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13 JAN2017 Vol. 8 • Issue 41

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13 January 2017 |

Entries now open for the Kiwi Indian Honours ¡¡ SWATI SHARMA



Call 0800 425 624 or Visit




he biggest honours of the Indian community in New Zealand have already set a benchmark with crème de la crème of the country attending the annual gala to honour the achievers from the community. As the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame turns five this year, we now announce the entries open for the three categories—Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame, Kiwi Indian Young Achiever of the Year, and Kiwi Indian Unsung Hero of the Year, for year 2017. Every year, Indian Weekender acknowledges the achievements of the Kiwi-Indians who have become a face in the crowd. The Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame is an endeavour to recognise individuals in the Indian community and honour those who have enriched and enhanced, not just our own community, but the community at large, through their work and achievements. Apart from being the most prestigious honour of the Kiwi Indian community, this award is testimony to an undeniable recognition of an individual’s contribution to their field, be it politics, business, sports, art, culture or any other. The former recipients of the award that was launched in 2013 were MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (2013), Judge Dr Ajit Swaran Singh (2014), Dr Kantilal Naranji Patel (2015) and Dr C.S. Benjamin (2016). The Kiwi Indian Young Achiever of the Year award recognises a young Kiwi-Indian (aged between 16 to 35) who has done exceptionally well in his/her field of work. The award was

launched in 2015 and was bestowed upon DJ Charlie aka Prerna Singh in 2015, and neuroscientist Dr Malvindar Singh-Bains in 2016. The Kiwi Indian Unsung Hero of the Year is dedicated to individuals who contribute immensely towards the society but have not been recognised for their efforts. They are the masked heroes of the society who have dedicated their entire life to the serve our community. This award was also launched in 2015 and was bestowed upon Mr Pravin Patel in 2015 for his service to the community and Mr Ramesh Patel in 2016 for his contribution to the New Zealand Hockey team. So, if you have someone in your mind who fits any of the above three categories, then send in their nominations for the biggest awards of the Kiwi Indian community. The nomination form can be found on page 17. Just fill it in and post it on the given address. Or visit www.iwk. nz or and submit the nomination online.

Aamir Khan seen at Auckland airport, creates buzz on social media ¡¡ SANDEEP SINGH




call 0800 425 624 or visit

f the release of Aamir Khan’s muchawaited movie Dangal right at the beginning of Christmas holidays was not enough to excite his fans in New Zealand, he decided to appear in Auckland just before the official end of the holiday period. However, just like his movies, his entry in Auckland airport and further movements in this beautiful country has kept his fans thinking. Aamir Khan is known for making the most thought-provoking and entertaining films in Bollywood. His movies such as Lagaan, Rang de Basanti, Tare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots, PK and the latest sports drama Dangal have always compelled moviegoers to think long after leaving the theatre. Few would have expected to be caught up thinking about his whereabouts in New Zealand on social media. This Bollywood star never fails to mesmerise his fans in whatever he does, whether in reel life or in real life. Surely, Bollywood stars do travel privately, avoiding paparazzi, but rarely do they manage to escape the watchful gaze of their fans all over the world with this aplomb as done by Aamir Khan in Auckland. Apparently, only one picture has emerged so far on social media as posted by one of his fans, Nasir Khan, on January 8 soon after bumping into the acclaimed actor at the Auckland airport. Unless all other fans possibly present at the airport or later are subconsciously holding tight their selfies with the star. Nevertheless, social media was full of buzz around Aamir Khan’s presence in Auckland including on Indian Weekender’s social media post. One fan Hurfish Mehta posted: “Welcome Aamir Khan to our beautiful city.” While others seem to be enjoying the speculation drive going on social media in locating the Bollywood star in New Zealand. Mohammed Zeeshan commented: “Ab dangal

Aamir Khan

hoga Amir Khan ko dhund ne ka,” (implying, now there will be a struggle to locate Aamir Khan). Meanwhile, some other fans took the guesswork in social media to another level. Shane Sohal posted: “Contacted Star Taxi Group for transportation. He is in Town for real.” Sanil Siwan appeared confident while commenting: “He is in Papatoetoe at the moment. Tomorrow will be in Food for Less in Otahuhu.” Undoubtedly, the ingenuity and creativity displayed by Aamir Khan’s fan on social media matched their hero’s creativity on the screen. Indian Weekender has been trying to get access to the Bollywood superstar through various avenues, including following a lead that he was staying at Pullman Hotel in Auckland CBD to no result so far. Until Aamir Khan does a PK on all of us and appears again at a location and timing of his choice and convenience, it is okay to leave him alone to enjoy this beautiful country of ours.

NEW ZEALAND | 13 January 2017

Ranjna Patel

awarded Officer of the NZ Order of Merit 2017 ¡¡ SANDEEP SINGH


anjna Patel added another laurel to her long list of accolades received for service to the Indian community in New Zealand when she was awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the recently announced New Year Honours List. She was awarded in recognition of her services to health and the Indian community Mrs Patel, QSM, JP, was the only Kiwi-Indian to be included in this year’s honours list. The name Ranjna Patel does not need much introduction in the community. Her name is often heard in conjunction with her equally popular and service-oriented, visionary and entrepreneur husband Dr Kantilal Naranji Patel, who has received many awards and community recognition including Indian Weekender’s Hall of Fame award in 2016. However, both have individual strong personalities, passion, and commitment to the community, which is a source of inspiration for many in the community and beyond. Today, it’s Mrs Patel who deserves undiluted accolades and recognition for what she has contributed so far to the health sector in general and the Indian community in particular. Mrs Patel has been the driving force behind the expansion of Nirvana Health Group, one of New Zealand’s largest primary health networks, which she and her husband started as a sole GP practice in 1977. The Nirvana Health Group now serves as an umbrella company for more than 30 medical clinics servicing 190,000 registered patients from predominantly lower socio-economic communities. Mrs Patel sits on numerous advisory boards including Lotteries, MIT South Asian Advisory, and NZ Asian Leaders Group.


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She was the first women president of Manukau Indian Association from 2010 to 2012 and has been a member of the executive committee of the New Zealand Indian Central Association. She chaired the South Asian Leadership Group and is a member of the Counties Manukau South Asian Police Advisory Board, Commissioner’s Ethnic Focus Forum, the Middlemore Foundation Board, Kootuitui ki Papakura Trust, and Global Women. She has held ministerial appointments to the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women and the Lottery Auckland Distribution Committee. Mrs Patel is a Trustee of International Swaminarayan Satsang Organisation (ISSO) and ISSO Seva, which provides programmes for seniors, youth, and the community. Recently, she has taken an active role in early intervention for family violence prevention, working closely with New Zealand Police on a unique project called Ghandi Nivas, which offers counselling and temporary accommodation for family violence perpetrators. A total of 192 Kiwis were on this New Year’s Honours list, representing all sectors of the society—business, arts, charity, entertainment, law enforcement, judiciary, sport, culture, tourism, education, community, and agriculture and farming. Of those, 75 were women and 117 men.

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13 January 2017 |

Robbers target dairy owners during holidays A ¡¡ RIZWAN MOHAMMAD

spate of aggravated robberies, burglaries, and assaults occurred during the Christmas and New Year holiday period in different parts of New Zealand. At least 10 robberies and assaults and five burglaries were reported in Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Whangarei, Wellington, Upper Hutt, Nelson, Waikato, and Hastings. NZ Police, through different media, warned residents and retail shop owners to be alert and report any suspicious activities in their area. By default, the street corner dairy stores were the easiest targets for the offenders where they assaulted them with weapons for cash and cigarettes.

Devyish Dairy: Offender chased with a broomstick

Devyish Dairy, Kilbirnie, Wellington


n Friday, January 6, a man entered Devyish Superette in Kilbirnie, Wellington with a handgun demanding money from the counter. The offender described as a thin Caucasian man in his mid-20s, approximately 1.70 metres tall, and carrying a bag, wore a hi-vis orange jacket, carried a gun and fired a bullet into the ceiling of the store while demanding the money. “He rushed in the store shouting ‘money, money, money’ before firing the gun at the roof,” owner of the store Bharati Gandhi said. The incident occurred at around 1:20 p.m. when Ms Bharati, 52, was talking to her 17-year-old daughter behind the counter. The offender jumped onto the counter and pulled as much cash as he could and started running when Ms Bharati grabbed a broomstick and whacked the offender on his head. “The moment I got the opportunity, I picked the long broomstick from the corner and hit him on the head, and he almost fell on the ground but managed to escape,” she said. CCTV footage showed that the man had earlier popped in the store examining the place and pretending to be a customer, went out only to return later prepared to rob. The man snatched $100 from the counter and managed to escape even after being hit by the broomstick. Ms Bharati has owned the dairy for 22 years, lives with her husband and three children in Kilbirnie and this was the first time she experienced such an incident. “My daughter and I are beyond terrified, although we bravely chased off the offender,” she said. Ms Bharati and her daughter were unhurt, and no other damages were done to the store. The police took Ms Bharati and her daughter away in the car for support and assistance while some police officers guarded the dairy store for much of the afternoon. Ms Bharati’s son stayed with her in the store on Saturday, January 8, when it reopened for business. The police is investigating the incident, and the offender is still at large.

Duke Street Dairy, Hastings: Offender wields axe to threaten store owner

Paramjeet Singh with his son at Duke Street Dairy


man has attacked a dairy store owner after an argument over a loaf of bread in Hastings. Paramjit Singh, the dairy owner suffered from a bruised forehead and eyes after being repeatedly hit several by

a shop raider at Duke Street Bakery on Wednesday, January 4 around 5 p.m. According to Mr Singh, the offender’s 14-year-old son took a loaf of bread from the store and returned a few minutes later with the crushed packet. Mr Singh protested that the bread he gave earlier was fresh and perfectly fine and he cannot replace it with another packet. The boy threatened to get his father to sort the issue. “‘Do you know who I am?’ the boy angrily said [as he] stormed out of the store,” Mr Singh said. The boy’s father turned up at the store a little later, grabbed several bread packets from the back of the store and was going out when Mr Singh protested. The man fiercely punched Mr Singh on his forehead in front of his wife and children present in the store. Mr Singh received grievous bruises on his face and both of his eyes. “He had a handful of bread packets, and as soon as I tried to stop him, he threw punches on me,” Mr Singh said. The man and his family were customers of the store and Mr Singh had often helped them with bread and milk on credit and during difficult times had offered it for free. “He lives a few houses from here, and he and his family members would often come to the store saying we will pay you later or take my car and give me the bread and milk and he would ask for cigarettes at times,” Mr Singh said. Mr Singh’s family members tried to stop him from hitting him and chased him out of the store with a stick. However, the dispute was not over. A few minutes later, the offender’s 26-year-old partner came to the store wielding an axe from the door, threatening to hurt him further. The female was arrested later in the evening and appeared in Hastings District Court on Monday, January 9. According to reports, she pleaded guilty of the crime and has been given a restraining order, to stay at least 100 metres away from Mr Singh’s family and the dairy store.

Bader Street Mini Mart, Hamilton: Brazen daylight axe-wielding in a dairy shop

Twin Waikato robberies on same day, police suspect both are related

Rototuna Food Mart, Hamilton


wo men armed with a kitchen knife robbed Rototuna Food Mart, off Hukanui Road in Hamilton at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, January 2, 2017. Nimish Patel, 21, was at the counter with his friend when the incident happened. The offenders were reported to be of Pacific-island descent and managed to take away cash and expensive cigarettes at knife point. Both offenders were wearing hoodies and sunglasses and threatened to stab the attendant if protested. The offenders took 40 packets of cigarettes, and electronic and vapour cigarettes as well. Mr Patel, who has been living in New Zealand for two years, started working at the store two months back. His friend Manan Chachra often visits the store to help him in the afternoon. Both Mr Patel and his friend are in shock after the incident. The offenders came in a White Toyota Coroner and sped away after taking the money. The store was earlier robbed in August 2015, and owner Rupan Patel had then wrestled with the offender who was armed with a gun. Another robbery occurred at Mill Pricecutter Dairy in Ngaruawahia (Waikato) at 11:15 a.m. earlier on the same day (Monday, January 2) and the police is investigating if both the incidents are related. This dairy also became the target for the second time in 14 months and offenders got away with cash and cigarettes from the elderly couple present at the store. The police is investigating the incident, and no one has been arrested yet.

Manaia Dairy in Tokoroa

Manaia St Dairy, Tokorua

P Bader Street Mini Mart, Hamilton


wo offenders armed with an axe and a crowbar entered the Bader Street Mini Mart in Hamilton on Thursday, December 29, 2016, just after 7 p.m. and robbed the store of cash and cigarettes. Kultar Singh, 21, was at the store counter and confronted the robbers who threatened to harm him with the axe. The robbers climbed on the till and took main cash counter and the Lotto counter and also took away packets of cigarettes from the rack behind the counter. The owner of the dairy Jaspreet Singh was away with his family to a nearby garden when the incident happened. “They knew our shop properly, as one of them ran to the store room and disconnected the cables of the CCTV camera. He also destroyed the camera so that he cannot be identified,” Jaspreet Singh said. “He demanded the keys of the safe in the store room. I said I am not the owner, I don’t have it,” attendant Kultar Singh said. Jaspreet Singh’s brother, Tarageet Singh who owns the liquor store next door alarmed by a customer came running into the store with a hockey stick. He too was chased off by the offending wielding axe on him. A customer, on realising the circumstances, blocked the offender’s car in the angular parking. The offenders, however, crashed his car while reversing, climbed the footpath, rammed into a store next door, and council dustbin on the footpath corner and managed to escape the scene. A few other bystanders alarmed the stores nearby that house near 15 different convenient stores and another customer of the store chased the offenders until they disappeared from the road. The car was later found abandoned in a driveway near Montgomery Crescent, and the police is investigating the incident. The 21-year-old store attendant is petrified and is receiving support from the community. The offenders are still at large and yet to be arrested.

olice is looking for a medium built woman who robbed Manaia dairy in Tokoroa, Waikato on Tuesday, December 27 at around 5 p.m. The offender brandished a knife at the counter and took some items from the counter. She was chased by the store attendant before she escaped from the locality. The woman wore a dark blue Adidas hoodie with gold stripes down the sleeves, and black tights and is absconding. When Indian Weekender tried contacting store owners, they declined to reveal the names of store attendants or other details related to the incident.

Mobil Petrol Station, Nelson


man armed with a knife entered Mobil Petrol Station in Tahunanui in Nelson on Tuesday, January 3, around 3 a.m. demanding cash and cigarettes from the attendant. The attendant, as trained, activated the panic alarm that filled the store with fog smoke and the offender was unable to steal anything. Shortly, the offender left the store and was last seen walking around Tahunanui Drive. The petrol station attendant was unhurt, and there was no loss of property as well. The offender is still absconding.

Night ‘n Day Dairy, Nelson


man armed with a machetestyle knife entered Night ‘n Day dairy store in Stoke, Nelson on Sunday, December 25, at 10.25 p.m. and robbed cash and cigarettes from the counter. The female attendant at the store was threatened with the knife but was left unhurt. The man was arrested four days later, and he appeared in Nelson District Court.

Offender on CCTV camera of Mobile Petrol Station in Tahunanui | 13 January 2017

Community comes forward to support Hardeep’s family ¡¡ SWATI SHARMA


he year gone by ended on a devastating note for the family of Hardeep Singh Deol. The 25-year-old boy was stabbed on Christmas day at a property on Cashmere Road, Christchurch and died a day later on December 26, 2016. A 22-year-old woman, who has been granted name suppression, has been charged with the murder of the boy and appeared in court on December 27. One of the friends, Indian Weekender spoke to, had earlier confirmed that the woman, who was in a relationship with Mr Deol, had accepted hurting him, the motive of which is still unknown. The woman is now in police custody and will next appear in High Court on February 3. Mr Doel hailed from the Rania town of Sirsa district in Haryana, India and came to New Zealand to study hotel management in 2014 after completing his B Tech from a private college in Malout, India. He was on a work visa and had started working as a pivot builder at Precise Water Services in Christchurch in early November. Mr Deol’s boss was shocked at the incident and said that he was a “gentle soul”. “This is just a horrific bolt out of the blue. “Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about his personal life, but all we saw was a guy who was very upbeat, kind, and struck us as a good, honest bloke and came across as a gentle soul,” Managing Director of Precise Water Services Mike Barnett was quoted as saying by Mr Deol’s family in India was unaware of his relation with the woman. However, his friend in Christchurch said that he knew the girl for

Hardeep Singh Deol

past 15–20 days. He had told his family that he has Christmas vacation for 15 days starting December 25, the day he was stabbed. His family, who had no means to get his body back to India, was devastated after hearing the news. After the news was shared on social media by Indian Weekender and some of Mr Deol’s friends, the Indian community came forward to support the family back in India. Many have contributed towards providing financial aid for by Mr Deol’s family. A Sikh organisation Deg Tegh Fateh Sikh Society Inc. Christchurch that has been collecting funds—updated on Facebook that by January 12, they had received $16,808.43, which will be transferred to his father’s account in India. Minister of External Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj and Indian High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli extended their condolences to the grieving family. All the expenses to fly the body back to India on Friday, January 6 were borne by the Indian High Commission in New Zealand.

