries. My own band has musicians who have studied jazz at the University of North Texas, a Brit drum/bass player, and a hip-hop DJ who grew up in Austin. Our music has become a microcosm of the beauty that diversity can create.

MORE INFO nagavalli.com

My mother was ... worried I would give up on music ... I knew otherwise...”

NAGAVALLI WITH HER MOTHER IN INDIA BEFORE LEAVING FOR THE US.

NAGAVALLI PERFOMING LIVE ON STAGE IN AUSTIN, TX. SADU BAJEKAL

COURTESY NAGAVALLI

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profiles

My story is just one of many, and I am proud to be part of an extended Indian Diaspora family who applies the shared traditions, experiences, and history that guide and inform our daily lives, both spiritually and professionally, to help enrich the fabric of life of our adopted communities. DR. RENU KHATOR,

CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON

DR. RENU KHATOR ON HER WEDDING DAY IN INDIA. READ HER FULL STORY ON PAGE 44.


On Living My Indian Heritage and American Dream PERSPECTIVES FROM BALAN R. AYYAR

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit Where the mind is led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. -RABINDRANATH TAGORE

R

abindranath

Tagore may have been dreaming of Indian independence when he wrote this famous poem, but for my father, Subramonya Anantha Rama Ayyar, in 1954 that “heaven of freedom� was the United States of America. The youngest of seven, he grew up confident, in a spiritual family of lesser means. His hunger for freedom from poverty propelled him to America. When my father arrived in the CONTINUNED

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profiles

Out of our thoughts came our actions, out of our actions came our habits, out of our habits came our character, and out of our character came our destiny.” United States as a young engineer, he couldn’t have imagined the unfolding opportunity that exists today for hard-working young men and women of Indian American descent. He had written, by hand, to 200 companies in America in 1952; two responded. As his son, I had a front-row seat to what work ethic, determination, and “tireless striving towards perfection” can yield. My dad had memorized Tagore’s immortal poem — as did I, when I saw what it meant to him. For my father, the “pursuit of happiness” was the dignity that comes with work, rising to his potential as a professional engineer, and helping his family live a life of prosperity and peace. In his 62 years in America, he never thought of not working. What a joy it was to work. When he returned to India in 1960 to marry my mom, Bavani Ayyar, and bring her to America, our adventure as a family began. In those days, only 100 people per year could emigrate from India to the United States. My dad wrote his Congressmen in Wisconsin and asked him

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to help. He believed in the American dream. Congressmen Flynn introduced a bill in Congress to protect Bavani Ayyar from being deported until next year’s quota could be deducted by one. Someone once said, the whole world steps out of the way for a man who knows where he’s going. Subramonya Ayyar from Kerala was that man, living his dream as countless American immigrants had before him. My mom deeply appreciated that she was among the first of her ancient culture in the many places we lived as a young family. She wore her faith and the cloth of her beloved India with such dignity and elegance. I never once saw my mom in all the years of my upbringing without a sari. American fashion was all the rage, but my mom was fixed on her mission to introduce India to America. I lost count of the many friends whose moms were won over and learned to wrap and wear a Sari from Bavani Ayyar. In 1960, my parents were the first Indian couple to arrive in Zanesville, Ohio. Their wedding pictures and Bavani’s Ayyar’s secret recipe for sambhar made the

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

cover of the women’s section. Her adherence to Indian values and norms did not stop her, however, from raising competitive American children. All the spiritual values of the Indian upbringing played out beautifully in America. My parents believed in the meritocracy. When someone scored higher on a test or played better at a chess tournament, it was because they had worked harder. My dad kept the newspaper clipping from the State of Kerala with his name listed second in the college entrance exam results. For dad, life was about creating your own opportunity through hard work and faith. When my mother said she thought I should attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, I was crestfallen. But when I heard her describe her elder brother’s service to their nation with such love and admiration, I knew she would hold the same special place for my service to our nation, which had given our family so much. My mother pinned on my second lieutenant bars as the first full Indian American to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and my first star as the first Indian American general officer in the U.S. Armed Forces. After 26 years of service, I left Afghanistan as the commanding general of Joint Task Force and came home to take care of my parents and


My mother pinned on my second lieutenant bars as the first full Indian American to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and my first star as the first Indian American general officer in the U.S. Armed Forces.”

THE LOCAL ZANESVILLE, OHIO NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ON HIS MOTHER ESTABLISHING A NEW LIFE IN AMERICA.

family and to transition into the business world that my father had dreamed of. Flying jets in our United States Air Force and leading airmen and soldiers in combat had honed the values my parents brought to this country from their beloved Bharat. The American dream I’ve lived was possible only because of the timeless values rising from my parents love and expectations. My mother, a graduate of Madras Christian College, earned her graduate degrees in accounting and education. She was a CPA and teacher and whose real love was serving the less fortunate. For my mom, a person’s character was their destiny: Out of our thoughts came our actions, out of our actions came our habits, out of our habits came our character, and out of our character came

our destiny. She was right. As I reflect on this exciting time in the relationship between our two nations, and the world, my parents, like so many others here today, embody what is best in the citizens of both of these great nations: enduring values, hard work, discipline, courage, faith, and determination. We are honoring the diaspora’s influence and impact today. There is much more that brings us together as nations than pulls us apart. We are bound by unconditional love and a deep and abiding faith in God, freedom, and liberty. The Indian American diaspora has made America into its own. In almost every city in America, there’s a place to stay, places to eat, and places to pray that reflect the growing success of Indian Americans who are pouring their culture into the melting pot of American history. There has never been a better time to be Indian, American, or both. Freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are under threat around the globe. These two nations — America as the oldest republic and India as the largest — will surely be

called on to lead as the forces of autocracy, extremism, and oppression cling to power and look to spread. Our futures are intertwined and bright. The deep current of love that flourishes in free nations binds us into common action in a century when the greatest human challenges and achievement will surely unfold.

BALAN AYYAR is a retired brigadier general who served as commanding general of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 in Kabul Afghanistan. He received his bachelor of science degree in international affairs from the United States Air Force Academy and is the first person of Indian descent to attend and graduate from a United States military service academy. He received his master’s degree in public administration from Auburn University. Ayyar was a White House fellow and served in the White House Office of FaithBased and Community Initiatives. He also received his master of science degree in industrial resource management from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. and was a senior executive fellow at Harvard University. Following his retirement from the armed services, Ayyar became the CEO of Sevatec and currently serves as the co-founder, president, and CEO of Percipient.ai, based in Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley.

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profiles

An American Journey Keeping Close to Indian Roots PERSPECTIVES FROM VED NANDA

I

was Born in Gujranwala, which is now in Pakistan, I moved with my family to East Punjab in August 1947 when I was a little boy. The journey out from Gujranwala was an adventure. India had become independent and most Hindus, including my family except for my mother and me, had already left the town for East Punjab, which was going to be part of India. We could not take the train toward Delhi because the trains were being stopped and Hindu passengers killed; hence, my mother and I went in the other direction, toward Jammu and Kashmir. After several months in a refugee camp in Jammu, we walked a few hundred miles over several weeks to meet our family in India. I spent my formative years in Delhi, where I earned a master’s in economics from Punjab University and a law degree from the University of Delhi, graduating first in a class of more than 400 students and receiving a gold medal from the president

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of India at the time, the great philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. There were very few Indians in Chicago when I arrived in 1960. At Northwestern Law School I was the only Indian student. I received my MML from Northwestern before going to Yale Law School as a graduate fellow, where I worked with one of the preeminent international lawyers of the late 20th century, Professor Myres McDougal. There were several Indian students at Yale, and we formed an India Students Association. At Yale, I was president of the World Community Association and became founding president of the Association of Student International Law Societies (now the International Law Student Association, active on every continent in almost 700 law schools). My first teaching assignment was at the University of Denver, where I began my career at the College of Law and taught as an

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

adjunct at the Graduate School of International Studies. There I met my wife and best friend, Katharine. We were married in Delhi and when panditji asked her if she was a Hindu, she said, “yes.” As an avid reader and a clear thinker, she now has a much better grasp of Hinduism than I do. She and I have always been involved with the Hindu community in Colorado: She served as president of the Hindu Society of Colorado and of our temple. The Colorado Hindu community is vibrant, and our temple has become a gathering place where at festival times we have as many as 1,200 worshippers. In the broader Hindu community, I have served as president of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA and now serve as president of HSS-America Zone, which includes Canada, the United States, and Latin America. Currently, I serve as an honorary professor at the University of Delhi Faculty of Law and teach pro bono at the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi. Human rights, the environment, and war and peace issues have remained the focus of my attention, whether in writing or in active participation. When the government of Fiji, led by an Indian prime minister, was overthrown in a coup, I was invited to visit that country, meet with the leaders of the coup and the Indian diaspora, and explore the possibilities of a new constitution and an amicable settlement. I traveled to Fiji, met with leaders, and worked with all


sides on a framework for resolving the crisis. Similarly, I was invited to work on a constitution in Nepal in association with several other constitutional law experts, where we sat with the government and the Maoist leaders and drafted the framework of a constitution which was later adopted in a modified form. As Hindus and Christians in Pakistan and Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians in Bangladesh were facing egregious human rights violations, I, along with like-minded individuals and organizations, was able to meet government leaders and petition the United Nations and regional organizations, and then I went on a speaking tour, both in the United States and Canada, on these crises. Also, on human rights situations in East Timor, several African countries, and currently in Turkey, China, and Russia, I have served on a number of task forces and committees of the American Bar Association and other NGOs to bring public awareness and to find creative solutions to meet the challenges. India has never been absent from life and my thoughts, and India-U.S. relations have always been at the forefront of my attention and activities. As I was leaving India, I committed to never compromise on principles and to faithfully live the values according to which I had been raised, especially through my association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in India. During the Emergency, I wrote articles and met with decision-makers in Washington and

at the United Nations to explore effective ways to oppose it. On every issue of critical importance, including the civilian nuclear deal and India-Pakistan and India-China issues, I have been fortunate to have a say through my writing or my contacts and have closely worked with several business, cultural, and philanthropic organizations engaged in India. Currently, I serve as chairperson of the Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies, whose purpose is to promote awareness and understanding of the four Indian Dharmic Traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism – in America. The foundation has undertaken an effective campaign to train American teachers in middle and high schools and has worked with other organizations to correct the distorted picture of India and these traditions in school textbooks. As an Indian American, I find it gratifying that India and the United States are no longer simply finding common values – human rights, rule of law, and democracy, for example – but also have common interests. India certainly is in a tough neighborhood. Both it and the United States would like to see terrorism combatted, Afghanistan and the entire region peaceful and stable, free navigation in the South China Sea, and China’s aggressive expansionism contained. No doubt some differences will remain, as they almost always do, even among friends. I am optimistic

that these bilateral relationships will not only be beneficial to our two countries but will also contribute to a peaceful Asia and a peaceful world.

VED NANDA WITH THE DALAI LAMA.

VED P. NANDA is a Distinguished University Professor and Thompson G. Marsh Professor of Law at the University of Denver, where he founded the International Legal Studies Program in 1972 and now directs the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law. The Center was established in his honor by alumni and friends, who have also endowed a professorship in his name. He has received numerous national and international awards, has authored or co-authored 24 books and over 225 chapters and law review articles in international and comparative law, writes a column for the Denver Post, and is a regular commentator in both the electronic and print media. In March 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind presented Professor Nanda with the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards given by the Government of India. And in April, the American Bar Association International Law Section conferred on him the Louis B. Sohn Award, for “distinguished, longstanding contributions to the field of public international law.”

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profiles

Indian Values and American Opportunities PERSPECTIVES FROM DR. RENU KHATOR

I

have been a proud

member of the large and strong Indian diaspora in the United States since 1974. Every member of the diaspora has his or her story, and I have mine – a story of Indian values and American opportunities and how their combination can create a life that is full of blessings and gratitude. I was brought up in Farrukhabad, a relatively small town in Uttar Pradesh known for potatoes and silk. Born in a progressive Marwari family, I always knew that one day my marriage would be arranged and that I would have to give into the wishes of my new family. But I also had a deep, burning desire for education, a desire to attain the highest degree possible. I excelled in every grade and even skipped many grades to be able to earn my undergraduate degree from Kanpur University at the age of 18. So far, I had been living in the protective shell called “home,” but now I was ready to experience the outside world along with all the unexpected twists and turns.

After much argument and debate, I was allowed to go to Allahabad University to enroll in the master’s program. However, within nine months of my being there, my family found a suitable match for me. I was engaged the same day I met my prospective husband, was married 10 days later, and boarded the airplane to the United States of America immediately after that. All of this happened within the span of 20 days! I eventually landed at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where my husband, Suresh, was completing his doctorate degree. I realized that I had a serious problem. Having attended schools and colleges where the instruction was in Hindi, my knowledge of English was next to nothing. Call it my luck or destiny, but I got provisional admission into the master’s program at Purdue University within a month of setting foot on American soil. If the events of the last two months were not traumatic enough, sitting in my first seminar and not understanding a word of what Professor Hale from Texas was talking about completely terrified me. Yes, this was my first introduction to Texas! I cried a lot that night but could not divorce myself from the dream of getting my degree. My husband devised a brilliant plan that, among other things, included watching eight hours of television a day so I could become acquainted with


... what gives me the greatest satisfaction is to be in the privileged position that allows me to help new generations of students finish their college degrees and become successful and responsible citizens.” my new language. I fell in love with “I Love Lucy.” Being such a slapstick comedy, it was one of the few shows whose plot I could follow without knowing too much English. The next few months were a struggle, but I did not have the option of quitting. Even if I had tried, my husband was not going to let me quit. He took a second and then a third job to pay for my tuition and spent hours reading my drafts. My education had become not just my dream but a couple’s dream. Eighteen months later and after shedding many tears of joy and panic, I graduated with a master’s degree from one of the top institutions in the United States. No one was more proud than Suresh! In subsequent years, we were blessed with two daughters, and then I decided to go back to school to finish my doctorate in political science. Suresh and I joined the University of South Florida as professors and served for 22 years before moving to Houston to start another chapter of our lives.

Suresh followed his love for teaching and joined as a professor of engineering, while I assumed the dual position of chancellor of the UH System and president of the University of Houston. Today, our university system enrolls 74,000 students and has a budget of $1.5 billion. We just finished raising $1 billion in donations and launched a medical school. What made it possible, you may ask, for a young girl from a small town India to become the CEO of such a large enterprise in her adopted country? It started with a dream – the dream of education! But I could not have done it without the support of many individuals who advised, mentored, and encouraged me along my journey from Farrukhabad to Houston. My mother and father were foremost. They instilled in me the core values of faith, hard work, and commitment to personal goals that guide me to this day. My husband Suresh always said to me, “You are not just a daughter, wife, and mother, you are Renu:

Find yourself.” My daughters inspired me with their love and strength. I was also fortunate to have mentors, from both inside and outside the academy, who have shared with me the secrets of their success. Today, as I look back, I would have to say that what gives me the greatest satisfaction is to be in the privileged position that allows me to help new generations of students finish their college degrees and become successful and responsible citizens. Every year, my proudest moment is when I stand on that stage at commencement and I say to a new graduating class of 10,000-plus students, “By virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of Texas, I now confer upon each of you the respective degree for which you have fulfilled all requirements.” My story is just one of many, and I am proud to be part of an extended Indian diaspora family full of members who apply the shared traditions, experiences, and history that guide and inform our daily lives, both spiritually and professionally, to help enrich the fabric of life in our adopted communities.

DR. RENU KHATOR Chancellor, University of Houston System President, University of Houston

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profiles

The Chutney Experiment

The blended cultural experience of growing up Indian American. PERSPECTIVES FROM NAMAN MAHAJAN

H

aving the opportunity

to live both in India and America and also to travel extensively affords one a unique perspective on how culture and tradition shape individuals. I was born in New Jersey, and at the age of two my father was transferred to India to oversee Asian operations for his company. We spent eight years stationed in New Delhi in the early 1980s; I was blessed to spend vacations at my maternal grandparents’ house in Ahmedabad with my extended family. In New Delhi, I had my paternal grandparents and additional extended family. Being surrounded by family in your formative years, there is never a feeling of loneliness or a lack of someone to whom you can turn. This focus on family has stayed with me and guides my daily life even as an adult — family is my everything. When I was 10 years old, we moved back to America, where my father’s job took us to several states and cities. I’ve had the opportunity to live in New Jersey, Connecticut,

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS


Growing up exposed to extended family, sacrificing and displaying unwavering loyalty for one another has etched an indelible mark on my heart and guides both my personal and professional actions.” Chicago, and Houston. We moved to Houston when I was in middle school, and Katy, Texas, became home. Although I wasn’t born in Texas, I got here as quick as I could, drawn in by the Southern hospitality. I was privileged to complete my undergrad from the University of Texas at Austin and my MBA and MHA from Baylor in Waco. Helping people has always been a passion of mine, and health care has always been near to my heart, having grown up seeing my mother undergo several surgeries. When I was younger, I would see doctors — we even had a few in our family — and I understood the basic concept of hospitals, but I did not understand the administrative side of health care and how complicated it is to operationalize a hospital. Baylor University did an excellent job of preparing me for my health care journey, and I was afforded the opportunity to start my fellowship at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital. The first time I saw the full infrastructure of

a hospital and health care system in motion was during Hurricane Rita. Because the storm followed on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, we were extremely prepared. I was amazed by all the components that have to be thought about and accounted for to lock down a hospital and prepare for a natural disaster. I was hooked. I knew I’d found my calling. As I have grown and developed in my career, I’ve incorporated family values into my work throughout. Early in my career, I considered every team member in the department I oversaw a part of my family, and the trust and care we had for one another helped us all excel. Now, as CEO of Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center in Houston, I promote that same culture at the hospital. This philosophy and mission was tested and displayed its power during Hurricane Harvey, which wreaked catastrophic havoc on city of Houston. Our hospital was functioning

as a Trauma Level II and NICU Level III facility for Northwest Houston. I had made a commitment to our local EMS that our hospital would stay open during the hurricane and that we would be ready to assist our community in every way possible. Nurses, physicians, ER staff, radiology staff all left their personal family to be with their work family and ensure that we would be able to support our community in its greatest time of need. As the days progressed and the rain did not stop, several of our staff watched the news to see their neighborhoods and houses flooding, but not once did they waver. The commitment and loyalty that we had for one another became our strength and helped us persevere. Growing up exposed to extended family, sacrificing and displaying unwavering loyalty for one another has etched an indelible mark on my heart and guides both my personal and professional actions. I am proud to be an Indian American.

