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Shanti: A Journey of Peace A unique and ground breaking creation in the History of World Music is set to mesmerize audiences on March 13 at Cullen Performance Hall

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In IAN this Week

A.R.Rahman Jai Ho Tour

The Jai Ho – The Journey Home concert is at 8.30 pm on July 3 at the Toyota Center. Story on Pg 3

Khan Academy Teaches Math via You Tube

Story on Pg 10

Verghese: Shock & Awe

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Record Crowds Flock to Holi 2010

Masala Radio attracts a record crowd of over 11,000 at Holi 2010 the 3rd annual Festival of Colours HOUSTON: For the last 40 years, Indian-born parents have told the next generation stories of what Holi grand mela was like in India. Now, they can go to You Tube, type in Houston Holi, and relive it. “Over11,000 people gathered at the Festival of Colours this year” said Lt.Hines of Sugar Land Police. Vijay Pallod of The Hindus Of Greater Houston proclaimed “This is the Largest Holi in the US. And we were happy to see at least 5% were non-South Asian!” Pankaj Thakkar, owner of San Francisco’s Masala Radio Crew at Holi 2010. Photo: Krishna Giri Gold Palace exclaimed, “I ter. Three days prior, there was with subtle hints of progress, all flew to Houston just for the Food Court and Organizer Holi - there is no celebration like snow in Houston. Then Sunday clouds disappeared booths has matching large name this in entire West Coast.” Holi 2010 rocked the Oyster Creek Park forming the warmest day in 2010. signs, colourful Holi signs lined Thanks to generous support of the streets, sidewalks and the in Sugar Land on Sunday February 28th, from 11AM – 4PM, Tara Energy, Jugal & Raj Malani Color Zone thanking other major organized by Houston’s leading of Ekal Vidyalay and The Village sponsors Star Plus, Tilak & Manu Indian Radio Show, Masala Radio School, the event was completely Agrawal, Brij & Sunita Agrawal, 1480 AM, and pioneer community free to the public with free admis- New York Life, Fommy.com, Hinorganizations Gujarati Samaj of sion, parking, and non-stop en- dus of Greater Houston, Telfair, Houston and Indian Culture Cen- tertainment. The event was filled Continental Airlines, and Qatar Airways. As if an abundant supply of 6 shades of Holi powder was not enough, youths snuck past secu-

UH “Table Talk” Fund Raiser Celebrates the Gift of Gab

rity to fill dollar-store pichkaris, water guns, and water bottles with river water to fully douse their friends. The magnificent park fountain was a magical fountain of youth, transforming adults into teenagers as they too played Holi. Kids forgot their electronic world as they raced through the free kids rides: a 65-ft obstacle course, 30-ft rock wall, giant slide, or the new addition – a mechanical bull. Next to the Kids rides was the Fiesta booth challenging kids with carnival games with free prizes. “Come early to avoid lines at parking,” blared Masala Radio for 3 weeks. And come early they did, filling up nearly 1,000 seats by 12 noon. At 1:30 pm, Sugar Land Police’s Lt. Hines admitted that the parking lots had surpassed last year’s attendance. “Actually everything is full, including Cici’s, Kroger’s and even Randalls! As this event is approaching the Fourth of July crowds, we will recommend the city to open more parking at Lost Creek Park next year.” continued on page

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Swami Nithyananda Lands in Sex Scandal

Author Abraham Verghese reads excerpts from his recent novel at Houston’s InPrint book reading. Story on Pg 17 Rathna Kumar and Kalyani Giri with Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Photo: Sarah Gish

Get all the community news, events update, restaurant reviews on our website

By Sarah Gish HOUSTON: Pack the ballroom at the Hilton Americas with more than 500 women and you will hear more than the walls talking. The Friends of Women’s Studies hosted its 13th annual “Table Talk” fundraiser February 25, 2010, and everyone had so much fun gabbing that it was hard to hear University of Houston Women’s Studies Director Elizabeth Gregory announcing raffle ticket sales over the din.

BANGALORE: After Kalki Bhagavan’s scam, Swami Nityananda’s alleged sex scandal has surfaced, shaking the country’s faith in the religious leaders and godmen, who are treated equivalent to gods by followers.

Video footage showing the Swamiji in a compromising position with a popular Tamil actress was released by Sun News on Tuesday, Mar 2, leading to violence at the Swamiji’s ashrams. The video clearly shows that the man is Swami Nithyananda. However, the woman’s face is blurred and the identity of the actress is yet to be confirmed. While some reports say that the woman is Ragasudha, others suggest that the woman is Ranjita. The video, which came as a massive shock to the godman’s followers, has led to widespread protests. In Coimbatore, angry followers took to streets and vandalised property. As per local reports, the Swami’s Ashram in Bidadi is also seeing similar violent scenes.

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05, 2010 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com


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A. R. Rahman’s Jai Ho – The Journey Home Extravaganza in Houston July 3 By Kalyani Giri

HOUSTON: It is undeniably the coup of the year for impresario Moid Khan. His company Bollywoodshows4u, a leading entertainment management enterprise, will bring Grammy and Oscar award-winning music director Padma Bhushan A. R. Rahman’s Jai Ho – The Journey Home concert to this city July 3, 2010. The show, Oscar winning music director A. R. Rahman smiles during a news predicted to be crit- conference in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. ically acclaimed, Houston,” said Moid Khan, CEO directed by Rapport will comprise of a multicultural and ethnically di- and spokesperson for Bollywood- Global Productions. verse ensemble of 120 singers, shows4u. “We’ve been in show Wary of spoiling the musicians and dancers and head- business development for awhile surprise element of the lined by the storied Rahman whose and have been very grateful to the show, Khan has discatchy musical score for the smash community for supporting us. We creetly indicated that hit film Slumdog Millionaire cap- look forward to a large turnout for the Jai Ho concert will also include the guest tivated an international audience this event too,” he added. The organizational team powerappearance of a worldand won him an Academy Award in 2008. Rahman, dubbed by ing the Jai Ho tour is a high-profile renowned American Time Magazine as the Mozart of mainstream Los Angeles-based artiste. Jai Ho – The Madras, is one of the world’s all company that has worked with Journey Home will be time top selling recording artists. artistes such as Whitney Houston, held at the Toyota CenHe has also written music for the Shakira, and Micheal Jackson. ter with a seating cacomedy Couples Retreat, his first The show will be an audio-visual pacity of 18, 000. Tickextravaganza featuring Rah- ets go on sale as of the work with a Hollywood studio. “We are very honored and proud man’s latest hit songs set against first week of March. Jai Ho – The Jourto be instrumental in presenting a backdrop of skillful lighting and Jai Ho – The Journey Home to pyrotechnics conceptualized and ney Home will debut

