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Web: www.india-herald.com • Editor@india-herald.com • Tel: 281-980-6746

24 Pages

India Herald

VOL. 23 • NO. 14 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • P.O. BOX 623, SUGAR LAND, TX 77487 • PERIODICAL PERMIT USPS 017699 • 25 cents

Taj Express arrives this Saturday

Local Tamil organizations, Bharathi Kalai Manram of Houston, Tamil Nadu Foundation, Houston chapter, and Sri Meenakshi Temple jointly organized a fundraiser for instituting a Tamil chair at Harvard University. The Harvard Tamil Chair committee members received a symbolic check for $50,000 at the fundraiser held on March 25. The proposed chair needs a total of $6 million and the organizers have reached half of the target. Above, representing the various organizations were Vetriselvan, left, Vijayalakshmi Sambandam, S. Thirugnanasambandam, V. Janakiraman, Sam Kannappan, Meenakshi Kannappan, Vijaya Ramachandran, Arumugam Thirvengadam, Bala Balachandran and Nalini Balachandran.

Hindu Youth Awards Gala set for April 22

You don’t want to miss Indo-American Association’s presentation Taj Express this Saturday. Tickets at Ticketmaster and Smart Financial Centre box office are at 25 percent off. Best seats in the house are reserved for donors/sponsors/subscribers and are available by calling Hari Dayal at 832.231.3086. TAJ EXPRESS: The Bollywood Musical Revue is a Broadway style Bollywood production touring 60 US cities. A high-energy celebration of new India’s pop music and Bollywood culture, Taj Express features colorful costumes, vibrant dances, elaborate sets and light plots, and thrilling live music. In a Bollywood movie, as everyone knows, it’s the dazzling dancing, mesmerizing music, elaborate costumes, and the inevitable happy ending that really counts. In that respect, Taj Express fits the bill perfectly. In a true musical revue style, the show is configured as a set of dance numbers cleverly punctuated with some dialogues to provide continuity. Some 30 dancers swirl through over 2,000 sparkling costumes, dancing in a wonderful hybrid of classical Indian dance forms and Western cultural clues. Can you imagine Bharatnatyam thematically merging with hip-hop and break dancing! Colorful kaleidoscopic images in the background beautifully complement the action. A falling rain effect during a monsoon sequence (lovers in Bollywood films always meet in the rain) is specially convincing. Taj Express is the first Bollywood show to brilliantly supplement a high-powered mostly electronic sound track with live musicians. Simply stated, Taj Express is the ultimate in a Broadway style Bollywood show.

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HOUSTON The Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) will hold the 7th ‘Hindu Youth Awards and Fundraising Gala’ on Saturday, April 22, at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. The objective of the Youth Gala is to identify and recognize the future Hindu leaders, to encourage them to preserve and persevere its proud legacy, and to groom them with the needed understanding, tools and resources to achieve that goal. The Hindu youth award allows each of the awardees to share their contribution to the Hindu society while exchanging experiences with other awardees, thus allowing a stronger and well-knit future Hindu Leaders of America. The highlights of the evening will include inspiring stories of the winning youth

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and recognizing the donors and organizations for their commitment and support for the important cause and an enjoyable cultural program. The guest speaker for the evening is the young and well known Pujya Kaivalyamurti Swamiji born and raised in Texas, and currently overseeing the Southwestern United States regional youth activities of the BAPS Sanstha. The chief guest and key note speaker for the evening is Ms. Suhag Shukla, Executive founder, Legal Counsel and Co-founder of Hindu American Foundation,who will encourage the youth with her inspiring speech. She will also meet them in a ‘youth only’ session from 5:15-5:45 p.m. This year HGH will recognize six youth who have provided outstanding service to the community in education

and in youth development. Hindus of Greater Houston organizes this event every year and the last one was hosted by Sri. Meenakshi Temple. Smriti Ahuja, an awardee last year says “It was truly an honor receiving the Hindu Youth Award. I am blessed to have been a part of Arya Samaj and a very vibrant Hindu community in Houston which has taught me that wherever we may be in our lives, it is extremely important for us to stay connected to our roots and continue to practice the core values of Hinduism so we can lead by example for the coming generations. I continue to stay engaged with our culture and values at my university.” For more information call Vinod Mantri at 281-804-2740 or Richa Dixit at 832.451.7206.

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COMMUNITY Ekal Houston chapter’s fundraiser: A musical event like no other

Ekal Vidyalaya Houston Chapter will be hosting its annual 2017 fundraiser event on Sunday, May 7th, at the University of Houston Cullen Performance Hall. This year’s rendition, titled ‘Ekal Sur Ekal Taal’, will feature a unique musical concert where the audience will experience a medley of Bollywood songs/dances, folk songs, patriotic songs, and Indian devotional music, by the very artists from the tribal villages of India that the Ekal foundation donations have helped with education, lifestyle, trade, and healthcare awareness. As they say, seeing is believing, and when you see the Ekal Sur Ekal Taal musical concert of 2017, you will appreciate

and believe even more in the Ekal mission, of making available education and empowerment through its grassroots, non-government movement operating in remote and tribal villages of India. Committed to the spirit of sharing their gratitude, these Ekal kalakars from villages and tribal areas have spent a good part of a year to prepare an entertainment bouquet for this year’s fundraiser events that are currently happening in many cities across the US. Since late February, they have performed in over 15 cities, in front of house full audiences, and garnered raving reviews across the board for delivering this mega-concert. Ramesh Shah, winner of

the Bharatiya Pravasi Award honor in January 2017, is traveling with the artists on a bus tour across the country, and has been writing back to the Houston team how this year’s unique program is filling his heart with pride and gratification. The Ekal’s ‘home-grown’ talent is charming audiences and people attending the concert are singing praises, while also feeling a deep sense of pride and humility in supporting the noble cause associated with the Ekal mission. As to the thousands of audiences across the US cities where the Ekal artists have performed to date, the results have been nothing short of outstanding. The performers are leaving

the audience mesmerized and spell-bound with their authenticity, their connection to the Ekal mission and the personal touch, and above all, their humility and quiet confidence. The choreography, the music, the costumes, the graphics, and the skits are enthralling one and all this year. More importantly, this year’s event is an expression of gratitude by Ekal students who grew up to be literate, confident, empowered citizens of India, displaying how their lives and their villages are transformed by the Ekal donors. This symbolism is best communicated in the musical concert through an effective yet emotional combination of words, expressions, performance and costumes. As such, these performers have now grown to be part of a larger Ekal ‘family’ and the audience thus far have been embracing them as such, en-

couraging their adopted sons and daughters to continue to do well and spread their success around, neighboring villages, etc. It is simply astonishing to many of Ekal’s donors and long-time volunteers that when Ekal started its journey some 25 or so years back, our volunteers had to convince the village leaders to bring education to them. Those skeptics have now turned into advocates and are often seen championing the cause and mission. Such is the power of this grass roots evangelism that many other Indian villages are inviting Ekal to come to them. There is always a need for additional funding and the fundraiser in Houston is certainly expected to fulfil that goal as well. Tickets for the May 7th Ekal annual fundraiser are $25 per person, and include dinner. The tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at: https:// www.ekal.org/us

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Established in 1995 by Rajeev Gadgil, Seshadri Kumar & Salim Sindhi India Herald (USPS Periodical 017-699) is published every Wednesday by India Herald, Inc. for a subscription rate of $25 per year. Periodical postage paid at Houston and Sugar Land, Texas. POST MASTER: Send address changes to India Herald, P.O. Box 623, Sugar Land, Texas 77487 Publisher & Editor: Seshadri Kumar www.india-herald.com; email:editor@india-herald.com India Herald assumes no liability resulting from action taken based on information included herein. ©India Herald. All rights reserved.


PAGE 4 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

Indian Music Society of Houston presents

a Hindustani Classical Vocal Recital by Manjusha Patil Kulkarni Accompanied by Harshad Kanetkar on Tabla and Rohan Prabhudesai on Harmonium

Harshad Kanetkar

Rohan Prabhudesai

DATE: Saturday, April 22, 2017

TIME: 5 P.M. VENUE: Chinamaya Smriti ,10353 Synott Road Buy tickets on line at Ticket2events.com For Information Call Govind Shetty- 713-922-2501


INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • PAGE 5

NEWS

Ian Grillot receives a standing ovation at the India House gala.

