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24 Pages

India Herald


Houstonians meet Prime Minister Modi

One of the Top 10 Chefs of the world in 2017, Vikas Khanna, center, will be the Guest of Honor at the 14th India House Annual Gala in Houston on March 25. Above, Khanna is flanked by former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. See Story on Page 6.

During his visit to New Delhi early in February, Dr. Durga Agrawal, a prominent Houstonian along with his wife Sushila Agrawal met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Story on Page 6.

More than 800 devotees participated in Thai Poosam” celebrations carrying the specially-decorated arches and pots of milk at Sri Meenakshi Temple on Feb. 12. The festival commemorates the legend when Mother Parvathi gave Lord Murugan a “Vel” or spear to vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman as described in the Tamil epic Skandha Puranam. Story on Page 10. Aditya Bhatia, 13, an 8th grader living in Katy, TX has invented a unique App “SportsConnect” to promote Real, Team Sports all over the world. See Story on Page 3.

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NEWS 13-year-old Indian American launches app promoting real sports Thirteen-year old, 8th grader Aditya Bhatia, living in Katy, TX has invented a unique App to promote Real, Team Sports all over the world. The app “SportsConnect” is available for free download in Google Play store for Android and App Store for iOS users. Aditya is India born, US settled and one of the youngest to file for patent/copyright/trademark and launch app in both stores. The response is great so far with hundreds of downloads in 4 weeks since launch. 17 big newspapers in India already published about his feat. The world seems to have forgotten what a real soccer game or a tennis court looks like. The picture below was recently trending on social media…Every parent painfully connected to it immediately and felt helpless driving their kids out for team sports…. Yes, nowadays everybody is too busy with life. Nobody is available to play real, team sports. This forces Sports Lovers who want to play real sports outside, remain indoors and play virtual games online. The trend is really alarming among teenagers. Well all this could change drastically for sure…by the very same Technology which is threatening the existence of

his/her preferred game at the preferred location and invite not only their friends/contacts but also public/community players. Similarly, any Sports Enthusiast can search his favorite game or all the games being played around them by location/game name and join them thru a touch of button. User can join games, change plans, or delete and can invite all their contacts thru free text messages. There are cool features like tracking games on calendar, setting alerts and rating the host. All this is free and can be downloaded/signed up in less than 1 minute. The app does verify email/phone number thru unique texting to avoid fake people. 13-year-old Aditya is big physical sports, just by this creative, smart application by an alert teenager. US based 13-year-old Aditya, inspired by his software consultant/inventor dad Sanjay Bhatia (who hv filed 3 patents and 8 copyrights so far) have created a fusion of his sports love with technical knowledge gained over years, to solve the issue their first love is facing – “Sports”. The duo has created a smart App “SportsConnect” which can revive the team

sport plays and take the play beyond just the friends/contact list to communities, neighborhoods, and sports lovers. They launched this unique app first in India 4 weeks back and plan to take it to all the countries around the world. As the name suggest, SportsConnect app help the users connect and play team sports like Soccer, Baseball, Cricket, Hockey, Tennis, Badminton, and many more sports. Its unique design let a user host

sports enthusiast besides being excellent student with high grades in his school in 8th grade. Already brown belt in Karate and advanced level of Tennis, he is an avid technology reader, looks at Silicon Valley for inspiration and dreams to be a billionaire by age 18. He already has plans to approach venture capitalist for funding on SportsConnect and his future apps. His mission is to end the online gaming/smart phone/virtual gaming addiction among people and enjoy real sports in fresh air. We wish this wonder kid all the best in his current and future endeavor. Do support his mission by downloading the app “SportsConnect” from Google and “The SportsConnect” from App store.

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COMMUNITY Indian American wins Community Service Medal for reinvigorating nonviolence

U.S. delegation with Swami Chidanand Saraswati

Mandar Apte, center with Lt. Evenson and Mayor Ardell Brede Mayor Ardell Brede of Roches- the Mayo Clinic - the world’s #1 ter, Minnesota and Lt. Evenson of medical facility. Rochester Police Department preMayor Brede and Lt. Jim Evensented the prestigious community son were part of a visionary delservice medal of honor to Indian egation of leaders from across the American and Houston resident United States who had traveled to Mandar Apte for building their India from Jan 24-31, 2017. leadership capacity for dealing The delegation was conceived more effectively with the grow- and led by Apt as part of the “From ing issue of violence and improve India With Love” initiative that he the quality of life in Rochester. has started to expose America’s Rochester is famously known for civic leaders to India’s ancient culture and to empower them to design solutions that can be implemented to stop the ongoing violence across America. “Thanks for the great experi$25 ence in India but more importantly thanks for the love that was shared. Tears have come from folks here at home when I have shared the stories” said Mayor Brede upon his return to Rochester. The delegation also included social activists, law enforcement officers from Florida as well as victims of gun violence including Ron Davis whose son, Jordan, was brutally murdered at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012. “What a wonderful pilgrimage for the soul. I continue to be transformed” said Ron Davis upon his return from India. From India With Love is inspired by the transformative journey that was undertaken by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1959, when he had visited India to deepen his understanding of the nonviolence (or ahimsa) principles as used by Mahatma Gandhi. During the trip, the participants learnt the Sudarshan Kriya meditation technique as taught by the Art of Living Foundation worldwide, attended Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary function (on Jan 30th). The delegates also met with Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati ji (of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh) who guided the delegates with spiritual wisdom on how to develop compassion for all living beings (not just humans) and how to effectively deal with growing issues of violence in the U.S. Deeply pained by the ongoing violence prevailing in America, Mandar quit his day job in early 2016 ( (where he used to manage Shell’s GameChanger social innovation investment program) to produce “ From India With Love “ - a documentary film that shows the real life story of transformation of a group of Americans (who have all suffered from violence) during their pilgrimage to India in search of solace, healing and transformation. For more information or visit: Email—


NEWS US Religious Freedom Commission Report raises red flags for Hindu American Foundation leaders WASHINGTON D.C. Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) are deeply concerned about the latest report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) attacking Hinduism and India. The report, Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India, rather than being written by USCIRF staff, was outsourced exclusively to writer-activist Dr. Iqtidar Karamat Cheema, raising serious questions about the Commission’s credibility and transparency, Foundation leaders asserted. “USCIRF has failed to justify its intentions of this report on India prima facie based on the sources cited and findings presented,” said Samir Kalra, HAF Senior Director. “Though previous special reports published by USCIRF on religious extremism within Pakistan’s textbooks have been deemed insightful by HAF leaders, this recent report does not meet the standard of those reports and in the context of India’s pluralistic democracy, the report’s author simply cites

what have become known as ‘alternative facts’.” HAF takes issue with many facets of the report, including: •Erroneous and misleading representation of government support for religious institutions in India; •The practical effect of personal status laws on all communities; •The false equivalency of comparing the scale of past and current predatory proselytization to the recent Ghar Wapsi movement; •The nature and intent of cow protection laws; •The assumption that Government of India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act discriminates against minority organizations and favors Hindu organizations, both in India and abroad; and •The assertion that castebased discrimination is a Hindu religious teaching, rather than a pernicious social problem blighting all Indian religious communities today. “The report treads on known grievances previously raised by USCIRF,” says HAF Executive Director Suhag

Shukla, “But this report’s egregious display of Hinduphobia in linking caste-based discrimination to the Hindu religion is unprecedented, and must be condemned.” In addition the specific content of the report, its authorship is suspect. Rather that being written by or with the credited assistance of USCIRF staff, the Commission has relied on the work of Dr Iqtidar Cheema, a British activist who has been previously honored by several Pakistani government bodies, consistently advocated for Pakistan’s foreign policy objectives, and endorsed various organizations striving for a separate Sikh state of Khalistan—including supporting the Babbar Khalsa, a terrorist organization banned by the United Kingdom and India. “How could USCIRF outsource a report harshly critical of India, one of the most important democratic allies of the United States, to an activist with a history of supporting separatist causes against India that too often employ terrorism against innocent civilians?,” Shukla queried.

