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VOL . 20 NO. 22 • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 • P.O. BOX 623 • SUGAR LAND, TX 77487 • PERIODICAL PERMIT USPS 017-699 25 Cents
Narendra Modi sworn in as India’s Prime Minister
Global Indians for Bharat Vikas-USA leaders met with the newly elected Gujarat Chief Minister Mrs. Anandiben Patel recently. Mrs Patel hosted a breakfast meeting with the GIBV leaders at her official residence in Gandhinagar during the recent general election. From left: Niral Patel (Chicago), Anil Parikh (Ahmedabad), Gitesh Desai (Houston), CM Anandiben Patel, Dr. Vasudev Patel (Atlanta), Dr. Bharat Barai (Chicago), Ramesh Shah and Sharad Amin (Houston).
President of India Pranab Mukherjee administers the oath of office to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at Rashtrapathi Bhavan in New Delhi on May 26. Narendra Damodardas of resounding applause along President Abdulla Yameen Modi took oath as India’s 15th with chants of Bharat Mata Abdul Gayoom — arrived to a Prime Minister, along with ki Jai; Modi, Modi; and a loud applause. 44 members of his Council subdued Jai Shri Ram. They greeted the former Minutes after he was sworn Prime Minister Manmohan of Ministers, on Monday in a culmination of a Lok Sabha in a little past 6 p.m., he Singh and BJP patriarch election campaign that he tweeted: “A big thank you to L.K. Advani and joined the led for the Bharatiya Janata all friends who will be viewing dignitaries in the front row, Party-led National Democratic the ceremony on TV and including Vice-President Alliance, taking it to a stunning through social media. Your Hamid Ansari, UPA chairperson constant support & blessings Sonia Gandhi, Congress vicevictory. Dressed in a cream kurta and mean a lot.” president Rahul Gandhi, former As the sun went down over President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a fawn jacket, with a tricolor brooch on his lapel instead of the dome of the Rashtrapati former President Pratibha Patil the party’s Lotus symbol, Mr. Bhavan, the special invitees Modi, overseen by President — Pakistan Prime Minister Pranab Mukherjee, took oath Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan at a well-attended function in President Mahinda Rajapaska, the decorated forecourt of the Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay, Rashtrapati Bhavan. Modi received a standing Bangladesh Speaker Shirin Chaudhury, ovation and was loudly cheered Sharmin as he arrived for the swearing- Afghanistan President Hamid in. Soon after he took oath, Karzai, Nepal Prime Minister there was yet another round Sushil Koirala and Maldivian
and Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha. All eyes were on Mr. Sharif as he walked to greet the Indian leaders. Among the very first to reach the venue was Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who was followed by a stream of well-known faces from the world of business, sports and politics. Several MPs turned up in their traditional, colorful attires with elaborate headgears despite the oppressive heat. This was the first time that the oath-taking ceremony was attended by not just over 5,000 guests but also dignitaries from eight SAARC nations and Mauritius. Also present were diplomats of various countries who were invited by
the BJP to “participate in the culmination of the celebration of democracy.” Mr. Modi’s swearing-in was followed by that of party president Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Uma Bharati, Najma Heptullah, Gopinath Munde, Ramvilas Paswan, Kalraj Mishra, Maneka Gandhi, H.N. Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Anant Geete, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Narendra Singh Tomar, Jual Oram, Radha Mohan Singh, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Smriti See MINISTERS, Page 7
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Bellaire High School students, who have completed four years of Hindi, with their teacher Arun Prakash (seated center) and his wife Pushpa Prakash (third from left) at a program to bid farewell to Arun Prakash who will retire as Hindi teacher from Bellaire High after 26 years. The event was held at Mayuri Restaurant on May 23. See Page 3
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PAGE 2 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
COMMUNITY NEWS Hindi teacherArun Prakash retires ater 26 years About 60 students of the Hindi Department of Bellaire High School gathered to bid farewell to their teacher Arun Prakash at the Mayuri restaurant on Friday, May 23. Arun Prakash is retiring after 26 years of teaching Hindi at the school, which was the first in the nation to offer a Hindi language program, way back in 1988. Arun Prakash has been the first and only teacher of Hindi at the school. Over the years, Arun Prakash, who has also taught Hindi at the University of Houston and Rice University, introduced other aspects of Indian culture as part of the Hindi curriculum - culture of On behalf of the students, Aman Narayan thanks Arun Prakash (left) for his India studies, Yoga - and the valuable guidance and for being “one of the best teachers I have had.” department celebrated Holi Boosters of the program from the community — Dr Sen Pathak, every year with an inter-school dance competition called Holika Saroj and Subhash Gupta, Dr Haku Israni of Testmasters and Dr Suresh and Diwali. At Bellaire High, and Dr. Saraswati Reddy — were among the audience. A few other Prakash also helped set up a Hindu teachers from Bellaire High, personal freiends of Prakash, also atStudents Association, a South tended. Dr Israni, whose Testmasters gave away $500 scholarships to two Asian Students Association and a graduating students, narrated a brief history of the program. His daughter Hindi National Honor Society. Prakash established the Hindi Rakhi, who was a freshman at Bellaire, led the proposal to introduce program at Rice University in Hindi at Bellaire with the help of community members. By the time 1993, took it to the 3rd level, and she graduated, the program was in place in 1988 though she could not taught there without getting paid be a part of it, Israni said. The Hindi program has grown from 8 students in 1988 to about 90 for it for five years. At the University of Houston, he established today, with a fairly high number of non-Indian origin students. In addition to scholarships, high achieving students received gift cards the program in 2004. He also helped raise funds for the India and T-shirts. Aman Narayan and Amit Agrawal, two students, spoke Studies program through kavi on behalf of the students and thanked Arun Prakash for his tireless efforts, advice, guidance and life lessons. One of the students, Kaelin sammelans and such. The program included recogni- Smith, will go to Pune, India, for a six-week higher study course after tion of students who had com- receiving a National Security Langauge Initiative scholarship. She is pleted four years of Hindi and oth- among 18 students nationwide to win the scholarship which is given ers who had done well in the for higher studies in Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Swahili languages. course.
INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 • PAGE 3
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PAGE 4 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
VOICES Modi’s Cabinet: Something New Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers reflects the usual regional, caste and other considerations that influence cabinet choices, but it does not appear to be limited by them. It also includes some unexpected choices that suggest Modi is prepared to take risks for potential big payoffs. The most concrete change has been the merging of the coal, power and renewable energy ministries. This will end the destructive trend of the coal and power ministries undercutting each other in the years of UPA 2, and the delay of various committees, and is the first step towards an integrated energy policy. A standout example of the Modi imprint has been the HRD ministry, given to the 38-year-old Smriti Irani rather than a party veteran. Education, skills and employability are the most pressing concerns for those who voted for Modi, and he has spoken to their aspirations, validated and reassured them, at nearly every campaign venue. The HRD ministry should be a primary area of focus for him, to undo the damage of the two UPA terms, where rights were handed out, but in which the quality of education made such schooling virtually worthless. Key education bills mouldered, even as the minister pursued fanciful projects like the Aakash tablet, or tinkered with school examinations. Skill development was foregrounded in policymaking only in 2009, and the responsibility remained fragmented among agencies. The few good ideas that were thrown up, like community colleges, must now be purposefully executed by the new HRD ministry. As an outsider, Irani has a chance to jolt the ministry out of its patronage-oriented approach, and she must bring a practical urgency to the job. There are other areas that need focused attention for Modi to wring the most out of his team. He has indicated that changing constricting labour laws will be a priority for his government, and the ministry of labour will have to work with those of commerce and industry to find ways to inject flexibilities, and achieve the ambitious manufacturing goals that the BJP manifesto promised. The government will have to shift its focus to environment as well, speeding clearances and keeping investment targets in mind while protecting forests, ecologies and tribal rights. Modi’s cabinet choices are a job well begun. An expansion is inevitable, given that Arun Jaitley is only a placeholder defence minister. Given the importance of this allocation, however, and in the backdrop of the decisive mandate that gives Modi a free hand, it is odd that this should have been left undone. — Indian Express
Bye Bye Ambassador Hindustan Motors has put a full stop to the life of the stocky Ambassador (or Amby, as it is lovingly called). It had increasingly given way to sleeker rivals, but in its heyday it was (and is even today) as sturdy as an SUV. The Ambassador was tough, and could easily travel from Kanyakumari to Kashmir without a hitch. Even today taxi drivers who still drive it say the Amby is more reliable than newer models that are easier to drive but require high maintenance on bad roads. The Ambassador once enjoyed a monopoly on India’s roads (shared somewhat with the Fiat/Padmini), but its manufacturers never bothered to upgrade it to keep up with the times — one of the perils of being a monopoly. They knew people had no choice. In recent years it was used almost solely by government officials — among others, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Army Chief still drive in their trademark white Ambassadors. But 70 years is a long time, and it was obvious that its days were numbered once the Maruti hit India’s roads. The Maruti 800 was easier to handle, particularly for women. Then, with liberalisation, globally-reputed cars became available to the middle and upper-middle classes. The Amby’s production went down to just five cars daily at HM’s factory at Uttarpara, West Bengal. On Saturday, May 24, it was finally farewell for the Amby. — Deccan Chronicle
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TOPIC OF THE WEEK How Narendra Modi defeated liberals like me By Shiv Visvanathan On May 17, Narendra Modi revisited Varanasi to witness a pooja performed at the Kashi Vishwanath temple. After the ritual at the temple, he moved to Dashashwamedh ghat where an aarti was performed along the river. The aarti was more than a spectacle. As a ritual, it echoed the great traditions of a city, as a performance it was riveting. As the event was relayed on TV, people messaged requesting that the event be shown in full, without commentary. Others claimed that this was the first time such a ritual was shown openly. With Modi around, the message claimed “We don’t need to be ashamed of our religion. This could not have happened earlier.” At first the message irritated me and then made me thoughtful. A colleague of mine added, “You English speaking secularists have been utterly coercive, making the majority feel ashamed of what was natural.” The comment, though brutal and devastating, was fair. I realised at that moment that liberals like myself may be guilty of something deeper. At the same time moment, some Leftists were downloading a complete set of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks fearing that the advent of Modi may lead to the withdrawal of these books. The panic of some academics made them sound paranoid and brittle, positing a period of McCarthyism in India. It also brought into mind that both Right and Left have appealed to the state to determine what was correct history. With the advent of the Right, there is now a feeling that history will become another revolving door regime where the official and statist masquerade as the truth. I am raising both sets of fears to understand why Left liberals failed to understand this election. Modi understood the anxieties of the middle class more acutely than the intellectuals. The Left intellectuals and their liberal siblings behaved as a club, snobbish about secularism, treating religion not as a way of life but as a superstition. It was this same group that tried to inject the idea of the scientific temper into the constitutions as if it would create immunity against religious fears and superstitions. By overemphasising secularism, they created an empty domain, a coercive milieu where ordinary people practising religion were seen as lesser orders of being. Secularism became a form of political correctness but sadly, in electoral India it became an invidious weapon. The regime used to placate minorities electorally, violating the majoritarian sense of fairness. In the choice between the parochialism of ethnicity and the secularism of citizenship, they veered to-
ward ethnicity. It was a strange struggle between secularism as a form of piety or political correctness and people’s sense of religiosity, of the cosmic way religion impregnated the everydayness of their lives. The majority felt coerced by secular correctness which they saw either as empty or meaningless. Yet, they correctly felt that their syncretism was a better answer than secularism. Secularism gave one three options. The first was the separation from Church and State. This separation meant an equal distance from all religions or equal involvement in all religions. There was a sense that the constitution could uphold the first but as civilisations, as communities we were syncretic and conversational. One did not need a parliament of religions to be dialogic. Indian religions were perpetually dialogic. The dialogue of medical systems where practitioners compared their theologies, their theories and their therapies was one outstanding and constructive example. There was a secondary separation between science and religion in the secular discourse. Yet oddly, it was Christianity that was continuously at odds with science while the great religions were always open to the sciences. Even this created a form of coerciveness, where even scientists open to religion or ritual were asked to distance themselves from it, if not reject it. The fuss made about a scientist coming to office after Rahukalam or even discouraging them from associating themselves with a godman like Sai Baba was like a tantrum. There is a sense of snobbery and poetry but more, there is an illiteracy here because religion, especially Christianity shaped the cosmologies of science. In many ways, Ecology is an attempt to reshape and reinvent that legacy. What secularism did was it enforced oppositions in a way that the middle class felt apologetic and unconfident about its beliefs, its perspectives. Secularism was portrayed as an upwardly mobile, drawing room discourse they were inept at. Secularism thus became a repression of the middle class.