India House gets overwhelming appreciation HOUSTON – India House received thousands of messages and positive responses on social media, from Americans throughout the nation in response to its presentation of a $100,000 check to Ian Grillot, hero of the recent Kansas hate crime. “Some of these heartfelt messages came with entirely unsolicited donations in amounts ranging from $5 to $20,� said Jiten Agarwal, India House Executive Member and chair of the India House Gala in Houston on March 25, when the check was presented in person to Ian to help him buy a house. The donations will be added to Ian’s house fund. “Good always wins over evil, and these messages of appreciation from places and faces far away from Houston demonstrate clearly that the America, I know is full of good people,� said Agarwal. “We will continue building bridges between communities,� he further added. “I applaud what the Indian Community has achieved. It

has transformed the narrative and demonstrated that it is a community that represents the best both in America and India,â€? said Consulate General of India Dr. Anupam Ray. Grillot, 24, had showed a true sense of the American spirit by intervening in the shooting of two persons of Indian origin on Feb. 22 and was himself shot in his hand and chest. Here’s a small selection of the emotional responses India House received from all across America: “I’m a teacher in Oregon, and have so many students with diverse backgrounds. When I heard about the shooting I just kept thinking how it could have been one of my sweet students, or their families, and was ďŹ lled with grief and rage. Your incredible gesture brought hope and reassuranceâ€? – Oregon. “I’m so saddened by what my country has become. We WILL change it for the better, I promise. Thank youâ€? – Florida. “I saw this on the news tonight and it brought tears to my eyes ... so proud to have won-

derful news in Houston! Bless all of you who made this happen!� – Los Angeles. “This is amazing! I’m so impressed with Ian and your organization. I will be praying for the victims, their families, and all of you. We are one community and must stand together against hate. Thank you so much� – New York. “Such genuine responses renew our faith in America’s greatness,� said Dr. Manish Rungta, India House President. “India House will continue to do all we can to be an integral part of this diverse nation of immigrants.� “Some people from Kansas called to thank and cried on phone. It has been so touching,� said Col (Retd.) Vipin Kumar, Executive Director of India House. India House’s mission is to unite cultures, create bridges and serve the community by bringing resources, education, services and Indian culture to Houstonians. 

Town hall meeting on immigration, racism and media’s trustworthiness The 2016 presidential election has resulted in the dawn of a new age of populism. Rise of the Trump administration has broken the conventional thinking on politics, immigration, racism and media’s trustworthiness. Historically, this is the ďŹ rst time that the South-Asian community is facing such unprecedented changes in the way that they are being perceived by the majority. Many social issues like hate crimes, fake news and, rapid yet confusing changes to immigration policies are on the rise and, the South-Asian community is at crossroads and, ďŹ nding it diďŹƒcult to cope with these changes. The number of the incidents related to hate crimes; especially in the South-Asian community is rising at an alarming rate undermining even the American-born South-Asians. The rise of social media dependency for information has paved a way for anyone to create unveriďŹ able news anytime from anywhere. At Share Our Secrets (SOS), we call this “The New Normal.â€? India House and SOS are partnering to bring together a team of immigration and law enforcement professionals, business owners, and other community movers to discuss, share and provide guidance on how to deal with issues such as hate crimes, the identiďŹ cation of “fake newsâ€? and immigration policy changes in a town hall style meeting. This vital discussion and thoughts exchange will take place on Sunday, April 30th, 2017, from 4PM-6PM at India House. For more information, visit http://www.shareoursecrets.org/ SOStownhall. You may also contact Mani S(kohur@aol. com), Pramod K(pramodhk2000@gmail.com) or Vishnu M(askvishnu@gmail.com).

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PAGE 6 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

2017 MTS SCHOLARSHIP Sri Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS) is a Texas Non-Profit Corporation. One of its primary objectives is to be involved in religious, cultural, educational, social and charitable activities of the community and to assist in meeting those needs. In keeping with those objectives, this year MTS is pleased to offer several SCHOLARSHIPS to qualified high school seniors based on merit or financial need. Seniors who do not meet the eligibility criteria below, but require financial assistance can apply but please put a note that you need financial assistance. Such candidates and their parents may be contacted by the Scholarship Committee Coordinator or his/her designee. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Residency: Houston and Vicinity High School Graduation: May 2017 Date of Enrollment in College or University: Fall 2017 SAT Score: 1800 and above ACT Score: 27 and above GPA 3.50 on an 4.0 scale (Honors and AP Courses will be weighted) Academic Record: At least a “B+” average APPLICATION PROCEDURE AND CHECKLIST: 1. Type or print all information on the application form. Both Applicant and Parent must sign the application form. 2. A resume to be attached that includes all leadership roles, awards, honors, hobbies, interests and a separate response to question regarding participation in MTS activities is to be attached. 3. Copy of SAT/ACT student score report. 4. Copy of school transcript through the fall semester of applicant’s senior year. 5. Copy of AP Scores, if any 6. Copy of Latest School Rank Notification from school 7. Sri Meenakshi Temple Involvement Essay should be no less than 100 words and no more than 150 words. Only non-monetary contributions (example – MTS temple project volunteering efforts and assisting at various occasions such as VHS School, Deepavali Bazaar and assisting at various temple functions such as cafeteria, office etc..) to the temple are to be mentioned. Participation in cultural events, Puja and festivals need not be

mentioned. Please focus only on activities that count as service hours for community undertaken at MTS through the years. Only service activities at MTS will be considered for scholarship awards. 8. Copy of one of your essays submitted to any school you have applied to. 9. Mail completed application and accompanying documents to: MTS Scholarship Committee c/o Dr. Kamala Raghavan 7106 Midnight Pass Ln Missouri City, TX 77459 10. DEADLINE: Applications must be mailed on or before APRIL 24, 2017 Please note: Applications (along with accompanying documents) that are postmarked after Monday April 24th, 2017 will not be accepted. The decision of the MTS Scholarship Committee shall be final. Tardy or incomplete applications will be disqualified. Successful applicants will be awarded the scholarships at an appropriate event in 2nd Quarter 2017 at MTS. SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION Name: ______________________________________ Mailing Address: __________________________ __________________________ Telephone Number: __________________________ Email: ______________________________________ Parents/Guardians Names: ____________________________ High School Name _______________________________ Expected Graduation Date ___________ College/University Planning to Attend ________________________________________ Intended Major/Minor Course of Study ________________________________________ Academics Test Score Date SAT Writing Verbal Math ACT Composite GPA Class Rank AP

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NEWS For Here or to Go? New Film Tells Untold Story of Legal Immigrants in America

HAF continues to advocate on a range of issues impacting the Hindu American community. Currently, we are advocating for H.R.392 - Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017, a bipartisan immigration bill that would streamline our employment and family-based immigration system and help reduce the employment-based Green Card backlog for immigrants from countries such as India. Just last month, HAF Director of Government Relations, Jay Kansara, met a group of Indian Americans similarly advocating for H.R. 392 on Capitol Hill, including a young aspiring filmmaker, Rishi S. Bhilawadikar. Rishi shared how he wants to use the art of storytelling to raise awareness about the experiences and challenges of Indian immigrants in the U.S. by creating a unique feature film, For Here or to Go? The film, which is releasing in theaters nationwide this Friday, March 31, highlights some of the complex aspects of our legal immigration system. Through the stories of Indian immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area, this film provides an entertaining and educational glimpse into the uncertainty many immigrants face as they seek out the American dream.

Get the Digital Edition of India herald? Visit www. India-herald. com. email: editor@ india-herald. com

HAF leaders dismayed by rollback of US Climate, Clean Energy Policy Washington, DC (March 29, 2017) — Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) expressed serious concern and dismay with the recent reversal of previously established policy initiatives towards lowering carbon emissions, protecting the climate, and transitioning to greater use of renewable energy sources. “The recent rollback is counterproductive and dangerous on many levels,” asserted HAF Director of Communications Mat McDermott, and one of the authors of the 2015 Hindu Declaration on Climate Change. “It’s also at odds with what the overwhelming majority

of climate scientists say is required to preserve a livable climate, as well as the goal of maintaining economic prosperity — both of which are best served through climate-friendly policies and renewable energy production.” McDermott added that the newly laid out direction contradicted what a solid majority of the American people desired. According to a recent NBC snap poll, 83 percent of people surveyed disagree with this roll back of climate action. HAF and other Hindu organizations and leaders view Hindu teachings about a mutually beneficial, balanced relationship between humans and the rest of the planet, as a call

to action to protect the environment. “The Srimad Bhagavatam says very clearly, ‘Ether, air, fire, water, earth, planets, all creatures, directions, trees and plants, rivers and seas, they are all organs of God’s body. Remembering this a devotee respects all species,’” said McDermott. He also said that Hindus were supposed to revere all life, human, non-human, plant, and animal and thus, should strive to minimize the harm caused through individual actions in day-to-day lives. “Rivers are all goddesses; mountains are gods. The landscape as a whole is seen as being full of divinity; it is Matru

Bhumi (Mother Earth),” said McDermott. HAF urged the Administration to reverse course on its stated energy and climate policy in order to create more American jobs, ensure the sustainable energy security of the United States, and prevent global instability due our rapidly changing climate. In addition, the Foundation stated that it was critical to honor fully the United States’ commitments under the Paris Agreement and continue forward in making whatever emission reductions were necessary to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C.