Stop Diabetes Movement (SDM) Yoga Camp Date: Friday, Feb. 24th to Sunday, Mar 5th, 2017 Time: 6:30 to 8:30 PM weekdays & 3:00 - 6:00 PM weekends Sewa & VYASA are conducting yoga camp that is particularly designed for pre diabetic and diabetic people to help them control sugar levels. It will be held for 10 consecutive days with 1 (one) follow up session based on new format. This camp is completely free of cost, if attended for all 10 days. Locations: West - Arya Samaj, 14375 Schiller Road,Houston Cypress – Endo.& Psychiatry Center, 9539 Huffmeister Rd, Cypress Sugar Land - Unique Indus. Product, 12600 Cardinal Mdw. Sugar Land Katy - Swasth Yoga Studio, 21020 Highland Knolls Dr, Katy (weekend classes will be @ 4018 West Hollow Parkway, Houston) More info at - houston/houstonoverview


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NEWS Top Chef Vikas Khanna to be chief guest at India Hosue Gala He was honored with the Rising Star Chef Award by Star Chefs for his role in shaping the future of American Cuisine. Hi-Blitz Magazine named Vikas in their “50 Most Beautiful Listâ€? and People Magazine named him in the list of “Sexiest Man Aliveâ€? He has also received a proclamation from the Council of the City of New York for his outstanding contribution to the city, and was chosen New Yorker of the Week. He was featured as the consultant chef on the Gordon Ramsay TV show Kitchen Nightmares on Fox and appeared as a judge and Indian-cuisine specialist on the two-part season ďŹ nale of Hell’s Kitchen. Vikas Khanna was the guest chef in the episode “The India Showâ€? on The Martha Stewart Show telecast. He has authored several books, including “The Spice

India House, Houston will hold its 14th annual Gala on Saturday, March 25th, 2017 at J W Marriott Galleria in Houston, TX. Three times award winning Michelin starred Indian chef and top 10 chefs of the world in 2017, Vikas Khanna will be a “Guest of Honorâ€? at the Gala. Other “Guests of Honorâ€? are India Ambassador to USA Mr. Navtej Sarna and USA Ambassador to India, Mr. Richard Verma. Vikas Khanna is one of the most recognized faces of India in USA. He is a restaurateur, philanthropist, cookbook writer, ďŹ lmmaker, humanitarian, three times Michelin starred Indian chef, top 10 chefs in the world, and the judge of Master Chef India Season 2, 3, 4, 5 and Master Chef Junior Ceremonies. He is a goodwill ambassador of Smile Foundation.

Dr. Durga Agrawal meets with Prime Minister Modi

Story of India� and “Modern Indian Cooking�, and “Flavors First�. His cookbooks won several awards including Benjamin Franklin and Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. The annual Gala is the main fundraising event of the India House, with all proceeds going to the day to day community programs and expansion of India House. I am looking forward to contributing to India House, said the Chef Vikas Khanna. We invite Houstonians to come and support India House and its annual fundraising event, said Dr. Virendra Mathur and Dr. Durga Agrawal, founder trustees of India House. This year’s India House Gala event will feature an evening of networking, entertainment, and dinner. For further details, please visit

Foundation for India Studies joins hands with SAADA

Philadelphia,PA based South Asian American Digital Archives (SAADA), a nonproďŹ t 501(c3) organization has sought partnership with Houston based Foundation for India Studies (FIS) to create a more inclusive voice to South Asian Americans at the national level by documenting, preserving, and sharing stories that represent Indian immigrants’ unique and diverse experiences. SAADA’s existing partnerships with Asian Indian Heritage Project, Cleveland; the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, India Association of Minnesota and Minnesota Historical Society have already brought in 3000 unique depositories all of which were digitized in accordance with the U.S. Library of Congress technical preservation standards and are made freely ac-

cessible to the public through SAADA’s website:http://www. “Our aim is to digitally preserve, and provide free access to the history of the South Asian American community. We would welcome a partnership with the Foundation for India Studies and Houston Public Library to bring a greater national awareness to your oral history interviews by including hyperlinks to these interviews from our archives.� said Mr. Samip Mallick, Executive Director of SAADA. FIS Founder, Chairman Krishna Vavilala, acknowledged that this latest partnership with SAADA will further enhance institutional interest in the FIS projects. Last year, Baylor University’s Institute of Oral History,Waco had en-

tered into similar partnership to consult on preservation of the rich tapestry of Indian Immigrant stories. The Houston Public Library, a working partner of FIS will provide SAADA with hyperlinks of the Indo-American Oral History interviews which are presently preserved in the digital archives of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center,an archival branch of the Houston Public Library. For more information,visit “�.or call 713-7955169.

During his recent visit to New Delhi in February 2017, Dr. Durga Agrawal, a prominent Houstonian along with his wife Smt. Sushila Agrawal and Mr. Braham Aggarwal met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Dr. Durga Agrawal praised Prime Minister Modi for a great budget and his demonetization initiative to curb black money and beneďŹ ts farmers in India. He discussed on how a program similar to Doctorate of Nursing Practice program in Texas can help provide healthcare to masses in rural India. Although the number of health facilities in rural India has risen in the past decade, workforce shortages are substantial. As of March 31, 2015, more than 8% of 25 300 primary health centers in the country were without a doctor, 38% were without a laboratory technician, and 22% had no pharmacist. Nearly 50% of posts for female health assistants and 61% for male health assistants remain vacant. Unlike a traditional research based degree program, nurses can see patients, research and teach other students also in Texas DNP program, and a similar model can help ease the workforce shortage in healthcare sector in India. Dr. Agrawal discussed the model used by the prominent hospitals like M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where approximately 1200 volunteers work full time and are given a parking spots and encouraged to participate in providing care services to the patients. He suggested that expanding a similar volunteer program for high schools, colleges and hospitals in India may work very well. He also mentioned that organizations like BAPS have the best volunteer programs, and we can learn from them. Dr. Agrawal also appraised the Prime Minister on the increasing funding and role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine program in hospitals in Houston, TX. M D Anderson oers Yoga and Meditation classes to its patients. Dr. Agrawal also discussed the possibility of opening a medical center in India on the pattern of Texas Medical Center. PM Modi introduced Dr Singh, Minister of State in his oďŹƒce to Durga to follow up with the appropriate authorities (health ministry, Secretary of Health) so that this some of these ideas/ projects can be implemented. Prime Minister Modi remembered a dinner in 1993 at a Global Vision 2000 event in Washington DC, when Dr. Durga and other Houstonians had a dinner with him. Dr. Durga also invited Prime Minister Modi to visit Houston, TX. Dr. Durga Agrawal is a founder trustee of India House, regent at University of Houston, and a well-established businessman in Houston. He and his wife Sushila Agrawal are engaged in several community activities in Houston area.


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Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya Come, celebrate and receive Lord Siva’s grace and blessings Friday, Feb 24th 2017 ( Temple Hours 8:00 am to Midnight )

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COMMUNITY India House hosts University of Houston Day

Col. Vipin Kumar, left, Dr. Suresh Khator, Dr. Renu Khator and Nagaraj Elaswarupu. Photos by BIJAY DIXIT. On Monday, January 30, 2017 enthusiastic youngsters, most of them with parents or other family members came to attend the University of Houston Day at India House, to figure out how to navigate towards their future career. Together, India House and University of Houston, under the leadership of President Dr. Renu Khator, who is also the Chancellor of UH System, organized this special UH Day at India House to guide students at all levels to select the correct path to carve their future career and head in the right direction to crystallize their educational goals. The event started with social hour and visit to multiple informative booths, representing all the 13 colleges of UH to give general information about what each of the college can offer. The attendees, about 250, were treated to delicious welcome dinner catered by Café India, Sugarland. Mr. Nagraj Eleswarapu, V.P. Operations, India House welcomed and spoke about the partnership of the two institutions, both with a mission to serve the Greater Houston community at large and help each individual to attain their full potential. Col.Vipin Kumar, Executive Director, India House presented programs and activities of India House through a video. He introduced Dr. Richard Walker, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, UH. Dr. Walker introduced students to the UH programs with emphasis on enhancing student success and their learning experience; by integrating and providing both curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to the students and by building a strong campus and community collaborations to prepare them for life experiences. Dr. Renu Khator took the stage and enlightened students and their families about University of Houston’s illustrious achievements. She called University of Houston the “Power House”, Tier One public research institution with the vibrant and ethnically diverse community. She gave a very inspiring and enthusiastic welcoming speech and her passion and personal involvement was obvious when she mentioned that the freshmen will not be surprised when she will show up any day in their first semester in their class, as she is always interested in every student. She was very proud of the fact that UH had become a truly residential University and students need not commute for hours through the crowded streets. She emphasized on developing skilled workforce and future leaders within Houston. With strong local support and industry strength with energy, healthcare, and arts, students are encouraged to develop their skills in a global environment. She thanked India House and Indo-American Community for their support. After that, Jeff Fuller, Director of Student Recruitment, Admissions spoke in great detail about each College and the facilities and scope of learning and the future prospects after graduating from the particular College. Once the formal program concluded, every student was encouraged to spend some time to meet the Departmental Faculty and Staff to learn about various financial and residential choices and opportunities. The students and their families were delighted to have this opportunity at UH DAY and thanked profusely the organizers India House and UH Faculty and Staff. They truly felt that they benefitted immensely from this yearly event held at India House. For details of current activities and program at India House please visit

UH Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator addresses the audience.