Tragic Fire deaths bring grief in Sri Lankan community in Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Joanna Mackenzie



hree generations of the family of a prominent Sri Lankan humanitarian lawyer had died in a fire incident in their home in South Auckland just before Christmas on December 22. The father Kailesh Thanabalasingham who was critically injured still remains in a medically induced coma and may not be aware that he had lost his five-year-old son, wife, and mother in law. Bhamini Theiventhiran, 39, died alongside her five-year-old son Bareth Kailesh, and 65-year-old mother, Umadhevi Theiventhiran when the family home in Flat Bush went up in flames on early hours of December 22. His 11-year-old daughter and 69-year-old father in law were the two other survivors on that fateful day. The father missed the funeral for his wife, son and mother-in-law held on January 5, at a joint service at Manukau Memorial Gardens in South Auckland.

Mr Thanabalasingham is currently an executive officer of the Refugee Council of New Zealand and has dedicated his life in this country helping the most vulnerable new citizens. He was a pillar of the Sri Lankan and wider ethnic communities, and the news of the tragedy had left everyone stunned. His father in law who has come all the way from Canada to celebrate Christmas which went horribly wrong, remains in shock and is struggling hard to console his granddaughter. Extended family members have arrived in Auckland, supporting the daughter and fatherin-law duo following the tragedy, along with looking after the unconscious father. The Sri Lankan community is in deep shock and grief since this fateful incident. Fire investigators are completing a report on the tragedy, which will be provided to police and to the Coroner. Police had issued a statement that the fire was not being treated as suspicious.





13 January 2017 |

Bihar Assembly Speaker visits NZ ¡¡ IWK BUREAU


ust before going into Christmas and New Year holidays last year, Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary visited Auckland as part of his study tour to New Zealand from December 23 to 26. The study tour organised during the Christmas holiday period was a part of an official tour to study skilled development, culture, environment, and New Zealand’s law and order. Bihar is the largest producer of vegetables and the second-largest producer of fruits in India. Despite a high growth rate, the state is often termed as BIMARU (sick) and ranks at the lowest strata of the per capita income, which is INR 5,772 as compared to the all-India average of INR 23,946. It is estimated that eight times of the population of New Zealand live below poverty line in the state on less than one dollar day. Even Chief Minister Nitish Kumar agrees that the biggest issue confronting the state is a high level of corruption. Mr Chaudhary, a veteran former Congress politician, joined Janta Dal United (JDU) in 2005 and was elected the Speaker of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. He previously severed as Leader of JDU party in Bihar Legislative Assembly and the Minister of Water Resources, Agriculture, Animal and Fish Resources and Information & Public Relations Department in the Bihar Cabinet under Mr Kumar. Mr Chaudhary has also served as Home Minister and Finance Minister and presented Bihar’s annual budget for 2014–15. The Speaker and his family were given a traditional Indian welcome with tilak and

Leaders of Indian Community with Vijay Kumar Chaudhary at Mahatma Gandhi Centre

garland by the office bearers of the non-resident Bihari diaspora, which includes Bihar Samaj and Foundation’s Auckland chapter. In Auckland, the speaker met the Indian community leaders at Mahatma Gandhi Centre organised by the New Zealand Indian Central Association (NICA), the oldest established Indian organisation in New Zealand. He also attended a dinner meeting hosted by National Party List Member of Parliament Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi. The speaker exchanged views on issues related to Bihar, demonetisation, flood and water resources of the state. In a separate event, Mr Chaudhary also met New Zealand First List MP Mahesh Bindra, along with few local Bihari diaspora and exchanged views on the democratic traditions of New Zealand and current political and economic scenario of present Bihar. Later, the speaker and his family went for sightseeing to Rotorua, the world famous town known for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. After the excursion, Mr Chaudhary left for Sydney on December 26, 2016, on his way back to India.

Muslim Youth wage ‘Jihad against litter’ on Auckland streets ¡¡ IWK BUREAU


group of 30 Muslim youths chose to welcome this New Year in a slightly different manner by deciding to unleash a war against litter on Auckland streets. Starting early at 4 a.m. on January 1, this group of young enthusiasts gathered in the largest purpose-built mosque in New Zealand, Masjid Baitul Muqeet, located in Manukau and continued to work until early afternoon. The group, armed with litter pickers, brooms, dustpans, and garbage bags embarked upon their Jihad against litter on Auckland streets. Their mission was to strive to liberate their communities from rubbish and litter, beautify the parks and beaches, and fulfil their pledge of sacrifice to their country of residence. This mission was a part of a global Jihad against litter organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslims all around the world. All around the world in countries such as Germany, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Indonesia, Australia the USA, the UK, groups of young Muslims gathered during the early hours January 1 at a local Mosque, offered prayers of global peace, and commenced the cleaning drive. The idea behind this mission is to demonstrate Ahmadiyya Muslim’s commitment to their local communities and countries of residence. These groups around the world were hoped to remove the negativity that surrounds the term Jihad making people around them aware of its true meaning. Jihad literally means to ‘struggle’ or ‘strive’. Jihad is to strive to reform one’s self, morally and spiritually, to strive to establish peace in the world according to the true Islamic teachings. Jihad, for this group of Muslims, also stood for fighting the negative image presented by some extremists. Azeem Zafarullah, a young professional who also serves as the president of the Ahmadiyya

Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth volunteers cleaning the streets on the New Year day

Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) in New Zealand, said that cleaning the streets was the Muslim way to welcome the New Year. He added, “Loving one’s country of residence is part of the Muslim faith. New Year Day is a day when we see lots of festive waste, so we decided the best way to love the country at this time would be to do litter picking.” Mr Zafarullah further emphasised, “Regular attendance at the mosque and engagement in our charitable work and community service allows the youth to see and experience the peaceful and pluralistic teachings of Islam. They become integrated into society, and it becomes impossible for them to be influenced by extremist clerics.” So while we may hear of the violent actions of the so-called Muslim extremists around the world, that there is a Muslim community waging their peaceful Jihad under the banner of ‘Love for All Hatred for None’.

New Zealand People’s Party announces candidate for Mt Albert by-election ¡¡ SANDEEP SINGH


t Albert electorate will have some more choices in the forthcoming byelection in February this year with New Zealand People’s Party (NZPP) announcing their candidate. NZPP has shortlisted Vin Tomar, a registered early childhood teacher and real estate agent and a practising licensed immigration adviser as their candidate in the by-election necessitated by Labour’s David Shearer’s resignation for a top UN job in South Sudan. NZPP is the country’s only political party that seeks the exclusive support of immigrant Indians and Asians. It was formed in August last year with the main focus on law and order. Roshan Nauhriya, founder and president of the party, speaking with Indian Weekender immediately after announcing their party’s candidate on Boxing Day, reiterated that “we are committed to building our party and fight every by-election before the next year’s general election.” Given the fact that Mt Albert, like Mt Roskill, is also a diverse electorate with large numbers of Indian and Asian immigrant residents, it is an expectation within the party that it will gain significant traction in the by-election. An inner-city electorate in urban Auckland, Mt Albert includes the suburbs of Pt Chevalier, Grey Lynn, Westmere, Owairaka, Mt Albert, and parts of Sandringham and Kingsland. The Mt Albert electorate will see 31.6 per cent residents born overseas as compared to around 45 per cent in the Mt Roskill electorate, where by-election was held on December 3 last year.

NZPP candidate for Mt Albert by-election Vin Tomar

Although Mt Roskill was not a big success for NZPP, Mr Nauhria says these by-elections are helping the party build the required momentum for the 2017 general elections. Earlier, National Party had chosen to give Mt Albert by-election a miss citing reasons of eyeing on general elections ahead in late 2017 and the fact that Mt Albert was a “Labour-safe” seat anyways. Labour Party had strongly criticised this National tactic by saying that the party was “running-scared.” Labour deputy leader Annette King had described Prime Minister Bill English’s decision as “gutless”, saying her party wanted to have a proper discussion in Mt Albert about the issues that mattered to voters. “English is running scared from his first test as a leader. He clearly doesn’t want another bloody nose after the Mt Roskill defeat,” Ms King had

then said. Jacinda Adern, the Labour Party List MP for Central Auckland has put her name forward to stand for the party. It is highly likely that the Labour will nominate Ms Adern as their candidate for the electorate. The Green Party with whom the Labour party have the understanding to work together towards next general elections in 2017 is also to stand a candidate for the by-election for the reasons that it wants to give options to Mt Albert electorate. Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the Party was committed to standing a candidate in Mt Albert, despite the likelihood of a Labour win. Interestingly, Vin Tomar, NZPP’s candidate in Mt Albert by-election was earlier a member of Green Party and had worked in the grass root campaigning of the party from April to November last year.

Apparently, Mr Tomar was disillusioned from Green Party’s memorandum of understanding with the Labour Party, which had resulted in some intra-party changes which he did not want to comment upon and had driven him to resign from the Party and look for other alternative options. On being asked that what was his promise to the electorate of Mt Albert, Mr Tomar asserted,” I will be available for Mt. Albert community 24 by 7. “I am a local and live in Mt Albert suburb. I have personal connections with community as a teacher and one of my agendas will be that [if I am elected] I will not resign as MP for my personal reasons or opportunity like Labour’s MPs have been doing.” Mr Tomar sought to emphasise his community connection with the Mt Albert community through his previous role of an early childhood teacher where he served in the community and got rave reviews from the parents and the community members. He appeared confident of having the ‘connect’ with the community before voting in February. Mindful of the fact that Mt Albert was a traditional Labour seat and the National Party had given a miss to contest the by-election, Mr Tomar reserved his tirade against the Labour Party for leaving the seat almost at their will. “Considering what the Labour Party’s MPs are doing for their personal reasons, I am fully confident that people of Mt Albert electorate would choose someone who is only committed to them,” Mr Tomar said. The Electoral Commission said overseas voting would start on February 8, with advance voting beginning on February 13. The vote is scheduled for Saturday, February 25.

NEW ZEALAND | 13 January 2017

Government of India launches

AIRSEWA portal


n a move that can delight all inbound travellers to India, especially Non-Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin, the Government of India is planning to launch a single platform AIRSEWA service which aims to provide all travel related service on one single platform. The Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, has brought all the stakeholders in the aviation sector, including airlines, airport security, immigration, DGCA and others together on a single platform so that any passenger can get their concern or grievances addressed in a time-bound manner. The planners behind this recent initiative are trying to exhaustively cover all issues on which a passenger can face any inconvenience, or requires information or guidance while planning for, during, or on completion of the journey. More than 200 nodal officers have been identified and trained in the overall aviation

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, has brought all the stakeholders in the aviation sector, including airlines, airport security, immigration, DGCA and others together on a single platform ecosystem for quality disposal of grievances received on AIRSEWA. It also incorporates the additional functionality of providing real-time status of flights and the various passenger services available at various airports, including ways to avail the same. AIRSEWA can be accessed through its mobile application on both Android and IOS platforms, and also through its web portal-www.

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Last date for conversion of PIO card to OCI card extended


he Government of India has decided to extend the date for submission of the application for registration as OCI card holder by the erstwhile PIO cardholders until June 30, 2017. Earlier there was a deadline until December 31, 2016, which apparently could not be utilised by many people. Indian High Commission encourages everyone to maximise the benefit of this extension and get lodge the application at the earliest. The conversion of PIO cards into OCI cards will be done free-of-charge (gratis) for applications submitted until June 30, 2017. It is important to note that the PIO Card scheme has been withdrawn vide Gazette Notification No.25024/9/2014F.I dated 09.01.2015. Henceforth, applicants may apply for OCI card ONLY, as PIO card scheme is no longer in existence.

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The last date for submission of applications for registration as OCI card holder in lieu of the PIO card online has been extended until June 30, 2017. A separate online application form for submission of an application for registration as OCI card holder in lieu of PIO card is available in the website capchaActionPIO. All the existing PIO card holders are urged to apply urgently for conversion of PIO to OCI.



13 January 2017 |


News-in-brief from South Island


The twin-wonder of Nelson, or the National World of WearableArt (WOW), and Classic Cars Museum has displayed two award-winning garments from India in its permanent collection ¡¡ GAURAV SHARMA


ince 2001, visitors from around the globe have been treated to the “twin-wonders” of Nelson in the form of the World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum. Displaying one of Australasia’s largest private collections of vintage cars, visitors here in the museum are also treated to more than 70 World of WearableArt garments. In this, designers create their garments for categories ranging from wearable art for children to breathtaking Avant Garde and open section garments, wearable art inspired by flora, fauna, and the cultures of the South Pacific, and garments aiming for recognition in creative excellence, costume, and film, Man Unleashed and the bizarre bra categories, inform the museum curators. Interestingly, in its permanent historical collection, from among hundreds of entries that arrive in Nelson every autumn, WOW has displayed two from India. One is the garment named, The Weaver Finch Colony, which had won the WOWFactor Award in the open section in 2007. Created by N P Jayaraj with coconut and banana fibres, bamboo, cotton, fusing, and rexine lining, the garment is inspired by the process of weaver bird building its nest. Another is called Jantar Mantar created by Khadimul Islam, which received an honourable mention in

The National World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum in Nelson

the bizarre bra section in 2012. Made from iron, plastic, and reflective sheets, the garment got its name from the Sanskrit word Yantra Mantra meaning instruments and formulae or literally, ‘Magical Device’, noted Mr Islam. The entire exhibition changes in April and November each year, and the annual highlight that every designer looks forward to is the spectacular and highly-theatrical WOW performances held in Wellington every spring. The event—WOW Awards Show—started in Nelson in 1987 with a single evening show in a country cottage. Now it has grown so much that last year, designers from 40 countries entered garments in the competition with finalists from 14 being selected to appear on stage. Here too, two entries from India made it to the list of eventual winners. Mai (I) by Pritam Singh and Vishnu Ramesh from Gujarat won the spyglass creative excellence section,

The Weaver Finch Colony by N P Jayaraj displayed at WOW

while Heritage Rocks by Shantanu Singh was the runner-up in the first time entrant category.

Jantar Mantar by Khadimul Islam displayed at WOW

Christchurch lohri focuses on women empowerment ¡¡ GAURAV SHARMA

based singer Gurinder Mann treating audiences to some traditional Punjabi ore than 400 people boliyan and folk songs. attended the lohri Later as the evening warmed up, celebrations organised for the second time in Christchurch, the entire gathering joined the fun this past weekend. An initiative of and danced on the dhol beats and city-based social organisation Indian traditional folk music arranged by DJ Cultural Group (ICG), the event Avi. Prizes for best-dressed male and started with the traditional giddha female in traditional Indian clothing dance and bhangra performances as well to best-dressed children were by ICG’s own dance group called also distributed. The traditional flavour of the Ankhile Punjabi. evening was further accentuated Sandeep Sachdev, President of by the festively appropriate food of ICG, noted, “Our goal this year was to focus on women issues and women sarson da saag with makki ki roti, lassi, cholle kulche, and pani empowerment. That’s why our puri. female members took the Our Overwhelmed lead in preparing as goal this year by the response, well as conducting was to focus on Mr Sachdev this year’s lohri. women issues and concluded, “We “To follow it women empowerment. have succeeded up, our member That’s why our female in making a Nimmi Bedi will members took the lead small part of be starting an Christchurch in preparing as well as informal coffee resemble mini conducting this club soon where Punjab and year’s lohri. Indian and South Haryana for an Asian women can come entire evening. Next on and discuss their issues in a cards is the uttarayan makar comforting environment.” sankranti kite-flying festival, which Meanwhile, in a bid to give some is being organised by the ICG on encouragement to local talent, the January 14, at Halswell Domain in event also featured a ChristchurchChristchurch. And all are invited.”


Lohri celebrations in Christchurch

NEW ZEALAND | 13 January 2017

Auckland witnesses talent of ‘Future Maestros’


(Above) A group of girls performing shabad at the event (inset) Managing director of RSIM Manjit Singh



bout 90 students participated in the recently held Future Maestros—an event dedicated to showcasing the talent of young children in Indian music and culture. Organised by Rhythm School of Indian Music (RSIM) on December 18, the show featured young artists from New Zealand, India, and Canada who gave spectacular performances that included classical vocal, devotional music, Sufi music, and group tabla. Vocal performance by Manjali Sharma and tabla trio performance by Gurpreet Singh, Vinayak Dev, and Vipul Dev were highly appreciated by the audience. The students of Amrit Indo-Canadian Academy came especially for the show along with their teacher Harsharan Kaur from Punjab, India, and gave a group shabad (hymns from Guru Granth Sahib) and tabla performance.

The s h o w a l s o featured the young tabla master from Punjab Rabab Singh, son and disciple of famous tabla master Kulwinder Singh (disciple of legendary Ustad Alla Rakha Khan).   Each participant was awarded a shopping gift voucher as a token of appreciation for participation. Future Maestros was started by RSIM in 2012. The school was initiated by Manjit Singh—a musician and qualified music teacher from India—and his wife Daljeet Kaur in 2008. It serves the multicultural society of South Auckland with an objective to spread awareness about Indian music and culture in the diverse community of Aotearoa. More than 100 students are enrolled in the school.