PAGE 8 â&#x20AC;˘ INDIA HERALD â&#x20AC;˘ WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

NEWS City council conďŹ rms Karun Sreerama as director of public works By MANU SHAH HOUSTON: On March 29, the City Council conďŹ rmed Dr. Karun Sreeramaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appointment as Houstonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Director, Department of Public Works and Engineering. This culminated a nationwide search for the right candidate but as Chairman David Mincberg succinctly put it, â&#x20AC;&#x153;one name stood out.â&#x20AC;? The appointment makes Sreerama the ďŹ rst Asian to be appointed to the post and the highest oďŹ&#x192;ce held by an Asian American in the City of Houston. Family, friends and wellwishers turned out to ďŹ ll the city hall. Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed his deep trust in Sreeramaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to head the 4000 strong department. Karun, he said, came with â&#x20AC;&#x153;a great deal of experience, not just 1 or 2 but 4 Post Graduates degreesâ&#x20AC;? and will work to foster a new culture, streamline operations and ensure that the right people are in the right positions to get the job done. Almost every one of the 16 Council members also conveyed their support of his choice as Director of Public Works and Engineering. Councilmember Dwight Boykins highlighted his â&#x20AC;&#x153;can do attitude,â&#x20AC;? Councilmember

Steve Le recalled Karunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conďŹ dent words â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x153;I can stretch that dollarâ&#x20AC;? while Councilmember Ellen Cohen endorsed his â&#x20AC;&#x153;unquestionable skillsâ&#x20AC;? but wryly wondered â&#x20AC;&#x153;how long his smile is going to last.â&#x20AC;? Sreerama thanked Mayor Turner and the Councilmembers for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;honor and trust reposed in himâ&#x20AC;? and promised to keep that trust and do everything that is expected of him. In a reception that followed, Houston First Corporation Chairman David Mincberg described Sreerama as â&#x20AC;&#x153;someone with intimate knowledge of the industry, intimate knowledge of engineering and intimate knowledge of Houston.â&#x20AC;? Asked why he chose to work for the City of Houston, Sreeramaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s answer was both personal and simple: he â&#x20AC;&#x153;loves the city.â&#x20AC;? He promised to make the department transparent and reach out and work with everyone to make the city better. Sreerama, a native of Hyderabad, India, has some seriously impressive credentials. He is a gold medalist from IIT, Roorkee, one of 12 candidates selected for the prestigious Cambridge Nehru scholarship program, has 3 Masters and if that wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough, found the inclination to chalk up a Doctorate too. His biggest qualiďŹ cation though: he wears his ac-

complishments lightly, greets everyone with his characteristic warmth and is quick to lend a helping hand. Sreerama came to Houston in 1988 from the University of Missouri-Rolla where he was pursuing his doctorate in civil engineering and got his start working in Law Engineering. A few years later, he moved to PSI, another consulting engineering ďŹ rm, but his big break came in 2004 when he bought ESPA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; an engineering,

construction management and architectural design ďŹ rm that was up for sale. Sreerama threw his energies into the business, focused on quality and client satisfaction and went on to double revenues. He earned his street creds with prestigious projects like the 2nd phase of the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Bush International Airport expansion and the Houston Metro Light Rail. Despite the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s phenomenal run,

Sreerama sold the company in 2013 because the oďŹ&#x20AC;er was â&#x20AC;&#x153;irresistible.â&#x20AC;? Sreerama also became the ďŹ rst non-Anglo President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Houston (ACEC-Houston) in 2013 and has been the recipient of several community awards. Sreeramaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife, Lakshmi is the Associate IT Director at the University of Houston â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Clear Lake. The couple have 2 children.

Noted scientist Dr. Yashwant Karkhanis passes away A preeminent scientist of Indian origin, Dr. Yashwant Karkhanis, passed away peacefully on March 23, 2017 at his home in Fanwood, N.J. after a brief hospitalization. He was 86. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Nalinee, children Nitin & Anita, nephew Sanjay and four grandchildren. Dr. Karkhanis was world renowned for his ground-breaking work in the ďŹ eld of Immunology and Protein Chemistry. After his graduate studies in Mumbai, he came to the US in 1956 to pursue Doctorate studies in Biochemistry at Florida State University. His research and intellect not only took him to the prestigious Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, N.Y. and the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, but also established him as a post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard. For a major part of his career, he worked at Merck Pharmaceutical in New Jersey, where he retired as Research Director at the age of 70. There are several Patents and hundreds of research papers to his credit. He was once referred in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Timeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; magazine, too. After his retirement, he devoted his life to writing scientiďŹ c articles in Marathi that could help people in everyday life. He was a founder member

Dr. Karkhanis and Trustee of Marathi Vishwa, the largest and most prestigious social-cultural organization of the Marathi community in the US. Highly respected, he was the toast of the Marathi community in the US with his disarming down-to-earth disposition and childlike innocence. He believed that one must give back to the community one lives in and in that spirit, his home was open to anyone seeking any kind of help. When the iconic Marathi singer-composer, Sudhir Phadke wanted to make a movie on the life of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Veer Savarkarâ&#x20AC;?, Dr. Karkhanis devoted almost a decade of his life raising funds for it. Being one of the earliest Indian immigrants to the US, he always had interesting stories to share about his life in the 1950â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in the US. He was very proud of his Indian heritage and truly admired the Ameri-

can social environment. Those were days of racial segregation and the only means of communication was the postal service. With only $5 in pocket he spent the ďŹ rst night at the bus-station because he had nowhere to go. The next morning, when he went to the cafeteria to have a cup of tea, he was dumb-struck to see segregated counters and did not know where to seat. Either side had only frown faces to oďŹ&#x20AC;er him. Fortunately, the driver of his bus - a Good Samaritan brought him coďŹ&#x20AC;ee and asked him to seat nearby him in the bus. He always talked of what was good about â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and what it represented. With his passing, scientiďŹ c world has lost a great â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;thinkerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;PRAKASH WAGMARE

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INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • PAGE 9

COMMUNITY

108 Lotus Petals welcome at the Vedic Fair on April 8 Vedic Fair 6 – Celebrate India, India’s LifeStyle Show for all will happen on coming Saturday April 8th, 2017 from 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM at Cinco Ranch High School, 23440 Cinco Ranch Blvd, Katy. A hit for last 5 years, the euphoria to its sequel isn’t that surprising. As Vedic Fair is approaching Ashirwad’s artists, participants and supporting vendors are enthralled and looking forward to its 6th iteration. VEDIC FAIR 6 will be a complete family event to celebrate India’s LifeStyle and it covers length and breadth of India. Admission to the fair is FREE and Parking is FREE. Preparations for this unique Fair has started since December 2016. On Saturday April 8th,2017 Vedic Fair 6 promises to bring this festive and entertaining event to Greater Houston. The highlights of Vedic Fair 6 on Saturday April 8th, 2017 are “Samudra Manthan”, The Churning of Ocean Diorama made up with 108 Lotus petals, where visitors can strike a pose to take pictures. Exhibit presentations to Celebrate India, Free How 2 Workshops on Rangoli, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Yoga, Meditation and Classical Dance. Kids show - “Rise of Fortune”, to illuminate the origin of Goddess Laxmi, Keep your fingers crossed for “Divine Surprise 6”. Do not miss Signature event a Rare “Sloka-Thon” Live on stage contest. Vedic Bazaar at Vedic Fair will bring variety of Indian Ethnic Apparel, Jewelry, henna, face painting and variety of food delicacies from samosa chat to vada paav to soya biryani. Vedic Fair 6 grand finale is prime time play “Goddess Laxmi – The Divine 8” directed by Geetha Ravula, Vedic Fair chair, presented in Hindi with English narration. Last year’s Vedic Fair 5 attended by 2500+ Houstonians was another nonesuch festive, entertaining and educating event that wowed attendees starting from Saket Loka diorama, to Celebrate INDIA Exhibits to FREE Workshops to Vedic Bazaar with many varieties of Food to a Grand Finale prime time stage play “Rama – Lord of 16”. The stage play directed by event chair Geetha Ravula kept audience captivated with grand stage props built by Ashirwad A Blessing Temple’s Team. One of the previous presenters at Vedic Fair says “I feel Vedic Fair was a really interesting event because it presents many different aspects of India, its rich heritage, culture and values. It is really helpful for youth like me and older and younger generations. It not only helped me in my own research for presenting The Third Eye concept but I also learned from other’s presentations.” For updates visit facebook.com/VedicFair. For more information email us at VedicFair@gmail.com or call 281-788-2286.