NAMAN MAHAJAN is the chief executive officer of the Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center in Houston. He received his BA in economics from the University of Texas at Austin and his MBA in Healthcare Specialization from Baylor University. He lives in Missouri City, Texas.

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Significant Indian Americans Indian heritage, American impact.

BHAGAT SINGH THIND, civil rights activist who was the first U.S. serviceman to be allowed for religious reasons to wear a turban as part of their military uniform. BHAGAT SINGH THIND (Oct. 3, 1892 - Sept. 15, 1967) was a Sikh Indian American writer, scientist, and lecturer on spirituality who served in the U.S. Army during World War I and was involved in an important legal battle over the rights of Indians to obtain U.S. citizenship. Thind enlisted in the U.S. Army a few months before the end of World War I. After the war, he sought to become a naturalized citizen, following a legal ruling that Caucasians had access to such rights. In 1923, the Supreme Court ruled against him in the case United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, which retroactively denied all Indian Americans born abroad citizenship for failing to meet the definition of white person “in accordance with the understanding of the common man.” Thind remained in the United States, earned his PhD in theology and English literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and delivered lectures in metaphysics. Basing his lessons on Sikh religious philosophy, he enhanced his lectures with references to the scriptures of several religions and the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Henry David Thoreau. He campaigned for the independence of India from the British Empire. In 1936, Thind applied successfully for U.S. citizenship through the State of New York.

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BRANDON CHILLAR, one of only two NFL players of Indian American descent, won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers.

NAEEM KHAN, fashion designer known for ornate gowns that have been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Queen Noor of Jordan.

JHUMPA LAHIRI, author who won the Pulitzer Prize for her debut collection of shortstories “Interpreter of Maladies.”

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

AJAY BHATT, computer architect who coinvented the USB.

M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN, American filmmaker best known for his directing work.


profiles

Arvind Manocha How a Passion for Music Led to a Place at the Table in the World of Culture Creation

F

or as long as I can

remember, music has been the most consistent passion in my life. I did not, however, envision a future career in the music business. My parents were both university professors. They immigrated to the United States in the mid ‘60s, like so many of their peers, to complete their education. Both were in typically “right brain” fields (business and math). But they were also very agnostic with regard to my educational focus. I was encouraged to take schooling seriously but not necessarily to prioritize it the way they did. My mother was in many ways unusually progressive from a young age and had forged a life that was shaped, in part, with non-dependence as a guiding principle. My father, though a mathematician, was a voracious consumer of literature from all around the world. Growing up in America, we are taught from a young age that you can grow up and be anything you want: an astronaut or the president or a pioneering scientist. I think many of us grew up in Indian American environments in which education was a primary focus and the concept of achievement was instilled at

a very young age. Yet for a few decades after the major influx of Indian immigrants to the States, certain patterns emerged. I think we can all point to a number of topline factors that might have influenced why so many of my peer generation gravitated to careers in the sciences, in professional fields, or in business. Certainly the educational and professional profile of one’s parents help shape interests. The importance society puts on “top of ladder” fields can shape a young person’s mind. And, of course, the age-old nobility associated with helping others in very tangible, practical ways also plays a part. Coupled with the economic insecurity often found in any immigrant community, these factors can very logically create a feeling that a career should have predictable stability and financial strength. On top of these factors, though, I think are the dual influences of lack of representation and fear of the unusual. In the ‘70s and ‘80s we Indian Americans didn’t have visible representation on TV or in movies; we had occasional family must-see events such as “Gandhi” or the “Jewel in the Crown.” But these were depictions of our other world, not of our day-to-day one. The characters on the screen had more in common with our parents than with us. Similarly, our parents didn’t CONTINUNED

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Having a place at the table in the world of culture creation gives us as Indians and Indian Americans a role to play in the creation of our culture.” have visibility into the business of the arts, or entertainment; they were unlikely, for example, to have a cousin working in the film business that could act as a guiding light or helping hand. I was lucky in that my parents were open, on many levels. When I chose to focus my education on literature, they were accepting; when I started writing plays, they came to see them; when I told them I was thinking about going to drama school after grad school they were fine with it. I think their central belief was that I should be happy. Later on, when I came out to them, they were less traumatized than I was and wished only for me to be happy. When I introduced them to my future husband, they accepted him as a son from the start. The love of music and books in my childhood eventually became an undeniable force in my life, and, after a stint at a major consulting firm, I discovered that I could pursue a life as an arts manager. I chose the path I’m on because it most closely aligned with my greatest love — music — and because it is the most broad. I have been

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fortunate to work on both coasts in the most iconic music venues and have presented and worked with artists across the musical spectrum. I know how important music is for bringing people together, for connecting audiences with their family roots, and for providing an emotional and aesthetic response to daily life. I have been fortunate to include Indian and Indian American artists alongside the very best artists from across the world. I have experienced the pride of introducing an Indian audience to a venue for the first time, as well as watching nonIndian audiences experience a wide variety of Indian artistry with new eyes. Of course, in the last few decades the role of Indian and Indian American artists in the arts and entertainment landscape has exploded. We see members of the community at every level – in the writers’ room, at the producer’s desk in a recording studio, on stage, in the movies, at the opera house, in the back office – literally every aspect of the business. There is no longer no visibility for us in the arts. Parents and children can

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

point to any number of hypersuccessful examples of Indian Americans in the media, and I hope this means that young adults who want to funnel their creativity, intelligence, and energy to the world of the arts don’t have to “justify” that decision but rather can get on with the business of being a member of the arts community. Devoting yourself to the world of the aesthetic is no longer a concept characterized by lack of representation or a fear of the unusual. Having a place at the table in the world of culture creation gives us as Indians and Indian Americans a role to play in the creation of our culture.

ARVIND MANOCHA has served as president and CEO of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts since January 2013. Manocha directs Wolf Trap’s year-round performing arts programming: From major pop acts to children’s shows to opera and more, it’s among the most wide-ranging and diverse programs in the music business. Additionally, he oversees the full scope of the foundation’s educational activities, including its nationally recognized arts education programs, which are implemented at 18 affiliate sites and in 30 states nationwide, and Wolf Trap Opera, one of the nation’s premier rising artist training programs. Previously, Manocha was chief operating officer at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he ran the Hollywood Bowl for more than a decade. Manocha holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Cambridge, where he was a Marshall Scholar.


Significant Indian Americans Indian heritage, American impact. RANGASWAMY SRINIVASAN, physical chemist and inventor who developed techniques used to create LASIK eye surgery. Awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2013.

PREET BHARARA, former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

SUBRAHMANYAN CHANDRASEKHAR, astrophysicist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for “theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars.” Provided pioneering work in studies of mathematical treatment of stellar evolution leading to The Chandrasekhar limit that was named in his honor.

GIRINDRA MUKERJI, author of “The Hindu in America” and leader of one of the first Indian American student protests against colonialism in 1908. RAJ REDDY, computer scientist who received the Turing Award (along with Edward Feigenbaum) for pioneering work in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

NORAH JONES, singer/songwriter who has sold over 50 million records, daughter of Indian sitar player and composer Ravi Shankar.

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profiles

I

was born in Srinagar,

Kashmir, into a long tradition of a priestly class of Hindus of Kashmir known as Pandits. Perhaps this set the stage for my life as a Hindu even after moving to the United States as a toddler. I was raised in the suburbs of Chicago while my parents, Bansi and Vijay Pandit, looked for opportunities to raise their two sons to appreciate their Hindu traditions. This included driving long distances so we could attend any Hindu group they could find, from the Hare Krishna devotees at their temple in downtown to the suburban religious societies’ meetings in homes and community centers and eventually to the major (at that time two) Hindu mandirs built to accommodate the growing Hindu diaspora.

Strengthening the Hindu American Experience for Future Generations One Indian American Family’s Quest to Preserve, Protect, and Promote Hindu Identity PERSPECTIVES FROM DR. RAHUL T. PANDIT

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

Our local core group of like-minded Hindus formed the Hindu Satsang organization, and we would meet at a public venue every month to listen to discourses, bhajans, and, most importantly, to run around with our childhood friends and eat amazing food cooked by the parents. The classes for the kids were always fun and energetic, and little did we realize we were being taught important religious lessons and studies all along. In my youth, I followed my brother Rajiv’s footsteps, giving lectures on Hindu topics for our local mandir group and acting as a youth counselor at Vishwa Hindu Parishad summer camps in the Chicago area. For years,


... our goal as parents is to develop our children into leaders of the next generation by developing their overall physical, mental, and spiritual growth through their Hindu faith.” we partook in the teachings and camps organized by the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, and nearly every summer we would travel for extended trips to their retreat in Ganges, Michigan. (That’s right, I would tell all of my Hindu friends I was going to Ganges, and they would be in awe!) My appreciation for the depths of Sanatana Dharma was grounded as I helped proofread my father’s first book on Hinduism, “The Hindu Mind,” during high school. This task alone may have enhanced my appreciation for our ancient religion the most. During my final year in high school, the terrorist violence leading to the forced exodus of my relatives and 350,000 other Hindus from our homeland in Kashmir was a somber reminder of our dying traditions. The displacement of nearly all of our small 5,000-year-old community lent even greater importance to maintaining our religion and culture halfway around the world, so they would not be lost to the melting pot of the world. After medical school, I married Lavannya Raman, originally from Kerala and also a devout Hindu. Even during our busy residency training in Iowa City, we helped restart the local Hindu Students

Council chapter and served as their mentors and coordinators. Since moving to Houston in 2003, we have remained active in pursuits that tie into our traditions. I have pursued advocacy for the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community through the Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF, www.iakf. org), and both Lavannya and I have been actively involved with Hindu American Foundation (www.hafsite.org), the only national advocacy group working to preserve, protect, and promote Hindu identity with a long-term goal of strengthening the Hindu American experience for future generations. Most importantly, Lavannya and I are the proud parents of three children, a son in high school and two daughters, one in middle school and the other in elementary school. Recognizing that our children are the torchbearers of our Hindu future, we are raising them to appreciate the depth of their Hindu religion in this cosmopolitan American culture. In addition to attending Bal Vihar classes weekly at Chinmaya Mission Houston and engaging in HAF events, we are part of a bhajan satsang group and regularly celebrate with special events around the major Hindu holidays.

Our kids are taught to recognize when inaccurate portrayals of Hinduism are expressed, including in their school textbooks, and to see those times as educational opportunities to dispel ignorance. Viewing our Indian classical arts as a form of meditation and spiritual sadhana, I perform tabla while my son continues his tabla studies with his Houston guru, Pandit Shantilal Shah. Likewise, Lavannya is a classically trained dancer, and our daughters both continue in her footsteps by learning Bharatanatyam dance from Houston guru Padmini Chari, as well as Hindustani classical vocal training. Simply stated, our goal as parents is to develop our children into leaders of the next generation by developing their overall physical, mental, and spiritual growth through their Hindu faith. The goal is to help them contribute in a meaningful and service-oriented way without ego or ill-will toward others in their community, the American society, or the world at large.

DR. RAHUL T. PANDIT is an associate professor of clinical ophthalmology and practices at Houston Methodist Eye Associates within the Blanton Eye Institute, Houston, Texas. He serves as medical director of the Houston Methodist Hospital Ophthalmology Operating Room. For more information, visit www.rahulpanditmd.com

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As an American of Indian descent, my upbringing and challenging life obstacles definitely helped me achieve the American dream. The values of hard work, education, and treating all with respect and kindness are what shaped me and helped me serve as the top elected official of one of Texas’ largest counties”

Judge KP George Serving Fort Bend by treating all with respect and kindness. BY TARAL PATEL

K

P George is proud to

serve as the top elected official in Fort Bend County as the Presiding Officer of the Commissioner’s Court and as Director of the Office of Emergency Management. He is a former two-term member of the Fort Bend ISD school board and a local business owner. He is now the most prominent Indian American in executive office in the United States, according to the political scientist Mark P. Jones of Rice University, as well as the most prominent Indian American elected to executive office in Texas history. KP’s passion for giving back to his community stems from the challenges he faced growing up in a tiny South Indian village. Getting an education

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meant walking barefoot to the local schoolhouse and doing homework by the light of a kerosene lamp in the family’s thatch-straw hut. After years of balancing school work with helping out on the family farm, KP achieved his first goal: coming to the land of opportunity and living the American dream. KP immigrated to the United States in 1993 on a work visa for a financial firm and has since earned multiple financial certifications and licenses. As a Certified Financial Planner, KP co-owns and manages an independent financial planning practice in Sugar Land. He and his wife, Sheeba, an FBISD teacher, have raised their three children in Sugar Land. The George family has been

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

deeply involved in Fort Bend County. In 2013, KP helped establish the Hightower High School Academies Booster Club and served as its first president. He has also served in the Sugar Land Rotary Club, the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, and local Indo-American groups. He is a member of the FBISD Parents Advisory Team, as well as other advocacy and nonprofit groups. As devout Christians, KP and Sheeba are very thankful for the opportunities God has given them to live the American dream. In fact, KP grew up worshipping the teachings of St. Thomas, a direct disciple of Christ, who established Christianity on the southern tip of India, well before Christianity spread to Europe or to the rest of the world. Now, KP wants to ensure our county does its best to help our diverse community members achieve their dreams. Today, Fort Bend County is one of the fastest and best places to live in the United States. Fort Bend County taxpayers have the right to efficient, modern, and high-quality services and infrastructure.


Significant Indian Americans Indian heritage, American impact.

AZIZ ANSARI, actor, writer, producer, director, and comedian, the first actor of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for acting in television for his role on Master of None (a show he created).

MINDY KALING, writer, actress, and comedian, best known as the star of her own show “The Mindy Project.”

YELLAPRAGADA SUBBARAO, pioneering Indian biochemist who discovered that adenosine triphosphate functions as an energy source in the cell and developed methotrexate for the treatment of cancer, also discovered a broad spectrum of antibiotics such as tetracycline and chlortetracycline.

Tech CEOs:

SUNDAR PICHAI, CEO of Google since 2015.

SATYA NADELLA, CEO of Microsoft appointed in 2014.

“IT’S IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS AND YOUR HEART. DO SOMETHING THAT EXCITES YOU.” - SUNDAR PICHAL

“BE PASSIONATE AND BOLD. ALWAYS KEEP LEARNING. YOU STOP DOING USEFUL THINGS IF YOU DON’T LEARN.” - SATYA NADELLA

SHANTANU NARAYEN, Chairman and CEO of Adobe Inc. since 2005. He was honored with India’s civilian honor Padma Shri in 2019.

THOMAS KURIAN, became CEO of Google Cloud in 2018.

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profiles

Indian Muslims Association of Greater Houston Opening doors for Hindu-Muslim cooperation in Houston and beyond. BY HAIDER KAZIM

AT IMAGH ANNUAL EID MILAN GALA 2019, FROM L TO R, COL. RAJ BHALLA (FOUNDING MEMBER OF IMAGH), DR. ANUPAM RAY (CONSUL GENERAL OF INDIA AT HOUSTON), MUNIR IBRAHIM (PRESIDENT, IMAGH), LATAFATH HUSSAIN (PAST PRESIDENT, IMAGH).

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS


I

t is a sad fact that India’s history has included significant tension and violence between Hindus and Muslims, but it is the position of the Indian Muslims Association of Greater Houston (IMAGH) that peaceful coexistence and cooperation has also been an important part of our history, and we are working to foster that spirit in Houston and abroad. That’s why our group has unanimously decided to rise above divisive politics and become a Welcome Partner for the community reception of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in solidarity with other Indian American organizations. “The mission of IMAGH is to foster unity across cultures, communities, and religion. We can only work toward this goal by engaging with all groups. We may not agree with their beliefs, practices, or ideas, but unless we interact with them in a cordial and friendly atmosphere, we cannot get our point of view across to them,” said Dr. Maqbool Haq, Chairman of the IMAGH Board of Directors. When asked why IMAGH is participating in the welcoming event at NRG Stadium rather than joining possible protests of the event, Dr. Haq said, “We feel we should try to have a seat at the table to present our views

rather than not be at the table.” Latafath Hussain, founding president of IMAGH, said “I am very proud to be both an Indian and a Muslim. Growing up in Varanasi (Modiji’s constituency), I always felt that I had the same opportunities as everyone else. So when the duly elected leader of mother India comes visiting my adopted hometown, it is my duty to give him a warm welcome.” In a major outreach effort to bridge the Indian communities in Houston and beyond, three months ago IMAGH invited Ramesh Bhutada, a leading businessman and the vice president of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) to be the chief guest at the organization’s signature event to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, opening a new door for Hindu-Muslim cooperation. Bhutada was forthcoming in his speech and received a standing ovation by the more than 500 people at the event. He introduced himself as vice president of HSS, an independent U.S. organization that takes inspiration from India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and declared: “The RSS and the HSS would like communal harmony and unity amongst all religions.” He quoted RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat as telling an interview-

We, in Houston, are proud to have a united happy community that respects interfaith customs and traditions by participating and celebrating Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, and Baisakhi.” - COL. RAJ BHALLA, EVENT CHAIR OF THE EID MILAN PARTY IN 2010.