Festival of Thai Poosam By Kamala Raghavan Thai Poosam was conducted at MTS on a grand scale on Sunday, February 12, 2017. More than 800 devotees participated in the celebrations including “Kavadi” (arches) “Paalkudam” (Pots of milk) and reciting the Skanda Shasti Kavasam providing a feast to the eyes and ears. Thai Poosam, is a festival celebrated mostly by the South Indian community on the full moon in the month of Thai (January/ February) in many countries around the world including India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Guadeloupe, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, parts of the Caribbean, UK, and USA. Thai Poosam combines the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Poosam which is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Mother Parvathi gave Lord Murugan a “Vel “ or spear to vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. Lord Murugan also known affectionately as “Kandan”, “Velan (one with the spear)”, “Subramanyan”, “Azaghan (the handsome one”, and “Kumaran (the child)” is beloved deity in South India who was also a patron of the Tamil language. The divine verses on Murugan, “Skanda Puranam” (the legend of Murugan), and “Thirupugazh” adhere to Shaiva principles. Murugan is the embodiment of Shiva’s light and wisdom, and devotees pray to him to overcome the obstacles they face. The festival is celebrated with devotees carrying the “Kavadi (decorated canopy)” on their shoulders, or a “paalkudam (pot of milk)” on their head in a procession to signify carrying a physical burden to implore for help from the God Murugan. The simplest kavadi is a semicircular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders to the temple. At MTS, the celebration started at 9:00am at the Ganesh temple with more than 150 decorated “paalkudams” and 113 “kavadis” each. Volunteers spent countless hours preparing the beautiful kavadis and paalkudams during the previous day, as well as cutting vegetables and getting ready for the sumptuous lunch prepared by the kitchen staff under the able direction of Mrs. Rani Chilukuri. The priests performed sankalpam and puja for the paalkudams and kavadis, and handed them to the devotees to take them around in a procession to the kalyana mandapam. The procession was accompanied by the incomparable “Chenda melam” performed by young MTS devotees. Many youngsters carried the kavadis eagerly, showing that our tradition continues proudly. At the kalyana mandapam the priests did the Abhishekam, Alankaram, and Upacharam for Lord Murugan with Deivayanai and Valli Devis, while the devotees recited “Kanda Shasti Kavasam” and bhajans. The grand finale of the event with a strong divine ambience was the Aarti by the priests. Volunteers distributed the milk from the “Abhishekam” and “Prasadam” bags with coconuts. The “Utsava Murthi” of Lord Murugan along with his consorts Deivayanai and Valli were taken on a procession on the silver chariot or “Ratham” to the main temple for the final Aarthi. Prasadam and “Aannadhanam (lunch)” were provided by the temple to all the devotees. The event was coordinated flawlessly by Dr. T.A. Dorairajan, Malar Narayanan and Muthuraman Solayappan. Chairman thanked the priests Sri. Manicka Bhattar, Sri. Kalyana Sundaram, and Sri Balaji Sethuraman along with the temple staff and countless volunteers who made the event a pleasure for the devotees, and deserve everyone’s gratitude.

Thai Sukravara Deepa Puja celebrated at Sri Meenakshi Temple

Thai Sukravara Deepa Pooja was conducted at MTS on Friday, February 3, 2017 in a grand manner. More than 150 devotees participated in lighting the lamp and reciting the slokas which was a feast to the eyes. The Fridays in the month of Thai is very special for women in performing this pooja. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi showers her blessing on those who worship her on Friday of the auspicious month of Thai and she will help one to achieve what one needs. All Fridays of the month “Thai” during Utharayana (when the Sun moves to the Northern hemisphere), is considered very auspicious for the three goddesses- Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Three beautifully decorated traditional lamps symbolizing the 3 Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi were lit by the priests invoking Sri Meen-

akshi in the three forms. This unique puja is performed by the individual sponsor family under the guidance of the priests. MTS provided the lamps and all the puja materials. The individual lighting of the lamps symbolizes the invoking of the Goddess in our hearts and signifies that the Light of bhakti, peace, knowledge and prosperity engulfs us and destroys the darkness of ignorance and weakness.. Ladies wearing colorful saris were seated in neatly laid out rows in the main Temple and performed the puja with great devotion. The highlights of the puja were the kumkum archana with the chanting of Sri Lalitha Sahasranama Naamavali, followed by Devi Stuthi and Meenakshi Pancharathna composed by Adi Shankara, with the grand finale event of Deepa Aradhana.

The large gathering of devotees were mesmerized by the priests’ recitation of melodious verses in both Sanskit and Tamil, and thrilled by the devotion filled event. Overall, it was a very well organized event and it was performed very traditionally by the priests Sri Balaji Sethuraman, Sri Kalyana Sundaram, Sri Sreedharan Raghavan, Sri Pawankumar Sri Bhashyam, and Sri Sriman Narayana Charyalu. The attendance by over 150 devotees in spite of the rescheduling of the pooja due to the lunar eclipse on following Friday is a testament to the abundant devotion in the MTS community. The beautiful event was coordinated by Smt. Nachal Sethuraman and Smt. Saro Alagappan. – Kamala Raghavan

Devotees seated in the main temple during Thai Poosam celebration

The deity is carried on a chariot around the temple premises by devotees.



Self-fulfilling prophesies and positive thinking

By RAJ AND KRISHAN GUPTA Our faith and relief create our realty and believe that life is worth living, and this belief does help us to create that fact. Our belief is one that ensures the successful out-come of our venture. If you constantly think of illness, you eventually become ill; if you believe yourself to be beautiful; you become beautiful, and we are what we believe we are. The thing happens what you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen. Our attitude creates our lives, and when looks at the world in a narrow way, how narrow it seems! When you look at it in a mean way, how mean it is, and when you look at it selfishly, how selfish it is! But when you look at it in a broad, generous, friendly way, you will find wonderful people. Our attitude will create the situation whatsoever we imagines. Our rise or fall, success or failure, happiness or unhappiness depends on our attitude, and man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind. Immense will power is required by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you are born to control the situation. We should not only see life differently, but life itself would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change in attitude. We must keep a right mental attitude to achieve the goal and nothing on earth can help us with the wrong mental attitude. Since the human body tends to move to achieve expectations, it is important to know the attitude of confidence and determination. Our life is like a mirror and will reflect back to us what we think in to it. This world is a great mirror and it reflects back to you what you are. If you are helpful, friendly, or loving, the world will prove helpful, friendly, and loving. The happiness of our life depends upon the quality of our thoughts to work effectively; must think clearly; to act nobly must think nobly. Lord Buddha said that we are the result of what we think. The mind is everything; what we think we become. Our best friends and our worst enemies are our thoughts. A thought can do us better than a doctor, banker or a faithful friend, also it can do us more harm than a brick. Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; action form habits, habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny. The mind has its own place,

and itself can make a heaven of hell and hell of heaven. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts and mind can promote your healing by your thinking. When one door of happiness is closes, and look at the one which has been opened. Think of only three thigs: God, family, and your responsibilities – in that order. Think positively and masterfully with confidence and faith and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience. Positive thinking is the key to success in business, education, anything you can mention. Keep in mind we create our own situations, fate, and

circumstances. what life will do for you, cuts make the world better, safe, Like begets like, honesty you off from good things of and you unashamed. God will begets honesty, honor begets the world. It is therefore; think help you if you try, and you honor, trust begets trust, faith only those things that will can if you think you can. begets faith; and hope is the mainspring of life. This world has a way of giving what is demanded of it. If you are frightened and look for Certified Public Accountant failure and poverty, you will get them, no matter how hard Off: 713-984-4852 • Cell: 832-283-1677 you may try to succeed. Expect • Fax: 713-278-1656 victory and you make victory. Email: Think positively and master- Email: fully with confidence and faith, Web: Sharma Tilal Senanayake and life becomes more secure, 7100 Regency Square Blvd Ste 230-7 CPA, MA, FCA • Houston, TX 77036 more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience. * Business & Personal Tax Preparation Keep your thoughts right, for * Maintain Books of Accounts for Businesses as you think, so are you. We all * Project Evaluations and Feasibility Studies make mistakes, as time goes by * Payroll, Payroll Taxes and Statutory Filing rectify your mistakes. Lack of faith in yourself, in