PAGE 10 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

COMMUNITY Determination,will power make Manmadh Rebba “UltraMan”

Manmadh Rebba

GUEST COLUMN

Listen to the Inner Voice; “Don’t Quit” By KRISHAN GUPTA The “Don’t Quit” presentation is based on the inspiring story of Robert Bruce and the Spider, and on a famous poem “Do not quit” written many years ago. A more recent classic example is about David Jones’s story published in the Houston Chronicle. He reduced his weight from 457 pounds to 190 pounds and ran for the Chevron Houston marathon, finished the marathon and got a medal. ` See it through and finish what you start regardless of a failed or successful outcome. There are lessons to be learned through failure and success therefore, either way the outcome will provide growth. Looking back has a history to reveal and looking forward has a future to unveil. There are many avenues to choose, you have a free will to choose the path, though the destination is simply one. What you think you are, you are. Life is a story about accepting challenges and taking responsibility. Never say quit, no matter how tough it may get; tougher the journey the more enjoyable the destination. When you fail, do not take two steps back, because you may just be one step behind success. This is the exact moment you need to fight and work harder. So in order to excel, get better and above aver-

age, you need to break through those points where you feel self-doubt. The biggest person holding you back is yourself. If you believe you can do something, then, it can be done. You make up excuses, in your head, why things are not possible, or internally blame someone else for your own limitations. Sure, maybe someone else doesn’t want you to reach a certain goal, or pass them in a certain task, but it is not them stopping you. This is your own internal feelings holding you back. Many times in life, we are faced with blows and obstacles that can be unbearable sometimes. We should not quit and give up as you can never tell how close you are to your goals. You just have to experience this blow to get where you are. There are many great surprises in life and there is always light at the end of the tunnel. The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who kept trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. There might be a lot of hindrances or obstacles in a person’s life but they must over-

come that, and should never think of quitting. “Listen before you speak. Think before you write. Earn before you spend. Save before you retire. Give before you die. Wait before you criticize, Forgive before you pray. Try before you quit. When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. You are never a loser until you quit trying. Anyone can give up and it’s the easiest thing in the world. But to hold together will be your strength and will power. There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that is your self-reverence, selfknowledge, self-control, and will power. Quote by the Honorable Dalai Lama: Respect yourself, others and take responsibilities for all your actions. Remember that, not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to getting it.

To advertise in India Herald Email editor@india-herald.com or call 281-980-6746.

A story of guts and glory, Manmadh Rebba’s journey to the coveted UltraMan title started with him learning to swim just 4 years ago. He enrolled himself in swimming classes and built up his endurance by constant and consistent training. Having completed several short distance Triathlons, he set his sights at Ironman. His first big race was Ironman 70.3 Austin which includes a 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles biking and 13.1 miles running. Having completed this race successfully, Rebba’s next step was to train for full Ironman (consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a full marathon). During this process, he took part in several famous Triathlons in the US like Navy SEAL Triathlon, Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon to develop his endurance and skill. Rebba took part in Ironman Maryland and completed it. He also has Ironman Vineman 70.3 and Ironman Miami 70.3 under his belt. He has dedicated the Ironman title to his father, who he believes is his inspiration. Ironman uses a ranking system basing on the finish time for each race to determine which athletes have finished within the top 10 percent or better in their age group each calendar year. Rebba is listed in the top 10 percent of athletes winning him the title of 2016 IRONMAN All World Athlete BRONZE status. On winning the Bronze Medal, Rebba noted that “2016 has been quite an amazing journey in my life, in fact very positive compared to previous years. This title throws light on my accomplishments. Looking forward to a stronger 2017.” Sure enough, a few months after winning the Bronze Medal, he competed for the Ultraman title and is now Ultraman 2017! Ultraman Florida 2017 is a grueling 3 day event consisting of 10km of swimming followed by 146 km of cycling on the first day, 275 km cycling on the second day followed by a double marathon of 84km. The event had 44 participants representing 21 countries. Rebba is the only contestant from Hyderabad who participated and completed the rigorous race finishing 321.5 miles (517.4 Km) in 31 hours and 43 minutes, adding another feather in his cap. The three days, he says, has been the summit but the journey was memorable that brought me here and made me finish the cross line. He is also happy that he is the first person from South India to win this race. What makes this achievement even more creditable is that the night before his race, his nutrition kits, sports gadgets and electronic devices were stolen and Rebba could get only two hours of sleep. However, it didn’t stop him from going ahead with the race and winning. Manmadh Rebba hails from Hyderabad, India. Having completed his Bachelor of Architecture at JNTU Hyderabad, Rebba came to the US to pursue his Master’s degree and is currently working as an Architect/Project manager for a construction company in the US. A lively person, Rebba is modest about his achievements and says that this success was possible only because of his crew’s guidance and supporting team and is so thankful to them. Yet another milestone in Rebba’s life is the prestigious Presidential award he received in the US for tutoring homeless children since 2011. According to Rebba, he “enjoyed every minute spent with the amazing children who have so much potential. Receiving this award with the appreciation letter from President Barack Obama during his last year in office is definitely very special to me.” He stressed the importance of raising a voice against Child abduction- International and Domestic and added that if “we all don’t come together and protect children, this world is not going to get better.” Incidentally, Rebba competed along with the Indian modelturned-actor ‘Ironman’ Milind Soman, who is fitness savvy himself and shared the ‘Ultraman’ title at the age of 51 by finishing the race in 34 hours 46 minutes.


INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • PAGE 11

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COMMUNITY

HARDIK VYAS

Youngest Astrologer in North America Vaastu & Gem Stone Consultant; Hindu Priest for all Pujas & Marriages

A delightful evening with Radha Mangeshkar and Hrishikesh Ranade

Languages spoken: English, Hindi, Gujarati & Marathi Astrologer Hardik Vyas, a famous young face in Vedic Astrology from India is in Houston. Call for guidance on Health, Wealth, Education, Career, Business, Property, Love & Passion, Marriage & Compatibility, Horoscope-Making, Child Problem, Luck & Fortune, Peace & Prosperity, Karma & Economic success. Vaastu Shastra is an ancient science. Fix an appointment for personal visit to your home, plot, business/office, shop, factory, or hotel. Gain peace of mind and prosperity by doing little changes as per Vaastu Shastra. Simple, Easy, Scientific & Affordable solutions/remedies to overcome problems in your Horoscope and Vaastu.