We all have historical baggage - let’s acknowledge that but we cannot look backward. We have to look forward, and that is the only way we can lead a peaceful life in this world.” er in Houston that, “India’s development cannot be complete without the development and progress of the minorities.” Bhutada said: “We all have historical baggage — let’s acknowledge that — but we cannot look backward. We have to look forward, and that is the only way we can lead a peaceful life in this world.” India’s present Consul General in Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray, has also helped promote cooperation by hosting an Iftar party in the fasting month of Ramadan for the past four years where people professing different faiths and nationalities were invited to break the fast with Muslims at the end of the day. This close cooperation between Hindu and Muslim organizations in Houston dates back to September 2010 when India Culture Center decided to host an Eid Milan party in collaboration with Indian Muslim groups.

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profiles

Service Above Self Dr. Saleha Khumawala’s commitment to blending a love of learning and the calling to help others.

W

hen Dr. Saleha Khumawala was a child

growing up in India, her parents instilled in her the importance of education and social justice. These lessons, along with her Muslim faith, informed her lifelong motto of, “service above self.” Her father, an orphan, went to trade school and started a cardboard business. Her mother sewed clothes at home to supplement the family income. Her parents always emphasized the importance of education as a way to a better life for Dr. Khumawala and her six siblings. “Their lack of education was the main reason that my and my siblings’ education was paramount in our family. For nearly five decades, teaching has been my calling,” she said. An opportunity to teach while Dr. Khumawala was in high school triggered and boosted her passion for teaching as a way in which she could blend her love of learning and her desire to help others. After completing her undergraduate education in India, she obtained her Ph.D. in 1978 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the age of 25. In addition to her doctorate, she also holds her CPA and CGMA accreditations. Dr. Khumawala started her academic career in the Department of Accountancy & Taxation at the University of Houston (UH) in 1978. In recent years, she has made a huge impact on the community as the Visionary Founding Director of the SURETM (Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship) Program.

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

Dr. Khumawala’s work has been recognized as among the best in the nation. She is the recipient of several awards including the Texas Governor’s Higher Education Community Impact Award, the United States Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion of the Year Award, the University of Houston Provost Teaching Excellence Award, and the UH Chapter of Phi Beta Delta Outstanding Leadership Award. In 2018, the renowned SXSW EDU Conference and Festival selected her proposal “Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship” for presentation at the March event that brought together practitioners, students, government and nonprofit officials, and industry leaders to discuss innovation in teaching and learning. In 2018, Dr. Khumawala’s career in teaching was recognized when she was selected as a Piper Professor for superior teaching at the college level in Texas — making her only the 12t h UH faculty member to receive the prestigious honor in the award’s 60-year history. For Dr. Khumawala, the recognition and awards are part of a bigger picture. She sees her accolades as achievements for her students, the campus, and the community. She is driven, persistent, and unwavering in her mission to improve the lives of others through education, and she has exemplified this service mentality in both the classroom and the community over her four-decade career with the University of Houston. An expert in her profession, Dr. Khumawala has taught a wide spectrum of accounting courses, shap-


DR. SALEHA WITH HER STUDENT GROUP AT THE TAJ MAHAL.

ing her instruction to meet students where they are and never shying away from new teaching techniques or other ways to engage and connect. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Khumawala’s vision was realized when she founded the SURETM Program, an innovative educational platform at UH which creates a partnership between students, business thought leaders, and aspiring local entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities. The program’s roots date to an award-winning course, Principles of Microfinance, which she developed in 2006 and which involved teaching in the classroom and working in the community. The course has been recognized for its commitment to not only educating student business leaders but also economically empowering entrepreneurs from underserved areas. In this program, Khumawala is working to produce socially engaged students who develop the empathy, critical thinking, and soft skills demanded by today’s job market, while also economically empowering under-resourced entrepre-

neurs. More than 300 students have been trained as SURETM Consultants, and more than 1,200 entrepreneurs have gone through the program to launch close to 300 businesses. Dr. Khumawala’s dedication to her students, the accounting profession, and her service is not limited to the classroom and reflects her cultural heritage and roots in India. As president of the Delta Iota chapter of Phi Beta Delta for 2016-2017, Khumawala led this organization dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education. She founded and has led the Study Abroad India Program since 2002. The program is a 17-day trip to various cities in India that includes visits with government officials — past cohorts have met with the Honorable President & Vice President of India and the U.S. Ambassador to India — and to corporate and educational institutions and historical and cultural sites. The students also study microfinance operations in villages and urban slums, most notably in Dharavi.

In addition to her faculty role, Khumawala leads several special programs and initiatives for the university that all have a service component, bringing together students, faculty, and the community. Dr. Khumawala’s passion for education led her to establish a nonprofit entity, Pennies for Education and Health (PEH), a sponsorship program to fund the educational needs of disadvantaged children in the developing world, regardless of faith, gender, or ethnicity. She is also involved in Interfaith activities and is continually running donation drives for disaster-prone countries. She is married to Dr. Basheer Khumawala, who teaches Supply Chain Management at the University of Houston, and is the mother of two wonderful children. Reflecting both her Muslim faith and her Indian roots, Dr. Khumawala has lived her motto adopted in childhood by placing service above self. Her service and dedication to education as a beacon to others has touched students, colleagues, and many others in all of her communities — in Houston, in the United States, in India, and abroad.

SALEHA KHUMAWALA, PH.D., CPA, CGMA is the Robert Grinaker Professor of Accounting and the visionary founding director of the SURETM (Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship Program at the Bauer College of Business, University of Houston (UH).

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profiles

Jagdip Ahluwalia How a series of unplanned detours and experiences led to a life of fulfillment serving the community.

I

am a Sikh by faith.

My formative years were spent in England where I imbibed the teachings from both the Protestant-run Sunday school and the Guru Granth Sahib at home. My family returned to India, and I was admitted to a Jesuit school. An engineering degree from Birla Institute of Technology and Science — one of India’s premier educational institutions — rounded off my academics. While in college, I dabbled in theater, worked as a professor at my alma mater, and set up and owned a manufacturing and export company. I came to the United States 26 years ago and have been leading the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, first as its founding secretary and now as its executive director, for 21 years. This, in a nutshell, is my journey. Call it providence, coincidence, or destiny, but, despite the best laid plans, my journey has been a series of unplanned detours and experiences that


Call it providence, coincidence, or destiny, but, despite the best laid plans, my journey has been a series of unplanned detours and experiences that converged to create the sum total of who I am and what I do.”

AHLUWALIA WITH HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE EMMETT AND OTHERS ON A TRADE MISSION TO INDIA MEETING THE DALAI LAMA IN NEW DELHI

converged to create the sum total of who I am and what I do. Let me explain. I am an engineer, not because I wanted to be one but because my father was one and wanted me to be one. I worked in the family business for about seven years while my father allowed me to pursue my real passion, which is teaching and education. While teaching, I indulged my interest in theater and debating and coaxed the faculty from the National

School of Drama to come to my college for a 10-week intensive theater workshop to train 40 students selected from across the state (including four from my institute). The outcome of this initiative was that my institute ended up winning a series of national intercollegiate theater competitions over the next four years. The matter didn’t end there. The 10-week workshop resulted in the production of a play that

toured the entire state. A few months later, I applied for a Rotary Group Study Exchange Program to visit the United States. There were 50 Rotary Clubs across three states in India, and each club had 100 applicants. Each club selected two members, and about 90 of us were selected for the final interview round. At the interview, I was asked to talk about a recent achievement I was particularly proud of. I spoke about the theater workshop that I had organized and how it made a difference to our region. Much to my surprise, two of the judges in the selection panel sat up and remarked, “Oh, so you are 'that Ahluwalia.'” They had been hosts of the play when it toured their city and were highly impressed with the production. This led to my being selected, and soon I was on my way to the United States. This story is significant because my involvement with my field of passion opened up opportunities I would never have had otherwise. My GSC visit to the United States in 1982 reinforced my conviction for servant leadership and became the reason for my lifelong commitment to serving the community. I became and continue to be a proud member of Rotary. CONTINUNED

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AHLUWALIA WITH HIS FAMILY

I believe it is imperative that we move out of our comfort zones ... The greater your involvement with other groups, the greater will be the diversity of your experiences each of which will enrich you.” It was through Rotary that I met in 1999 then India Consul General in Houston Rinzing Wangdi and invited him to speak to my Rotary Cub. This opened the door for me to be part of a group of Indian American business leaders with the purpose of starting an Indo-American Chamber in Houston. I was invited to be the founding secretary, and I continue to serve as its executive director. When I reflect on the past, I marvel at the chain of events that led me down this path and

62

that allowed me to be a part of an august organization such as the IACCGH – an organization that has for 20 plus years worked to empower the Indian American business community. I consider myself one of the fortunate few whose work and passion overlap. I’m equally proud to chair the selection committee at the American Leadership Forum and to serve on committees such as the Diversity Summit Planning Committee organized by the Chinese Professionals Association.

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

Today, my wife and I call Houston home. Dammi has grown in her career as a web analyst at United Airlines, my elder son, Rohan, practices hematology-oncology in California, and my younger son, Aman, like me, aspires to serve the community. In conclusion, I believe it is imperative that we move out of our comfort zones and immediate circles of influence. The greater your involvement with other groups, the greater will be the diversity of your experiences – each of which will enrich you.

JAGDIP AHLUWALIA is an Indian immigrant, an engineer, educator, industrialist, and former exporter and importer. For the past 10 years, after his wife’s successful battle over cancer, he has chosen a life of servant leadership. He and his wife, Dammi, have two sons, Rohan and Aman, and two grandchildren, Kareena and Kian.


DURGA AGRAWAL

PRESIDENT AND CEO OF PIPING TECHNOLOGY & PRODUCTS INC AND THE FOUNDING PRESIDENT OF INDO-AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF GREATER HOUSTON

DURGA AND SUSHILA AGRAWAL SURROUNDED BY THEIR FAMILY. READ ABOUT THEM IN THE PHILANTHROPY FEATURE ON PAGE 64.

philanthropy

The Indian Americans today are not just educated, wealthy, and powerful individuals but are a public service-driven community that is giving back to America, our adopted country, while keeping close ties with our homeland India, serving both and contributing to both.

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Philanthropy

“ARTS OF INDIA” GALLERY AT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS IN HOUSTON, MADE POSSIBLE BY THE $500,000 CONTRIBUTION FROM NIDHIKA AND PERSHANT MEHTA. GEORGE RAMIREZ PHOTOGRAPHY

T Indian American Philanthropy Hitting the Big Time BY ALEX COUNTS 64

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

he destruction, death, and suffering caused by the January 2001 Gujarat earthquake catalyzed an outpouring of generosity around the world. Among the responses was a campaign by Indian American business leaders to raise millions of dollars over a few weeks, mostly by convening hastily organized fundraising galas.

After sending $4.5 million to India for relief and rehabilitation, those same business leaders laid the foundation for an organization to channel Indian diaspora wealth and


We wanted to convince the community that an Indian American business leader wasn’t a true success until they began to thoughtfully and effectively give away some of what they had earned. ” talent toward humanitarian needs in India: the American India Foundation (AIF). Their secondary objective was to create a more robust culture of philanthropy among Indian Americans. In the words of AIF co-founder Pradeep Kashyap, “We wanted to convince the community that an Indian American business leader wasn’t a true success until they began to thoughtfully and effectively give away some of what they had earned.” By any measure, this vision is well on its way to becoming reality. Some might argue it was inevitable that an enterprising ethnic minority that was growing in numbers and that recently became the highest-earning ethnic group in the country would come to energetically embrace philanthropy. However, pioneering leadership doubtless played a major role. Regardless, the breadth of Indian American philanthropy is impressive, as are some noteworthy trends.

Donating Time, Expertise, and Money

Support for Education … and Much More

It is important to recognize that philanthropy doesn’t simply mean writing a check. According to a recent survey by Dalberg and Indiaspora (founded by the iconic entrepreneur and philanthropist M.R. Rangaswami), Indian Americans volunteer their time at double the national average in the United States today. While some volunteers stuff envelopes and the like, many leverage their expertise in information technology, the law, medicine, finance, and management consulting to collectively provide the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars in pro bono services to mission-driven nonprofits around the country.

The diversity of those in the diaspora who have emerged as philanthropic role models is remarkable. For example, Nidhika and Pershant Mehta contributed $500,000 to establish an “Arts of India” gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Their goal was to share the India experience of arts and culture with their own children, other second generation Indian Americans, and the community at large. Since then, their philanthropy has focused on women and children’s causes, with impact on both the greater Houston area and on India.

The amount of money donated is also significant, and growing. Indian Americans give an estimated $1 billion per year to causes as diverse as the arts, higher education, combatting homelessness in their communities, and of course, advancing the humanitarian agenda in India. There are active efforts to grow this amount to $3 billion or more. Related activities include profiling those who have already experienced the joy of giving, better engaging second and third-generation Indian Americans in philanthropy, supporting the essential ecosystem-building work of organizations such as Dasra, and launching an annual week of giving next month called ChaloGive.

Sanjay Shah’s Vistex Foundation has, since it was established in 2012, tackled inner-city poverty by supporting organizations in the Chicago area that provide health care and education services to those in need.

$ Households headed by

INDIAN IMMIGRANTS have a median income of

$107,000 compared to

$51,000 for overall immigrant households

&

$56,000 for native-born households*

* 2015 Data courtesy of Wikipedia

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My message to the students is to always be optimistic; one can achieve any goal with hard work, persistence and determination,” Given the high value that Indian Americans place on education, it should be unsurprising that giving to universities is a major focus. For example, Durga and Sushila Agrawal made a major donation to the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering, and a building there now carries their name because of their generosity. The gift is allowing the college to enhance classrooms and recruit world-class faculty. “My message to the students is to always be optimistic; one can achieve any goal with hard work, persistence and determination,” Agrawal said when the gift was announced. “As alumni, we must keep the torch of knowledge, excellence and innovation growing and glowing.” Theirs is not an isolated example; according to a 2018 survey by Indiaspora of gifts amounting to $1 million or more, since 2000 the community has donated $1.2 billion to higher education in the United States, including more than $700 million from 2013 to 2017 alone. Naturally, a major focus of some philanthropists is helping those people who have not yet benefited from the rapid economic growth India has experienced over the past quarter century. For example, Vijay and Marie Goradia have 66

been Houston-based benefactors of numerous charitable organizations, but none more than Pratham and its local arm, Pratham USA. Thanks in part to the Goradias’ early leadership and generosity, Pratham has developed a world-class program to ensure quality education for poor Indians that reaches millions of children each year. And the Goradias’ daughter Sapphira, who heads the family’s foundation, has taken a keen interest in the impact investing movement while demonstrating that second generation Indian Americans have the capacity to bring sophistication and energy to the community’s public service efforts. One of the most prolific philanthropists is Manu Shah, the founder of MSI, a leading distributor of flooring, wall, and countertop surfaces based in Orange County, California. To Manu and his wife, Rika, giving back has become the focus of life in recent years. This pure vegetarian, non-violent, and compassionate couple have worked hard to achieve the success they have today and have sworn to give the world all they can in return. Manu is known to say, “God has given us so much just for one reason — to donate, to help others, and to never stop doing so.” Manoj Bharghava, who made

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

a fortune selling his ubiquitous 5-Hour Energy drink, has donated tens of millions, much of it to accelerate sustainable development in India, especially in the areas of affordable health care and income generation. He has done so through the Billions in Change initiative, the Hans Foundation, and the Hans Foundation Hospitals. Bharat Desai and Neerja Sethi parlayed their success in technology start-ups to play outsize roles in supporting a portfolio of professionally run nonprofits. No conversation about diaspora philanthropy would be complete without mention of the Wadhwani brothers. Romesh has donated millions to help employ the disabled in India (among many giving areas) through his Wadhwani Foundation, while Sunil has launched a network of hundreds of high-performing health clinics using a far-sighted public-private-partnership model.

NIDHIKA AND PERSHANT MEHTA AT A FUNDERS DINNER. GEORGE RAMIREZ PHOTOGRAPHY


Many Indian Americans have started their own nonprofits and social enterprises. For example, Nalini Saligram founded Arogya World and has worked full time as its unsalaried CEO. Her team has already reached 4 million Indians with the essential information needed to prevent diabetes and other lifestyle diseases. She and her husband, Ravi, the incoming CEO of Newell Brands, have donated and raised millions to support the organization’s public health mission. Closer to home, Murali Vullaganti has established a Silicon Valley-based public benefit corporation called PeopleShores that is committed to training and employing hundreds (and in time thousands) of low-income and atrisk Americans in good-paying information technology jobs.

From Celebratory Galas to Brainstorming How to Grow Indian American Philanthropy Many donations from the community are pledged and captured in colorful, celebratory, and poignant gala dinners held around the country on an almost nightly basis by organizations such as Ekal Vidyalaya, Akanksha Fund, Magic Bus USA, CRY America, and the Foundation for Excellence. Clearly, there is no shortage of Indian American philanthropy role models. But the commu-

nity is hardly complacent in terms of growing a culture of philanthropy. For example, a series of workshops held over the last two years by Indiaspora, Dasra, and Georgetown University’s India Initiative has focused on growing the amount donated and also on improving the impact of each dollar contributed. As mentioned earlier, ChaloGive, a week of giving to be launched this year on Oct. 2, will focus on encouraging more online giving by a broad spectrum of Indian Americans, not just those in the community who have accumulated significant wealth through business and investing. Furthermore, delegations of second and third generation Americans of Indian heritage have taken part in trips to India that include social impact exposure and training. The Houston-based Ek Disha Foundation transformed itself into a local chapter of AIF in 2017, admirably reversing the troubling trends of fragmentation and unnecessary duplication of effort in American philanthropy. Finally, leading philanthropic organizations have professionalized their operations in the United States and in India, have begun working more closely together, have taken advantage of the Indian government’s new law requiring most companies to increase their corporate social responsibilities activities, and are beginning to have a dialogue with various ministries about how they could tweak policies

to unleash even more philanthropic resources and talent (especially from the diaspora) on addressing urgent humanitarian, environmental, and cultural needs and opportunities. Over the last 30 years, the Indian American community in Houston and in cities across the United States have emerged as major players in business, medicine, technology, higher education, and, most recently, in politics — with influence and impact beyond what would be expected given its size. Now it is time to add philanthropy to that list and to watch how the next generation carries this important tradition forward and, in so doing, advances the public good through meaningful engagement in solving some of society’s most complex problems.