For the secularist, religion per se was taboo, permissible only when taught in a liberal arts or humanities class as poetry or metaphor. The secularist misunderstood religion and by creating a scientific piety, equated the religious with the communal. At one stroke a whole majority became ill at ease within its world views. Narendra Modi sensed this unease, showed it was alienating and nursed that alienation. He turned the tables by showing secularism — rather than being a piety or a propriety — was a hypocrisy, or was becoming a staged unfairness which treated minority violations as superior to majoritarian prejudices. He showed that liberal secularism had become an Orwellian club where some prejudices were more equal than others. As the catchment area of the sullen, the coerced, and the repressed became huge, he had a middle class ready to battle the snobbery of the second rate Nehruvian elite. One sensitive case was conversion. The activism of Hindutva groups was treated as sinister but the fundamentalism of other religions was often treated as benign and as a minoritarian privilege. There was a failure of objectivity and fairness and the infelicitous term pseudo-secularism acquired a potency of its own. While secularism was a modern theory, it was impatient in understanding the processes of being modern. Ours is a society where religion is simultaneously cosmology, ecology, ritual and metaphor. Most of us think and breathe through it. I remember a time when the epidemics of Ganesha statues were drinking milk. Hundreds of believers went to watch the phenomena and came away convinced. I remember talking to an office colleague who returned thrilled at what she had seen. I laughed cynically. She looked quietly and said, “I believe, I have faith, I saw it. You have no faith so why should the Murti talk to you.” I realised that she felt that I was deprived. She added that the mahant of a temple where the statue had not drank milk had gone See Page 8
THE LIGHTER SIDE
INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 • PAGE 5
Asia Society panel discusses “Reimagining India”
The panelists (from left) Drayton McLane, Barnik Maitra, Patrick French, Vishakha Desai, Ed Emmett and Adil Zainulbhai.
Whether by accident or design, a seminar on the future of India as an economic powerhouse was held after India’s Lok Sabha election results came out. As it turned out, Narendra Modi and the BJP’s victory gave a twist to the discussions as Modi is seen to be business-friendly and his plank of development played well for the discussion among a panel of six experts. Asia Society Texas Center, in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, held the panel event that discussed the future role of India as an emerging economic power in Asia. The seminar, titled Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower, featured six panelists — Vishakha N. Desai, president emerita of Asia Society; Harris County Judge Ed Emmett; Patrick French, British writer and historian; Barnik Maitra, partner in McKinsey India’s Mumbai office; Drayton McLane, former owner of Houston Astros whose company the McLane Group has done business with India for several years, and Adil Zainulbhai, former chairman of McKinsey India. After brief remarks by Consul General Parvathaneni Harish who said that globalization was here in terms of free movement of capital and ideas, but not in terms of free movement of people. He said India’s development was crucial for the 99 percent of Indians who had to remain in territorial India. Zainulbhai, who moderated the discussion, said in his introductory remarks that the debate would be based on the book by the same name by McKinsey which contained 35 essays by leading experts on various aspects of India’s economy, society, education, etc. He spoke warmly about the free and fair elections where there was no rancor among the defeated and no gloating by the victors — they were all back to the work of governing the country and serving its people. Patrick French, who has an essay in the book on “pausing the grammar of anarchy,” said the election showed there was a strong feeling angainst entitlement and a tilt towards aspiration. The UPA government’s stress on rights
- right to education, right to food had meant little in practice because of total sloth in the bureaucracy which did not benefit to the common man. Vishakha Desai said there is too much emphasis on the economy. Indians, instead, must also think about what makes them what they are - in other words, their heritage, culture. She said India’s soft power was a great asset and it could be utilized to greater benefit for all. Drayton McLane said he sees tremendous potential in India, but “its infrastructure brings us to our knees.” The Indian government, he said, needs to make it simple for foreigners to do business by eliminating a lot of red tape, encourage its entrepreneurs and use its trained people to be more productive. Ed Emmett, who has been to India several times and knows its culture, traditions and systems very well, said India’s emergency preparedness was woefully poor and suggested it give more power to the states and districts because a government closest to the people is the most efficient government. Barnik Maitra, who has an essay on agriculture in the book, said India already is among the largest producers of rice, soyabeans, bananas, mangoes, etc. Narendra Modi, he said, has delivered 10 percent growth in agriculture year over year and expected that success to spread to other states of India. Zainulbhai came back to the panelists and asked them what three areas they thought needed improvement. Patrick French said the employment laws, which theoretically protect workers, needed to be changed because they were the biggest deterrent to foreign investment. He also said enforcement of contracts in India was the lowest in the world and needed urgent correction. Desai said delivery on laws enacted should be ensured. She said the government had allocated Rs 100 crore for Nirbhaya (to protect women), but not a penny had been spent one year after the decision. Emmett said India must think
of getting into the merchant marine business in a big way; identify the best potential for each area in agriculture and improve on the logistics in undertaking major projects. In answer to a question, the panel felt that there was no prejudice against U.S. companies in spite of the experience with Enron and Union Carbide. To a question on the environment and its rapid degradation, Zainulbhai mentioned Modi’s promise of cleaning up the Ganga. Modi, he said, had already under-
taken the cleaning of the Sabarmati river in Gujarat and hoped that more such projects to clean the water and air would be taken up. On the status of women and potential of the girl child, Desai said Indian women are as ambitious as women in the west - many of India’s major banks are headed by women - but social attitudes had not changed with the times. In many ways, everything you say about India, and its opposite, is true, she said. The Nirbhaya incident shows that aspirational India had
clashed with traditional India. Brain drain was not a concern, but India must create jobs in the more labor-intensive fields, said Maitra. To a question of the NorthSouth divide, French said there was indeed a difference in attitudes to work between the north, which had faced many invasions, and the south, which had not, but a majority of the opinion was that the incredible diversity of India was a great strength and not a weakness. — Rajeev Gadgil
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Yoga for Positive Mind & Body India House, in collaboration with Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Asia Society Texas Center, Cordially invites you to attend a free lecture on
Yoga for Positive Mind & Body by Dr. H.R. Nagendra Vice Chancellor of SVYASA, Bengaluru Dr Nagendra, a former space scientist at NASA, is the vice chancelor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research (SVYASA) University Foundation, Bengaluru. He is also a Member of the Board of Advisors of Yoga Bharti. According to him, the search for the ultimate truth by external means (science) did not take him far enough and that is why he chose to dive deep into his own consciousness in search of reality through Yoga. Dr Nagendra has published many research papers on Yoga and its applications.
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PAGE 6 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28,2014
Dinesh D’Souza pleads guilty to campaign finance fraud WASHINGTON: Dinesh D’Souza, an IndianAmerican conservative commentator and author who shot to fame with a highly critical 2012 documentary of US President Barack Obama, has pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance law. D’Souza, 53, of San Diego, admitted to exceeding donor limits in 2012 by arranging for others to give to the New York Senate campaign of Republican candidate Wendy Long, Manhattan’s Indian-American US Attorney Preet Bharara said on Tuesday. He also admitted to making false statements about those donations. A former policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan, D’Souza directed a 2012 documentary, “2016: Obama’s America,” that was highly critical of President Barack Obama and based on his book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”. According to the indictment, D’Souza and his wife contributed $10,000 to Long’s campaign. He then directed associates to contribute on behalf of themselves and their spouses, totalling $20,000. D’Souza was to reimburse them. Federal election law limits individual campaign contribu-
D’Souza tions to a federal candidate to $2,500 each for a primary and general election campaign. The law also bars any person from making contributions in the name of others or reimbursing another person’s contribution. Long lost to Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. She and other Republicans, like Senator Ted Cruz, have argued that the government was unfairly targeting D’Souza for his political affiliation, according to CNN. D’Souza argued for the charges to be dismissed on grounds of selective prosecution. Last week, a judge denied that motion, citing “no evi-
dence” to support it. “Following the court’s ruling denying Dinesh D’Souza’s baseless claim of selective prosecution, D’Souza now has admitted, through his guilty plea, what we have asserted all along -- that he knowingly and intentionally violated federal election laws,” Bharara said in a statement. “As our Office’s record reflects, we will investigate and prosecute violations of federal law, particularly those that undermine the integrity of the democratic electoral process, without regard to the defendant’s political persuasion or party affiliation. That is what we did in this case and what we will continue to do.” Meanwhile, Deadline Hollywood cited D’Souza’s producer Gerald Molen as saying the indictment was politically motivated but that it would not stop the upcoming sequel to “2016: Obama’s America”, which has already set a July 4 release date. D’Souza says his film imagines what today’s world would be like if America had never existed because “we are now living in the America that we warned our fellow citizens could come to pass if President Obama were re-elected”.
NRI filmmaker to shoot film on Lok Sabha polls California-based Indian filmmaker Ravi Verma is set to make “Viva Democracy”, a documentary focussing on the nine-phased 16th Lok Sabha elections that involve 814 million voters. He says the purpose is to show the “people’s perspective” on the battle of the ballot and draw a contrast between the Indian and US election processes. “We will shoot the documentary from the first week of April till the end of the Lok Sabha polls in May. We will mainly shoot in Bihar as well as other places across India,” Verma, who hails from Katihar, around 350 km from Patna, told IANS on phone from Rocklin, California. He has received approval from the ministry of external affairs to make the film. He added that the purpose is to show the contrast of the election process in the two largest democracies — India and the US. During the Lok Sabha elections, starting April 7, the filmmaker wishes to capture the vibrant nature of the polls that he grew up watching. The whole exercise of polling in 543 constituencies at about 930,000 polling stations across the country will be over in 72 days. Verma is keen to show how common people belonging to different economic statuses, castes, gender, and religions view the election. In India, elections are boisterous events with rallies and slogans. Comparatively, elections in the US are sedate. “Shooting and capturing India’s election from people’s perspective is a big challenge for a documentary maker,” Verma said. An alumnus of the IIT-Kanpur, Verma, who migrated to the US in the 1990s, has maintained a strong bond with his hometown. He owns a software firm in California and he set up its subsidiary firm in Katihar in 2005. In 2013 he released “Journey of the Heart”, a documentary sponsored by the government of India. Last time he had brought crew from Hollywood to Bihar to shoot the film, but this time he plans to use local talent to capture the election. He has been training a group of youngsters in Katihar in cinematography and sound techniques.
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INDIA HERALD â€˘ WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 â€˘ PAGE 7
INDIANS ABROAD Rohan Dâ€™Souza wins GCTCA Champion Trophy Rohan Dâ€™Souza won the firtst Singles Flight A Champion in tennis at Cincinnati. This tennis tournament is organised by Greater Cincinnati Tennis Coaches Association. The prestigious Junior Varsity Coaches Classic tennis tournament finals were played on May 19th, 2014.
Sycamore High School voted and nominated Rohan Dâ€™Souza Team Captain for Junior Varsity (JV) Tennis Team. Rohan was undefeated during the season and won all his matches as well as the Sycamore High Schoolâ€™s Junior Varsity Tennis team finished the season with a score of 13 to 0. The Sports Awards Night
was organised on May 20th, 2014. Coach Linsey Farroh presented the Coachâ€™s Award to Rohan Dâ€™Souza. She said : â€œRohan kept his cool even when faced with some opponents who were borderline outrageous on court. He was one of the very good Captains who was a very good role model for the younger boys on the team....a pleasure to have on the teamâ€?. Sycamore High School was awarded the 1st place trophy in the Greater Cincinnati Tennis Coaches Association at Junior Varsity Coaches Classic.ohan 15, the rising tennis player, a sophomore at Sycamore High School is the son of Harold and Dancy Dâ€™Souza from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Rohan Dâ€™Souza, left, with Coach Linsey Farroh
Modi visits Rajghat, Vajpayee Ahead of being sworn in as Indiaâ€™s 15th Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Monday visited Rajghat and paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi. Mr. Modi spent around 10 minutes at Rajghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. A number of Delhi BJP leaders including Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Mr. Vijay Goel and Mr. Vijender Gupta were present at Rajghat. After his visit to Rajghat, Mr. Modi tweeted, â€œOn my way to Ataljiâ€™s residence to seek his blessings.â€? Modi met former Prime Minister A.B, Vajpayee at his residence in New Delhi and sought his blessings. Vajpayee is ailing for quite some time.
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Ministers From Page 1 Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Smriti Irani and Harsh Vardhan as Cabinet Ministers. Ten Ministers of State (Independent charge) and 12 Ministers of State were sworn in. Prime Minister Modi and several of his colleagues will assume office on Tuesday. Seen among the audience were Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita and two sons. His younger brother, Anil Ambani, and his family and their mother, Kokilaben, were present. Other industrialists who attended the ceremony included Hinduja group chairman Ashok Hinduja, Essar group chief Shashi Ruia and its chief executive officer Prashant Ruia, the Mittal brothers Sunil, Rajan and Rakesh, and Gujarat industrialist Gautam Adani. From the world of sports cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar and Indian cricket captain M.S. Dhoni were present.
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PAGE 8 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
COMMUNITY CALENDAR Chinmaya Mission Sunday satsangs for adults, youth and children. Unique Bala Vihar program for each grade, from PreK to Grade 12. Satsangs in two sessions between 8:35 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. 1p.m. Bala Vihar students can take shloka, bhajan and orchestra classes or classes for Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, and Gujarati. At 10353 Synott Road, Sugar Land (77498) New members visit welcome desk bet. 8 to 8:45 a.m. or 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. Visit www.chin mayahouston.org or contact Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233.
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 281-7593286. Free Yoga classes on Sat. Sanskrit & Upanishad classes Tue. 6-8 p.m. At 14375 Schiller Rd. (bet Westpark & Bellaire off Hwy 6). 281-752-0100.
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 Sarada’s Gospel, 5th Sunday. Swamis of Ramakrishna Order visit to conduct retreats and talks. www.houstonvedanta.org or 281-584-0488.
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. Puja services - Priest Bishnupada
Goswami 281-597-8100 Temple is located at 13944 Schiller Rd (off Hwy 6 bet. Bellaire & Westpark). Call Ganesh Mandal at 713-7979057 / 832-423-8541.
