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Outsourcing company pays up for messing up Sunita Viswanath’s travel to India Dalela, Ajay Purswani and Dr Devyani Khobragade for their help throughout the ordeal. fter she filed a claim in the small Viswanath and her family reached claims court and her case was India December 1, but “the bureaucratic highlighted by India in New hell that started in New York continued York’s parent publication India Abroad, here,” she recalled. “I spent much of my New York-based activist Sunita time in India in long lines and in stuffy Viswanath got a check for about $1,415 waiting rooms, and making calls.” from BLS International, which They went to the British consulate to processed the visa applications of her get the emergency travel docparents last year and made uments for the return trip, as the journey a nightmare. they had only a one-way travInitially they had issued a A17 US NEWS el document from New York. check for $327 that bounced, The consulate would not but later it was paid. New York woman sues BLS ‘This is dirty issue it unless the US “I really didn’t think all my politics’ Customs and Immigration efforts would come to anyS Service gave a clearance saything,” Viswanath told India R ing that they could be in New York. “I figured I returned. Finally USCIS gave would show up at my court the permission. date in September and take it At the British consulate, from there. Imagine how surViswanath’s mother’s hands prised I was to receive a call were shaking and she could from a very courteous not sign the way she signed accountant working for BLS in New York. It was imporwho expressed sympathy for tant to sign the same way. everything I’d gone through. “I thought in despair that He knew that a claim had they would not be able to been filed and that an article return,” Viswanath said. had been written. He said he Finally, her mother manunderstood I was upset about aged to sign the way she did the charges I had incurred. Fresno trucker pleads guilty to shipping in New York, and got the He suggested that I charge cocaine to Canada emergency papers. They paid the Indian consulate for part Rs 20,000 there. of the expenses, and BLS for A The family still needed exit the rest. He asked me what a visas from the Foreigner fair breakdown would be. I Regional Registration Office, said 100 percent of what I had for which they paid Rs spent needed to be reim3,600. bursed by BLS. The Indian “It was the other side of consulate was at no fault, and Sunita Viswanath’s case was highlighted by India Abroad, India in bureaucracy and insensitivein fact they helped ensure that New York’s parent publication ness. Yet one officer felt pity I made the trip at all! A few for the elderly parents and he days later I received a check sat late to issue the required documents,” such a packet. for the entire amount I was due, and Viswanath said. Viswanath realized that BLS had lost this time the check actually cleared! As a gift, they gave the officer some or misplaced the passports. Justice sure feels good!” money which he declined saying that he “The consulate officials were sympaBLS ended its visa processing services did it as a duty to the country and also thetic and helpful. But they could not do May 21, though it continues to process considering them like his parents. He anything without passports,” Viswanath applications for Indian passport. asked them to give the money to some explained. The purpose of the trip was for poor person. She applied for a fresh US passport for Viswanath’s 82-year-old mom to see her When they returned to New York her son, which was fairly easy, paying 92-year-old brother one last time. December 10, BLS called Viswanath up $165. She went with her parents to the “I started the visa process on October and said the passports were found. She British consulate for emergency travel 24 last year, for intended travel on demanded the money she paid for the documents, and paid $314. They gave November 29. The process wasn’t going visas and also $1,415 she spent additiononly one-way travel documents. The too well, and there were innumerable ally. They sent her $327, the initial Indian consulate affixed the emergency calls placed to rude and incompetent amount she paid for visas. visas, and she paid $300 for that. BLS representatives,” Viswanath “I got it only because I put up a fight,” Viswanath said she was extremely recalled. Viswanath said. grateful to consulate officials Sudhakar Her parents, who are British citizens, and her 6-year-old son, a US citizen, needed Indian visas. She sent the passports through UPS and the tracking confirmed it arrived at BLS. After that she got conflicting statements from employees at BLS about whether they got the passports or not. It went on for weeks. Then BLS said they returned the passports for want of some documents, but UPS denied they ever picked up
India Abroad April 11, 2014
the British consulate, her mother’s Viswanath applied for a US passport hands were shaking so her signatures for her six-year-old son, which was fairly didn’t match. “I thought in despair that easy, paying $165. She went with her unita Viswanath, an activist in New they would not be able to return,” parents to the British consulate (her York, has filed a suit against BLS Viswanath said. parents are British citizens) for emerInternational — which currently Finally, her mother managed to sign gency travel documents paying $314. processes the applications for Indian correctly and they got the emergency There they got only one-way travel visa and passport — after a check for papers after paying Rs 20,000 ($332) documents. The Indian consulate affixed $327 issued by the company, bounced. there. the emergency visas and she paid $300 “The small claims court in Brooklyn The family faced more problems for for it. has scheduled the case for September. I the exit visa at the Foreigners Regional “The bureaucratic hell that started in don’t know if the case will have any Registration Office. effect as BLS is expected to “It was the other side end its services by May 21,” of bureaucracy and Viswanath said. insensitiveness. Yet one Viswanath wants to proofficer felt pity for my ceed with the case since she elderly parents and he and her elderly parents sat late to issue the faced many problems due to required documents.” the company. When they returned to “My 82-year-old mother New York December 10, wanted to see her 92-yearBLS called her and said old brother in India. I startthe passports had been ed the visa process October found. 24, last year, for intended Viswanath demanded travel November 29,” the money she paid for Viswanath revealed. “The the visas and also $1,415 process wasn’t going too she spent additionally. well, and there were innuThey sent her a $327 merable calls placed to rude check, the initial amount and incompetent BLS repshe paid for the visas, resentatives.” which bounced. She sent the passports She wrote to BLS, through United Parcel A long line of applicants outside the BLS office in New York share their woes with ‘The check I deposited Service and the tracking Norman Solovay, chairman, Indo-American Global Chamber of Commerce, right. from you for $327 (for confirmed it arrived at BLS. the initial money order After that Viswanath for the visas before you lost our passNew York continued in India and while received conflicting statements from ports) bounced and I was charged $10. I I made sure that my parents were with employees at BLS about whether they doubt you didn’t have $327 in your family. I spent much of my time in India got the passport or not. account — you must have stopped the in long lines and in stuffy waiting “It went on for weeks. Then BLS said check you issued to me, a refund I was rooms, and making calls,” Viswanath they returned the passports for want of due fair and square. And no mention said. some documents. But UPS denied they about the rest of the money I am owed, They went to the British consulate to ever picked it up,” she said. $1,415.’ get the emergency travel documents for She then realized that the passports She said the amount was large for her the return trip. But they would not issue were lost or missing. as she mainly volunteers for organizait unless the US Customs and “The consulate officials were sympations without any pay. Immigration Service gave a clearance thetic and helpful. But they could not do BLS did not reply to e-mails asking for saying that they could be returned. anything without the passports,” she comments about the case. Finally USCIS gave the permission. At said. GEORGE JOSEPH
mritdeep Mann, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to distribute and possess five or more kilograms of cocaine, United States Attorney Benjamin B Wagner announced. According to court documents, Mann along with co-accused Manjot Nanner and Vincent Rivaz-Felix, helped set up a Fresno trucking company to conceal cocaine in legitimate cargo to be shipped to Canada. In January, Nanner pleaded guilty to conspiring to distributing cocaine, while Felix pleaded guilty in March. As part of the conspiracy, On September 21, 2012, Rivaz-Felix delivered eight kilograms of cocaine to a courier who had been sent to Los Angeles by his co-defendants. Law enforcement seized that cocaine and followed Rivaz-Felix
back to his Los Angeles home. A search warrant was served there on September 21, 2012, and 40 more kilograms of cocaine were seized. Mann, 33, has been held in custody without bail since his September 21, 2012 arrest. According to court documents, Mann’s father Harjeet Mann was arrested in the Bakersfield area during 2008 and subsequently convicted of federal cocaine trafficking charges. Mann is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Anthony W Ishii June 9 and faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
eacting to a lawsuit that claimed he had recruited candidates to split the Republican vote in California’s 17th Congressional District, Ro Khanna (Democrat) — who is running to unseat seven-term United States Representative Mike Honda (Democrat) — said that “personal disputes were being brought into the campaign.” March 24, Harmeet Dhillon, vice chairwoman, Dhillon & Smith, had filed the suit on behalf of Jeffrey Wald, member, Alameda County Republican Central Committee. It claimed that Khanna brought in the new candidates Joel VanLandingham and Vinesh Singh Rathore to dilute the GOP vote (India Abroad, April 4). March 26, Judge Allen H Sumner, for the Superior Court of Sacramento County listened to the petitioner’s case and disqualified Rathore after finding that he had failed to submit enough valid nominating signatures. “Our campaign message is focused on the economy. But it seems she (Harmeet) has her own agenda,” alleged Khanna. “This is dirty politics. People are sick of that kind of politics, and have rallied to our side. But we have so much momentum to uproot it and it is not going to make any difference. We are going to make history for the Indo-American community.” Even though the Sacramento County Superior Court judge dismissed the case the Republicans say Khanna’s supporters used the Fremont Hindu temple premises, co-founded by Dr Romesh Japra, for campaigning. Khanna said he learned that Dr Japra’s invitation for a ‘Ro meet and greet’ event held February 28, carried the temple logo, only recently. He added he has thousands of supporters and no candidate should ever been held accountable for whatever volunteers do. “This is some personal agenda and nothing to do with our campaign,” Khanna said. Dr Japra also clarified. “Somebody sent the letter on the temple template, but I was not aware of it, until read about it in the newspapers. Such mistake happens, and we are supporting Khanna,” he added. He claimed the parents of Vanila Singh — the third candidate in the Congressional race — had also been seen getting signatures inside the temple. Singh’s spokesperson Scott Luginbill told India Abroad, “There is nothing illegal in circulating a petition for their daughter, what is illegal there is using temple resources.” The suit also alleged that Mahesh Pakala, Khanna’s friend, asked another man at the temple to sign VanLandingham’s nomination papers. “I never asked anyone for signatures. It’s a case of complete misunderstanding,” Pakala told India Abroad, “It was early March, when VanLandingham’s representative visited the temple and asked me to sign for VanLandingham. I said I could not, but he could ask others present in the room, where people were eating dinner. That’s it! I never pointed to anyone or asked anyone.”