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NEWS Jayalalithaa, Sasikala criminally conspired at Poes Garden to launder ill-gotten wealth: SC Highlighting that the Jayalalithaa disporportionate assets case demonstrates a â&#x20AC;&#x153;deeprooted conspiratorial designâ&#x20AC;? to amass vast riches and hold them through shell entities, the Supreme Court on Tuesday indicted former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa posthumously and her three coaccused, including V.K. Sasikala, of hatching one criminal conspiracy after other at Poes Garden to launder the ill-gotten wealth of Jayalalithaa for purchasing huge properties in the names of â&#x20AC;&#x153;masked fronts.â&#x20AC;? The Supreme Court said Jayalalithaa did not accommodate Sasikala at Poes Garden out of some â&#x20AC;&#x153;philanthropic urgeâ&#x20AC;? but with cold-blooded calculation to keep herself secure from any legal complications, which may arise from their criminal activities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have analysed the evidence adduced by the parties and we come to the conclusion that A 1 to A 4 (Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran) entered into a conspiracy, and in furtherance of the same, A1 (Jayalalithaa), who was a public servant at the relevant time, had come into possession of assets disproportionate to her known sources of

income during the check period (1991-96) and had got the same disbursed in the names of A2 to A4 and the ďŹ rms and the companies involved to hold this on her behalf with a masked front,â&#x20AC;? a Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy concluded. The Supreme Court concludes that in 1991, the assets of the accused were valued at Rs. 2.01 crore. By 1996, the accused were worth a whopping Rs. 66.44 crore. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Attendant facts and circumstances encountered in this case demonstrate a deep-rooted conspiratorial design to amass vast assets without any compunction and hold the same through shell entities to cover up the sinister trail of such illicit acquisitions and deceived and delude the process of law,â&#x20AC;? Justice Roy wrote in a separate concurring judgment, expressing â&#x20AC;&#x153;deep concern about the escalating corruption in the society.â&#x20AC;? Justice Roy said the case was â&#x20AC;&#x153;startlingâ&#x20AC;? in the way corruption was carried out by the accused persons with sheer impunity. Restoring â&#x20AC;&#x153;in totoâ&#x20AC;? the trial courtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s September 2014 conviction of Sasikala, Ilavarasi

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and Sudhakaran, the court said the appeals against Jayalalithaa stood abated with her death on December 5, 2016. The other three accused have been ordered to surrender forthwith. The trial court had in 2014 sentenced the trio to four years imprisonment each and Rs. 10 crore ďŹ ne each for abetting corruption and criminal misconduct by a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code. Jayalalithaa was also sentenced to four years imprisonment and a ďŹ ne of Rs. 100 crore for corruption. The abatement of charges however does not rub oďŹ&#x20AC; the smear of ignominy the Supreme Court piled on Jayalalithaaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s political legacy in its 570-page judgment. Court reasons out why the accused were guilty It accused Jayalalithaa as a mastermind who misused her public oďŹ&#x192;ce, who â&#x20AC;&#x153;masked banking exchangesâ&#x20AC;?, who acquired â&#x20AC;&#x153;vast tracts of landâ&#x20AC;? for pittances and conspired with her co-accused at Poes Garden only to later â&#x20AC;&#x153;feign ignoranceâ&#x20AC;? about any crime committed. The Supreme Court methodically gave reasons why all four accused were guilty of criminal conspiracy. One, the fact that Jayalalithaa had executed a General Power of Attorney (GPA) in favour of Sasikala in respect of Jaya Publications. This was done, the court said, for Jayalalithaa to maintain a respectable distance from inďŹ&#x201A;ow and outďŹ&#x201A;ow of money meant for property acquisitions. The court said Jayalalithaa



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Late Jayalalithhaa, with Sasikala â&#x20AC;&#x153;knew fully well that Sasikala would be dealing with her funds credited to her account in Jaya Publicationsâ&#x20AC;?. Two, the court pointed out that the next proof of conspiracy was the speed and manner in which ďŹ rms were created by the accused persons. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It has come in evidence that 10 ďŹ rms were constituted in a single day. A2 and A3 started independent concerns and apart from buying properties, no other business activity was undertaken by them,â&#x20AC;? the Supreme Court noted. The court concluded that these shell entities were mere extensions of Namadhu MGR and Jaya Publications and they owed their existence to Jayalalithaa and Sasikala. All the business they did was buy property. Further, the court said there was no use of Jayalalithaa pretending that she was not aware of the activities of Sasikala and the two others in her own residence, Poes Garden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They were residing with A1 without any blood relation among them,â&#x20AC;? Justice Ghose, who wrote the main judgment, observed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Constitution of ďŹ rms and acquisition of large tracts of land out of the funds provided by A1 indicate that all the accused congregated at Poes Garden neither for social living nor A1 allowed them free accommodation out of humanitarian concern,â&#x20AC;? Justice Ghose wrote. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rather facts and circumstances proved in evidence undoubtedly point out that A2 to A4 were accommodated in the house of A1 pursuant to the criminal conspiracy hatched by then to hold the assets of A1,â&#x20AC;? the court held.

Lauds Special Judge John Michael Cunha The Supreme Court lauded Special Judge John Michael Cunha for his â&#x20AC;&#x153;investigative approach and exhaustive research regarding every piece of evidence in the caseâ&#x20AC;?. On the other hand, the Supreme Court held that Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy in the Karnataka High Court did not even bother to â&#x20AC;&#x153;appraise the evidence availableâ&#x20AC;? and stuck to whatever the income tax authorities found in favour of the accused persons. The Supreme Court poohpoohed defence contentions raised by Jayalalithaa and her co-accused that they got an unfair trial as mere cavil. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The trial court was sensitive, vigilant and judicious in its appraisal of the evidence in this case,â&#x20AC;? the Supreme Court observed. As examples of the trial courtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reasonableness in appreciating the evidence, the Supreme Court pointed how Judge Cunha had excluded a sum of Rs. 32 lakh the prosecution had pinned on the accused for purchase of sarees. It highlighted that despite prosecutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s objections, the trial court had reduced the value of gold and diamonds which came under scanner to Rs. 2 crore. It had toned down Sudhakaranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wedding expenses by over 50 per cent of what the prosecution had cited. Further, the trial court had discounted the value of constructions by depreciating it by 20 per cent. The Supreme Court dismissed the High Court ďŹ nding that the percentage of disproportionate assets were only 8.12 per cent of the known income of the accused.

