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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

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Friday, February 18 2011 | Vol. 30, No. 7

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The couple stopped making public appearances with each other recently, according to Mumbai Mirror.

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Bollywood rocks the rockets celebrating A Jolly Good

By Manasi Gokhale Bavadekar HOUSTON: On Saturday, February 12, sports fans that flocked to the Toyota Center to watch the NBA game between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks were entertained during the half time by a scintillating Bollywood fusion dance performance by Rhythm India Dance Company. It marked the first time a Bolly-

group of young boys and girls, led by Arzan Gonda, Artistic Director. of Rhythm India. Their performance in the Toyota Center earned them a huge round of applause from the enthusiastic crowd and brought the fans to their feet. Arzan could not really hide her excitement after the performance as it was a very special day not only for her, but for the entire Indian Community here in Houston.

seen before at a Rockets game. We looked at it as a celebration of our Indian Culture and we danced our hearts out” she said. “Everything from the vibrant colors of the costumes, to the songs picked was designed to fit with the Rockets theme, as well as to cater to the many non-desis in the audience. We would like to thank our ever supporting community who came out to cheer

Fellow: Virendra mathur

Dr. Virendra S Mathur with wife Nalini and son Gaurav at the celebration last Saturday. Photo by Bijoy Dixit.

Photos: Danesh Desai

and celebrate with us. There were over 800 ‘desi’ supporters at this game,” she added . Even the young dancers and percussionists were thrilled after their first ever experience at a Rockets game. “Just walking into that stadium and seeing those thousands of people was the most amazing feeling. It felt as if the world just stopped for those four minutes that we were dancing. After continuous hours of rehearsals and a tremendous amount of hard work, I think we had a great performance”, said Zenia Sunavala, a Senior Rhythm Photo: Rohan Bavadekar

wood Dance Troupe performed at half-time during a Rockets game at the Toyota Center. The group showed tremendous energy as 24 of Rhythm India’s Senior & Junior Company Dancers and five percussionists of Dhol Beat International performed to a medley of “Dil Bole Hadippa” and “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom”. The fans were enthralled by the

“We wanted our performance to be remembered. We wanted the feeling it gave us while performing to be contagious. The goal was to have every one of those 18,000 people feel what we felt and clap or dance with us even if they didn’t understand the lyrics or know the songs. We wanted to surprise them, engage them & show them something which they had never

This Week Inside:

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Shankar Mahadevan Academy Launched Page 5

HOUSTON: Although many know him for his mastery of medical science and the one to go to for problems of the heart (the medical kind), Dr. Virendra S. Mathur is also lodged into the collective brain of the desi community in the Bayou City for his unwavering support for an idea for a permanent place, India House, for which he lobbied long and hard. Many were the times that he sat at a table at a community event with a rendering (and later a model) of the India

House front pavilion and cornered people to make donations for its construction. That spirit of perseverance personifies Mathur, just as his smiling countenance endears him to the many people he has encountered in the service to the community as well as the patients he has worked with over the past 50 years. And so, fittingly, India House was the locale where over 400 friends and family gathered to continued on page

Hind rattan Award for rasika dhekne NEW DELHI: Houston physician, Dr. Rasika Dhekne, received the prestigious Hind Rattan Award during the 25th International Congress of NRI’s held on the eve of India’s Republic Day celebrations. The award is presented to oustanding community service contributions by NRIs. Dr. Dhekne has been active with Pratham, the NGO that is promoting literacy in India.

Rohit Agrawal: National Winner of 2010 Siemens Page 8 AP Awards

Galveston Celebrates “Enchantment of India” at the Mardi Gras Page 12

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

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A Lifetime of Achievements for a Jolly Good Fellow

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celebrate the life of professional dedication and community involvement of this “jolly good fellow” who has been a fixture at all Indo American gatherings for the last 35 years. The event on Saturday, February 12, was arranged by his wife Nalini and son Gaurav to mark Mathur’s 50 years in the medical profession, a cardiologist to Prime Ministers, Presidents and thousands of common folk. A gold medalist of King George Medical College in Lucknow, Mathur also has an MA in Liberal Arts. He came to Boston for further studies in cardiology at Harvard and Tufts and returned to India for three years to teach at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi . He later came back to the US in 1972 and settled in Houston where he developed a practice as a cardiologist. Dr. Mathur specializes in Cardiovascular Research, management of coronary artery disease, and, particularly, balloon angioplasty. He has been teaching at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston for over 25 years. He is a member of the attending staff, Cardiology Section of St. Luke’s Hospital, and cardiologist at the

Dr. V. S. Mathur with some of nearly 400 friends who came to celebrate his 50 years of work as a cardiologist and a philanthropist at India House. Urvashi Lal, an 11th grader, played some classical music, at the evening. Photos by Bijoy Dixit.

Texas Heart Institute. “God has been very kind to me to enable me to enjoy this evening in the midst of some many of my friends, family and well wishers,” Mathur said. “I believe it is the prayers and blessings of my patients and holy men who have allowed me to serve in my profession, without a break - not a single sick day - in my 50 years.” Mathur joked about the tender loving care of his wife Nalini who would load him up with medicines, if he was even slightly indisposed, and pack him off to work. But Nalini, he said, has been the pillar of the family, taking on the sometimes difficult task of raising Gaurav while he was busy with treating the sick. He spoke with great pride about

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Gaurav, who fought many challenges as a child due to his hearing impairment but showed immense learning abilities, excelling to graduate as Valedictorian from Kinkaid High School. Gaurav attended Princeton for his undergraduate degree and earned a PhD from MIT in Linguistics, the first deaf person to earn a doctorate in the field at MIT. Gaurav is now an assistant professor of Linguistics at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and he introduced his famous father, with the help of a sign language interpreter. Mathur said the joy at seeing the smiles of happy patients and the numerous thank you notes, even from family members of patients who did not make it, have been his greatest reward. He read out a

letter he received from the family of a man on whom Mathur performed bypass surgery in September 1990. The man died in June 2009. “Thank you for adding so many happy and healthy years to his life,” the letter said. More testimonials followed. Brij and Mike Walia presented him with a plaque applauding him for his service to patients. The Walia brothers had a personal story to tell. In 1984, their mother in India was given a few hours to live by a doctor there. The Walias came to Mathur who asked them to bring her to Houston. Under his care the lady got well and led a healthy and hearty life until 2005. Gopal Rana, a long-term Houstonian, recalled when he felt chest pains, while driving on a freeway in Houston . “I was actually on my way to pick up a friend who was being released from hospital after being under Dr. Mathur’s care,” he said. “I called my daughter and asked her to speak to Dr Mathur and tell him to expect me there. She was smarter. She called Nalini who reached Dr Mathur immediately. And when I got there Dr. Mathur was waiting for me at the entrance,” Rana recalled. Dr Ali Massumi, chairman of

Hall & Garcia Cardiology where Mathur has practiced for years, presented him with a plaque for his years of service. “Dr Mathur has been a great teacher. He is and will remain a great source of guidance and advice. He is a great physician, a superb teacher and a man of honor,” Dr Massumi said. Two other cardiologists, Dr Raj Bhalla and Dr Jagmeet Soin, who had known Mathur as a teacher at AIIMS in Delhi and later in Boston, also had high praise for Mathur’s teaching skills and leadership. Dr Satish Jhingran, who was a junior to Mathur at King George in Lucknow in 1954, described him as a perfectionist and recalled the early days of struggle of the India Culture Center. “There was a point,” he said, “when the ICC was on the verge of closing down, but was saved by a donation from Dr Mathur.” The event had some light musical and dance entertainment. Shreya Dhutia performed a dance to a song from the film Guru. Urvashi Lal, an 11th grader from Houston who is a regular with Houston Youth Symphony, and Varun Shankar Jagannathan, 14, from Boston, presented Western classical musical pieces on the violin. The event ended with the entire gathering led by Nalini singing For he is a jolly good fellow in a toast to a life of high professional achievement and community service. If you receive your paper more than four days after the dateline, please file a complaint with your post office or call the USPS Consumer Affairs Office at 713-226-3442

Indo-American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly on every Friday (for a subscription price of $30 per year) by Indo-American News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036, Tel: 713-789-6397, Fax: 713-789-6399, Email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo-American News, 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036.

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

Shankar Mahadevan Academy Launched

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Online Academy offers music education to Indians in the U.S bringing high quality music learning into the convenience of homes across the country for the first time. NEW YORK: Shankar Mahadevan, the iconic singer and composer, and Clood On, a provider of virtual learning software, are ushering in a new era for classical and modern Indian music instruction with the launch of the Shankar Mahadevan Academy ( www. shankarmahadevanacademy. com). The Academy helps Indians in the U.S. to strengthen their connection with India’s culture and heritage by making it easy to access high quality music instruction from the convenience of home for the first time. Courses will be offered in a variety of styles including Hindustani, Carnatic, Bollywood, folk and devotional to appeal to both serious aspirants as well as those who want to explore their artistic inclinations for fun. In fact, the whole premise of the online classroom is built around a “fun” concept so as to make the process of learning both enriching and interesting. However, this is not done at the expense of the instructional element – all teachers will be selected and endorsed by Shankar Mahadevan, and the Academy provides a

structured, high-quality curriculum with certification. “The traditional process of learning classical music can be too serious and intimidating for many people who want to learn. Our objective with the Academy is to make music learning a fun and rewarding journey for all, without compromising on the quality of the curriculum and instruction. I’m excited to see more people –both adults and children - share in my love of learning Indian music,” said Shankar Mahadevan. The technology behind the Acad-

emy is especially suited for such a venture. Developed by Clood On, a provider of virtual learning software founded by executives from Yahoo! and Dell, it is designed to making structured curriculumbased education more interactive and tailored to each person’s abilities. Central to learning at the Academy is the OM Book™, or Online Music Book, a unique tool that allows students to practice and learn on their own time, and at their own pace, before attending weekly virtual classes with their teacher.