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Diwali at Times Square to be celebrated September 20 GEORGE JOSEPH
iwali at Times Square will be celebrated September 20, Indian Consul General Dnyaneshwar M Mulay said at a press conference held at the consulate to announce the event. ‘It is wonderful to see this event come back to Times Square this year again,’ Consul General Mulay said. ‘It’s a glimpse into India’s largest festival and we are going to celebrate it with the world right here in New York City.’ Once again, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation will be the event’s title sponsor. ‘We are pleased to be back again to be part of this festival,’ Dr Jagdish Patil, man-
aging director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. ‘This year MTDC will showcase to the world Maharashtra’s rich culture, cuisine, pristine beaches, historical and natural heritage.’ Diwali festivities will begin at noon and will include Indian food, dance classes, arts and crafts, a fashion show, photo booths with ethnic outfits, and celebrities. The evening’s concert will be called Light up Times Square. ‘We want to show the world how rich Indian culture and heritage is and how diversified India is,’ said Neeta Bhasin, president and chief executive officer, Event Guru and ASB Communications, which organize the event. ‘We couldn’t think of a
From left, Jagdish Patil, Consul General Dnyaneshwar M Mulay, and Neeta Bhasin at the press conference to announce the event. better place than the center of the universe — Times Square.’ Bhasin was also honored at the event with a proclamation from United States Representative Joseph Crowley, who cochairs the Congressional Caucus on India
and Indian Americans. Bhasin was recognized for dedication to further the Indian community in the United States, and contributions to the South Asian community in greater New York City. http://www.diwalitimessquare.com
Rupal Shah Palanki sworn in as Connecticut Superior Court judge
upal Shah Palanki was officially sworn in as a judge of the superior court of Connecticut recently. She was nominated by Governor Daniel P Malloy in March and was confirmed unanimously by the Connecticut House of Representatives and the Senate
Rupal Shah Palanki, fourth from right, now serves in the Rockville Superior Court. April 29. Judge Shah Palanki serves in the Rockville Superior Court. “This is definitely a special moment for the South Asian community,” said State Representative Dr Prasad Srinivasan.
“I had the privilege to speak on the floor of the House on behalf of Rupal Shah Palanki and was very thrilled to see her being nominated unanimously by both the Houses. Rupal was raised in Glastonbury, my district, and has always been involved in public work. I knew that it was just a question of time before she became a judge.” Shah Palanki was an assistant attorney general with the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, where she had been serving since 2003. Prior to that, she was an associate with the law firms of Bingham McCutcheon and Cohn, Birnbaum & Shea. She graduated from Glastonbury High School in 1991, received her bachelor’s degree from College of the Holy Cross in 1995, and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1999. For the last four years, her practice has focused on securities fraud litigation. She was also a member of President Barack Obama’s federal-state task force investigating the residential mortgage backed securities market. Her first six years with the attorney general’s office were primarily spent representing Connecticut on the tobacco settlement and related multi-state litigation. Shah Palanki also served as a director of the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut. She received SABAC’s annual community service award in 2008, and was the organization’s president in 2009. Her husband Chandramohan Palanki is an information-technology professional. They have two children, Maya and Mohan. Shah Palanki’s father Sudhir Shah came to the US in 1966 for higher studies in civil engineering. He retired as vice president of a consulting firm. Her mother Jyotsna she worked in the computer field.
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Jojo John pleads guilty in Hudson River boat crash A CORRESPONDENT
ojo John of Nyack, New York, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter in the boat crash on the Hudson River that killed two people last year. The plea deal carries one year behind bars for each count. John, who is out on bail, will be sentenced September 16. The July 26 accident last year, killed bride-to-be be Lindsey Stewart, 30, of Piermont, and her fiancé Brian Bond’s best man Mark Lennon, 30, of Pearl River. Prosecutors said John was under the
influence of drugs and alcohol when he slammed his boat into a barge used for construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge. John’s blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit. He also suffered a fractured skull and spine injury in the crash. John blamed the poor lighting on the barge as the reason for the accident. His lawyer David Narain too told the court that John was safely driving the boat and only crashed into the barge because it wasn’t lit properly. But the US Coast Guard refuted the claim. In a statement, the families of Lennon and Stewart said they believed that the leniency in John’s sentence was due to the
evidence against the barge company. ‘We are extremely saddened to know that even though the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office has evidence which proves that the barge companies are at fault because they ignored warnings that due to inadequate lighting this was an accident waiting to happen, it chose to ignore such evidence while only holding one party accountable for their actions,’ they said. An attorney for Bond, told the media that John’s plea had no bearing on his client’s decision to go forward in a negligence lawsuit against the barge operators. Attorney Frank Floriani, representing the
Stewarts and Lennons in civil lawsuits against the barge operators and John told the Journal News that ‘The criminal prosecution of Jojo John is incomplete justice, only 50 percent. Both families feel the Rockland DA should have gone after the barge owners and operators who were warned about the insufficiency of the lighting. They were warned this was an accident waiting to happen.’ But Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said that no evidence of criminality involving anyone other than John existed. Zugibe blamed John’s intoxication and the speed of the boat at night caused the crash.
Anti-Sikh riots case against Sonia Gandhi dismissed
he United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a case filed by Sikhs for Justice against Congress party President Sonia Gandhi of shielding party leaders allegedly involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Judge Brian M Cogang said the case was dismissed since there was lack of subject matter jurisdiction, but did not bar the SFJ from bringing litigation against her in future. In April, Judge Robert W Sweet of the US District Court in Manhattan had dismissed a similar suit by the rights group against
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Sikhs at a rally in New York, June 6, to mark the 30th anniversary of Operation Blue Star — in which heavily armed separatist militants were flushed out of Amritsar’s Golden Temple in 1984 by the Indian Army. the Congress party. The SFJ has filed an appeal against it. “As lawyers for Sonia Gandhi, we are delighted to restore her reputation that was sought to be diminished based upon nothing other than merit-less allegations,” attorney Ravi Batra said. The ruling said the SFJ did not have Article III standing to bring this lawsuit. ‘It is reasonable to conclude that the claims of all of the Sikhs purportedly represented by SFJ — even leaving aside that those members have not been identified — would similarly vary, and thus require their individual participation. SFJ’s claims are therefore dismissed for lack of Article III standing,’ the judge said. Plaintiff Mohinder Singh’s Torture Victim Protection Act claim was based on the extra-judicial killing of his father, while Jasbir Singh alleged that he was tortured by the police, the court noted. But Mohinder did not have any proof that he was appointed as a legal representative of his father’s estate in any court. Without that he lacked statutory
standing to proceed in the case, the ruling said. Since Jasbir alleged that he was personally tortured by the police, he had proper claim. But the TVPA has a 10-year statute of limitations. The anti-Sikh riots occurred almost 30 years before the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit, and so the statute of limitations posed an obvious hurdle for them. ‘Over 10 years have passed since Jasbir came to the United States. His claims are therefore time-barred,’ the judge ruled. ‘The allegation that Gandhi shielded the perpetrators of the anti-Sikh riots would not state a claim under any theory of aiding and abetting liability that might conceivably be cognizable under the TVPA. The plain language of the TVPA provides for liability against any individual who ‘subjects an individual’ to torture or extra judicial killing.’ SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said they had not decided about appealing the verdict yet.
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Sloan Kettering honors top cancer doc Dattatreyudu Nori
A sensitive actress shines in her latest avatar ARTHUR J PAIS
adiation oncologist Dr Dattatreyudu Nori was last month Dr Dattatreyudu Nori honored by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with a distinguished service award for his contribu- cal and genitourinary cancers, which are tions and pioneering work at the MSKCC currently the standard of care. He has participated as primary investias chief of brachytherapy service. Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy gator in many National Cancer Institute where a radiation source is placed inside sponsored brachytherapy studies, to standardize brachytherapy practice across the or next to the area requiring treatment. The honor was given to Dr Nori, who is US and has contributed to over 200 publialso professor and vice chair of the cations and four books on radiation oncolDepartment of Radiation Oncology, New ogy and brachytherapy. One of the top doctors for cancer treatYork Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, and chairman of Radiation ment in America, he has trained over 200 Oncology, New York Hospital Queens, at residents who are leaders in academic centhe MSKCC’s International Brachytherapy ters in the United States and abroad. “One great thing about America,” Dr Symposium in New York. Dr Nori, who was recently awarded the Nori, who came to the US in 1976, had told Ellis Island Medal of Honor in Staten India in New York earlier, “is that if you Island, introduced many innovative cancer are talented, you are rewarded irrespective treatment programs for lung, gynecologi- of your race or color of skin.”