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NEWS From Page 12 “In our opinion the percentage of disproportionate assets as 8.12 percent as computed by the High Court is based on completely wrong reading of the evidence on record compounded by incorrect arithmetical calculations,” Justice Ghose held. Anyway, the court said it was “inessential” to delve deep into this aspect considering the “pregnant evidence on record, unassailably proving the disproportionateness of the assets as contemplated in Section 13 (1) (e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988”. On the legal point whether Sasikala and the two others could be punished for corruption after the death of Jayalalithaa, the sole public servant in the case, the Supreme Court referred to its 2014 judgment in State through CBI versus Jitender Kumar Singh, which held that the death of a public servant does not extinguish the corruption case against the other private accused. On the second legal question on how private citizens like Sasikala can be prosecuted for public corruption, the Supreme Court referred to Judge Cunha’s conclusion. “The trial court correctly held in this matter that private individuals can be prosecuted on the ground that they had abetted the act of criminal misconduct falling under Section 13 (1) (e) of the 1988 Act,” the Supreme Court said. © The Hindu

Supreme Court upholds Sasikala Jayalalithaa loyalist, Edappadi conviction, party knocks out Panneer Palaniswami emerges from shadows The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of AIADMK chief V.K. Sasikala in a corruption case, sending her back to jail and ending her claim to the mantle of the late Chief Minister Jayalithaa, main accused in the case. Shortly afterwards, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam expelled O. Panneerselvam, Sasikala’s rival for the post, who had taken as chief minister after the December 5 death of Jayalalithaa, then resigned to make way for Sasikala but rebelled against her. The AIADMK elected Edappady K. Palaniswami, a Sasikala loyalist, as its legislature party leader, and said they had staked a claim to form the government.The verdict by the two-judge bench, which overturns the acquittal of Jayalalithaa, her confidante Sasikala and others in the case by the Karnataka High Court, bars Sasikala from contesting elections for nearly 10 years. Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy ordered Sasikala, 60, to surrender and serve the remaining part of her four-year jail term in the case, which dates back to 1997. She has already served almost six months in jail. The Supreme Court restored in toto the judgment and the findings of the Bangalore trial court that had held all the accused including Sasikala’s two relatives, V.N. Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, guilty. “According to the materials and evidence place on record, we set aside the judgment and the order of the high court and affirm in toto the judgment and order the trial court convicting the accused persons,” the bench said. Police presence was stepped up at a resort about 90km from Chennai where Sasikala had herded 120-odd members of the legislative assembly said to be backing her. Sasikala herself stayed overnight at the resort. The proceedings against Jayalalithaa had abated since she has died. But, the Supreme Court said, “having regard to the facts, the charge framed against them by the trial court is restored”. Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, who had filed the case of disproportionate assets in 1996 when he was in the Janata Party, tweeted: “After 20 years, I won.” Jayalalithaa was jailed in 2014 for holding unaccounted cash and property worth Rs 66 crore accumulated during her first term in power, from 1991 to 1996. She stood down following the verdict only to be freed on bail, and returned to office months later. Sasikala was also a defendant in the case. She has been ordered to pay a fine of Rs 10 crore, and cannot appeal the verdict.

The AIADMK’s new Legislature Party leader ‘Edapaddi’ K. Palaniswami, who is the Minister for Public Works Department, State Highways and Minor Ports, has been a staunch loyalist of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo Jayalalithaa since the time she entered active politics. He was part of her four-member kitchen cabinet during 201116 along with Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and former Ministers Natham R. Viswanathan and R. Vaithilingam. Presently, he is ranked number three in the Cabinet. Hailing from the rural Nedungulam village in Edappadi taluk, 62-year-old Mr. Palaniswami joined AIADMK at a young age in the 1980s. He threw his weight behind Jayalalithaa when the party suffered a split after the demise of the party founder M.G. Ramachandran in 1987. Jayalalithaa instantly rewarded Mr. Palaniswami, hailing from Kongu Vellala Gounder community — a dominant community of the western region — by nominating him as the AIADMK (Jayalalithaa) candidate in the rural Edappadi constituency in the 1989 elections. He tasted success in his maiden attempt. Mr. Palaniswami retained the seat in the 1991 elections. Mr. Palaniswami, a farmer by occupation, who remained on the sidelines for almost a decade, was in the fray from Edappadi constituency once again in the 2006 elections. However, this time he suffered defeat at the hands of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) nominee V. Kavery. Mr. Palaniswami won from Edappadi constituency for the third time in 2011 Assembly elections defeating M. Karthe of PMK. He was inducted in the Jayalalithaa Cabinet as State Highways and Minor Ports Minister. Soon he earned her confidence and became her close confidante. Though Jayalalithaa reshuffled her Cabinet umpteen number of times dropping even some senior Ministers during her previous regime (2011-16), Mr. Palaniswami continued to be a prominent member of her team for the entire five years. In the May 2016 elections, Mr. Palaniswami was fielded again in Edappadi again and he romped home with a whopping margin of 42,022 votes over his nearest PMK rival N. Annadurai in a 15-cornered contest. While Mr. Palaniswami secured 98,703 votes, Mr. Annadurai polled 56,681 votes. The DMK candidate P. A. Murugesan was pushed to the third position with a vote tally of 55,149 votes.

“47 Years




COMMUNITY Dr. Syamal Poddar: Professional fulfillment through career and service By A Correspondent How does one achieve career fulfillment? Advancing along the corporate ladder is certainly one facet. Another critical facet is service through a professional organization. In fact, the two facets are very much linked together. Joining and volunteering in a professional organization provides networking opportunities to advance along the corporate ladder. Dr. Syamal Poddar, a long time Houstonian, is a remarkable example of achieving synergy through a corporate career and professional service. The following key points of Dr. Poddar’s background and achievements highlight the synergy he cultivated. His 40+ year industrial career includes working for two major global companies: Exxon Research & Engineering and Bechtel Corporation, with diversified professional, management and leadership responsibilities. He is a PE (Professional Engineer) registered in the state of Texas. Dr. Syamal Poddar is the Founder President and Principal Consultant of the consulting company, Poddar & Associates. With Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Chemical Engineering with Honors from Jadavpur University, India, Dr. Poddar

earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In addition to authoring 46 technical papers and two U.S. patents, he has made numerous technical and business presentations at national and international conferences and organized and chaired many such conferences, participated and moderated a number of panel discussions on various topics. Over the years, he has received many national and international awards and recognitions. Along with such corporate successes, Dr. Poddar is a veteran volunteer with social and professional organizations, achieving tangible membership growth with value-added activities. Dr. Poddar is very active with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He has held practically all leadership roles in the Fuels & Petrochemicals Division and was awarded the lifetime achievement service award. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Management Division of the Institute. In addition to the national level, he is very active in the South Texas Section (STS) of the AIChE Dr. Poddar just completed his elected term as the chair of

pact on the global society. Dr. Poddar enjoys mentoring young professionals. “I think actively participating in a professional organization is very important for every young professional to learn and cultivate leadership skills, and create networking strength to make professional and career advancement,” explained Dr. Poddar. He says “Being passionate of what we do, we energize ourselves and others we interact with….only through staying focused with persistence we can achieve our goal.”

Dr. Syamal Poddar (left) receiving the AIChE’s “Philanthropist of the Year” award from Dr. Eduardo Glandt, Chairman of the Foundation Board of Trustees and Past Dean of Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania. the STS. During his tenure as the Chair of the STS, Syamal expanded the diversity and inclusion in the leadership of the organization. He is passionately driven to expand the leadership role of young professionals by mentoring, attracting, retaining and energizing young professionals. He is a member of Foundation Board of Trustees of the AIChE. Based on his continued be-

nevolent activities through AIChE Foundation, in 2016 he has been recognized by the AIChE as the Philanthropist of the year. During the Fellows Breakfast at the 2016 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Dr. Poddar urged his colleagues to consider taking a leadership role in AIChE’s “Doing a World of Good” campaign, and by doing so, making an immediate im-

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Shraddhanjali 2017

Mahatma Gandhi Library and Unity of Houston jointly observed Shraddhanajli, Memorial Service, in collaboration with Arya Samaj Greater Houston, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, The Ismaili Jamatkhana Center and Brahma Kumaris on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at Unity of Houston. It was the commemoration of the 69th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi who spread the message of truth, non-violence, and global peace, died on January 30, 1948. Mahatma Gandhi Library (MGL) in collaboration with Unity of Houston (Unity) commemorated Shraddhanjali, a memorial service, on Saturday, February 4, at Unity of Houston, 2929 Unity Dr, Houston, TX . MGL is a non-proďŹ t organization whose mission is to promote the universal values of truth, non-violence, love and service. The library was started almost twelve years ago by the vision and dedication of Atulbhai Kothari and today, with many dedicated volunteers, their worthy eďŹ&#x20AC;orts continue.