Telugu Fellowship Telugu Christian Fellowship meets every third Saturday of the month at Triumph Church, 10555 W. Airport Blvd., Stafford TX 77477 at 6:30 p.m. Join us for a time of praise, worship and fellowship. Worship is in English. Call Chris Gantela 281-344-0707, or Rev. V. Gurrala 281-997-0757.
Sahaj Marg Meditation Sahaj Marg (Natural Path) Meditation and Spirituality (www. sahajmarg.org) A natural, simple system of Raja Yoga meditation and spiritual practice. Weekly satsangs held in the Houston area. Email Radheshyam Miryala, MD at meditate_ houston@yahoo. com or meditate.galveston @gmail. com.
Heritage Classes Ashirwad’s Heritage Classes in Katy, Cypress and Sugar Land for kids 4 to 18 yrs - meditation, Yoga, slokas, stories from scriptures, Vishnu Sahasranam, bhajans, competitions and fun activities. Adult meditation classes by appointment only. Register at www.ashirwad ablessing.org or Sri Ravula 281-995-0930.
Hare Krishna Dham Houston’s original Vedic temple, ISKCON of Houston. At 1320 W 34th St. (77018). Daily Darshan & Arati Times: 4.30am, 7am, 8.30am, 12noon, 4.30pm, 7pm, 9pm. Sunday Festival: 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm. Weekly Gita classes for adults; 281-433-1635 or harekrishna firstname.lastname@example.org
Gandhi Library Mahatma Gandhi Library Book Club: Meets 2nd Sunday
SARGAM SCHOOL OF MUSIC SARGAM SCOOL OF MUSIC is offering SHORT SUMMER WORKSHOP in southwest Houston (77083). The workshop will consist of Hindustani Vocal classical music and light music, harmonium, and keyboard lessons in English for ages 5 and above. Group and solo lessons also available. For information please call MANGALA SANE 281-498-6126. Email: email@example.com Web: Http://Mangal1.cloud. Prohosting.com or www.Zingerbay.com Also MANDAR SANE - professional accompanist - tabla, dholak, dhole, guitar, available. Professional group of singers for concerts - Hindi, Urdu ghazals, semiclassical, classical Hindi songs. Also devotional bhajan group for religious occasions. Call MANGALA SANE 281-498-6126.
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of each month; 12:30 PM at Arya Samaj Greater Houston, 13475 Schiller Rd. Join the discussion of the great man’s autobiography – The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Call Manish Wani 713-829-6979.
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 5:00 - 8:00 PM Saturday and Sunday: 8:30-2:00 PM and 5:00 - 8:00 PM. Contact Bharti Sutaria 281568-1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832541-0059 or visit www.saum yakasi.org.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Jagadeesh Halyal 832-744-4166.
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.
Gaudiya Math Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha at 16628 Kieth Harrow Blvd., Houston 77084. Satsang every Sunday 5 to 7 pm. Mantra meditation, kirtan and classes on Sanatan Dharma. Vedic Education and Hindi classes for kids 5-14 yrs. Gita classes noon - 1:30 pm Wednesdays. Hanuman Chalisa and Ramcharit Manas on Tuesdays 7:30–8:30 p.m. info@sggm. org or 281-499-3347
Sathya Sai centers Sathya Sai devotees meet on Sundays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at two locations in North and South Houston; Sai Spiritual Education classes for children, meditation, study circle, bhajans and service activities. Call Raghu Amara (North) 832-418-3842 or Ajit Paralkar (South) 281-788-4786. www.saicenterofhouston.
Sanatana Dharma Discussions on confusion between Sanatna Dharma and religion. To protect, preserve and promote the wisdom of Dharma, the eternal, universal and natural tradition. Call 832 868 5656 (cell).
Sadhu Vaswani Center Sadhu Vaswani Center of Houston holds regular Satsang on 3rd Thursday of the month and daily Arti at 7.30 p.m. Call 281 463 0379 or e.mail ramolaj@ aol.com
FEEDBACK Dear Editor: When Tulsi Gubbard, the first time Congress woman from Hawaii, took her oath of office in US Congress with her hand on Bhagavad Gita, Hindus all over the world rejoiced and felt immensely proud. How come, none of the BJP ministers, including Narendra Modi, took the oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita, on such a historic occasion? Have they already become like the Congress who they accused of being "pseudo-secular"?? Krishna Vavilala Houston, TX
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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.
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: 713-729-8994 email: temple@ guruvayur.us
Sanskrit classes and special worship sessions for all ages. At 2918 Renoir, Sugar Land, TX 77479.Call 281-606-5607 or AVB.Houston@gmail.com. Web-site: https://sites.google.com/ site/avbtexas/classes
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.
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 “Gopa Kuteeram” children’s heritage classes and Srimad Bhagavatam classes. Call 281402-6585; visit www.godivinity.org (Global Organization for Divinity).
Classes now ongoing Classes in Houston, Mission Bend, & Sugar Land
No Gita at swearing-in ceremony?
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New facilities of JVB Preksha Meditation Center. Classes for Yoga and Meditation under guidance by Samani jis and discourses. New center is located at 14102 Schiller Road (off Hwy 6 bet Bellaire and Westpark - 77082). Tel 281-596-9642.
Tabla and Vocal
From Page 4 into exile and meditation to make up for his inadequacy. I realised at that moment that a lecture on hygroscopy or capillary action (the scientific explanations) would have been inadequate. I could not call her illiterate or superstitious. It was a struggle about different meanings, a juxtaposition of world views where she felt her religion gave her a meaning that my science could not. I was reminded that the great Danish physicist, Niels Bohr had a horseshoe nailed to his door. When Bohr was questioned about it, he commented that it won’t hurt to be there. Bohr had created a Pascalian Wager, content that if the horseshoe brought luck it was a good wager, but equally content that if it was inert it did no harm. I wish I had replied in a similar form to my friend. I realise that in many places in Europe, there has been a disenchantment with religion. I have seen beautiful churches in Holland become post offices as the church confronted a sheer lack of attendance. But India faces no such problem and we have to be careful about transplanting mechanical histories. Ours is a different culture and it has responded to religion, myth and ritual. The beauty of our science Congress is that it resembles a miniature Kumbh Mela. But more, our religions have never been against science and our state has to work a more pluralistic understanding of these encounters. Secularism cannot be empty space. It has to create a pluralism of encounters and allow for levels of reality and interpretation. Tolerance is a weak form of secularism. In confronting the election, we have to reinvent secularism not as an apologetic or disciplinary space but as a playful dialogue. Only then can we offer an alternative to the resentments that Modi has thrived on and mobilised. I take hope in the words of one of my favourite scientists, the Dalai Lama. When George Bush was waxing eloquent about Muslims, the Dalai Lama commented on George Bush by saying, “He brings out the Muslim in me.” I think that captures my secular ethic brilliantly and one hopes such insights become a part of our contentious democracy. — The Hindu
INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 • PAGE 9
INDIA Sharif pressed on LoC skirmishes, terrorism
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent much of his first day in office getting to know India’s neighbours, holding a series of unprecedented one-toone meetings with regional leaders on Tuesday. He had some unexpectedly tough messages for some of his visitors including Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh said, underlined India’s concerns on terrorism, skirmishes on the Line of Control, and slow progress in the
trial of 26/11 perpetrators for Sharif. He accepted Sharif’s invitation to visit Pakistan at a later date but made no commitment on Pakistan’s call for resuming the stalled dialogue on all issues, including Kashmir, agreeing only the Foreign Secretaries of both countries would meet to see what could be done. Later, Sharif told the media that he used the meeting to call for both countries to “change from confrontation to cooperation”. Sharif, who attended Modi’s
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swearing-in, described his meeting as “good and constructive” and said they had agreed that their Foreign Secretaries would be meeting soon to review and carry forward the bilateral agenda. During his 45-minute long meeting, Sharif said he “intended to pick up the threads of the Lahore Declaration, from where it had to be left off in October 1999.” He also told a Pakistani television station he had raised the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir, calling for a resolution that suited both countries, as well as the State’s residents. The Pakistan Prime Minister could face a hostile reception from hardliners back home: the Lashkar-e-Taiba had held out public threats to Sharif for visiting New Delhi, calling on him to buy a one-way ticket. Modi’s meeting with Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s outgoing President, pointed to the capacity of those hardliners to disrupt the relationship. Karzai blamed the LeT , the terrorist group responsible for the 26/11 strikes, for attacking India’s consulate in Herat last week. Experts, however, also cautioned against expecting too much from the meeting. Modi pushed Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa hard, asking for him to deliver on his promises to devolve wide powers to the country’s Tamil-majority regions — a formula called ‘Thirteen-Plus’ that was promised during talks with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2010. “Early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment and going beyond would contribute to this process,” Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh quoted Modi as telling the Sri Lankan President.
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Modi’s team of ministers
Ministers Arun Jaitley (left) Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj.
NEW DELHI: The portfolios of the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi were announced on Tuesday, May 27. Prime Minister: Narendra Modi: Personnel, public grievances and pensions, department of atomic energy, department of space, all important policy issues and other portfolios not allocated to any minister. Rajnath Singh: Home affairs; Sushma Swaraj: External affairs, overseas Indian affairs Arun Jaitley: Finance, corporate affairs, defence M. Venkaiah Naidu: Urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation, parliamentary affairs; Nitin Gadkari: Road transport and highways, shipping Sadananda Gowda: Railways Uma Bharati: Water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation; Najma A Heptulla: Minority affairs Gopinathrao Munde: Rural development, panchayati raj, drinking water and sanitation Ram Vilas Paswan: Consumer affairs, food and public distribution; Kalraj Mishra: Micro, small and medium enterprises Maneka Gandhi: Women and child development; Ananth Kumar: Chemicals and fertilizers; Ravi Shankar Prasad: Communications and information technology, law and justice Ashok Gajapathi Raju: Civil aviation; Anant Geete: Heavy industries and public enterprises Harsimrat Kaur Badal: Food processing industries; Narendra Singh Tomar: Mines, steel, labor & employment; Jual Oram: Tribal affairs; Radha Mohan Singh: Agriculture Thaawar Chand Gehlot: Social justice and empowerment Smriti Irani: Human resource development; Harsh Vardhan: Health and family welfare MINISTERS OF STATE V K Singh: Development of northeastern region, external affairs, overseas Indian affairs; Inderjit Singh Rao: Planning, statistics and program implementation, defence; Santosh Kumar Gangwar: Textiles, parliamentary affairs, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation; Shripad Yesso Naik: Culture, tourism; Dharmendra Pradhan: Petroleum and natural gas; Sarbananda Sonowal: Skill development, entrepreneurship, youth affairs and sports; Prakash Javadekar: Information and broadcasting, environment, forest and climate change, parliamentary affairs; Piyush Goyal: Power,
coal, new and renewable energy; Jitendra Singh: Science and technology, earth sciences, PMO, personnel, public grievances and pensions, departments of atomic energy and space Nirmala Sitharaman: Commerce and industry, finance, corporate affairs; G M Siddeshwara: Civil aviation; Manoj Sinha: Railways; Nihalchand: Chemicals and fertilizers; Upendra Kushwaha: Rural development, panchayati raj, drinking water and sanitation; P Radhakrishnan: Heavy industries and public enterprises; Kiren Rijiju: Home affairs; Krishan Pal: Road transport and highways, shipping; Sanjeev Kumar Balyan: Agriculture, food processing industries; Mansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava: Tribal affairs; Raosaheb Dadarao Danve: Consumer affairs, food and public distribution; Vishnu Deo Sai: Mines, steel, labor and employment; Sudarshan Bhagat: Social justice and empowerment.
Cabinet Facts Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers is in some ways a change from the outgoing one. The average minister is worth over Rs. 13 crore, however, and at least 14 ministers have criminal cases against them. The average age of the new cabinet is just over 60, three years less than the average age that members of the outgoing cabinet were at the start of their term. Cabinet Minister Najma Heptullah, 74, is the oldest; firsttime Rajya Sabha MP Smriti Irani at 38 is the youngest. The new cabinet has seven women among its 46, six of them of with cabinet rank. The outgoing Council of Ministers had nine women among its 71, but just two of them — Chandresh Kumari Katoch (culture) and Girija Vyas (housing and urban poverty alleviation) were of cabinet rank. The new cabinet is worth Rs. 429 crores put together (minus Thawar Chand Gehlot, whose financial information was not immediately available), at an average of Rs. 18.66 crore per minister. The new Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is the richest, worth over Rs 113 crore, while Lok Jan Shakti Party leader Ramvilas Paswan is the only non-crorepati minister, with assets of Rs. 96 lakh. Uma Bharti has the longest list of criminal cases against her — 13 cases including two charges of attempt to murder and one charge of creating enmity between communities. Nitin Gadkari follows with four criminal charges.