Canara Bank comes to New York
R K Dubey, chairman and managing director, Canara Bank, formally opens Canara Bank’s branch office in the United States, at 405, Park Avenue in New York. It is the seventh overseas branch for the Bangalorebased public sector bank after London, Leicester (United Kingdom), Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bahrain and Johannesburg.
brother wants to change his gender. The scene in which she tenderly tells her brother that she understands his decision is one of the most engaging moments in the play. “The new bonding comes slowly,” she added. “But it is real. Nirmala has to make a lot of decisions, some of them tough, and in doing so, she becomes her own person. Nirmala’s emergence as a strong woman is something I applaud.” She has also been conscious of the importance of artists engaging themselves in social issues. A few years ago, when she was appearing
ecent losses in her family in Kolkata gave actress Mahira Kakkar insights into understanding her role in the acclaimed play When January Feels Like Summer. “It was not just the family members who rallied round but strangers who offered help and comfort,” said the New York based actress, whose performance in the show was lauded by The New York Times. In the play, which ended its limited engagement last week, she plays the sister of a transgender brother who longs to be a woman. The stirring and often comedic play, set in Harlem, is about a few people who unexpectedly forge a bond. There are two African-American teenagers who initially seem rough and mean, and there is an older African-American man who delicately woos Nirmala, the sister. And then there Nirmala’s unseen Indian husband Prasad, brain dead after a shootout, whose complex character slowly unfolds, shocking in its revelations. “Prasad has cheated his wife, he has been unfaithful to her but on the other hand, he has also helped her family and helped her brother come to America for studies,” Kakkar said. “Cori Thomas has written such s complex and provocative play. We feel his (Prasad’s) good deeds cannot overwrite his bad actions. Both the good and the evil, then, exist side by side.” In the past decade Kakkar, a Juilliard School graduate, has been seen in acclaimed plays not only off-Broadway but also in regional theaters. Her credits include Miss Witherspoon (Playwrights Horizons and McCarter Theatre), Betrothed (The Ohio Theatre), Three Sisters, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and Around the World in 80 Days. COURTESY: GERRY GOODSTEIN She also played, with humor and luminosity, the new bride in an Indian Mahira Kakkar, left, and Debargo Sanyal in a scene extended family in England in the hit from When January feels Like Summer. Ayub Khan-Din play Rafta, Rafta in its Old Globe, San Diego edition. Kakkar said she was also drawn to When in Twelfth Night, she blogged: ‘I’m sitting January because she has transgender on the train blogging and listening to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now as I write. friends. “Often we look at them and make up our I’m trying to draw a parallel but there is mind about them,” she said. “We do not none. There is no real co-ordinate that I make an effort to find who they really are. could draw between my activism and this And this is what this play is about. It is play, Twelfth Night. Except one. I believe in against instant judgment. It is against staying alert and aware of one’s surroundstereotyping. And it is about taking time to ings. I think it’s an issue of survival. And at think that the persons we encounter every the risk of sounding glib, I think this is day but know very little about may have what helps the characters in Twelfth Night their own complex and at times troubled move forward… And while people engage stories.” with their surroundings and other people in Her character seems to be a tough woman various ways — protests, blogs, art...the at the start, and then slowly we see different characters in Shakespeare’s play engage layers, and she gets to understand why her through words and argument.’
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Three convenience store owners arrested with synthetic marijuana A CORRESPONDENT
hree convenience store owners were arrested with synthetic marijuana and cash in two convenience stores in Somerville, New Jersey, Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D Soriano announced. Umesh B Patel, 52, of Bridgewater, Vipin Patel, 54, of Somerville and Umesh Patel, 53, of Somerville, were charged with possession of synthetic marijuana with intent to distribute, according to a statement from Soriano, Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald, and Somerville Chief of Police Dennis Manning. The synthetic cannabis seized from the investigation has an estimated street value of approximately $29,775. During the past month the Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force initiated and pursued a narcotics investigation based on tips that synthetic cannabis was being distributed from two Somerville convenience stores. The task force detectives along with members of Drug Enforcement Agency and the Somerville Police Department executed search warrants on the Krauzer’s and the Banner Food Stores, both located on East Main Street. As task force members searched the Krauszer’s store, co-owner Umesh B Patel was advised of the investigation, the statement said. The search of Krauszer’s resulted in the seizure of 902 bags of synthetic cannabis from a store refrigerator, and 60 additional bags were found in a backroom storage area along with $34,904 cash, the statement said. While the search warrant was being executed, Vipin Patel, the other co-owner, arrived at the store. Both owners were arrested without incident. A second task force team executed a search warrant at the Banner Food Store. The owner Umesh Patel was working in the stockroom area. He was advised of the investigation, and a search of the store resulted in the seizure of 20 bags of synthetic cannabis from behind the front counter area. An additional 100 bags of synthetic cannabis were located in a rear stock room. Detectives also seized $5,262. Umesh Patel voluntarily gave detectives consent to search his Ross Street residence, which resulted in the seizure of an additional 109 bags of synthetic cannabis.
From left, Prasad Chirnomula, Congressman Jim Himes, Dr Subbarao Bollepalli, Arati Sureddi, Meera Vasudevan, and Ashok Vasudevan.
GOPIO honors achievers
t an event last week, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin’s Connecticut chapter honored five Indian Americans, and United States Representative Jim Himes (Democrat, Connecticut). Attendees included India’s Consul General in New York Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, and Connecticut Assemblyman Dr Prasad Srinivasan. Shelly Nichani, the GOPIO-Connecticut president, outlined the chapter’s new programs including a cancer walk fundraiser, participation in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Stamford, and sessions with elected officials in addition to the regular programs such as sponsoring and volunteering in soup kitchens,
New Jersey narcotics officers honor Sudhir Parekh
India Independence Day flag hoisting and Diwali celebrations. Mayor Martin complimented GOPIO-CT for its community work. Congressman Himes, a member of the India Caucus, was honored with the Friend of India award. The other awardees included psychiatrist Dr Subbarao Bollepall, president, Connecticut Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (for acgievement in medicine); husband-wife entrepreneur team of Ashok and Meera Vasudevan (for excellence in business); Arati Sureddi, founder of Lotus Alliance, a social enterprise fighting human trafficking and forced labor through responsible tourism (young achiever); and restaurateur Prasad Chirnomula (for promoting Indian cuisine), owner of the Thali restaurants.
The New Jersey Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association presented Dr Sudhir Parikh, second from right, with a community leader award at an event held in Atlantic City, June 5. Dr Parikh, a physician, is chairman and publisher, Parikh Worldwide Media Inc, which publishes community newspapers like News India Times and Desi Talk. Albert Camisa, president, NJNEOA, said the organization had started a new award this year named after one of its strong supporters, New Jersey businessman Albert Jasani, right, who is also the chair of the NJNEOA Committee for Community Awards. The first NJNEOA Albert Jasani Community Leader Award was given to Dr Parikh, who has earlier been honored with awards like the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Indian government’s Pravasi Samman Award and the Padma Shri.
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Sriram Hathwar gets a hug from his mother Roopa and brother Jairam, after he and Ansun Sujoe, left, jointly won the 87th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 29.
‘A proud representative of the area’
State honors galore for bee champ. Arthur J Pais reports
‘I was not discouraged by failure. I returned to my dictionary with more determination’ Sriram Hathwar, co-champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, tells Arthur J Pais how he finally got it right in his fifth year at the competition
ife has not really come back to normal, says Sriram J Hathwar, the co-champion of the fiercely fought Scripps National Spelling Bee. But as he gets ready for the Sunday Hindu religious class his mother Dr Roopa Hathwar conducts for about 20 students, he adds he has been enjoying the flurry of interviews that followed his May 29 win. In a 52-year first, the Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie as Hathwar, 14, and Texan Ansun Sujoe, 13, were declared co-champion’s last month. Hathwar, an eighth grader from Painted Post, New York, says that amid the busy schedule after his win, he has not missed the Sunday classes. Roopa began the classes since there was
no Chinmaya Mission, which offers weekly spiritual Vedanta classes for children in their formative years, in the area. Sriram’s father Jagdeesh Hathwar is a gastroenterologist, and their younger son Jairam is also keen to win the spelling bee. The Hathwars live in a sprawling house about 20 minutes drive from Lake Seneca, the biggest of the Finger Lakes. This week, they have a few guests. Jagdeesh’s younger brother is visiting them from Virginia Beach with his wife and young son. And then there is the matriarch, Bhageerathi Hathwar, who points out to several books on Hindu faith on the dining table and proudly declares that her grandsons can recite a long litany of mantras like the Lalitha Sahasranamam. Sriram, who grew up speaking Kannada in his American home, lists the number of
Hindu temples he has visited in India during his last sojourn and he pronounces the names the way they should be pronounced. He adds that during his next visit to India he will visit the famous temples down South. He strongly believes in the power of prayer. “I prayed before the spelling bee and chanted Om Nama Shivayam during the competition,” Sriram says. The contest between Sriram and Ansun was a nail biter as ESPN ticked down the number of words remaining and each boy took a turn. ‘The boys staged a riveting duel, ploughing through the toughest words the Bee had to offer: Skandhas. Hyblaean. Feijoada. Augenphilologie. Sdrucciola. Holluschick. Thyemelici. Paixtle. Encaenia.