Technology Day at Hindu Temple of Woodlands

The EYS (Education Youth Service) Venture Club of the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands held its Technology Day at the temple on Sunday, February 12, 2017 from 2:30 to 5:00 pm. The program was primarily for the youth of the temple and surrounding community and their parents. Nearly a hundred interested persons attended and participated. The keynote speaker was Mr. Subroto Mukerji, CEO of HP Enterprises. He encouraged the youth to plan ahead and develop their abilities and ďŹ&#x201A;exibility to change careers as needed. He noted that lifelong learning is a must, with new occupations developing at an increasingly fast rate. Dr. C. (Vipu) Vipulananda, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was the main speaker. He gave a very interesting presentation on major research he and his colleagues and students have been doing on developing â&#x20AC;&#x153;smart concreteâ&#x20AC;?. The university owns several patents based on this research and the licensing on these has been sought after for use in various manners both in the USA and internationally. A second topic he covered was nanotechnology. He told of how his lab has produced nano-particles specially for various applications, including in medicine and pharmacology. Several young students gave presentations and others participated in demonstrations of some of the projects the Venture Club members have been participating including programming and use of drones and use of digital automation for various tasks. Speakers, demonstrators, and members of the audience all found the program both educational and inspiring. The Hindu Temple of The Woodlands is located at 7601 S Forestgate Dr, just oďŹ&#x20AC; Woodlands Parkway, in The Woodlands (Spring), TX 77382. Established in 2005 and inaugurated in 2010, it serves the religious, cultural, educational, and social needs of the surrounding community, as well as providing services and opportunities to serve others to all age groups. More information is on the templeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website,

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Dainik Jagran’s online editor arrested for running exit polls The Ghaziabad police arrested Dainik Jagran’s online editor Shekhar Tripathi and took him to the court on Tuesday. The action has come after Election Commission (EC) on Monday ordered the District Election Officers (DEOs) of 15 districts in Uttar Pradesh to lodge separate criminal cases against the editors of Dainik Jagran newspaper for running an exit poll on the first phase of polling held in the state last week. Ghaziabad district magistrate Nidhi Kesarwani told The Hindu that the EC had asked for 15 separate FIRs to be lodged against Resource Development International (I) Pvt. Ltd, the agency that conducted the poll, and the editorial head of the Hindi daily under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) read with Section 126A and 126B of Representation of People (RP) Act, 1951. Offences under Section 188 of IPC are cognisable, which means the police have the authority to make an arrest without either a warrant or the permission of a court. Ghaziabad senior superintendent of police Deepak Kumar told The Hindu that Dainik Jagran’s online editor Shekhar Tripathi has been arrested from Kavi Nagar police station area. Mr. Kumar said, “An FIR on the EC order was also registered in Ghaziabad. Mr Shekhar Tripathi lives in Kavi Nagar hence the Ghaziabad police arrested him from Kavi Nagar.” Kavi Nagar police station in charge Hemant Rai said, “Shekhar Tripathi was arrested late night on Monday. He is being produced in the city court. A police will take him to the court.” When asked are more persons likely to be arrested in this case, Mr. Rai said, “Further investigation into the matter is on. Arresting of more persons can not be ruled out into the matter.” Section 126A(1) of RP Act prohibits the conduct and publicising of an exit poll through print or electronic media during the period specified by the poll watchdog. An offence under this section is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or with fine or both. For the ongoing assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur, the EC, through a notification on January 27, banned exit polls from February 4 to March 8, which is the last day of voting. However, on February 11, around 7.30 p.m., Dainik Jagran reportedly released the results of an exit poll on its website after polling in 73 seats was complete. The exit poll agency, which claimed to have interviewed 5,700 voters across 38 Assembly seats covered under the first phase of elections, projected BJP as the front-runner followed by BSP and the SP-Congress alliance. The results were taken down from the website on Monday morning after the alleged violation was reported by a section of the media. Taking cognisance of the violation the EC said in a press statement on Monday, “The Commission has decided to take stringent action against the perpetrators of this serious violation of the provisions of Section 126A of RP Act, 1951 to uphold the law to ensure the smooth conduct of free and fair elections.” © The Hindu

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Audience need not stand when National Anthem is part of film: Supreme Court The Supreme Court on Tuesday clarified that the audience need not stand when the National Anthem is played as a part of the storyline of a film, newsreel or documentary. A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi made this clear after one of the petitioners said the apex court should clarify if people are expected to stand when the National Anthem is played in a film, newsreel or documentary. “It is clarified that when the National Anthem is played as part of the storyline of a film, newsreel or a documentary the audience need not stand,” the bench said. The bench, which said the issue raised by petitioners needs to be debated, has fixed the matter for further hearing on April 18.

The apex court had on November 30 last year ordered cinema halls across the nation to mandatorily play the National Anthem before screening of a movie and the audience must stand and show respect. This order had come on the PIL filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that National Anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before a film begins and proper norms and protocol be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and programmes where those holding constitutional office are present. The apex court, while passing a slew of directions, had also observed that “time has come when citizens must realise they live in a nation and are duty-bound to show respect

to National Anthem, which is a symbol of constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality.” It had said that “love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag”. The court had barred printing of the anthem or part of it on any object and displaying it in such a manner at places which may be “disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect”. It had also barred playing or displaying an “abridged version” of the anthem. Various other petitioners have also approached the apex court, which has tagged them with and the bench has tagged with the main petition. © The Hindu

Supreme Court warns judge of arrest A seven-judge constitution bench has said it may issue an arrest warrant against Calcutta High Court judge Justice C.S. Karnan if he fails to appear before it on March 10 to face contempt proceedings. Justice Karnan today failed to appear before the top court, prompting the bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar to warn of the drastic step. “We will give him one more opportunity. We want to hear him before framing charges,” said the bench, which includes Justices Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Kurian Joseph. The apex court had last week issued a contempt notice to Justice Karnan who had accused several judges of Madras High Court, where he had earlier served, and a Supreme Court judge of corruption and nepotism. He had also complained of a casteist approach towards him for being a Dalit. Instead of appearing be-

Karnan fore the apex court, Justice Karnan had sent a letter to the Supreme Court registry, questioning the authority and powers of the constitution bench to initiate contempt of court proceedings against him. According to the judge, only Parliament has the power to initiate action against a sitting high court judge through an impeachment motion. He also faulted the constitution bench for not giving him sufficient time to give his reply. In his brief submission today, attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi, said the contemnor is bound to appear in person in court, unless exempted by the court. “Justice Karnan has not appeared but sent a letter to the registrar-general. There is absolutely no basis for the allegations in the letter and he is doing this in a wanton fashion. It should not be seen that courts can punish only private citizens but

when it comes to a judge, no action will be taken. To restore public confidence, action must be taken against him and charges should be framed,” Rohatgi said. Justice Khehar, however, said: “He (Justice Karnan) has not said why he can’t appeal, nor has he sought time. We will give him one more opportunity.” “If he fails to appear even after the second notice?” Rohatgi asked. The Chief Justice replied: “We can issue bailable/non-bailable warrant to secure his presence. That we will consider later.” The apex court today refused to entertain an intervention application moved by a lawyers’ body, the National Lawyers Campaign, through its founder Mathews Nedumpura. Nedumpura, tried to make some submission, but the court refused to allow his intervention in the matter. The court then posted the matter for further hearing to March 10, on which date it has asked Justice Karnan to appear before it. Another bench headed by Justice Arun Misra has forwarded to the seven-judge bench an application filed by Beula Rajakumari, wife of Justice S. Mani Kumar of Madras High Court. She has sought protection, saying she is getting threatening phone calls from Justice Karnan alleging that her husband had committed custodial rape.


COMMUNITY CALENDAR Sri Meenakshi Temple Society 24-Feb Fri 6:30 p.m. Maha Sivarathri TEMPLE HOURS: M TO TH; 8:30 a.m. TO 12 noon, 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. FRI: 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Weekends & Holidays: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Durga Bari Temple Durga Bari temple is open from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Mon. thru Sat. Sandhya aarti at 6:30 p.m. Temple closes at 7 p.m. Sunday special from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Temple is located at 13944 Schiller Rd (oďŹ&#x20AC; Hwy 6 bet. Bellaire & Westpark). Call Ganesh Mandal at 713-797-9057 / 832-423-8541.