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13 January 2017 |

Lo aa gayi ¡¡ SWATI SHARMA

“Sundar Mundariye, tera kaun vichara, Dulla Bhatti wala…lohri vai lohri de mai lohri”


f you have lived in North India, especially Punjab, songs such as this would have been quite common after the new year rolls in and people get ready for the first festival of the year in the country known as the country of festivals. The sweet aroma of gud-til ke laddu, moongfali (peanuts), rewdi, and gachak makes you nostalgic and take you back to the good old childhood memories related to the festival. Young kids used to start visiting every house in the street weeks before the festival and sing cheerful Lohri songs, some of which we still remember, and

would get Lohri treats from every household. But if you are too lazy to go out and give them treats, they’ll still sing songs but the ones you won’t be happy to hear; songs such as hukka vai hukka, eh ghar bhukha (meaning the people of this house are moneygrubber). And on the day of Lohri, you start getting ready and preparing for the evening. I remember collecting wood logs from nearby areas with my younger brother to create a bonfire. Waiting for the tempting sarso ka saag (curry made of mustard leaves) and makki ki roti (corn flour bread) along with gud-chawal (jaggary rice) after the puja was a tough task in itself.

All these memories make me nostalgic of one of my favourite festivals of Punjab, and I am sure many who have grown up in North India would feel the same. But now here we are, thousands of miles away from our birth land. You wouldn’t find kids knocking on your door, singing songs and asking for treats. But the good news is that recently some of the temples and cultural associations have started celebrating this festival to re-live the memories of Lohri. If you are looking for a place to celebrate Lohri in a traditional way, head to Bhartiya Mandir on Balmoral Road on Friday, January 13 from 7 to 8 p.m. The celebration will be followed by mahaprasadam.

BHARATIYA MANDIR 252-254 Balmoral Rd., Mt. Albert, Auckland Ph: 09 846 2677

LOHRI Celebrations Evening


History Lohri has many stories of its origin. However, it is mainly believed to be a cultural celebration after the winter solstice—the longest night of the year. It is believed that daylight starts increasing after Lohri. Other popular associations to the festival are—harvesting of rabi crop in Punjab region, beginning of the financial new year for Punjabi farmers, and more popularly, the tale of Dulla Bhatti. Dulla Bhatti, also referred as the Robin Hood of Punjab, was a rebel who robbed rich to help poor people and rescued girls who were enslaved in the Mughal empire. He arranged their marriages and provided a dowry for them. He is regarded as a hero in the state. The most popular Lohri song has his reference and many believe that the festival is dedicated to him.

On the day of Lohri, people in Punjab light a bonfire in front of their house and sing songs. Family and friends get together, sing prayers, and encircle the bonfire while offering peanuts, rewdi, and sesame seeds to the fire. Lohri coincides with other festivals that are celebrated in different parts of India such as Pongal, Bihu, Makar Sankranti and Bhogi.

Celebrating the harvest


ther festivals that are celebrated in different parts of India such as Pongal, Bihu, Makar Sankranti, and Bhogi.



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When: Friday, 13th January 2017 Pragramme: Aarti - 7.00pm to 7.45pm Lohri Pujan 7.45pm to 8.00pm Mahaprasad from 8.00pm to 9.00pm FOR ANY ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT : ACHARYA SHRI UPENDRA BHAI JOSHI JI OR PT. GOVINDJI ON 09-8462677 OR RAVIN KOTAK (RELIGIOUS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN) ON 09-3911190

ongal or Thai Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival and is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamilians. It is mainly celebrated to convey the appreciation to the sun god for providing energy for agriculture. The first rise of season is boiled and consecrated to the sun as a part of the celebration, called Surya Maangalyam. The four-day festival usually starts on January 14 and marks the start of sun’s northwards journey known as Uttaraayanam. The festival is believed to be originated more than 2000 years ago. Pongal dish—a sweet dish made from rice, milk, jaggery, cardamom, raising, split green gram and cashew nuts—is an important part of the festival and is cooked in sunlight, the dish being dedicated to the sun god.



ihu or Magh Bihu is also a harvest festival celebrated in Assam and marks the end of the harvesting season in the Hindu month of Maagha. The week-long celebration starts on the day of Makar

Sankranti and includes feasts and bonfires. People build huts (called meji) from bamboo, leaves, and thatch. Meals prepared for the feast are eaten inside the hut, which is burnt down the next morning. Traditional Assamese games such as buffalo fighting and pot-breaking (tekeli bhonga) are the highlight of the festival. During the festival, Assamese people make cakes of rice and sesame seeds, and coconut sweets.

Makar Sankranti


akar Sankranti or Maaghi is the day when the sun starts to travel towards North marking the decline of winter (in Northern Hemisphere), and the days become longer. It also marks the arrival of spring in India and is celebrated with kite flying in many parts of the country. This is a solar event and hence is one of the few festivals on Hindu calendar that fall on the same date

every year, i.e. January 14. This festival is celebrated in the entire Indian region but with different names in different states. Guru Amar Das, third guru of Sikhs, had chosen Maaghi to be one of the three festivals to be celebrated by Sikhs apart from Vaisakhi and Diwali.



hogi is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh and is a festival where discard old things and replace them with new things. They light a bonfire at dawn with logs of wood, old wooden furniture that is no longer useful, and solid fuels. This is called ‘Rudra Gita Jnana Yagna’, implying that the all old habits, vices, attachment to relations and material things are disposed of in the sacrificial fire of knowledge of Rudra or the roaring god of hunt and storm. Bhogi is celebrated the day preceding Lohri, Thai Pongal and Makar Sankranti.


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13 January 2017 |

Indian-origin female bus drivers

in Auckland buses making community proud T ¡¡ SANDEEP SINGH

o see an Indian origin female bus driver in Auckland’s public transport buses is not a common expectation for many in the community and beyond. Such is the level of surprise and bewilderment within the community that it turns many heads around every time one come across an Indian-origin female bus driver. In fact, this is not unnoticed even among the people who manage Auckland’s vast fleets of public transport buses and struggles every day like any other prospective employer to hire the best available talents suited for the bus driving job. Darek Koper, Regional Operations Manager for NZ Bus, a private operator of Auckland Transport buses affirmed, “NZ Bus employs 1090 bus drivers in Auckland from diverse ethnic groups and 11.7 per cent of them are females. “The female gender is not as well represented in numbers and is not as ethnically diverse as that of their male counterparts.” It is important to note that every culture has their struggles with sexism in accepting bus driving as a regular, safe, and dignified career choice for women. It is only that some societies are bit delayed than others in accepting female bus drivers. The boundaries of tolerance and acceptability have always been pushed by some courageous individuals who choose to defy the prevalent norms of their times in their respective societies. In New Zealand, where women were known to have driven buses since the 1930s, it was not before 1974 when Carole Slater, 21, of Island Bay became the first female bus driver in Wellington. It was closely followed in Christchurch on January 8, 1979, when another female bus driver drove on the streets of Christchurch. The concept of women drivers in public transport buses has largely remained a taboo for the societies of Indian-subcontinent, including India, for obvious reasons of social conservatism. That conservative attitude and cultural attributes are understandably carried across the Kiwi-Indian community in New Zealand, thus making bus driving a challenging career choice for women in the community. As Mr Koper of NZ Bus further opines, “Indian females in particular may still be reluctant to choose bus driving as a career, or their cultural background may be impacting their choices.” However, it is important to the point that winds of change in cultural mindset in India—a place that many people identify as their original home—is already underway in full swing. Way back in 1993, M. Vasanthakumari became India’s— and often reported in local media as Asia’s—first female driver of public transport buses when she was employed by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation in Chennai. Recently, in April 2015, Delhi Transport Corporation, in the state of Delhi, a state infamous for

Parminder Kaur Baghiana starting her first day as a bus driver Baljjit Kaur

these female drivers have a myriad of experiences on Auckland roads like their male co-workers. “I enjoy meeting different people from diverse background every day. “Many people take me for a school-going girl driving their public transport bus and often appear sceptical about my ability to drive them safely to their destination. “Once reaching safely they often thank and encourage me for my work,” Navjot Kaur said gushingly.

Navjot Kaur

What brings you to this career? Like everywhere else in life, their individual passions for pursuing a bus-driver career had different underlying motivations. “I chose this career because of inspiration from my family as my father owns a transport business back in India,” Navjot Kaur says. Parminder Kaur Baghiana also drew inspiration from overseas, but across the Tasman Sea in Australia, New Indian women drivers in rather than from India for her choice NZ Bus fleet of becoming a bus driver. In 2016, NZ Bus has employed “I had seen an Australian video three female bus drivers of showing a turban-clad Sikh woman Indian origin. driving public transport buses in Baljit Kaur was Australia. Since then this idea earliest to start in Who of driving a bus has stuck in February whereas cares about my mind,” Ms Baghiana Navjot Kaur what others think says. and Parminder about our job,” Baljit Kaur who also Kaur Baghiana comes from a family started late in says Baljit Kaur, a owning transport October and sentiment business back in India November last ºresonated by the had probably set her heart year respectively. other two on a driving career for the In fact, longest time. Parminder Baghiana “I had previously wanted to jump was supposed to be on her into courier-driving and truck-driving first day behind the wheels of the jobs but chose not to pursue them for buses when Indian Weekender met these reasons such as long working hours women drivers. and heavy lifting required,” Baljeet All three drivers have been in Kaur says. the country for at least five to six Towards these goals, she had also years before breaking norms and completed her New Zealand Class starting a career as a public transport 2 driving license demonstrating bus driver. her passion towards pursuing a Essentially, this is a story of their driving career. individual courage and passion for “However it was my husband who challenging age-old conventions inspired me finally to consider a busseemingly gripping community’s driving career as an option,” Baljit mindset. Expectedly, Baljit Kaur, further affirmed. one with longest experience in the profession among the three drivers Defying cultural mindset did most of talking with Navjot Kaur Pursuing unconventional career and Parminder Baghiana adding choices especially those defying their passionate inputs intermittently. cultural mindset often requires its conservative attitude towards women, appointed Venkadarath Saritha as the first female bus driver. While the winds of change are blowing everywhere to facilitate more and more Indian origin female bus drivers we bring here real stories of three courageous women who defy traditional cultural mindset every day and drive public transport buses on the Auckland streets.

mental strength and perseverance. All three felt emboldened by sociocultural mindset and opportunities available for girls in New Zealand to pursue a bus-driving career. “The main thing is that how my husband and family feel about our job and luckily they are very supportive. “Who cares about what others think about our job,” says Baljit Kaur, a sentiment resonated by the other two. Experience on Auckland roads The most important part of this job, which is also a key factor in perpetuating age-old traditional mindset around this job, is the exposure to public on city roads without any visible support. To the surprise of many, these three new age Indian-origin women drivers have an alternate view of the nature of their jobs. They see it as a mark of their independence in any work environment. “You are your boss when you are driving, and there is no one around you to tell you what to do and what not to do,” Baljit Kaur says. Despite this independence at the workplace, these women drivers also felt that this job offers a safe and wellsupported work environment. “You are always with passengers and not everyone is simultaneously bad in a given situation. Therefore, for every difficult passenger, there are many helpful and considerate travellers in the bus who promptly comes to your help. “Plus emergency support is just a phone call away.” Armed with confidence that this job offers enough freedom and safety,

Managing everyday conflict at the job Often driving job in a public transport bus comes with a fear of facing conflict on a day to day basis. Surprisingly, these girls appeared calm and confident to embrace conflicts like in any other work situation demonstrating their emotional maturity suited for this seemingly high-stress job. Once again, Baljit Kaur who had more real life situation in handling conflict situations purely because of the length of her tenure in the role had more to share. “My first experience with managing conflict was when a passenger was eating food on the bus to the distaste of another fellow passenger who chose to raise her voice seeking my intervention to resolve the situation. “My initial gut feeling was to pretend to have not heard it and avoid conflict. “However, on being persisted, I responded politely but assertively to the passenger eating food which by then had decided to cooperate and stop eating on the bus. “This was a good learning curve for me in managing conflict at the workplace,” Ms Kaur said. Advice to other Indian girls on a bus-driving career There is an unmistakable sense of joy, pride and purpose among these women in their respective career choices of being a bus driver. This was adequately reflected in their prompt response of “yes, it’s an excellent career choice.” The girls collectively identified three main decisive factors for bus-driving job “freedom at the workplace, safety, and well paid,” which gives them an opportunity to lead their lives in a dignified manner.

NEW ZEALAND | 13 January 2017


Learning life skills at Summer Camp ¡¡ RIZWAN MOHAMMAD


hartiya Samaj’s Annual Children andv Youth Summer Camp has gained immense popularity among the Indian community for the past 15 years, with 107 students enrolling in the camp for 2017. Children aged from six to 14 can enrol for the five-day programme that involves indoor and outdoor activities. Twenty-five volunteers from different field of interests devote their time and energy to organise various workshops and activities. The day at the camp starts off with prayer at 8 a.m. at Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall followed by 45 minutes of exercise and then breakfast at 10 a.m. The students go through different workshops such as dancing, aerobic, arts and craft sessions, outdoor sports sessions, drama workshop, debate, extempore, public speaking, leadership, and music. “I am fascinated to see how these children speak up during debate and public speaking sessions. They are enthusiastic, blatant, sharp, and witty at the same time. It is a pleasure to witness the children speaking their minds in these sessions,” Godrej Engineer, a mentor at the camp, said. The summer camp helps the children open up about their aspirations and dreams and learn about their hidden talents. “Through different activities we see children tapping such talents that they are not even aware of. They are aspiring storytellers, actors, singers, dancers, poets, debaters, orators, sports person, and artists,” Roopa Suchdev, director of the children camp, said. The camp is supported by Auckland Council, Auckland Library, and NZ Police who trains and mentors the children on learning new skills.

Children at recitation workshop conducted by Auckland Library

Volunteer Simran Chadha holds the dance workshop, Smita Biswas hosts reading and recitation, Farheen Zia and Kashmira Kambata host art and craft sessions, music workshop is conducted by Vidya Teke, and Godrej Engineer holds drama and public speaking and leadership workshops. “I like being here because I enjoy the most. I have made new friends and learned a little bit of dancing and singing, and I get to play with everyone here,” an 11-year old child at the camp said. The workshop hosted by NZ Police educates them on how to be safe in school, how to stop bullying, abstaining from drug usage, safety in houses and playgrounds, how to react in an emergency, and how to help others in distress. Children aged between six to nine are given recitation lessons from the specialised mentors from Auckland Library and are later

Art and Craft workshop

supplied with workbooks where child in them,” Ms they draw, colour, Suchdev said. and write. The children “I was stunned are divided into to see these childifferent age groups dren saying diand the activities alogues in such a allocated to them are beautiful manner in monitored by one or the drama sessions; crisp Dance workshop more mentors. and making such intelligent conversations. It’s incredible what The sessions go from they are capable of,” Kal Kular, a mentor eight in the morning to five in at the camp, said. the evening. “There are so many things, life skills that Activities are conducted in The War children do not get a chance to learn in Memorial halls, their sports grounds, and the school because they are often too held up in Bhartiya Samaj hall. On the last day of the their academics. camp, Friday, January 13, the camp is scheduled to visit Olympic Park in New Lynn for Indian “Such camps allow them to learn more sports activities such as kho kho and kabaddi. about arts and culture bring out the creative



13 January 2017 |

Fiji to host big Parliament Forum


round 23 countries will converge at the 25th Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum. The forum will be held at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Natadola from January 15 to 19. There are 27 member Parliaments/ Countries of the forum however only

23 member countries are expected to be part of this year’s forum. A Parliamentary Secretariat said that each member country was only allowed around 10 delegates to attend the forum. The members of the forum were Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,

Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States of America, and Vietnam. The official said Fiji was member and it would host.

“It is important to note that delegates at the forum are key policy and decision-makers in their respective countries. “They are influential persons in terms of law making, Government oversight and representation of electorates in their countries,” the official said.

The forum’s proceedings will address political, security, economic, social and cultural issues. “Thus furthering regional cooperation and building relationships between and among parliamentarians from the Asia Pacific region,” the official said.

Diverse Fijian culture celebrated in India Bollywood Directors may


hobna Chanel Dance Group represented Fiji at the International Folk Dance Festival recently in India. During the festival, they performed at the capital city of India, New Delhi and the capital of the Indian state of Odisha, Bhubaneswar. Shobna Chanel Dance Group, Choreography/Group manager, Shobna Chanel said, “We were happy and proud to represent Fiji at the International Folk Dance Festival. “We show cased the multicultural aspect of Fiji. We also took Fiji’s diverse culture with us. “We performed traditional Fijian dance and showed a fusion of Indian and Fijian dance,” she said. Ms Chanel said they also showed a little documentary about Fiji. “The International Folk Dance Festival is organised by the Indian Cultural Council Relations in India and invites countries around the globe to participate in the festival. It’s all about collaboration of cultures,” she said. Ms Chanel said the trip only became possible by the assistance of the Ministry of Education,

boost local economy: Khan

T Shobna Chanel Dance Group performing at the International Folk Dance Festival in India. Photo: Shobna Chanel

Heritage and Arts. The ministry assisted them financially. Indian High Commissioner to Fiji Vishvas Sapkal said, “This event in which the Fijian dance group represented has definitely boosted our bilateral cultural relation. “It has made the relationship between Fiji and India even stronger. “They have mesmerised the audience in both the places by their performance and people really appreciated their performance,” he said.