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PAGE 14 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

COMMUNITY

Keenly contested cricket match thrills crowds at India House

The runner up, Cliff Jumpers Cricket Club

The winning team members of the WOM Cricket Club. By RAVI OZARKER Cricket enthusiasts witnessed a keenly fought cricket match at the India House Cricket Grounds between two strong contenders: Cliff Jumpers Cricket Club (CJCC) and WOM Cricket Club (WOMCC) in the India House Premier League (IHPL) Finals. CJCC batted first and scored 160 runs in 20 overs which is a very good score going by past records on India House Cricket Grounds. WOMCC opening batsman Waqas led the charge but sustained an injury after pulling his hamstring. He could barely run and it appeared that he would retire hurt. But to everyone’s surprise, Waqas stayed on with Manju to help WOMCC sail to a 121 run mark. Both players scored 50+ in the first 10 overs. At 121 runs, Manju got out and Ashish joined Waqas. The duo ensured no more wickets fell and secured a 9 wickets’ victory for WOMCC team with 8 overs to spare. Waqas was outstanding and was declared MVP of the match. The India House management and organizers thanked all the teams for their participation in this tournament. This gratitude was extended to every single player and their family members who directly/ indirectly were responsible for the success of this 3 month long exciting tournament which started off with 16 teams. Dedicated cricket players played matches in cold weather close to freezing temperatures on some days. India House also thanked all the volunteers and neutral umpires for their dedication and support. WOMCC won the tournament as the best team of the 16 participating teams, but the real success that India House saw for the past few months was the formation of a community that had started to come together during these cricket matches. A great win-win situation for all. A true sportsman like spirit allowed the players to form a close knit group of the members of all the participating teams. This friendly gathering can be seen at the India House grounds

every weekend. Keeping this in mind, IHPL organizer Sanjay Aggarwal proposed the idea of celebrating Holi after the final match of this tournament. About 200 people attended the post-match presentation and awards ceremony. The awards were given away by the sponsors of the final match, Ajay Gupta of Indus Management and Dinesh Purohit of Café India, and the Guests of Honor of the day, India House Trustees Dr. Durga Agrawal and Bal Sareen. A lot of hard work was put in by the volunteers to make this event successful. To name a few: 1. Col. Vipin Kumar, Executive Director of India House. 2. Sanjay Aggarwal whose dedication and passion for community cricket is phenomenal. 3. Saurabh Malhotra - for the great work he has done to keep things in order in IHPL. 4. Gopi Krishna – for being the go to person with any cricket rules/scores related issues on the website. 5. Vijay Ahire – for his knowledge about the rules of cricket

and in dispute resolution. 6. DJ Andy – for a great job with the live commentary and DJ songs 7. Dhruv Vashisth- for preparing the Evite and flyers sent to

the players and their families 8. Last but not the least: Vrushali Ahire who was operating the collection desk, Megha Ozarker who took excellent photographs and controlled the crowds, and Ravi Ozarker who also took photographs and provided support throughout the tournament. The icing on the cake was the announcement by the GBG that

India House Trustee Bal Sareen had agreed to help in building the shed for the players. After the prize presentation, attendees enjoyed the lunch that was sponsored by Café India of Sugar Land. The event ended on a colorful note where all the players and family members played Holi and danced to music by DJ Andy.

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INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • PAGE 15

NEWS Can’t wait until something happens, says U.S. on India, Pakistan tensions U.S President Donald Trump might take a proactive interest in deescalating tensions between India and Pakistan, U.S Ambassador to the U.N Nikki Haley has said. “We don’t think, we should wait till something happens,” Ms. Haley said at the U.N while taking over as chair of the U.N Security Council for two months. “It’s absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward,” she said in response to a question. “We very much think that we should be proactive in the way that we are seeing tensions rise and conflicts start to bubble up and so we want to see if we can be a part of that,” Ms Haley said. “So I think that will be something that you will see members of the National Security Council participate in, but also wouldn’t be surprised if the President participates in that as well,” she said. Ms. Hailey’s remarks about a “proactive” approach are at variance with the existing American position that it would involve only if both countries wanted it to. India has always rejected third party intervention in India-Pakistan relations, but U.S has been a constant factor between the countries. U.S pushes India to continue peace talks with Pakistan while it pushes Pakistan to take more effective measures against terrorism. Concerns of nuclear terrorism added a new dimension to the American interest in India-Pak conflict in recent years. What is different about the Trump administration is that it is willing to appear more assertive and involved, and this may dissipate after initial enthusiasm, according to Indian diplomatic sources. In his early days in office, Barack Obama believed IndiaPakistan rapprochement was essential for peace in Afghanistan also, an official recalled. Mr. Obama even toyed with the idea of U.S Special Representative for Af-Pak including India also in his ambit. “To lessen tensions between two nuclear-armed nations that too often teeter on the edge of escalation and confrontation, we must pursue constructive diplomacy with both India and Pakistan,” Mr. Obama had said soon after taking charge, talking about his Af-Pak policy. Ms. Haley’s media interaction was not restricted to the UN Security Council and she took questions and made remarks about U.S national policy also. Her remarks about India and Pakistan were about the Trump administration’s thinking. The President is understood to have spoken about India-Pakistan conflict as a potential fillip to Islamist terrorism on several occasions. Mr. Trump has offered to mediate between the two countries if both wanted, which is closer to the existing U.S position. Mike Pence was more upfront while he was Vice President-elect in December. He had said Mr. Trump’s “extraordinary deal-making skills” could resolve the Kashmir issue, noting that there was “great tension between India and Pakistan in recent days.” “It’s resulted in violence along the Kashmir region,” he had said. Responding to Ms. Haley’s statement, by MEA Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in New Delhi: “Government’s position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn’t changed. We of course expect international community and organisations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond.” Any reversal of the existing U.S policy of non-interference will be counterproductive, said Aparna Pande, Director, Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia at Hudson Institute in Washington. “The US policy of non interference on the issue of Kashmir, along with applying pressure- both public and privateon Pakistan to act against jihadi groups, has helped build closer US-India relations. This has served American interests in Asia, especially the Indo-Pacific region and Afghanistan,” she said. “Any reversal would only result in hurting ties with India, hampering efforts for peace in Afghanistan and encouraging Pakistan to continue its policy of using jihad as a lever of foreign and security policy and still not resolve the issue of Kashmir.” © The Hindu

Gujarat gets its first woman DGP Geetha Johri, a 1982 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, has been appointed as the first woman Director General of Police (DGP) of Gujarat after P.P Pandey resigned from the post. The government has given her this position in addition to her present post as Managing Director of the Gujarat Police Housing Corporation. She is the first woman IPS of Gujarat cadre and now becomes the first woman to head the State police force. On Monday, the government announced that it had accepted the resignation of Mr. Pandey, who was earlier given a threemonth extension as DGP after he retired in January. Mr Pandey’s resignation came in the midst of a petition in the apex

The Punjabi in Nikki Haley

A Punjabi may be out of Punjab, but Punjab is never out of her. Nikki Haley, the outspoken US ambassador to the UN, says if she comes out sounding strong, it’s because that’s how she was raised by her parents, who are Sikhs from Punjab. She does her “job to the best of my abilities and if that comes out blunt, comes out strong, I am one of two brothers and a sister and my parents raised us all to be strong,” she said at a news conference on Monday. Her father Ajit Singh Randhwa, is from Amritsar district. He is an agriculture science professor. Her mother is Raj Kaur Randhwa. One of her brothers, Mitti Randhwa, was an Army officer who saw action in Operation Desert Storm, 1990-91, leading a company tasked with finding chemical weapons. Just over two months into her office as the first Indian American to be appointed to a cabinet-level position, she has made waves by calling a spade a spade, if not a shovel, in an arena where a diplomat may delicately call it a spoon. ”In reality I am the daughter of Indian parents who said to me whatever you do be great at it and make sure people remember you for it. That’s all I have ever shown, try to be.”

Geetha Johri court challenging the extension given to him on the grounds that he was a top accused in the controversial fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others.

Ms Johri is considered to be a very competent police officer who has served in important positions, including Police Commissioner of Rajkot and before that, as head of State CID (Crime). The apex court had appointed her to probe the Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases. However, after those cases were handed over to the CBI, she was chargesheeted by the central agency but was subsequently discharged from the case. The Sohrabuddin fake encounter case had high profile accused, including top IPS officers of Gujarat and Rajasthan and also then Home Minister of Gujarat Amit Shah, who was later discharged from the case. © The Hindu

Self-help groups to provide local cuisine on trains Railways has roped in self-help groups (SHGs) for providing local cuisines in running trains through station-based e-catering service. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), the catering arm of railways, has empanelled nine SHGs to provide authentic regional food cooked in hygienic conditions at 10 stations including Adra, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Mysore, Ernakulam and Vishakhapatnam. Passengers of all trains originating/stopping at these stations can avail of the facility of SHG cooked food through e-catering. Currently, 11 lakh meals are served in a day at running trains across the country out of which private caterers provide majority of meals. Railways had launched the station-based e-catering facility last year to widen the scope of catering options for train travellers. The local cuisine scheme has been launched to encourage selfhelp groups to participate in the public transporter’s catering system and also to provide multiple options for passengers to avail on the train journey, a senior Railway Ministry official said. To begin with, nine SHGs have come forward to provide popular local cuisine at 10 stations and it is expected that more and more SHGs would join the scheme, he said. Railways has announced a new catering policy with the aim of providing quality food at rail premises and reduce the number of complaints against the existing catering system. Railways receives about 25 complaints against food quality in a day which are being addressed, the official said. The new catering policy envisages separation of cooking from distribution of food on trains and encourages e-catering system. Involvement of SHGs in e-catering provides scope for employment generation and proliferation of the scheme is expected in the days to come.