in Goa, India on April 24 and embark on a global tour. The ensemble, along with several tons of equipment, will traverse the US by road to destination cities that do not require more than five hours of travel time. On a recent trip to LA, Khan met with Rahman and the organizers behind the Jai Ho endeavor. “After seeing the level of commitment and the attention to detail that Rahman and his team are investing in this show, I feel very confident and excited,” confided Khan, a stalwart promoter in his own right who has regaled this city

and other cities within the US with artistes and superstar power from India and Pakistan in the celebrated ilk of Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Khailash Kher, Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, to name a few. Primarily a businessman with several gas stations and food chain enterprises locally and nationally, Khan moved here from California over a decade ago. “Bollywood is my passion,” Khan admits unabashedly. The Jai Ho – The Journey Home concert is at 8.30pm on July 3 at the Toyota Center. For tickets (early March) or information visit www.bollywoodshows4u.com. A R Rahman is pictured during his performance at a free concert in Parramatta Park in Sydney’s western suburbs January 16, 2010.

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CHATFEST FOSTERS NETWORKING AND FRIENDSHIPS

UH “Table Talk” Fundraiser Celebrates the Gift of Gab continued from page

off into the topic of the multiculturalism of Houston and stories about immigrant grandparents landing here. “Table Talk” proves that getting together for a good chat can lead to lifelong

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Chaired by Andrea Georgsson and Sarah Cooper, the event grossed $110,000 and benefited the Women’s Archive and Research Center (ARC) and the UH Women’s Studies Program. This year’s special honorees were Mayor Annise Parker (who agreed to take part in the fun several months ago before the election) and Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. This is one of my favorite fundraisers because I’m a girl who loves to gab, and “Table Talk” is one big chatfest. There were 50 conversationalists, one at each table, who shared their life experiences and discussed their careers and areas of expertise with guests. Colorfully garbed and adding an exotic elegance to the eclectic mix of accomplished women were four local Indo American community nominees; journalist Kalyani Giri (Indo American News, Hinduism Today), classical dancer/ teacher Dr. Rathna Kumar (The Anjali Center for Indian Performing Arts), businesswoman Indira

friendships and business mergers. Just ask Daniel Kornberg and James Harrison, founders of HarrisonKornberg architects, whose wives Mary Scott Hagle and Shannon Buggs met at TT in 2002. Multi-talented artist/writer Sarah Gish is the founder of Gish Creative, a marketing and public relations company based in Houston (www.gishcreative.com).

Conversationalists at Table Talk 2010, from left, Indira Vishnampet, Shantha Raghuthaman, Kalyani Giri and Rathna Kumar. Photos: Sarah Gish

Vishnampet (founder and CEO of IT company Hydus. Inc.), and Shantha Raghuthaman (founder of AADA - Asians Against Domestic Abuse). You couldn’t miss 6-foot, 7-inch Heidi Burge Horton – former WNBA star and one of the “world’s tallest twins” – as she held court. Lawyer and Cinema Arts Festival Houston founder Franci Crane were conversing, as were

t’afia owner Monica Pope, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra founder Alecia Lawyer, shame researcher Brené Brown, peace activist Lee Loe, construction CEO Laura Bellows, and even CultureMap’s socialmeister Shelby Hodge. Artist Gael Stack extolled creativity with fellow artists Lynn Randolph and Mary Ross Taylor. And as we chatted with our conversationalist, journalist Kalyani Giri, we veered

Kalyani Giri with the Chancellor of the University of Houston, Dr. Renu Khator.

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

SOCIETY

online edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

IACAN Sponsors a Dialogue with Indian Experts on Cancer By Mitali Paul

HOUSTON: On Sunday February 28th the Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) launched its first public educational event at India House with a seminar titled “Cancer Prevalence among Indians – An Open Dialogue with Leading Experts”. A bone marrow donor registration drive was also held. The seminar kicked off with a welcome from IACAN’s president Mrs. Gayathri Kongovi. Dr. Anu Rao, IACAN Secretary, introduced the panel of speakers: Drs. Sewa Legha, Asha Murthy, Shalin Shah and Sunil Krishnan. Dr. Sewa Legha, IACAN board member, set the stage with some startling facts. The incidence and patterns of cancer among Indian