riram Hathwar was felicitated by the New York Senate and Assembly last week. His parents took off yet another day and drove several hours to Albany with Sriram’s grandmother Bhageerathi Hathwar for the event. ‘It’s an honor to have you and thank you for representing us so well in the National Spelling Bee contest,’ New York State Senator Tom O’Mara, said. O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano sponsored a joint legislative resolution honoring Sriram’s achievement. “We had to forego a couple of felicitations in New York City (which is at least four hours drive away) because of this event,” Roopa Hathwar, Sriram’s mother, said. Sriram is the first bee champion from upstate New York since 1976 when Tom Kneale of Syracuse was the champion. Following the state legislature honor, he was felicitated at a ‘spellerbration’ during a weekly Rotary luncheon at the Radisson in Corning, New York, where he received plaques and a proclamation by Corning Mayor Rich Negri. ‘I am a proud representative of the area,’ Sriram said. ‘This is not only my victory, but also all of yours.’
Terreplein,’ ESPN reported. Sriram’s final word was stichomythia, a theatrical term for dialogue representing an altercation and delivered in alternating lines, per Webster. Ansun got it right with feuilleton, the features section of a European newspaper or magazine. Each winner got to take home over $33,000 for college studies and many other gifts. The past eight winners and 13 of the past 17 have been of Indian descent, a run that began in 1985 when Balu Natarajan became the first Indian-American champi-
PAGE 9 g
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Sriram Hathwar with, from left, his father Jagdeesh Hathwar, brother Jairam and mother Roopa.
‘When times are hard, he works harder’
Sriram Hathwar’s parents tell Arthur J Pais about lessons they learned from their son
can handle victory very well, but when something goes wrong, I feel frustrated,” says Dr Jagdeesh Hathwar. His son, Sriram, can “handle the positive and negative with a calm mind,” he continues. “This is a big lesson I have learned from the 14-year-old Spelling Bee co-champion. He has had many reasons to feel frustrated. One year he was out of the Bee, another time he lost the regional competition. But Rami’s goal did not change. ” Dr Hathwar has seen people losing their cool and peace of mind when things go wrong. “In sports, you see so often players with years of experience and success losing their cool and they show their frustrations openly. Rami is very opposite of all this. When times are hard, he works harder,” he adds. Rami is the pet name many use for Sriram. “Americans like short names,” his father says. “I am called Jag, our younger son Jairam is Jay and many in the school call Sriram just Rami.” “Rami never oscillates,” Dr Hathwar adds. ‘He reminds me of a word, a quality mentioned in the Gita — Stitharajna, an unrelenting focus.’ Both the Hathwar boys were born in New York and grew
up in rural regions of the state, but they are connected to their Indian heritage thanks to the Hinduism classes their mother conducts for them and about 20 other students. The family also went to many pilgrimage centers in North India last year. In a month, they will be going to India for a family wedding and another bout of pilgrimage is planned. “He appreciates the help he has received from so many people including us,” says Sriram’s mother Dr Roopa Hathwar. “But he wants to achieve things on his own. I have been his informal spelling bee coach for over five years and month after month, I have spent long hours with him, but about a year ago, he said, ‘You have done a lot for me, and now let me do these things on my own. I want it to win this my way, You cannot win it for me.’” Roopa says she has learned the importance of being selfsufficient and self-motivating from her first born. “He is very mature for his age, and I do not say this because he is a Spelling Bee champion and also my son. His maturity comes from his soul,” she adds. “He has always considered failure as a stepping stone to success. Sure, he has been disappointed, but he is very resilient and in no time he is up and starts preparing for the next round.”
With co-winner Ansun Sujoe, left.
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
f PAGE 7 on at age 13 and was followed the 1999 win for Nupur Lala, which was later featured in the documentary Spellbound. Sriram was not even eight when he began preparing for his first stint at the national bee in 2008. He was the youngest contestant then. Sriram received a lot of television exposure in 2011, when he tied for sixth, and in 2013, when he finished third, tripped up by the word ptyalagogue. He also competed in 2009 and was the only participant this year to have competed in the competition five times. “I was not discouraged by failure,” he says. “I returned to my dictionary with more enthusiasm and determination.” Did Sriram wish he could have won it all by himself instead of producing the first co-champions? “It was thrilling in the sense there were two winners,” he says. “How often does it happen? We made history.” The two winners could not have been more different in their spelling bee experiences. ‘I guess a veteran and let’s say a rookie,’ Sriram told one interviewer. ‘It’s pretty cool.’ He was quite philosophical soon after his victory when he told a television interviewer, ‘I think we both know that the competition is against the dictionary and not against each other. I’m happy to share this trophy with him.’ Sriram was away for most of the week, following his win, attending felicitations and doing TV interviews. ‘He has been on the go constantly,’ Sriram’s mother had told a Painted Post publication. An internal medicine specialist, who grew up in Bangalore and graduated from Kansas City University of Medicine, Roopa took many days off to be with her son. On the day of the competition, the entire family was in DC to watch the competition. Sriram says he bonded well with Ansun since they have quite a few things in common, including classical music. Both boys play double-reed instruments — oboe for Sriram, bassoon for Ansun. With only one previous appearance in the bee, Ansun had looked up to Sriram. ‘I had seen him in the finals, and I wanted to be like that,’ he said. Sriram says he and Ansun have been invited together everywhere. ‘There is no interview where it is just me or him,’ he says. ‘The spelling bee is such a great experience. Making
‘I was not discouraged by failure. I returned to my dictionary with more determination’ friends is part of it,’ he adds. ‘I didn’t know him (Ansun) too well. He wasn’t a semi finalist last year. I didn’t know he was such a fantastic speller. Now I am getting to know him.’ Sriram, who attends the Alternative School for Math and Science in Corning, was fully aware that this was going to be his last competition because of age and other restrictions. Bhageerathi Hathwar, who came to the US from Bengaluru to watch her grandson in his last bee, looks at the grandson with special pride as Sriram speaks. Sriram is down to earth, with a shy smile and gentle demeanor. It is as if he has been preparing
his young life for this achievement. “I watched him when he went to the national level the first time,” Bhageerathi says. “This time he called me and said ‘Ajji, why don’t you come? This is my last one.’” She says she learned a lot of English from her grandson and they would play Scrabble when he was young. Today, Sriram says he understands Kannada quite well, but he can’t speak the language. The family spoke in Kannada when the boys were young and Sriram picked up English when he joined day care. “Within three to four months, I could notice he spelled complex words in English. When he was young, he also began to write short essays about anything he found interesting, the change of season, for example,” Roopa says. “That was when I thought he had an aptitude for words and he could
be competing in the Spelling Bee.” She adds that when Sriram was about 4, his preschool teachers would tell her that he could read and write really well. They would go to him to clarify spelling and soon he became the spell check for the class. Within a few years, he would construct his own crossword puzzles and ask his parents how to spell things he saw around him The Hathwars’ living room is filled with the medals and citations Sriram (and to some extent Jairam) have been winning. There is a huge excitement over his win at the Alternative School for Math and Science in Corning where a colorful sendoff was given to him a week before the competition. “I got a cake from some of my classmates with words misspelled on purpose,” he says with a chuckle. “They wrote things like Gud Luk.” At the school, Sriram got a hero’s welcome. ‘When I came back to school,’ he said recently. ‘I saw my locker was decorated with all the words I got in the Spelling Bee all over my locker. As I opened it there was a huge note that said, ‘Can you spell C-HA-M-P?’ Sirram’s effort was backed by the local Rotary Club too. “The best coaching and encouragement I got is from my mom,” Sriram says. “But in the last year or so, I have been doing it independently. As I grew older, I became more independent.” He agrees with an interviewer that there are a lot of people who think the spelling bee is all about memorization. Some think that unlike in mathematics, which has infinite paths, in the bee everything is fixed, and you have to memorize a good part of 48,000 words in the authorized dictionary. “You cannot memorize every word in the dictionary” Sriram says, adding the contestants are also tested on knowing the meanings of the words. “I studied the words following a deliberate path,” he says. “But at times, I would also open the dictionary and randomly look for words.” He likes words which are “eccentric,” by way of their pronunciation, origin or spelling. Among the hardest words he had to spell when he began in the competition is zyzzogeton, a South American leaf hopper. Sriram says he wants to be in medicine too like his parents. “Just now, I am thinking of being an ophthalmologist,” he adds. PARESH GANDHI
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
‘Rani has been family since a while. I have never seen Adi so happy’ Uday Chopra tells Sonil Dedhia about changes Rani Mukherji brought in his brother Aditya Chopra’s life and his brush with Hollywood
Rani Mukerji with her mother-in-law Pamela Chopra.