“The technology developed by us for the Academy – especially the OM Book - is intended to make this process of music learning fun and convenient, and to make it accessible to thousands of Indians in the U.S., who until now had little or no options,” said Sridhar Ranganathan, co-founder and CEO of Shankar Mahadevan Academy. Shankar Mahadevan Academy was founded under the guidance and leadership of the award-winning composer and singer Shankar Mahadevan. The Academy brings high quality Indian music

education online for the first time. Shankar’s vision for the Academy is to share his love for music with people across the globe and to make learning music easy and fun. Now students have an easy way to learn music in the convenience of their own home, at their own pace. The Academy is a joint venture between Shankar Mahadevan and Clood On, a provider of virtual learning software founded by executives from Yahoo and Dell. For more information, visit www.shankarmahadevanacademy. com

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c may Lead to Higher cuts Tuition: UH’s r renu Khator Khator says budget imperils economic future

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By Joe holley AUSTIN (Chronicle) : The 63,000 students of the University of Houston System could be paying higher tuition as early as the fall semester, Chancellor Renu Khator told a Senate committee Monday. Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, Khator said that a tuition increase is one of a number of strategies she and her fellow administrators are considering as they grapple with a projected $81 million budget cut for the biennium. “The item is open; let me put it this way,” she told lawmakers. She said the system’s board or regents would make a decision in April or May. Khator, who also is president of the university’s main campus, was joined by the presidents of UH-Downtown, UH-Victoria and UH-Clear Lake. She said that the university is holding off on recruiting new faculty members, “unless the position is absolutely critical.” Campuses under siege She is not the only university president facing a biennial budget nightmare. With the Legislature facing a shortfall of at least $15 billion and perhaps as much as $27 billion, the Senate’s starting point budget proposal calls for a 9.5 percent reduction in funding for public colleges and universities in Texas at a time of expanding enrollment in institutions around the state, from community colleges to the state’s highest-profile universities. Four community colleges are targeted for closure, and the Texas A&M System, the University of Texas System, the Texas Tech University System will suffer big cuts. A parade of university and college officials

has gone before the committee to plead for smaller cuts, arguing that the drastic reductions included in budget proposals would make higher education less affordable or accessible to students and would chip away at the overall quality of institutions. Many presidents have said the pending cuts would force them to lay off faculty, increase class sizes, raise tuition and reduce course offerings. University of Texas system officials last week asked state senators for flexibility to cut pay for faculty and staff and mandate furloughs to cope with budget cuts of more than 20 percent. “The UH System understands that all components of state government must do their part in addressing the state’s financial crisis, but the higher education reductions in Senate Bill 1 would risk the long-term economic future of Texas,” Khator said in her prepared remarks. Like losing 9,300 students She said UH already had implemented a number of strategies to deal with reduced state appropriations, including increased fundraising efforts, reallocating university resources from “low-priority areas to highpriority areas” and exploring changes in faculty workload, class size and class scheduling. The system is not considering caps on enrollment, she said. In her testimony, Khator told the senators that the $81 million reduction in the system’s general revenue appropriation, a 16 percent cut, would be the equivalent of losing 9,300 students, offering 1,220 fewer courses and losing between 300 and 400 faculty members. The proposed cut is the budgetary equivalent of five of the system’s 12 colleges. Senator seeks clarity State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said she was confused by the chancellor’s figures. She assumed, she said, that Khator was describing the actual impact of a budget cut of $81 million. Khator explained that she was not saying that 9,300 students would be cut or that five colleges would be closed. She was offering comparisons, she said, to illustrate the impact of the proposed cuts. “We are not simply going to say to 9,300 students that we won’t admit you,” she said. “They are already at the university. We are committed to that. What I’m trying to show is that $81 million equals funding at today’s costs of general revenue of 9,300 students.” Khator said that a tuition increase would be a last resort. “We will do our level-best to minimize the impact on the students, because that’s what a university’s all about,” she said.

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

Abrahams Celebrate 37th Year of Business

HOUSTON: Abraham of Abrahams Oriental Rugs celebrated 37th year of their business and also the grand opening of the new showroom located on the 1st floor of the prestigious decorative center, 5120 Woodway Drive Ste 180, Houston 77056. The event was also a kick off party of the Houston Symphony Ball 2011. Many interior designers, Rachel Duvvuri and Omana Abraham with Dr. Vivek who are long time supporters Kavadi. of Abrahams, as well as hundreds of Houston Symphony patrons and Houston Symphony Ball. There was an board members joined the celebration. Over overwhelming support towards the ball. Several Indian community leaders were 300 guests enjoyed wine and h’orderves able to attend the evening and the event was during the occasion. Samuel Abraham took the opportunity to a great suceess. Abrahams operates four showrooms and a thank the supporters of the Houston Symphony and other friends. The evening was warehouse, including the ones in the Woodalso a fundraiser for the table sale of the lands and the Galleria area.

Bollywood Rocks Houston Rockets continued from page

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The parents of the performers were excited too and happy after watching their kids wow the audience at the stadium. “As a parent of an 11 year old, it is amazing to watch the excitement that my daughter had. It is a wonderful opportunity and exposure which was given. The whole experience of dancing at a Rocket’s game is just great. No words can explain it better than the smiling face and the big gleaming eyes that my daughter had,” said Rashna Oak, parent of Junior Company Dancer Anushka Oak. The Rhythm India Dance Company was founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Arzan Gonda. Since then, the Rhythm India Dance Company has enthralled audiences all over

the state with their performances. Rhythm India was also the opening act for the Jai Ho “A.R Rahman Concert” in 2010. The Company strives to create public awareness of South Asian culture and make dance accessible to everyone. Classes are currently held at several Houston locations every day of the week. Students range in age and skill from beginners to dance professionals. Rhythm India dancers perform professionally at various social events and festivals throughout the year. For more information. visit www.rhythmindia.com or email info@rhythm-india. com

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r rohit Agrawal: national w winner of 2010 math & science AP Awards

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ISELIN, NEW JERSEY (Indiawest): Rohit Agrawal, a senior at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minn., was named one of the nation’s top two achievers in Advanced Placement science and mathematics courses when the winners of the 2010 Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement were announced Feb. 1. As a national winner, Agrawal will receive a $5,000 college scholarship. This year, 98 high school students in 50 states – including 91 seniors, six juniors and one sophomore – were recognized. The annual awards honor up to 100 of America’s top performers in Advanced Placement Program science and math courses with a $2000 college scholarship to one male and one female student in each state. At the state level, the winners included Mihika Prabhu, a senior at West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School in Indiana; Shilpa Kannan, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland; Alomi Parikh, a senior at Holmdel High School in New Jersey; Tulsee Doshi, a senior at Jesuit High School in Oregon; and Mitu Bhattatiry, a senior at Coppell High School in Texas. Agrawal started taking Advanced Placement classes in his sophomore year, eager to challenge himself and learn collegelevel material. “The AP program helped expose me to higher level science and convinced me to pursue math and science-related fields,” he said in a press release. Agrawal is currently taking all of his classes at the University of Minnesota through the state’s Post Secondary Enrollment Options program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to take college classes and receive high school credit. His course load includes several upper level math classes. Last summer, he was one of 70

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people from around the world invited to participate in the prestigious Research Science Institute, a six-week program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Agrawal was named one of the Top 20 freshmen in the nation in the 2008 Math Olympiad Summer Program and won first place in the Minnesota State High School Math League for two years running. He will compete this May at the national Science Bowl, having

recently won the team category at the state level. Born and raised in Minnesota, Agrawal enjoys swimming and skiing. Prabhu is a member of the 2010 U.S. Physics Team and a Le Grand Concourse Second in Indiana. Kannan is a Siemens Competition semifinalist as well as a 2010 semifinalist in the USA Biology Olympiad and the National Merit Scholarship. Parikh has received high honors in the National Chemistry Olympiad. Doshi has distinguished himself in the National Honors Society and Spanish National Honors Society, while Bhattatiry’s most notable accomplishment was in the recent International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition. Established in 1998, the Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation and is administered by the College Board. IA News © 2010

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

y youth devotional song contest Held at shri Kripalu Kunj Ashram draws Talent s

HOUSTON: In modern times, when bollywood style musical contests are very popular, Shri Kripalu Kunj Ashram organized a very unique contest. A contest of devotional music and songs, for children and youth in the 5- 15 year age group. The contest was held in the premises of Shri Kripalu Kunj Ashram on Saturday February 12 after the regular satsang service. Many children from different parts of Houston participated in the contest with great enthusiasm. It was heartening to see that the children had put in a lot of time and effort, practicing for the event. Everybody’s performance was highly commendable. The performance of Mukta Nair (12) in the senior youth segment and Sharanya Sharma (5) from St. Antonio and Vikkram Sankaran (6) from Sugarland in the junior youth segment, was particularly impressive. Shri D. Hajra and Smt. V. Verma were the honorable judges. The winners in the 9-15 years age group were, Mukta Nair(12) - First prize (She received a beautifully framed picture of Shri Radha Krishna with a

Mukta Nair- Winner of devotional song contest

certificate of achievement) Saurindro Ghosh (15) – First runners Up (He received a beautiful picture of Shri Krishna on wooden plate and a certificate of achievement) Aditya Sonthalia (14) - Second runners Up (He received a framed picture of Shri Radha Krishna and a certificate of achievement). All other participants were also given an award and a certificate of achievement for their participation and performance. In the junior youth segment (under 9 years), all children performed particularly well. To encourage and acknowledge their wonderful performance, all participants were presented with a picture of

Shri Radha Krishna, a T shirt and a certificate of achievement. On this occasion, Didi Braj Banchary Ji, the foremost disciple of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj and the founder of Shri Kripalu Kunj Ashram addressed the participants and explained the meaning and purpose behind these events. In brief, Didi Ji said that the purpose of these contests is to: 1. Enhance devotion in children. 2. Develop interest in singing spiritual songs. 3.Familiarize Indian children being raised in the West with Indian culture, language and music. 4. Provide new and interesting, fun activities for children. 5. Reveal and further advance their innate hidden talents. Didi Ji admired the spirit and efforts of the parents in inspiring and helping children prepare for this event. She also explained how parents also realized spiritual benefits from these programs. All awards and certificates were presented by the holy hands of Didi Braj Banchary Ji along with her blessings to increase our devotion to the lotus feet of God and Guru.