BY ALEX COUNTS The author, a former Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, is a writer, consultant to nonprofit organizations, and professor of public policy at the University of Maryland. He founded Grameen Foundation and was its CEO for 18 years. More recently, he was the President and CEO of the American India Foundation. His latest book,“Changing the World Without Losing Your Mind: Leadership Lessons from Three Decades of Social Entrepreneurship” (Rivertowns Books), opened as a #1 new release best seller on Amazon in April and was chosen as an editor’s pick by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in August 2019.

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Philanthropy

I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”

-DR. B.R. AMBEDKAR, FATHER OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Indian American Women Entrepreneurs & Philanthropists Are Champions of Change in the United States and India Philanthropy is neither restricted to geography nor bound to age, and Indian American women philanthropists are proving it with their work in both the United States and India. Some are successful entrepreneurs with a philan68

thropic commitment to give back to society, others have dedicated their entire professional lives to service, and still others are so young they’re just getting started down their own paths. All are redefining what it means to be a philanthropist.

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

Ruchita Zaparde Provides Needy Indian Women With Sewing Machines Ruchita Zaparde is one of the few award-winning young Indian Americans in philanthropy. A student at the Princeton Day School in New Jersey, Ruchita was touched by the misery of needy women in parts of India during a family trip there. It motivated her to initiate the “Sew A Future” project, now in its sixth year, to provide Indian widows with sewing machines and basic supplies. Ruchita drove a fundraising campaign that included 1,500 students at 57 schools in 30 U.S. states to support more than 200 Indian widows and their families. In 2015, Zaparde earned the Nickelodeon HALO award for her mission to turn participants in the program


into small-scale entrepreneurs. This New Jersey teenager believes it’s everyone’s duty to give back to society, no matter the size or value of the contribution a person can make.

Robin Chaurasiya Teaches the Daughters of Sex Workers in India Philanthropy knows no geographical boundaries. And this is particularly true when it comes to Robin Chaurasiya, an Indian American teacher from Chicago, who teaches the children of sex workers in India. Chaurasiya founded the NGO Kranti (which translates to “revolution”) to educate young girls living in red light areas, including in Kamathipura, Mumbai. At her school in Mumbai, she teaches the daughters of sex workers and the victims of sex trafficking to think for themselves and to voice their rights through creative thinking, yoga, meditation, music, exhibitions, theater shows, journalistic writing, and more. Recently, Chaurasiya made international headlines for being among 10 philanthropists selected for the Global Teacher Prize worth $1 million.

Bhakti Sharma Returned to India from the U.S. to Serve her Village Bhakti Sharma is among those Indians in America who have returned to their roots to serve their mother country. In 2013, Sharma moved to the United States from Bhopal — the capital of Madhya Pradeshin — for a postgraduate in political science and to live out her dreams. But when her father called her requesting that she do something for their Barkhedi Abdulla village (16 kilometers from Bhopal City), she didn’t think twice. After her return to India, Sharma campaigned to be head of the village (sarpanch) and was elected to the position. The 26-year-old began her tenure by working to improve basic needs such as drinking water, sanitation, and road connectivity and by providing infrastructure for adult literacy and employment for women. Her vision is to make Barkhedi a model Indian village.

Indrani Goradia Addresses Gender-Based Violence in U.S. and India Indrani Goradia advocates the importance of gender equality and addresses gender-based violence in her community in Houston, Texas. But her work to eradicate gender inequality from the root is not limited to Texas: It has spread to India where gender-based violence exists in several different forms for women and girls. There’s no “right” age to begin philanthropy, and Indrani Goradia proved it when she set up Indrani’s Light Foundation after she was diagnosed with depression at the age of 50. She took inspiration from that dark phase of her life and turned it into a determination to do something meaningful for other women. Indrani’s Light Foundation offers an evidence-based behavior-change curriculum to inspire victims of gender-based violence to live empowered lives. TEXAS INDIA FORUM

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Philanthropy

Philanthropy is neither restricted to geography nor bound to age, and Indian American women philanthropists are proving it with their work in both the United States and India.

Aparna Bhattacharyya Works for Immigrant Survivors’ Right to Justice Aparna Bhattacharyya, a passionate advocate for immigrant survivors of sexual violence in the United States, was among the 15 “Champions of Change” honored by the White House in 2013 for their unconditional service and contributions to their communities. Currently, Aparna Bhattacharyya is executive director of Raksha, a nonprofit organization in Atlanta, Georgia. At Raksha, Bhattacharyya strives to empower and serve the South Asian community through education, health care, and effective law enforcement. She is also a board member for the Georgia Coalition against Domestic Violence.

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Sheela Murthy Works for Welfare of Children, Women, and Immigrants Among the Indian Americans in philanthropy is Sheela Murthy, who was honored by the Children’s Guild Institute in 2012 for her humanitarian pursuits in the United States and India. She is founder and president of Murthy Law Firm in Maryland. She is also a co-founder of the MurthyNayak Foundation (MNF), a nonprofit organization working on a number of projects for the welfare of children, women, and immigrants, spanning from Baltimore to Bangalore. Projects run by the MurthyNayak Foundation feed and support 2,000 children in Bengaluru slums and extend from Bangalore to Hubli, Kamataka, and Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh.

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

A version of this article first appeared in Indian Eagle/Travel Beats. It has been edited for space and clarity. Travel Beats is an Indian Community portal by Indian Eagle, a leading travel organization for Indians in the United States. Travel Beats celebrates the achievements of young Indians and publishes exclusive stories from the U.S. and India in a consistent effort to bridge between Indians in America and India. It publishes the latest news about Indian Americans from different walks of life and lists upcoming Indian events in the United States. It also shares updates from U.S.-India airlines. www.indianeagle.com/travelbeats


The Indian American community has done very well in America. We are now the most affluent and most educated demographic, and one that is key to the economic success of America. Five members of Congress give our community a voice at the political table, and years we will be joined by more colleagues. One day we may see an Indian American President - after all, this is the America we believe in. DR. AMI BERA

LONGEST-SERVING INDIAN AMERICAN MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS. REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA’S 7TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

REPRESENTATIVE AMI BERA. READ HIS FULL STORY ON PAGE 77.

politics

it’s my hope that over the next few

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“BY PERMANENTLY PLACING HIS PORTRAIT ON CAPITOL HILL, WE WILL COMMEMORATE HIS SERVICE AND RECOGNIZE AMERICA'S UNIQUE CULTURE, WHICH ENABLES ALL AMERICANS REGARDLESS OF RACE, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN, TO REACH THE VERY HEIGHTS OF SUCCESS," - REPRESENTATIVE JOE WILSON

OIL ON CANVAS, JON R. FRIEDMAN, 2007 COLLECTION OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

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“There Are No SecondClass Citizens” How Dalip Singh Saund Overcame Prejudice and Legal Hurdles to Citizenship to Become the First Indian American Congressman

“I

f democracy and free-

dom are to survive in this world, there must be a close liaison between the two greatest democracies of the world, the Republic of India and the United States of America.” America of the 1950s was far from the culturally diverse nation we know today. The time was filled with a push for social justice for all races. The civil rights movement was in full swing in 1957, a year that held many firsts for minorities and the year the country was introduced to a man who would change American politics forever — Dalip Singh Saund. Born in Chhajulwadi, Punjab, British India, in 1899 to a Sikh family, Saund became a pioneer who holds the distinction of having paved the way for Asian Americans in U.S. politics. He served the 29th District of California from Jan. 3, 1957, to Jan. 3, 1963. He was the first Sikh American, the first Asian American, the first Indian American, and the first member of a non-Abrahamic faith to be elected to Congress.

Dalip Singh Saund grew up in a joint family with seven children, four boys and three girls. His father and uncles worked as government contractors constructing canals and other public works. He attended a boarding school in Baba Bakala near Amritsar and Prince of Wales College in Jammu, before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Punjab University in 1919. During his time at the university, he became interested in the political process, particularly in the speeches and writings of Gandhi and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. He was so inspired by the life and speeches of President Abraham Lincoln that he became determined to study in the United States. In 1920, Saund emigrated to the United States originally to study agriculture before switching courses to study mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received both his master’s (1922) and doctorate (1924). While he was a student at the university, Saund stayed connected to his roots and lived in a hostel established and maintained by the Sikh Temple in

Stockton, California, where Indian students lived rent-free. By the time he finished his studies, Saund had determined that his future was in the United States, despite opposition from his family and with the knowledge that there were many obstacles in the path of employment, land ownership, and citizenship for Indian American immigrants. In the summer of 1925, Saund took the only job available to him: a supervisor on a cotton farm in southern California. Because he could not legally own land, Saund leased land to farm through an American friend and continued farming on his own. While studying at Berkeley, Saund had joined the Hindustan Association of America, eventually becoming president. He would use the connections he made through the group to develop his public speaking skills and political personna. He spoke passionately about democracy and India’s fight for independence from Great Britain and became a familiar figure in California’s Imperial Valley. Saund also wrote a book, “My Mother India,” which was published in 1930, and continued to debate and speak throughout California. Through his speaking, Saund met and fell in love with Marian Kosa, the daughter of a prominent artist in Los Angeles. Again despite the obstacles that faced “multi-racial” marriages and laws that prevented him from owning property or becoming a citizen, Saund followed his heart and the two were married in 1928. It was a turning point in his life, and TEXAS INDIA FORUM

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I had become a close part of the American life. I had married an American girl, and was the father of three American children. I was making America my home. Thus it was only natural that I felt very uncomfortable not being able to become a citizen of the United States. My social life may have been full and rewarding, but the political desire in me was sorely frustrated.” Saund and his wife became active in Democratic politics. “I had become a close part of the American life. I had married an American girl and was the father of three American children. I was making America my home. Thus it was only natural that I felt very uncomfortable not being able to become a citizen of the United States. My social life may have been full and rewarding, but the political desire in me was sorely frustrated.” Saund formed the India Association of America in 1942 with the main objective to mobilize Indians in California for citizen-

ship rights. He became its first president and began editing and mailing out a news bulletin in Punjabi language to educate and to convince the India-born residents of California to fight for their rights to citizenship. With the help of Indian American groups throughout the country, Saund and other Indian American leaders were able to enlist the aid of progressive members of Congress Clare Booth Luce and Emanuel Cellar to introduce a bill in Congress that was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946, opening the door to citizenship for Asian Americans.

DALIP SINGH SAUND MEETING WITH JOHN F. KENNEDY AND LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON.

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In 1952, Saund was elected as a judge in Westmoreland, California, a position he held until he ran and was elected to serve as the representative of California’s 29th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Saund became the first Indian American elected to Congress and was reelected twice, serving from January 1957, to January, 1963. His political career was cut short when he suffered a stroke in 1962. During his political tenure in Congress, Saund continued to fight for both his Indian and American values — fighting against prejudice and discrimination and for citizenship and voting rights for all. He worked on behalf of his constituents, many of whom were farmers serving on the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee as well as the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee. He also promised the voters that he would visit India and the Far East and present himself — an Asian elected to the U.S. Congress — as a living example of American democracy in practice — a campaign promise he was able to fulfill with an extensive tour of the Far East, Southeast Asia, and India in 1957. The leadership and example of Congressman Saund became and continues to be a beacon and source of inspiration for all politicians of South Asian and Indian descent. His legacy and work has been honored in 2007 with the placement of an official portrait in the United States Capitol.


Indian American Members of Congress and Politics Though Indian Americans make up a relatively small proportion of voters — about 4 million in the United States — their numbers are growing and their voter participation skews slightly higher than that of the general population as a whole. In 2016, the Indian American voter turnout was 62%, slightly higher than the overall turnout rate of 61.4% and higher than the rates for both Hispanics and African-Americans. Indian Americans are also among the most affluent groups in the nation and that makes them a powerful potential donor base. During the 2018 midterm election, the Indian American community mobilized to send a record number of Indian American legislators to Congress. With one member of the United States Senate and four members of the House of Representatives, Indian Americans constitute 1% of House membership which is in line with their representation in the general population as a whole.

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politics

Pramila Jayapal

P

ramila Jayapal currently

serves as the representative from Washington’s 7th Congressional District. She is the first Indian American woman to serve in the House of Representatives. Along with being the district’s first female member of Congress, she is also the first South Asian American to represent Washington in Congress and one of only 14 naturalized citizens currently serving in the United States Congress. Jayapal currently serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and serves on both the Judiciary and Budget committees. Born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Jaypal grew up in India, Indonesia, and Singapore. At age 16, she immigrated to the United States to attend college. Jayapal’s father an 85-year-old marketing professional and mother a 74-yearold writer currently reside in Bengaluru, India. Perhaps influenced by both parents’ interests, Pramila received her bachelors’ degree from Georgetown University in English literature and economics and subsequently received her MBA from Northwestern University. Jayapal’s book, “Pligrimage: One Woman’s Return to a Changing India,” published in 2000, is a combination spiritual memoir and analysis of modern India written about her two-year sojourn through India.

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Prior to serving in elected office, Congresswoman Jayapal spent 20 years working internationally and domestically in global public health and development and as an award-winning national advocate for women’s, immigrant, civil, and human rights. She spent almost a decade working on global health and development for the international nonprofit organization Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and spent 12 years as the founder and Executive Director of OneAmerica, the largest immigration advocacy organization in Washington State and one of the largest in the country. “I think India is not only incredibly important to me not only because I was actually born in India. Iam very deeply tied with India. My parents still live in India. They live in Bangalore. My son was born in India. For me the relationship between the US and India is not only a political relationship, but also a personal relationship. It is actually what I live every day,”

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA: A WOMAN REVISITS HER HOMELAND Pramila Jayapal, development specialist, MBA from Kellogg School of Management, wasn’t raised in India. She left at age five, growing up in Indonesia and Singapore before landing in the United States at age 16. After sporadic visits to India over 25 years, she returned for a two year journey she would chronicle, blending her own experiences with a broader look at the differences between India and the United States. The result is part memoir, part investigation of modern India—touching on everything from the American identity to child labor, literacy, and women’s rights. In the end, she sums up the duality of the Indian American experience with the simple yet profound statement: “Now I am at home both in the U.S. and India.”


If our nation is to rebuild opportunity for future generations, it will require our elected leaders to realize that their responsibility lies not with their political party, but rather with the American people that they have been chosen to represent.”

Ami Bera

C

ongressman Ami Bera

represents California’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Currently serving his third term, Bera is the longest-serving Indian American legislator. In his previous two terms, he traveled to India and co-chaired the India Caucus in the House of Representatives. Bera is one of only two Unitari-

an Universalists serving in Congress. Congressman Bera is currently a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he serves as Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. He is also vice chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Representative Bera’s father immigrated to the United States in 1958 followed by his mother in 1960. The family hails from Rajkot, Gujarat, and he has retained strong ties to India. A first-generation American born

and raised in California, Bera holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a doctor of medicine degree from the University of California at Irvine. He served as associate dean for admissions at the UC Davis School of Medicine and later served as the chief medical officer for the County of Sacramento. Bera was guided by a desire to serve his community, leading him to medicine and his subsequent run for Congress. “Our nation is built upon a history of immigration, dating back to our first pioneers, the Pilgrims. For more than three centuries, we have welcomed generations of immigrants to our melting pot of hyphenated America: British-Americans; Italian-Americans; Irish-Americans; Jewish-Americans; Mexican-Americans; Chinese-Americans; Indian-Americans.”

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Ro Khanna

R

epresentativeRoKhanna

has been serving his second term as the U.S. Representative from California's 17th Congressional District. Representative Khanna sits on the House Budget, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform committees and is First Vice Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He also serves as an assistant whip in the Democratic Caucus. Khanna was born in 1976 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both of his parents immigrated to the United States in the 1970s from India in search of opportunity and a better life for their children. His father is a chemical engineer, and his mother is a substitute school teacher. Rep. Khanna’s commitment to public service was inspired by his grandfather, who was active in Gandhi’s independence movement, worked with Lala Lajpat Rai in India, and spent several years in jail for promoting human rights. Representative Khanna graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago and received a law degree from Yale University. Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Khanna taught economics at Stanford University, law at Santa Clara University, and American Jurisprudence at San Francisco State University. He wrote the book “Entrepreneur78

ial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future” and worked as a lawyer specializing in intellectual property law. Rep. Khanna served in President Barack Obama’s administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed him to the California Workforce Investment Board. He has also provided pro bono legal counsel to Hurricane Katrina victims with the Mississippi Center for Justice, and co-authored an amicus brief on the fair housing U.S. Supreme Court case, Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. On Feb. 21, 2019, Khanna was named a national co-chair of Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign.

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

RHO KHANA’S ANSWER TO A QUESTION POSED ON QUORA, POSTED ON HUFFINGTON POST, DEC. 11, 2015: Q: What’s it like running for office as an Indian American? What are the concerns of Indian Americans that are different from other groups? A: I have run very proud of my heritage and story. My grandfather, Amaranth Vidhyalankar, spent four years in jail in the Indian Independence movement in the 1940s. I often talk about his inspiration on the campaign trail. I also am very open in discussing my Hindu faith, and how that informs my concern for the environment, for equality of women’s rights, and for equality in gay rights. The Indian American story is an American story. My parents came with very little. I went to public school, took out loans for higher education, and have had many opportunities because of my education. My hope is that my candidacy will inspire many Indian Americans to run for office, vote, get involved and serve.