PAGE 10 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
INDIA Indian Consulate in Afghanistan attacked Modi cannot abrogate Article 370: Omar Abdullah Contending that it was impossible for the BJP-led Government to abrogate Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said confusion was being deliberately created on the issue which would further alienate the people of the State. “They cannot abrogate Article 370 till the Constituent Assembly is recalled. The Constituent Assembly approved accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. If you want to raise the question once again, then you need to bring the Constituent Assembly and then we will talk,” Omar told reporters here. The Chief Minister was speaking as the row over the remarks of Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh that efforts will be made to “convince” the “unconvinced” on abrogation of Article 370 continued to rage. Omar said the Centre should strengthen its relations with the State, but such a move will further alienate the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “You want to strengthen the State—Centre relationship but this is not the way. This will further widen the gap between the people of the State and the rest of the country which you will understand very soon. I can understand the political compulsion of the BJP, but first focus on other promises. The first attack is on Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. The Chief Minister said confusion was deliberately created
among the people in the country over Article 370 and the State subject laws in Jammu and Kashmir. “Confusion is being created deliberately over State subject law and the Article 370 of the Constitution. The Article 370 has nothing to do with the purchase of property here. “Before the Article 370, the State subject laws were enforced in the State by the Maharaja to save the people of Jammu who were apprehensive that rich Punjabis will come and buy their land. “If you see today, God forbid, if you play with our State subject laws, then even in such a situation nobody will come to Kashmir. If the land is purchased or anything of the kind happens, it will happen in Jammu region,” he said. Omar dismissed the assertion that the State subject laws were a hindrance in the development of Jammu and Kashmir. “The State subject laws protect our people. How are they a hindrance in the development of the State? If the State lacked in development it was because of the prevailing situation. Before (the eruption of militancy in) 1989, nobody complained of such a thing. Factories were being set up everywhere but nobody questioned the State subject laws. “This is not the only State in the country where this law is in force. There are other States where such laws are prevalent but nobody talks about them,” he said.
Heavily-armed gunmen launched a pre-dawn attack on the Indian consulate in the Afghan city of Herat on May 23. At least three attackers stormed nearby houses to fire on the compound with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, police said. The gunmen were killed in a firefight with security forces that lasted several hours, officials added. Afghanistan has seen a surge in attacks in recent weeks as foreign troops begin to withdraw from the country. Questions will now be asked as to how insurgents were able to get into one of the most secure parts of Herat, the BBC’s Bilal Sarwary reports from Kabul. He says this is the latest in a long line of attacks on Indian targets in Afghanistan. It is not clear who carried out this attack, but previous
incidents have been blamed on militants from the Haqqani network, an al Qaeda-linked group suspected of having ties to Pakistani military intelligence. The latest attack comes on the eve of the inauguration of new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which will be attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Mr Modi condemned the attack and said he was “closely monitoring the situation”. The attackers are reported to have entered homes around the consulate at around 03:00 local time (22:30 GMT Thursday), and began shooting on the compound. Some reports suggested there were up to four gunmen. A team of commandos from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police at the consulate initially held off the assault, until they were joined by Afghan forces. “There were three suicide
1970 - 2014
bombers armed with AK-47s, RPGs, hand grenades and suicide vests,” Herat police chief General Samihullah Qatra told Reuters news agency. “Our security forces killed all of them. Only five of our security forces were wounded.” Herat lies near Afghanistan’s border with Iran and is considered one of the safer cities in the country. In September 2013, the Taliban launched a similar assault on the US consulate in the city, killing at least four Afghans but failing to enter the compound or hurt any Americans. Millions of Afghans defied Taliban threats to take part in the first round of elections in April to replace outgoing President Karzai. The second round, due in mid-June, pits front-runner Abdullah Abdullah against Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank economist.
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INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 • PAGE 13
COMMUNTIY NEWS Graduation ceremony at Arya Samaj
Awards were given to those who attended the most classes, such as Jai Sehgal and Anusha Sood. Other awards were given out to those who had participated in special activities, like student Roma Nayyar. Awards were also given to those students who had helped the community and volunteered, like AYM volunteers Smriti Ahuja and Daksh Kapoor.
Arya Samaj hosted a Graduation ceremony for its students on Sunday, May 18. The ceremony included award presentations and student performances. The Graduation Day celebrations began with Mrs. Minu Garg welcoming all the parents, kids and the guests visiting Arya Samaj. Speaker of the week, 9-year-old Lakshya Gupta, gave a touching speech on why humility should be one of the most important virtues for a human being. Beautiful Bhajans by DAV Sanskriti school kids, led by their teacher Mrs. Smriti Srivastava, mesmerized the audience. A presentation by Minu ji provided everyone with the significant progress made by the DAVSS school and its students during the past year. Winners of best attendance in each age group were announced and all those with attendance greater than 95% were offered a fee free school year ahead while those with 85% attendance or greater were offered 25% reduction in the fees. There were also two performances by Arya Samaj students, one of singing and the other of dance. The participating students were part of the elective music and dance classes hosted every Sunday. The dancers wore cute costumes, with a white top and pink skirt, and under the guidance of their teacher Shelly ji, gave a beautiful performance, which had the audience clapping and swaying with enjoyment. Next was a presentation about the various impressive Arya Youth Mandal (AYM) activities accomplished including their over 350 hours of community service projects gained from participating in the Interfaith Ministries ‘Meals on Wheels’ on Thanksgiving day serving hot meals to seniors, the flower planting project, parking lot numbering and active support to the organization for the Holi and Diwali celebrations. Certificates were handed out to the five students with highest number of community service hours for the year.
There were other awards also handed out, like “Student of the Year” and “Youth of the Year” awards that one gained by working hard, doing well in all the tests and playing an important role in Arya Samaj. Acharya Surya Nandaji addressed the audience briefly after the award distribution, and this was followed by Arti and Priti
Bhoj. If you are not a student at DAV Sanskriti school, enroll to get a taste of the wonderful environment here at the summer school and you will decide to stay here even after summer is over. Various elective classes like music, dance, yoga, public speaking and Vedic Math are offered.
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PAGE 14 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
COMMUNTIY NEWS Tribute to India’s heritage — India Unveiled : Spirit, Tradition, People Robert Arnett, author, photographer, and publisher of the multi award-winning, internationally acclaimed, India Unveiled has done it again. The expanded sixth edition of the beautifully produced coffee table book is stunning! Not surprisingly, it is getting rave reviews. At the official book release at the Consulate General of India, Atlanta, on May 22, 2014, Ambassador Ajit Kumar, the Consul General of India said, “The new edition of ‘India Unveiled – Spirit, Tradition, People’ written by renowned writer Robert Arnett, is one of the best books written by any foreign writer on India. It captures the essence of Indian civilization and its traditions. His extensive travelogue portrays a beautiful depiction of India’s people and culture. His insight into the regions and states of India is fascinating. In fact, this is an excellent book which presents a comprehensive picture of India. It is a great honor to release his book ‘India Unveiled.’” Many of the new, breathtaking images were captured during a recent trip to India. The new volume contains 308 pages and 307 photographs beautifully reproduced on acid-free archival paper. In addition, the text has been strengthened considerably. A long time Houston area resident Smita Turakhia, who is the editor,
book designer, and contributing photographer of the book commented, “While acknowledging India’s modernity, the new edition addresses important topics such as the mother aspect of God, the symbolism of murti, the symbolism of Aum, why Hindus respect cows, and the caste system. The photographs visually enhance the text.” India Unveiled: Spirit, Tradition, People includes a timeline of India and the World, which is more in line with archeological discoveries and India’s ancient texts and history, rather than based on colonial influenced, dated ideas about the history of the country. The book has given full credence and further explanation of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, the four religions that originated in India. The book has an excellent glossary that is extremely useful for first-time readers of India and is especially helpful for younger generations that grew up outside of India. It includes quotes on India by notable people including Einstein, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Marco Polo and others. Arnett’s journey to India was not that of a casual traveler. Having a graduate degree in history and being a collector or Oriental, African and primitive art, he chose places with cultural significance, or found significance
Author Robert Arnett and Editor Smita Turakhia presenting a copy of the newly released “India Unveiled, Spirit, Tradition, People” to Ajit Kumar, Consul General of India, Atlanta during the official release of the book at the consulate. in them in the light of his scholarly background and artistic and philosophical interests. He brought back not only his understanding of an ancient civilization…but also a pictorial and narrative record of his travels. From the soaring temple
gates of Tamil Nadu to the delicately carved marble temples of Jainism, to the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, to the spectacular arati ceremony at Hardwar, India Unveiled truly reveals the diversity and sacredness of the oldest continuously liv-
ing civilization on earth. Indian-Americans in particular will appreciate this work, which focuses on their rich and noble lineage. Arnett’s simple style of writing along with the captivating photographs will give all a deeper appreciation of their heritage. India Unveiled will be the centerpiece of discussions in many homes where there is curiosity about India and a respect for her tradition. India Unveiled is in over 10,000 schools and public libraries and classrooms across the country and is greatly appreciated by superintendents, principals, and librarians. Thanks to the generosity of Houston’s Dr. and Mrs. Bharat Raval, Dr. and Mrs. Virendra Mathur, Dr. and Mrs. Durga Agrawal, Mr. and Mrs. Vijay Goradia, and others, the previous edition of India Unveiled and Arnett’s children’s book, Finders Keepers?, illustrated by Turakhia that is set in India, is in all elementary, middle, and public high schools in the Houston metro area. For more information on India Unveiled: Spirit, Tradition, People (ISBN: 9780965290098) visit www. AtmanPress.com. Books can be purchased from Amazon.com or autographed copies can be ordered directly from Atman Press (706-323-6377).
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INDIA HERALD Extra BOLL YW OOD • SPOR TS • HUMOR • RELIGION • RECIPES BOLLYW YWOOD SPORTS
Swara Bhaskar - An outsider in Bollwood
“No famous friends. No boyfriend. No godfather. I am in a happy state of affairs,” says Swara Bhaskar, an ‘outsider’ in Bollywood. She has had five releases in the last five years — Tanu Weds Manu, Listen… Amaya, Aurangzeb and Ranjhanaa. “And I got those roles all after the tedious, long route of auditions,” she adds. “But I have been lucky. What you finally watch on screen in just 0.5 per cent of the pool of genuine talent that’s out there waiting for a foot in the door.”
Swara is now acting in one of her most commercial movies till date — Debolay Dey’s Macchli Jal Ki Rani Hai — a horror flick (releasing on June 13). Swara plays a possessed woman in the film that was shot in Pachmarhi (MP). “I hate the horror genre. We shot in the day but at nights I totally freaked out in the hotel... 58 days of fear!” she says. Then there is the role of a muddled traffic cop in Abbas Tyrewala’s Mango. “That’s an amazing role. My character is a traffic cop who is terrified of guns. It’s a refreshing role. Abbas is a wonderful filmmaker with a very unique way of looking at things.” Swara has also signed a film by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari titled Nil Bate Sannata. “It’s a lovely film; I play mom to a 14-year-old girl. It’s very challenging as I play a character much older than me. But the biggest film in her kitty now is Sooraj Barjatya’s Bade Bhaiyya which also features Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh. Swara says that sometimes she wonders if she is cut out for the industry at all. “I don’t care about my looks. But I have learnt that grooming is very essential. I have had to unlearn a lot that way.
Vidya Balan’s many looks in Bobby Jasoos
New bride Rani returns to work
Rani Mukerji, who tied the knot to filmmaker Aditya Chopra in a secret ceremony in Italy, is back to work. The actress, who will be next seen in Pradeep Sarkar’s Mardaani, is back on the sets after her wedding to complete the remaining scenes for the drama film. Rani Mukherji, who will be seen playing a policewoman in the film, made her first post-marriage appearance earlier this month when she was spotted at Mumbai Airport. On their return from Italy, Rani and Aditya hosted a reception for their friends and members from the film fraternity at their Mumbai residence on May 4. The party was attended by industry biggies like Karan Johar, Anupam Kher and his wife Kirron and Rani’s close friend Vaibhavi Merchant, among others. To prepare for her role in Mardaani Rani Mukherji apparently met with Mumbai Police Crime Branch chief as part of research. The meeting between Rani Mukerji and Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy lasted for nearly an hour at the latter’s office at police headquarters in south Mumbai this evening. “Rani is playing the role of a crime branch officer in her upcoming film ‘Mardaani’. She wants to understand how a crime branch officer functions,ways in which officer probes various cases,officer’s body language and lifestyle among others so that she could get accustomed to the officer’s conduct,” Roy said.
Patralekha stars in Citylights Patralekhaa, earlier referred to as Anwita Paul, is making her debut in Citylights, directed by Hansal Mehta, fresh off Shahid. Citylights is a remake of the BritishFilipino crime drama Metro Manila. “Hansal specifically told us to keep away from watching it. So aside from the writer, none of us, not even Hansal, has seen Metro Manila yet. He said we should adapt the film in our own way and not get influenced. Possibly after I watch Citylights, I will watch the original!” says Patralekhaa. The film revolves around Deepak Singh and his wife Rakhee who are farm labourers in Rajasthan. Faced by a financial crisis when the couple moves to Mumbai with their young son, the perils of a big city strike them. “My character (Rakhee) is apprehensive about moving to Mumbai unlike her husband who is more enthusiastic. But once here she does not play the docile, demure wife standing behind her husband as one would expect a villager to do. She is the strength, she becomes the bread earner of the family,” says Patralekhaa. The actress, whose father is a CA and mother, a housewife, says she does not come from a family inclined towards the arts except for her grandmother who was a poet and had gifted her the beautiful name. “That’s why I took it up as my screen name, not because anyone told me to change from Anwita to escape getting recognized as Rajkumarr’s girlfriend!” she says candidly. How does she deal with gossip that she got the movie only because Rajkumarr and Hansal share a good equation? “The moment I got the film, I knew that these questions would come my way. See, Raj and I have been around for three years now. If merely by putting in a word, I’d get roles, then I would have bagged Kai Po Che and Shahid as well, right?” she asks, stating that her first audition for the film happened when Ajay Bahl (B.A. Pass) was to helm the film. “Months after that, Hansal came in and I was called to audition once more. Then another one. The final audition was the most nerve-wracking as by then, I just wanted the role and didn’t know whether I would get it,” she recollects.