Pink diamond auctioned for record $71.2M in Hong Kong The oval mixed-cut diamond smashed the $60 million pre-sale estimate set by Sotheby’s when it went on the block. The sale comes three years after the gem was sold at an even higher price at another Sotheby’s auction in Geneva. That deal later fell apart after the buyer defaulted. The gem is the largest flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. It was sold for a hammer price of $63.0 million, not including the buyer’s premium. Sotheby’s says the buyer is Hong Kong jewelry company Chow Tai Fook , which beat out two other telephone bidders. Until now, the most expen-

sive diamond ever sold at auction was the “Oppenheimer Blue,” which fetched 56.8 million Swiss francs (then $57.6 million) last May. The previous world auction record for a pink diamond was $46.2 million for the 24.78 carat “Graff Pink” in 2010. Sotheby’s decided the time was right to bring the diamond back to the market because of rising demand from wealthy Asian buyers. “The Asian element in the jewelry market is extremely important and from what I’ve been hearing from members of the trade I’ve been talking to, in the last six months they have become more and more important,” said David Bennett, chairman of the auction

house’s jewelry division. The “Pink Star” was mined in Africa by De Beers in 1999 as a raw 132.5 carat gem and cut over a two-year period. In November 2013 it was auctioned for a record $83 million to New York diamond cutter Isaac Wolf. However, Sotheby’s revealed months later in its 2014 earnings report that Wolf defaulted on the transaction. The auction house was forced to buy the diamond from the seller because it had guaranteed a $60 million sale price. Last year it sold an unspecified stake in the diamond to two companies, diamond specialist Diacore and New York jeweler Mellen Inc. © The Hindu


PAGE 16 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

COMMUNITY

Free Speed Dating Service for Hindus held in Houston

Eligible bachelors and bachelorettes recently attended a speed dating service provided by www.usvivah.comat India Hosue in Houston. This involves online registration on the website to meet eligible Hindus of the opposite sex at a convenient location. US Vivah is a volunteer based organization initiated by the joint efforts of Hindu community leaders of the greater Dallas and Houston areas. The goal is to expand to all other states in the US and reach out to as many Hindu families in America as possible. In order to keep the Hindu heritage alive, this was the brainchild of certain Hindu Texans. They did not want to do away with the customs, rituals, rich cultural celebrations and the spiritual ideologies of the Hindu faith. With small baby steps, the first event took place in Dallas. It was well attended by locals and some from nearby towns to find suitable prospective partners. There were more foreign born candidates at this event. The second event was held in Houston at India House, the same venue during the Christmas break, allowing prospects to meet candidates while visiting family. There were more US born candidates at the second event. More awareness is needed within our community for better attendance for this completely free of charge event. According to Hindu parents, children are primarily focused on their career and education that they do not find the time to date. This provides the best platform for eligible candidates to meet people with marriage on their mind. The bio-data of prospective candidates are not shared with parents since the whole idea is for the candidates to meet face to face. It is important to feel the chemistry and share the contact information in person if the mutual parties are interested in moving forward. The vibes that are felt with personal contact cannot be equaled by dating long distance. In the thid event held on Marach 18, there were two groups of candidates, one in the age group of 21 to 35 and one group over 35. The sponsors who have provided continued support include Shashi Kejiwal, Dr. Jay from Dalls, ShreeSitaram Foundation, Keemat Grocers, Deep Food, Apsara Salon and TV Houston from Houston. Since it is a free service being run on sponsorships by volunteers, the community is being encouraged to come together to help and support the event to make it run smoothly. Please contact national coordinators Sangeeta Dua (media partner) or Rajiv Verma for further information. —SANCHALI BASU

Gauri Siddhivinayak Temple of Houston, INC 5645 Hillcroft Ave,Suit # 701,Houston Tx 77036 We are pleased to invite you for your gracious presence on the auspicious occasion of

Chaitri Sankashti Chaturthi Mahapuja of Shri Siddhivinayak

on Friday , April 14, 2017

Pooja Starts at 2:00 PM Ganesh Yang at 5:30 PM Purnahuti at 6:30 PM (Nariyel offering) Maha Aarti 7:00 PM Mahaprasad will be served after Aarti Volunteers and sponsors needed Devotees who desire to sit in Pooja may give their names to Pandit Shri Pradip Pandya @ 832-466-9868. Please visit SiddhivinayakHouston.com Or visit us at www.facebook.com/GauriSiddhiVinayakTemple/ E-mail:- siddhivinayakhouston@gmail.com, www.siddhivinayakhouston.0rg The Gauri Siddhivinayak Mandir of Houston is a Non-Profit 501(C) organization; All Donations are tax deductible.


INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • PAGE 17

NEWS Declare cow as national animal, ban slaughter of all bovine animals: Ajmer Dargah Deewan

Kudos to the Consul-General Make in India Conference Chair Jiten Agarwal and CoChair Jagdip Ahluwalia attribute the conference’s success to Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray’s leadership. His vision, perspective and constant guidance from identifying acclaimed speakers, suggesting relevant topics to his assistance in inviting the panelists helped make the conference an extremely engaging and informative one. The success of the inaugural conference to encourage investors to look towards India as an attractive investment destination has provided the impetus to make this an annual event as well as reach out to a wider business group. We also appreciate the great team work and spirit of cooperation from our sponsors and partner organizations in enabling us to organize this unique conference. Partner organizations: Consulate of India, Houston, India House, Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, Asia Society, Greater Houston Partnership, World Affairs Council, Dallas, Fort Worth, US India Skills & Education Council (USISEC), University of Houston. Consul-General Anupam Ray

The spiritual head of Ajmer Dargah has said that the government should put a ban on the slaughter of all bovine animals as well as the sale of beef to promote communal harmony in the country. He said the government should declare cow as the national animal. Dargah Deewan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan said on Monday that Muslims should take the initiative to stay away from slaughter of bovine animals and not consume beef so that a good and positive message could be communicated in the country. Releasing his message in the presence of religious heads of various shrines from different parts of the country during the 805th annual Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer, he announced that he and his family members will not eat beef now onwards. “The government should widely impose ban on slaughtering of all bovine animals and sale of beef, which is one of the prominent reasons for communal hatred. Muslims should become an example by taking a resolution to not consume beef in the interest of communal harmony in the country,” he said. He welcomed the Gujarat government’s move to enact a law with the provision of life sentence for those found guilty of cow slaughter, saying, “The cow is the symbol of religious belief. Not only the government, but it is also the duty of every follower of the religion to protect them.” © The Hindu


PAGE 18 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

NEWS Legal tangle: Music composer vs singer Last week, a messy legal tangle involving music composer Ilaiyaraaja and singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, or SPB as he is popularly known, became public knowledge after the former served on the singer a legal notice when he was performing concerts in the U.S. After he received the notice, SPB took to his official page on social networking site Facebook to announce that he and two other singers, K.S. Chitra and S.P. Charan, had been served a legal notice by Ilaiyaraaja’s attorney, asking them not to perform his compositions. The notice stated that if they continued to perform his compositions, they would be breaking the copyright law and would have to pay huge financial penalties while also facing legal action. SPB is currently performing a series of concerts as part of the SPB50 world tour, which began in August 2016 in Toronto. The singer and his troupe have already performed in Dubai, Singapore, Russia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia as well as parts of India and are currently touring the U.S. While he had already finished concerts in Seattle and Los Angeles, SPB, his co-singers, organisers of the concerts in cities there and venue management firms received the legal notices before the performance was scheduled to be held in San Jose. In his statement on Facebook, the singer said, “I am ignorant of the law. If it is a law, so be it and I obey it.” He also

mentioned that despite having finished many concerts across the globe already, he had not been informed of these legal issues earlier and had only now got the notice from Ilaiyaraja. The Copyright Amendment Act, 2012 sought to introduce a level playing field, protecting the rights of all categories of players in the entertainment industry, not just the producers who earlier held all the rights. The outcome of this legal spat will have an impact on the lives — and work — of every creative person in the film industry. While the composer himself is yet to react, social media has been abuzz with talk about a friendship between the composer and the singer, who have churned out several hit numbers for decades, gone sour. Copyright experts state that Ilaiyaraaja is within his rights as composer of the songs SPB is singing, to send him a legal notice over his live performances. The copyright law states that there are two aspects to a composition: the musical aspect and the sound recording part. The composer holds complete rights over the musical aspect of the work and according to performance rights, the singer holds the rights only over the specific performance he gave while recording the composition. Lyricist Madan Karky joined the debate and pointed out that the industry needs to discuss how royalties should be shared between musicians, lyricists and singers in future.