Mr Sapkal said this event was sponsored by Ministry for Education and Indian High Commission. “Countries around the globe also represented at the International Folk Dance Festival and it was also a very good opportunity for them to interact with other countries. “This was the second time the Shobna Chanel Dance Group represented Fiji at the International Folk Dance Festival and we will sponsor them next years as well,” he said.

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op Bollywood directors Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla are hoped to boost the local economy following a visit next month. Nadi businessman Bobby Khan confirmed, the brothers, known for directing Bollywood films in the thriller and action genres, will be looking out for favourable shooting locations in Fiji. Also Mr Khan’s best buddy, Bollywood’s famous Actor/ Comedian Johnny Lever is coming in February too. The brothers have frequently cast top Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu, and Kareena Kapoor in their work. The duo directed landmark Bollywood films like Khiladi, Baazigar, Soldier, Ajnabee, Baadshah, Aitraaz, Humraaz, 36 China Town, Race and Race 2. Mr Khan met with the two during his visit to India a week ago. “Last week I have been to India and I had convinced some of the

directors to come to Fiji and it’s a beautiful place to do some movies here,” he said. “We need to get stars here to Fiji to shoot some movies. Mr Khan said other Bollywood directors are also interested. “Abbas Mustan are coming to see the location and they are planning to shoot a movie here this year.” He said there are a lot of things happening in Bollywood and the other things they said they need good cars. Mr Khan, a sports car enthusiast, also promoted Fiji on the improved infrastructure and the use of cars. This includes a Ford Mustang V8 (2016 model). The only such car on Fijian soil was imported on New Years for his son. “We have gone far ahead, and there are a lot of sports cars which can be used for Bollywood movies,” Mr Khan added. “Beautiful islands scenery and thanks to the government through the Film Fiji incentive and rebate put in place.”

FIJI | 13 January 2017

Belgium seeks Fiji’s support for UN bid


elgium will seek Fiji’s support in their bid to become a non permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. This was revealed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Belgium Government, Didier J L Reynders. Mr Reynders met senior Government officials recently in Suva on this issue and other possible assistance other than the sugar industry mapping, which they are presently engaged in. Mr Reynders said he was looking forward to Fiji’s support through talks with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. Belgium could be looking at providing expertise to Fiji through their private sector in the fields of renewable energy and water production and sanitation. He also extended an invitation for Fiji to be part of a meeting which will be held in Belgium with the main agenda being climate change. Mr Reynders said Belgium was just as concerned about climate change and its effects on Pacific Island countries.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Belgium Government, Didier J L Reynders distributing stationeries to the students of Veseisei Primary. Photo: Shalveer Singh Aujla

“We are organising a conference in Belgium in March this year where we will have a lot of people attending from the Pacific Islands,” he said. “I have sent an invitation to the Prime Minister because are we trying to find some ways in helping these island nations.” He said another area was ridding the oceans of pollution such as the large amounts of plastic found at sea. Meanwhile, Mr Reynders said Belgium was looking at assisting Fiji through the diversification of

products and markets when the Cotonou Agreement ends next year. “We are thinking of the situation next year 2018 when the Cotonou Agreement comes to an end,” he said. “It is very important to think of the diversification of some products and the diversification of the markets.” He said Fiji could start looking at places besides the EU like Japan, South Korea as new markets. The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

Fiji marks World Hindi Day


he Fiji-based Indian High Commission celebrated the World Hindi Day on

Tuesday, January 10, in Suva.

To commemorate the special day, which is celebrated annually on

January 10, three personalities were rewarded for their achievements towards their dedication to the Hindi language. Jimi Subhaydas, an iTaukei and Hindi Singer, received the Harmony award; Noorjahan

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Former Miss Fiji Zaira Begg will travel to Macau on a wild card entry to represent Fiji at the World Supermodel Finals. This was after she scored the highest points in the adult category of the competition which ended Saturday, January 7. Despite that she will have to pay her own way to get there and to participate, the 22 year old Ba native said was very excited to be heading to Asia. The Nausori police officer said she hopes the public attention she received in the pageant will help ease public perception of police officers. "I hope that my being here will help people realise that police officers are ordinary people who have passions too. To some extent I feel this may help people to talk to me comfortably." "I hope people can openly share their sorrows when they come to the station." Zaira won the evening wear category behind eventual winner, Australian teen Emily Norris-Perkins Minister for Health and Medical language was a form of identification not only in Fiji but also around the world. "We should encourage our kids to learn and speak Hindi at home from an early age so that they don't lose

Zaira Begg

who won the swimwear category and runner up Tiare Simonis a Cook Island native from Australia who won the photogenic category. the concept and the importance it has on their lives," Ms Akbar said. Indian High Commissioner to Fiji Vishvas Sapka said in Fiji, the level of language was still concentrated and mainly kept to its origins, which was an encouraging sign for the future generation. All winners were given a cash prize of $500 each.

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Services Rosy Akbar said the Hindi

was awarded for promoting Hindi through her broadcast show, and Shweta, a dedicated teacher, young poetess and Secretary of Hindi Writers Association for spreading the Hindi language to young children.



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How did you spend your holidays?


Left versus left, right versus right, new theme of NZ politics in 2017?


quick overview of New Zealand’s political landscape in early 2017 pops up a question in mind if left versus left and right versus right is going to be the new theme of politics this year.

Although it’s too early, and naive to generalise about the political landscape for the whole year, yet some signs, howsoever trivial, do suggest likewise. Prime Minister Bill English chose to start New Year with what Stuff’s political reporter Jo Moir describes as “pulled the pin, thrown a grenade and skipped the country before the blast has even taken effect.” The context of this comment is Mr English’s decision to skip Waitangi Day dawn service celebrations on February 5 and 6. Subsequently, speaking on behalf of many New Zealanders, Prime Minister made a divisive statement that a lot of New Zealanders “cringe” at the protests that unfold on the National Day just before catching the plane and leaving for Europe on his first official foreign trip as the new Prime Minister. Describing the protests accompanying national day celebrations as “cringing” for some fellow New Zealanders has naturally created a mixed response. Apparently, it is clear that among other effects such as initiating an intellectual debate, one important consequence is the scramble for votes that can be safely termed as votes on the ‘right’ of the political divide. There are myriad of interpretations of this move from Mr English early in the year. While some see it as his attempt to break away from the shadows of former Prime Minister John Key, under whom he has mainly served in the last decade, and cast a new image of a bold leader of the National Party. Others see it as a calculated move to consolidate what can be safely termed as votes on the ‘right’ in this election year, thus creating some concerns among the players that typically strive for those votes. So far the responses from those who compete for the votes on the ‘right’ can best be described as muted. Maori Party, the coalition partner in the government, has largely evaded by saying that such statement emanates from a “lack of understanding” about the day.

Deepshikha Sethi, Christchurch Holidays mean quality family time for me. I visited a farm for the first time with my family and also headed to the beach during the New Year. Other than travelling to holiday spots, I stayed home, barbequed with family friends, watched movies and played with my kids, which made these holidays complete and special.

Keethan Sundar, Mt Eden I am a professional photographer, so most of my holidays are spent editing footage, doing photoshoots (parties, weddings etc.) and expanding on my portfolio. This time around, I made the most of my 2 day holiday and stayed the weekend at Omaha beach with my family. We jet-skied and took my drone for a spin, shooting some amazing footage of the stunning beach and compiled a short video of my time away.

Kanika Sidhu, Dominion Road I was working during the first half of the holiday period, so Christmas was busy and late, but that too was fun. I started my holidays from the New Year, went on a road trip with husband and friends to remote parts of Northland and then to Omaha Beach. The trip to the beach was the best part of this holidays as we had the adrenaline rush while fighting waves at the beach.

Shankar Kandel, Hamilton I was desperately looking forward to some holidays this year. I took my kids to Huka Falls in Taupo and Bridal Veil Falls in the Waikato as they were asking me for a long time. It was good to take off my mind from work for some time and be with my children; I needed that.

New Zealand First has completely remained muted in their response to Mr English’s latest move. Either way, there seems to be some attempt to churn votes on the right. This is very similar to another political arena, although on a smaller scale at the impending Mt-Albert by-election, where National’s exit leaves Labour Party competing against Green Party and Mana Party who largely competes for the similar votes believed to be on the ‘left’ of the political divide. This may be a microscopic observation of ‘left versus left and right versus right’ on the national political landscape, but there might be some ingenuity and excitement in New Zealand politics if this happens. At least after John Key’s successive electoral triumphs in last three elections, which have made elections bit monotonous, if not uninteresting altogether. Indian Weekender : Volume 8 Issue 41 Publisher: Kiwi Media Publishing Limited Managing Editor: Bhav Dhillon | Content Editor: Sandeep Singh | Chief Reporter: Swati Sharma | Reporter: Rizwan Mohammad | Chief Reporter—South Island: Gaurav Sharma Chief Technical Officer: Rohan Desouza | Sr Graphics and Layout Designer: Mahesh Kumar | Graphic Designer: Yashmin Chand | Accounts and Admin.: 09-6366306 | Sales and Distribution: 022 3251630 | Views expressed in the publication are not necessarily of the publisher and the publisher is not responsible for advertisers’ claims as appearing in the publication Views expressed in the articles are solely of the authors and do not in any way represent the views of the team at the Indian Weekender Kiwi Media Publishing Limited - 133A, Level 1, Onehunga Mall, Onehunga, Auckland. Printed at Horton Media, Auckland Copyright 2017. Kiwi Media Publishing Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Roshan Damor, Sandringham I just got three days to enjoy the holidays; I was working most of the last three weeks. When I did get a little relief from work, I travelled to Northland beaches with my roommates and the other two days I slept and had a gala time at home.

Asif Iqbal, Glen Eden Unofortunately, I was mostly working during the holidays. But I did take a break as I had family members visiting from India. During my days off, I spent some quality time with family and enjoyed summer with great food, friends.

“Don’t judge eachday by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

Inviting nominations for Kiwi Indian Honours 2017 K IW


The guidelines, which need to be adhered to, for nominations, are as follows: 1.

He/she needs to have an undisputable recognition in his or her field of work. 2. Nominated by a nominator of repute. Further, the nominator has to be in confirmation with the nominee. 3. The nominator has to provide their full contact details. No anonymous applications will be accepted. 4. All fields of work are welcome (e.g. politics, business, sports, art, culture, or any other profession. 5. The definition of Kiwi Indian, for the purposes of this award, is defined as follows: any person of Indian origin, from any part of the world, who has settled here in New Zealand. To be of Indian origin, at least one of the parents of the nominee have to be Indian, by blood, thereby making the nominee of Indian lineage. 6. The nominee must have either a Permanent Residency (PR), or Citizenship of New Zealand to be eligible for consideration. 7. The nominee should have no prior convictions. 8. For minors, under the age of 18, parental consent will be required. 9. The successful candidate, will be required to attend the ceremony in person. In case a person is not able to attend, due to any unforeseen circumstances, the jury will use its discretion. 10. The jury’s decision will be final and binding; and cannot be challenged.


Established 2013

The Kiwi Indian Honours recognise those individuals who have built a road to glory for themselves and left a path for the coming generations to tread on; who have touched the lives of thousands and enriched the society with their being; who have brought fame and respect to New Zealand and the Kiwi-Indian community. The Indian Weekender invites nominations for such personalities from the community for getting inducted into the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame 2017. We also invite nominations for Kiwi Indian Young Achiever of the Year and Kiwi Indian Unsung Hero of the Year 2017. Nominate Online: visit or to nominate Post your nominations: Fill this form and post it to use at the address given below.

ENTRY FORM: Form for nominating candidates for Kiwi Indian Honours 2017

Nominator Details

Nominee Details

Name of the nominator

Name of the nominee


Please fill and post it to the address below

About the Nominee For how long have you known the nominee?

Professional details of the nominator

Age of nominee


Address & Contact number of nominator


Why do you think the nominee qualifies for the honour? Please state your reasons for nominating the above person. You may mention the achievements of the nominee in his/her profession.



Address & Contact number of nominee

How according to you has the Nominee brought fame and respect to the Kiwi-Indian community?

Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Kiwi Indian Young Achiever of the year (16 to 35 years only) Kiwi Indian Unsung Hero of the year

Declaration by Nominator I have received confirmation from the nominee for this application. Yes


Nominee has accepted to appear in person for the ceremony, if he/she gets chosen for the nominated category for Kiwi Indian Honours 2017. Yes


I hereby declare that the above information is true to the best of my knowledge. I also allow Indian Weekender and the Jury to use the information provided for background checks and to contact either me or the nominee for the purpose of getting any more information.



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Please take a print out of this form, sign and send to us at: Jury Panel, Kiwi Indian Honours 2017 Level1,133A Onehunga Mall, Auckland 1061

(Add extra pages to this form if required.) For details contact Indian Weekender on 09-6366306 or go to:



13 January 2017|

President flags concerns of

women marrying into NRI families


ighlighting the vulnerabilities of Indian women marrying into NRI families, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said that Indian community organisations abroad can most effectively address their concerns even as the government and its agencies deal with the issue. “I would also like to flag the concerns of women and girls in India marrying into NRI families. Even as the government and its agencies deal with this issue, the concerns of this particular section can be most effectively addressed by the local community organisations,” the President said. The President was delivering the valedictory address during the conferment of the President Pranab Mukherjee at the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Divas in Bengaluru ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman’ at the 14th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya total global remittances, amounting Kutumbakam’ more than this,” Divas (PBD) held on January 7-9. to USD69 billion in 2015,” he added. he added. On the eminent Speaking on the Pravasi Bharatiya The President appreciated personalities from the diaspora, Samman, Mukherjee said, “It the overseas Indians’ Mukherjee gave the example of While was indeed an honour for ability to assimilate the Portuguese Prime Minister and you showcase me to have conferred and maintain their said, “Dr Antonio Costa, the Prime India to your host the Pravasi Bharatiya identity among Minister of Portugal who is with us, countries, you also Samman on 30 other cultures. has his roots in Goa. bring along the cultural members of the He also His presence is a source of heritage of your adopted diaspora just a lauded their inspiration for us, and for the Indian while back. I lands to India. To my mind, i m m e n s e Diaspora across the world.” nothing could exemplify congratulate each contribution to “India’s relations with Portugal one of you for your our belief of ‘Vasudhaiva their adopted have been and continue to stay Kutumbakam’ more contributions to your lands through warm and friendly with close than this countries of origin dedication and political, security, cultural and most and India.” hard work. importantly people-to-people ties,” Highlighting the The President said, he added. contribution of the Non-resident “As a people exposed to the best of He also cited the example of Vice Indians working in the Gulf region western technology and yet having President of Suriname Michael and South East Asia, he said, “They their civilisational moorings in the Ashwin Adhin, considered as one of are Indian citizens who migrate ageless and eternal ethos of India, the youngest Indian diaspora leaders. for employment as low-skilled and you are doubly blessed.” The Indian diaspora migrated semi-skilled labour. They toil hard “While you showcase India to your to Suriname nearly 142 years ago. day and night, and save to send the host countries, you also bring along More than 230,000 persons of fruits of their labour as remittances the cultural heritage of your adopted Indian-origin are living in Suriname. to India, to maintain their families lands to India. Indians are one of the largest back home.” “To my mind, nothing could expatriate community amounting to “These remittances are the largest exemplify our belief of ‘Vasudhaiva about 31.7 millions in the world. by any diaspora, at 12 per cent of the

Digital governance will bring efficiency: Modi


dentifying India’s strength in its demography, democracy, and demand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, January 10, stressed the need for digital-based governance to bring efficiency in the country’s decision-making process and to boost the economy. Calling “democracy” India’s biggest strength, he said: “Some people say democracy cannot deliver effective and fast track governance, but we have seen in last two and a half years, it is possible to deliver quick results as well.” Inaugurating the eighth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, Modi said that the digital economy had “played key role” in transforming hardship-based governance to system-based governance, discretionary-based administration to policy-based administration, and informal economy to formal economy. “Digital technology has played a key role. I often say that e-governance is easy and effective governance. We need quality driven governance.” “Online process brings speed and openness and decision making. We are working to adopt and absorb newer technology to bring transparency and end discretion,” said Modi. He, however, did not make any mention of demonetisation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

in his half-hour speech. Modi said that India has registered excellent growth, despite the global slowdown. “We have become sixth largest manufacturing country in the world, up from the ninth. Our growth of manufacturing has registered nine percent in 2015-16. “This is much higher than the five-six per cent growth in previous three years,” he said. He said that the government was further rationalising its policies and procedures to make it convenient for business and growth.  “India is bright spot in the global economy. World Bank, IMF and other institutions have projected even better growth in the coming days. In 2014-15, India contributed 12.5 per cent of global growth. Its contribution to global growth is 68 per cent higher, than its share of the

world economy,” Modi told delegates from 12 countries and industry captains present on the dais. According to the Gujarat government, investors and officebearers from over 100 countries were to attend the eighth edition of the biennial event, being held here from January 10 to 13, with the central focus of “Sustainable Economic and Social Development”. Over 74,000 people have said to have registered for the summit.  Modi said that in last two and a half years, his government “had worked relentlessly to realize India’s potential and to set rise in economy”. “There is sufficient improvement in key micro economic indicators, GDP growth, fiscal deficit, inflation, current account deficit, foreign investment. India has become fastest growing economy,” he said. Modi said that India’s food processing industry is expected to increase almost five-fold in next 10 years, India is now the emerging IT hub, it produces the world’s second-largest number of scientists and engineers, while the entertainment industry “is making waves worldwide”. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the summit was not mere a summit but had become an identity.