She also talked about cervical cancer and recommended annual screenings through pap tests in women above 21 or 3 years after they become sexually active. “IACAN’s distinguished panel of experts (from left to right) - Dr. Sewa Legha, Dr. Asha Murthy, Dr. Sunil Krishnan and Dr. Shalin Dr. Sunil Shah. Krishnan, Americans (3 in 10) falls between and Caucasians in the US (4 in dia (oral cavity/throat and cer- IACAN board member, noted that that of Indians in India (1 in 10) 10). The common cancers in In- vix) are less common in the US more Indians in the western world but still prevalent among Indian are developing colon cancer. He Americans. Colorectal cancer, less recommended screening beginning common in India, is gaining in in- at age 50 using stool testing, flexicidence among Indian Americans. ble sigmoidoscopy, double contrast Breast, prostate and lung cancers, barium enema, or colonoscopy afthe more common US cancers, are ter discussion with one’s doctor. increasing in incidence in India as He also talked about prostate canthey are in Indian Americans. The cer and stomach cancer screenings odds of survival are much lower with appropriate tests. Dr. Shalin Shah ended the pre(30%) in India when compared to the US (66%). By all estimates, sentations with cancers of the survival figures among Indian head and neck and lung cancer. He Americans are lower than those elaborated on the treatment options among Caucasians due to health for cancer – surgery, chemotherapy illiteracy, lack of screening and and radiation therapy. The thought provoking presenlate diagnosis. The common warning signs of tations generated an overwhelmcancer are unusual bleeding/dis- ing audience response and led to charge, a non-healing sore, change a lively and interactive discussion. in bowel/bladder habits, a new The questions and answers ranged lump, a persistent cough, change from broad overview of subjects to in appearance of moles, and dif- specific issues relating to cancer ficulty swallowing. But by the cases. While there are no specific rectime the symptoms manifest themselves, the disease has typically ommendations proven to prevent advanced. Hence, regular screen- cancer, general guidelines include ing and early detection are the best consumption of 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, ways to fight cancer. Dr. Asha Murthy, our next pan- whole grains, and less alcohol; elist, addressed the topic of breast limiting the consumption of red cancer. Nearly 97% of women who meats, no smoking and maintainare diagnosed with breast cancer ing a healthy weight and an active at an early stage survive for more lifestyle. Prevention and early detection than 5 yrs. Dr. Murthy recommended a three pronged approach play a vital role in the fight against for early detection - mammogra- cancer. We plan to have more eduphy, breast self-exam and breast cational sessions throughout the exam by a physician. However in year. Please visit the IACAN website between screenings, staying vigilant and notifying one’s doctor of at www.iacannetwork.org to learn any changes, lumps or discharges more about upcoming events and from the breast is also important. for a copy of the presentations.

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

Neeta Sane to Receive Houston YMCA Minority Achievers Award in March HOUSTON: The Minority Achievers Program was developed by the YMCA for the purpose of assisting high school students in setting and attaining higher educational goals. Every year in March for over 30 years the YMCA and the community dedicates an evening to recognize and honor worthy adults as Minority Achievers. The city-wide Minority Achievers Program involves ten Houston YMCA branches, and over 100 students in activities such as business clusters, entrepreneurial adventures, college readiness, SAT/ACT test preparation, and mentoring. Some of these young people will receive scholarships and other assistance for college, out of the country exchanges, and teen conferences held throughout the United States. Neets Sane will receive the award on March 26, 2010 at Westchase Marriot.

Consul Gen. Arora Calls on Houston Mayor Annise Parker HOUSTON: Consul General Sanjiv Arora called on the Honorable Mayor of Houston Annise D. Parker on 25th February, 2010. Hon. Mayor Parker and Consul General Arora had a very cordial and useful exchange of views on the multi-dimensional cooperation between India and the City of Houston, and ways and means to further strengthen it. They appreciated the active and important contribution of the Indian-American community in Houston in this process.

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DAVSS Read-a-Thon Raises Funds for Arya Samaj Jeevan Prabhat Programs HOUSTON: Parents work very hard to build a zest for reading in their children. If this zest ends up as a channel for raising funds for social causes, it creates not only an empathy amongst children’s impressionable minds and tender hearts but also builds a lasting social compass in these young kids. Yes – such has been the unique endeavor at a recently concluded Read-a-thon at DAV Sanskriti School (DAVSS) of Houston. A whooping sum of $13,000 was raised through the efforts of DAVSS children, with support of a matching donation from 2 member families of Arya Samaj Greater Houston, as donations for Jeevan

how you would care for your own children. This includes housing, nutritious food and best of education for these children. Jeevan Prabhat currently has 2 locations – Gandhidham and Pondicherry. Gandhidham location was founded in 2001 after a major earthquake hit the Indian state of Gujarat. The Pondicherry location was founded after ‘Boxer day Tsunami’ – a catastrophic event of global proportions that hit Indian Ocean in 2005. DAVSS donations support Pondicherry where a child care facility was recently constructed at cost of $400,000 all raised through donations. The DAVSS Read-a-thon event

books or number of pages read by the children. In support of the Read-a-thon, DAVSS lent out precious collection books through its library – books about the great men and women and stories from the Indian history. In early February the event was concluded at a pizza party celebration hosted at the DAVSS School where the funds collected by all the children were pooled together. A total of 70 children participated at the Read-a-thon event at DAVSS this year. The whole drive was coordinated and ably led by Bharati Patil, Read-a-thon coordinator. The total collections from the children amounted to

Top fundraisers and readers of DAVSS Readathon. From Left: Bharati Patil, Trisha Gupta, Roma Nayyar, Dev Mahajan, Amol Patil, Adesh Thapiliyal, Acharya Praveen Gulati, Kiran Verma and Payal Talwar

Prabhat – a charitable organization founded and run by Arya Samaj for raising orphaned and underprivileged children in India. The Read-a-thon is an annual event at DAVSS and in the last 3 years DAVSS has contributed over $32,000 to Jeevan Prabhat. This year’s collections set a record – hopefully to be improved even more next year. Jeevan Prabhat’s objective is to provide care for underprivileged children – a care that is just like

was kicked off in early December where the children were told about Jeevan Prabhat and were sensitized with the cause for ‘giving & sharing’ with children of Jeevan Prabhat. The DAVSS children were given ‘Gullucks’ (Hindi for Piggy Banks) as their very own versions of mini banks to raise donations. The children had 2 months to read books and collect pledges against the same from friends and families. These pledges were in the form of dollar contributions for number of

$6500 with top fund raisers being Roma Nayyar ($1700), Amol Patil ($1350) and Trish Gupta ($560). A matching contribution of $6500 made by Vibha -Dinesh Agarwal and Renu-Sanjay Jain truly encouraged these children to do their very best for this noble cause. The DAVSS school committee deserves praise for their enormous thought and effort in organizing this successful event and shaping up our children as true leaders of tomorrow.