Singapore expels Imam for ‘divisive speech’ Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel Abdul Malik (46), the Chief Imam of Chinatown’s Jamae Chulia mosque, on Monday pleaded guilty in a court and paid a fine of 4,000 Singapore dollars (around ₹1.8 lakh) “for committing an act prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious groups”. In a statement, the Home Affairs Ministry of the city state said Mr. Malik made the controversial speech during Friday prayers on January 6, 2017. The Ministry translated his Arabic chant as, “Grant us help against the Jews and the Christians.” In court, Mr. Malik said the phrase was not from the Koran. “He knew what the phrase meant, and that it could also be interpreted as asking God to grant Muslims victory over Jews and Christians. The phrase was, and is, unacceptable in a multi-racial and multireligious society,” it said. Written apology In a written apology, Mr. Malik said that the chant was taken from a text he found at his village. “ I had recited the additional supplication in Arabic, which was taken from an old text that originated from my village in India. It was not an extract from the Holy Koran,” he said. “As a resident here from a foreign land, I should have practised my faith in accordance with, and appropriate to the social norms and laws of this country. I fully ad-

Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel Abdul Malik, left, the Chief Imam of Chinatown’s Jamae Chulia mosque, Cleric from Tamil Nadu , with his attorney in Singapore on Monday. mit that my said actions have no place wheresoever in this extremely multi-religious and multi-cultural society.” When contacted, Mr. Malik chose not to speak. “He is a free man and is not under custody now. I was not told when the repatriation would take place; I expect it to take place soon,” Mr. Malik’s lawyer, Noor Mohamed Marican, said. Mr. Malik has been in Singapore on a work permit since 2010. The Ministry had good things to say about him. “The action against Nalla has been

taken with some regret. Nalla has worked diligently as Chief Imam at the Jamae Chulia Mosque over the past seven years, attending to the needs of his congregation, and reaching out to other faiths. He has not been deliberately malicious,” it said. Two others were given stern warnings in the case: a person who published the video of the speech online and a tenured National University of Singapore Associate Professor who posted on Facebook about it. © The Hindu

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INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • PAGE 19

NEWS

U.S. tightens H-1B visa program

File photo shows people waiting outside the U.S. Consulate in Chennai.

Justice Department warns companies against using the programme to displace American workers The Donald Trump administration will enforce the laws related to the H-1B visa program that went unenforced until now, the White House said on Monday even as the Justice Department warned companies against using the program to displace American workers. “The President has spoken about the H-1B visa program in the past. ..the Trump administration will be enforcing laws protecting American workers from discriminatory hiring practices,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. As this year’s application process for H-1B visas began on Monday, the U.S Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a slew of measures to crack down on companies that might be misusing the program, including more stringent checks at sites where H-1B workers are employed. “The H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS,” the agency said in a statement announcing site visits across the country. USCIS, the agency responsible for selecting the 85,000 H-IB beneficiaries, also clarified, purportedly for administrative reasons, that computer programrs with two-year degrees do not qualify as speciality occupation as defined by the program. “..the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programr and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a speciality occupation. … Instead, a petitioner must provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a speciality occupation as defined,” it said. In a third statement from the administration on Monday, the Justice Department said it would not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against U.S. workers. Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division said in the statement: “U.S. workers should not be placed in a disfavoured status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims.” The USCIS inspections will specifically target cases where the agency cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data, employers who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers and employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work at another company or organisation’s location. The last category comprises body shops that contract workers for big IT firms. “Targeted site visits will allow USCIS to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur, and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers. USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide,” the USCIS statement said. “These site visits are not meant to target non-immigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system,” the agency said. The agency has also set up an anonymous email facility for individual submit tips about suspected violations and potential fraud or abuse of the H-1B program. © The Hindu

Talking to U.S. on visa curbs: Sushma There have been no job losses yet and no policy has yet come in U.S., says the External Affairs Minister. New Delhi The government on Thursday sought to allay the fears among Indian IT professionals, saying the US administration has not implemented any policy yet to curb jobs and efforts were underway to dissuade it from doing so. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in the Rajya Sabha that the Indian government is talking to the Trump administration as well as the US Congressmen, giving proper data and reasoning to press home the point that the relationship between Indian IT companies with the US is mutually-beneficial. “I do agree that there is an atmosphere of uncertainty and there is a fear of job losses,” she said while responding to concerns expressed by the members over the move by the Trump government to curb H1B visas that will adversely impact Indian IT professionals. “There is no policy announced by them (US administration) yet. There are four bills that have come up in the (US) Congress on visa restrictions but no bill has been passed yet. We are talking to the US administration and Congress-

men,” Ms. Swaraj said. She went on to add, “there have been no job losses yet and no policy has yet come in US. A total of 13 bills have come up in Congress that includes 6 bills on outsourcing, four bills on visa and three bills on immigration.” She said the Foreign Secretary accompanied by Commerce Secretary paid a visit to the US from February 28 to March 3 and held meetings with Cabinet Ministers and senior functionaries of the new US Administration as well as with the Congressional leadership. “We are not merely talking to them (the US administration), we are giving their proper arguments and figures... We are talking to them with data and reasoning while trying to save jobs of H1B visa holders,,” Ms. Swaraj told the members. Ms. Swaraj said Indian companies have made investments to the tune of $ 2 billion in US from 2011-2015 and have paid taxes worth $ 20 billion, while Indian IT professionals have contributed $ 7 billion as social security money. Likewise, she said the US companies doing business in India are earning $ 27.5 billion and “we are only telling them that all this is mutually-bene-

ficial partnership. If you break this, then even you will be at a loss.” She said Indian IT companies has given direct employment to 1,56,000 Americans and 4,11 lakh supporting jobs and the US recognises their contribution to Us economy. Ms. Swaraj said the discussions between the Foreign Secretary and US authorities covered all issues of common interest in India-U.S. relations, including those relating to mobility of high-skilled professionals. “The new Trump Administration has so far not announced any comprehensive policy changes impacting non—immigrant work visa programmes. “In our interactions with the US Administration as well as the Congress, we have conveyed our interest and concerns and highlighted the mutually-beneficial nature of this partnership,” she said in her written reply. The Minister said the Government has emphasised that Indian skilled professionals have contributed to the growth and development of the US economy and have helped the US retain its competitive edge and innovation advantage. © The Hindu

Art for Soul Painting Class for Seniors begins March 10 Instructor: Dr. Sarita Mehta, Award Winning Artist

PROGRAMS & SERVICES AT INDIA HOUSE

INDIA HOUSE CHARITY VOLUNTEER CLINIC Saturday 9:00 am - 12:30 pm By appointments only FREE YOGA CLASSES Tuesday & Thursday 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Saturday 10:00 am - 11:00 am FREE MEDITATION CLASSES Saturday 11:00 am - 11:30 am AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM Monday to Friday 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm TAEKWONDO CLASSES Wednesday 4:45 pm - 5:45 pm ART & CRAFT CLASSES Monday 4:45 pm - 5:45 pm CLASSICAL/BOLLYWOOD DANCE & VOCAL CLASSES Saturday 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm HINDI LANGUAGE CLASSES Sunday: 10:00 am - 12:30pm TECHNOLOGY CLASSES FOR SENIORS Sunday 11:00 am to 12:00 pm (Registration Preferred) FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION By appointments only Family Law: Tuesday 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Immigration: 1st & 3rd Wednesday 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

EVENT HALL RENTALS Banquet Halls Conference Rooms Class Rooms

CRICKET- TAPED BALL Saturday & Sunday Full Day FREE KIDNEY SMART CLASSES 4th Thursday of each month. 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm SAREEN HARRIS HEALTH CLINIC Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm Saturday 9:00 am - 11:00 am