NEWS in BRIEF Demonetisation will be an important issue in assembly polls: Manmohan Singh


ormer Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, January 9, 2017, held that demonetisation will have a “very significant adverse effect on the country’s GDP” and will be an important issue in all the five states going to polls. Releasing the Congress manifesto for the Punjab assembly polls, he said the Narendra Modi government’s decision to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes had adverse effect on the country’s GDP. “I have said in the Parliament about Former Prime Minister Mandemonetisation having its effect on GDP and mohan Singh it has already been established. According to Central Statistics Office estimates (for 2016-17), the GDP growth will be 7.1 per cent as against the targeted 7.6 per cent.  “But this estimate doesn’t take into account the effect of demonetisation on the system. If (that is done), you will see there will be a very significant adverse effect on the country’s GDP,” he said. Attacking the government which maintained that the measure will not harm anyone, he said it has already been established that it has affected National Income and GDP.  Manmohan Singh contended that the note ban would be an important issue not only in Punjab but also in the other four states which face elections.  Apart from Punjab, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur will vote in February and March. 

Mumbai launches India’s biggest public Wi-Fi network


ndia’s biggest public Wi-Fi network, and among the world’s largest, went live at 500 dedicated hotspots across the city on Monday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said. “Happy to dedicate Phase 1 of Mumbai WiFi for this instance, 500 Hotspots go live across various locations in Mumbai,” Fadnavis said. He added that while MumbaiWiFi is India’s largest public WiFi service and one of the biggest globally and another 700 hotspots will be active by May 1 - which is celebrated as Maharashtra Day. “As committed, 1200 WiFi hotspots will be active by May 1, 2017. We will also monitor the progress on connectivity and speed,” Fadnavis added, after the first phase went active and became accessible to the people. During the trial period between January 2-8, around 23,000 users signed up in Mumbai and downloaded more than 2TB (TetraByte) data, which Fadnavis termed as “a major aspect of digital empowerment in the state”. The WiFi - free with unlimited usage till January 31 - is now available at the offices of Mumbai Police Commissioner, Vidhan Bhavan, KalaNagar in Bandra, Bombay High Court and other prominent public places in the city and suburbs. The Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation (MITC) has collaborated with US-based companies like Hewlett Packard and Fortinet for the technical aspects. The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Litd is the bandwidth provider and Larsen & Toubro is the systems integrator. The latest move by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine comes as Mumbai and nine major civic bodies, plus 26 Zilla Parishads prepare to go for elections next month, the dates of which are due to be announced shortly.

Rahul Gandhi finalises Punjab’s candidates list


fter returning from a break, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday held a series of meetings with senior party leaders and also finalised the list of the remaining 40 candidates for the Punjab assembly elections. The Congress’s Central Election Committee meeting for Punjab was held on Tuesday afternoon and was attended by party President Sonia Gandhi, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and other leaders. “Punjab’s final list of candidates has been finalised and it is likely to be announced Congress Vice President tomorrow (Wednesday),” said a party source. Rahul Gandhi The Congress has so far released names of its 77 candidates and is yet to announce the names of remaining 40 candidates for 117 assembly seats. Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who will contest as Congress nominee from Amritsar-East constituency, will join the party in a day or two, according to the source. Punjab will go to polls in a single phase on February 4.  Earlier in the morning, Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with senior party leaders at his residence to discuss the strategy ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in five states starting from February 4. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi also attended the meeting at Rahul’s residence. This was Rahul’s first meeting with party leaders after returning from a break.

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13 January 2017 |

Portugal PM Costa, US diplomat Biswal among Pravasi awardees


ndian-origin Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Luis Santos da Costa and Indian-born US diplomat Nisha Desai Biswal are among the 30 awardees of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), it was announced on Monday. “Costa, Nisha and other of the diaspora have been conferred the PBD 2017 awards for their outstanding contribution in diverse fields, including public service, community service, social service, business, education and arts & culture,” said the External Affairs Ministry in a statement on the PBD valedictory day. The 55-year-old Costa, a Chief Guest at the threeday 14th PBD (Non-Resident Indian Day) celebrations, is the son of Goan father Orlanda da Costa. As a senior Indian-American diplomat, the 48-year-old Biswal, who hails from Gujarat has been overseeing the US foreign policy and relations with 11 countries in the region from Bangladesh to Uzbekistan since October 21, 2013.

President Pranab Mukherjee giving the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman award to Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Luis Santos da Costa

Costa and Biswal have been awarded for public service and public affairs. “Of the awardees, six are from the US, two each from Britain and United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one each from 27 other countries the world over,” noted the statement. Five other overseas Indians from the US sharing the honours with Biswal are Hari Babu Bindal for environmental engineering, Bharat Haridas Barai, Mahesh Mehta and Ramesh Shah for community service

and Sampat Kumar Shidramapa Shivangi for community leadership. Priti Patel and Neena Gill are the awardees from Britain for public service. Vasudev Shamdas Shroff and India Social and Cultural Centre from Abu Dhabi in the UAE are the winners for community service and philanthropy. Two more organisations - Antwerp Indian Association in Belgium and Singapore Indian Association in

Singapore have been honoured with the award for community service. The other four winners for community service are Gorur Krishna Harinath (Australia), Naseer Ahamed Mohamed Zackiriah (Brunei), Nalinkumar Sumanlal Kothari (Djibouti) and Ariful Islam (Libya). Other two winners for public service are Pravind Kumar Jugunath (Mauritius) and Winston Chandarbhan Dookeran (Trinidad & Tobago). Raghunath Marie Antonin Manet (France) and Sandip Kumar Tagore (Japan) bagged for arts & culture. Other awardees are Mukund Bhikhubhai Purohit (Canada) and Susheel Kumar Saraff (Thailand) for business; Vinod Chandra Patel (Fiji) for social service; Lael Anson E. Best (Israel) for medical science; Tan Sri Dato Muniandy Thambirajah (Malaysia) for education & community service; Raghavan Seetharaman (Qatar) for business management; Zeenat Musarrat Jafri (Saudi Arabia) for education and Carani Balaraman Sanjeevi (Sweden) for medicine.

Diaspora seeks more time to exchange old notes


he Diaspora comprising NonResident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) has sought extension of the deadline to exchange or deposit the banned notes till December 31. "The deadline should be extended by six months till December 31 as all those having the banned notes will not come to India just to exchange or deposit them by June," Thomas Abraham, a NRI from Duba said. The government had on December 31 extended the deadline to June 30 for the diaspora to deposit or exchange the specified bank notes (old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000) after the November 8 demonetisation. Resident Indians travelling or living abroad temporarily have been given three months (up to March 31) to declare the banned notes they are carrying at airports on arrival before submitting them in designated Reserve Bank of India (RBI) offices across the country. "Though many of us may not hold huge amounts of the banned notes as we transact in local currency and the Indian rupee is not fully convertible, we should be given enough time to exchange them since most of us come to India once or twice in a year," Abraham said on the margins of the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Diaspora seeks more time to exchange old notes

Another NRI from Oman said the government should allow the diaspora to deposit the banned notes at Indian embassies or high commissions and credit them in their bank accounts in case the deadline is not extendable after June 30. "The RBI or overseas branches of state-run banks like SBI (State Bank of India) should be advised to open counters at our embassies in all countries for depositing the banned notes whatever be their number as they are our hard-earned cash," said Gopalankutty Karnavar, a Muscatbased NRI from Kerala.

Several overseas Indian delegates attending the three-day biennial jamboree said they normally keep or carry Rs 25,000-50,000 in cash when coming to India for contingencies despite having bank accounts and using debit/credit for payments or transactions. "We bring a few thousands of rupees with us whenever we fly to India for initial expenses at airports or food, local travel and purchases before converting dollars or other currencies," said Kanavar, a blue collar worker from Alappuzha in Kerala who heads the Malayli wing

of the Indian social club in the Gulf country. The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin also urged the government to extend the deadline to December 30, 2017, for exchanging or depositing the high denomination notes in RBI or SBI. Terming the note ban a welcome move, a majority of the diaspora said its implementation was, however, poor as their kith and kin were at the receiving end of the cash-crunch and the economic disruption. "If the high value notes were banned to fight black money, terror funding, fake currency and corruption, the move is laudable though it exposes the government's failure to curb the menace through its enforcing agencies," a US-based NRI said on the condition of anonymity. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked the diaspora for supporting the note ban, many NRIs and IPOs said unlike their resident Indians they were not impacted by it as they don't transact in rupee, which is not fully convertible. "The sudden ban has taken us by surprise though not affected by it as the rupee is not used in our country and the value of our remittances is intact in our bank accounts," said James Mathew, an accountant in a private firm at Manama in Bahrain.

NEWS in BRIEF Pichai finally receives IIT Kgp’s distinguished alumnus award in person


oogle C E O Sundar Pichai, who was conferred with the Distinguished Sundar Pichai A l u m n u s Award by IIT Kharagpur in 2015, was finally able to receive the award in person at his alma mater, nearly two years later. “Sundar Pichai was conferred his Distinguished Alumnus Award in the Board Room of IIT Kharagpur on January 5, 2017. The award was given to him at the 2015 convocation but he was unable to come and receive it in person at that time,” IIT Director PP Chakrabarti said in a Facebook post late Thursday. Pichai was back in the campus after 23 years to interact with students. He visited his old hostel Nehru Hall, went to his old room, common room, mess, library, catwalk and refreshed his memories, Chakrabarti said.

Skill programme for Indians going abroad for work: PM


rime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government will soon launch a skill development programme for young Indians seeking jobs abroad. “We will shortly launch a skill development programme, the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana, targeted at Indian youth seeking overseas employment,” the Prime Minister said at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2017. Modi flashed a PIO (Person of Indian origin) card to say it supersedes the individual’s passport – as far as his ties to India are concerned. When the PIO card is seen, “we don’t see the colour of the passport but the blood ties”, Modi said to huge applause. Referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa, Modi said this day marked the return to India of one of the greatest Pravasis and that his government’s priority was to convert “brain drain” into brain gain”. “NRIs and PIO have made outstanding contributions. Among them are politicians of great stature, scientists of repute, outstanding doctors, brilliant educationists, economists, journalists, musicians, engineers, bankers and did I mention our well known technology professionals,” Modi said.

US Army to let Sikhs wear turbans, karas, keep beards


n another milestone for Sikhs, US Army commanders have been ordered to allow those of the faith to wear turbans, karas and keep their beards. Army Secretary Eric Fanning on Wednesday signed the order that said: “The soldier’s brigade-level commander will approve a request for a religious accommodation” by Sikhs. Till now Sikhs had to get permission from the Army Secretary, a cumbersome process prone to delays and not automatically given. Now they need to apply only to their

brigade-level commanders, who will have to give them permission except in certain cases involving their safety like exposure to poison gases. Once it is granted they can keep the exemption for most positions in the military. Sikh Coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur welcomed the new rules. “We are pleased with the progress that the new policy represents for religious tolerance and diversity by our nation’s largest employer,” she said. The order also allows Muslims to wear hijabs. Muslim men can also

the three of them permission to keep beards. The New York Police wear turbans. According to the civil Department, the biggest in the US, rights organisation, Sikh Coalition changed its rules last month to allow members of the faith had been Sikhs to wear turbans and keep their serving in the US military from beards. Last year Captain Simratpal at least World War I. But in Singh, an Afghan war veteran 1981, the army changed who was awarded a Bronze This the rules to ban beards Star, and two others policy change and turbans. filed a case against underscores the army saying the the military’s “My turban and ban on beards and commitment to these beard represent turbans curbs their my commitment values and is a sign of religious freedom. meaningful progress that to pluralism and The Army will ensure the strength equality,” said Major of our democracy Kamaljeet Singh Secretary then gave

Kalsi, an army doctor who served in Afghanistan and won a Bronze Star. “This policy change underscores the military’s commitment to these values and is a sign of meaningful progress that will ensure the strength of our democracy.” While the restrictions on having beards still hold if there are risks like exposure to toxic material, Fanning ordered the army to test existing products to see if they can be made safe for those wearing beards and to look for alternative equipment.

SPORTS | 13 January 2017


Dhoni steps down as limited overs captain


ahendra Singh Dhoni has stepped down as skipper of India's limited overs sides, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Wednesday, January 4. Dhoni, however, will be available for selection for the three-match One-Day International (ODI) and T20 International series against England, starting January 15. "Mahendra Singh Dhoni has informed the BCCI, that he wishes to step down as the captain of the Indian Cricket Team from the One Day Internationals and the T20

Internationals formats of the game," a statement from the board read. "He will be available for the selection for the One Day and T20I series against England and the same has been conveyed to the Senior Selection Committee."

Commenting on the development, BCCI Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rahul Johri said: "On behalf of every Indian cricket fan and the BCCI, I would like to thank M.S. Dhoni for his outstanding contribution as the captain of the Indian team across all formats." "Under his leadership, Indian team has touched new heights and his achievements will remain etched forever in the annals of Indian cricket," he added. Test skipper Virat Kohli was on Friday handed the reigns of India’s One-Day International (ODI) and T20 International cricket sides

Dhoni saved me many times from getting dropped: Kohli


aying rich tributes to his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni, newlyappointed skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday revealed that the Ranchi wicketkeeper-batsman saved him on numerous occasions from getting dropped from the national cricket team. The 28-year-old, who took over the mantle of the Indian side, said the 35-year-old Dhoni guided him during his initial phase in international cricket, while conceding that he has big shoes to fill. Dhoni, had stumped everyone by stepping down as India’s One-Day International (ODI) and T20 International (T20I) captain, bringing down the curtains on a trophy-filled era. “He will always be the person who guided me initially and gave me opportunities. He gave me ample time and space to grow as a cricketer, saved me from getting dropped from the team many a times and that is why we have a great amount of mutual respect,” Kohli said. “Obviously, these are massive shoes to fill. You think of M.S. Dhoni and the first word that comes to mind is captain!” You don’t relate M.S. Dhoni in any other way. For me, he is always going to be my captain because I started my career under him,” he added. Now that the stumper has relieved himself of the baggage of captaincy, Kohli wanted Dhoni to bat higher up the order in his trademark aggressive style.

“I know the kind of person he is. If I will ask him that where do you want to bat he will tell me where ever you will want me to bat but I would love to see him bat higher up usually then what he has been playing for the last few years,” he said. “I want that he totally enjoys his cricket, if he enjoys his cricket and play the way he has in his initial years then the team is going be in very solid space,” he added. Kohli, who took over the reins of the Test team midway through the Australia tour in December 2014, said he believed in leading by example and the added responsibility of captaining the side worked for him in any format of the game. “Added responsibility has always worked for me in the sense that you have no room to be complacent or relax at any stage.” “Even in the Indian Premier League (IPL), it’s very easy to throw my wicket away after crossing 60 or 70 runs. But I push after that because I realise that as captain I have to set an example and I have to firstly make that kind of

effort before asking my team-mates to do it,” Kohli said. India are scheduled to take on England in three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and three T20s, starting from January 15.

Dhoni to be felicitated at India-England Eden ODI


ndia’s outgoing limited-overs team skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be felicitated by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) when India play their third and final One-Day International match against England at the Eden Gardens Dhoni stepped down as India’s ODI and T20I captain recently. Test skipper Virat Kohli has been appointed as Dhoni’s successor. The

third ODI match will be played on January 22. The first match will be played in Pune on January 15. Dhoni, who scored an unbeaten 68 in his last match as captain of India A side playing a practice match against England XI in Mumbai on Tuesday, will be given a plaque and a shawl, CAB officials said. Meanwhile, the Supreme Courtappointed R.M. Lodha Committee is expected to clarify on the CAB’s query whether or not the assistant secretary is an office bearer is expected on Wednesday after a meeting of the committee members.

NEWS in BRIEF Djokovic beats Murray to claim Doha title

Serbia's Novak Djokovic poses with the winner's trophy after beating Britain's Andy Murray


NZ completes T20 series sweep Vs Bangaldesh


belligerent 41-ball 94 from Corey Anderson propelled New Zealand to a 27-run win in the last T20 against Bangladesh, sealing a 3-0 clean sweep, on Sunday. Anderson and Kane Williamson (60) put up a brisk 124-run stand to power the hosts to a huge 194 for 4 after being asked to bat at the Bay Oval in Mt Maunganui on Sunday, reports Bangladesh raced to 82-1 in the ninth over, riding a rapid start from Tamim Iqbal (24) and Soumya Sarkar (42). But the introduction of New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (2-22) and other slow bowlers checked their progress. Chasing the massive target, Bangladesh fell too far behind the asking rate, finishing on 167 for 6 with Shakib Al Hasan adding a fighting 33-ball 41. The hosts were earlier reduced to 41-3 in the seventh over after Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza won the toss.

after Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down as the limited overs side captain.

ovak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to defend his Qatar ExxonMobil Open title and exact revenge on the World No. 1 tennis star. In an electrifying final, the Serbian captured his first title since July (Rogers Cup) and showed some of the fiery tennis that helped him dominate the first half of 2016, according to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) website. The 29-year-old frequently encouraged the crowd to back him, lifting his arms and pumping his fist while staring into the stands. “Best scenario I could ask for at the beginning of the season. Playing all five matches in this tournament and then three hours against No. 1 of the world, biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match,” Djokovic said after the match. It was a really, really thrilling performance from both of us. Just a great way to start the year.” Djokovic’s intense attitude was matched by his aggressive on-court play. He charged the net 35 times against Murray, winning almost 70 per cent of those points during the twohour, 54-minute final. “You have to construct the point well and find the right time to approach, but you need to come in,” Djokovic said. “That controlled, aggressive style of play is the way to win.” The Serbian had three championship points while serving at 5-4 but Murray erased them all and won the next two games to force a decider. The Djokovic win ends Murray’s 28-match win streak, which dated back to September when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in Davis Cup action. That streak featured five consecutive titles, including November’s ATP Finals crown when Murray beat Djokovic for the season-ending title and the year-end No.1 ATP ranking.