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Indo American News • Friday, March 05 , 2010

Shanti Concert: “A Journey of Peace” By Gopika Balakrishna & Ravi Raghavan

HOUSTON: Houston eagerly awaits “Shanti: A Journey of Peace”, a grand opera-style theater production and musical performance that explores the message of peace, joy and the interconnectedness of us all through the dance, music and culture of India. Over 200 Houstonian performers from the first-of-its-kind Indian community choir and the United Nations Association International Choir (UNAIC) are set to bring the message of “Shanti” alive in two, unprecedented backto-back shows to an elite audience of 3000 Houstonians on Saturday, March 13, 2010 at the Cullen Performance Hall (University of Houston). Shanti is a scintillating ninety-minute performance featuring Western choral and orchestral music combined with Indian classical music and dances. This acclaimed multi-media production – in its own unique genre of performing arts – is an epic presentation of 5000 years of India’s cultural history (www.shantichoir. org). Shanti is the brainchild of Kanniks Kannikeswaran, a visionary musician, composer and music educator whose stated mission is to use music as a vehicle to underscore the interconnectedness of peoples and build communities. The proceeds from Shanti will benefit the “All India Movement (AIM) for Seva”, a non-profit organization founded by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, that touches the lives of over 2.5 million people in 1,000 rural and tribal villages across 15 states in India. AIM for Seva is in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Over thirty Indian organizations, temples and dance/music schools in Houston have thrown

their weight behind Shanti, with the umbrella community organization “Hindus of Greater Houston” co-sponsoring the performance. At last week’s HGH meeting, reputed philanthropist and President of Star Pipe Products, Mr.Ramesh Bhutada, appreciated the underlying theme of “Universality” and announced his support for Shanti by sponsoring 100 concert tickets for his company’s employees. Noted patron and CEO of Unique Industrial Product Company,

Mr.Jugal Malani, provided similar support by sponsoring Shanti tickets for Unique’s employees. Mr. Devinder Mahajan has offered the full support of Arya Samaj in making Shanti a success. Dr. Jayakumar Srinivasan, admiring how it has truly been a community building endeavor, noted: “Shanti will be a culmination of 5000+ (yes 5,000!) hours of rehearsals by 200 Houstonians over 12 months cutting across 30+ organizations, and 10,000+ hours by dedicated volunteers. You can see that there are many IndianAmericans hailing from the south, north, east, and west of India.” James Winslow, a musician and teacher, remarked on how the music united the performers who come from 30 different nationalities and myriad races, religions and backgrounds. Parthasarathy Krishnamurthy, a Professor of Marketing at the University of Houston, opines of Shanti, “Western and Indian traditions merge. It is amazing to see the power of many voices come together. Car-

natic music is individual melody and individual expression and to hear it blend so harmoniously with Western choral tradition is awe inspiring.” Pat Dyer, from Trinidad, exclaims: “Shanti is an amazing arrangement of musical instruments and artistry. Its choral, its dance, its colorful, its unique. It’s a blending of mass harmonious voices from the eastern and western world. It’s a tongue tying, jaw dropping, foot stumping, joyous experience. It’s a ‘Journey of Peace’ and an unforgettable performance you would not want to miss. I am excited to be part of the journey.” Pranita Suraiya, a Hindustani vocalist, croons – “Our Western Choir director Eric Esparza, is a great community builder. The rehearsal sessions are a pleasure to attend because of the charming, fun, and respectful way in which he handles both the Indian and Western scores, singers, and music.” Hareesh Janakiraman has been instrumental in bringing the United Nations Association International Choir (UNAIC) together with the Indian choir and is the chief coordinator for all the rehearsals. An engineer by profession and a lover of music, he also instituted the “zero trash policy” during practice sessions - “I am very big on recycling, zero pollution etc. I wanted folks to get their own cups/spoons/ plates etc from home, so that we don’t generate trash. It is a little inconvenient, but it can be done. All it takes is one person with conviction. 90% of the folks complied.” Regarding all his efforts towards Shanti, he opined, “The thought that I can transform the life of just one child in India with all these efforts makes all the hard work well worth it.” Tickets for the 5 PM and 8.30 PM shows are available online at: www.Tickets2Events.com

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Salman Khan’s Khan Academy Teaches Kids Math via You Tube By James Kettle

SAN FRANCISCO (SF Chronicle): During the years Salman Khan spent scrutinizing financials for hedge funds, he rationalized the profit-obsessed work by telling himself he would one day quit and use his market winnings to open a free school. Instead, he started one almost by accident. It began with long-distance tutoring in late 2004. He agreed to help his niece Nadia, then a seventhgrader struggling with unit conversion, by providing math lessons over Yahoo’s interactive notepad, Doodle, and the phone. Nephews and family friends soon followed. But scheduling conflicts and repeated lectures prompted him to post instructional videos on YouTube that his proliferating pupils could watch when they had the time. They did - and before long, so did thousands of others. Today, the Mountain View resident’s 800-plus videos are viewed about 35,000 times a day, forming a virtual classroom that dwarfs any brick and mortar school he might have imagined. By using the reach of the Internet, he’s helped bring education to the information-hungry around the world who can’t afford private tutors or Kaplan prep courses. “With so little effort on my own part, I can empower an unlimited amount of people for all time,” Khan, 33, said. “I can’t imagine a better use of my time.” That, along with last year’s Wall Street meltdown, is why he finally