Raja Krishnamoorthi

R

ep. Krishnamoorhi was

first elected in 2016 to serve Illinois’s 8th Congressional District. Krishnamoorthi was born into a Tamil-speaking family in New Delhi, India. His family moved to Buffalo, New York, when he was three months old so that his father could attend graduate school. Raja was reared in Peoria, Illinois, where he attended public schools and was a valedictorian of his high school class. Scholarships and student loans allowed Raja to graduate summa cum laude from Princ-

eton University with a degree in mechanical engineering and a certificate from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy. He then graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and clerked for a federal judge before practicing law in Chicago. Rep. Krishnamoorthi was named as the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, which will give him jurisdiction over important pocketbook issues such as education, workforce development, income inequality,

India is a key partner for the United States and Asia. Both our economic and strategic posture in the region are strengthened by investing in the bilateral relationship between the world's two largest democracies. India and the U.S. have pledged to collaborate on energy security, combating climate change and growing the green economy - opportunities that will create jobs in both countries. I am happy that we are continuing to build on this nearly 70-year-old partnership and are laying the groundwork for an even stronger relationship in the decades to come.” health care, and consumer affairs. He is the first ever member of South Asian descent to chair a congressional committee or subcommittee. “I am honoured and privileged to become the first ever South Asian American to serve as a chair in Congress,” Krishnamoorthi said. “As a child, I had the opportunity to see my parents work hard to achieve the American Dream of a middle-class life. As the Chairman, I will use my role on this subcommittee to grow and strengthen the middle class so that all Americans can have the same opportunities my family did,” he said. TEXAS INDIA FORUM

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Kamala Harris K

amala D. Harris is a

lifelong public safety and civil rights leader. Elected in 2016, she is the first Indian American to be elected to the U.S. Senate and is the first Indian American and first woman to serve as Attorney General of the state of California. She serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on the Budget. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011 and as the 32nd Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017. She is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election — the first Indian American female to run for the nation’s highest office. Although Harris identifies as both Indian American and African American — her father is of Jamaican descent and taught at Stanford University, and her

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mother was a cancer researcher and the daughter of an Indian diplomat — many people do not know that she is of Indian descent. Kamala Devi Harris was born Oct. 20, 1964, in Oakland, California.

tended family in Chennai. She was also close to her diplomat grandfather, P. V. Gopalan.

seek a career in law enforcement because she wanted to be “at the table where decisions are made.”

When Harris was 12, her mother accepted a position doing research at Jewish General Hos-

Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of the ban on samesex marriage, she proceeded to conduct California’s first samesex marriage. A strong activist of LGBTQ+ rights, fair pay, immigration rights, net neutrality, and voting rights, Harris was the first senator to say she wouldn’t vote for a spending package if Congress didn’t include protections for DREAMers (undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children). Harris also turned her attention as attorney general to confronting the child migrant crisis.

My mother, grandparents, aunts, and uncle instilled us with pride in our South Asian roots - we were raised with a strong awareness of and appreciation for Indian culture. All of my mother’s words of affection or frustration came out in her mother tongue (Tamil) - which seems fitting to me, since the purity of those emotions is what I associate with my mother most of all.” Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was a Tamil Indian breast-cancer scientist who immigrated to the United States from Madras, India in 1960, to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her father, Donald Harris, is a retired Stanford University economics professor who emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study in economics at UC Berkeley. Harris has one younger sister, Maya Harris, who is a public policy advocate. Her mother insisted on giving both sisters Sanskrit names derived from Hindu mythology to help preserve their cultural identity. Kamala is also a descendant of a slave owner from Jamaica. She was raised in Berkeley, California, where she grew up attending both a Black Baptist church, where she and her sister sang in the choir, and a Hindu temple. As a child, Harris often visited her ex-

pital and teaching at McGill University and they moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In 1981, Harris graduated from Westmount High School in Westmount Quebec. She went on to Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she double-majored in political science and economics, was elected to the liberal arts student council, was on the debate team, organized mentor programs for local youth, demonstrated against apartheid, and joined Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Harris returned to California, where she earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1989. She was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1990. Believing the world needed “more socially aware prosecutors,” Harris decided to

THE TRUTHS WE HOLD By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and from the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in “The Truths We Hold” a master class in problem solving, crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively small number of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue to sustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come.

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The Bhakta Family

Offers 3 Generations of Perspective How one Indian American family leans on its close bonds to build a strong sense of identity and belonging. BY DEBORAH HAMILTON-LYNNE

W

HEN THE IDEA WAS

presented to me to interview three generations of a family living under the same roof, I was intrigued. To non-Indian Americans, the notion of living with our parents — let alone our grandparents — after we are grown is as foreign as speaking Gujarati. Mostly, we can’t wait to get out on our own as soon as possible, and family gatherings are unfortunately viewed as an annoying obligation. Having had the privilege of spending time with a close-knit Indian American family — talking, laughing, and breaking bread with all three generations — I am here to say that those of us who do not have the blessing of living

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in such a household are missing out. There is a deep sense of belonging and ease that comes with such love and wisdom, which exists in the oldest member as much as in the youngest. There is a respect for things that can be learned from every member and a strong desire for each member to succeed and be happy. What follows is a look inside the life of one such multi-generational family and an examination into how each generation perceives its Indian cultural heritage, the blending of that heritage with the American dream, and the experience of passing that shared experience to future generations.


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generations

Dinesh & Indu Bhakta Dinesh and Indu Bhakta were born and raised in separate villages In Gujarat, India. Although their marriage was arranged, they are very much in love to this day. Dinesh attended university and graduated in 1972 with a degree in accounting and economics. Shortly after their marriage in 1972, Dinesh immigrated to Brampton, Ontario, in Canada. As a new immigrant, he worked a string of factory jobs in the manufacturing industry. Indu soon joined her husband in Canada, also working factory jobs even though she did not speak much

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English. Dinesh and Indu would work opposite factory shifts, so they could also care for their son. Shortly after the arrival of their second son, Avinash, they relocated the family to Los Angeles, California, in 1978, where, like many Indian American immigrants of his generation, Dinesh bought a small motel near Hollywood, followed by other motels in Texas. In 1981, tired of the rat race and longing for home, he decided to move his family back to India and started a poultry farming business in his home state of Gujarat. In 1985, he returned to the

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

United States, eventually settling in Texas, and became one of the first Indian American hoteliers to own a franchise hotel. Indu continued to help her husband in the hotel business, while raising their children. When her in-laws joined them from India, she also cared for them. The couple is now retired and spend their time traveling and caring for their four grandchildren. They enjoy watching both Indian television shows and American sports. Dinesh also serves as president of the Bhakta Samaj of San Antonio.


In Indian culture we try to teach our children and grandchildren the value of being nice to people, being kind, and giving. I think that is why so many of us go into the hospitality business.” WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS FOR YOU TO LEAVE INDIA? DINESH: I graduated from college in 1972, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My father was a farmer and I hated that work, so I was thinking about postgraduate work when one of my uncles who was going to Canada told me that they were accepting immigrants, so I applied. WAS THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS DIFFICULT? Yes. Indu stayed in India for about a year and a half while I looked for a job. Canada gave me a work permit as an accountant, but they weren’t hiring Indian accountants. I took whatever jobs that would pay, so that I could survive and bring Indu over. I worked factory jobs and a lot of other jobs. When she joined me in Canada, Indu worked too. In 1978, we moved to Los Angeles because we had family there, and I bought a small hotel with 13 rooms. It was what a lot of Indian people did — the way they got started. But we didn’t want to raise our kids there, so we moved to a small town — Dilley, Texas — south of San Antonio. We were definitely in the mi-

nority there. It was lonely, so I sold our hotel, packed and moved back to India. This was a mistake for me. I missed my life in the U.S. and came back. I bought a couple of hotels in Phoenix and eventually I built the first Holiday Inn Express property in San Antonio and that’s where we stayed. WHAT PART OF ASSIMILATING TO LIFE IN THE U.S. DID YOU LIKE THE MOST? The opportunity to make a good life. In the U.S., things are easier — in terms of access — food, groceries, housing, banking, driving. Even the government, for the most part, has easier access. In India, even now, it is a struggle for the little things. Unless you are a multimillionaire, there are struggles. SO WHAT PART OF YOUR INDIAN HERITAGE DO YOU WANT TO PASS ON TO YOUR GRANDCHILDREN? In Indian culture we try to teach our children and grandchildren the value of being nice to people, being kind, and giving. I think that is why so many of us go into the hospitality business. We enjoy taking care of people. And then we try to teach respect — respect for your elders, for your parents, for your family and for yourself.

That is very important to us. I would like for my grandchildren to see the small village where I was born and raised — it will be an eye opener for them. One day when I was explaining that we had cows and buffaloes living in the house with us, my grandson said, “you grew up in a barn” and I said “Yes, I guess I did.” It’s funny now to look at it that way. Through his eyes, I now see that is the way it was. To me, at the time, it was nothing unusual. For me, my identity has changed over the years. There was a time when I felt like I only wanted to be an American, but now I want to be both — an Indian and an American, and I want to pass along the heritage and culture of both countries to my grandchildren. ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER IMMIGRANTS JUST BEGINNING THEIR AMERICAN JOURNEY? Learn the rules, the language and customs here. We still celebrate Indian holidays and festivals, but we also celebrate Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving – our favorite holiday. We love a big turkey on the table. Find the American things you love. For instance, Indu loves a Big Mac. I love the Spurs. Find a mentor and don’t isolate yourself. It is good to have friends in the Indian community, but also branch out and make friends from everywhere. Join groups and get involved. We still watch Bollywood movies and cricket on television and listen to Indian music, but now we mix it with American sports and television too.

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generations

Smita Bhakta

Avinash Bhakta

Smita Bhakta was born and raised in the United Kingdom in a predominately Indian community. Her father and mother were first and second-generation Indian immigrants, respectively. Smita knew she wanted to be an attorney at a young age and has never steered off that path, although her grandmother told her girls shouldn’t argue! She attended The University College of London School of Law before immigrating, then the University of Texas at Austin graduating with an undergraduate degree in government as well as her law degree. During law school, she served as co-editor-in-chief of the Texas Journal of Women and the Law. Currently she is a partner in a boutique real estate law firm in San Antonio, Texas, specializing in commercial real estate law. She is actively involved in the local community and is particularly passionate about women’s equality and the advancement of women. She has served in various roles for professional and community organizations and is a graduate of Leadership San Antonio. Her proudest accomplishment, however, is to be the mother of two absolutely fantastic children. She is very involved in their school communities, serving as frequent room parent and school volunteer.

Avinash Bhakta was born in Brampton, Ontario, in Canada and immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was only 6 weeks old. He attended boarding school in India during the formative years of Kindergarten through 4th grade, which left a strong impact on his outlook on the world. After moving back to the United States, he has lived mostly in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in economics before settling in San Antonio and starting his own business. Although he initially started his career as a businessman in an unrelated industry, he soon returned to his family’s hospitality roots and is the owner and president of ABH Hospitality, a management and hotel development company based in San Antonio. He serves on the boards of several hospitality and lodging organizations. He’s also an active, involved father and coaches his son’s school basketball team.

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WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

... I think what makes being American so wonderful is all the cultural distinctions that people have.”


The beauty of it is you can live here, keep your important traditions and blend both cultures together.” HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY? AS INDIAN AMERICAN OR MORE INDIAN OR MORE AMERICAN? WHAT ARE SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO?

AS SECOND GENERATION WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN HANDED DOWN TO YOU FROM THE IMMIGRATION EXPERIENCE OF YOUR PARENTS?

AVINASH: Generationally, I see myself as the next stair step in identifying as an American. We consider ourselves Indian American, but I think what makes being American so wonderful is all the cultural distinctions that people have. It’s important to keep those kinds of cultural distinctions alive. I think we’re pretty well assimilated, but still keep Indian roots. That’s the motto of the U.S. - “out of many, one,” right? I think what holds us together as Americans is that almost all Americans at some point came from somewhere else, which in some way shapes our own identities.

SMITA: I think immigrant families work extremely hard. That’s what was drilled into us early on – to work hard. I think education and the value of education was also always paramount. I was really lucky in that my mom was a pioneer in her generation. She wanted to be a nurse and she fought her parents, who were first generation immigrants to England, really hard to go to college. So for me, growing up, I don’t think it was ever a question that I was going to get an education. Even when I was young and my grandmother told me that no one wanted to marry a smart girl and I was wasting my time reading books — that I should learn to cook – I knew what I wanted.

SMITA: I’d consider myself Indian American and generally blend both cultures together. However, one big difference that I see between India and the U.S. is in the treatment of women. In the U.S., although there is still room for improvement, women have more opportunities. There are opportunities available for us to exceed and excel and to do whatever we want to do. Here you can have the best of both worlds. The beauty of it is you can live here, keep your important traditions and blend both cultures together.

BOTH OF YOUR SETS OF PARENTS HAD ARRANGED MARRIAGES. DID YOU? SMITA: No. We met when I was visiting for a college scouting trip to the U.S. Although we’re both Gujarati, we were from different communities, so we broke some barriers there. Our parents were fine with it, but not some of the older generations — at least at first. That’s where the blending of American thinking and custom came in.

AVINASH: By a weird coincidence, our fathers grew up in the same small village and knew each other as children. They had not seen each other in decades before we got together. So some years later when we decided to get married, even though we were from different communities, we went back to that same small village in India and had a traditional Indian ceremony that all of our families got to attend. It was a weeklong party that the entire village joined in. HAVE EITHER OF YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN ENCOUNTERED SOME OF THE PREJUDICES EXPERIENCED BY YOUR PARENTS? AVINASH: Some Indian business people use nicknames or change their name to be more American. I use my given name and I think educating people about different cultures or names is part of the process of breaking down the biases that we run in to. I think any person of color will tell you that the reason that comments like our president made saying “go back to your country” are so offensive is because they’re so common. And I don’t know that there’s any person of color that hasn’t heard something like that in their life. But you do learn to deal with it and for us we learned to associate with better people, people who are open minded enough to see beyond color. SMITA: It’s real, and there are a lot of people who won’t express their bias openly in that manner, but there’s a lot of implicit bias that you run into. There are not many Indian

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generations

attorneys in my field, let alone female Indian attorneys. So as a female minority attorney in a very male dominated profession, there is sometimes an initial bias, but it usually doesn’t continue past that first interaction. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU GIVE YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT RACIAL PREJUDICE AND STEREOTYPING? AVINASH: If somebody says something that’s hurtful or unjust, especially at school, speak up because part of it is educating those kids who are raised in a sheltered existence of not knowing what’s really going on around the world – what reality is. We tell them there is a diverse culture in the U.S. and you are part of that diversity. Fortunately, their school is serious about embracing diversity and is very mindful of educating kids about different cultures and different religions. SMITA: In regards to stereotypes, we as a family aren’t very stereotypical. My in-laws are quite progressive and different for their generation of Indians. My mother-in-law and I cook a lot of traditional vegetarian and non-traditional meat dishes, but we also cook American food. My son makes “Indian tacos” with his leftover Indian food on a tortilla or roti. We celebrate both Indian and American holidays and love Christmas as well as Hindu holidays. We decorate our home for both Diwali and Christmas. I guess we really live a true blend of Indian and American cultures. 88

WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF LIVING WITH THREE GENERATIONS UNDER THE SAME ROOF? AVINASH: We enjoy being an extended family, especially the interaction that my parents get to have with the kids. I think the biggest thing is, we’re striving for that family feeling of ‘yes, it’s good to do things as a family and have family around’ — and support. Many Americans don’t get that because their families are so spread out. SMITA: In terms of cultural legacy, one very important thing that we’re giving our kids is this extended family that we live in. To me, grandparents are key to transmitting culture down through the generations. We grew up similarly. My maternal grandparents always lived near by and we had a close relationship with them. They had an influence on how we were raised. With my children, their grandparents have an even larger influence on how they’re raised and it helps with transmitting culture, food, and language down the generations. They have the richness of having their grandparents in their lives and hearing their stories, like these immigrant stories. They get to hear this at the dinner table. Up until a few years ago, my fatherin-law’s mother also lived with us. So at one point we had four generations living here. How awesome is it that my children got to know their great grandmother and not just as like, oh, this lady in a picture or in a nursing home somewhere, but a real person who they saw every day. It’s just amazing. That’s an incredible thing.

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR INDIANS JUST COMING TO THE U.S.? SMITA: It’s important to assimilate. You can still keep your traditions and culture alive, but you don’t have to do one or the other. I think for a lot of immigrants it’s important to embrace the best of both worlds. A lot of immigrants isolate themselves in a community of people that are just like them, which is great because they’ve got that common bond. That is a great support structure for them and they shouldn’t lose that support. But branching out and meeting different people broadens their perspective and broadens the other people’s perspectives in return. I think making those connections is important because that’s how we break down bias across cultures. AVINASH: Exactly right. They are here looking for a better life: Don’t stay stuck in the same thing your families did for generations and generations, only now doing it in a different country. You have the opportunity to keep your roots but also learn new things and bring new cultures into your life, which will enrich it with better things for you and your future generations. You can keep your traditions while you embrace your new life.


Sohan Bhakta

I am definitely a blend because I like mostly American things but also some Indian things - like food and music and movies and Indian weddings, where everyone has a good time and is happy.”

Sohan Bhakta was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He’s never been to India, but he loves Bollywood. He’s a straight A student and very talented storyteller, being one of 2019’s National Youth Storytelling Torchbearers. He loves to read, especially books about imaginary places and magical worlds, such as “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings.” He also loves Star Wars, history, and science. He loves to build things, and he loves talking about politics.

YOU ARE THE THIRD GENERATION LIVING IN THIS HOUSE. HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF? AS AN AMERICAN? AN INDIAN AMERICAN? SOHAN: I am an American but I am also an Indian American. I like that in America everyone has opportunities and the same chances. I like that one group isn’t in charge of everything and that people are supposed to be treated equally. I like that lots of different people call America their home and that is where I fit in as an Indian American. I am definitely a blend because I like mostly American things but also some Indian things - like food and music and movies and Indian weddings, where everyone has a good time and is happy.