Ronaldo wins FIFA best player award

R New Zealand players celebrate winning the series after the 20/20 International cricket match between New Zealand and Bangladesh at Bay Oval in Mount Munganui

Paceman Rubel Hossain (3-31) dismissed James Neesham for 15 and Colin Munro for a duck in the same over before Mosaddek Hossain struck with his first ball to send back Tom Bruce (5). Captain Kane Williamson (60) then struck his second fifty of the series while left-hander Anderson provided the late flourish, blasting 10 sixes and two fours in his unbeaten

knock. Anderson bludgeoned parttime medium-pacer Sarkar for three sixes over mid-wicket, his 10 sixes are the highest by a New Zealander in the format. Bangladesh stayed winless in their first overseas tour after two years as the T20 series whitewash follows a 3-0 sweep of the One-Day series by New Zealand.

eal Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo won the FIFA Best Male Player Award over his great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann for a stellar 2015-16 season, at a glittering ceremony. Ronaldo also won the Ballon d'Or, given by France Football magazine, in December, with both honours recognition for success in the Champions League with Real and Euro 2016 with Portugal. "I will never forget 2016," Ronaldo said, as quoted by the BBC on Monday, January 9, 2017. He thanked his team-mates, family and his whole staff. Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri won FIFA Best Men's Coach award. Argentine legend Diego Maradona handed the award to Ranieri. "I'm crazy now," said the Leicester coach, as quoted by the BBC. "Thank you so much for voting me. I'm 65 now, I start now as a manger!" Ex-Germany coach Silvia Neid won the FIFA Best Women's Coach award. Mohd Faiz Subri, forward of club Penang in the 2016 Malaysia Super League won the Fifa Puskas Award for the best goal. Carli Lloyd, of Houston Dash and the US, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic winner, was honoured with the Fifa Best Female Player Award.



Sudoku 1


Earth Quiz

Fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, column and each of the 3x3 squares contains all the digits from 1 to 9.

3 8 7

3 5 6 1 4 7

13 January 2017 |



8 2 5

2 9 7







6 2 8 3 9


9 8 9 3 5

2 7 1

1 3 8 5


4 5 3 8 7 8 4



2 1

1 9 6 7 3





3 8

2 7 2 5 8

4 5 3

2 7

9 8 6

Large print sudoku from Large print sudoku from Large print sudoku from


1 6 5

5 4 3 2 4 9 6 2 8


2 8 6 7 1 3 3

2 9 5

9 4

5 7 2 8

1 3 5 4 8 1 3 4 1 4 6 6


Large print sudoku from Large print sudoku from

8 1 3

4 7 8 4



4 5

8 7 9 1 2 3 Puzzles to Print Large print sudoku from Medium Kakuro – Set 1 3


5 2


Kakuro Puzzles 41






13 24







10 23

16 24

Math Cross numbers Question for General



Each of the digits 1 through 9 is used once and only once in each of these twp puzzles. Can you figure out where they must be placed so that each of the equations (both hirizontally and vertically) are true? Only positive numbers are involved

11 16

11 17





1. What is the name of the largest ocean on earth? 2. What are the two main metals in the earth's core? 3. Which is hotter, the center of the earth or surface of the sun? 4. What do you call molten rock before it has erupted? 5. What do you call it after it has erupted? 6. The Great Barrier Reef is found off the coast of which country? 7. What do you call a person who studies rocks? 8. Name the three time periods of the dinosaurs. 9. True or false? The Grand Canyon is around 10000 feet (3000 meters) deep. 10. What is the name of the deepest location in the world's oceans? 11. Over a long period of time while under extreme heat and pressure, graphite turns into which precious mineral? 12. Outside of Antarctica, what is the largest desert in the world? 13. The gemstone ruby is typically what color? 14. What is the name of the highest mountain on earth? 15. Do stalactites rise from the floor or hang from the ceiling of limestone caves? 16. Cascade, horsetail, plunge and tiered are types of what? 17. Someone who studies earthquakes is known as a what? 18. What is the name of the layer of earth's atmosphere that absorbs the majority of the potentially damaging ultraviolet light from the sun? 19. The mass of the earth is made up mostly of which two elements? 20. What is the second most common gas found in the air we breathe?






3 23







17 17

16 ©



hawn! Get in here now! Belinda Jones yelled for her son. Rolling his platinum eyes and rubbing his spiked hair, Shawn fumbled into the kitchen as he mumbled, Coming. What? Belinda waved the paper in her hand which looked tea-stained. I'm tired of all these parties! she screeched. Shawn snatched the paper from her hand and scanned it: Dear Shaw Krader, You are requested to join the Foursome Black and defeat Lord Jawson and his Crucifiers. The other three will be waiting at Highgourt. This green button will take you there. Pack your bags and leave as soon as possible. Highgourt. M...m...a...aa, this isn't a party invitation… A vision flashed in Belinda's silver eyes. No, she muttered to herself, Not Shaw, Ma! I'm not Shaw Krader! I'm Shawn Jones!

Let me explain. You're from a different planet called Etopia. So am I. I was banished for marrying an Earthling, your Dad. Etopia needs you to destroy Lord Jawson. He and his Crucifiers have been murdering Etopians, and Earthlings, like your Dad. Go Shaw, the owner of the crimson moon, and save Etopia. Belinda narrated. Tears filled Shaw's eyes and anger filled his mind. He would kill Jawson. He ran upstairs and packed his bags. Belinda blessed him with Etopian words before Shaw pressed the button. You're late! a low voice boomed as Shaw picked himself up from the floor. My name's Elgar Highgourt. Your mother must have told you the story by now. You will train with Mane, Jella and Laomi. Master Brutae will train you four. You will sleep with Mane in the males section and you will come here when you are called. Understood?! Elgar yelled in his assertive voice. Um… yeah? Shaw replied reluctantly.

Find more Kakuro Puzzles

YES HEAD YOU WILL SAY! Elgar roared. Jella stifled a laugh which was cut short when Elgar glared at her. The four walked to their rooms talking about each other. They separated into males and females. I'm Mane, and you must be Shaw, Mane spoke once they were in their room.

His cropped hair sat neatly on his head. His eyes glistened emerald green and grew bigger as he talked. Here's your pet, Scornia. She's a Scrubble, A small, fluffy animal with colossal eyes looked at Shaw. Mane explained, When her master orders her to fight, she inflates into a ball and squishes everyone to death. Scornia jumped willingly into Shaws hand. The boys changed into their pyjamas and hopped into bed. In minutes, they were sleeping peacefully. COURTROOM NOW, BOYS! Jella's voice was heard behind the door. Everyone arrived at the courtroom. Mane and Shaw will be doing archery. Jella and Laomi are doing powerballs. GO! Master Brutae taught Mane and Shaw how to become accomplished archers. The whole academy practiced for days on end, not knowing when the war would begin. Everyone waited for the dreaded day to come. One day, the academy was filled with darkness. The enemy had arrived. Story submitted by Abhaya Puthigae

Knowledge quizz

1. Who wrote the song 'Auld Lang Syne'? 2. How many square meters are there in a hectare? 3. What famous woman was nicknamed 'The Iron Lady'? 4. Who won the Women's Doubles title in the French Open 2010? 5. How many rings does Saturn have around it? 6. How many strings does a standard Spanish guitar have? 7. Who wrote the story of Pinocchio? 8. What was the name of Adolf Hitler's mistress? 9. Which of the five senses develops first? 10. During which year was the National Lottery introduced in Great Britain? 11. What are the three primary colours? 12. Is hot air lighter or heavier than cold air? 13. Who was the President of the US at the beginning of the 20th century? 14. What was the name of the actress that John McEnroe married? 15. In which ocean is Hawaii situated? 16. Which star sign is represented by the twins? 17. What year did Cliff Richard release a song called 'Mistletoe and Wine'? 18. How many carats are there in pure gold? 19. Which town did the Pied Piper rid of rats? 20. Who wrote 'The Little Mermaid'?

Send us stories, drawings, poems and other contributions by your little ones along with their photographs for this page. E-mail us at reporter@ indianweekender.

WORLD | 13 January 2017

Obama to Trump: Trends

toward clean energy ‘irreversible’


utgoing US President Barack Obama on Monday warned President-elect Donald Trump against walking away from a global climate deal, saying that trends toward clean energy are “irreversible” and will help drive economic growth. In an article published in research journal Science, Obama wrote that “a massive scientific record” shows that climate change is “real and cannot be ignored” and that left unchecked, the continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions could cause global average temperatures to increase by another four degrees Celsius or more by 2100, Xinhua reported. That rise would cost the world economy about four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), which could lead to lost US federal revenue of roughly 340 billion to 690 billion US dollars every year, Obama said. “Although our understanding of the impacts of climate change is increasingly and disturbingly clear,

US President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump

there is still debate about the proper course for US policy – a debate that is very much on display during the current presidential transition,” said Obama, referring to Trump’s threat to withdraw from the Paris Agreement to combat climate change. However, he said that trends toward a clean-energy economy that have emerged during his presidency will continue “and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow.”

Obama noted that between 2008 and 2015 the US economy grew by more than 10 per cent while emissions of carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector fell by 9.5 per cent, a result that “should put to rest the argument that combating climate change requires accepting lower growth or a lower standard of living.” He also pointed to increasing private-sector investments in clean energy, a dramatic fall in renewable electricity costs, and a global cleanenergy race, which was lacking even just a short time ago.


Alibaba’s founder meets Trump, plans to help American business


ack Ma, founder and chairman of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, on Monday met with US President-elect Donald Trump and discussed plans to help US small businesses sell products to China through the company’s platform. “I think the president-elect is very smart, he is very open-minded to listen. I told him my ideas about how to improve trade, especially to improve small business, cross border trade,” Xinhua quoted Ma as saying at Trump tower in New York after meeting with Trump. “We specifically talked about ... supporting 1 million small businesses, especially in the Midwest of America. Small businesses on the platform selling products – agriculture products and America services – to China and Asia,” he said. They also discussed the ChinaUS relationship, which should be “strengthened” and “more friendly”, according to Ma. “(Trump) has concerns, and he has solutions, that he wants to discuss with China and us,” he said. “We had a great meeting, and a great, great entrepreneur, one of the

Jack Ma, founder and chairman of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba

best in the world. Jack and I are going to do some great things,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. Alibaba group said on Monday via its official twitter that the company works with US companies and farmers to sell to over 450 million Chinese consumers on its platform, and it has set a goal of helping one million US small businesses export to China.

Trump ropes in son-in-law Kushner as presidential advisor


S President-elect Donald Trump has confirmed that he will add his sonin-law, Jared Kushner, to his White House team as senior advisor to the president. Kushner would be an “invaluable member of my team as I set and execute an ambitious agenda,” said the President-elect in a statement

acknowledging the appointment, Efe news reported on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. According to the statement released on Monday, Kushner would work closely with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, forming a trio.

Trump said that this trio would be an effective leadership team. The communique also emphasised the role that Kushner had in the election campaign that culminated in Trump’s November 8 win, saying that his participation was “instrumental” in formulating and executing the winning campaign strategy.

Kushner, an Orthodox Jewish real estate businessman, who is married to Ivanka Trump, the mogul’s older daughter, would forego his salary as presidential advisor, the communique added. The possibility that Trump’s son-in-law would join his team was discussed for several weeks, although that would appear to pose personal

challenges for Kushner because he would have to divest himself from his business activities to take on a government post. Kushner, who would turn 36 on Tuesday, is the CEO of a company focusing on New York and New Jersey real estate investments and since 2007 he has closed deals worth some $13 billion, according to data from the firm.

Still in holiday mood? Explore Auckland for that missing thrill ¡¡ SWATI SHARMA


he official holiday period is over. But if you are still in the mood to have fun and are ready to make the best of what you’ve got, Auckland has a lot to offer. From jumping off the Sky Tower, taking a free fall with a bungee, flying fox ziplines, beautiful and natural beaches to wine tasting on Waiheke Island, the City of Sails provides a mesmerising mixture of adventure and serenity to those who want to add some thrill to their lives. Auckland’s vast harbour, quiet islands, and vibrant landscapes offer an exciting and accessible mix of urban, water, and wildlife activities, giving you a whole lot of enjoyable options. Off late, New Zealand has been attracting an increasing number of Indian travellers, which is expected to grow even more. So while you are living in one of the most liveable cities in the world, why not take advantage of its thriving multi-cultural hub of cuisine, music, art and culture, and extend your holiday plans? 1. One of the fun activities that is sure to pump up your heartbeat is the jump from the top of Sky Tower—the highest and iconic building of Auckland’s skyline. If you love adventure, you can’t miss this. The adrenaline rush and the experience would be hard to forget after the 192

meters jump—New Zealand’s highest and the only jump by base wire. It takes you 11 second to reach the ground, falling at about 85 km per hour. 2. Zoom up 192 metres in glass-fronted elevators to the spectacular viewing platforms and go for a SkyWalk. SkyWalk involves a narrow walkway on a ledge around the Sky Tower—192 meters high from the ground—with no handrail.

You can see the entire city from the highest platform in the city and also try out some daredevil tricks to satisfy your extra bit of adventure quest. 3. Another adventure activity that you would not want to miss is the 40-metre Auckland Bridge Bungee. A thrilling experience, it is sure to surprise you, especially if you are a waterlover and enjoy a nice ocean dip. Attempt this must-do for neverforgettable fun. 4. If you are a nature lover, you will surely enjoy the ziplines and an eco-immersive forest walk on breathtaking Waiheke Island. The professional and knowledgeable guides will make your tour even more fun and exciting. 5. One of the things that make Auckland special is its vibrant multiculturalism. From the first Māori waka (canoes) and colonial

ships, Auckland has attracted people of many cultures from far and wide. Check out the collection of Māori taonga (treasures) at the Auckland museum and watch one of the daily cultural performances. 6. Take a walking tour of Auckland’s volcanoes with a guide from the local iwi (tribe) to see remnants of old fortified, terraced villages, or visit Te Hana Te Ao Marama, a replica of a 17th century Māori village. You will be greeted in traditional Māori way, called Hongi, which involves touching one’s nose and forehead to the other person’s. It is considered the equivalent of a formal handshake, so be ready and don’t be shy! 7. Auckland—a food lover’s paradise—is home to some of the best chefs, food producers, and winemakers. You can find almost all popular cuisines from

around the world in this city, be it Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Italian, French or American, and if you are a vegetarian, head to Auckland’s Sandringham suburb for the best Indian vegetarian food. If you are a foodie, you would not be disappointed by what this city has to offer. 8. Award-winning Pinot Gris and rich, full syrah are among the city’s specialities. If you are a wine connoisseur, then visit the beautiful Waiheke Island, a 35-minute minute ferry ride across the harbour from downtown. Also known as “the island of wine”, Waiheke has around 30 boutique wineries and vineyards served well with speciality foods made with locally-grown produce. 9. Auckland is also home to 48 dormant and extinct volcanic cones, many of which offer spectacular walking paths and views at the top. 10. Last but definitely not the least, the beautiful beaches of Auckland are one of the world’s best, especially those in North Shore. If you have had enough of and want to move away from Mission Bay, add these beautiful North Shore beaches to your list—St Leonards beach, Winstones Cove, Murrays Bay Beach, Back Beach and Kennedy Park, Castor Bay, Thornes Bay, Narrow Neck and Cheltenham Beach. Also, don’t miss a cruise on a classic yacht if you love water.