With Uday Chopra.
y family was broken after my father passed away. After Adi (Aditya Chopra) and Rani (Mukherji)’s marriage, it feels we have bonded again,’ says Uday Chopra, whose first Hollywood co-production Grace of Monaco opened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last month. Although critics panned the film, Chopra, who walked the red carpet with the cast, including Nicole Kidman at Cannes, is confident that the film will do well.
Your brother Aditya recently got married to Rani Mukerji. I have been continuously travelling with Grace of Monaco and haven’t spent time with them. I have known Rani for a long time. We worked together in Mujhse Dosti Karoge (2002) and we bonded right then. She is a great person. It is great to have her around. She has great Indian values. She is a homemaker. My family was broken after my father passed away, and she was a great support. After Adi and Rani’s marriage, it feels we have bonded again. In fact, her entire family has been supportive and
now they are a part of our family too. Does she advise you on your career? She is very supportive. We often joke around. She tells me that I am going to be a big man and that I will be buying private planes etc. She believes I am going to do very well in my work. She always wishes the best for me.
PAGE 12 g
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Preity Zinta files molestation charges against ex
Kapil Sharma with Ekta Kapoor and Sunny Leone.
omedian Kapil Sharma’s hugely popular show Comedy Nights With Kapil on Colors TV will go off air in September. ‘Comedy nights is going off air from September. ‘V will come back with new characters n new set.. Till den.. Keep smiling :),’ Sharma wrote on Twitter.
COMEDY NIGHTS WITH KAPIL TO GO OFF AIR
Preity Zinta during an Indian Premier League match. Inset, Ness Wadia.
reity Zinta filed a police complaint against her former boyfriend and coowner of the Indian Premier League team Kings XI Punjab Ness Wadia, last week. The actress alleged that he molested, abused and threatened her inside the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai during a match between Kings XI and the Chennai Super Kings, May 30. Wadia denied the allegations and said they were ‘false and baseless.’ ‘I am shocked and dismayed,’ he told the Hindustan Times. He also told television news channels that it was impossible for him to assault Zinta as she was always ‘surrounded by bouncers.’
Left, Priyanka Chopra, with her brother Siddharth and mother Madhu, unveils the road named after Dr Ashok Chopra. Right, with her uncle Pawan Chopra, aunt Reena and their daughter Parineeti.
In her M father’s memory
arking the first death anniversary of her father, actress-singer Priyanka Chopra
unveiled a road dedicated in his memory, June 10, in Andheri, a western Mumbai suburb. Dr Ashok Chopra passed
away after a long battle with cancer. The actress was joined by several family members on the occasion.
Bollywood INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
‘Rani has been family since a while. I have never seen Adi so happy’ f PAGE 10 Have you seen any changes in your brother after marriage? Rani has been a part of our family since a few years and I’ve seen changes in my brother since then (laughs). I have never seen him so happy. Tell us about your experience at the Cannes Film Festival. I had an amazing experience at the Cannes Film Festival. It feels great that we could present the film at such a prestigious film festival. When the film was premiered, it got a standing ovation which was like an added bonus that people also liked the film. But at the same time, a lot of critics panned the film. Yes, the critics did not respond well to the film. I think the reason for that is that they were expecting something else. Grace of Monaco is a commercial fairy tale, feel good kind of film, whereas the critics at Cannes were looking for art house cinema. Also, the director of the film, Oliver Dahan, is known for character-driven films and a lot of people expected Grace of Monaco in that space. At the same time, some reviews were good. So there is definitely a disparity in the way the critics have seen the film. Have the negative reviews affected the business of the film? I won’t say that the negative reviews haven’t affected the business of the film. Business in France has been affected a lot. At the same time, the film is doing pretty well in Italy and some other parts of the world. We have already seen decent business and we haven’t released the film in all the markets as yet. The film released in India June 13. Honestly, films like Grace of Monaco do not really create a buzz in India. Our audiences prefer superhero films or Oscar nominated films. I am still testing the waters with this film and hopefully with my forthcoming films we will do better. You walked the red carpet with Nicole Kidman. It felt surreal. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I couldn’t believe that I was standing next to Nicole Kidman whose movies I have grown up watching. I felt really proud. I couldn’t show her that I was a big fan of hers as I am one of the producers of the film. I had to contain myself and was pretending to be calm. The film would have definitely created a buzz had you got Nicole Kidman to promote it in India.
IAN GAVAN/GETTY IMAGES
From right, Uday Chopra, one of the producers of Grace Of Monaco, at the film’s premiere, with actor Paz Vega, producer Arash Amel, actor Geraldine Somerville, producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, actors Jeanne Baliba, Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth, and director Olivier Dahan. I had plans to bring down Nicole Kidman to promote the film in India and she was also interested in it. The reason it didn’t happen was because she was attending the Shanghai Film Festival. If we waited for her to be available, we would have had to push back the release by two months. By that time the audiences in India would have already downloaded the movie and watched it. Your father Yash Chopra had voiced his reservations when you decided to go to the West to produce films. My father was concerned. He told me that I had the biggest company and I could approach the biggest stars in the industry and they would willingly do a movie for me. He asked me why I was venturing into a territory where nobody knew us. I explained that I wanted to do something on my own. In India, I would never be able to escape his and my brother (Aditya Chopra)’s shadow. I couldn’t have excelled beyond what they have already done. If things don’t work out, I can come back and join my brother here. What was his reaction to the script of Grace of Monaco? He was really happy. All his doubts and concern about me had cleared. Unfortunately, he passed away too early or else I would have loved to take him on the sets to meet Nicole Kidman and even walk with him on the red carpet at Cannes. I am sure he would have loved to see the company’s name on the big screen. Does your brother also intend to produce films in Hollywood? Actually it was Adi’s thought. He was the one who sat me down and told me to think about exploring opportunities in Hollywood. I was a little reluctant as I wasn’t aware about anything, but he gave me that push and told me to figure things out on my own. As far as directing is concerned, Adi wants to make a film in English. He told me that he wanted to make a small film but I told him to wait for some time.
He asked me why and I said, ‘When you are in India, you pick up the phone and everybody will come to talk to you. In America, nobody knows you. You are a nonentity. You aren’t used to the set up so give it some time and venture after we establish ourselves.’ Are there any plans to remake any of Yash Raj Productions’ films in the West? Yes, there are plans to remake some films. When I started out, I would get scripts from agents that weren’t interesting. I realized I wouldn’t get the best scripts as they would go to the biggest producers. That’s when I thought that the way I could get good material is by remaking the films our company has already made in Bollywood. I took a few of those ideas and got them re-written with western sensibilities in mind. One of the movies was Bunty Aur Babli. I have the script ready and it has come out really well. Unfortunately, the budget is too high so as of now I cannot make it. If you had to make a film directed by your father, which one would it be? It’s an interesting thought. My father is known for his romantic films. I would like to remake Deewar in Hollywood and cast Will Smith and another black actor, maybe Don Cheadle, and maybe set the film in the 1970s era when there was a lot of industrial revolution happening in US. You are good friends with Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. Are there any plans to offer them Hollywood films? No, I have not thought about it. I am an independent producer; it’s very important that I cast actors who have international value. Though Abhishek and Hrithik are big in India, internationally they are not known. Yes, there is a possibility that the script might demand an Indian actor who is of equal stature to the rest of the cast in the film, and then I would love to make an offer. Most of the time Indian actors are given small roles in Hollywood films and I know Abhishek and Hrithik wouldn’t take them.
India in New York June 20, 2014
India in New York June 20, 2014
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Bollywood INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
ALL THAT GLITTERS
A PEEK INTO THE WEEK’S GLITZIEST TINSEL TOWN EVENTS
The 5th edition of the annual GQ Best Dressed Men was hosted by GQ India. Below, Abhay Deol with girlfriend Preeti Desai Right, Nargis Fakhri and Karan Johar.
Vidya Balan, right, and Diya Mirza at the blog launch of their film Bobby Jasoos.
Shatrughan Sinha, center, with wife Poonam and veteran actor Prem Chopra at Pahlaj Nihalani’s party. The filmmaker threw a bash to celebrate good friend Sinha’s victory in the recent Indian general elections.
From left, Jacqueline Fernandez, director and producer Sajid Nadiadwala, Salman Khan, producer Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Randeep Hooda and author Chetan Bhagat at the trailer launch of Kick. Bhagat has written the screenplay of the film.
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
All in the family Raj Kapoor’s grandson Armaan Jain, center, with cousins Kareena, left, and Karisma Kapoor at the launch of his debut film Lekar Hum Deewana Dil. The entire Kapoor family turned up to wish the newcomer. Below, from left, Armaan’s uncle Randhir Kapoor, mother Reema Jain, grandmother Krishna Raj Kapoor, father Mohan Jain and uncle Rajiv Kapoor.