gave up his hedge fund work and dedicated himself to the academy full time in the fall of 2008. The nonprofit generated thousands in advertising revenue this year through YouTube, which shares cash with popular content Based in Mountain View, California, Salman Khan providers, and is teaching math to kids around the world via You could become Tube. self-sustainable of access to the rich intellectual reas a one-person operation within a source of a public university is core year. Khan is in talks with several to what we do,” he said. “Anyone foundations for capital that could around the world, whether a taxi enable him to expand the organiza- driver in London or budding comtion’s reach. puter engineer in Africa, can tune He didn’t originate the concept in.” Students who take all or part of of free online education, of course. their classes online perform better, The YouTube EDU channel features on average, than those who comtens of thousands of so-called open plete the same courses only in a tracourseware videos on economics, ditional classroom, according to a mathematics and more from Har- meta-analysis - or a study of studies vard, Yale and elsewhere. Apple - released earlier this year by SRI Inc.’s iPhone App store features International. free Spanish tutoring, math drills That could reflect students using and SAT vocabulary tests. online tools on top of face-to-face Last year, Stanford University’s learning or that these materials tend engineering school rolled out gra- to draw an audience that, on avertis video lectures, handouts and age, is particularly motivated. But assignments for certain courses. in any case, it suggests the Internet Meanwhile, UC Berkeley has been legitimately helps people learn. posting classes online since 1995, Among a field crowded with exon iTunes since 2006 and on You- alted institutions, Khan Academy Tube since 2007. The university is stood out enough to be named as fast approaching the 100 million one of three laureates in the edudownload mark, said Ben Hubbard, cation category of this year’s Tech the program’s manager. Awards, organized by the Tech Mu“We feel that opening this world seum in San Jose.

“We were tremendously impressed by Sal Khan’s simple approach to generating user-friendly tutorials in straightforward, to-thepoint videos,” said Michael Kevane, chair of the department of economics at Santa Clara University and head of the judging panel, in an e-mail. “We felt like he really showed people the right way to do video content - the wrong way being the ‘talking head’ or the ‘professor at the blackboard.’ “ Indeed, many universities simply post recorded lectures, while Khan stresses hands-on learning, moving step by step through multiple problems and encouraging students to work alongside him. He’s also more focused on K-12 learning, with videos already posted for nearly all the math and physics encountered in those grades, and has created a math program that spits out problems that grow more difficult as students progress. But the automated software and videos are just a glimmer of the potential that Khan sees for technology to revolutionize education. In the long term, Khan believes his academy points to an opportunity to overhaul the traditional classroom, by using software to create tests, grade assignments, highlight the challenges of certain students, and utilize those doing well to aid their struggling classmates. This would minimize the time teachers spend on menial tasks, untether them from the one-sizefits-all approach to education and enable them to focus on individual

students’ particular needs, he said. “That will be reality in the next five to 10 years and I think Khan Academy is in the ideal position to do it,” he said. Whether or not that ever happens, Khan’s students say he’s already opening doors they never could have squeezed through on their own. He says the most rewarding part of his work are the e-mails he regularly receives from people saying he helped them get into college, earn higher grades - or in the case of one woman with terminal cancer, achieve a life goal like learning calculus before it’s too late. Last week, Matthew Smith, 31, of San Pablo, applied for entrance to Berkeley City College, where he hopes to study mechanical engineering. He had only completed pre-algebra in high school, and his life was sidetracked shortly after graduation when a semi T-boned the vehicle in which he was a passenger. He suffered traumatic brain injuries and lay in a coma for more than a week. Smith needed considerable remedial training before he could tackle any math-heavy engineering coursework. He stumbled across Khan Academy while searching online for California Standards Tests. After several months with the videos, he scored well enough on his assessment exams to start with pre-calculus in college. That’s two levels above where he stood the last time he sat in a classroom.“Without Khan Academy, I don’t think I’d be in the position I’m in now,” he said.

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Post-Doctoral Chemist Killed in a Road Accident DALLAS: Dr. Chandra Sekhar Vavilala, 36, post-doctoral fellow in Chemistry, a native of Ongole town in Andhra Pradesh struck by car and killed in New Orleans city in Louisiana State on Thursday, February 19th at 6:30 pm. He was struck by a car from behind while he was going to University on a bicycle. He died on the spot with multiple injuries. Dr. Vavilala earned a Ph. D in Chemistry at a University in Germany and moved to Princeton University, New Jersey, USA in 2007. He relocated to New Orleans in January 2009 to work as a research scholar in the Dept. of Chemistry with Prof. Robert Pascal at Tulane University. Dr. Vavilala is survived by his wife Anasuya Kolavennu, Ph. D and a four-year-old daughter.

Dr. Chandra Sekhar Vavilala

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IAPAC Condemns Attack on Indians in Kabul HOUSTON: The Indo-American by India’s government. Political Action Committee of GreatIndia has pledged about $1.2 billion er Houston (IAPAC) condemned the in reconstruction projects to improve terrorist attack in central Kabul of roads, communications and medical Afghanistan that claimed the lives facilities. Delhi also provides scholof 17 people including nine Indian arships to Afghan students, assists nationals. widows and orphans, and advises On March 1, IAPAC President the government on improving govRamesh Anand and Board Members ernance. expressed their aggravation for the “India and the US have a comincidence, and extended their sym- mon interest to insure that a secure pathy to the families of those killed democracy is established and should in this most recent attack on Indians. not permit this common objective to The attack targeted an Indian guest- be diluted,” said Anand. house. The residents in one of the buildings included Indian doctors working at the Indira Gandhi C h i l d r e n ’s Hospital, one of many assis- IAPAC Board Members Sanjay Rao, Sam Merchant, Dinesh Shah, tance projects Ramesh Anand, Gitesh Desai and Vish Bhaskaran with Fort Bend in Afghani- Commission Mr. James Patterson at holi 2010 at Oyster Creek Park stan backed last Saturday where they urged people to register for voting.