A ‘dangerous’ filmmaker Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt gifted his Filmfare award for Saaransh to director Hansal Mehta. Bhatt handed over the black lady to the Mehta after watching his latest directorial venture Citylights. Appreciating Mehta's "fearless" filmmaking spirit, Mahesh Bhatt told Hindustan Times, "Several directors have arrived through our (Bhatt productions) platform but when I see Hansal Mehta, I feel he really takes inspiration from the kinds of movies I have created." "I left direction 15 years back after my semi-autobiographical film Zakhm. Citylights is painfully honest in a similar way as Zakhm. I think Mehta is a dangerous filmmaker, the economics and honesty in his films make him dangerous," Bhatt added.
Actress Vidya Balan and newly-turned-producer Dia Mirza looked lovely as they launched the trailer of their upcoming detective film ‘Bobby Jasoos' on May 27 with real life detectives. After playing a pregnant woman in Kahaani, a hip-shaking actress in The Dirty Picture and a loud Punjabi woman in Ghanchakkar, Vidya Balan is back, and this time as a simple woman with a big dream – to be a detective - in Bobby Jasoos. Vidya, who will be seen in 22 different avatars, had given 122 look tests for the movie. Bobby Jasoos is the first detective film with a female lead and expectations are sky-high from the National Award winning actress. It is slated to release on July 4.
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PAGE 16 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
REVIEW/PREVIEW Heropanti: Barely a ‘time-pass’ movie
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Kriti Sanon, Sandeepa Dha, Vikram Singh. Director: Sabbir Khan Heropanti, remade from the Telugu Parugu, is an excruciating 140-minute journey about a young man who wants to win the heroine's daddy's heart. Yup, you read that right. The asli hero isn't a young man who runs away with the girl of his dreams any more. He's the young man who moves mountains to reach the happy ending with her father's permission, never mind that the latter is a gun-wielding, goon-commanding scary fellow who doesn't mind a good honour killing if the occasion demands it. The Choudhry clan is in uproar. The eldest daughter, Renu (Sandeepa Dhar), has eloped with her boyfriend right in the middle of her shaadi. As any Jat father worth his salt ought to do, Choudhry (Prakash Raj) unleashes a bunch of nincompoop goons to find her whereabouts. The goons round up four guys, one of whom is Babloo (Tiger Shroff), an army by himself, we're told. Babloo knows where the couple is but he will not reveal the secret because he's macho like that. Besides being a terrific friend, of course. The friends somehow escape from the shed they are locked in and are about to leap on to a train that will take them away from this rogue-infested place but wait... Babloo suddenly doesn't want to leave. And why is that? He's just seen the girl of his dreams! The same girl he once saw and lost his heart to, so much so that he walks around with her lost earring everywhere. In true Bollywood style, Babloo has no idea who she is or what she's like (apart from the fact that she eats pani-puri orgasmically). As luck would have it, the girl, Dimpy (Kriti Sanon), is none other than Choudhry's younger daughter. And so, Babloo decides to stick around, giving his hapless friends no choice. Pretty soon, Dimpy comes around but Babloo's ideas about love, elopement, and other such philosophical matters have gone through a radical change. He has, after all, spent a lot of time in the company of Choudhry and seen his paternal angst up close. Prakash Raj, who has played
all kinds of fathers and all kinds of villains, is the saving grace of the film. He gives a credible performance as the izzat-loving yet caring father, exploding and emoting with equal ease. It's obvious that Tiger Shroff has worked very hard to achieve the kind of body he has (and we're never allowed to forget that, thanks to his habit of taking his shirt off at regular intervals) but
he could improve a lot in the acting department. All his lines sound the same, with no inflection of tone whatsoever. His smile is all right, but can we see some other expressions, please? Kriti Sanon doesn't have much to do in the film other than praying and being the good Indian girl, so it's hard to judge her performance. One has to give it to her for dancing around in barely-there sarees and cholis on snow-covered mountains though. That does require some himmat. The music is good enough to sustain the vapid and often illogical script and the songs flit past without grating on your nerves too much. In its defence, Heropanti could claim that it's a time-pass movie but personally, one can think of a number of better ways to pass the hours. Staring at the walls, included. Making a good time-pass movie, even if it is a formulaic one, requires some amount of intelligent scripting and execution. This hero, far from being original, is quite the wannabe.
Kochadaiiyaan: A handsome tribute to Rajini
Cast: Rajikanth, Deepika, Shobana, Nasser, Sarathkumar, Aadhi. Director: Soundarya R Ashwin The eagerly awaited Kochadaiiyaan has finally hit the screens. The early trailers were not encouraging as the motion capture technology used was not convincing. But after watching the film, one gets the feel that there is more to it than just the animation. Kochadaiiyaan works for those who like the star charisma of Superstar Rajinikanth. His baritone voice and meaningful dialogues are what holds the film together. Plus smart and intelligent writing by KS Ravikumar and AR Rahman’s songs and BGM elevates the film to a new high. In terms of plot, there are few surprises here. It is basically a revenge and redemption fantasy drama. Evil kings, beautiful princess, cunning ministers and a loyal general who does well for the country and its people mixed with human emotions like romance, jealousy and revenge. What works for the film seen in 2D are its overall packaging as director Soundarya Rajinikanth pays a handsome tribute to her father’s awesome screen presence, dialogue delivery with punchlines. Rajinikanth, even in animated form is able to whip up the frenzy among the viewers. Nasser as the evil king creates an impact as his animation and dubbing is in sync. The legendary comedian Nagesh's character has been brought back in animated form and the guy who did dubbing for him has made it look real. Songs, especially Engae Pogudho Vaanam.. and Medhuvaagathaan tuned by Rahman is smartly placed. The biggest weakness of the film is its calling card- ‘performance capture technology’. The animated characters are not able to capture the emotion, because their eyes don’t roll and hand and feet movement don’t synchronise and looks like they are dangling. Among the characters Soundarya seems to have invested a lot of time and energy on the graphics of Rajinikanth characters of Kochadaiiyaan and Rana but sadly Deepika, Sarathkumar, Rukmini and Shobana didn't get the same love and attention from the director. Still we recommend that you see Kochadaiiyaan . It is a testament to one girl’s ambition, imagination and courage to make India’s first photo-realistic, 3D.
LAUGH IT OFF
INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 • PAGE 17
MUSINGS By Gadfly SPORT India’s secularists are now changing their tune Uber Cup: India settles for bronze Now that India’s Hindus (yes, Hindus. BJP got only about 9% of Muslim votes) have voted NaM’s BJP (yes, NaMo’s) in power with a thumping majority, I hear and read some mea culpas. My Sikh friend said both his predictions – BJP not getting absolute majority and hence, the BJP/ NDA coalition not lasting a full 5year term leading to mid-term elections – were wrong. Meanwhile, the word ‘Hindutva’ is being polished by the pseudo-secularists to make it and by inference, the pseudos themselves, look better. First MJ Akbar put his finger in the air, correctly gauged which way the wind was blowing and joined the BJP BEFORE the 2014 parliamentary elections. Then Shekhar Gupta, the editor-in-chief of Indian Express, woke up one morning after the NaMo landslide to realize he and the rest of the pseudo-secular press didn’t give enough credit to Hindus for India’s secularism. Now Shiv Vishvanathan, a confirmed pseudo-secularist who has been slamming NaMo and BJP for a long time, is experiencing pangs of conscience for playing a guilt trip on Hindus for not being secular enough. In an opinion piece titled ‘How Modi Defeated Liberals like Me’ (The Hindu - May 22, 2014), ShivaVisvanathan (professor at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy) writes: ‘What secularism did (read ‘what we did’) was portray itself as an upwardly mobile, drawing room discourse the middle class of India was inept at.’(Translation: We, elitist, secularists looked down disdainfully on Hindus as Hindutvawadis.) When after the election results, Modi revisited Varanasi on May 17 to witness a pooja at the Kashi Vishwanath temple, the message to people watching it on tv was “We don’t need to be ashamed of our religion”. ‘A colleague of mine added, “You English-speaking secularists have been utterly coercive, making the majority feel ashamed of what was natural.” “The comment though brutal and devastating was fair. What secularism (read ‘we secularists’) did was it (we) enforced opposition in a way that the middle class felt apologetic and unconfident about its beliefs, its perspectives... treating religion not as a way of life but as a superstition... By overemphasizing secularism, it (we) created an empty domain, a coercive milieu where ordinary people practicing religion were seen as lesser orders of being. Secularism became a form of political correctness but sadly, in electoral India it became an invidious weapon. The majority felt coerced by secular correctness (of the Congress Party and its co-secularists) which they – the majority - saw either as empty or meaningless… The secularist misunderstood religion and by creating a scientific piety, equated the religious
with the communal.” “Narendra Modi turned the tables by showing secularism was a hypocrisy, or was becoming a staged unfairness which treated minority violations as superior to majoritarian prejudices… The activism of Hindutva groups was treated as sinister but the fundamentalism of other religions was often treated as benign and as a minoritarian privilege. There was a failure of objectivity and fairness and the infelicitous term pseudosecularism acquired a potency of its own.” “I realize that in many places in Europe, there has been a dis-enchantment with religion. But India faces no such problem…. Ours is a different culture and it has responded to religion, myth and ritual..... But our religions have never been against science and our state has to work a more pluralistic understanding of these encounters. Secularism cannot be empty space…Tolerance is a weak form of secularism.” The above is the best expose’ of secularism I have ever read. It should be required reading for pseudo-secularists, and pseudosecularists only. While the pseudosecularists introspect and go through some self-flagellation, Khaled Ahmed (a consulting editor at Newsweek Pakistan, based in Lahore) in a piece titled 'Modiwatching in Pakistan’ May 22, 2014, again for the Indian Express, writes: “India’s new prime minister provokes alarm and fascination in its neighbourhood... No one outside Pakistan believes what Pakistan says. When Modi said, “There will be no talks with Pakistan until attacks on India end,” the Pakistani media rejoined with “What attacks?” and “What about your attacks on Muslims?” But if someone in Pakistan says he is pained by the plight of Muslims in India, he is leaning on double standards. Frances Harrison, a former BBC correspondent, in her recent book, Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War, writes: “A damning report by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the largest Muslim party, detailed 241 attacks on Muslims during 2013. These attacks included mosques being stoned, Muslim-owned shops being struck by Buddhist monks, calls for the hijab to be outlawed and a successful campaign against halal meat. Four-letter obscenities against Allah have been scrawled on mosque walls and pigs’ heads drawn on their exteriors or even tossed inside.” “While Pakistani Hindus, haunted by forced marriages and conversions in Sindh, were leaving for India at about 500 per year, Islamabad’s interior minister stood in the National Assembly and said, “I am a Muslim first and a Pakistani later,” reinforcing the Pakistan’s tenet of a “Muslim nation” that “excludes” non-Muslims.”