Houston Arts Alliance Presents sacred s s songs, s sacred s sites HOUSTON: Enjoy a series of four visits to Houston-area faith communities, each of which will present an informal program showcasing the songs, stories, visual, architectural and food traditions that play a pivotal part in their religious practices. A project of the Folklife and Traditional Arts Program of the Houston Arts Alliance, OnSite/InSight places special focus on some of the lesser-known faith communities in the city. Several serve congregations made up of more recent immigrants to the area. All express rich artistic dimensions in their worship activities. Demonstrations of these will form the content of each presentation. Audience members will be encouraged to engage through question and answer sessions with congregational participants. Participating congregations include: Chinmaya Prabha Mission, Saturday, February 26, 10:30am – 12:30pm Vietnam Buddhist Center, Saturday, February 26, 2:30pm –

4:30pm Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center, Sunday, February 27, 10:30am – 12:30pm Congregation Brith Shalom, Sunday, February 27, 2:30pm – 4:30pm There is no charge for attendance but all interested individuals must register in advance by visiting www.bit.ly/houstonfolklife. The public may attend as many presentations as they like. OnSite/InSight is a part of Sacred Songs, Sacred Sites, a program of

HAA’s Folklife and Traditional Arts Program. Sacred Songs, Sacred Sites celebrates the artistic and cultural traditions that reside in the city’s diverse faith communities through concerts, lectures and workshops. These programs are free and open to public. Visit Houstonartsalliance.com for more information on upcoming Sacred Songs, Sacred Sites programs. The Houston Arts Alliance is the official local arts agency for the city of Houston, providing funding, technical assistance and leadership to non-profit arts organizations region-wide. Sacred Songs, Sacred Sites is part of HAA’s Folklife and Traditional Arts Program, the only one of its kind in the state of Texas. Sacred Songs, Sacred Sites programs are funded in part by the Houston Endowment, Inc., the National Endowment for the Arts, Sara and Bill Morgan, His Highness The Aga Khan Council for the USA and Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston.

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Galloping Growth, and Hunger Still Stalking India Shining

By Vikas Bajaj BAMNOD (NYT): The 50-yearold farmer knew from experience that his onion crop was doomed when torrential rains pounded his fields throughout September, a month when the Indian monsoon normally peters out. For lack of modern agricultural systems in this part of rural India, his land does not have adequate drainage trenches, and he has no safe, dry place to store onions. The farmer, Arun Namder Talele, said he lost 70 percent of his onion crop on his five-acre farm here, about 70 miles north of the western city of Aurangabad. “There are no limits to my losses,” Talele said. Talele’s misfortune, and that of many other farmers here, is a grim reminder of a persistent fact: India, despite its ambitions as an emerging economic giant, still struggles to feed its 1.1 billion people. Four decades after the Green Revolution seemed to be solving India’s food problems, nearly half of Indian children age 5 or younger are malnourished. And soaring food prices, a problem around the world, are especially acute in India. Globally, floods in Australia and drought in China have helped send food prices everywhere soaring — on fears the world will see a repeat of shortages in 2007 and 2008 that caused food riots in some poor countries, including Egypt. While India’s agricultural problems are part of this bigger global puzzle, in many ways India’s food challenges are more entrenched and systemic than those faced elsewhere. Western investors may take eager note of India’s economic growth rate of nearly 9 percent a year. But that statistic rings hollow in India’s vast rural areas. Agriculture employs more than half the population, but it accounts for only 15 percent of the economy — and it has grown an average of only about 3 percent in recent years.

Farmers plant onions in Jalgaon, India. Even with India’s farming still dependent on manual labor and the vicissitudes of nature, demand for food has risen. Photo: Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times

Critics say Indian policy makers have failed to follow up on the country’s investments in agricultural technology of the 1960s and ’70s, as they focused on more glamorous, urban industries like information technology, financial services and construction. There is no agribusiness of the type known in the United States, with highly mechanized farms growing thousands of acres of food crops, because Indian laws and customs bar corporations from farming land directly for food crops. The laws also make it difficult to assemble large land holdings. Yet even as India’s farming still depends on manual labor and the age-old vicissitudes of nature, demand for food has continued to rise — because of a growing population and rising incomes, especially in the middle and upper classes. As a result, India is importing ever greater amounts of some staples like beans and lentils (up 157 percent from 2004 to 2009) and cooking oil (up 68 percent in the same period). Food prices are rising faster in India than in almost any other major economy — and faster than they did during the 2007-8 surge. In December 2010, India’s food prices jumped 13.7 from the year earlier, while inflation for all commodities, heavily weighted by the food number, stood at 8.4 percent. A snapshot number released in mid-January showed Indian food prices rising even faster — more than 17 percent over the same period in 2009 — as the cost of onions, fruit, eggs, milk

and other commodities rose. Food inflation hits especially hard here because Indians — most of whom live on less than $2 a day — spend a bigger portion of their disposable incomes on food than people in other big, developing economies like China and Brazil. “This is the worst form of taxation on the poorest of the poor,” said Ashok Gulati, Asia director for the International Food Policy Research Institute. Indian government officials have scrambled to make up the shortage of vegetables like onions by importing them. These short-

term efforts have helped; onions are now available at 20 rupees a kilo (about 20 cents a pound) in Mumbai, down more than 70 percent from their recent highs. But experts say the widening gap between agriculture’s anemic supply and the rising demand for food calls for fundamental changes in farming policies. During the Green Revolution the government invested heavily in rural agriculture, with an emphasis on hybrid seeds, fertilizers and irrigation canals. More recent policy makers have not built on that early success. Most Indian farmers still do not have irrigation systems, and waste and inefficiency have severely depleted precious ground water. Although many farmers have access to free or subsidized electricity that can be used to pump water, few receive power for more than a few hours a day. Mr. Talele, the farmer in Bamnod, gets only four hours of electricity during the day and four hours at night. During those periods he pumps well water that he then floods into his fields because he cannot afford the sprinklers or drip irrigation that would more efficiently and effectively water his crops. And rural India has far too few temperaturecontrolled warehouses that could help farmers and the nation build up reserves as a hedge against

poor growing seasons. When Talele’s vegetables are ready for harvest he immediately takes them to wholesale markets, which are controlled by committees of local traders. “Whatever the market decides, that’s the price we get,” he said. Indian officials acknowledge that the country needs to increase investment in irrigation, encourage competition in wholesale and retail markets, and provide targeted food subsidies to the poor. And they also have to provide more education and jobs to villagers, so fewer people are forced to live off the land. Experts say India needs to make changes like some of the ones China made, beginning in the late 1970s, when it started investing heavily in agriculture and eased regulations on farming. As recently as 1977, Chinese and Indian farmers harvested roughly the same amount of wheat for each acre that they planted. But by 2009, United Nations data shows that wheat yields were 1.7 times higher in China than in India. Kaushik Basu, a Cornell University professor who is also the chief economic adviser to India’s finance minister, says he now sees more willingness by Indian officials to reform agriculture policies. But outside experts like Mr. Gulati are skeptical that real change will come from the government. The ruling coalition has been hobbled by corruption scandals, and an energized opposition last year effectively blocked proceedings in Parliament. Some Indian farmers are investing on their own, finding ways to circumvent the government when necessary and using subsidies when they are available. About 10 miles from Mr. Talele’s farm in the village of Pahur, Sandeep Ram Karshanbakr’s farming income has jumped to 200,000 rupees ($4,400) a year, from 80,000 rupees ($1,800) three years ago. He credits the improvement to a drip irrigation system he bought from an Indian company, Jain Irrigation. The government paid half the 128,000 rupees ($2,800) cost of the system. That has cut the amount of water and electricity Karshanbakr uses by about half on his three acres, while improving yields twofold to fivefold on his crops of chilis, cauliflower, eggplants, tomatoes and cotton. Karshanbakr says he is now considering buying or leasing more land. But many farmers, like Mr. Talele, say they simply cannot afford such irrigation equipment — even with government subsidies as high as 50 percent of the sticker price. “It’s still too expensive,” he said. Anil Jain, managing director at Jain Irrigation, said India needs to help farmers like Mr. Talele invest. “Agriculture can grow at 6 to 8 percent,” he said. “But we have to create opportunity and income in rural areas.”

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

sangeet radio Launches 24-7 service

HOUSTON: Houston’s number one Desi hit music station, Sangeet Radio, is celebrating its newest expansion on the City of Houston’s radio airwaves to now feature a 24 hours a day, seven days a week South Asian radio broadcast on KBRZ 1460 AM. Rajput Media Services made history once again on January 30, 2011 with this most recent expansion making Sangeet Radio the largest South Asian radio network in Houston, Texas and the first of its kind to offer nonstop South Asian infotainment. “It is because of the support of our listeners and the entire city that we are proud to say that Sangeet Radio is now a 24-7 South Asian – all Desi, all the time – radio network,” said founder and CEO of Rajput Media Services and Sangeet Radio, Mr. Saeed Gaddi. “Congratulations to Houston and all our dedicated listeners for this milestone.” Rajput Media Services continues to lead the way as a pioneer in multicultural radio broadcasting with this latest expansion on KBRZ 1460 AM. The radio network presently broadcasts to approximately 500,000 South Asians residing in the greater Houston area and surrounding vicinities. Listeners will now be able to enjoy uninterrupted distinct programming that Sangeet Radio has been delivering for over 14 years. Programs like the best of Bollywood and beyond, enriching and educational interactive

shows and Q&A forms, local, national, and global news, comedy time, distinguished guests and professionals, intellectual and cultural quizzes complimented with gifts, are among the many segments Sangeet Radio features on its 24-7 radio network. Sangeet Radio’s 24-7 broadcast is heard on KBRZ 1460 AM where the station of offers one of the strongest South Asian radio frequencies seven days a week. As a result of this historic landmark achievement for Rajput Media Services, KBRZ has enabled Sangeet Radio to reach out to the entire Houston metropolitan area and surrounding vicinities. Sangeet Radio continues to attract a diverse group of South Asian listeners and new radio host talents who speak many different languages, including Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and more. Avid listeners around the world tune into Sangeet Radio’s nonstop, 24-7 all Desi network and its variety shows at sangeetradio. com or kbrzradio.com. About Rajput Media Services: Rajput Media Services, founded in 1997 in Houston, Texas by CEO Saeed Gaddi, is the largest South Asian Marketing firm in Houston. The firm offers advertising opportunities in both electronic media (radio) and print media (newspaper). For more information about Sangeet Radio, visit www.sangeetradio.com. For more information about Rajput Media Services, call 832-277-6699.