Vipassana Meditation

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Register for Houston area Vipassana Meditation course as taught by S. N. Goenka. January 7 to 18, 2017, July 8 to 19,2017, November 4 to 15,2017. All courses are FREE. Donations are accepted from those who upon completing the training wish to contribute for future students. Instruction in Vipassana meditation is given in ten-day retreats Visit www.siri. Arya Samaj Satsang Weekly Havan Satsang every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. DAV Sanskriti School Sundays 10 a.m. to 12 noon. - Havan, Hindi and Naitik Shiksha classes. DAV Montessori School for ages 2 to 7 years. Call Arti Khanna 281-759-3286. Free Yoga classes on Sat. Sanskrit & Upanishad classes Tue. 6-8 p.m. At 14375 Schiller Rd. (bet Westpark & Bellaire oďŹ&#x20AC; Hwy 6). 281752-0100. Brahma Kumaris The Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Meditation Center is open 7 days a week. The center oďŹ&#x20AC;ers free Raja Yoga Meditation classes: Mon-Fri @ 6:00-6:45am and 7:00-8:00pm, Sat-Sun @ 7:00-8:30am, 10:00am2:00pm. Visiting hours are Sat-

Sun @ 10:00am-5:00pm. Contact us at (832) 379-8888, houston@, or to sign-up for classes. All Raja Yoga Meditation teachers at the Houston center are samarpit and have 15+ years of teaching experience. Chinmaya Mission Sunday satsangs for adults, youth, and children. A unique Bala Vihar program for each grade, from PreK to Grade 12. Satsangs in two sessions between 8:35 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. - 1 p.m. Bala Vihar students can take shloka, bhajan and orchestra classes or language classes for Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, and Gujarati. Chinmaya Mission is located at Chinmaya Prabha, 10353 Synott Road, Sugar Land, TX 77498. New members may visit the welcome desk between 8 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. or 10:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Visit http://www. or contact Bharati Sutaria 281.933.0233 for more information. Vedanta Society Vedanta Society of Greater Houston, 14809 Lindita Drive (77083) has classes every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, 1st & 3rd Sunday; Bhagavad Gita, 2nd Sunday; on works of Swami Vivekananda, 4th Sunday; Holy Mother Saradaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gospel, 5th Sunday. Swamis of Ramakrishna Order visit to conduct retreats and lectures. www. houstonvedanta. org or 281-5840488. Jain Society Jain Society of Houston (JSH) located at 3905 Arc Street Houston Texas 77063 is open M-F from 7:30 AM to 12 Noon and 4 to 7 PM, and Sat, and Sun from 8 AM to 6 PM. Jain Society of Houston invites Jain scholars all year round. Please call Urvashi Jain 713 789 2338. Visit for calendar of events and other detailed information. Shiv Shakti Mandir

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Sanatan Shiv Shakti Mandir, 6640 Harwin. Open daily 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All major festivals, as well as birthdays, naam karan, engagement and other ceremonies. Call Pandit Virat Mehta 713-278-9099 or Hardik Raval 361-243-6539 for puja or other ceremonies. Heartfulness Meditation Heartfulness Meditation is a practical technique of tuning inwards to experience our higher selves. Meditation with someone who has the capacity of yogic transmission can help you explore the Heartfulness practice more deeply. There are no charges for this, and we invite you to experience the unique beneďŹ ts of this transmission. Workshops on Heartfulness relaxation and meditation are held weekly throughout Houston, including Saturdays at 11 am at India House. Web: www.; Email: houston. Cell: 713-929-0040. Heritage Classes Ashirwadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Heritage Classes in Katy, Cypress and Sugar Land for kids 4 to 18 yrs - meditation, Yoga, slokas, stories from scriptures, Vishnu Sahasranam, bhajans, competitions and fun activities. Adult meditation classes. Register at or Sri Ravula 281-995-0930. Hare Krishna Dham Houstonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original Vedic temple, ISKCON of Houston. At 1320 W 34th St. (77018). Daily Darshan & Arati Times: 4.30 a.m, 7 a.m, 8.30 a.m, 12 noon, 4.30 p.m, 7 p.m, 9 p.m. Sunday Festival: 5.30 pm to 7.30 p.m. Weekly Gita classes for adults; call 281-433-1635 or harekrishnadham Houston Namadwaar A prayer house where the Hare Rama Hare Krishna Maha-mantra is continuously chanted. Weekends: 8-11 AM & 4-7 PM, Weekdays: 7-8 AM & 6-7 PM. Weekly â&#x20AC;&#x153;Gopa Kuteeramâ&#x20AC;? childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heritage classes and Srimad Bhagavatam classes. Call 281-402-6585; visit (Global Organization for Divinity). Saumyakasi Sivalaya Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya is located at Chinmaya Prabha, 10353 Synott Road, Sugar Land, TX 77478. Temple timings: Monday to Friday: Morning Closed. Open in the evening 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 AM 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM. For more information Contact 281-568-1690 or Jay Deshmukh at 832-541-0059 or visit Gauri Siddhivinayak Temple Darshan from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. All major festivals as well as birthdays, naam karan, engage-

ment and other ceremonies. Call Pandit Pradip Pandya 832-4669868 for puja and other ceremonies. At 5645 Hillcroft Ste 701, Houston, TX 77036. Veerashaiva Samaja VSNA Houston is a group of families who believe in Veerashaiva dharma (Basava dharma). Monthly Mahamane program for prayer and discussion on Vachana Sahitya followed by Prasada. Contact: vsnahous or Jagadeesh Halyal 832-744-4166. Mar Thoma Church Trinity Mar Thoma Church every Sunday at 5810 Almeda Genoa Rd. Sunday School at 9:15 a.m. Malayalam service at 9:30 a.m. on 1st & 3rd Sunday. Adult Bible class at 9:30 a.m. English service at 10:30 a.m. on 2nd & 4th Sunday. Call 713-991-1557 or 281261-4603. Telugu Christian Fellowship Telugu Christian Fellowship meets every third Saturday of the month at Triumph Church, 10555 W. Airport Blvd., StaďŹ&#x20AC;ord TX 77477 at 6:30 p.m. Join us for a time of praise, worship and fellowship. Worship is in English. For information call Chris Gantela 281-344-0707, or Rev. Vijay Gurrala 281-997-0757. Sri Guruvayurappan Temple Hours: Mon to Fri 6 a.m. -8 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Weekends & Holidays: 6 a.m. to noon and 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Bhajans Saturdays 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Special poojas (weekends and holidays) Choroon (Annaprasam) for kids, Thulabharam, Vahana Pooja, Nirapara. Temple is located at 11620 Ormandy St. (77035) Tel: 713-7298994 email: temple@ Preksha Meditation JVB Preksha Meditation Center conducts weekly Meditation, Yoga and Swadhyay sessions inside its unique Pyramid hall under the auspicious guidance of Samanijis, and runs special events and programs like I-Choose, Meditation Camps and Gyanshala program for children ages 4-14 yrs. JVB is located at 14102 Schiller Rd. Houston 77082. Every Tuesday, 9:30 am-11:30 am, Samaniji has pravachan for all adults interested in learning about Jainism. Every Wednesday there is Swadhyay class from 7-9 pm and every Thursday from 9:30-11am there is special Yoga class for Ladies only. Call Seema Jain at 281-575-0575 for further information. Visit or send email at for more details. Patanjali Yogpeeth Free Yoga Classes every Sat/Sun at Arya Samaj from 8 am to 9:30 a.m. Call Anil 281-579-9433. For other free classes, call Indra 281537-0018. For Yoga/Herbal products, call Shekhar 281-242-5000. Web: and www.