Tamil filmmaker A L Vijay and actress Amala Paul tied the knot in a traditional Hindu ceremony in Chennai, June 12. Below, the newly weds at their wedding reception with filmmaker and close friend A R Murugadoss.
Imran Khan and wife Avantika Malik take their newborn baby girl home from a hospital in Mumbai. The couple named their daughter Imara. ‘It’s a Swahili name, which means strong and resolute,’ Imran said.
Aftab Shivdasani wed longtime girlfriend Nin Dusanj at a private ceremony, in Mumbai, attended by family members last week. The couple, who met through common friends, had been dating for six years. PHOTOGRAPHS: PRADEEP BANDEKAR
Aseem in New York
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Bollywood bravado, and real cinema L
ast Wednesday I took a 24-hour trip to Washington, DC. The next day I was a guest on Al Jazeera’s talk show The Stream and they wanted me to be in the city the night before. The show — Women Through a Bollywood Lens — also featured actress Mallika Sherawat, who appeared from a studio in Los Angeles, and journalist Anna M M Vetticad and filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, both appearing via Skype from India. I was the only in-studio guest along with the two anchors, Femi Oke, who is the main host of the show, and Malika Bilal, who follows audience comments via social media. It was all very cordial as we discussed the basics of Bollywood cinema until the conversation shifted to item numbers. I knew that would be the controversial part of the discussion. Both Bhandarkar and Sherawat defended Bollywood’s item numbers with a lot of passion, calling them entertainment and just song and dance. Sherawat kept asking, “What is an item number?” as if it was the first time she had heard the term. Vetticad and I maintained that item numbers — now almost a must in every Bollywood film — were demeaning to women who in their skimpy clothes were almost treated like a commodity for leering men. While I said censorship was not the solution — in fact, I am personally in favor of nudity of any kind, if the narrative requires it — Vetticad and I felt that Bollywood filmmakers should look deep inside their hearts to see what kind of a message they were sending out. It was mostly a fun conversation — full 45-minutes of it — with clips of many item numbers. At one point Sherawat got really carried away when she compared her position on women’s rights to that of Nelson Mandela’s struggle against apartheid. I was speechless, but Oke asked her: “So now you likening yourself to Nelson Mandela?” To that Sherawat responded: “Why not? And do you know that Nelson Mandela was inspired by an Indian — Mahatma Gandhi?” That was too much for any of us to handle and we let it go, without getting personal. The show ended with each of us recommending our favorite Bollywood films: Chak De India – Bhandarkar; Chandini Bar – Sherawat; Queen – Vetticad. Band Bajaa Baaraat was my choice.
Miss Lovely is a dark film that examines the B-grade Hindi film industry that used to churn very poor quality soft porn and horror films.
n June 20, an Indian indie film, Miss Lovely, opens in New York City – the second such opening this year after the success of The Lunchbox. Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, Miss Lovely is a 2012 film that played at the Cannes Film Festival and then at the Toronto International Film Festival, as part of that year’s city-to-city program,
with Mumbai being the sister city of the festival. Miss Lovely is a dark film that examines the B-grade Hindi film industry that used to churn very poor quality soft porn and horror films. The film looks at the dark industry in an entertaining manner through the lens of two brothers who work on those films.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who was recently seen in The Lunchbox and has become the leading indie film actor in India, plays the younger brother. It is a rare film with a unique story and the vast cast of characters all seeming very authentic as if they were plucked from the soft porn industry and are playing their real life selves. Miss Lovely is a must see film.
ast week I attended the press screening of a quirky German film, A Coffee in Berlin. Winner of the 2012 best film, director and actor awards given by the German film industry, Coffee is made in black and white and has a very approachable indie feel to it. The film focuses on one day in the life of a twentysomething German man, Nico Fischer, who has dropped out of college and is living on the edge of society with financial support from his father. Although the film has a funny tone, Fischer goes through a downward spiral as his day progresses. All the time he is desperate for a cup of coffee, but the stars are not in his favor. Coffee opened in New York City on June 13 and will surely charm audiences who enjoy intelligent foreign language films.
A scene from Coffee in Berlin.
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
t was a career one would have been proud of. Meena Basu Nag had devoted over 25 years of her life to the telecom and investment technology industry, beginning as a radar systems engineer working on a US defence contract at General Electric Aerospace and ending as a business development director for the cable and IP video sector at Alcatel-Lucent, dealing with clients from across the globe. But then, she succumbed. To the pressure exerted by local community leaders in the United States. To the call of a passion whose power she was yet to realize. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of her life. “Although I have had rigorous training in both the classical Indian and Western dance forms (besides learning Bharat Natyam from late Bollywood actress and Bharata Natyam exponent Padmini Ramachandran, she has trained in the Tagore, Indian folk dance, Uday Shankar dance technique and Western dance forms as well), I began teaching and choreographing dance by accident and ended up loving it,” she says. The seeds – though she didn’t know it then – were sown very early in her life. It was an exciting time. She has just signed on as an engineer in GE after completing her Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University, during which she had been awarded the Dupont Fellowship. During weekends, she volunteered to teach dance to children at the local temple in Southern New Jersey for occasions such as Diwali, Holi and Durga Puja. “Over time,” she says, “the community leaders, who really liked what I was doing, pushed me to start a formal school.” She agreed reluctantly and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, Nritya Creations – which she founded in 1991 — is a full-fledged dance academy, with centers in Middlesex, Monmouth and New Jersey. She formalized the school as a business in 1997 and, last year, she resigned from Alcatel-Lucent to devote all her attention to her dance academy. “Now, 12 staff members teach more than 350 students in Bharat Natyam, creative classical, Bollywood, ballet, jazz and hip-hop and, of course, fusion choreography,” she says. Nritya Creations has won many awards and competitions, including Naya Andaaz (on which they have won every year since 2007) and NAACH 360 (which they have won consecutively since 2009) and have performed at various prestigious events, including the American Indian Foundation Black Tie Gala and the United Nations Diwali program. Meena came to the United States when she was just four years old. “My father, who was a graduate student here, saved money from his university scholarship to bring my mother and me to the US. Later, he decided to settle here,” she says. Growing up as an immigrant in the late sixties and early seventies was not easy, she says. “There weren’t too many South Asian kids here then, and kids at my elementary school in Cleveland, Ohio, would sometimes ask me why my skin color was brown. Or they would think I was an American Indian,” she recalls. “The fact that we followed a different religion, wore different clothing, spoke a different language was all alien to them.” But, she says, things became easier as the decades passed and awareness increased. Now, she sees that awareness in the fact that her students are not limited to the Indian American community. “Our non-South Asian dancers are so in love with the richness, precision, grace and beauty of Indian dance styles such as Bharata Natyam and Odissi that they take lessons in the fundamentals of Indian classical dance,” she says. Meena is very proud of how they take the techniques, costumes and make-up of Indian classical dance and embed it in their fusion choreography. “One of my students is even planning to do her masters thesis on how
Dance. Passion. Life. These three simple words define Meena Basu Nag. Text and photograph: Paresh Gandhi
Indian dance is influencing the evolution of American dance and pop culture,” she says proudly. She talks of how the fusion of two dance forms – one Indian, one Western – actually helps dancers. “When ballet’s flexibility learnt in tandem with the expressions and hand gestures of Bharata Natyam, there is dramatic improvement in the fluidity, strength and grace of the dancer. I have seen this happen in my daughter, who has trained in both these dance forms and is, today, a versatile and competent dancer and choreographer,” she says. She now hopes to make Nritya Creations a nationally recognized cultural arts center for multicultural dance training, choreography and
performance with multiple centers across the country. Despite her many achievements, it is her two daughters who have shaped her perspective about life. “They’ve kept me young at heart,” she says. “They have made me a better teacher and choreographer because they have kept me in tune with the younger generation’s music, dance and creative interests. Knowing how I would want my children to be treated as students helps me design a dance training program where our students and parents will be nurtured, happy and respected.” Her dream, she says, is to continue to train next generation of dancers. “Hopefully, we will be able instill a passion for the art form and continue to create beautiful unique dance choreography that crosses cultural boundaries.”
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
ome summer and all we crave for are refreshing thirst quenchers. While it is important to increase your fluid intake to stay hydrated through the day, you must also try and avoid caffeine and all kinds of soft drinks. Here are some healthy summer mocktails that will help you stay cool.
Mulberry and Lemon Mocktail
coolers Beat the heat with these mocktails
5 peaches (don’t use the over ripe ones) Half a cup of sugar 2-3 small cinnamon sticks Juice of half a lemon 2 soda bottles Crushed ice
1/3rd cup of mulberry pulp The juice of one lemon A cup of crushed ice
Blend all the ingredients together. Take shot glasses and brush lemon juice over its rims. Dip in salt for the perfect ‘salty rim.’ Now add the juice and serve it chilled.
Peach and Cinnamon Mocktail
In a pan, take two cups of water. Add the peaches, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Boil on low heat. Cook till the fruit is tender. Strain the liquid and keep it aside, covered. Peel the peaches and remove the seeds Add the pulp in a mixer with the strained liquid and the lemon juice. Blend till smooth. In a glass put some crushed ice and pour the peach drink. Top it with soda. Garnish with cinnamon powder and a peach slice.