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

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Galveston Celebrates “Enchantment of India” at the Mardi Gras George Mitchell family, Naveen and Shubhra Ramineni to donate funds for Ekal Vidyalaya

GALVESTON: The Tremont House in Galveston presents its 27th Annual Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Party celebrating “The Enchantment of India” on Saturday, March 5, 2011 from 6 pm to 12 am. The annual event, hosted by the George Mitchell family, originated in 1985 with the grand opening of The Tremont House and the revival of Galveston Island’s citywide Mardi Gras celebrations, and this year the theme of the party is India. Join party guests in paying tribute to a 5,000 year-old civilization with ancient cultures and rich heritage. Intricately decorated “palaces” and Bollywood dancers will provide a festive backdrop to this year’s colorful celebration celebrating India.

A portion of the proceeds from the ball on behalf of the George Mitchell Family and Naveen and Shubhra Ramineni will benefit the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, which is the charity of choice this year. Ekal Vidyalaya is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering education and village development in rural India. Ekal Vidyalaya’s philosophy is to take a holistic approach to social and economic development. Using a refined concept of the “one-teacher school”, the Ekal movement is the largest grassroots, non-government education initiative in India, operating in over 34,000 villages and educating over one million children. This premier Mardi Gras event being held to donate the funds to Ekal Vidyalaya, includes an open bar, an extensive buffet featuring Indian cuisine and live music performed by Houston’s Eclipse and the Dr. Michael White Jazz Quartet of New Orleans. Houston’s top DJ, Yogi-G, will also provide Indian music, while cultural

dancers, drummers and Bollywood dance lessons will entertain guests. Ball-goers will enjoy prime viewing of the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade in an exclusive, gated area as floats and marching bands pass in front of the hotel. Breakfast will be served to guests in the hotel ballroom beginning at 11:00 p.m. Dress for the event is black tie or Indian-themed attire. Tickets to the ball are $200 per person and are available online at http://www.galveston.com/MardiGrasBall/. In conjunction with the Mardi Gras celebration, The Tremont House is offering a two-night weekend package that includes accommodations for two for two nights, valet parking, two tickets to the ball and viewing of the Mardi Gras Parade. Guests who purchase the weekend Mardi Gras Package at the Tremont House will receive a copy Shubhra Ramineni’s award winning cookbook, Entice with Spice: Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People. Her book has won the 2010 Gourmand award for the Best Indian Cuisine Book in the United States, and is the top four finalists for the Gourmand award for “Best in the World” in the Indian cookbook category. Shubhra Ramineni, Author, who nominated Ekal Vidyalaya as the charity organization for the year-

Local celebrity and cook book author Shubhra Ramineni along with her husband Naveen Ramineni. Shubhra has nominated the well known charity organization, Ekal Vidyalaya as recipient to donation funds from the George Mitchell family and the Raminenis themselves.

said that this non-profit has given back a lot to educating the children back in India. It is a worthy organization that deserves recognition. Shubhra’ book, which has over 100 Indian recipes with full color step-by-step photographs has been chosen as one of the Best Asian Cookbooks of 2010 by New Asian Cuisine. Her book has also received rave reviews by Publishers Weekly “This may be the Indian cookbook that American foodies have been waiting for.”

The Library Journal quotes ““[A] n excellent beginning Indian cookbook; highly recommended.” The Times of India says “The easy-tofollow [samosa] recipe is just one of a hundred tried and tested nofuss authentic Indian dishes, making this book a must-have for food enthusiasts who do not have the luxury of time. The book has diverse and generational appeal for anyone who relishes Indian food.” More information on her book is at www.enticewithspice.com

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SRK, Hrithik Up for the Worst Actor Trophy at Kela Awards

NEW DELHI (PTI): Bollywood biggies like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Aiswarya Rai are competing for the worst actor trophy at the 3rd annual Golden Kela awards, a spin off on Hollywood’’s Razzies. The awards, to be given on March 12, recognise and honour the best of the worst in Hindi cinema by audience vote. Shah Rukh, who won the Filmfare Best Actor for his role in ‘’My

Name is Khan’’, is leading the nominations for the worst actor for the same movie. ‘’My Name Is Khan’’, is also in the race for the worst film of the year. The others, who have made to the list of the worst actor (Male) category are: Imraan Khan for ‘’I Hate Luv Storys’’ and ‘’Break Ke Baad’’, Neil Nitin Mukesh for ‘’Lafangey Parindey’’, John Abraham for ‘’Jhoota Hi Sahi’’, Vivek Oberoi for ‘’Prince’’. Hrithik for

Rahat’s Visa to be Extended

ny). They were released last night they remained in detention for nearly 24 hours. The singer has been asked to appear before DRI on February 17. Rahat (37) along with Maaroof and Shrivastava were detained on Sunday from Indira Gandhi International Airport while they were on their way to Lahore via Dubai after the alleged undeclared money was recovered from them. The officials subjected the singer to the questioning while searches were conducted simultaneously on the premises of “Eyeline Telefilm and Events” in Mumbai, owned by Chitresh Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Shrivastava, elder brother of Khan after his release in New Delhi Bollywood singer Aadesh on Monday. Shrivastava. NEW DELHI (PTI): The visa of Chitresh Shrivastava will have to Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has expired and the govern- explain Rs. 51 lakh unaccounted ment will extend it to enable the cash also that was recovered from investigation into the alleged re- his office in Mumbai on Monday. As per norms, no one can carry covery of $1.24 lakh from him and other members of his troupe at the beyond $5,000 in cash and $5,000 in other instruments. The person IGI airport in New Delhi. “His visa has expired. His visa has to declare the amount if he is will be extended and we hope that carrying more than this to the Cuspost February 17 there could be toms Department. Rahat and his entire troupe, numadjudication proceedings and we hope that the matter would be re- bering around 16, were detained solved,” Union Home Secretary by the authorities while they were G.K. Pillai told reporters on the on their way to Lahore from Dubai sidelines of a book release func- by an Emirates flight. Nephew of noted Pakistani singer tion on Tuesday. Directorate of Revenue Intel- Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mr. Rahat ligence (DRI) was, meanwhile, is rated as one of the top playback probing the source of foreign ex- singers of Bollywood and has sevchange worth Rs. 60 lakh recov- eral hit numbers to his credit. He ered from Rahat and two others won the Filmfare Award for Best — Maroof (manager of the singer) Male Playback Singer this year for and Chitresh Shrivastava (owner Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji from the of an event management compa- movie Ishqiya.

his role of a paraplegic in ‘’Guzaarish’’. Abhishek Bachchan, who surprised everyone by accepting his Kela award last year, is missing from the list this year but wife Aishwarya Rai more than makes it up for him. She is competing with the likes of Kareena Kapoor and Kajol for the worst actress trophy for her role in ‘’Raavan’’. The other Bollywood beauties who feature in the list are: Sonam Kapoor for her role of a confused fashionista in Aisha’’, Deepika Padukone for ‘’Housefull’’, ‘’Break Ke Baad’’, Priyanka Chopra for ‘’Anjaana Anjaani’’,

Pakhi Tyrewala for ‘’Jhootha Hi Sahi’’ and Kareena-Kajol for ‘’We Are Family’’. The nomination list for the worst films has been extended to eight to accommodate the bad films that were made last year. The award this year, to be hosted by funnyman Cyrus Broacha, have a number of special awards like Lajja Award for Worst Treatment of A Serious Issue, Bas Kijiye Bahut Ho Gaya Award, Jajantram Mamantram Award for Worst Named Film, The Ajooba Award for Sheer Awesomeness, Black Award for Emotional Blackmail and Sonu Nigam Award for Career Suicide.

Broacha said he decided to host the ceremony in the capital because he owes money to two of its founding members. “The Kelas are very important. Kelas were carefully selected as they are a symbol of energy. It is a fervent hope of the organisers to inject energy back into contemporary films,” the comedian said. Awards founder Jatin Varma said: “Last year about 3,00,000 people got revenge on Bollywood. And the movies weren’’t half as bad as this year. So we’’re expecting a lot more people to vote. Hopefully enough to make our filmmakers sit up and take notice.”

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

MUMBAI (Cinebasti): Ummm….Picture to achcha hai jee. Disregarding the rather strenuously upbeat ending “Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji” (DTBHJ) turns out to be quite a charming and clever concoction. Though this time Madhur Bhandarkar, one of the strongest celluloid creators of contemporary times, veers into virgin territory, the trademark Bhandarkar touches, like the almostincestuous use of sex as a bartering point between the sexes, are evident everywhere in this multi-plot story of love, sex and betrayal during times of laughter music and backchat in Mumbai. The writing (by Bhandarkar, Anil Pandey and Neeraj Udwani) weaves skillfully through the hearts and conscience of our three heroes who are designed to be a study in contrasts and yet so believable, you can touch their lives by just watching them stumble, fall and redeem themselves in tentative, sometimes funny, sometimes moving ways. This, then, is the story of three house-mates wading through the concrete jungle of Mumbai in search of love, sex and, yes, a sense of belonging. Their houses, hearts and environment look be-

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Movie Review: Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji

lievable. They are shot to resonate reality. Though projected outwardly as a comedy, DTBHJ has deeper, darker resonances that we cannot miss even if we are too busy laughing at the protagonists’ clumsy attempts to get lucky in love. Bhandarkar’s narration communicates that sense of empty enjoyment that you can feel under all the glitz and noise of Mumbai’s racing pulse. Omi Vaidya, who plays the most idealistic love-seeker of the triumvirate, says to the go-getting struggler from Mumbai(Shraddha Das) at a pub, “How can people talk in here?” She of course doesn’t hear him. She’s lost in the pursuit of her wanna-shine dreams that

take her further and further out of reach of true love. Vaidya is in splendid form here, far more in control of his character’s destiny than in “3 Idiots”. In the way he hybridizes his yankee accent with Marathi and a sense of earnestness with a subtle tone of mischief, Vaidya is absolutely endearing. So is Emran Hashmi. Playing the character with the steepest graph, Hashmi goes from Tisca Arora’s toyboy to the newage Devdas rejected in love by the savvy NRI chick who has social conscience and a practical attitude to men. When Shruti Haasan (looking so lovely you know she’s found her metier in Hindi films) turns

around and tells the philanderer, “Yeah, so we slept together. So what? It wasn’t your first time nor mine,” you know that Bhandarkar has not abandoned his scathing and savage exploration of urban values which made his heroine-centric dramas from “Chandni Bar” to “Fashion” so unforgettable. He’s only added laughter to his cinema. In DTBHJ, Bhandarkar walks a tightrope. He has to balance the laughter with the dark underbelly of Mumbai’s beautiful, but alas, desolate people. Besides the powerful writing (Sanjay Chel’s dialogues are tongue-in-cheek and sometimes killing in their effectual demolition of the sacred cows of urban conduct) and razor-sharp characterization (barring the caricatural people in Devgn’s office), the film gets high marks for deadon casting. Every actor breathes life into the constantly mutating comedy. If we care for all the three love stories that run in criss (never crass) cross it is because the actors enacting the love relationships go beyond their own personalities in search of the people they play. While Omi Vaidya and Emran Hashmi make a great impact, it is Ajay Devgn, echoing Amol Palekar’s Common