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India Shining ... Outside India Lately, it seems like Indians (more correctly, Indo-Americans) are achieving a high profile everywhere you look. Last Monday, there was attorney Sri Srinivasan’s photo on the front page of The Houston Chronicle as one of the lawyers representing former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling. On the radio, Gaurav Khandelwal was talking to host Michael Berry about using social media for marketing. Monday evening, author Abraham Verghese was reading from his book at the Hobby Center. Good going, our people! Pramod Kulkarni

Problems Within, Without

There were no surprises in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that India was willing to “walk the extra mile” with Pakistan. The offer, however, came with a simple but serious caveat. India would take the extra step if Pakistan cooperated and took decisive action against terrorists. Both parts of the statement are of equal importance. The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has made it abundantly clear ever since he took office for the second time that he is very keen to establish some degree of normalcy in India’s relationship with Pakistan. To achieve this end, Mr Singh is not unwilling to make some concessions. But all this cannot be unconditional. There has to be a modicum of reciprocity and responsibility from the Pakistan side. Unfortunately, no such gesture has been forthcoming. As the talks with the foreign secretaries of both countries showed, in its public posturings and rhetoric, Pakistan has shown no signs of climbing down from its high horse. One reason behind this might be the lack of any central direction in Pakistan and therefore the failure to look beyond the immediate scoring of points. If lack of response is the prime minister’s problem so far as Pakistan is concerned, at home he might be forced to take action against the malady that has no better name than verbal diarrhoea. Shashi Tharoor, the minister of state for external affairs, has demonstrated once again that he is incapable of holding his tongue. The most sensible and responsible action for Mr Tharoor was to let the prime minister do all the talking in Saudi Arabia. He had no obligation to hold forth on any subject. If he had kept quiet, he could have avoided the tortuous clarifications regarding the meaning of the word “interlocutor”. Mr Tharoor seems to be under the illusion that he is the only man in India who understands the meaning and implications of polysyllabic words. The time has come perhaps for Mr Singh to tell his junior colleague to hold his counsel and to keep his fingers away from the keyboard of his Blackberry. Otherwise, Mr Tharoor may prove to be an embarrassment to the prime minister if he isn’t one already. Mr Singh has problems galore across India’s western borders, but he also has problems, albeit of a different order, across the corridors in South Block. He should not permit the latter to aggravate the former. Calcutta Telegraph

e d ito r i a l

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Flamingos Around the World By Bachi Karkaria Migrant flamingos and migrated family fly into Mumbai every winter. To our great regret, No. 1 Son and his newish wife stay for a far shorter time than that magnificent mass of birds, but, fortunately, they have more manageable tastes in food. Their pink colouring comes from the Atlanta winter not from snacking on algae, and though Urvaksh and Anisha share the avian’ addiction to crustaceans, they go for the larger crabs and shrimp. They certainly don’t demand the minuscule molluscs which the flamingos scoop up with their strange, downwardly curved beaks. The flamingos who descend on Mumbai in their thousands probably outnumber all the residents of all the Parsi colonies here. My personal migratory record is abysmal. Our immediate - family-from-afar comprises the measly two mentioned above, but hopefully they will make the number less dismal by adding some nestlings soon. We will welcome that stork with considerably greater enthusiasm than the flamingoes show towards the lone ones which wade in their midst. Water birds of many a feather flock together on this eastern shore-line. The massed flamingos are punctuated by solitary herons and egrets, waiting patiently immobile, gingerly picking their long-legged way through Sewri’s low-tide slime and calling out in a Babel of beaks. Our immediate emigrant family is singularly modest. It actually comprises only No.1 Son, since d-i-l Anisha is as much Georgia Girl as Guju Girl, being born in the USA. However, when it comes to the larger family, we can muster a respectable count of emigrant members - just like so many other Indian families, rich or poor, rural or urban, Sikh, Shaivaite, Shia, or Seventh Day Adventist. Our grand-uncle was the first recorded adventurer. This modest Calcutta lad went to Hong Kong as a ‘ghar jamaai’, and developed a penchant for bespoke three-piece suits, two-toned spats, manicured nails and Crepe de Chine cologne. For us, as

Our grand-uncle was the first recorded adventurer. This modest Calcutta lad went to Hong Kong as a ‘ghar jamaai’, and developed a penchant for bespoke three-piece suits, two-toned spats, manicured nails and Crepe de Chine cologne. For us, as children, he was as exotic as the latter-day flamingoes. Like them, Mamaji came back every winter, bearing exquisite but totally impractical gifts. children, he was as exotic as the latterday flamingoes. Like them, Mamaji came back every winter, bearing exquisite but totally impractical gifts, most memorably tiny, embroidered silk bras for my bosomy mother and aunt. Cousin Khorshed was next. Her American boss helped her to get a job in New York. She impulsively hitched a ride to San Francisco in his daughter’s red Mustang, and stayed on in sunny California for the next 40 years turning into Mrs Dodge. Her sister went toAustralia soon after, and, three decades later, mine emigrated to New Zealand. Our No.1 Son went to study in Fort Wayne, pretentiously introducing himself as being from ‘India-slash-Indiana’. Getting a green card, he moved to flamingo-country Florida before switching jobs, states and marital status all in a six-month span. Mumbai’s flamingoes fly in from West Africa; we developed family ties with its eastern wing in quick and co-incidental succession. No.2 Son’s Saraswat ‘m-i-l’, Gita, was raised in Kenya; No 1 Son got married three years later, and his ‘f-i-l’, Kirti, was from Tanzania. We added Uganda in 2009, courtesy my nephew, Devapri-

yo, who joined his Danish NGO wife there. Like the flamingoes, Urvaksh and Anisha have coloured our routine. Like them, they chatter in exotic accents ( he Twitters as well). Both top up their flamboyance; the birds with what they feed on; the kids with the baubles they shop for. Both have escaped the cold of the places they call home, and they warm up our lives. The children naturally. The flamingos mystically. If these alien birds fly thousands of kilometers each year to a city that grows increasingly more inhospitable, there must surely be some magic still left in Mumbai. Even if we can’t decipher the message in the roseate dawn they bring, we still await them eagerly. For, if the flamingos come, can our faraway children be far behind? TOI