1/2 cup orange juice 3-4 tea spoons of honey A pinch of pepper powder A pinch of salt Crushed ice
Boil the apple in water till it is tender. Mix the boiled apple, banana, lemon juice, orange juice and the honey in a blender and blend well till a smooth thick mixture is formed. Add salt and pepper and stir well. Put crushed ice to a glass of your choice. Pour in the mocktail and garnish with pepper powder. Serve chilled.
Coconut and Pineapple Mocktail
Apple and Banana Mocktail
If you are using a glass then add crushed ice and top it with the mocktail. Garnish with a pineapple wheel and serve chilled.
Raw Mango and Mint Mocktail Ingredients
1 cup of peeled raw mango chunks 1/2 cup sugar A few mint leaves Crushed ice
1 cup chopped apple (without the skin) 2 ripe bananas (chopped) Juice of half a lemon
3 cups of chopped pineapple 2 cups of coconut water 2 cups of coconut meat (tender) 1/2 cup coconut milk 1/2 cup sugar Crushed ice
Add all the ingredients except the ice in a blender. Blend well till the mixture turns smooth.
In a pan add sugar to a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Once the sugar dissolves add the mango chunks and cook on low flame till they are tender. Let it cool. Put it in a blender and blend it till the mixture is smooth. Put the raw mango pulpy juice in a bowl. Add mint leaves. Muddle it well using a hand blender. Place crushed ice in a glass and pour the cool minty juice over it. Garnish with mint leaves and serve chilled.
Arthur at the Theater
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Idina Menzel and James Snyder in If/Then
Terrific singing and performances, a tad missing in humanity ARTHUR J PAIS
dina Menzel’s Oscar-winning song in the billion-dollar-grossing movie Frozen and her work in Broadway hits like Wicked and Rent is drawing fans to see her in the musical If/Then — a Broadway hit that is enjoyable, fast moving, yet over-cluttered and emotionally flimsy. But giving her competition is LaChanze, the Oscar winner from Color Purple, who too sings with great verve and dances with raise-the-roof energy. The fiercely talented artist has returned to the stage nearly after a decade. Menzel too has come back to the theater after nearly a decade. She not only is a powerhouse singer but also a
superb artist who brings out well the humanity of her two characters in the show. Menzel, a Tony winner for her performance in the international hit Wicked, received her third Tony nomination for her performance as Elizabeth in Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s new musical If/Then. But the actress, who made her Broadway debut in 1996 in Rent, lost to Jessie Mueller for her work in the musical Beautiful. Menzel, the mega-selling star behind the empowerment anthem Let It Go and whose name John Travolta mangled at the Oscars, not only looks and sounds terrific but also gets to sing some show stoppers. Though it is designed to showcase Menzel’s vocal
Unpredictable insights into suburban lives Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei in The Realistic Joneses.
t is not everyone’s theater but the Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno’s enigmatic and unconventional mediation on life and mortality has caught the attention of the more discerning of Broadway audiences. Otherwise, a low keyed and almost passive kind of a play like The Realistic Joneses would not have played on Broadway for over four months. The show has announced its last performance July 6, and demands for good seats are soaring. The play about two suburban couples who share more than a surname features Tracy Letts (The August: Osage County playwright who has
also won praise for acting in shows like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), Bob and
prowess and endearing charm, the show directed by Michael Grief also offers the talents of other veteran Broadway faves including Anthony Rapp (Rent). LaChanze’s character Kate is a spirited lesbian who shows Menzel’s Elizabeth the ropes of New York while encouraging and supporting her decisions along the way — in both of the alternative existences of the storyline. Menzel’s middle-aged divorcée moves to New York and explores two separate life paths: In one, she’s Beth who has a plush job as a city planner but is frustrated by her flings with her married boss (Jerry Dixon) and her bisexual pal (Anthony Rapp). In the other, she’s Liz and settles for a rather boring teaching job but lands a hunky doctor (James Snyder) who cannot really make her happy. The show could hit a chord with viewers. How often have we wondered what might have happened if we had taken that other job, ditched that date, not spurned an affair, not returned a phone call or read a particular book? The two scenarios in this show unfold in consecutive scenes — which is not as confusing as it sounds, thanks to the shifts in lighting, changes in the key character’s name, and Greif ’s assured handling of the fast-changing scenes. But the show’s exploration of fate and chance seldom rises above hollow sentimentality. Though If/Then is headed for a good run on Broadway and could recoup its investment, it could have served itself better with some genuine humanity and poignancy. While composer Tom Kitt’s tunes are pleasant enough — Menzel’s comedic What the F—-? and the powerful ballet Always Starting Over are standouts — his score just does not reach half the glory of his work on Next to Normal, his memorable 2010 Pulitzer winner. If/Then Richard Rodgers Theatre 226 W 46th ST (Between Broadway and 8th)
Tony and Academy Award nominee Toni Collette (The Wild Party) as his wife Jennifer, and the popular TV actor Michael Hall (Dexter) and Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinnie) as the younger couple John and Pony, respectively. We meet Bob and Jennifer and their new neighbors, John and Pony, the suburban couples who have even more in common than their identical homes and their shared last names. As their relationships begin to intertwine, we see through their idyllic fantasies and challenging reali-
ties. The dialogue is often pungent; some
times the wisecracks work, at times they are lost. The pacing is a little problematic in the second half, but on the whole the production sparkles and you come out of the theater wanting to know more about these characters. Director Gold and the superb cast bring out the absurdity, humor and poignancy in Eno’s writing, and though the play offers no neat resolution it ends in a relatively upbeat mood. Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning actorplaywright Letts and director Sam Gold’s (Seminar, Picnic) work shines brightly on Broadway. Though those expecting high tension, sexual trysts, overpowering guilt and gut-wrenching drama may not like this production, for others there is nothing but exhilaration for most part of this show. The Realistic Joneses The Lyceum Theatre 149 West 45th Street. For tickets (212) 239-6200 Telecharge.com
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Kashmir? There’s an app for that who also holds a degree in business management and works in New Delhi,” she says. “They have all been there for me whenever I needed them. They have never held me back from trying new things and have supported all my decisions.” Such unflinching support, she says, goes a long way. It also means she has the liberty to not work full time and focus all her energies on the app, which by all accounts is an all-consuming task. Mehvish updates the contacts every week. This is crucial, she says, for the app to stay relevant and useful. But she refuses to divulge the number of contacts available on Dial Kashmir. When she started out, Mehvish spent weeks scrounging the Internet for databases and numbers of essential services in Jammu & Kashmir. For commercial services, she simply requested businesses to email her their details. “Getting the contact details and classifying them was the greatest challenge,” she says.
Mehvish Mushtaq has made an Android app dedicated to her state Jammu and Kashmir. Abhishek Mande Bhot has the juice
hen she wanted to telephone a cousin’s school some years ago, Mehvish Mushtaq was lost. The school’s Web site was down. She didn’t have a phone book handy and there weren’t any directory services that could help her with it. After considerable search, that included calling up the cousin’s classmates, she finally got the number. Then there were occasions when a hospital’s number wasn’t easy to come by. Each time a situation arose, she would scramble for information. Mehvish stays in Srinagar where information isn’t easy to come by. Telephone numbers and contact details are available, but they remain scattered online. So when as part of an online course on Android application development, Mehvish was required to create an app, she knew just what she wanted to make. “There was an urgent need for an app that made available all the relevant information at one place. When the assignment was handed to me, I thought to myself: ‘Why not make something useful?’” she says. Dial Kashmir lists out everything there is to know about Jammu & Kashmir, from phone numbers and addresses of essential services and tourist attractions to contact details of local business and prayer timings. An update even has a gallery featuring breathtaking photographs of everything from the Char Chinar to the Dal Lake and Kashmir at its glorious best in spring. With this, the 22-year-old has become the first Kashmiri girl to have developed an Android app. It has also made her something of a celebrity not only in Kashmir but also online. A user, Nisar Sofi, gushes about it on the Google Playstore page: ‘This is an awesome application I have ever seen. (I) love this application (...) no words to mention, very interesting and useful.’ But Mehvish still seems to be the girl next door, shy, not very media savvy and a woman of (very) few words. None of her responses go beyond a couple of sentences: How has the feedback to Dial Kashmir been? “Overwhelming!” You are an inspiration to many of us. In what light do you see yourself? “I am humbled... It makes me push harder to achieve
something more.” But sitting behind a computer screen, somewhere in Srinagar, Mehvish has been quietly and patiently chipping away, making the app more user friendly, ironing out the creases, removing the bugs. When you insist on her elaborating on her response about the feedback she has received, Mehvish doesn’t talk about the glittering function in Mumbai where she was recently felicitated. Instead, she recounts the time when someone was able to track down the number of a government official or that other time when someone else was able to contact the municipal corporation to remove a dead animal from the street using her app. Those, she suggests, are the achievements that really matter. Mehvish, who holds an engineering degree in computer science SSM College for Engineering and Technology in Srinagar, credits her family for her achievements. “My mother is a homemaker; my father is a retired Indian forest service officer and my elder brother is an engineer
Every once in a while, Mehvish Mushtaq travels to New Delhi where her brother works. She is struck by the infrastructure in the capital, but refuses to draw any more comparisons between Delhi and Srinagar. She does however say that today’s Kashmir “may not come across to you entirely as what the media depicts.” “It has changed. It is evolving with times. People have changed and so has the situation to a certain extent,” she says. Women, she adds, are now being looked at differently. “The perceptual change has been about the roles women can play both at home and outside,” Mehvish adds. “I guess people realize now that how much homemakers contribute to society or how difficult it is for women to achieve a worklife balance.” But she also admits that “to be able to live a normal life in the face of conflict remains the greatest challenge before young people today. I would not say it’s all picture-perfect here, but people are picking up the pieces to move towards a better future.” That, she says, is what makes her optimistic about the future of Kashmir, a place she says she won’t leave. Even though she refuses to go into the details, she says she plans to start a business and provide employment to the people in the Valley. But for now, Dial Kashmir remains her priority. “I would like to make it a one-stop shop for all information about (Jammu &) Kashmir, enable everyday people to connect better with the government services and just make finding essential information easier. It has to be worked upon,” she says, “It has to be made better.”