“Most of the gaseous anti-Modi opinion in Pakistan is borrowed from the alarm raised by secular writers in the Indian media. Others think the BJP’s past record on relations with Pakistan was better than that of the Congress. Starting with Morarji Desai, rightwing religious leaders are more forthright in accepting Pakistan and listening to its grievances.” “The Indian masses have voted with over 66 per cent turnout at the polls and made it possible for Modi to rule India. Modi has run a model development economy in Gujarat and will clean up the occluded central policymaking holding back foreign investment. No one can deny that “businessfriendly” Gujarat received around $8.8 billion in FDI between 2000 and 2013, which was nearly 4 per cent of India’s total FDI during this period. According to economist Surjit Bhalla, Gujarat has done better economically than the seven states, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, all credited with good performance. Pakistan’s Sharif won in 2013 on the slogan of normalization of relations with India based on enhanced economic cooperation. Nevertheless, Indians are biased because of the Mumbai attacks in 2008 and the international community is with them. Culprits named have head money on them but are free and powerful in Pakistan. Another attack, against the will of the government in Islamabad, will set back the process Sharif wants to initiate with India. Remember, Kargil happened when Vajpayee was talking peace with Sharif in Lahore.” In another opinion piece titled ‘No thank-you cards for UPA for the Indian Express (May22, 2014), Tahir Mahmood, a former chair of the National Minorities Commission and former member, Law Commission (May 22, 2014) writes: “The fact is that the outgoing (Congress) regime wasn’t a bed of roses for the minorities and the incoming (BJP) government isn’t likely to unleash a reign of terror on them either. In these days of globalization, with the international community watching, no government can afford to play out the proverbial tableau of Andher Nagri Chaupat Raja.” In my May 7 Musings, I wrote: “In Goa, the Church used to describe elections as a choice between communalism and secularism (code words for BJP and Congress). This time, reportedly, the
Ace shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu came up with spectacular victories but the Indian women’s team still had to be satisfied with the bronze medal after it went down fighting 23 to five-time champions Japan in its maiden semifinals appearance in the Uber Cup in New Delhi. Saina and Sindhu won the first two singles to put the Indian team 2-0 ahead but they failed to win the third singles and the two doubles P.V. Sindhu (left) and Saina Nehwal match to see their hopes go up in smoke at the Siri Fort Sports complex. Olympic bronze medallist Saina gave India a positive start when she produced a dominating performance to get across world number 12 Minatsu Mitani 21-12 21-13 in a 41-minute match. World Championship bronze winner, Sindhu, then displayed her brilliance with yet another edge-of-the seat victory over world no 13 Sayaka Takahashi 19-21 21-18 26-24 in an energy-sapping one hour and 12 minutes match to put India 2-0 ahead. World number four pair of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi, however, brought Japan back into the tie with a hard-fought 21-12 2022 21-16 win over Commonwealth Games gold medallists Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. And then P.C. Thulasi tried her bit before going down to 2011 All England Championship runners-up and world no 16 Eriko Hirose 1421 15-21 in the third singles as Japan made it 2-2. It all boiled down to Saina and Sindhu to take India through and the inexperienced doubles pair, playing only for the second time, went down 14-21 11-21 to world number five combo of Miyuki Maeda and Reika Kakiiwa. China expectedly retained the Uber Cup with a 3-1 triumph over Japan on Saturday. China beat Korea 3-0 in another semifinal clash. Earlier, Saina dominated the match from the start and led 11-6 at the interval. Things didn’t change much after the break as Saina kept engaging her rival in rallies and waited for Mitani to commit mistakes, to eventually pocket the game with a smart dribble at the net. In the second game, Mitani managed to open up a small 6-3 lead, but Saina surged ahead with a couple of smashes to lead 9-8 and had her nose ahead at the break at 11-8. Saina came up with a series of sharp cross-court smashes to extend the lead and finally sealed the issue rather comfortably when Mitani hit wide. After Saina’s victory, a lot was expected from Sindhu
Catholic leadership is calling this election a choice between stability and corruption, code words for BJP and Congress.” And sure enough, the Congress Party lost both seats in Goa, including the Catholic-dominated South Goa seat which is traditionally considered a bastion of the party. And so, currently, if the words ‘given his history’ following ‘Modi’ mean 2002 Godhra riots, five years from now, those same words ‘given his history’ after ‘Modi’ will most likely mean something better for all Indians, irrespective of their religion. As Dan Quayle said after Bush Sr. lost to Bill Clinton – “If he governs as well as he campaigned, he will be good for the country.” Same holds true fo NaMo now. Meanwhile, word of (foul) mouth is that anti-NaMo journalists are getting fired from major newspapers in India. Methinks these mouths belong to the same intellectuals outside India who wrote to the UN, the Noble Prize Committee, the US Congress, the British Parliament and anyone who would listen, that after NaMo’s and BJP’s election victory there is concern for and worry about India’s Muslims. These same intellectuals think that other minorities in India are safe and doing well but only Muslims are suffering, in peril and need attention, protection and special consideration. — Send responses to email@example.com
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PAGE 18 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
INDIA Kejriwal won’t post bond; to stay in jail till June 6 NEW DELHI: A Delhi court ordered forthwith release of Arvind Kejriwal from Tihar Jail after the Aam Aadmi Party leader furnished the bail bond in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, changing his earlier stand against it. Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha accepted the personal bond filed by Kejriwal's counsel in compliance with the order passed by the Delhi High Court. "It is also submitted that Arvind Kejriwal has written in his own handwriting that he is filing the personal bond in compliance with the high court order. "In view of this, the personal bond furnished is accepted," the court said, adding, "Let the accused be released forthwith." On May 23, Kejriwal’s jail stay was extended till June 6 as he remained adamant on not furnishing bail bond insisting that as he had done nothing wrong, he should be allowed to go on his own cognizance. The court observed that if other leaders of the party can furnish bond to secure bail, why Kejriwal cannot do it. AAP leaders have contended that submission of bail bond will be an “admission of guilt” and that Kejriwal had taken a principled stand. But the Congress and BJP had termed it as a political stunt. Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav, who was taken into custody for violating prohibitory orders imposed around Tihar Jail when he
was protesting Kejriwal’s arrest, was released on bail after he furnished a personal bond of Rs 5,000.
Shazia Ilmi, Gopinath quit AAP Two key members of the Aam Aadmi Party, Shazia Ilmi and G. R .Gopinath on Saturday quit, citing differences with party leadership and slammed Arvind Kejriwal’s “jail politics”. Ilmi, one of the founder members, announced her resignation from all party posts, claiming that there was lack of “inner-party democracy” and a “crony clique” around Kejriwal was calling the shots. Gopinath, pioneer of low-cost air travel in India who joined the party in January, targeted Kejriwal saying a head of a party cannot indulge in “shoot and scoot politics” and questioned his refusal to furnish a bail bond in the defamation case filed against him by BJP
leader Nitin Gadkari. Ilmi, who lost from Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat, told reporters, “After much thought and deliberation I have decided to give up my membership of AAP and resign from all positions within the party.” Attacking some AAP leaders considered close to Kejriwal, she said, “We fight against cronyism but we have a crony clique which runs the party and takes impulsive decisions which we learn about later. It is amazing that we cannot follow the principles of Swaraj within our own party.” Gopinath confirmed the development over phone from Toulouse in France. He said Kejriwal’s refusal to furnish a bail bond pleading that he had not committed any crime as his action was political was based on “convoluted logic”. “His actions of naming high profile politicians or businessmen may have a worthy political cause of exposing corruption, but it cannot be equated with political activism,” he said. “It’s one thing to gossip about it in private but when one holds a responsible position as head of a political party, one has to take responsibility and not indulge in shoot and scoot politics, denigrating people’s reputation, however credible the rumors may seem and however tempting the chance to score brownie points or capture media attention as a crusader against corruption,” Gopinath said in the blog.
Akshardham acquitted want to knock on Modi’s door AHMEDABAD: Adambhai Ajmeri (52) says he had never seen the Akshardham temple located in the heart of Gandhinagar in Gujarat nor was he an autorickshaw puller. But on August 8, 2003 he was arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in the Akshardham terror attack case of September 2002. 11 years later, he has been acquitted by the Supreme Court for lack of evidence. But the terror tag has done irreparable damage to him and his family. “My son who was in class two stopped going to school the very next day of my arrest because he felt ostracised by his classmates. He vowed not to go school until I return. My wife and others tried a lot to convince him, even beaten him up, but he did not budge. As a result my son has been rendered illiterate for his entire life,” Ajmeri told The Hindu. Ajmeri was accused for ferrying the two alleged Jaish-eMohammed operatives - Murtaza Hafiz Yasin and Ahraf Ali Mohammed Farooq in his autorickshaw and helped them in conducting the reconnaissance of the temple which was attacked. In July 2006 , the POTA court awarded the death sentence to Ajmeri . However earlier this month , a Supreme Court bench acquitted and the five others in the case for the want of evidence against them. Like Ajmeri, the other five Muslim men who were arrested by the Gujarat police have similar
sordid tales to narrate. All the acquitted accused now plan to file a plea in the apex court to probe the role of the investigating officer for pressing false charges against them and also demand for compensation. “Section 58(1) and (2) of POTA has provision to act against the investigating officer for levelling false charges and also the remedy to demand for compensation. We would like to avail these remedies,” another acquitted accused Mohammed Salim told us. “We want a through probe to be done against the then crime branch Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), G L Singhal and the then Crime Branch Chief, DG Vanzara. They wrongly booked us in the case,” said Salim. All the men claim that they were asked to choose between the different cases that were being probed by the Gujarat police as to in which they would ‘liked’ to be booked under. “When we were produced before DG Vanzara and GL Singhal they asked us if we knew anything about the Akshardham attack or the Godhra incident or the Haren Pandya murder case. I told them my knowledge was limited to the articles I had read on the papers. In the weeks that followed I was arrested for Akarshdham,” Salim added. Salim was charged for ferrying the hawla money from Saudi Arabia to Gujarat and also provide the cell phones used by the fidayeen in the case. He was awarded life imprisonment by the
POTA court. “We are sure that the men who were gunned down in the encounter were not from Jaish-e-Mohammed but innocent men,” said another accused Maulana Abdulla said. These arrest happened at the time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Gujarat chief minister, the accused however say that they have faith in the new PM and that justice won’t be denied to them. “We have heard Mr. Modi’s speeches and hope he has a change of heart. To get justice we don’t might even knocking on PMO’s door and we hope that justice will be delivered to us,” adds Maulana Abdulla.
Scrap Setu project, says Swamy NEW DELHI: Reiterating his demand for scrapping the Sethusamudram project, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday pressed Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari to declare Ram Setu a national heritage site. “Spoke to Nitin Gadkari today about scrapping Sethusamudram Project and declaring Ram Setu as national heritage monument,” he tweeted. Dr. Swamy has been critical of the United Progressive Alliance government for pursuing the Sethu project despite the R.K. Pachauri Committee suggesting that it is unviable. The project, started in 2005, was suspended following a Supreme Court order.
Outclassed by Modi, says Ramesh NEW DELHI: Amid a fierce post-defeat blame game in the Congress, party strategist Jairam Ramesh said BJP leader Narendra Modi's aggressive campaigning more than anything else proved to be the knockout blow for the grand old party. "He has changed the nature of campaigning in India. It would be unwise to deny the change he has brought about in campaigning. We were not prepared for it," Ramesh told Times of India. Modi held over 450 rallies nationally, selling "development" and hitting out hard at both Congress and regional parties while not shying away from taking up contentious issues like illegal Bangladeshi immigation and terrorism. Ramesh said blaming individuals serves no purpose as the scale of defeat suggests that Congress was a non-starter. "We were outcampaigned, out-manoeuvred, out-funded and out-spent by Modi," he said. The assessment about Modi is significant given that Modi was target of serious attacks by the senior party leaders who asserted the BJP leader's campaign was run-
ning on hype and hoopla. Ramesh, however, felt defeat is part of politics and not the end of the world. "We outfoxed Pramod Mahajan in 2004 and Arun Jaitley in 2009 but were outfoxed this time. Instead of saying that we were defeated, I would say we failed to perform the hat-trick," he said. Mahajan and Jaitley were seen to be BJP's key campaign managers. Amid the gloom of defeat topped by the fears in Congress quarters that Modi may push ahead with his political agenda, Ramesh made light of the PMdesignate's much-touted claim to have a "Congress-free India". "Modi should focus on making India 'open-defecation-free'. Congress-free India is not a desirable political objective. India will not be able to absorb the shock of a marginalized Congress. It is the only national opposition. The Left is another of these progressive forces." Ramesh said the huge win had not buried Modi's "communal" baggage for good. "Concerns about him remain. He is the PM now. So, let's see what he does.
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INDIA AP govt employees fret over future HYDERABAD: With June 2 just a few days away, the process of allotting State cadre posts to the two successor States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is almost complete. But the mood has turned emotional and bitter for government employees on both sides of the divide. Though employees of two Secretariats, directorates and corporations will continue to serve in Hyderabad post bifurcation, Seemandhra employees say in the end they must move out of Hyderabad. “We built our homes here. Our children are born here and are now in crucial phase of education. If our CM decides to shift the Secretariat in the next few months, we have to leave our families behind and move,” said a section officer in the Secretariat.
Telangana employees, on the other hand, have turned restive with the temporary allotment process. As the number of Telangana employees is more than the posts that will be available in some departments after the bifurcation, several Seemandhra employees, based on their ‘local status’, have been asked to serve the Telangana government while some Telangana employees have been allotted to the Andhra government. Citing the example of 193 Seemandhra employees whose local status is questionable, Telangana employee unions fear that it will defeat the very purpose of bifurcation. They argue that the injustice meted out to the people of Telangana in recruitments and the violation of ‘Six Point Formula’ provided a fillip to the Statehood agitation. Their demand to make nativity (place of birth) the sole criterion for allotting employees between the two States has become vociferous and has found resonance with Telangana Chief Minister-designate K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who took up the issue with the Governor. All Telangana employees should be allotted to the State and if required supernumerary posts should be created, they say. — The Hindu
Banks on edge over TDP’s promise of loan waiver HYDERABAD: Telugu Desam Party’s poll promise of waiving crop loans has badly hit recoveries leaving bankers worried about recovering all outstanding loans in the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh. The total outstanding agriculture loans are to the tune of Rs. 88,000 crore in 13 districts of Seemandhra. Of this, the crop loans alone are worth Rs. 34,200 crore, gold loans (agriculture) – Rs. 20,200 crore and outstanding agriculture term loans – Rs. 1500 crore. The dues include loans disbursed to SHGs and indirect finance working out to Rs. 25,000 crore. As per the poll promise by TDP, crop loans below Rs. 1 lakh are expected to be waived off. Total outstanding dues under this head will be Rs. 33,000 crore. It is estimated that the farm loans below Rs. 1 lakh could touch Rs. 12,700 crore, while gold loans (for agriculture) Rs. 12,800 crore and agriculture term loans – Rs. 300 crore. In Krishna district, the total outstanding dues are above Rs. 9,137 crore. While crop loans account for Rs. 2,851 crore, gold loans (agriculture) will be Rs. 3,275 crore and other loans will take the total dues to over Rs. 9,137 crore. Recovery of farm loans has come to a standstill as banks are sitting over an outstanding loan portfolio to the tune of Rs. 10, 000 crore in Guntur district. In East Godavari district, total dues are Rs. 6,800 crore which includes loans less than Rs. 1 lakh to the tune of Rs. 4,760 crore. Close to 3.5 lakh farmers have
availed loans in the district, officials say. In Chittoor district, the bankers have disbursed crop loans worth more than Rs. 2,160 crore. In Vizianagaram district, total outstanding farm loans are around Rs. 660 crore. In Prakasam district, farm loans to the tune of Rs. 3,000 crore were disbursed last year. Bankers say that recovering outstanding loans will become a major problem in the face of uncertainty over the exact guidelines for waiver of farm loans in Andhra Pradesh. They haven’t received any guidelines on the scale of waiver, the time frame or the specifications to identify debt-ridden farmers.