Man from the 1970s, who must be congratulated in the loudest voice for abandoning his 6-pack meanmirth-machine image to play a mousy middle-aged divorcee with the hots for his comely secretary. Among the female cast, Shazahn Padamsee is extremely easy on the eyes and fits her bubbly ingenue’s part like a chic glove. Tisca Arora as the bored socialite who strays into a lust liaison with an everready glorified gigolo, lends a certain weight to the proceedings with her fiery eyes. DTBHJ is a true-blue sex comedy that doesn’t lapse into unnecessary passages of vulgarity and innuendos. Though Bhandarkar has sought inspiration from the romantic comedies by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee, the style of storytelling and the tantalizing merger of libido and urban morality would have flummoxed those wondrous comedy makers. Times have changed. So have the films. Thankfully we still have filmmakers who believe the story is the hero. This is the world of Bhandarkar’s “Page 3” coming together with the laughter of Blake Edwards’ rom-coms. A must-see film with enough meat in the plot to keep us engaged till the end. And three heroes who never take off their shirts even when they are sweating in nervous anxiety. Love is like that only.

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Conditional Clearance for Ropeway Project in Gir

NEW DELHI (One India) Rejecting objec- ropeway and cess on ticket turn-over revenue tions from greenactivists, Environment Minister for conservation related activities. The Ministry also asked the Gujarat GovernJairam Ramesh today granted conditional clear clearance for a ropeway project in Gujarat’’sGirnar ment to submit a report within two months about its study to consider alternate alignment of the wildlife sanctuary, famous for its lions. ropeway projThe ropeway ect, preferably that will connect alongthe Datter / Bhavnath Taleti Bhesan side with and Ambajitema view to ensure ples in Junathat it does notgadh district has cut across the faced opposition prime vulture fromenvironhabitat and minimentalists who mizes disturbanapprehended ceto the nesting, adverse impact roosting and on thehabitat of ranging sites of endangered vullong-billedvultures. tures and other The project wildlife species. would “miniAccording to mize man-an- Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh the conditions, a imal conflict” camera of high and would also provide a “convenient way of transporting” resolution will be placed on the ninth tower to thousands of pilgrims daily to the holy spots monitor movement of vultures, a ‘’cafeteria’’for vultures will be constructed at an appropriate onMount Girnar, Ramesh said. “The Girnari Giddh (vulture) population that location and a technicalmonitoring group will is going to be affected by the ropeway project be set up to advice on safety protocols and to is between 20 and 25percent of the total popu- monitor the implementation of the conditions. The Centre’s approval for the ropeway project lation of long-billed vultures inGujarat but less than 10 per cent of the population ofvultures in was necessitated after the declaration of the Girnar Reserve Forest as the Grinar Wildlife the state,” the Minister said. There are six conditions that include mini- Sanctuary in May 2008. The Sanctuary covers an area of about 180 sq mum disturbance forlong-billed vulture i e Girnari Giddh habitat, cafeteria for vultures, km is home to 20-25 lions increase in height of two towers along the

Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

Chinkara Case : Salman Khan Told to Appear in Person JODHPUR (TOI) : A sessions court has asked Bollywood actor Salman Khan to present himself in the court on February 19 in connection with the Chinkara poaching case. Judge Mahendra Maheshwari, last Saturday, has also sought original documents submitted to the high court by the Rajasthan government pertaining to the case. The court asked Salman Khan’s counsel to ensure the presence of his client on February 19, public prosecutor Ram Sukh Sharma said.

In February 2006, Salman Khan was convicted under the Wild Life Act for poaching a Chinkara at Bhawad near Jodhpur during the shooting of film Hum Saath Saath Hain in September 1998. Khan was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and was slapped a fine of Rs 5,000. The actor had appealed against his conviction in the district and sessions court. “The court has also written to the high court to release original papers relating to the case,” said the public prosecutor.

Wildlife Volunteers Kidnapped in East India

GUWAHATI (AFP): Armed militants abducted six volunteers working for the WWF environmental group who were counting tigers and elephants in a reserve in eastern India, police said. The three men and three women, all Indian nationals, were taken hostage by about 20 masked rebels late on Sunday in the Manas National Park in the remote state of Assam. “A major hunt is under way to rescue them,” Kampa Borgoyary, deputy chief of the local Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), told AFP by telephone from Manas. The reserve lies 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of Assam’s main city of Guwahati and borders the foothills of Bhutan. The six WWF volunteers were accompanied by members of a local wildlife conservation group, Borgoyary said, adding they were carrying out “tiger and elephant counting and monitoring exercises” inside the park. “The militants segregated the group and took away the WWF people,” he said. Borgoyary said authorities were trying

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to track down the kidnappers, whose exact identity was not known. “We are concerned about the incident and we are in touch with the parties for the safe rescue of the missing people,” Dipankar Ghosh, head of the eastern Himalaya programme of WWF-India, told AFP. Rebels have attacked and sometimes killed wildlife officials in the past in the region. At least three militant groups are active in the area. The best known -- the National Democratic Front of Bodoland -- is fighting for an independent homeland for Assam’s Bodo tribe. It opposes peace talks with the Indian government. The NDFB was blamed for a series of explosions in 2008 that killed about 100 people and injured hundreds more. Violent insurgencies have wracked India’s northeastern states for decades. Rebels in the region accuse the government of exploiting the area’s rich natural resources while doing little for the local people.

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

Dr. to Presidents, Paupers Indo-American News congratulates Dr. Virendra Mathur, who celebrated 50 years of exemplary professional and community service. Dr. Mathur’s large circle of colleagues, relatives and friends celebrated the special milestone with a party at India House (see story on Page 1). Acardiologist, Dr. Mathur has gained a reputation worldwide for his skills as he has successfully treated leading political figures as well as the indigent. In his community service, he is known in the Indian community as a tireless, enthusiastic supporter of projects such as India House. Less well known is the financial and the behind-the-scenes support the Mathurs provide to the classical music scene in Houston. At the party, Dr. Mathur was insistent that he was not about to retire. We wish him another 50 years of engagement in all his spheres of activity. Pramod Kulkarni

Tablet Revolution The tablet war in India is well and truly underway. The recent India launch of the iPad has left aficionados begging for more. And tech companies are more than willing to oblige. With 2011 all set to be the year of the tablet, stiff competition is expected to see prices drop and products become more versatile. The end result: value for money for customers. Just ahead of the iPad launch, many of its competitors dropped prices dramatically. Given India’s 730 million strong mobile market - a solid base for tablets - companies would not want to miss out. Telecom companies have already announced dedicated 3G plans for the iPad. Greater innovation in software will add to customer choice. Google’s much-touted Android 3.0 is expected to usher in a whole new range of application programmes designed specifically for tablets. Touch-sensitive tablets, with their intuitive feel and easy portability, mark a significant conceptual leap in IT technology. Coupled with cloud computing that allows for an internet-based data delivery and storage system on a pay-per-use model, it has the potential to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban India. Last year, the human resource development ministry unveiled a tablet prototype priced at just Rs 1,500. Commercial production and marketing of such a device has revolutionary implications for education, farming and business. The challenge is to produce low-cost tablets catering to customised needs. And India’s massive consumer base should provide enough incentives to domestic and international players. A new era of computing technology beckons. Times of India This new computing era will truly make a difference in India as it expands from its urban base to the hinterlands. Rural India is no longer the vast darkness that it once was. Farmers in more of the remote villages have access to 24-hour call centers to help them improve their crop production as well as watch Jhalak Dikhala Ja at night. Pramod Kulkarni

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Can Egypt Happen in India? By Vinod Mehra Could it happen here? The leaderless revolution in Egypt has caused some anxiety locally over whether the wretched of our earth could come out to challenge their rulers. Conventional and unconventional wisdom has it that the answer is an emphatic no. We have a vibrant democracy, regular elections, a free media, an alert judiciary—all these checks and balances, it is fondly assumed, provide a safety valve through which the above-mentioned wretched can ventilate their frustrations. It is a cosy and comforting thesis but it needs to be tested. Not just to shake us out of complacency, but to force us to ask some hard questions. One could in fact argue that it is already happening here. The injustices the protesters at Tahrir Square are raging about—corruption, no jobs, rising prices, appalling governance— are rampant in our blessed land. The tribal population of India, over three times the size of Egypt’s total population, lives daily with hardships ten times worse than those faced by the aam aadmi in Cairo. The per capita income in Egypt is four times the per capita income of adivasis in Dantewada. Moreover, under the influence of the Maoists, our destitute have taken up arms in a do-or-die struggle against the Indian state. Altogether, we are confronted with a situation infinitely more dangerous than the one prevailing in Egypt. Indeed, in contrast to the carnival and celebratory atmosphere in Tahrir Square, our deprived and desolate are waging a grim and violent battle. India is already at war with its own people. If you asked a bow-and-arrow-wielding woman to throw down her weapon because she possessed a wonderful thing called “democracy”, I shudder to think what her response would be. Shining India, fortunately, does not have to watch pitched clashes outside the street on which it lives. However, unless we wake up, that prospect is fast approaching. Supposing, 2,00,000 of our citizens march into Jantar Mantar demanding regime change or immediate redressal of