Hindu Temple of The Woodlands 7601 S. Forest Gate Dr, The Woodlands, TX 77382 Temple Hours, Weekdays: 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM 5:30 PM - 8.30 PM Aarti @ 7:30 PM Saturday and Sunday 8:30 AM - 1:30 PM Aarti at 12:00 PM 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM Aarti @ 7:30 PM; Contact 832-585--0001 or Sathya Sai centers Sunday program held at two locations (North Houston: 12127 Malcomson Road, Houston; South Houston: 246 Fluor Daniel Drive, Sugar Land) from 3:00 to 5:30 pm) - Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) classes for children; Study Circle for adults & Devotional singing for all. Service programs - food distribution, canned food drives, nursing home visits, tutoring at schools, etc. Contact Venkat Rao (North) - 602-503-2249 or Ranji Raghavan (South) 281-451-8238. Visit Sadhu Vaswani Center Sadhu Vaswani Center of Houston holds regular Satsang on 3rd Thursday of the month and daily Arti at 7.30 p.m. Call 281-4630379 or e.mail Gaudiya Math Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha at 16628 Kieth Harrow Blvd., Houston 77084. Satsang Sundays 5 to 7 pm. Mantra meditation, kirtan, Sanatan Dharma classes. Vedic Education and Hindi classes for kids. Gita classes noon - 1:30 pm Wed. Hanuman Chalisa and Ramcharit Manas on Tue. 7:30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8:30 p.m. or 281-499-3347. Swaminarayan Temple Hindu Satsang at Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple, under Shree NarNarayan Dev Gadi kalupur. Opens daily from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Daily aarti at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday sabha from 5p.m to 7 p.m. followed by aarti at 7 p.m. and Maha-Prasad (free dinner). (281) 530-2565. Sanatan Dharm Maha Sabha West Indian Religious Organization called Sanatan Dharm Maha Sabha Branch # 377 is located at 26100 Tina Lane, Katy, TX 77494. Durga Mata Pooja is held every Friday from 7 pm to 9.30 pm. Contact Ram Sharma @ 713-412-9985. Gandhi Library Mahatma Gandhi Library Book Club: Meets 2nd Sunday of each month; 12:30 PM at Arya Samaj Greater Houston, 13475 Schiller Rd. Join the discussion of the great manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s autobiography â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Call Manish Wani 713-829-6979.


NEWS Sari detention unfurls SC ire- Theft case rap on Telangana NEW DELHI The Supreme Court today pulled up the Telangana government for keeping a man in jail for nearly a year on the mere suspicion that he stole five saris in Hyderabad. The court was told that one Ch. Eliah had been detained from March 19, 2016, under a preventive detention law called the Andhra Pradesh Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic and Land Grabbers Act. “Where are we leading to? What is happening to this country?” a shocked court wondered and granted two weeks to Telangana to explain. A bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice N.V. Ramana, warned the state’s counsel, Krishna Kumar Singh, that it would pass strictures against the state if it failed to furnish a proper explanation. A preventive law is normally invoked to detain a person who is accused of habitually indulging in any offence. Under the preventive detention law, a person can be kept in jail for nearly a year without any trial, provided the state advisory board created under the said statute confirms the detention. According to the Telangana government, Eliah was involved in at least three instances of sari theft in six months in the areas under the jurisdiction of the police stations in Amberpet, Chikkadpally and Osmania University. His detention under the preventive was affirmed by a state advisory board, headed by a retired judge of the high court, the government said. Eliah moved the Supreme Court through his wife Shalini, after Andhra Pradesh High Court refused to interfere with the order passed by the detaining authority. “Preventive detention, for theft of five saris? Should we pass strictures? What’s going on in the state of Telangana? You will start arresting everybody? We will pass scriptures. Let us say he has stolen one sari, two saris or three saris - for that you arrest a person under prevention detention? What kind of people are you all? Telangana is a good state. Assuming a person has taken four saris, you will put him under preventive detention?” Justice Khehar asked the state. The state’s counsel tried to justify the detention on the ground that the suspect was a habitual offender. But the bench asked: “What is happening to this country? Nobody has been identified in the FIR. There are no witnesses who have identified him. Yet, on the basis of three verbal FIRs, you arrest and detain people? Is there some po-

litical rivalry? What’s happening?” Justice Khehar asked the state’s counsel. Singh sought two weeks to place before the court the material justifying the preventive detention of the suspect. According to the state, Eliah falls within the definition of “goonda - any person who by himself as leader of gang habitually commits or attempts to commits abets the commission of offences”. The suggestion was that he was acting in collusion with a group that steals saris from different shops.


NEWS ‘Proud to represent India at Grammys’ Indian tabla player Sandeep Das was part of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble Sing Me Home that won the Grammy in the World Music category that also included sitarist Anoushka Shankar’s Land of Gold. It was sixth time unlucky for Shankar as she is yet to register a win despite multiple nominations in the category over the years. Yo-Yo Ma’s Sing Me Home features tunes composed or arranged by global artists as it examines the ever-changing idea of home. Apart from Ma and Das, musicians on the album include the New Yorkbased Syrian clarinet player Kinan Azmeh, who was recently stranded overseas when US President Donald Trump imposed a ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Azmeh could return to country after a court rejected Trump’s travel ban order. Das, who was dressed in red kurta, said the ensemble sent a powerful message of unity and respect for each other’s cultures. “When things like this happen,

Delhi HC stays government’s nursery admission guidelines The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed the Directorate Of Education’s nursery admissions notification forcing 298 private schools to adopt only neighbourhood criteria, while terming it as “unreasonable”. The January 7 notification was “arbitrary and discriminatory”, said Justice Manmohan while he ordered to put a stay on the guidelines for nursery admissions in the national capital for the 2017-18 academic session. The notifications by the Department of Education have made “distance” the primary criterion for admission of tiny tots. The court remarked that “primary cause of nursery admissions chaos is lack of good schools in Delhi”. The court’s judgement came on petitions filed by two school bodies and a couple of parents to challenge the guidelines.

it impacts us directly because a lot of us come from a lot of those countries,” Das told reporters after accepting the award. “In the current situation, I think we’ll keep playing more music and sharing more love.” “It is third time lucky for us. I am very proud of who I am and where I come from be it culturally or musically. I wish there were more acknowledgment from my own country for the music that is deep-rooted and in our blood over glitz and

glamour,” Sandeep added. Sing Me Home won in a category that included Shankar’s Land of Gold, which is about the global refugee crisis. The 35-year-old Indian musician was accompanied by her husband, British director Joe Wright at the music ceremony. “Very excited that this man is my date to the #grammys today! It’s the first time he’s been free to join me. #husband #JoeWright #love,” she had tweeeted ahead of the ceremony.

Vacuum cleaners on all PWD roads soon: Jain Vacuum cleaners will soon sweep “all roads under PWD” across the national capital, city minister Satyendar Jain today said pointing out that roadsides and dividers are being greened on large scale to contain pollution levels. At the annual report release of the two years’ activities of the AAP dispensation, PWD & Power Minister Jain and Environment Minister Imran Hussain said the government’s dust control measures have worked towards containing pollution levels in the city. Hussain claimed people were in favour of permanent implementation of the ‘odd-even’ scheme, which he said, has also played a crucial role in binding levels of pollution. “Four to five vacuum cleaning machines are working at this point. The tender has come and soon all PWD roads in Delhi will be swept mechanically. Roadsides and dividers are also being greened on large scale,” Jain said. The vacuum cleaning project has failed to take off in the past due to several reasons including companies not showing interest in bidding for the tenders floated by the government. On the power front, Jain claimed the city has witnessed the least outages in the last 15 years under the AAP dispensation and sought to remind people as to how it has not allowed any tariff hike. “Green cover of Delhi has increased by 0.8 per cent over last one year through massive plantations drives across the city. This is a new record,” Hussain said. However, data shared by the Centre in Lok Sabha has showed that 2016 was particularly bad for the national capital in terms of air quality with the volume of ultrafine particulates under the PM 2.5 and PM 10 category violating the annual safe standards by over five times in certain areas. The city had witnessed a severe episode of smog in the first week of November, which was described the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) as the worst in 17 years.

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THE GAURI SIDDHIVINAYAK TEMPLE OF HOUSTON 5645 Hillcroft Ave, Suit # 701 , Houston, TX 77036 We cordially invite you for your gracious presence on the auspicious occasion of MahaShivratri celebration 24th February,2017 Maha Pooja Starts at 5:00 PM Maha Arti 6:30 PM Maha Pooja Starts at 7:00 PM Maha Arti 8:30 PM Enjoy Thandai Prasad in The Temple. Maha mrutyunjaya Japa Yajna will continue for the whole day. Milk for Abhishek & Prasad is welcomed. Devotees who desire to sit in Pooja may give their names to Priest Shri Pradip Pandya @ 832-466-9868. Please see our website at Or visit us at E-mail:- The Gauri Siddhivinayak Mandir of Houston is a Non-Profit 501(C) organization, All Donations are tax Deductible.

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