Aashi Bhakta Aashi Bhakta was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Like her brother, she loves Bollywood. She loves to dance and sing along with Bollywood songs — even if she doesn’t know all the words. Aashi is beginning traditional Indian dance lessons this year.

WITH YOUR GRANDPARENTS LIVING WITH YOU, DOES IT HELP YOU CONNECT TO YOUR INDIAN ROOTS?

I HEARD THAT YOUR SCHOOL HAS LOTS OF DIVERSITY. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL.

Definitely. I have never been to India but I want to see where my grandfather grew up and imagine what it was like for him when he was my age. My grandmother makes the best Indian food - it’s yummy. We are Hindu but not so strictly religious. We have a lot of books and I read about the Hindu religion and gods and we celebrate Diwali and other Hindu holidays. Our whole family loves holidays - all holidays - and we celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas too. We all watch television together - cricket and basketball. And I speak mostly Gujarati with my grandmother.

We have all different types of food and they teach us about all religions. They even do a day at my school for Diwali. I like that they teach us about all kinds of cultures and people and religions and customs. It is fun. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR KIDS WHEN THEY FIRST COME TO THE U.S.? Learn the culture. Listen to the music. Watch sports and movies. It will make it easier to make friends and relate to other kids once you have something in common.

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contributions

Malani mmittee Chair Mr. Jugal Malani

er 22, 2019

nd Namaste!

HOWDY, MODI WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE FOLLOWING:

Event Committee Chair Sept. 22, 2019

COMMITTEE CHAIR

Yalamanchili, Charlie Yalamanchili

PATRONS

HONORARY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Malani, Jugal

Mr. Jugal Malani Event Committee Chair

Bhutada, Ramesh George, KP Guntupalli, Kalpalatha September 22, 2019 Khator, Renu Howdy and Namaste! Likhari, Prithvipal Singh Texas India Forum has the great privilege and honor Mathew, Texas India Forum has had the great privilege and honor to host the Honorable Narendra Modi,Ken to host thethe Honorable Narendra Modi, prime minisPrime Minister of India. Modi ji has opened a new chapter in the history of India.Nanavati, As Indian-Gaurang Neemuchwala, Abidali we have long recognized natural and and the ter of India.Americans, Modiji has opened a newthe chapter in obvious the partnership between India Nilkanth United States, the world’s largest democracies. We are excited that the dynamism ofPatel, the “New Tyebji, Abeezar history of India. As Indian long not only for us but for all Americans India” envisioned by Americans, Modi ji will bringwe newhave possibilities, as recognizedwell. the natural and obvious partnership beHONORARY

Howdy and Namaste!

ia Forum has had the great privilege and honor to host the Honorable Narendra Modi, e Minister of India. Modi ji has opened a new chapter in the history of India. As Indianns, we have long recognized the natural and obvious partnership between India and the ates, the world’s largest democracies. We are excited that the dynamism of the “New visioned by Modi ji will bring new possibilities, not only for us but for all Americans as

COMMITTEE tween India and the the has world’s largest Organizing theUnited “Howdy, States, Modi!” event presented us with the challenge of managing the CO-CHAIRS largest single-day gathering of Indian-Americans in history. We have risen to this occasion only Neemuchwala, Abidali democracies. We are excited that the dynamism of the effort support of numerous partnerthe organizations, individual andSunita ng the “Howdy, Modi!”with event hasandpresented us with challenge ofvolunteers, managing the& Brij Agarwal, the “New India” Modiji inwill open donors,envisioned from Houston,by elsewhere Texas, andup across America. To tell the story of ourAnu & Arun Agarwal, ngle-day gathering of Indian-Americans history. We hundreds have risen to this occasion only & Aggarwal, contributions to the fabric in of the United States, of performers in our mainstage Krishana new possibilities, not only for us but for all Americans. Braham “Woven” cultural program have also offered their talents. We take the next few pages of this

effort and support ofsouvenir numerous partner organizations, individual volunteers, and Agrawal, publication to recognize all the people who have made this event possible and to offerAnjali & Hari Agrawal, Sushila & Organizing the “Howdy, Modi!” event has presented them our sincerest thanks. from Houston, elsewhere in Texas, and across America. To tell the story Durga of our Agrawal, Renu & us withofthethe challenge ofStates, managing the largestour sinions to the fabric hundreds performers mainstage We theUnited “Howdy, Modi!” event inspired you to takeof shared dreams to an in evenour brighter future. Govind Agrawal, Vikash & gle-day gathering of Indian Americans in history. We cultural program haveRegards, also offered their talents. We take the next few pages Vikram of this risen to this occasion only with the effort and & Viral publication to have recognize all the people who have made this event possible Amin, and Sejal to offer Anand, Kunal support of numerous partner organizations, individBavishi, Dipti & Nilesh sincerest thanks. Jugal Malani ual volunteers, and donors, from Houston, elsewhere in Texas, and across America.

Bhandari, Arpita & Amit Bhutada, Shraddha & Rishi Daga, Nita & Rajeev Dev, Vaishali & Prakash Goradia, Marie & Vijay Goradia, Indrani & Hemant Gupta, Yashmin & Satish Israni, Radha & Hakumat Jain, Bimla & Swatantra Jain, Gunjan & Anurag Jhunjhunwala, Prabha & Vinod Khanna, Alka & Sanjeev Kothari, Urmila & Arun Mahajan, Dr. Sushma & Devinder Makanji, Vanita & Mahesh Malani, Raj & Jugal Mehta, Mamta & Jainesh Mehta, Nidhika & Pershant Mody, Vaishali & Mihir Patel, Tejal & Manish Puskoor, Haritha & Dayakar Sareen, Rita & Bal Savjani, Urvashi & Gopal Shah, Darshana & Rajani Turakhia, Nimmi & Mukesh Tyebji, Paulomi & Abeezar Verma, Vinnie & Arun Wani, Dr. Manish K.

Howdy, Modi!” event inspired you to take our shared dreams to an even brighter future.

ani

To tell the story of our contributions to the fabric of the United States, hundreds of performers in our mainstage “Woven” cultural program have also offered their talents. We take the next few pages of this souvenir publication to recognize all the people who have made this event possible and to offer them our 832.356.MODI Texas India Forum sincerest thanks. 12600 Cardinal Meadow Sugar Land, Texas 77498

info@howdymodi.org www.howdymodi.org

We hope the “Howdy, Modi!” event inspired you to take our shared dreams to an even brighter future.

Regards, Jugal Malani

Texas India Forum 12600 Cardinal Meadow Sugar Land, Texas 77498

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Agarwal, Deepika & Swapnil Agarwal, Krishna & Suresh Agarwal, Manju & Tilak Barai, Panna & Bharat Bhakta, Sudha & Ravi Bhalla, Kanwal & Raj Dasgupta, Rumki & Shivaji Guntupalli, Dr. Kalpalatha & Dr. Jayarama Jain, Asha & Adish Kavadi, Madhavi & Dr. Vivek Mehta, Snehalata & Pravin Naidu, Sujani & Jayaram Patel, Dilipkumar Patel, Miraj Patel, Rita & Dr. Satish Patel, Samirkumar Patel, Shital & Bhavesh Rungta, Manju & Dr. Manish Shah, Leena & Ash

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BharateeyaVahini Bharathi Kalai Manram Bharati Foundation Bharati Tamil Sangam Bharatiya Senior Citizens Of Chicago Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, USA Bhojpuri Association North America (BANA) Bihar and Jharkhand Association of US Bihar Association of North America Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America Birpur Group of Texas BITOSA - Texas Blind Foundation for India BMM Brahaman Samaj of North America Brahma Kumaris Dallas Brahma Kumaris Texas BRBLA Chakra Indian Student Association Char Dham Hindu Temple Charlotte Gujarati Samaj Charotar Leua Patidar Samaj Chhattisgarh Association of North America Chicago Association of Rajasthanis in America Chicago Hindu Mahotsav Group NFP Child Rights & You America Chinmaya Mission DFW Chinmaya Mission Houston Chinmaya Mission Portland Classical Arts Society Houston Classical Arts Society of Houston Clearlake KitKats CLF Global Charity Foundation CLPS Foundation (Texas) Club 24 Plus Coastal Bend India Association Colorado Kannada Koota Colorado Marathi Mandal Colorado Telugu Association Computer Society of India Council of Heritage and Arts of India Council of Indian Organizations In Greater Philadelphia Council of Indian Organizations in Greater Philadelphia Cricket for America Cultural Association of Bengal Cupertino Bhubaneswar Sister City Dadabhagwan Parivaar Houston Dallas Fort Worth Maharashtra Mandal Dallas Indian Lions Club Datta Temple Datta Yoga Center Delaware United Cricket League

Desi Friends Develop Empower Synergize India DFW Khadayta Pariwar Dharma Civilization Foundation Digeswari Parivar USA, Inc. DRYSRFOUNDATION East Indian Senior Citizens Club Ekal - Corpus Christi Ekal Las Vegas Ekal Vidyalay - Dallas Chapter Ekal Vidyalaya Austin Chapter Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, Inc. Ekal Vidyalaya Houston Ekal Vidyalaya USA (Atlanta Chapter) Ekal- San Antonio Ekam USA, Inc FCCRS Federation of Indian American Association of Georgia Federation of Indian Associations - Ohio Federation of Indian Associations NYNJCT Federation of Indian Associations, Chicago, Il Federation of Jain Associations in North America FIA - Chicago Friends of India Society International Florida Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Foundation For India and India Diaspora Studies Foundation for India Studies Friends and Families of India - FFOI, Inc. Friends of India, Lamar University Gauri Siddhivinayak Temple of Houston Inc Gayatri Center Of Texas Gayatri Pariwar Austin Gayatri Pariwar of Baton Rouge Gayatri Pariwar of Dallas/Fort-Worth GITPRO Global Creative Arts Academy Global Foundation for Better Education, Health and Environment,INC. and Education Global Hindu Heritage Foundation Global Indian Business Council Global Indians for Bharat Vikas Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora Global Organization For Community Services Global Organization for Divinity Global Organization of People of Indian Origin Global Organization of People of Indian Origin GOPIO Redwood City GOPIO Virginia Graduate Indian Student Organization Greater Baltimore Temple

Greater Dallas Arya Samaj Greater Houston Nair Service Society GSH Event Center Gujarat Cultural Association, Chicago Gujarati Mandal of Central Ohio Gujarati Sahitya Sarita, Houston Gujarati Samaj of Arkansas Inc Gujarati Samaj of Central Texas Gujarati Samaj of Greater Austin Gujarati Samaj Of Greater Cleveland Gujarati Samaj of Houston Gujarati Samaj of Mississippi Gujarati Samaj of New York Gujarati Samaj Of San Antonio Gujarati Samaj Of Tampa Bay Gujarati Samaj of the Rio Grande Valley Gujarati Samaj, Inc. DFW Gujarati Senior Society of Plano Gujurat Cultural Association Hanuman Cricket Club Hanuman Universal Mandir Hari Haryanvis in Texas HAWT (Hindu Association of West Texas) Hemingway Court Homeowners Association Inc Hindi Club of Illinois Hindu American Foundation Hindu Association of Northwest Arkansas Hindu Association of West Texas Hindu Family Support Services Hindu Friends of Atlanta Hindu Mahasabha of America, Dallas HIndu Peace Foundation Hindu Samaj of Baton Rouge Hindu Society of America Hindu Society of Brazos Valley Hindu Students Council Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - Arkansas Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - Austin Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - Colorado Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - Louisiana Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - New Jersey Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - San Antonio Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Dallas Hindu Temple of Central Arkansas Hindu Temple of Colorado Hindu Temple of Greater Fort Worth Hindu Temple of Greater Tulsa

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CONTINUNED Hindu Temple of San Antonio Hindu Temple Society DFW Hindu Temple Society of Mississippi Hindu Temple, Nebraska Hindu University of America HIndu Vivah Hindu Worship Society Hindu YUVA Hindu YUVA Hindu YUVA @UTSA Hindu Yuva UT Hindu Yuva UTD Hindus of Greater Houston Houston Community College - CCIP Houston Durga Bari Society Houston Food Bank Indian American Council Houston Indian Cricket Club Houston Kannada Vrinda Houston Khalsa Houston Maharashtra Mandal Houston Tamil Studies Chair Houston Youth Music Association Humvatan I.S.S.O International Swaminarayan Satsang Organization IIT Alumni Council Immanuel Marthoma Church of Houston India Association Cultural and Education Center of North Cental Florida, Inc. India Association of Indiana India Association of Kansas City India Association of Nebraska India Association of North Texas India Association of Oklahoma India Association of Rhode Island India Association of Rio Grande Valley India Association of San Antonio India Association of Southeast Texas India Culture Center India Development and Relief Fund, Inc. India Fest Inc. India House India League of America, Michigan Indian American Business Association of USA Indian American Business Organization Indian American Caner Network Indian American Chamber of Commerce Indian American Coalition of Texas Indian American Forum for Political Education Indian American Forum for Political Education Indian American Friendship Council

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Indian American International Chamber of Commerce Indian American Nurses Association of Greater Houston Indian American Nurses Association of North Texas Indian Association of Greater Athens Indian Association of Greater Chicago Indian Association of Rockies Indian Association of Sacramento Indian Association of the Space Coast. Inc Indian Caucus of Secaucus Indian Community Outreach Organization Indian Cultural Association of North America Indian Cultural Heritage Foundation Indian Cultural Society DFW Indian Cultural Society of Jacksonville Indian Diamond & Colorstone Association Indian Diaspora Council Int’l Indian Doctor’s Charity Clinic Indian Doctors Association Indian Family Cultural Association Indian Friends of Atlanta Indian Graduate Students Association Indian History Awareness and Research Indian Institute of Technology Alumni of Greater Houston Indian Maverick Society Indian Muslims Association of Greater Houston Indian National Student Association Indian Pharmacist Association - DFW Indian Professionals Network Indian Senior Citizens Association Indian Student Association Indian Student Association Indian Student Association - Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Indian Student Association at Texas State University Indian Student Association at UALR Indian Student Association of Mississippi Indian Student Association University of Colorado Denver Indian Students Association Indian Students Association Indian Students Association Indian Students Association Indian Students Association (UNTISA) Indian Students Association at LSU Indian Students at Rice Indian Talent Discovery

Foundation Indian Women Collaboration Indiana India Business Council Indiaspora Indo American Association of Fortbend Indo American Charity Foundation of Houston Indo American Forum of Fort. Bend Indo American Friendship Forum Foundation Indo American Kashmir Forum Indo American Seniors of Greater Houston Indo American Soceity of Nuclear Medicine Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston Indo-American Community Federation Indo-American Conservatives of Texas Indo-American Festivals, Inc Indo-American Political Action Committee Indo-American Senior Citizens Association of Austin Indo-American Senior Heritage International Center for Cultural Studies USA International Global Charities International Hindi Association International Hindi Association Dallas International Society for Krishna Consciousness of Houston Isha Foundation Inc Iskcon - San Antonio ISKCON Dallas Isso Hindu Temple Tifton ISSO Temple Pearl Mississippi ITServe Alliance, Inc. Jain Sangh of Greater Austin Jain Social Group Beverly Hills Jain Society of Houston Jain Society of North Texas Jains of San Antonio Jalaram Saibaba Temple, Inc. Javelina Students Sustainability JKYog JKYog JVB Preksha Meditation Center Kachchhi Oswal Jain Association of North America Kala Kunj Kalakriti Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation Texas Chapter Karma Foundation Karmakonnect Katy Hindu Community Katy Indian Cultural Association Katy Indian Group Katy Premier League Katy Youth Cricket KidsVikas - Houston Konkani Samaj DFW KPVC INC

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

Kuvempu Kannada Sangha Lead India Foundation Let Them Smile Again Leuva Patidar Samaj of California Leuva Patidar Samaj of USA Leva Patidar Samaj of Houston Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society Long Island Ladies Circle MA Center Dallas Madhya Pradesh Mitra Mandal MAFS - Metropolitan Asian Family Services Magic Bus Mahatma Gandhi Library Mahatma Gandhi Memorial of North Texas Maheshwari Mahasabha of North America Mallakhamb Federation, USA Mallige Kannada Association of North Texas Manav Mandir Inc. MCHS MediaIN Meenakshi Temple Society Metroplex Tamil Sangam Milan Cultural Association, Inc. Monmouth and Ocean County American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Mumbaikar Global Inc. Muni Seva Charitable Foundation Houston Chapter Naba Banga Nagher Samaj of North America Namaskaar Foundation, Inc. NamoMedia National Council Of Asian Indian Associations National Federation of Indian-American Associations National Federation of Indian-American Associations National Network of Depression Centers India Foundation Natyavani Institute of Dance and Music Newark Avenue Jersey City Chamber Of Commerce NLSCF North America Chhattisgarh Association North America Telugu Society North American Bhakta Education Development, Inc. North American Telugu Association North South Foundation Northern Virginia Bengali Association NRI Seva Foundation NRI Vasavi Association Odia Community of San Antonio OFBJP - Chicago OFBJP - Greater Dallas - Ft. Worth Chapter Org01