Reader Comments

Though they fly long distances, Flamingos have it relatively easy as they are not patted down, humiliated and insulted by the police at the Immigration. They neither have passports which are viewed at with suspicion nor do they carry a visa with an issuance or expiry date. Though they have a pink colour, they are not sneered at and nor do they have a racial profile. May be they have peculiar beaks which are recognized for its utility value and the same is simply accepted as a culinary tool rather than being seized as a weapon of seafood destruction. How fortunate they are even if they have to stop at west africa. One thing is certain though - they go to the same places out of neccessity and just to survive - like our own Flamingo Hussain who may migrate cause his own flock wants to have him for dinner. Ziauddin Shaf Good article. Well articulated. But It looks as if madam Bachi is trying to show how affluent her family is and how the family is a melting pot of different cultures like most affluent Indian families. Rishi

IndoAmerican News Publisher Emeritus: Dr. K.L. Sindwani Editor: Pramod Kulkarni Business Manager: Jawahar Malhotra Marketing Manager: Krishna Giri Community Reporter: Kalyani Giri Community Editor: Manasi Gokhale Administrative Manager: Vanshika Vipin Marketing & Food Correspondent: Jacob David Production Manager: Hussain Mandviwala correspondents Chicago: Nand Kapoor Ottawa: Avinash Gavai ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-NEWS or 6397 Fax: 713-789-6399, email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: indoamerican-news.com

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Verghese Shocks, Entertains InPrint Audience By Pramod Kulkarni HOUSTON: Author Abrahaham Verghese presented two somewhat shocking, but entertaining excerpts from his recent book, Cutting for Stone, before a standing room only audience of InPrint at the Zilkha Hall of the Hobby Center last Monday evening. Cutting for Stone is the story of Marion and Shiva Stone, who are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. The twins are orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance. The twins come of age in Ethiopia as the country hovers on the brink of revolution. The story moves from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again. According to the blurb on the book cover, Cutting for Stone is “an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles -- and twin brothers who fates are forever intertwined.” The two passages Verghese read concerned the Catholic nun bathing a very seasick British surgeon and a vascectomy performed by the surgeon in Addis Ababa. The passages were full of graphic detail and humor. Abraham Verghese is the author of three best-selling books, Cutting for Stone, his first novel now in paperback, and two non-fiction books, My Own Country, and The Tennis Partner, which were both critically acclaimed. His work has appeared in The Atlantic.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The New Yorker. He lives in Palo Alto, California, and is a tenured pro-

Rehan Files $18 MM Lawsuit HOUSTON: Radio personality Rehan Siddiqi and his Asia Vision company has filed suit in Harris County District Court against Biz Radio and its owners Daniel Frishberg, Elibsea Frishberg and Albert Kaleta. The suit claims damages worth $18 million. The dispute arises from the ownership of radio station KTEK 1110 AM. Attorneys Eddie Krenek and Tricia Thompson are representing Rehan Siddiqi. Details about the alleged fraudulent transactions have been reported in the February 19 issue of Indo-American News. AsiaVision is currently broadcasting from 1180 AM.

Author Abraham Verghese while reading from his book at the InPrint event in Houston.

fessor at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine. Born of Indian parents who were teachers in Ethiopia, he grew up near Addis Ababa and began his medical training there. When Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed, he completed his training at Madras Medical College and went to the United States for his residency as one of many foreign medical graduates. His work with terminal patients and the insights he gained from the deep relationships he formed and the suffering he saw were intensely transformative; they became the basis for his first book, My Own Country :

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A Doctor’s Story, written later during his years in El Paso, Texas. Such was his interest in writing that he decided to take some time away from medicine to study at the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1991. The mission of Inprint is to inspire readers and writers in Houston. A nonprofit organization founded in 1983, Inprint fulfills this mission through the nationally renowned Inprint Brown Reading Series, through literary and educational activities in the community that demonstrate the value and impact of creative writing, and through support for the UH Creative Writing Program.

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Swami on Fast Unto Death to Save Ashram

NEW YORK: Swami Madanji of the Panchvati Ashram, Catskill, New York, began a fast unto death on January 30 protesting against the move to evict him from the 13-acre ashram. “Let us see if help comes first or my death,” the swami, 72, wrote to his followers.He had sent letters to the president earlier and a local official, John Stern, contacted him a few times to inquire about the situation and his health. When India Abroad contacted him, Stern declined to discuss the matter. The swami remains on two cups of tea a day and regular medication and continues to live alone at the ashram. After India Abroad published a report on the

possible eviction by a bank for defaulting the mortgage, some people had sent small contributions. The bank set a January 26 deadline for his moving out of the ashram. The swami feels the bank is not ready for any compromise. A court had given him four weeks starting December 22 to pay up $98,500 or leave. The temple offers all the services required for Hindus from birth to cremation. The next temple is about fifty miles away in Orange County. The temple took a line of credit for $100,000 from The First Bank of Jeffersonville mortgaging the property, but could not pay the mortgage amount.

Indian Americans Asked to Mobilize Support Against Pak WASHINGTON: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) asked the Indian-American community to mobilize Congressional support against Pakistan if investigation into Pune terrorist attack establishes a Pakistani link. “If a Pakistan connection is linked to this latest attack in Pune, we will urge the Indian American community to mobilize their Congressional representatives and have them speak out forcefully against this blatant act of terrorism,” the HAF, an advocacy group providing a progressive voice for over two million HinduAmericans, said in a statement. “February 13, marked a day of violence, but it also marked a day of unshakable resolve for us to combat both the ideology and actions of those, who seek to harm innocent civilians through acts of terrorism,” said Dr. Mihir Meghani, HAF president. “The terrorist actions in Pune at a German bakery,

next to a Jewish spiritual retreat, were meant to disrupt India’s tourism sector and cast a cloud on India’s standing as a rising global economic power,” Dr .Meghani said. Confident that the Indian government will investigate this terrorist attack and bring the perpetrators to justice, the HAF supported New Delhi’s latest initiation of a constructive dialogue with Pakistan during these turbulent times.“However, Pakistan has a long record of overtly supporting terrorist acts in India that are planned and funded within its borders and supported as governmental policy,” the HAF said.