Facebook and Twitter may have created the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt. But in India, Facebook and Twitter are dominated by young people openly pouring scorn on ‘pseudo-secular liberals’, minorities and the so-called ‘anti-nationals’. Young Indians proudly call themselves ‘nationalist’ without quite spelling out what their ‘nationalism’ means. their grievances, how will the Indian state respond? I must say I admire the chutzpah of the embroiled CVC, P.J. Thomas, as he fights a battle he seems guaranteed to lose. Given the pressure he must be under to quit, especially from the UPA government, one must applaud his tenacity and determination. His most recent defence will find resonance and sympathy in the country. Mr Thomas asked his Lordships in the Supreme Court that if chargesheeted MPs can sit comfortably in Parliament and make laws, why can’t a chargesheeted CVC do his job without hindrance? I have not been able to confirm whether Mr Thomas’s figure of 28 per cent of the members of the current Lok Sabha having serious criminal charges against them is accurate. But he can’t be far wrong. Even if Thomas is forced to go, the question he has raised is of compelling urgency and relevance. It highlights the double standards of a system which does nothing about “criminal” MPs but is incandescent

with rage over a “criminal” CVC having the temerity to insist he’s innocent till convicted. The latest Brit to have fun with Indian English is a Times (London) correspondent, Ben Macintyre. Mr Macintyre was invited to the Jaipur Literary Festival and on returning wrote a glowing column: “So far from being beholden to British culture, modern Indian literature is robustly independent, carving its own path in both letters and language. Most Indians no longer regard IndianEnglish as an imperial legacy, but as a thriving, evolving, national language in its own right.” Nevertheless, he can’t help providing some “delights” of Indian-English: A hair-washing, he points out, is a “head-bath”. When a politician travels from one place to another, he’s always “airdashing”. Sexual harassment is “eve-teasing”. Couples without children are “issueless”. If a meeting is brought forward it is “preponed”. Crime reporting fascinates Ben. “Sleuths nab evil-doers” and “miscreants abscond” after committing “dastardly deeds”. Macintyre quotes an apocryphal letter written by a Bengali in 1909 complaining about the lack of train toilets. “Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with lotah in one hand and dhoti in the next when I fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female women on platform.” India, he says, “has adopted and adapted the old colonial tongue in an extraordinary process of reverse colonisation—and that is just super-duper.” Lingering Blue Note At Khushwant Singh’s 96th birthday party at his house, I drank for the first time the legendary Blue Label Scotch Whiskey, which in Delhi sells at Rs 15,000 a bottle. I took instructions on the correct procedure. I was told no ice, no soda, no water. Drink it straight, slowly. And savour. I did and had three shots (which is above my quota) because I was not sure I would get another chance. How was it? Good. How good? I am still making up my mind. Outlook

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india

Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

Cancer of the Cervix: Facts You Should Know By Asha Murthy MD The prevention of cervical cancer by screening Pap smear is one of the greatest success stories of medicine. However, it still remains the second most common cancer in women worldwide, with about 500,000 new cases and 250,000 deaths each year. Cervical cancer is a tumor of the cervix. The cervix is part of the womb which projects into the vagina. Cancer of the cervix develops in the surface cells, which start to grow in an abnormal way (precancerous cells). After about 10 years, the precancerous cells turn into actual cancer cells, which spread into the cervix, surrounding tissue, and then to the rest of the body. Epidemiology There is a wide variation in the number of cervical cancer cases across the globe with higher numbers in developing countries. In India, there are about 150,000 new cases and 75,000 deaths per year, but in the US there are only 12,000 cases and 4,000 deaths per year. This significant decrease in the cases and deaths in the United States is because of routine use of Pap smears, early diagnosis and proper treatment. Risk Factors Infection with HPV (human papilloma virus) is central to the development of cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that spreads through sexual activity. The two most common strains involved are HPV 16 and 18, but about 15 strains are known to be causative. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include having sex at an early age, multiple sexual partners, smoking, immunosuppression, low socioeconomic status, prolonged use of oral contraceptives. Symptoms Precancerous cells and early cancer in the cervix do not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows common symptoms include, bleeding after intercourse, bleeding between periods, a

pink, brown, bloody or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, or any bleeding after menopause. Later, there is pain as the cancer starts to grow into surrounding tissues. Screening Pap smear detects precancerous cells in a cervical smear. This precancerous condition is 100% treatable. That is why it is so important for women to get regular Pap smears. It is done by inserting a speculum into the vagina and removing cells, from the lining of the cervix, using a cotton swab or a spatula. The cells are then smeared on a glass slide and sent for microscopic examination. Guide lines from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, recommend that women begin Pap test screening at age 21 and be

screened every 2 years. Women 30 years and older may be screened every 3 years as long as their last three test results have been normal. At the age of 65, women with no abnormal Pap tests in the last 10 years may stop having the tests, after talking with their doctor. Vaccination/Prevention There are 2 types of vaccines now approved by the US Food and Drug administration against HPV infection. Gardasil (produced by Merck, a quadrivalent HPV vaccine, targets 4 different strains of HPV) and Cervarix (produced by GSK, a bivalent vaccine, targets 2 strains of HPV). The vaccine appears to prevent earlystage cervical cancer and precancerous lesions. It is most effective (about 95% against the targeted strains of HPV) if it is given before a person becomes sexually active. The vaccine is approved for use in 10-25 year old females given as 3 shots over 6 months.

Women who have been vaccinated still need to have Pap tests. Practicing safe sex (using condoms) also reduces the risk of HPV and other sexually-transmitted diseases. To further reduce the risk of cervical cancer, women should limit their number of sexual partners. Treatment If precancerous cells are seen in a cervical smear, the Pap smear is said to be abnormal. Further testing and treatment is done by colposcopy, cryotherapy (freezing abnormal cells), laser therapy (using light and heat to destroy cells) or by removing them (conization). Pre-cancer is completely curable when followed up and treated properly. The precancerous cells if left untreated may result in cervical cancer. Treatment at that point, is more extensive and usually involves surgery, radiotherapy and combined chemoradiation depending on the stage of the disease. The survival outcome is about 80-90% for earlier stages but only 4050% for late stage. Most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer today have not had regular Pap smears or they have not followed up on abnormal results. We hope this article brings the required awareness about this life threatening disease, which can be prevented by behavior modification, regular screening by Pap smear and vaccination. As an Indian American community organization, the Indian American cancer Network (IACAN) is committed to provide proper health education and create awareness about early cancer diagnosis by promoting early cancer screening and seeking prompt treatment. Watch for our next educational seminar on March 13, 2011. For more information visit www. iacannetwork.org or call 713-3703489.

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

india

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Minister SM Krishna Reads Portuguese Minister’s Speech at UN

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna was caught in a public gaffe when he inadvertently read out the speech of the Portuguese minister at a United Nations Security Council meeting at the United Nations, but rectified the error after an Indian official drew his attention to the mistake.

By Chidanand rajghatta WASHINGTON (TOI) : The flub, in the eyes of Indian officialdom, was minor; but the feedback was ferocious. India’s external affairs minister SM Krishna, frequently under attack for not being up to speed in 21st century engagements, gave some more ammunition to his critics by inadvertently reading out the speech of the Portuguese foreign minister at a UN meeting on Friday. He cottoned on to the mistakes a couple of minutes into his delivery, but the faux pas rippled through the electronic world for hours, inviting both sarcasm and merriment. “Maybe Portugal has outsourced its speech to Bangalore,” read one message on social networking site. “Look at the bright side. We can now lay claim to Cristiano Ronaldo,” tweeted another, referring to the classy Portuguese footballer. A third wondered if SM Krishna should

meet the same fate as his Pakistani counterpart SM Qureshi, who was sidelined in a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday. “A mistake? Why do we have a mistake like him in the government,” riffed another. Krishna’s aides said the reactions were harsh because the flub was inadvertent and “could have happened to anyone.” They also maintained the minister caught on to the error within a few lines of the speech consisting

mainly of opening pleasantries, and he did not read on for five minutes as reported in some sections of the media. “You guys must be having a slow news day on Saturday to make such a big deal out of this,” one aide said snarkily. But those who heard the speech said Krishna was well past the pleasantries and generalities when he was stopped by Hardeep Puri, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN One of the lines Krishna read was, “On a more personal note, allow me to express my profound satisfaction regarding the happy coincidence of having two members of the Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), Brazil and Portugal, together here today.” One reason the flub went undetected for some time, according to sources, was that the Portuguese foreign minister had already finished speaking and the English translation of his speech which was distributed got mixed up with Krishna’s papers. While there was no immediate assignation of blame among officials, critics contended it was an embarrassment at a time India is pitching for a permanent UNSC seat. It’s not the first time a major public figure has read the wrong speech. The last prominent victim of such a gaffe? US President Barack Obama, who began reading the speech of the Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen in 2009 after the teleprompter mixed up their speeches. Obama realized the blunder when he started to thank himself. But the Indian e-world was unsparing even though the faux pas

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wasn’t even a minor blip at the UN, where the G-4 push for an expanded UNSC made headlines. “Next time he should write his speech in Kannada,” one tweeter advised Krishna, who studied in Dallas and Washington DC. “Why couldn’t he at least find the speech of the Italian foreign minister,” joked another. While Krishna, who is 78, has been pilloried by critics for what they say is

his stodginess, his aides point out that he keeps a blistering pace unmatched by any of his predecessors for a man of his age – a common argument from supporters of a geriatric political leadership in youthful India. Many of India’s Union Cabinet principals, including the Prime Minister and the finance minister, are in their late 70s.