Orissa Culture Center Our AIM Foundatiom Overseas Friends of BJP - Atlanta Overseas Friends of BJP - Austin Overseas Friends of BJP - Houston Overseas Friends Of BJP - USA Overseas Volunteer for a Better India Paatasala Palm Beach India Association PanIIT USA Param Shakti Peeth of America Fundation Patanjali Yogpeeth Foundation, Inc. Pathway to Healthcare Careers Patidar Foundation People of Indian Origin Chamber of Commerce and Industry Prashanthi Charitable Services Pratham at University of Houston Pratham DFW Pratham Houston Puja Samithi of Greater Houston Punjabi Culture Club Radha Krishna Mandir Radha Krishna Temple Radha Madhav Dham Radha Shyam Dham Rajasthan Association of Georgia Rangoli - the Indian Association at Penn Rehka & Sudhir Puranik Foundation Republican Indian Committee - New Jersey Rice Hindu Students Council Riverston Indian Cultural Association of Sugarland Riverstone Indian Cultural Association of Sugarland Seniors Rocky Mountain Gujarati Samaj Roorkee in Houston SACCA Sadhu Vaswani Mission Sahaja Yoga SAHAVE Sai Durga Shiva Vishnu Mandir San Antonio Indian Nurses Association Samskrit Bharati Denver Kendra Samskrit Bharti San Antonio Samskrita Bharati Samskrita Bharati Samskrita Bharati USA - Austin Chapter Samskriti San Antonio Bengali Cultural Community San Antonio Maharashtra Mandal San Antonio Tamil Sangam San Antonio United Malayalee Association San Jose Sister City Organisation Sanatan Hindu Center Sanatan Hindu Sanskar Kendra Sanatan Shiv Shakti Mandir of Houston

Sanatana Dharma Foundation Sanjeevani 4 U Sankara Eye Foundation Houston Chapter Sankara Eye Foundation, USA Sant Nirankari Mission Sarada School of Music Sathya Sai Center of Dallas Sathya Sai Region 10 Saurashtra Patel Cutural Samaj Austin Savitri Mission Self Enquiry Life Fellowship Senior Citizen Samaj DFW SEWA International SEWA International - Atlanta SEWA International Denver Chapter SEWA International DFW Chapter Sewa International San Antonio Shirdi Sai Center of Texas Shirdi Sai Jalaram Mandir Shiridisai Baba Temple of Austin Shiv Durga Temple of Bay Area Shivam Dhol Tasha Pathak Shree RamKabir Bhakta Samaj Shree Ramkabir Bhakta Samaj of Houston Shree Sai Parivar, USA, Inc. Dba. World Peace Center Shree Swaminarayan Satsang Mandal Shri Govindji Gaudiya Math Shri Guru Ravidas Sabha of New York Shri Hari School of Kathak Dance Shri Krishna Vrundavana Shri Mangal Mandir Shri Radha Krishna Temple Shri Ram Charit Bhavan Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple of Rockies Shri Sita Ram Foundation, USA Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care Shubham Foundation Siddhi Vinayak Ganpati Mandal Siddhivinayak Temple of USA Sikhs for India Sikhs of America, Inc Silicon Andhra Sindhi Association DFW Sita Ram Hindu Temple Small Independent Motel Association Houston Smartgaon Development Foundation Sneha Hastham Society of Indo American Engineers & Architects South Asian Center for Reintegration and Independent Research South Asians’ International Volunteer Association South Indian US Chamber of Commerce


Sri Annamacharya Project Of North America Sri Guruvayurappan Temple Houston Sri Guruvayurappan Temple of Dallas Sri Rama Jaya Niketan Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple of San Antonio Sri Vasavi Association of Houston Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation St Thomas CSI Church Sujnana Religious Charitable Foundation Surati Leva Patidar Samaj of Southern California Surti Leva Patidar Samaj Svasti Children Welfare Swami Dayanand Educational Foundation Swami VIvekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, USA Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana Swaminarayan Hindu Cutural Center Tagore Society of Houston Tamil Nadu Foundation Houston Chapter Telangana American Telugu Association Telangana American Telugu Association INC Telangana Association of Florida Telangana Association of Greater Houston Telangana Association of Greater San Antonio Telangana Development Forum, USA Telangana Peoples Association of Dallas Telfair Indian American Cultural Association Telugu Association of North America Telugu Association of North Texas Telugu Association of San Antonio Telugu Bhavanam Telugu Cultural Association Telugu Cultural Association - Austin Texas Indian Medical Students of San Antonio Texas Indo American Physicians Society Central Austin Texas IndoAmerican Physician Society Southwest Chapter Texas IndoAmerican Physicians Society – Northeast Chapter Texoma Gujarati Society The Association of Indians in America The Gandhi Foundation of USA The Hindu Temple of Woodlands The Indic Foundation The Indus Entrepreneurs -

Austin The Indus Entrepreneurs Dallas The Indus Entrepreneurs Houston The Indus Entrepreneurs Tampa Bay The Lead India Foundation Thummala Brain Arogya Foundation Together We Stand Tri Valley Kannada Sangha Tri-State Telugu Association Trinity Mar Thoma Church, Hiuston United Indian Cultural Association of Texas United Leuva of Houston United Mechant Association United Nations SPICE Indian Club United Punjabi of America United Senior Pariwar Chicago NFP, Inc. United States Hindu Alliance Universal Shraddha Foundation US India Chamber of Commerce DFW US Indo - American Members Political Action Committee Of Texas US-India Security Council USICOC Foundation Uttarakhand Mandal of America Uttareeya Pradesh Antarashtriya Samiti of North America Vadtal Dham Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple Vaishnav Association of San Antono Vaishnav Milan Helping Hands Vallabh Priti Seva Samaj Vallabh Vidya Mandir Vasavi Seva Foundation DFW Vedanta Society of Greater Houston Vedas World Inc Vedpuran Gyan Veerashaiva Samaja of North America Veerashaiva Samaja of Texas Vidya Dham USA, Inc. Virginia Asian American Store Owners Association Vishnu Vidya Foundation Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America Vishwa Hindu Parishad Of America - Austin, TX Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America - Chicago Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America - Houston Chapter VJTI International Alumni Association Voice Of Specially Abled People, Inc. Volunteering Together for SEVA Washington State India Trade Relations Action Committee Washington State India Trade Relations Action Committee Washington

Telangana Association Westside Cricket Club World Affairs Council of Greater Houston World Malayalee Council World Vegan Vision YLDP of Houston Yoga Bharati Yoga in Daily Life of Greater Atlanta Yogi Divine Society Yogi Divine Society Young Hindus of Greater Houston Young Jain Professionals Youniversoul Fest Zoroastrian Association Of Houston

VOLUNTEERS

Aadit Kapadia Aashi Shah Aastha Agrawal Aatreya Tewary Abha Tiwari Abhijit Datta Abhilash Krishna Abhinav Charan Abhinav prakash Abhishake Gajja Abhishek Baradia Abhishek Bhat Abhishek Bhatore Achalesh Amar Adithya Guttikonda Adithya S Kalkunte Aditi Agarwal Aditya Jayaprakash Nair Aditya Sodhani Advay Jain Aishwarya Deshpande Ajay Bhosle Ajay Choudhary Ajay Kalavala Ajay Patel Ajit Deshpande Ajit Patel Ajith Nair Ajoy Chatterjee Akash Sayona Akash Navsariwala Akhilesh Singh Akshay Gohil Akshay Shah Akshay Wani Alok Shrivastava Alpana Romana Alpesh Thote Aman Kumar Aman Patel Aman Singh Amar trivedi Amarnath Singh Ambaresh Tijare Amber Patel Amey Aras Ameya Kingaonkar Ami Dave Amie Nagar Amit Pandya Amit patel Amit Pathak Amit R Pandya Amita Dabir Amita S. Amin Amol Sahasrabudhe Amol Vaidya Amrita Kedia Amrut Shintre Anamika Chaubey Anand Bangad Anand Dawda Anand Jain

(Phulphagar) Anand K Singh Anand Mallavelli Anand Parikh Anand Reddy Anand sur Anand Theerta Anand Verma Anand Yadav Ananda Ananda Yuvraj Anant patel Anchal agarwal Anchit Patel Aneesh Deshmukh Anil Barot Anil bhagtaney Anil c Raval Anil Gupta Anil Mehta Anil patel Anilkumar Sihray Aniruddh Bhatt Anish Mishra Anjali Aggarwal Anjali Kanojia Anjana Shah Anjani Singh Anjou Keller Anju Preet Ankit Bhatla Ankit Chachad Ankit Kakkar Ankita Damani Ankitkumar Chimanbhai Patel Ankur Patel Ankur Trivedi Anoop Rathod Ansh Shah Anshul goyal Antara Seal Antrix Jain Anu Gupta Anu Pansare Anuj Kankani Anuj Pandya Anuj Parikh Anup Bhasin Anup Lohiya Anupam Bhatnagar Anuradha Sharma Anusha jain Aparna Vakati Apoorv Shrivastava Apoorva Kumar Arabinda Misra Aravind Modini Aravind nimma Archana Mahesh Mehendale Archil Pipwala Archna Agrawal Arjun Mehta Arjun Nair Arjunsinh Varachhia Arpan Prakash Arpita Shroff Arun Banker Arun Dev Kumar Arun Kaluram Kankani Arun Kumar Manikantan Arun Mundra Arun Sharma Aruna Jariwala Aruna Nadella Arunkumar Sajjan Arushi Garg Arvin R Tucker Arvind Kumar Arvind Sambaraj Arvindkumar M Sanklecha Arya Narayan Asajothi Devaki Asha Vadi Ashabaa varachhia

Ashesh Desai Ashir patel Ashish A Patel Ashish Agrawal Ashish Chitalia Ashish Chougule Ashish Jain Ashish Mehta Ashish Patel Ashish Sakalley Ashish Shah Ashish Taneja (Sona Taneja) Ashit P. Patel Ashok Gandhi Ashok Modi Ashok Nigam Ashok Prajapati Ashok Reddy Danda Ashok Salat Ashok Sanjoy Hati Ashutosh Suri Ashwini temghare Asim K Dalal Asit Shah Atman Raval Atul Godse Atul hirpara Atul Kothari Atul Patel Aurea Andrades Bachcha Tiwari Bala Sankarn Balaji Vemula Balwant Kaur Bankim Shukla Barath Menon Barbara Devaraj Bepsi Patel Bhadresh dudhat Bhadresh Patel (Bud Patel) Bhairavi Chitalia Bhakti Chavda Bhakti Jain Bhakti Naik Bhakti Swapnil Saraf Bhamy V Shenoy Bharat Dalal Bharat kumar Bharat Pallod Bharat Parikh Bharat Patel Bharat Patel Bhaskar Pabba Bhavesh Bhatt Bhavik Desai Bhavik Shah Bhavin Adhvaryu Bhavin Divecha Bhavin Patel Bhikhabhai Parikh Bhim Sadhukhan Bhumi Dave Bhumika bhatt Bhumika Upadhayay Bhupen Mehta Bhushan Master Bijal jadav Bijal Shah Bina Mehta Bina Patel Binal Patel Bindu Chakravarty Birju Mehta Biruddha Datta Biswanath Jana Chaitrali Thote Chanda kumari Chandra Shekhar Tiwari Chandra Sirigiri Chandresh V Patel Charu Krishna Charulathta Davalath Chetan Raval chetan Khutale Chetan Patel

Chetan Patel Chetna Patel Chintan Prajapati Chintan Vanpariya Chirag Dave Chirag Pandya Chirag Patel Chirag Sheth D.N. Bhatnagar Daksha Nagar Dakshina Mehta Damini dave Damini Sheth Danny Patel Darshan Khatri Darshana Patel Darshit Modi Davyani Parikh Daya Modi Dayal Chandwani Debashish RoyChowdhury Deelip mhaske Deep Patel Deepak Lunkad Deepak Mankar Deepen Patel Deepti biyani Dev Kumar Jha Devaki Ginde Devanshi gajjar Devayani vaishnav Devendra singh Devendra Srivastva devendrasinh Varachhia Devesh Pandit Devesh Patel Devika Mathilakath Dhananjay Kumar Dhanya Nair dhara bhatt Dharma Theja R. Pasala Dharmendra Patel Dharmik Nanavati Dharminder Dargan Dharti Patel Dhiren Gadhia Dhirendra Patel Dhruval amin Dhruvul thakkar Digamber Eslampure Digvijay Chintawar Digvijay Shinde Dimple Arora Dimple Barai Dina Patel DINESH B ADHIKARI Dinesh P. Patel Dinesh Shukla Dipankar Sinharoy Dipanshu mansingka Dipesh Ashar Dipika Patel Dipika S Varia Dipti Kanhere Dipti Vora Disha Panchani Disha Raja Divyang Surati Divyendu Singh Divyesh Besherdas Dr Kavita Vachaknavee Dr Subodh k Singh Dr. Ramesh Rajagopalan Dr. Suresh Alahari Dr. Utpal Bhalala Dr. Vasudev Patel Drumi Bhatt Durga Prasad Ramaswamy DurgaPrasad Seloj Ektaben Mahida Falguni shah

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contributions

CONTINUNED Fenil Modi Fenil Shah Forum shelat Gagan Batra Gagan Bhardwaj Gaju R. Patel Ganesh B Otcha Ganesh Harke Garima Agrawal Gaurang Sheth Gaurav Jhaveri Gaurav Khandelwal Gaurav Mendiratta Gaurav Narendra Ved Gautam Vora Gayatri Mehta Geeta Patel Geetha Ravula Girija Krishnan Kesavan Girish Pawar Girish Rathi Gitesh Desai Gokul Kunnath Gopal Agarwal Gopal Aggarwal Gopal Sannidhi Gopal Savjani Gopal Selani Gopi Khande Gopi Reddy Yarkareddy Gunjan Shah Gunjankumar H Shah Gururaj Deshpande Gyanesh Dadhich Hansa Gadhia Hardik Joshi Hardik Raval Hardik Shah Hardik Shah Harendra Bhatt Haresh Patel Haresh R. Patel Hari Iyer Harikrishnan Kottilavetel Hariprasad Balasubramanyam Harirajan Thyagarajan Harish Devathraj Harish Kapoor Harish Kolasani Harish Patel Harish Thakkar Harsh B. Gupta Harsh Gosar Harsh Shah Harshad Shah Harshada Jashwant Harshal Kiran Kulkarni Harshit Jain Hasu Patel Hem Vijay Shah Hema Gupta Hema Pandya Hema Patel Hema Venkat Hemal Sakaria Hemalkumar Patel Hemant Jadhav Hemant Thakur Hemantkumar S Patel Hemen Patel Hemendra Makkad Her Bhatt Heral Paki Herat Shah Heta Patel Hetal Bhatt Hetal Nayak Hetal Patel Hetavi Shah Himanshu Kumar Himanshu

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Maheshwari Himanshu Sheth Hina M Gandhi Hinal Patel Hiral C Patel Hiren Das Hiren Joshi Hiren Patani Hitendra Kurwa Hitendra Modi Hitesh Patel Hitesh Shah Hitesh Shah Hiteshkumar Patel Ila Mehta Ila Patel Ila Susheem Mehta Ilesh Patel Inderjeeth Damodaran Indira Nimmagadda Indira Singhal Indraneel Dileep Sikhare Ishan Danayak Ishani Patel Ishya Kachru Jabali Patel Jagat Sinha Jagdish Bhatt Jagdish Kothari Jagdish Piparia Jagdish Prajapati Jagruti Ashar Jagruti Sarkar Jaimin Patel Jaimin Upadhyay Jaimini M Patel Jainam Shah Jaiprakash Bankolli Jasvantsinh Atotaria Jay Chavda Jay Mishra Jay Patel Jaya Venkata Hanumath Padarthi Jayakrishna Gundamaraju Jayant Namjoshi Jayaprakash Puthenveettil Jayasree Nair Jaydeepkumar J Bhatt Jayesh Porwal Jayesh Prajapati Jayesh Sanghvi Jaymini Patel Jaynish B Patel Jayprakash B Patel Jayshree Mehta Jeel Patel Jigar Master Jigar Panchal Jignasha J Bhatt Jignesh Patel Jignesh Patel Jignesh Ratani Jigneshkumar (Jay) Patel Jigyasa Anand Jill Patel Jimmy Patel Jinit Patel Jishnu Sreekumar Jitender Bhateja Jitendra J Vakil Jitendra Jagrotia Jitendra Purbey Jitendra Vakil Joshi Rajashri Shailendra Joshi Shailendra Pramod Joy Patel Jugal Malani Juhi Bhatt Jully Mahida Jwalant (Jay) Patel Jyoti Y Patel Jyotiben Shah

K.c Mehta Kala Patel Kalpana Fruitwalla Kalpana Mehta Kalpana Sarode Kalpana Vora Kalpesh Desai Kalpesh Patel Kalpesh Rana Kalyan Purohit Kamal Agnihotri Kamal Dhanani Kamal Kaushal Kamal Patel Kamlesh Jain Kamlesh Chauhan Kamlesh Shah Kamleshkumar Patel Kamleshwar Chopra Kanaka Tirumale Karthik Bala Kartik Nayak Kartik Panchal Karuna Kankani Karuna T Gupta Karunakar Chowdavarapu Kathan Parikh Kaushal Kothari Kaushal Patel Kaushik Chatterjee Kaushiki Tewary Kavita Chandwani Kavita Jain Kavita Tewary Keshab Acharya Ketan Inamdar Ketana Shah Keval Prajapati Keyur Patel Keyur Patel Khushboo Vinay Patel Khyati Patel Kim Desai Kinjal Raja Kinnary Patel Kiran Patil Kirit Chimanlal Modi Kirit Modi Kirit Patel Kirti V Shah Kishor Lohiya Kishore Fruitwalla Kokila Shah Krishan Gupta Krishna Bhakta Krishna Kumar Krishna Lattupally Krishna M Keerty Kritharth Krunal K Amin Krupa Girish Amin Krupa Thakkar Krutarth Trivedi Kumar Kunal Jain Kunal Shinde Kuresh Daruwalla Kusum Sharma Laksh Parikh Lakshmi Iyer Lakshmi N Kurella Lalit Gupta Lalit S. Shah Lalitha Kb Lata J Ahir Latafath Hussain Lavanya Reddy Lavanya Ashok Swaminathan Laxmi Chemubayira Leela Jayachandran Lion Hina Trivedi Lohit Ravi Teja Bhupati Lopa Mehta Lopa Sadana Madan Luthra Madhav Boorgu