13 January 2017 |


Beware! Your social bias rubs off on your kid T he next time you try to utter biased or discriminatory comments via nonverbal signs such as a condescending tone of voice or a disapproving look in the presence of your kid, be careful. According to a new study, young children can ‘catch’ the social bias by seeing even brief negative signals expressed by adults and are likely to generalise that learned bias to others. “This research shows that kids are learning

bias from the non-verbal signals that they’re exposed to,” said lead author Allison Skinner, postdoctoral student in the University of Washington in Seattle, US. This could be a mechanism for the creation of racial bias and other biases that exist in the society, Skinner said. “Kids are picking up on more than we think. You don’t have to tell them that one group is better than another, for them to be getting that

Childhood poverty can affect adulthood psychologically


part from physical problems, people with an impoverished lifestyle in childhood are also likely to suffer significant psychological damage during adulthood. The findings of a study showed that impoverished children had more anti-social conduct such as aggression and bullying and increased feeling of helplessness, than kids from middle-income backgrounds. Poor kids also have more chronic physiological stress and more deficits in short-term spatial memory. “What this means is, if you’re born poor, you’re on a trajectory to have more of these kinds of psychological problems,” said lead author Gary Evans, Professor and child psychologist at the Cornell University in New York, US. The reason is stress, researchers said. “With poverty, you’re exposed to lots of stress. Everybody has stress, but low-income families, low-income children, have a lot more of it,” Evans said. “And the parents are also under a lot of stress. So for kids, there is a cumulative risk exposure.” For the study, Evans tracked 341

message from how we act,” Skinner added. For the study, the team involved an initial group of 148 children aged four and five, an equal mix of boys and girls. In the first experiment, the researchers found that children preferred individuals who were depicted in good light as opposed to another. These kids were exposed to a brief video depicting nonverbal bias in favour of one individual over another. In the second experiment, pre-schoolers appeared to

Maternal depression may reduce empathy in kids

M participants over a 15-year period, and tested them at ages 9, 13, 17 and 24. The results revealed that the adults who grew up in poverty had a diminished ability to recall the sequences, tend to be more helpless and had the tendency to give up easily as well as had a higher level of chronic physical stress throughout childhood and into adulthood. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

January 13 to 19 | By Manisha Koushik

generalise such bias to other individuals. The spread of the bias observed in these experiments lays a critical foundation for understanding the way that social biases develop and spread in early childhood.The findings underscore the need for parents or adults to be aware of the messages—verbal or otherwise—that they convey to children about how they feel about others, Skinner said. The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.

others’ early and chronic depression may increase the risk of children developing social-emotional problems as well as impact their brain’s empathic response to others’ distress The findings of a recent study showed that in children of depressed mothers, the neural reaction to pain stops earlier than in controls, in an area related to socio-cognitive processing. As a result, these children seem to reduce mentalising-related processing of others’ pain, perhaps because of difficulty in regulating the high arousal associated with observing distress in others, said lead author Ruth Feldman, Professor at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. However, when mother-child interactions were more synchronous, that is, mother and child were better attuned to one another and when mothers were less intrusive, these children showed higher mentalising-related processing in this crucial brain area.

“It is encouraging to see the role of motherchild interactions. Depressed mothers are repeatedly found to show less synchronous and more intrusive interactions with their children and so it might explain some of the differences found between children of depressed mothers and controls,” Feldman added. Apart from reduced empathy to others, children exposed to maternal depression may also have increased social withdrawal and poor emotion regulation, the researchers said. For the study, the team followed mother-child pairs—27 children of mothers with depression and 45 controls—from birth to age 11.  Since 15-18 per cent of women in industrial societies and up to 30 per cent in developing countries suffer from maternal depression, it is of clinical and public health concern to understand the effects of maternal depression on children’s development, the researchers noted. The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP). 

Manisha Koushik is a practicing astrologer, tarot card reader, numerologist, vastu and fengshui consultant based in India with a global presence through the online channels. She is available for consultations online as well. E-mail her at support@askmanisha. com or contact at +91-11-26449898 Mobile/Whatsapp: +919015607139 •

¡¡ Aries (Mar 21-Apr 20) Professionals need to give adequate time to their clients if they want to retain them. Lover will be more than happy to help you balance work and romance. Certain financial proposals may not be as clear cut as you think; gather more relevant information before you make any decision. Your over-insistence on something can put off lover. A family youngster may need guidance in conserving money. Avoid your finicky behaviour to enjoy these moments in your life. Health requires attention.

¡¡ Cancer (Jun 22-Jul 20) This is your lucky period when whatever you touch turns to gold! The professional front will be most satisfying, as things run smoothly. Someone’s prosperity is likely to make you green with envy. You may want to find ways to increase your contribution at the workplace. Focus your efforts on the domestic front where the happiness seems to be a little disturbed. Spouse or a close friend can provoke you to do something that you may later regret. Stay alert.

¡¡ Libra (Sep 24-Oct 23) You achieve much by being proactive at work. Your analytical skills will be an asset and help you find innovative ways to deal with complex issues, especially on the financial front. You will not go wrong anywhere if you maintain the same curriculum. The performance of a family youngster can become a matter of pride for you. Fitness buffs are likely to enjoy perfect health provided you quit drinking. Relationships improve as you want to exploit the pleasures of sin and sensation.

¡¡ Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 21) Boredom threatens to set in at work, so take steps to make your life exciting. Delay in some legal work can cause concern. Avoid any transactions this week. An old ailment may pester you but will be taken care of. Getting rid of negativity vitiating your mind may be easier said than done. Check someone close going astray, but do it in a subtle manner. You are creatively inspired and communication flows, ensuring popularity amongst your social circle. Avoid overspending on unnecessary things.

Lucky number: 7 / Lucky colour: Magenta

Lucky number: 17/ Lucky colour: Forest green

Lucky number: 6 / Lucky colour: Cream

Lucky number: 22 / Lucky colour: Navy blue

¡¡Taurus (Apr 21-May 20) Work will be hectic, and you will be asked to maintain a balance between focusing on your tasks and helping colleagues with their projects. So stay prepared to put in extra hours at work this week. Meeting old pals will make you nostalgic. Lethargy and inaction may get you out of shape if you don’t do something about it soon. Singles could meet someone special in the family functions. Family matters need more tactful tackling with understanding and sensitivity. Someone in the family is prone to ill health; take care. Lucky number: 6 / Lucky colour: Coffee

¡¡ Leo (Jul 21-Aug 22) You have a reason to rejoice on the professional front. Good earning will keep your morale high and boost your self-esteem. Your performance on the professional front is likely to be lauded by all. Those married can be at daggers drawn with spouse over some sensitive issue. Auspicious news relating to a close friend or family member will make you happy. A new acquaintance may present a truly moving cultural experience. Accidental benefits are indicated. Lucky number: 27 / Lucky colour: Sea green

¡¡ Scorpio (Oct 24-Nov 22) You make a niche for yourself on the professional front, as you manage to pull some high-end clientele. If you are attempting daring and bold expansion plans, don’t be swayed by seemingly attractive long-term prospects. You will be successful in delegating work to beat an approaching deadline. Try and keep your options open as new commitments or proposals need to be studied in detail. Letting bygones be bygones, you will be able to resurrect a flagging relationship. Travel is indicated for some. Lucky number: 7 / Lucky colour: Golden

¡¡ Aquarius (Jan 22-Feb 19) This is the right time to invest, as things look bright on the financial front. If there are any wills/ legacies left to be completed, they must be done without the slightest delay. Don’t get emotionally swayed by a scheming person and give in to his or her demands. Performance at work can take a nosedive, as you find it hard to cope up. Spending time with family members will relax you from the tensions at the work front. Plan a trip to a nearby resort to recharge your senses. Lucky number: 2 / Lucky colour: Brown

¡¡ Gemini (May 21-Jun 21) Your ability to discuss sensitive issues will be a powerful asset in this week. You can expect full support of family in all your endeavours. Those in pursuit of romance could finally grasp that desired prize. Probably you need to pay more attention to detail as you are likely to make some mistakes if you underestimate the situation. Don’t take any information at face value; verify all the facts yourself before investing your hard earned money somewhere.

¡¡ Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 23) Some serious career move is important at this point. This is certainly not the suitable time to take liberties in business matters. Prioritise spending time at home on this weekend. Sharing your concerns and worries with your partner will ease your burden. Tone down your over competitive tone on the work front. Financial gains are in the offing. Students preparing for competitive exams can begin processing their documents as stars favour their aspirations.

¡¡ Sagittarius (Nov 23-Dec 21) Praise for a job well done at work is in store for some. A workplace rival will not be able to upstage you, as you will be able to stay a step ahead. There may be opportunities hidden in current situations, but you will need to aggressively seek them out. Tips are likely to come in handy for those wanting to play the stocks. Chance meetings could bring up memories and make you nostalgic. Enemies who troubled you in the past will start stepping back. Avoid fat-rich foods to remain healthy.

¡¡ Pisces (Feb 20-Mar 20) The appearance of a close competitor at work can be a bit unsettling, but you will handle it effectively. Creative and decorative undertakings will make you shine. Curb your short temper attitude if you do not wish to alienate friends. Family members might prioritise looking the right match for singles. Some of you may be hard pressed to give quality time to the lover. Counselling youngsters is favoured with chances of a positive impact. Working towards spirituality is a possibility.

Lucky number: 9 / Lucky colour: Rose

Lucky number: 1 / Lucky colour: Pink

Lucky number: 2 / Lucky colour: Silver

Lucky number: 18 / Lucky colour: White

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13 January 2017 |

Meditation and healing,

the musical way

Indian Kite Festival


Date: Sunday, January 15 Time: 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Venue: Eastdale Reserve, Avondale, next to Avondale College on Rosebank Road. Vishanav Parivar of New Zealand (VPNZ) is celebrating the 11th Indian Kite Festival on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. VPNZ has imported kites and threads from India which will be on sale at the festival. There will be several food stalls, ice cream and ice gola stalls. Some of the main attractions of the festival include entertainment for children in the form of fun rides and climbing wall, slide, face painting for the children, drawing competition and live performances. You can also buy a $5 raffle ticket to win a holiday package for two to Fiji that includes five-days accommodation and many more attractive prizes. This is a real family day out and don’t miss the event.


ith your eyes closed, you can perceive your surroundings and appreciate the nature that you would commonly overlook, such as the chirping of the birds, the sound of the light breeze or even the distant sound of the cars passing. Within a few moments, you would feel like you have been transported into a different dimension just by concentrating on the sounds around you. In ancient Indian texts, sounds or nada is revered highly. It is believed that all creations originated from nada. The Vedas have stated the importance of music in worship and healing practices. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji of Mysore (Sri Swamiji) is renowned for his ‘music for meditation and healing’ concerts. He uses a method of healing through music called Raga Chikitsa—a lost Yoga teaches that ancient art that he is reviving in the human body this modern time. Sri Swamiji’s in a specific rhythmic has 72,000 nerves that music therapy is combined pattern. Disturbances constantly vibrate in a with ayurveda, psychology, specific rhythmic pattern. in the rhythmic pattern gemmotherapy, and astrology. are the root cause of Disturbances in the Sri Swamiji has explained and rhythmic pattern are the diseases. Sri Swamiji’s proved the significance of nada in music vibrations target root cause of one’s life. He always says that the these abnormal rhythmic diseases. right type of music can help relieve patterns through the science the stress of human mind. It is widely of resonance. At the very known that ailments within is graver and least, the vibrations will leave one more acute than the ones contracted externally. uplifted with a sense of vitality and wellbeing. If the mind is tranquil and happy, ailments of Sri Swamiji has travelled the globe the body and mind will be non-existent. conducting ‘music for meditation and healing’ Yoga teaches that the human body has concerts for world peace. Many have claimed 72,000 nerves (nadis) that constantly vibrate to have benefited physically and mentally from

DATTA YOGA CENTRE New Zealand presents for the first time in New Zealand

Meditation and Healing Music Concert by His Holiness Dr.Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji accompanied by His Celestial Music Troupe Concert at Auckland: 4th February 2017, 6.00 pm - 8.30 pm Dorothy Winstone Centre, 16 Howe St, Freemans Bay Tickets: $100, $50, $30

Other programmes at Auckland Datta Kriya Yoga: 28th-29th January 2017 Fickling Convention Centre Hillsborough Room, Three Kings

Sri Chakra Puja: 5th February 2017, 5.00 pm - 8.30 pm Sri Shirdi Sai Mandir, Onehunga We welcome you to take part and benefit from this unique Spiritual experience For further details, contact: Govardhan Mallela - 0211455708 Pravin Patel - 0211646468 Nagaraj Ambale - 0211498523 Valli Nagaraj - 0278388754 Email: Website: Facebook: @dycnz

these music concerts. His music is not only devotional but also invigorating. Sri Swamiji always says, “Physical health results from a healthy mind. Celestial/spiritual music helps in achieving relaxation by soothing the nerves through peace of mind.” For the first time in New Zealand, Auckland will be graced with an evening of musical excellence. Whether you are interested in meditation, seeking peace of mind, or even just to experience personally how music will affect the body and your state of mind, be a part of this event on February 4 at Dorothy Winstone Theatre.


Music for Meditation and Healing concert

Date: Saturday, February 4 Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Venu: Dorothy Winstone Theatre, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, Auckland His Holiness Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji is renowned for His Healing and Meditation music. He has been travelling internationally for over 25 years propagating the ancient musical knowledge “Raga Ragini Vidya”. To find out more about Sri Swamiji and His music or

Vipassana Meditation Centre Open Day

Date: Sunday, February 5 Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Venue: 153 Burnside Road, Makarau, Kaukapakapa, Near Auckland Vipassana Centre near Auckland has been operating for more than 25 years, offering 10 day residential courses in Vipassana Meditation as taught by Mr. S.N. Goenka.Vipassana Technique is a practical technique which enables one to lead a more positive, balanced and happy life and has nothing to do with any organised religion. Vipassana Trust is a charitable organization. All expenses are met by donations from students who have benefited from a 10-day meditation course., website:

Indian Calendar January 2017 Date 1 Jan 2 Jan 3 Jan 5 Jan 6 Jan 8 Jan 10 Jan 12 Jan 13 Jan 14 Jan 15 Jan 19 Jan 20 Jan 23 Jan 25 Jan 26 Jan 27 Jan 29 Jan 31 Jan

Day Festivals & Observances Sun New Year Day Mon Chathurthi Vrat Tue Sashti Thur Guru Gobind Jayanthi Fri Masik Durgashtami Sun Vaikunta Ekadashi, Karthigai Tue Pradosh Vrat Thur Purnima, Arudra Darshan Fri Lohri/ Bhogi Sat Makar Sankranthi, Pongal Sun Sankastha Chathurthi, Maatu Pongal Thur Swami Vivekananda Jayanthi Fri Kalashtami Mon Ekadashi Wed Pradosh Vrat Thur Masik Shivaratri, Republic Day Fri Mauni, Thai Amavasya Sun Chandra Darshan Tue Ganesh Jayanthi With compliments from – The largest hindu online Puja platform

Dev Patel:


Live-in relationships not a negative thing: Aditya

Never took up projects for golden statue


ndian origin British actor Dev Patel, who lost the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role award to Aaron Taylor-Johnson at the 74th Golden Globes, said he never agrees to take up a project thinking about awards. Dev was pitted against Oscarwinning actor Jeff Bridges, Simon Helberg, Mahershala Ali and Johnson for the Golden Globe, which was handed out at a glittering ceremony at Beverly Hills, California on Sunday, January 8 2017. Prior to the ceremony, Dev said over phone: "I am not really holding my breath. I am feeling very grateful to get nominated in the category. Being just 26, I still have a lot to learn. I am lucky that I am able to represent India on an international stage." How important are awards for him? "I would be lying if I say that awards are not amazing. Awards can really change someone's career. You get recognition. You might get scripts that you didn't get earlier. But I never took up a project thinking about a golden statue," said the actor, who made his debut in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Talking about Lion, for which he was nominated, he said: "When we were shooting this film, we were shooting in difficult situations. Walking on the red carpet was the farthest thing you can get in mind. It's all about characters, the journey and the story." Lion, based on Saroo Brierley's best-selling autobiography A Long Way Home, is a true story about an Indian boy who falls asleep on a train only to wake up and realise

he is miles away from home in a strange land where he does not speak the language. He experiences many challenges before getting adopted by a couple in Australia. Years later, he sets out to find his lost family. The drama, directed by Garth Davis, will release in India on February 24, 2017. This isn't the first time that the actor, with roots in Gujarat, is playing a character with an Indian connection. In Slumdog Millionaire, he essayed the role of Jamal Malik, who was raised in the slums of Mumbai. His third film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, presented him as an Indian hotel manager. His next, Hotel Mumbai, is again set in India. It is based on the 2008 terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel in Mumbai. Does he want people to remember him as the actor who represented India on international platforms? "There you go. You said it in a nutshell. Absolutely. I want the world to embrace stories from India. It (since such movies are made) shows that markets – Hollywood and England – are trying to explore stories about people...not just about an Asian person or a rich person. It's about humanity," he said. "When I decided to do the story on Taj, we looked past the colour and skin of the characters...(and focused on) how some of the staff went over and above to protect their guests in times of terror," he added. Asked about being attracted to "underdog stories", he said: "I've never been one of the supremely popular kids. I look at these stories as individuals who rise through

Nawazuddin a remarkable actor: Shweta Tripathi


ctress Shweta Tripathi, who will be sharing screen space with Nawazuddin Siddiqui in their forthcoming film Haraamkhor said her co-star is a remarkable actor. “At first, I was worried sharing screen with an actor like Nawazuddin Siddiqui because he is a remarkable actor and an outstanding person. He didn’t make me feel that I am a newcomer,” Shweta said. “Nawazuddin brings down himself to match the level. I felt like I am working with an actor who has same experience like me,” she said “That’s why I respect him so much. I don’t know anybody who does that. He gives space to another co-star,” She added. “Working with him brings the best of you. I really admire him. I think he knows how he helped me in acting,” the actress said. “Once he said some actors need to be choosy. That line stuck in my mind. I am now super choosy with the films. He also said ‘talent can’t be suppressed.’ I truly believe in these things,” the Masaan actress said. Shot in a small village in Gujarat, the film explores the romance between a 14-year-old school student and her teacher.  Decorated with visuals set in a small village are the main characters of the film, the teacher, the student, a boy who has a

crush on the same girl and his friend who helps him and the teacher’s wife. The trailer is funny in parts – even as the film sets out to spread a serious message.  Directed by Shlok Sharma, the film is releasing today (January 13).


ditya Roy Kapoor, who will be seen playing the lead role in upcoming Ok Jaanu, thinks that live-in-relationships which are common these days are not a negative thing. “It is not about what is right or wrong. Live-in relationships are common these days, that’s why so many movies are being made on the subject. Many of my friends are going through live-in relationships, some have worked out and some didn’t. But I don’t feel it is a negative thing and marriage has to do anything with it,” he said at the press conference, ahead of the film’s release. The film sees Aditya and Shraddha Kapoor as a young couple in a livein relationship in Mumbai while Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson play an older couple who are their landlords. “I don’t think it is wrong if a couple who want to get married get into a live-in relationship to know each other better,” he added. Agreeing with her Aashiqui 2 co-star, Shraddha said: “It (the film) is an interesting take on live-in-relationship.” But Aditya added: “The film is not only about live-in-relationship. Ok Jaanu is actually a love story. The couple just happens to be in a live-in. We are not preaching about what is wrong or how modern we are. It has shown the relationship respectfully.” Directed by Shaad Ali, the romantic drama is releasing today (January 13).

adversity and face challenges. Such stories provide me inspiration." But is it difficult for Indian actors to work in Hollywood? "No. What you have to do is turn an obstacle into an opportunity. I've learnt to embrace my identity and not shy away from who I am in films that I choose. That's what has got me so far," said Dev.