India in New York June 20, 2014
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The Week That Was
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
Bihar: Encephalitis claims 25 children in 48 hours The death toll from suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome reached 102, June 16, with 25 more children succumbing to the disease in 48 hours in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts, officials said.
CBI to probe Munde’s death India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has taken over the probe into the death of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gopinath Munde following a road accident in Delhi. Munde, 64, a popular backward class leader from Maharashtra, was on his way to the Indira Gandhi Airport, June 3, when his car was hit by another vehicle. He died of shock and haemorrhage following injuries to his neck and liver. BJP leaders from Maharashtra, including former party president Nitin Gadkari, had sought a CBI inquiry into Munde’s death.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Bhutanese children on his way to the airport in Thimphu, Bhutan.
Minister draws flak for attack on army chief-designate COURTESY: PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU
Modi in the land of happiness Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a two day trip to Bhutan June 15-16. This was his first foreign trip after assuming office last month. During his visit, Modi called on Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and held talks with Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay. Modi declared India’s commitment to good neighbourly relations and sent out a clear message that a ‘strong and prosperous’ India can help smaller countries in the region. He said that change in government will not alter the dynamics of Indo-Bhutan ties, as he vowed to further deepen the relationship through certain new proposals like organising joint sports events between Bhutan and
India’s north eastern states and setting up a Himalaya University for joint research. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi has been invited to watch the final of the soccer World Cup football in Brazil. The invitation was extended by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Modi has to travel to Brazil for a summit of the BRICS countries, to be held between July 15 and 17 in the city of Fortaleza. The World Cup final will be held in Rio de Janeiro July 13. Given the proximity of the two events, the BRICS leaders have been invited by Brazil to the soccer final, the Brazilian Embassy said June 16.
The bitter public feud between Indian Army chiefturned-Minister of State General V K Singh and India’s new Army Chief-designate Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag hit headlines and resonated in Parliament. As the Congress party demanded Singh’s ouster as minister for his tweets against Suhag, Defense Minister Arun Jaitley stepped in and said, ‘As far as government is concerned, appointment is final and the government stands by it.’ When he was army chief, Singh had initiated disciplinary action against Suhag, who was cleared by an internal army enquiry.
Greenpeace a threat to India’s development: Intelligence Bureau report A report by India’s Intelligence Bureau has called Greenpeace ‘a threat’ to the cuntry’s ‘national economic security.’ According to the The Indian Express the IB report — on foreign-funded non-governmental organizations negatively impacting economic development in the country — said Greenpeace’s funds ‘cleverly disguised’ as donations for issues like human rights were instead used for funding protests to stall developmental projects. The newspaper also reported that the IB reported copy-pasted chunks from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign speeches. Civil society activists slammed the IB report. India Abroad has learned that the Indian government has decided to send notices to at least 105 NGOs for diverting foreign funds.
Pune techie murder: Hindu Rashtra Sena chief arrested Self-styled chief of Hindu Rashtra Sena Dhananjay Desai was arrested June 10 for his alleged involvement in the June 2 murder of an information technology professional in Pune. Mohsin Shaikh, 28, was attacked by a violent mob following the appearance of an objectionable Facebook post denigrating Maratha king Shivaji and Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray. Prime Minister Modi with Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, left, and his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
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The Week That Was
INDIA IN NEW YORK JUNE 20, 2014
f PAGE 24
6 killed, 34 injured in Chhattisgarh steel plant gas leak Six people were killed and over 30 fell ill when poisonous gas leaked at Steel Authority of India’s Bhilai Plant in Chhattisgarh June 12.
Goa legislators’ World Cup junket scrapped After their proposed government-funded trip to Brazil to watch the soccer World Cup became public June 13 and led to a furor, six Goa legislators said they would pick up the tab for the visit themselves, before the state government scrapped the tour. The state sports department had sanctioned $150,000 for the tour.
Taj Mahal to get a ‘facelift’ The Taj Mahal is set to receive a ‘mud-pack treatment’ to restore the natural sheen of the monument, which is yellowing due to high pollution levels. ‘The white marble is yellowing and is losing its sheen. To restore the natural look of the monument the chemical wing of the (Archaeological Survey of India) ASI has started preparations for a mud-pack treatment,’ B M Bhatnagar, archaeologist, ASI, told the Press Trust of India.
Gujarat gets approval to raise height of Narmada dam Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel announced that the state had got the approval to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River to 138.72 metres (455 feet).
‘Heartfelt gratitude from the people of Gujarat to PM Narendra Modi. The decision pending has come so swiftly. Achchhe din aa gaye hain (good days are here)!!,’ she wrote on Twitter. The foundation stone of the dam had been laid by the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961, but the project was embroiled in controversy over issues of displacement of people affected by the dam. Social activist Medha Patkar, who heads the Narmada Bachao Andolan, said the decision was taken in an undemocratic manner.
CIA tipoffs helped thwart Herat attack Five warnings from the Central Intelligence Agency helped authorities defeat the May 23 strike on the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, The Hindu quoted intelligence sources as saying. Indian diplomatic sources told the paper that the CIA’s warnings began to flow in six weeks before the attacks, and led Indo-Tibetan Border Police guards at the consulate to be placed on high alert. The guards were able to shoot dead a terrorist who attempted to scale the mission’s perimeter defences, while others were killed by the Afghan security forces nearby.
Defense projects near China border in the fast lane Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said June 12 that his ministry was working on a policy framework to fast-track green clearance processes for border roads and defense projects in the area up to 62 miles from the Line of Actual Control. The move could give a major boost to India’s new Mountain Strike Corps against China — several elements of which are stuck due to pending environment clearances.
Here comes the rain
Horror stories continue Five cases of violence against women were reported in 36 hours form Uttar Pradesh, last week. A 45-year-old woman’s body was found hanging from a tree in Bahraich district. Five people were arrested after the victim’s son claimed it was an act of vengeance by the culprits, against whom he had filed a complaint for running illicit liquor trade. A 24-year-old woman, who had gone to a police station to secure the release of her husband, was allegedly raped by policemen in Hamirpur district. In Moradabad, the body of a 19-year-old Dalit girl was found hanging from a tree. Family members alleged gang-rape and murder. In Kushinagar, an 18-year-old girl was allegedly raped at knife point and dumped in a pond. Villagers found her and took her to a local hospital. Her condition was said to be critical. In Sitapur district, a 20-year-old girl was raped by an autorickshaw driver and his friends. Meanwhile, A 25-year-old woman was raped by three men in a car in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, area June 12, police said. In Jaipur, a 30-year-old Malaysian woman was allegedly raped by a business consultant June 7. In Madhya Pradesh, a tribal woman was allegedly gang-raped, June 15, by 10 persons, including her husband, paraded naked and forced to drink urine in front of her minor son following a land dispute. After the woman lodged a complaint in which she alleged that the attack was carried out at the behest of her husband, all the accused were nabbed, police said.
Minister summoned in rape case A Jaipur court issued a notice India’s Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Nihal Chand in a November 2011 case, in which a married womanhe has accused him of raping her. The court has sought his response, along with that of 16 others accused in the case.
Rape, and insensitivity ‘Even if the government provided a police official to each house, rapes cannot be stopped. The number of rapes in Maharashtra is far lesser than those in other states. Rise in atrocities against women due to obscene images used in advertisements.’
People get drenched in a large wave during high tide at a sea front in Mumbai, June 15. The south-west monsoon arrived late in India this year, with Kerala experiencing the first showers, June 4, four days later than usual.
— Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil
‘No one commits rape deliberately. It is committed by deceit.’ — Chhattisgarh Home Minister Ramsevak Paikra
‘I admit that the such incidences (rapes) are happening. This is the routine every year… That is why the police, administration, law and order exist.’ — Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police A L Banerjee DANISH SIDDIQUI/REUTERS
India in New York June 20, 2014
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Published on Jun 18, 2014
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