Deroa under fire for taking on ‘Team Rahul’ NEW DELHI: Milind Deora, a former Union Minister who lost his election from Mumbai south, is coming under fire for questioning the role of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s advisors as well as “those who take the advice.” “Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. The people, who are now speaking out were, before May 16, very comfortable with all those whom they are speaking against now. They are young people. They have not seen defeat. So they will learn from the defeat,” party general secretary Digvijay Singh said. Irked at Deora’s comments, Youth Congress President Rajiv Satav, who is one of two party MPs who won from Congress in Maharastra also reminded the former Union Minister about his losing in this election, saying he could have at least protected his seat. “Surprised to see #MilindDeora’s comments. Thought he was 1 of the closest to RG or atleast its wht his friends in the media kept writing,” Satav, a pick of Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter. Deora had said that Rahul Gandhi’s advisers did not have their
“ears to the ground” and those with “no electoral experience were calling the shots”, and added that “the people who take the advice also have to bear responsibility.” Later explaining his remarks, the young leader had tweeted, “My comments are out of emotions of deep loyalty to the party, pain of our performance & a sincere desire to see us bounce back. Nothing more.” While Digvijay and Satav have attacked Deora, the former without naming him, another party leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi had backed the former Union Minister and hoped that an “honest and ruthless introspection” is carried out to rectify the problems.
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PAGE 20 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
BANGLADESH / SRI LANKA Concern in Dhaka over Modi’s election as PM perity and Bangladesh was India's largest trading partner in SAARC." He appreciated the cooperation extended by Bangladesh to work together with India in all areas of mutual interest including security, power, border management, rail and road transport. He expressed the commitment of Government of India in maintaining and building upon the momentum that has characterised India-Bangladesh relations in recent years. Speaker Shirin Shamim Chaudhry (left) represented Bangladesh at the swearing-in of Narendra Modi.
DHAKA: Narendra Modi’s landslide election as prime minister of India has provoked a round of hand-wringing in neighboring Bangladesh, whose garment-dependent economy and volatile politics are often influenced by the goings-on in Delhi. But people may be jumping to conclusions, the Christian Science Monitor says. The concerns stem in part from reports that Modi has pledged to take a harder line in kicking illegal Bangladeshi immigrants out of in India. And for some in predominantly Muslim Bangladesh, Modi’s Hindu nationalist reputation. Moreover, Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League has historical ties with India’s now-defeated Congress Party. It was Congress-led India that intervened militarily in then-East Pakistan’s bloody independence war with Islamabad in 1971 to ensure the birth of Bangladesh. And India was the only major country to endorse Bangladesh’s highly controversial election earlier this year, in which the Awami League won a commanding majority amid a boycott by the main opposition. “There is a general perception that when Congress is in power and Awami League is in power, the relationship is good,” says our correspondent on the ground in Dhaka. Whether that’s actually the case, however, is far from clear, given a host of unresolved disputes over water issues, border killings, and trade, says our correspondent, noting “it hasn’t really made any difference.” Moreover, the illegal immigration talk may end up being more election rhetoric than reality. “Fears that are being talked about right now have yet to be tested,” the Monitor notes. FEARS ON TEESTA Modi on Tuesday told the visiting Bangladesh Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury that India would have a look into the Teesta water sharing issue. Modi met Chaudhury at Hyderabad House here as part of his meetings with all SAARC country leaders. Indian foreign secretary Sujatha Singh later told media: "The issue of Teesta came up during talks between Modi and Bangladesh Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury." "Prime Minister Modi said we
will see how we can look at it," she said. Modi has also accepted the invitation of Bangladesh to visit the country and might do so early. Chaudhury was present at the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India on Monday. The Ministry of External Affairs said Modi also through Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury conveyed his warm greetings and best wishes to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and said that he looked forward to receiving her in India at an early date. He recalled India's strong relations rooted in shared struggle, history, culture and language. He noted that "we have shared stakes in each others' progress and pros-
Split verdicts delay Zia’s graft trial DHAKA: Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia's trial on embezzlement charges was delayed again today after a court gave a split verdict on her petition challenging the appointment of a trial court judge who indicted her in two graft cases that could see her jailed for life. Two judges of a High Court bench delivered dissenting orders on the petition of the 68-year-old Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief. Justice Farah Mahbub stayed the trial in both the cases for three months and issued a notice to the government to explain why the appointment of Judge Basudeb Roy should not be declared illegal. Justice Kazi M Ejarul Haque Akond, junior judge of the bench, summarily rejected the petition. In line with the practice of the High Court, the matter will now be forwarded to the Chief Justice who could refer it to a third judge of the High Court for settling the issue. Zia filed the petition on May 12 challenging her indictment and the appointment of Justice Roy, citing procedural flaws and sought a stay order on the proceedings of the corruption cases. On March 19, Roy indicted Zia in 'Zia Charity Trust and 'Zia Orphanage Trust' graft cases involving over $ 6,50,000. The first hearing of the two cases was halted on May 21 after Zia's lawyers filed a last-minute petition arguing that until the High Court gave any decision on Roy's appointment the trial hearing could not be held.
Woman attacks stalker with acid DHAKA: A woman has been arrested in Bangladesh after she threw acid on a man she alleged was stalking her for a long time. Police said Khaedmul Islam, 28, a trader of agriculture products, was severely burnt when the woman threw acid at him around 11 p.m. Monday in a village in Baliadangi Upazila of Thakurgaon, bdnews24.com reported. "Khadem stalked me for a long time and proposed sex despite my unwillingness. He wouldn't stop despite my pleadings," the arrested woman said. The woman said she could not control herself when this began to cause problems in her family. "I called him to my room last night... he thought I was finally agreeable, so he came over quickly. I closed the door and threw acid on him," she said. Neighbours, who heard him scream, came to his rescue and took him to the Upazila Health Complex, Ziaur Rahman Zia, a police officer, said. "The acid has burned most of his body, including his male organs," the police officer said.
3 militants surrender AGARTALA: Three Bangladesh-trained militants have surrendered to the Border Security Force (BSF) in Tripura and deposited foreign-made arms and ammunition, on Monday, May 26. "Three hardcore National Liberation Front of Tripura militants Dalumani Jamatia, Krishna Jamatia, Hainalal Halam - laid down their arms before BSF officials in bordering Sidhai area in western Tripura Sunday evening," BSF's chief public relations officer Bhaskar Rawat told reporters. The guerillas deposited two AK-series rifles, one Chinese pistol, seven magazines and around 200 cartridges. According to officials, the BSF motivated the militants who took up arms training in Bangladesh and came back to India recently. The union home ministry had earlier banned the NLFT and another extremist outfit, the All Tripura Tiger Force, in 1997. Police and BSF say the two outfits have set up camps in Bangladesh and receive support from separatist groups of the region. They have been seeking secession of Tripura from India. Tripura shares an 856-km border with Bangladesh, some of it unfenced and running through dense forests.
Malaysia extradites 3 LTTE men COLOMBO: Three suspected Tamil Tigers arrested in Malaysia have been extradited to Sri Lanka where they are currently undergoing interrogation, an official said here Tuesday, May 27. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana was quoted by the Government Information Department (GID) as saying the three suspects were brought to Sri Lanka Monday night by officials of the Terrorist Investigation Department, Xinhua reported. Police arrested three foreign men suspected to be members of the Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist group in Selangor, Malaysia. The suspects were nabbed at different locations in Klang and Petaling Jaya in a special operation conducted by the Special Branch's Counter-Terrorism Division (CTD) May 15. Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, in a statement, said the men, who hold UNHCR refugee cards, are suspected of attempting to revive LTTE activities, especially at the international level. He said the men, who came to Malaysia in 2004, were suspected of using that country as their base to spread the group's propaganda as well as to collect funds for their activities. "In the operation, police also found and seized LTTE propaganda materials, media equipment as well as foreign currencies from 24 nations," Abu Bakar said. "The suspects had been using UNHCR cards here to avoid from authorities' action... Police will continue to work together with the UNHCR office here to ensure that their identity cards are not exploited by terrorists to hide or conduct any terrorism act, whether against this nation or others," he said. The suspects were being detained under the Immigration Act to facilitate investigations. Since the end of a three-decade war with the LTTE in 2009, the Sri Lankan government has been working hard to crack down on remnants in other countries. Earlier this year, the Sri Lankan army killed an LTTE operative and two others who authorities said were attempting to revive the LTTE in the northern part of the island. On April 1, the Sri Lankan government also controversially banned 26 international organisations they claim have links to the LTTE.
Sri Lanka blocks two news websites COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has blocked two news websites critical of the government, a move press and media groups said was intended to intimidate critics of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's administration. Media rights groups told the Reuters news agency that the blocking of www.srilankamirror.com and www.theindependent.lk on Wednesday violated basic rights guaranteed by the constitution. These groups and journalists filed a complaint at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka office and held a protest. The government has already blocked at least eight news websites. "We had news items criticising the government that would have been the reason for blocking our site," said Subash Jayawardene, editor of the theindependent.lk.
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INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 • PAGE 21
PAKISTAN Modi shares ‘emotional moments’ with Nawaz Pregnant woman stoned to death
ISLAMABAD: Shortly after taking oath as the 15th Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Monday tweeted about his emotional interaction with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who attended his swearing in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. While tweeting about his interaction with the Pakistani premier, Modi said that Nawaz Sharif had watched the visuals of meeting his mother Hiraben on television in which she had offered him sweets. Modi said in a series of tweets, "Earlier in the evening in my conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif he shared some very emotional things...Nawaz Sharif ji told me that he stays in Islamabad but goes to meet his Mother once in a week." "This time when he was eating with his Mother he saw visuals on TV of my Mother offering me sweets...The visuals touched both Nawaz Sharif ji & his Mother. He told me that after seeing the visuals his Mother got very emotional,"
U.S.-based Ahmadi doctor shot dead LAHORE: Gunmen shot dead a doctor from the minority Ahmadi community on Monday in Chenab Nagar town in Punjab province, officials said, the latest attack on the beleaguered group. Mehdi Ali, a 50-year-old heart surgeon normally based in the United States, was attacked as he visited a cemetery in the town of Chenab Nagar,” local police official Ahmed Ali told news agency AFP. He said the incident occurred early on Monday morning, May 26, when the doctor was on his was way back from a graveyard with his family when two men on a motorbike opened fire. He was shot 11 times. “The assailants have fled the scene. We are looking into the incident. It seems to be a targeted attack,” Ali said. Saleem Uddin, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community, confirmed the incident and said the doctor’s family escaped the attack unharmed. Dr Ali was an Assistant Professor of Cardiology at Ohio University and had a practice in Lancaster, Ohio. The doctor was in Pakistan on a short visit to do voluntary work at the Tahir Cardiac Hospital, a private institution that he himself helped build a few years back. The 50-year-old US national was visiting Pakistan for research work at Tahrir Cardiac Hospital.
Modi said on Twitter. Later, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee hosted a dinner for visiting SAARC leaders where the guests were treated to a variety of dishes. After the ceremony, Sharif, who had called it a "great moment and great opportunity", was the first to shake hands with the new Prime Minister. After Sharif finally accepted Narendra Modi’s invitation to attend the latter’s oath-taking ceremony as the 15th Prime Minister of India, ordinary people, commentators, and politicians in Kashmir began deliberating upon the various pros and cons of the situation, and discussing the future of possible talks on all contentious issues, including Kashmir. There is a mix of apprehension and hope in Kashmir. Some key Kashmir observers believe that Modi’s coming to power could prove detrimental to the “interest” of Muslims in mainland India, but has several “positives” for Kashmiri resistance. Some politicians are also pinning their hopes on Modi that he would carry forward the legacy of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Modi has shown some positive signs and appears to be a different man than the one people witnessed during his belligerent campaigning. Yasin Malik, chief of the pro-freedom Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), is of the view that it would be hasty to pin hopes on a man who has won a huge mandate as an advocate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology. “It is too premature to attach expectations or conclude anything substantial as of now. Only time will tell whether Narendra Modi makes a u-turn on his core politi-
cal ideology and sets on a peace mission with the Pakistani and Kashmiri leaderships to resolve the dispute,” Malik said. The pro-India Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu & Kashmir perceives Modi’s invitation to Sharif and their meeting as “big moment for diplomacy”. “This marks a new beginning of a peace process initiated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which, to some extent, was consolidated during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA-I) government led by the Congress. But sadly, the Kashmircentric Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and decisions which were already taken by the two foreign ministers were not implemented by the UPA-II regime,” said PDP’s chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar. It is also interesting that Nawaz Sharif has not asked to meet any Kashmiri resistance leaders during his visit to Delhi. This is being seen as a break from earlier traditions set by the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi, which would invite key Kashmiri leadership for talks whenever any top dignitaries from Pakistan, prime ministers and presidents included, visited India. Almost all top Kashmiri leaders have denied receiving any invitation from the Pakistani High Commission this time around. Kashmir's head priest and chairman of a faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar has supported the Nawaz-Narendra meeting and has urged both leaders to move boldly towards a final settlement of the dispute. On the other hand, Kashmir's octogenarian resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has not attached any hopes to the event. Hardline Pakistan based Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed has criticized Sharif for meeting Modi and has termed his move as a "betrayal" of Kashmiris.