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human rights

Child Labor Laws

Lacunae and Contradictions

A survey of child labor in agriculture has helped to draw attention once again to many issues that must be addressed if every child is to have a meaningful right to education By Kalpana Sharma The young girl, in a yellow salwar kamiz, spoke hesitatingly into a microphone. The brightly lit stage, the darkened auditorium, the microphone were enough to terrify any young girl. More so if she was not familiar with the big city and came from rural Maharashtra. Yet, Tabassum Sheikh Latif from Shirola village in Maharashtra’s Akola district testified clearly and simply about her life as a child worker. The occasion was a public hearing organized by Save the Children on child labor in agriculture in Maharashtra. A day before the hearing, the Maharashtra government had released data that suggested that enrollment in schools across the state had increased and stood at over 90 per cent. One was supposed to believe from this that the majority of children in the state were now attending school. Tabassum’s story revealed a rather different picture. I want to go to school, I want to become a teacher, said the 11-year-old. But instead she spends her days working with her family in cotton fields like millions of other children across India. During Diwali she works in a factory that makes firecrackers, an occupation specifically banned under the Child Labor (Prevention and Regulation) Act 1986. Yet, while handling hazardous material is specifically prohibited, all forms of agricultural work are not disallowed for children under 14. So girls like Tabassum can be found in cotton fields plucking and doing cross-pollination. Their hands get cut from the thorny bushes; they inhale the pesticide sprayed on the plants. Some of the pesticide rubs off on their hands, gets into their eyes. They complain of skin problems, nausea, giddiness. Yet, this work is not considered hazardous for young children like Tabassum. Even as the government introduces new laws aimed at children’s welfare, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is an urgent need to look at all these laws together, iron out the contradictions and find ways to make their implementation more rigorous and effective. First, who is a child? According to the Child Labor Act, anyone under 14 years. According to the Juvenile Justice Act, anyone under 18 years. The Right to Education Act has laid down that all children, up to the age of 14, have a right to education. Yet India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child where the prescribed age is 18. So even before discussing further areas where laws like the Child Labor Act need to be applied, there needs to be some consistency on the definition of the child. Second, look at the list of occupations that the Child Labor Act considers hazardous and therefore not permitted for children. It does not include agricultural work even though studies have clearly shown

Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

misses out on school altogether. Her job is to tie the cut cane, collect water and do the housework. According to a study by Janarth, an NGO based in Aurangabad, an estimated 200,000 children between the ages of 6-14 migrate with their parents during the cane-cutting season each year. So while under the Right to Education, these 8.6 million child workers should be enrolled in school like other children, and should attend school until they are 14, the reality on the ground is that two thirds, that is those working in agriculture can only attend school sporadically, or have to skip it for at least half the year. Whether child labor can be banned

altogether has always been a contentious issue particularly as it cannot be disengaged from the issue of poverty. Even if children earn half of what their parents are paid, for families that can barely feed themselves, every rupee counts. Persuading or commanding such parents to send their children to school cannot work unless it is accompanied by an incentive or some alternative. Yet, the survey of child labor in agriculture has helped to draw attention once again to the many lacunae and contradictions in existing laws that must be addressed if we are to reach the goal of giving every child in India the right to education.

The RTE lays down that all children under 14 should be enrolled in school. Yet the Child Labor Act does not expressly prohibit the employment of children in agriculture, and an estimated 5.6 million children, or two thirds of all children employed, are working in the fields. Show in the picture above are Ramila 14, Hanju 14 and Deepak, 13 from Dungarpur district worked in cottonseed farms in Gujarat.

how much of agricultural work is hazardous. Children are bent over during the sowing season for hours. They stand in the hot sun picking cotton. In fact, there is a strong demand for children in the cotton fields because their short stature makes them the right height to pluck the cotton. A 2009 survey by Save the Children in Gujarat estimates that there are over 580,000 children employed in four major cotton-growing districts of that state. Children are also employed to cut sugar cane, to weed, to dig, to carry heavy pitchers of water. None of this is easy work even for adults. For children, many of them nutritionally deprived, the effect is not just extreme exhaustion but even permanent damage to their health. Yet agricultural work is not part of the list of jobs that children are permitted to do. Although handling of pesticides and insecticides is expressly prohibited, slightly older children who cross 14 years are sent out to the fields to spray insecticide or pesticide with cans strapped to their backs and without any protective gear. Given the lax implementation of the law, rarely are the employers of such children caught or charged. Third, is the conflict between the Right to Education and the Child Labor Act. The RTE lays down that all children under 14 should be enrolled in school. Yet the Child Labor Act does not expressly prohibit the employment of children in agriculture, and an estimated 5.6 million children, or two thirds of all children employed, are working in the fields. What this means is that even if on paper these children are enrolled in school, in fact they do not attend school for more than a couple of days in a week, and sometimes are absent for months at a stretch if their parents are migrant workers. What will such children learn by the time they become 14?

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The public hearing in Mumbai had one child after another stating how much they wanted to study. They wanted to be teachers, doctors, lawyers - but they were not able to attend school regularly because their families needed them to work. Swapna from Washim district says she is 12 years old and in the 6th standard. “I go to school and to work”, she says. She has to walk three to five km each day to work. She leaves for the fields at seven in the morning and returns at ten. In addition, she has to do all the housework as her mother is out all day and her grandmother is too old. “I feel I should study”, she says, but she only manages to go to school a couple of days each week when she is not needed in the fields. By the time she becomes 14, she will barely have finished her 7th standard. How does that give her an option other than agricultural work? Deepali is 14 years old and in the 8th standard. She wants to study and become a doctor. But like the others, she too has to wake up at six and go to work in the fields. “Once, when I was going to work on the tractor, my teacher saw me. When I went to school the next day, she made me sit in the back of the class”, she recounts, breaking down while doing so. Deepali is really small for her age. She looks like she is 11 years old. She talks about her friend, who is her age but who is bigger than her. “The sowkar looks badly at her”, she says sobbing, revealing another reality that girls in particular have to face, that of sexual harassment. Swapna at least manages three days of schooling per week. But children like Trupti from Aurangabad district miss out on six months of schooling each year. The 13-year-old is now in the 7th standard. She began working at the age of six and since then she has migrated with her family to Sangli district every year during the sugar cane cutting season. As a result she

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opinion

Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

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Why India is Investigating a Reincarnated Tibetan Lama?

leveled by a couple of rival claimants to his holy position as the Karmapa Lama, he’s barred from visiting the Rumtek monastery in the Indian state of Sikkim, one of the most important shrines of his Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and the abode of the Black Crown, one of the sect’s most hallowed relics. In a better era of cooperation between Tibetan exiles and the Chinese government, monks from this monastery were permitted in 1992 to discover and determine that the Karmapa had reincarnated in Dorje, the son of nomadic sheepherders in northeastern Tibet. He remained in China with Beijing’s endorsement, but cozy relations were over by 1995 — when China handpicked the successor to the recently deceased Panchen Lama — and Dorje was soon blocked from receiving the vital tutelage of the Rumtek monks. A few years later, Dorje and his aides escaped to India following days of treacherous driving through mountain passes, treks around checkpoints and a lengthy spell on horseback. “The Karmapa’s escape to India was the single most humiliating incident for China’s Tibet policy in decades,” says Barnett. After learning of his flight, Beijing initially tried to justify the trip as a mission to find “musical instruments” necessary for Buddhist rituals. But a coterie of influential figures in New Delhi andelsewhereinIndiaharbor suspicions — backed by little to no evidence Tibetan Buddhism’s third most important leader, Ogyen Thin- — about Dorje’s presley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, blesses devotees at the Gyuto ence, doubting that China monastery during a public audience in Dharamsala, India, on would have allowed him to escape. Dozens of TiMonday, Jan. 31, 2011. betis an accumulation of unsolicited donations ans with lesser means manfrom devotees around the world, including age to slip across the border Chinese Buddhists living in mainland China. In every year. Bahukutumbi Dharamsala, the Tibetan capital-in-exile, some Raman, a respected political 2,000 Tibetans rallied in support of the Karmapa analyst and former Indian Lama. Facing a crowd massed at his Gyuto government official, wrote monastery on Feb. 2, Dorje urged his backers to on his blog recently that “be at ease ... truth will prevail.” In a nod to his Dorje “could be a planted hosts, he reportedly added, “The Indian govern- Chinese ‘agent of influence.’ ment, in contrast to the communist regime in “ Fear over China’s inroads China, is a free and democratic country.” All the into South Asia plays well in while, Indian news channels documented the the Indian media. At a Feb. continuing investigation into the matter by the 1 press conference, Prem Research and Analysis Wing — New Delhi’s Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of the state of Himachal equivalent to the CIA. The controversy has in part illustrated the Pradesh, where Dharamsala still uncomfortable relationship between the is located, used the occasion Indian state and the many Tibetans who live as of the investigation to sound permanent guests on Indian soil. Decades ago, an alarm. “[China is] making India accepted tens of thousands of Tibetan air strips, rail lines [along refugees fleeing Chinese occupation, but it the border] ... China is surhas never accorded the Tibetans full rights of rounding us from all sides,” citizenship. Many typical transactions, from he said. Though Dorje seems to be buying land to depositing foreign currency in Indian banks, are either illegal or a bureaucratic handling the scrutiny with nightmare for Tibetans — which is in no small calm and grace, this exprespart an explanation for why Dorje’s monastery sion of Indian distrust may held the various donations it amassed. Robbie have negative consequencBarnett, a professor of Tibetan studies at Colum- es for New Delhi. Dibyesh bia University and an authority on the Tibetan Anand, an assistant profesgovernment-in-exile, is bemused by the current sor of international relations Indian hysteria. “It’s a bit like saying the Pope at Westminster University is a Chinese spy because he has donations from in London and the author of Tibet: A Victim of GeoChinese followers,” he says. But to his Indian critics, Dorje is hardly the politics, lamented the overPope. Unlike the Dalai Lama, who embarks on blown controversy in an opglobal tours and visits to remote monasteries ed in the Hindustan Times. every year, Dorje sees his movement tightly “Hardline officials in China controlled and restricted by the Indian govern- must be laughing their heads ment. His only foreign trip to date was a swing off at the Indian media cirthrough the U.S. in 2008. Because of challenges cus,” he wrote. “They know By Ishaan Tharoor NEW DELHI (Time): In the West, the Tibetan religious leader Ogyen Trinley Dorje is admired for his youth (he’s 25), his looks (he was once introduced at a U.S. event as “His Hotness”) and his courage (as a teenager he fled Chinese-ruled Tibet on horseback). But in India, where Dorje, the reputed 17th incarnation of the Karmapa Lama, now lives, he is seen by many in less reverential terms. This week, the second most famous Tibetan-in-exile (after the Dalai Lama) found himself at the center of an Indian media storm after government investigators confiscated about $1 million in cash kept in his monastery. The fact that a sizable chunk of the currency was in Chinese yuan prompted manic headlines in India’s ever voluble press, querulously asking whether this was proof that Dorje was a Chinese “spy” or “mole.” Dorje, his associates and his allies — the Dalai Lama chief among them — have dismissed the spying accusations, explaining that the money

that this will not only create confusion in the exiled Tibetan community in India, but will also create disenchantment about India among Tibetans inside China.” As the Dalai Lama reaches his twilight years, a disenchanted, disgruntled population is the last legacy he wants to leave behind. It’s unlikely Dorje would directly replace him — after all, he is supposedly the realized incarnation of a sect that’s considerably older than the Dalai Lama’s Gelugpa order. But in the power vacuum that may follow the Dalai Lama’s death, no other spiritual leader could rival Dorje’s charisma and prestige. Though articles in the West tend to focus on

the Karmapa Lama’s penchant for video games and X-Men comics, Dorje is reputed to be an erudite scholar despite his youth, as well as a capable poet and a leader with great “diplomatic acumen,” as Barnett says. The question for him now, though, is to what extent he’ll be able to express his talents. Hemmed in his monastery in the outskirts of Dharamsala, Dorje cuts something of a forlorn figure, isolated from his parents in China and devotees in India and elsewhere. In an interview with a visiting journalist last year, he complained, “I don’t see much of the outside world.” And given the current controversy, the curtailed life of the Karmapa Lama looks likely to continue.