Sadhana Sargam: I love celebration of melody in songs: S inger Sadhana Sargam, who has worked in Bollywood and other regional film industries, says she enjoys melodious songs, adding that film music has changed a lot. Considering the fact that she does not sing in Bollywood so often and asked if she has any preferences, Sargam said she loves songs that have strong melody. “The music has changed (in film music) and there are various genres that we get to hear now. I love songs that have strong melody. Unless I am getting that, how could I sing? But new singers are also talented and they fit in to the trend. As a singer I love the celebration of melody in songs,” Sargam said.  The singer, who is currently busy preparing a list of songs for a concert titled Roshan Se Roshan Tak, said that it is quite a task to choose a few from a long list of super hit songs of Rajesh Roshan that she sang all through her career.  With a combination of young and veteran singers and a 50 piece orchestra, music director Rajesh Roshan is holding the concert in Thane and Vadodara on January 28 and February 11 respectively to commemorate the journey of three generations of his family. Sargam feels “one of the special factors of song recording earlier was


rehearsal that helped me to pick up many nuances of playback singing, especially expression”. Starting her musical journey at the very tender age of four under the tutelage of her mother Neela Ghanekar, a classical singer, Sargam lent her voice for popular song “Sooraj ek chanda ek tare anek” for Doordarshan at the age of six. She has explored all the platforms – be it films, television or pop album. Some of her popular songs are Aao na, Chup ke se, Saat samunder, Pehla nasha, O Paalanhaare, Jab koi baat bigad jaye among others. Talking about the popularity of her song Jab koi baat bigad jaye from the film Jurm, composed by Rajesh Roshan, Sargam said: “As a singer, I treated all the songs with equal passion but I had no idea that it would be such a hit song! I think though it is an old song, people can still relate with it.” Roshan Se Roshan Tak – partnered by 92.7 big FM – also features singers like Sudesh Bhosle, Palak Muchhal, Jubin Nautiyal, Udit Narayan, Babul Supriyo, Mohammad Aziz, Shivranjani, Amay Date and Pratibha Baghel. 



13 January 2017 |

Bhumi Pednekar: Cinema is biggest, easiest way to communicate with masses


er first film, “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, contained the message that over-sized women are not at a disadvantage as long as there is love. Her second, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, too has a societal message. Actress Bhumi Pednekar is more than happy about Bollywood making message-based films and says cinema is the easiest way to communicate with the people. “I feel that today’s people, audiences and filmmakers, we all have become very aware of the problems and the situations that we have around us. Earlier, we were in a position to ignore them... but I think we have now reached a point where we cannot ignore certain things and I think it is fantastic... “Cinema is the largest and the easiest way to communicate with the masses and if you can put it to good use, then why not,” Bhumi asked. The 27-year-old actress says Toilet-Ek Prem Katha isn’t preachy. “It is a beautiful love story that taps into a lot of aspects of our society as well,” she added. While it is quite apparent from the title that the film is about personal hygiene, the producers are keeping the storyline close to their chests to retain interest in the movie that is set to release in June. Fans of Dum Laga Ke Haisha” fondly remember Bhumi as the simple plus-sized Sandhya, and in the upcoming film starring Akshay Kumar, her role again seems to be on similar lines. “What I did in my first film is nothing like what I am doing in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. What

attracts me are real stories about real Indian girls. It’s not that I only pick those subjects. I pick characters purely on the basis on how good the story is and how good my role and character are,” Bhumi said. Bhumi, who before entering the world of films was a casting director, considers herself to be lucky for bagging realistic roles. “I think I have been really lucky that I have been getting roles where I can play the girl-next-door or a girl... My roles are not similar at all,” she said. Dum Laga Ke Haisha came in 2015 and Bhumi’s next film is all set to release in June 2017. Will the time gap help her build a new image? “The time I took off was planned because I had to come back to being Bhumi (my natural self) and it took me this much time. I had gained an insane amount of weight for the film and I had to drop it off,” she explained. She says she has taken time to choose the scripts that she really wants to be a part of. “I have been really lucky and touchwood, for me, life has always been on track,” Bhumi added.

Amitabh gets US embassy award for fighting TB

“It is inspiring that India and the US are natural partners with a long history of collaboration on tuberculosis prevention, treatment, research and cure and I hope to continue to do my bit in this partnership to end tuberculosis in India,” Amitabh reciprocated. Verma and Amitabh first collaborated to work on tuberculosis during an event two years ago on September 10 and it soon grew into a common passion around the cause of eradicating tuberculosis. In March 2016, Amitabh attended a reception at the US Embassy in New Delhi as tuberculosis brand ambassador and a survivor of the disease.


the planet. They are god’s creations. Irrespective of their field, they should be respected,” he said. Bollywood celebrities like Salim Khan, Shekhar Kapur, Akshay Kumar and Farhan Akhtar had earlier strongly condemned the incident that took place during the New Year celebration in Bengaluru.

The high cinema gives is unmatchable: Shriya Saran

Parents should teach sons to respect women: SRK


egastar Amitabh Bachchan was given an award by the US Embassy in appreciation for his invaluable contributions to the US-India partnership on tuberculosis, an official said on Monday January 9 2017. The award was presented on January 8 by US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma to the legendary actor who is also a tuberculosis survivor and brand ambassador for the initiative. Speaking on a live video-chat with Facebook users, the two discussed the US Embassy’s collaboration to end tuberculosis in India and the US-India partnership among other issues. “I thank Mr Bachchan for his dedication to support the cause and for sharing his story as a tuberculosis survivor to reduce the stigma associated with tuberculosis,” Verma acknowledged. He added that more lives can be saved and ease the burden the disease places on families, communities, corporations and India, referring to the high incidence of tuberculosis-related deaths in the country.


ollywood Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has urged parents to teach their sons how to respect women. Asked about the recent Bengaluru mass molestation, Shah Rukh said: “It is completely wrong. I feel mothers and fathers should teach their sons how to respect women.” SRK spoke to media at the Archana Kochhar Show, where he walked as a showstopper. The charity event was held to raise funds for free heart surgeries for 100 children at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital & Medical Research Institute. “All women as daughters or mothers are close to my heart. It’s high time we realise and make sure that they are the most respected people on

Veteran actor Om Puri passes away, India mourns


o other profession can match the high that cinema provides, says actress Shriya Saran, who has been acting since she was 17. Shriya, who is now 34, said: “Cinema is the only profession where you get a high even at the age of 65 when you land a great role.” She was speaking at the first edition of India Today Conclave South, and said that she considers herself extremely lucky to be an actress. “Look at Amitabh Bachchan. Even at his age, he gets to play great characters. At his age, if you’re in a different profession, would you be allowed to do anything? I doubt. I feel blessed to be an actress,” she said. On the acting front, Shriya awaits the release of Telugu historic drama Gauthamiputra Satakarni.

eteran Bollywood actor Om Puri, whose repertoire as an actor reflected a rare realism, died early on Friday, December 30 2016, after a heart attack, triggering nationwide outpouring of condolences from top leaders, fans and the film fraternity. The widely celebrated Om Puri, 66, was found dead at his Andheri West residence, a family friend said. He is survived by his son Ishaan, whom he had with former wife Nandita Puri. The sudden demise of one of India's most talented actors stunned the film industry. Khalid Kidwai, producer of the actor's upcoming film Ram Bhajan Zindabad, said he met Om Puri on Thursday night regarding the promotional activities of the Hindi movie. "He was in a happy mood and we conversed till late evening before he went to his friend and actor Manoj Pahwa's party. In the morning when I learnt about his demise, I was in shock. I still cannot believe it," Kidwai said. In one of his last interviews, Om Puri said prophetically on December 23: "My contribution will be visible once I leave the world." Known for his deep baritone and distinctive acting style, Om Puri had an affinity towards socially relevant cinema. This drove him into doing movies like Aakrosh and Ardh Satya which proved to be box office hits. A National School of Drama alumnus, Om Puri also featured in movies like "Dharavi" and Mirch Masala and explored the comedy genre with Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Chachi 420, Hera Pheri, Malamaal Weekly and more. His stint on the small screen saw him feature in shows like Kakkaji Kaheen and Mr Yogi. But his most notable work was in TV film Tamas, which was helmed by Govind Nihalani – a filmmaker with whom Om Puri worked very closely all through. For his superlative work, he was honoured with the National Film Award for Best Actor twice – for Arohan in 1982 and for Ardh Satya in 1984. Om Puri also nurtured an international career, which started with a cameo in Richard Attenborough's iconic Gandhi. Among some of his British films were My Son the Fanatic, East Is East and The Parole Officer. He also appeared in Hollywood films including City of Joy, Wolf and The Ghost and the Darkness. An advocate of peace between India and Pakistan, he even featured in Pakistani film Actor In Law. He also sank his teeth into regional Indian film projects. Political leaders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee and Vasundhara Raje mourned his death. A much-loved actor for his simplicity and humility, celebrities from Mumbai, Kolkata and even from the southern film industry expressed grief. The film fraternity said he was one of the industry's "greatest" and "most passionate" talent, who they believe will remain alive with the body of work he has left behind. A Padma Shri awardee and National Awardwinner, Om Puri was also made the honorary officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the British film industry. As president of the Cine & TV Artistes Association and a former chairman of the National Film Development Corp (NFDC), he was focussed on backing socially relevant content.




13 January 2017 |

Meet the young innovators ¡¡ SWATI SHARMA


n our Face of the Week section this week, we are featuring ‘faces’ of two Aucklanders— Prashant Trivedi and Santhan Kusum, developers of a website that will help the firsthome buyers save a lot of money. Prashant, an African-born New Zealander of Indian-origin, moved to New Zealand in 2001. With family’s root in India’s Gujarat, Prashant says he connected to his Indian roots right from his childhood, and a visit to family in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Ahmedabad is a must whenever he visits India. He graduated from the University of Auckland with double degrees in Computer Science and Finance before he started working in the technology section at a large bank. And that is where he met Santhan. Born and brought up in Hyderabad in India, Santhan moved to New Zealand’s West Auckland with his family at the age of 10 in 2003. Joint Secretary of New Zealand Telugu Association, Santhan stays in touch with his Indian roots by actively participating in community activities. He graduated with a degree in Software Engineering from the University of Auckland and started working at the bank with Prasanth. Their new venture Mortgage Hub is gaining quite an attention of those struggling to get the best loan rates while buying a house in New Zealand. In a conversation with the duo, Indian Weekender found out more. Here are the excerpts from the interview. IWK: What is Mortgage Hub? Prashant Trivedi: Mortgage Hub is a mortgage education and comparison website

Prashant Trivedi & Santhan Kusum

Prashant Trivedi (L) and Santhan Kusum (R)/ Photo: supplied

where users can compare the best mortgage rates in New Zealand and connect with some of the best mortgage advisers in the country. The aim of Mortgage Hub is to empower New Zealanders to make sound financial decisions. IWK: How did you two come up with this idea? PT: While working at the bank, we realised that the mortgage process still feels like a decade old. Also, there was massive information asymmetry,

Shri Ram Mandir 11 Brick Street, Henderson


which meant that everyday borrowers were not educated on mortgages or the best rates available, resulting in them getting a deal that was less than ideal and ultimately losing money. Santhan Kusum: We thought we could try building something that could be an easy-to-use platform to educate people and make comparing mortgage rates easy while saving their time, stress, and money. We are also first-home buyers, so we have had first-hand experience going through this process, and we understand the pain points well. We have learnt a lot through our journey, and we want to ensure that no other homebuyer makes the same mistakes we made. IWK: Do you think this kind of service was long overdue considering today’s fast-developing technology? SK: Definitely. We can see in other parts of the world that financial comparison sites are the norm. With such a tough housing market in New Zealand, something such as the Mortgage Hub was long overdue. In saying this, there are many areas of the mortgage process that are still inefficient to the banks, advisers and the borrowers. We are hoping we can bring some innovation to this industry. PT: When people are looking to buy a house or obtain a mortgage, there are so many different sources of information that it isn’t easy to understand it all.

Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd January Sat 21st Sun 22nd

8am – Sthapna & Roth Pooja of Hanuman Ji

IWK: What is your opinion about the current housing scenario, and what, according to you, could be a quick solution to the ‘housing-crisis’ of Auckland? PT: It’s difficult to make a general statement about the current housing situation. It is definitely difficult for first-home buyers, especially in Auckland where house prices are at a record high. I think the only quick fix solution is for people to change their mindset about housing. In all super cities around the world, apartment living is the norm, and it has several benefits compared to a standalone house. If people want to stay in Auckland but are struggling to find an affordable house, then they have to consider apartments as the more affordable option. Otherwise, there are great cities around New Zealand that still offer relatively affordable house prices with a high standard of living, such as Wellington, Christchurch, and Tauranga. IWK: What other services your website plans to offers in future? SK: Our plan is to branch out from mortgages and disrupt the financial services industry by developing innovative digital solutions in other space. We are currently building credit card and savings account comparison for students, hoping to go live in time for the school and university year. Students are at a fragile time in their lives, where the right financial choices can have great benefits in their future, so we hope this can be of use to them when choosing their first credit card or looking at the best tertiary savings accounts. We will also continue to build various tools to help homebuyers. We are always excited for suggestions from our users. If you have any ideas, feel free to get in touch.

10am – Chalisa Paath Starts

10am – Chalisa Paath Ends

11am – Hawan Yagna & Arti

12pm – Prasad & Mahaprasad Served Prasad & Mahaprasad will be served throughout the program Specially blessed oil from Hanuman Ji Abishek will be available Devotees are free to bring Prasad or make Roth on site

To register your interest please contact Avinesh: 021-834-280 | | PH: (09) 836-4647 s

We hope Mortgage Hub can be a single place for homebuyers to do their own personal research. By making information more accessible and understandable, people can make more informed financial decisions.

IWK: How does this calculator work, and how can users ensure its accuracy? PT: We pull the advertised rates from the leading banks and lenders in New Zealand, which are displayed on our comparison page. Users can then use the calculator to see how different loan amounts and terms will affect the estimate repayments they will need to make. We have also built a great affordability calculator that collects a few pieces of information, and then calculates how much you might be able to borrow. It also provides some customised tips, such as whether you are eligible for a KiwiSaver grant, or how your mortgage repayments will compare to your existing rent/accommodation expenses. SK: We regularly update our rates. However, there may be short periods where the rates may not be updated, especially when banks have just changed their rates. We are automating this, so the rates will always be up to date. Our calculators use standard financial formulae, similar to what the banks use.


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PRICES FROM $250*CALL 022-3251630

At Kiwi Home Loans, we go an extra mile to save you money and ensure hassle-free processing. We leverage our experience and expertise to structure your loan and help you get debt-free faster. Services Offered: • • • •

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Don’t wait! Call Raj today at 022 3683240

Rajesh Mehta

Ex-banker with 6 years experience

3101-3103 Great North Road, New Lynn, Auckland 0600 M. 022 368 3240 T. 09 282 4107 / E.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this material is not intended to form professional legal advice or legal opinion. Readers are advised to obtain their own specific legal advice.

With years of expertise as a fabricator of aluminium joinery, KSS Aluminium is a name trusted by Builders & Homeowners. Get in touch with us and transform your living space. We also do renovations viz. changing of timber joinery to aluminium joinery, commercial, conservatories and shop frontage/s.

For a free no-obligation quote, call Karim at

021 2752746

11A George Terrace, Onehunga, Auckland 1061 T: 09 320 3872 / E:

Shelter Realty


For Buying, Selling or Property Management Call Bobby Sapra & Team.

3101-, 3103 Great North Rd, New Lynn, Auckland 0600 T. 09 825 1000 F. 09 826 3095 E. |

52 Rosebank Road, Avondale, Auckland 06 T. 09 820 0024 F. 09 828 1346 E. |

Indian Weekender 13 January 2017  

Vol 8 Issue 41

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