Over 200 Sikhs booked for rioting
ISLAMABAD: Over 200 Sikh men were booked for attacking, assaulting and rioting at the Parliament House, police said on Saturday, May 24. Dozens of baton-holding protestors from the Sikh community pushed past the front gate and entered the grounds of parliament on Friday, protesting recent attacks on their houses of worship. Sikhs from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had gathered outside parliament to protest against what they claimed was the alleged desecration in
Shikarpur of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. The case was registered in response to a complaint lodged by the SHO of the secretariat police station, stating that over 225 Sikhs staged a protest and put up resistance at Radio Pakistan Chowk, when the police tried to intercept them. Later, they entered the Parliament House after breaking its gates. Fifteen Sikhs were nominated in the FIR, along with 225 unknown protesters. However, no arrests were made and the 12
LAHORE: A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death by her family outside the Lahore High Court on Tuesday, May 27, in a socalled “honour” killing for marrying the man she loved, police said. Farzana (Parveen) Iqbal was waiting for the High Court in Lahore to open when a group of around dozen men began attacking her with bricks, said Umer Cheema, a senior police officer. Nearly 20 members of the woman’s family, including her father and brothers, attacked her and her husband with batons and bricks in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers in front of the high court of Lahore, police investigator Rana Mujahid said. Mujahid said the woman’s father has been arrested for murder and that police were working to apprehend “all those who participated in the heinous crime.” Farzana Parveen, 25, had married Mohammad Iqbal against her family’s wishes after being engaged to him for years. Her father, Mohammad Azeem, had filed an abduction case against Iqbal, which the couple was contesting, said her lawyer, Mustafa Kharal. He confirmed that she was three months pregnant. Her father, two brothers and former fiance were among the attackers, he said. Farzana suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead in hospital, police said. All the suspects except her father escaped. He admitted killing his daughter, Cheema said, and explained it was a matter of honor. Cheema said Farzana had been engaged to her cousin but married another man. Her family registered a kidnapping case against him but Farzana had come to court to argue that she had married of her own free will, he said. Around 1,000 Pakistani women are killed every year by their families in honour killings, according to Pakistani rights group the Aurat Foundation. The true figure is probably many times higher since the Aurat Foundation only compiles figures from newspaper reports. The government does not compile national statistics. Campaigners say few cases come to court, and those that do can take years to be heard. No one tracks how many cases are successfully prosecuted. Even those that do result in a conviction may end with the killers walking free. Pakistani law allows a victim's family to forgive their killer. But in honor killings, most of the time the women’s killers are her family, said Wasim Wagha of the Aurat Foundation. The law allows them to nominate someone to carry out the murder, then forgive him. “This is a huge flaw in the law,” he said. “We are really struggling on this issue.”
Indian prisoners handed over at Wagah LAHORE: Pakistan on Monday handed over 150 Indian fishermen and another prisoner held for crossing the border to Indian authorities at the Wagah border in a goodwill gesture by Premier Nawaz Sharif who was in India to attend the swearing-in of Narendra Modi as India’s Prime Minister. Fifty nine prisoners were released from the district prison Malir in Karachi and 92 from the Nara prison in Hyderabad, officials said. Sharif ordered the release of the 151 Indian prisoners and 57 boats, a day before his visit to India. Out of the 151 people handed over to the Border Security Force at the Wagah border, 150 were fishermen and one was a prisoner in Karachi jail who inadvertently crossed into Pakistan from the Sindh border. They were brought to the Wagah Border from Karachi by buses. Talking to reporters fisherman Dapu Teja said he learnt bead work in jail. “I get Rs 60 per every piece I make and I know how to make bracelets, anklets, necklaces and key chains with beads,” he said. Teja was on board a ship which allegedly crossed over into the Pakistani territory seven months ago. He said there were seven people on the boat but only four were arrested by the Pakistan coastguards. “They let the three older fishermen go back,” he said. Another fisherman, Nanji Soma, said: “I am illiterate, good enough to catch fish, but my son will not be one. He is 10 years old now and goes to school. In my absence my community back home contributed for my poor family to keep sending him to school.” “Now I will go back and work again and also pay back my friends. I may get caught again as there are no clear boundaries marked in the sea to keep us from drifting into your country but it will not happen to my son,” he said. Kamal Shah of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum has appealed to the Indian government to release the Pakistani fishermen locked up in Indian jails. Sikhs arrested from the spot at the time of the incident were released on the directions of a legislator, the police said. The police officials said the incident took place as there was no clear policy. The officers deployed at the spot sent wireless messages, seeking instructions, but got no response. As a result, the protesters first thrashed the police at Dhokri Chowk and later at Radio Pakistan Chowk and moved towards the Parliament House, the police said, adding that they tried to baton charge the protesters and fired tear gas shells but failed to intercept them. Later, the policemen deployed at the Parliament House surrendered their posts to save themselves from being manhandled by the protesters. Sikhs are a tiny minority in Pakistan, with most of them living in the southern Sindh province. Senior police officer Aftab Cheema said the Sikh leaders were also protesting against several attacks on their worship places in Sindh.
PAGE 22 • INDIA HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
RELIGION / SPIRITUALITY
Why Varanasi is so very special
Question and discover for yourself By J. Krishmurti
By Pranav Khullar Now that Narendra Modi has taken oath as India’s new prime minister, I was mulling over his win both at Varanasi and Vadodara. But why was his winning the Varanasi seat especially poignant, for those of us drawn to the city for its traditional yet eclectic culture that embraces all with neither pride nor prejudice? “Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together...” wrote Mark Twain of Varanasi, reflecting on the unbroken continuity of the ancient spiritual character of a city better known as Kashi. Not only is this hallowed city at the very core of religious tradition, it is also a living testimony of the composite culture that has defined Indic ethos for centuries. Better known as the city of Shiva, who resides in his Vishveshwara and Avimukteshwara forms (Lord of all and the One who never forsakes), Varanasi draws pilgrims from all over. It is home to the very first sermon given by Gautama Buddha (Sarnath) and has witnessed the evolving of great philosophical formulations of Patanjali, Shankara and Ramunuja. It has also been the nerve-centre of great movements initiated by Ramananda and Kabir with their vision of a classless and casteless society. Varanasi embodies the true universality of spirit. The name Kashi sums up the mythical and spiritual dimensions of the city best. Etymologically speaking, Kashi is derived from the Sanskrit “kash” --- to shine --- and this City of Light is metaphorically alluded to by tradition, as that which lights up the inner desire to be a free and liberated soul. The Kashi-Rahasya , part of the Brahmavaivarta Purana, and the “Five Verses on Kashi” , attributed to Shankara , extend this
metaphor to internalise Kashi as Brahmn itself , the city which best reflects the Self. One of the most overpowering images of Kashi, with its burning ghats, is death. The simple and inevitable act of consigning a dead body to flames subsumes within itself one of the most profound philosophies of Kashi – that death in Kashi is liberation, “kashya maranam mukti”. It is believed that Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa went into an ecstatic trance while watching a cremation at the Manikarnika Ghat, and had a vision of Shiva breathing the famous Taraka mantra into the ears of the dead and releasing them from this endless cycle of births. Taraka Mantra or the ferryboat mantra is believed to carry one over the sea of samskara to
liberation. Not only does faith erase any fear of dying at Kashi, the fallibility of a senses-driven life is underscored at each step in Kashi. The other overpowering image of Kashi is its great musical tradition which echoes these philosophical truths even more. There is a certain timelessness about the music, which transcends individual beliefs and faiths and unites all in celebration of the Kashi way of life, free from fear of the unknown. It is this legacy of the GangaYamuna tehzeeb which enables Kashi to overcome the vicissitudes of modern life as well, beckoning all to a universal cosmic vision beyond the merely transient. It is perhaps time to reflect on and learn from the spirit of Kashi “ever-luminous”, as it were.
You need shock treatment By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan When Isaac Newton was sitting beneath a tree, it is said that an apple hit him on the head, and through pondering over this phenomenon he discovered the Universal Law of Gravitation. This was like a shock treatment administered by Nature. This event triggered a train of thought in Newton’s mind. He started thinking about why, when an apple fell, it came down and did not go up. This thought led to the discovery of the Law of Gravitation. This law had always been there, but no one had discovered it before. Then, after a long time, nature hit man on the head and told him in the language of hammering: O Man, discover the law that has remained undiscovered till this date. This was like shock treatment. Shock treatment is a law of nature. This shock treatment can be called a challenge. Every human being faces this kind of challenge in some way or the other. This shock treatment is a blessing in disguise, for it always acts for the betterment of the person in question. And perhaps for all others as well. If you are facing some problem in your life, in your job, business or family, don’t be negative. Take it as a positive phenomenon. If you turn negative, you cannot avail of the opportunity it presents. But if you are positive, you will try to understand the real message behind the challenge and very soon you will find that the challenge was nothing but a stepping stone in your life to better things. Shock treatment is the language of nature. Nature always tries to give you a lesson, shows you the right direction and tries to unfold your potential. It tries to make you aware of opportunities which present themselves all around you. Don’t ignore such warnings, take them seriously. They will give you right guidance and turn your failure into success.
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Your actions are based on beliefs, ideals, which you have inherited or acquired: they have no reality. No belief is ever a living reality. To the man who is living, beliefs are unnecessary. Since the mind is crippled by many beliefs, principles, traditions, false values and illusions, you must begin to question them, to doubt them. You are not children. You cannot accept whatever is offered to you or forced upon you. You must begin to question the very foundation of authority, for that is the beginning of true criticism; you must question so as to discover for yourselves the true significance of traditional values. This doubt, born of intense conflict, alone will free the mind and give you the ecstasy of freedom, an ecstasy liberated from illusion. So the first thing is to doubt, not cherish your beliefs. But it is the delight of exploiters to urge you not to doubt, to consider doubt a fetter. Why should you fear doubt? If you are satisfied with things as they are, then continue living as you are. Say that you are satisfied with your rituals; you may have rejected the old and accepted the new, but both amount to the same thing in the end. If you are satisfied with them, what I say will not disturb you in your stagnant tranquillity. But we are not here to be bound, to be fettered; we are here to live intelligently and if you desire to live so, the first thing you must do is to question. Our so-called education ruthlessly destroys creative intelligence. Religious education which authoritatively holds before you the idea of fear in various forms, keeps you from questioning, from doubting. You may have discarded the old religion, but you have taken on a new religion that has many dont’s and dos. Thus, on all sides, doubt is discouraged, destroyed, put aside. Yet you can find truth only when you begin to question, to doubt the values by which society and religion, ancient and modern, have surrounded you. So don’t compare what I am saying with what is written in the scriptures: in that way we shall never understand. Comparison does not lead to understanding…. A person, who lives truly, understands life completely, must know doubt. Don’t say, “Will there ever be an end to doubt?” Doubt will exist as long as you suffer, as long as you have not found out true values. To understand true values, you must begin to doubt, to be critical of the traditions, the authority, in which your mind has been trained. But this does not mean that your attitude must be one of unintelligent opposition. To me, doubt is a precious ointment. It heals the wounds of the sufferer. It has a benign influence. Understanding comes only when you doubt, not for the purpose of further acquisition or substitution, but to understand. Where there is the desire for gain, there is no longer doubt. Where there is the desire for gain, there is the acceptance of authority — whether it is the authority of one, of five, or of a million. Such authority encourages acceptance and calls doubt a fetter. When you continually seek comfort and security, you find exploiters who assure you that doubt is a fetter, a thing to be banished. Nature is the best guide. But nature always speaks in the language of hammering, that is, challenge. A challenge is not an accidental event. Challenge always comes from nature. In this way nature tries to awaken your mind, it tries to initiate a process of rethinking. At first nature tries to give advice in simple language, but when you fail to take that advice, it uses the method of shock treatment. This is like awakening a person who is not ready to wake up with a simple call. All the challenges in life are positive challenges. When you face any challenge, take it in a positive manner; try to understand the lesson hidden in it. “The falling of an apple” on one’s head is a very common phenomenon. Every person faces this experience, although not in the form of an “apple”, but in the form of shock. These experiences are not accidental; they are part of divine planning. They act as booster. If you have this kind of experience, don’t let your mind get disturbed. Take it as a positive sign. Try to find out the message behind this event, and very soon you will find that it was just like the fall of an apple, the sole purpose of which was to enable you to discover a great law of life. There are numerous people in history who failed in the first chance. But then they thought about their problem afresh and consequently achieved great success. Sometimes people make a wrong choice; then nature hits them with an apple and gives them a silent lesson: Those who listen to this silent voice of nature are destined to emerge as super-achievers.
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INDIA 1HERALD • WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 • PAGE 23
PAGE 24 â€¢ INDIA HERALD â€¢ WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
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