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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

motivation

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Act Selfish. Help Someone Today!

Make it a habit to help others. It is rightly said that you can achieve everything you want in life if only you help other people achieve what they want in their lives.

By Prakash Iyer IT’s a story that is over 100 years old, but the lessons are still relevant today. The year was 1892. The place: Stanford University. A young, 18-year-old student was struggling to pay his fees. He was an orphan, and not knowing where to turn for money, he came up with a bright idea. A friend and he decided to host a musical concert on campus to raise money for their education. They reached out to the great pianist Ignacy J. Paderewski – who was quite a superstar those days. His manager demanded a guaranteed fee of $2000 for the piano recital. A deal was struck. And the boys began to work to make the concert a success.

The big day arrived. Paderewski performed at Stanford. But unfortunately, they had not managed to sell enough tickets. The total collection was only $1600. Disappointed, they went up to Paderewski and explained their plight. They gave him the entire $1600, plus a cheque for the balance $400. They promised to honour the cheque soonest possible. “No way!” said Paderewski. “This is just not acceptable!” He tore up the cheque, returned the $1600 and told the two boys “Here’s the $1600. Please deduct whatever expenses you have incurred. Keep the money you need for your fees. And just give me whatever is left!” The boys were surprised, and quite overjoyed. They thanked him profusely. It was a small act of kindness. But it clearly marked out Paderewski as a great human being. Someone special. He would have been within his rights to demand his “guaranteed money”. And why should he help two people he did not even know? We all come across situations like these in our lives. Times when other people need our help. And most of us only think “If I help them, what would happen to me?” The truly great people think, “If I don’t help them, what will happen to them?” We only think of ourselves, the loss we might incur, the trouble we might have to go through and the sacrifice we need to make. The great guys don’t think of themselves. They think of the difference it could make to other people.

And that’s what drives their actions. They help not because someone else is watching, or because it will look good when the world comes to know about it. They don’t do it expecting something in return. They do it because they feel it’s the right thing to do. It may not surprise you to know that Paderewski went on to become the Prime Minister of Poland. He was a great leader, but unfortunately when the World War began, Poland was ravaged. There were over 1.5 million people starving in his country, and no money to feed them. Paderewski did not know where to turn for help. He reached out to the US Food and Relief Administration for help. The head there was a man called Herbert Hoover – who later went on to become the US President. Hoover agreed to help and quickly shipped tons of food grains to feed the starving Polish people. A calamity was averted. Paderewski was relieved! He decided to go across to meet Hoover and personally thank him. When Paderewski began to thank Hoover for his noble gesture, Hoover quickly interjected and said, “You shouldn’t be thanking me Mr. Prime Minister. You may not remember this, but several years ago, you helped two young students go through college in the US. I was one of them.” Make it a habit to help others. It is rightly said that you can achieve everything you want in life if only you help other people achieve what they want in their lives. Do something selfish today. Help someone! Just do it. And don’t expect anything in return. The world is a wonderful place. What goes around usually comes around. Let the magic begin!

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 , 2011 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

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Business Community Loves Gujarat Chief Minister Modi

By Heather Timmons will displace 25,000 people say they the pro- when in many parts of India, the permit process GANDHINAGAR (NYT): In a soaring, testers have been regularly jailed by the state might still be grinding away — the factory was unfinished conference hall in western India, police, charged with being Naxalites, a militant built and operating. thousands of businessmen and diplomats from rebel group. Modi, who has declined interview “It was incredible,” said Rajeev Jyoti, the around the world gathered recently for an requests from The New York Times for several managing director of Bombardier in India, “and investment meeting. They were there to pay years, did not comment for this article. it was a world record within Bombardier.” homage to a politician for accomplishing someOf the lingering controversies, a spokesman Compared with most other states, Gujarat thing once thought almost impossible in India: for Modi, Steven King, with the Washington has smoother roads and less garbage next to making it easy to do business. public relations firm APCO Worldwide, wrote the streets. More than 99 percent of Gujarat’s The politician, Narendra Modi, the chief min- in an e-mail responding to questions: “The villages have electricity, compared with less ister of the state of Gujarat, sat onstage, stroking government has very highly developed griev- than 85 percent nationally. his close-cropped white beard, as executives ance proceedings.” In 2009, Gujarat attracted more planned from the United States, Canada, Japan and Corporate executives, though, tend to concen- investment than any other state in the country, elsewhere showered him with praise. trate on Modi’s pro-business attributes, which about $54 billion by value of announced plans, Ron Somers, head of an American trade they see as something of an anomaly in an India according to Assocham, a trade association of group, called him a progressive leader. Michael where government bureaucracy, bumbling or Indian chambers of commerce. Kadoorie, a Hong Kong billionaire, enveloped corruption too often impedes commerce. Modi, who has no business or economics him in a hug. “In India there is a sense that efficiency is at background, deserves praise for this, corporate “I would encourage you all to invest here,” such a premium because there is so little to go leaders say. Before entering politics in his late Kadoorie, chairman of the Asian power com- around,” said Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade 30s, he was a religious volunteer for the Hindu pany CLP Group, told the audience, nationalist group “because it has been an even playing Rashtriya field for me.” Swayamsevak The coastal state of Gujarat, faSangh, which mous as the birthplace of Mahatma sponsors schools Gandhi, has become an investment and provides aid magnet. The state’s gross domestic during natural product is growing at an 11 perdisasters, but has cent annual rate even faster than the also been widely overall growth rate for India, which criticized as bedespite its problems is zipping along ing intolerant of at 9 percent clip. other religions And Modi receives some would and of secular say claims much of the credit. The Hindus. year before he took office in 2001, In India, where Gujarat’s economy shrank by 5 percorrupt politicent. cians often seem But critics of Modi, a Hindu nato be raiding the tionalist, point to another legacy of public coffers to his early days in office something benefit their offthat has made him one of the most spring, Modi’s polarizing figures in Indian politics. Narendra Modi, chief minister of the state of Gujarat, spoke at a con- success is someMonths after he became chief minis- ference last month that was meant to promote business. times attributed ter, Gujarat erupted in brutal Hinduto his apparent Muslim riots that killed more than 1,000 people, policy at Cornell who has served as an adviser lack of a family life. Acquaintances and local most of them Muslims. to the Indian government. “When people find news reports say he was married at a young Despite Modi’s subsequent denials, he has an effective politician who can make things age but separated soon after from his wife. not fully escaped a cloud of accusations by happen on the ground, they are willing to ignore Modi has never commented on reports about rival political groups, victims and their families, the character flaws.” his personal life. and human rights groups that he and his aides Under Modi’s watch, the energy companies Modi’s administration has brought novel socondoned the attacks against Muslims and — as Royal Dutch Shell and Total have opened a lutions to some of India’s most tenacious probone case now before the Supreme Court charges major liquid natural gas terminal in Gujarat, and lems. Corruption became less widespread after — may even have encouraged them. Torrent Power, an Indian company, has built a the state government put a large amount of its A special investigation team formed by the huge power plant. Meanwhile, Tata Motors, activities online, from permits that companies Supreme Court has filed a 600-page investi- DuPont, General Motors, Hitachi and dozens of need to build or expand, to bids for contracts. gative report on the riots, which has not been other foreign and Indian companies have built To plow through a multiyear backlog of court officially released. Numerous other lawsuits factories, expanded operations or invested in cases, and prevent day laborers from losing related to the riots are also winding through projects in the state. income, Modi asked judges to work extra hours India’s courts. In 2005 the United States refused When the Canadian heavy machinery com- in night courts. to grant Modi a visa, on grounds of religious in- pany Bombardier won a contract to supply subModi uses a chief executive style of managing tolerance. Meanwhile, environmental activists way cars to the Delhi Metro in 2007, it needed the bureaucrats who work under him, according and local tribesman who have been protesting a factory site, quickly. It found one in Savli, an to associates and business executives in Gujarat. the construction of seven dams in Gujarat that industrial estate in Gujarat. Just 18 months later He gives promising people positions of respon-

sibility, sets goals and expects people to meet them. Nonperformers are pushed aside. It may seem an obvious way to administer a state with more than 50 million people and a budget in the billions of dollars. But this approach runs counter to India’s tradition of cronyism. In a recent reshuffle of India’s national cabinet ministers, for example, the minister of highways who substantially missed targets for road-building was made minister for urban development, a crucial position for a rapidly urbanizing nation struggling to build livable cities. Even in another state considered pro-business, Tamil Nadu in the south, the ruling party, D.M.K., has been dogged by accusations of corruption. In Modi’s case, the accolades once would have been unthinkable. After the HinduMuslim riots a decade ago, he was considered a liability for his political party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. But these days, with Gujarat’s soaring economy, Modi is sometimes mentioned as his party’s most likely candidate for prime minister in 2014, when the next general election is expected. Despite his lack of executive experience, Modi’s supporters credit him with a politician’s innate sense of marketing. Images of Modi were plastered on billboards throughout Gujarat during the investment summit meeting, proclaiming the state’s support not only for investment but for social programs like support of girls’ education — a particularly important subject in India where there is a large literacy gap between men and women. Within Gujarat, which has a centuries-old reputation for business acumen, even Modi’s fans sometimes grumble that he and his image makers may be taking outsize credit for its economic growth. And they say that the headline numbers that Modi’s government trumpets can be misleading. For example, the $450 billion in “memorandums of understanding” — essentially, pledges to do business in the state — that the government says were signed during the January investment summit meeting double-count some deals, according to businessmen in attendance, because they include loans and investments for the same projects. Modi’s spokesman confirmed there might be some redundancy in the $450 billion figure, but said it was impossible to break out the loans from the investments. Yet, no one disputes Gujarat’s rapid growth. And Modi’s supporters say India’s economic success will depend on each state’s adopting many of the same measures he has employed. India’s central government may apportion budgets and write overall laws, they say, but it is the states that are responsible for overseeing everything from land allocation to electricity distribution.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 , 2011• ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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Indo American News • Friday, February 18, 2011

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 , 2011 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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