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PAGE 20 â&#x20AC;˘ INDIA HERALD â&#x20AC;˘ WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

COMMUNITY CALENDAR Sant Nirankari Mission Sant Nirankari Mission is holding a special program on Sunday April 9, 2017 from 10-30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at India House, 8888 West Belfort Street, Houston when a renowned Spiritual Scholar from Harvard University will speak on â&#x20AC;&#x153;Spiritual journey from Indian village to Harvardâ&#x20AC;?. It will be an inspiration to the Truth Seekers. Families and friends from all faiths and religions are cordially invited to hear his enlightening discourse. Community meals will be served thereafter. Sant Nirankari Mission holds its weekly spiritual congregations on every Sunday at India House 10-30 AM to 12-30 PM followed by community meals. All are welcome. For further information call Raj Bhala at 281-980-2825. Inner Engineering by Isha Foundation Isha foundation will be conducting a 4-day Inner Engineering Program in Houston, Texas from April 6-9,2017. Inner Engineering is a technology for well being derived from the ancient science of yoga. This program includes guided meditations, interactive discussions, asanas and the transmission of the sacred Shambhavi Mahamudra, which is a life transforming process that enhances your energy, balance, and clarity, helping you discover your highest potential. To learn more you can visit InnerEngineering.com/ total. Email Houston@IshaUSA. org or call 832-408-0663 for more details. MTS Main Events 5-APR WED 7 P.M. SRI RAMA NAVAMI 8-APR SAT 9:00AM SITARAMA KALYANAM 9-APR SUN 10:00AM PANGUNI UTHIRAM 14-APR FRI 7:00PM TAMIL NEW YEAR 14-APR FRI 7:00PM

VISHU KANI, AYYAPPA ABHISHEKAM 27-APR THU 7:00PM MAHOTSAVA VASTU SHANTI 28-APR FRI 6:00PM MAHOTSAVA 1ST DAY DWAJAROHANAM 29-APR SAT 6:00PM MEENAKSHI PATTABHISHEKAM, POO PALLAKU 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. dhamma.org 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, 10:00am-

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Classes in Houston, Mission Bend, & Sugar Land

2:00pm. Visiting hours are SatSun @ 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Contact us at (832) 379-8888, houston@ bktexas.com, or bktexas.com 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. chinmayahouston.org/ 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 281-584-0488. 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 www.jainsocietyhouston.org for calendar of events and other detailed information. Shiv Shakti Mandir 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.heartfulness.org; Email: houston.heartfulness@gmail.com. Cell: 713-929-0040. 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 @gmail.com 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 www.godivinity.org (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: 9:00 AM - 12:00 Noon and 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 www.saumyakasi.org Gauri Siddhivinayak Temple Darshan from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. All major festivals as well as birthdays, naam karan, engagement 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 ton@gmail.com 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@ guruvayur.us 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 www.jvbhouston.org or send email at info@jvbhouston.org 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: www.pyptusa.org and www. DivyaProducts.com. 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 temple@myhtw.net 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 www.sairegion10.org


INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • PAGE 21


PAGE 22 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

NEWS Five arrested for attacks on Africans in Noida Will take India to U.N. rights council: African envoys

Voicing dissent African students protest in Greater Noida on Sunday. Five people were arrested in connection with attacks on African students in Noida, which sparked concerns over their safety and made External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj promise immediate action. Ms. Swaraj spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after being approached by an African student, who pleaded for action, describing the situation as “life-threatening situation.” Four Nigerian students were attacked by a group of Noida residents who took out a candle light march on Monday after 17-year-old Manish died last week due to suspected drug overdose. The protest march was taken out after the police released some Nigerians detained for questioning in connection with Manish’s death. Following the incident, Nigerian High Commission officials went to meet the injured persons and said they felt “unsafe”. A senior high commission official said the mission was in touch with the External Affairs Ministry on the issue. In a series of tweets, Ms. Swaraj said, “I have spoken to Yogi Adityanath ji Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about attack on African students in Greater Noida. He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident [sic].”

She was responding to a tweet from a student who requested her to “act fast as living for us in Noida is becoming a life-threatening issue.” Sujata Singh, Superintendent of Police, Greater Noida, said the protesters became violent during the protest march and started beating up the Africans they saw on the road. “They also went to Ansal Mall and caused havoc and beat up Africans there. The police then rescued them and moved them to a safe place,” she said. “The police had to use force to dissuade people from attacking and arrested five people from the spot. Many of them who were there trying to play mischief have been identified as the entire event had been videographed,” Daljit Chaudhary, ADGP, Law and Order, told reporters in Greater Noida. An FIR has been registered and action would be taken accordingly, he said.

Sushma speaks to Adityanath

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj intervened on Tuesday after a group of African nationals faced a mob attack in a neighbourhood of Uttar Pradesh near Delhi. The Minister took to the social media and announced the steps she has taken to ensure safety of the African students staying in Greater Noida. “I have spoken to Yogi Ad-

Kishori Amonkar passes away

Renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away here late on Monday after a brief illness. She was 84. The end came at her home in central Mumbai, family sources said. Born on April 10, 1932, Amonkar was recognised as one of the foremost singers in the Hindustani tradition and as an innovative exponent of the Jaipur gharana. Amonkar’s mother was the well-known vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar, who trained under Alladiya Khan Saheb, the doyen of the Jaipur gharana. While learning the finer points and techniques of the Jaipur gharana from her mother, Amonkar also developed her own personal style, which reflects the influence of other gharanas and was generally regarded as an individual variant of the Jaipur tradition.

ityanathji, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about the attack on African students in Greater Noida. He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident,” Ms. Swaraj said on her official Twitter handle. The attack on Monday evening, coincided with a protest that was organised by online groups who blamed the unexplained death of a teenage resident on the African community. Following the attack, which took place in a shopping complex where some African nationals had gone for a meeting, African students reached out to the Ministry of External Affairs and urged Ms. Swaraj to intervene. In response Ms. Swaraj said, “Government of India is seized of the matter. We are taking immediate action.” The attack in Greater Noida is a reminder of the summer 2016 attacks on Africans in India, which included the death of a Congolese national in Delhi. The incident prompted African diplomats posted in India to skip official celebrations, casting a shadow on India’s ties with African nations. © The Hindu

All diplomatic options are on the table to serve justice to the victims of the Greater Noida attack, says a statement issued by them. Categorically describing the recent attacks on African nationals in Greater Noida as ‘racist’, the envoys of Africa stationed here said on Monday that they would take India to the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the United Nations. In a statement issued to The Hindu, the Office of the Dean of the African Group Head of Missions said all diplomatic options were on the table to serve justice to the victims of the attack that targeted Nigerian nationals in Greater Noida on March 27. “The Heads of the African Missions accredited to India reviewed the previous incidents that have taken place in the past and concluded that no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the Government of India,” said the press release. “They agreed to take further actions, including the call for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies, and also to comprehensively report the matter to the African Union Commission”. The statement from the African envoys is the strongest one since they threatened to boycott the Africa Day celebration of May 25 2016 after the murder of a Congolese teacher in Delhi. However, the latest statement is unprecedented as this promises an international inquiry by the HRC into the attacks. The statement “strongly condemned” the attack in Greater Noida, saying the Indian authorities did not sufficiently condemn the attack. “As regards the recent unfortunate incident in Greater Noida, the African Heads of Mission strongly condemn the incident and express their deep concern and also take note that these reprehensible events, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian Authorities. The meeting unanimously agreed that those accumulated attacks against Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature,” it said. Here is the full text of their statement: The Heads of African Mission accredited to India convened a special meeting to look into the recent attacks against African students in Greater Noida. They reviewed the previous incidents that have taken place in the past and concluded that no known, sufficient and visible deterring measures were taken by the Government of India. As regards the recent unfortunate incident in Greater Noida, the African Heads of Mission strongly condemn the incident and express their deep concern and also take note that these reprehensible events, both outstanding and unresovled cases against Africans, were not sufficiently condemned by the Indian authorities. The meeting unanimously agreed that those accumulated attacks agaisnt Africans are xenophobic and racial in nature. They equally expressed their expectations for strong condemnation from the highest political level (both nationally and locally) of the Government of India, as well as expediting legal actions against the perpetrators. They agreed to take further actions including the call for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council as well as other human rights bodies, and also to comprehensively report the matter to the African Union Commission. © The Hindu

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INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017 • PAGE 23


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