WOVEN INDIAN VOICES | AMERICAN DREAMS

Madhav Das Madhavi Saunshi Madhu Narayanasamy Madhuchhanda Das Madhukar Adi Madhusuden Agrawal Madhvi Rajendra Patel Mahesh Chamaria Mahesh Prajapati Mahesh Vipat Maheshkumar Devkaranbhai Dasadiya Maidiki Patel Maithili Dabke Maitray Dixit Maitrik Soni Malarao Rao Malav Sanghvi Mamata Kulkarni Mamta Kabra Mamta Verma Manan Patel Manav Vashisth Manaxi H Bhatt Mangesh Gupte Mani Ganna Manish Jagannathan Manish Jetly Manisha Jangalle Manjesh Muthappa Manju Kabotra Manju Menon Manju Sunil Menon Manju Thampi Manjula Gupta Manoj Rathi Manoj Gandhi Manoj Krishan Manoj Patel Manoj R Patel Manoranjan (Mark) Bordoloi Mansi Inamdar Manushi Shah Mariet Couthino Mayur Patel Mayur Suresh Raut Mboorgu@Yahoo. com Meena Kankani Meena Kapasi Meera Kapur Meet Patel Meeta Shah Meeta Thakur Megha Raja Meghal Bhatt Mehul Parekh Mihir Behera Mihir Kulkarni Milan Patel Milind Agarwal Milind Bisen Milind Wamanrao Mahajan Minaxi H Bhatt Mita Parikh Mitali Varachhia Mitesh Chitalia Mitesh Jashbhai Patel Mitesh Jayendra Patel Mithil Rana Mitra Vinay Panchal Mitul Chandrakant Shah Mohammed A Khan Mohan M Patel Mohan Mohalkar Mohan Panicker Mohan Patil Mohan Sharma Mohit Patel Mona Parikh Mona Shah Moneel Patel Mr. Vaibhav R Patel

Mrinmoy Bhakta Mrs. Indira Kirit Modi Mugdha Mujumdar Mukesh Patel Mukesh Roy Mukesh Talati Mukul Goyal Muralidharan Pallikaraveetil Nagarajan Thinnanur Venkatesan Nagendra Arakali Nagin M Patel Nagraj Eleswarapu Nakul Nair Nalin Bhatt Naman Chulani Namin Bhatt Namita Sharma Nanda Chatla Nanda Vura Nandini Solanki Narayan Mohta Narendra Joshi Narendra Ved Naresh Samnerkar Narinder Gupta Nataraja Kallur Natasha Biswas Naveen Kochoth Nayan Patel Nayana Dadhich Nayanika Diwadkar Nayankumar Shah Neel Shah Neelam A. Dave Neelam C Patel Neer Jain Neeraj Bidi Neeraj Mittra Neeta Agrawal Neeta Solanki Neetha Chada Neha Patel Neha Soni Neha Soni Nehal Dave Neil Surati Nikhil Darda Nikhil Ravindra Darda Nikhita Menon Nikita Chaturvedi Nikita Khambe Nikita Shah Nikki H Sakaria Nikunj Pathak Nilesh Patel Nilesh Purohit Nilesh Shahi Nilesh Solanki Nimesh Patel Nimmi Turakhia Nina Desai Nirad Sahu Niraj Narendra Bora Niranjan Vadi Nirav Patel Nirjharini Das Nirmala R Narayanareddy Nirmalya Roy Nirvish Urs Nisarg B Amin Nisha Mirani Nishant Sharma Nishit Pande Nita Singhal Nita V Patel Nitin Maheshwari Nitin Nagar Nitu Baburao Tarnekar Nivedita Hatty Nivid Dholakia Niyati Vaidya Omesh Malik P Ramaswamy P V Patel Padma Kulkarni

Padpollu Vikas Naidu Pankaj Vijay Jagtap Pankti Paresh Patel Parag Gujar Paramita Ghosh Parashar D Pandya Parashar Patel Paresh Dave Pareshkumar Jivani Parimal Desai Paritosh Singh Parnika Mandewalkar Parth P Patel Parth Talati Parth Vaghani Parthasarthy Krishnaswami Partha Chatterjee Partha Sen Paru Mcguire Parul N. Sanghavi Parul Sanghavi Parvathy Muralidharan Pawan Pandya Pawan Sharda Payal Patel Perumal Annamalai Pinal Patel Piyush Dubey Piyush Patel Pooja Barve Pooja Sheth Pooja Vikas Patel Poojaba Zala Poonam Wale Poorna Srinivas Poornima Mathilakath Poornima Prasad Prabhakar R Thangudu Prabhat Varma Prachi Bhosle Prachi Kansal Prachi Kulkarni Prachi Patwardhan Pradeep Sharma Pradip Brahmabhatt Prafulkumar Bhakta Pragati Singh Pragna J Vakil Prajkta Mulay Prakash Bhakta Prakash M Chauhan Prakash R Bhatt Pralay Pandya Pramod K Kondeparambil P Pramod Shankar Mehta Pramod Sharma Pranav Kasibatla Pranav Khushal Kasibhatla Pranav Mohan Pranav Pathangi Pranesh Biswas Pranjali Dani Prasad Gurajala Prashant Gajera Prashant Patel Prashant Shah Prashant Walvekar Prashanth Rao Pratik Hande Pratik Patel Pratik Shah Pratima Desai Pravin Kumar Preity Upala Prem Baweja Prem Patel Premranjan Kumar Priya Kulkarni Priya Pandit Promith Sanyal Punit Dave Punit Shah Purav Patel


Purushottham Ganapatitekmal Purvesh Gosai Purvi Shah Purvish Patel Raajmohan Natarajan Rachna Chavan Radha Amin Radha Danayak Radhika Patwardhan Rafi Ahmed Raghav Aggarwal Raghuveer Reddy Ragini Nair Rahul Deshmukh Rahul Kalkar Rahul Mehta Rahul Vijayvargiya Raj Gada Rajalakshmi Thampi Rajan Keswani Rajan Madathil Rajashree Sonawane Rajashri Joshi Rajender Singh Rajendra Y Patel Rajesh Aggarwal Rajesh Bhagat Rajesh D Patel Rajesh Danayak Rajesh Gopinath Kumar Rajesh Jaiswal Rajesh Patel Rajesh Shah Rajeswar Babu Ramesh Rajiv Kamat Rajiv Pandit Rajiv Ranjan Kumar Rajiv Shah Rajivkumar N Shah Rajmohan Kuniyil Rajmohan Natrajan Rajneesh Varma Rajyalaxmi Rakesh Cheenuri Rakesh Govni Rakesh Malhotra Rakesh Parikh Rakesh Patel Rakesh Shah Rakesh Yelugoila Rakhi Singh Rakin C. Patel Rakin Patel Ram Agrawal Ram M Ram Saini Ram Sharma Rama Chennuboyina Rama Kukreja Rama Patwardhan Ramadas Kandath Ramakanth G Soudari Ramakrishna Ponnapati Ramanuja Ramesh Bhagavatula Ramesh Bv Ramesh Modi Ramesh Patel Rameshkumar Madhu Rameshvari Patel Ramky Graju Ranjan Kumar Srivastva Ranjani G Patel Ranjit Mohanty Rasesh I Dalal Rashmi Lead Rashmi Patel Rashmi Patel Rashmi Sharma Rashmi Sherat Rashmi Singh

Rashmi Soni Singh Rashmi Varma Ratan Jha Ratnesh Kumar Mishra Ravi Brahmbhatt Ravi Choudhary Ravi Deepak Bhatt Ravi Ranjan Ravindra Sarma Reema Dharani Reema Patel Reena Johar Reetika Sukhadia Shah Rekha Chowdury Rekha Patel Rekha Talati Ricegrain Venkatesh Richa Dixit Riddhi Bhatt Rinku Patel Ripendrasinh Mahida Ripudaman Pachauri Rishi Bhutada Rita Patel Ritesh Patel Ritesh Seal Ritu Bohat Ritu Jain Riya Sinha Rohan Awasthi Rohan Chinchani Rohan Gokhale Rohan Gupta Rohit Afzalpurkar Rohit Shah Rohit Sharma Rohit Tyagi Romi Doctor Ronak Ghiya Roop Krsna Roshni Parikh Ruchi Singh Ruchika Bengani Rutika Chintawar Saajan Patel Sachidanand Joshi Sachin C. Senan Sachin Chitlangia Sachin Dabir Sachin Jain Sachin Kapoor Sachin Padhye Sachin Patel Sachin Thakkar Saeed Pathan Sahil Mehta Sahil Vyas Sai Srinivas Chennuboyina Saif Lokhandwala Sakshi Gupta Saloni Modi Sameer Wadwalkar Sameet Doshi Samip A Patel Sandeep Arya Sandeep Datar Sandeep Khatwani Sandeep Shukla Sandhya Singh Sandhya Suri Sangeeta Dargan Sangeeta Kataria Sangita Doshi Sangita Kothari Sangita Mankar Sangita P Mallik Sangita Tiwari Sanjay Biyani Sanjay Gupta Sanjay Panchal Sanjay Patel Sanjay Shah Sanjay Shah Sanjaykumar Patel Sanjeev Agrawal

Sanjeev Jaiswal Sanjeev Jashwant Sanjukta Bhakta Sanket Patel Santhosh Sagar Santhosh Vallala Santosh Mahoorkar Sarath Manikonda Sarika Adi Sarita Agrawal Sarita Namjoshi Saroj Thakar Sarojini Gupta Sarvesh Marathe Sasi Pillai Sateesh Chandra Satyendra Singh Saumil Manek Saurabh Goel Saurabh Joshi Savitha Nagaraja Sawan Patel Sejal Dave Sejal Mehta Shachindra Nath Shaheen Vora Shail Gajjar Shailendra Joshi Shailesh Doshi Shailesh Patel Shalaka Godse Shalini Aggarwal Shalini Ghurye Shalini Kapoor Sham Chulani Shameet Desai Shamik Shastri Shana Rajput Shankar Bhat Shantanu Patwardhan Shantha Suku Shantharam Gummaraju Shanthilal Ghisaram Shanti . Gala Sharad Amin Sharad Takale Sharadkumar Dhannawat Sharath Akirekadu Sharda Gadiya Sharmila Moharir Shashi Jain Shashi M Varia Sheela Sheela Keswan Sheetal Chetak Lalwani Sheetal Mhatre Shefali Jhaveri Shefali Pokar Shilpa Ghurye Shilpa Inamdar Shilpa Nagar Shilpa Thakkar Shilpaben Thakur Shishir Ranjan Shital Rathi Shiv Kabotra Shiv Pathak Shivam Patel Shivam Tiwari Shivani Kurle Shivender Ahuja Shivika Panjrattan Shourie Bannai Shraddha Singh Shree Krishna Shreyasi Kulkarni Shridevi Patel Shridevi Yogesh Patel Shruthi Paholla Shruti Chitalia Shruti Singla Shubham Sachdev Shubhra Singh Shweta Badve

Shweta Mohandas Shyam Enaganti Shyam Kumar Golpalakrishnan Shyam Popuri Shyam Sharma Shyamal Modi Shyamkumar Gopalakrishnan Siddharth Ayyagari Siddhesshwar Loahar Siddhi Vikas Rautu Sindhu Menon Sirisha Kothuri Sivadasan Nair Sneha Kabra Soham Bhatt Somansh Agarwal Somnath Misra Sonal Patel Sonal Singh Sonali Ahuja Sonali Kashikar Sonali Mehta Soni Makwana Sree Gorty Sreekala Nair Sreekumar Sreenivasarao Joneboina Sreenivasu Kanamarlapudi Sreesha Haridasan Sri Savitha Krishna Sricharan Nanduri Sridhar Dadi Sridhar Kotha Sridhar Pagidi Sridhar Talanki Sridhar Thota Srikant Modi Srikanth Ranganathan Srikantha Srini Katta Srinivas Durai Srinivasa Srinivasa Rachapudi Srinivasa Rao Nuthalapati Srinivasreddy Ravula Sriram Sonty Sriram Subramanian Stuti Pandey Subhash Agrawal Subhash Gadiya Subin Cb Subodh Kumar Singh Subrahmanyam Mukkavilli Subramanyam (Subbu) Jonnalagadda Suchana Panda Sudar Moorthi Sudesh Romana Sudharsan Arunachalam Suhag Shukla Suhag Chauhan Suhas Nehete Sujan Patel Suku Nair Sumeet Barai Sumesh Chandramohan Sumit Arigapudi Sumit Moza Sunanda Thali Sunil Shah Sunil Thummala Sunny Amin Sunrut Patel Sunulkumar Viswanathan Supradipta Datta Supriya Patil Surabhi Kartick Surbhi Kumari Surendra Tiwari

Suresh Govindu Suresh Jain Suresh Patapati Suresh Shah Suresh Thampi Suresh V. Patel Surjit Singh Surupa Shaw Surya Peri Suryajith Subhashithan Suseelakumari Sushant Chanana Susheem Mehta Suvi Jain Swagatika Nayak Swami Jayasankar Swapan Dhairyawan Swapna Patel Swapnil Deepak Saraf Swaroop Korishetty Swasthi Nair Swati Desai Swati Sharma T. Paresh Patel Talsi Gadhia Tanaji Dabade Taniel Koushakjian Tanvang Pandya Tanveer Kazi Tara Narsimham Tejal Kurva Tejal Kurwa Tejash Patel Tejaskumar Patel Thangarangan Ms Therese Cole-Hubbs Timir C Patel Tirth Shah Tirumalrao Kondisetty Toral Shah Trn Rao Trinabh Shukla Trupti Nag Trupti Tina Shah Trushna Shah Tupil V Narasiman Tushar Pandya Tushar Prasad Tushar R Patel Tushar Solanki Udaya Kumar Udayan Patel Udit Gami Umang Mehta Umesh Kapur Umesh Patel Umesh Telang Unnati Parikh Urvashi Desai Urvashi Jain Usha Chavda Usha Rajagopalan Ushma Prajapati Utsav A Gundaraniya V Muraleedhara Panicker Vadiraj Katti Vaibhav Mhaskar Vaishali Dalal Vaishali Deve Vamsi Gottimukkala Vandan Hariyani Vandana Agrawal Varsha A Patel Varsha Poddar Varun Shah Varun Divekar Vatsal Panchal Vatsala Mundra’ Veera Garimella Veera Perumaalla Veerender Devireddy Veeru Kankatala Venkata Akhil Chowdary Boggavarapu Venkata S

Santhanaraman Venu Chitvel Vi Gajra Vidhi Sharma Vidya S Byrishetty Vignesh Vigyan Gotewal Vijai Singh Vijay Aundhekar Vijay Maheshwari Vijay Pallod Vijay Singh Vijaya Anand Vijaya Iyer Vijaykumar D Adhavaryu Vijaykumar Patel Vijaykumar Ramjibhai Parmar Viji Raja Vikas G Patel Vikas Gupta Vikas Moharir Vikas Nahata Vikas Parikh Viken Patel Vikram Dhruva Vikrant Poddar Vilash Ravi Vilasreddy Jambula Vimal Nakrani Vimal Patel Vinay Mudigonda Vinay Sarda Vinay Shah Vinay Vora Vinayak Astekar Vineet Chhapekar Vineeth Murali Vineetha Suni Vinita Atora Vinod Goyal Vinod Jhunjhunwala Vinod Mantri Vinod Mysore Vinod Patel Vinod Shinde Vinubhai C Patel Vipul Patel Vipulkumar G Patel Viraj Kher Viral Desai Viral Mehta Viral Parmar Viral Patel Viral Purohit Virendra Vyas Vishal Kalal Vishal Pallerla Vishal Patel Vishnu Chimmula Vishnu K Pandey Vishnu Katukuri Vishwesh Shukla Vishweshwar Bijarapu Vivek Agarwal Vivek Shah Vivek Sharda Vraj Shah Yagna Valkya Reddy Yagnesh Patel Yagnesh Patel Yash Havalimane Yash Raghuwansi Yashwanth Reddy Yasmin Udawala Yatish Jakatimath Yesha Modi Yogendra Rao Yogendrakumar Patel Yogesh Danak Yogesh Karsan Yogesh N. Patel Yogesh Patel Yogesh Patil Yogesh Shah Yogesh(Yogi) Patel

TEXAS INDIA FORUM

95


Gujarati Samaj of Houston & GSH Event Center Welcomes Honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi in his historic Houston visit Event Center Highlights •

Banquet Hall: With dining seating capacity of 1000

Two Pre-Function Areas: With attached open patio

Class Room: Capacity 152

Conference & Meeting Room: Capacity 211

Meeting Room # 1: Capacity 119

Meeting Room # 2: With balcony, capacity 92.

Library and Study Room

2 Large Kitchens: One Vegetarian and other Non-Vegetarian

Full Size Stage: With modern lighting and state of the art sound system

Large LED Screen: One on the stage plus one on each side of the stage

Parking: 360 plus car parking.

Children’s Playground

Health Clinic

For rental & visitor information please contact: Walter (Operation manager) at 713-720-8700

A NON-PROFIT TAX-EXEMPT ORGANIZATION (IRS 501-C-3)

www.gshcenter.com

Tax ID:74-2161692


Tellurian welcomes Prime Minister Modi to Houston, Texas—the energy capital of America, and looks forward to being a part of the important energy link between India & the United States.

... of the earth, for the earth

Tellurian was founded by Charif Souki and Martin Houston and is led by President and CEO Meg Gentle. Tellurian intends to create value for shareholders by building a low-cost, global natural gas business, profitably delivering natural gas to customers worldwide. Tellurian is developing a portfolio of natural gas production, LNG trading, and infrastructure that includesan ~27.6 mtpa LNG export facility and an associated pipeline. Tellurian is based in Houston, Texas, and its common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “TELL”.

@TellurianLNG |

Tellurian |

Tellurian Inc. | tellurianinc.com | NASDAQ: TELL


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Woven was created to tell the little known story of the Indian American community in the United States. Beginning with the story of the fir...

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