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Record Crowds Flock to HOLI 2010

continued from page 1

crowds, we will recommend the city to open more parking at Lost Creek Park next year.” From the Main Stage, the sea of people gave energy to the dancers and Emcee Sunil Thakkar. In between colourful dances, Thakkar mesmerized the audience with random requests of singing or dancing from the crowd itself. Thakkar orchestrated a Reddy Bread Roti Eating contest, and the audience was delighted when a frail looking girl won the contest in 40 seconds! Nara Lakhani of Sabse Bada Rupaiya and Glitz Entertainment’s Abhiya Malhotra choreographed the Sona Boutique Fashion Show with 2 rounds: Black & White Sari and Formal Wear. The Formal Wear models displayed over $100,000 in dazzling diamond & precious stone jewellery by Maharaja Jewellers. Shivangini School of Dance presented three acts of vibrant folk dances, one to classical chants and tabla beats. Rhythm India rocked the stage with their modern glitzy costumes, adorable little girls, and stage covering groups of 20 -40 students. Anajli Center for Performing Arts had the crowd dancing with the upbeat “Haddipa” followed by the whimsical “All is Well”. Their Bollywood Instructor Mahesh Mahbubani did a riveting impromptu dance lesson on stage with the entire Masala Crew, right down to the last booty-shaking steps. The full line up included Bengali Pride, Gitika Sinha & Group, Pearland Powers, Sugar Pear Group, Dhamaka, Anonymous, Bollywood School of Dance and Art, Arya Dance Academy, and Hybrid Rhythms. The entertainment highlight was Houston Ka Music Muqabla, a singing competition of 6 contestants, 6 judges, in 3 rounds fashioned after

the popular Star Plus show. Star Plus presented the competition and will air the episode, along with clips of the entire Holi celebration, on their channel in the next three weeks. For the first time in Houston, the crowd was invited to text their votes using technology provided by Saavn. Judging was by Rathna Kumar, founder Anjali Center for Performing Arts, Pandit Suman Ghosh, Moid Khan, founder of Bollywood Shows 4 U, Robin Bains, CO-founder of Red Hot Karaoke, Immigration Attorney Deepa Thakur, and Malik Jamal of Tara Energy. Amid resounding applause Manik Joshi took first place and winning among several prizes a Masala Cruise to Mexico and a Free Red Hot Karaoke Machine. The stage closed with a captivating performance by Kamla Punjabi, and a DJ Party by Dholi Nish and DJ Neel, which went well past event hours. The Gujarati Samaj of Houston’s President Prakash Desai, Vice President Nisha Mirani, and Secretary Ajit Patel rendered a quick re-enactment of the Puranic story of ancient King Hiranyakashyap who wanted all wanted to burn his son Prahlad for worshipping Vishnu instead of the King. The King ordered Prahlad’s evil sister Holika (who had a boon of withstanding fire) into the fire, but Vishnu protected Prahlad and she was burned instead, displaying the triumph of Good over Evil. On stage, King Hiranyakashyap was over 10 feet tall and had fire shooting from his hands, a site to behold! The Kind exited the stage into the crowds, and was stopped every few feet for dozens of photos. Soon afterwards, ICC President Swapan Dhairyawan and Past President Keshu Patel led Consul General Sanjiv Arora to the stage who gave an unusually short

welcome and pledge of better service to his Houston constituents. Aroma from the Holi Food Court filled the air as long lines formed at Udipi Cafe, Madras Pavilion, and Mantra of Sugar Land. Mantra offered garden style lunch with exclusive seating in the Pavilion, but most were happy to plop down anywhere and sample there tantalizing Chole and fresh, hot Baturas. New this year was Chipstix, a masaledaar fried potato sliced and twisted around a footand-a-half stick. Blue Bunny offered a variety of packaged ice creams, despite their difficult maintaining power. Fadi’s offered a different variety of falafels, Mediterranean salads and baklava. Neeta’s tempted the Gujarati’s with Surti Kichadi,Undhiyu and Papde No Lot, while Bengalis were drawn to O’Calcutta with mouthwatering Rasogulla. Even though there were twice as many food stalls as last year, most everyone sold out, especially AlpaHar Foods. Owner Alpa Parmar, who doesn’t have a restaurant nor caters, when asked why she did the booth for Holi said, “Food is my passion, and I love making people happy at Holi.” First–time attendees like Pankaj Malani were overwhelmed, “‘I was very impressed by how organized the Holi event was. It was a great opportunity to see kids and adults from our community enjoying themselves together on this festive occasion. The dances, skits and variety of food definitely added to the fun atmosphere. “The entire event was directed by Masala Radio owners Sunil and Sandhya Thakkar, and coordinated by Event Manager Shilpi Sheth. What’s Next? Masala Radio is scouting for venues that can support over 10,000 for its next event, Diwali 2010, the Festival of Lights.

Squabble on Britain’s Lord Swraj Paul’s Tax Status

LONDON (IANS): Indian-born steel magnate and Labour Party supporter Lord Swraj Paul has found himself dragged into a controversy on who is allowed to fund political parties in Britain after a leading opposition contributor and strategist admitted his tax status is that of a non-domicile. Lord Michael Ashcroft, who is estimated to be worth some one billion pounds and is vice chairman of the opposition Conservative Party, declared on his website on Monday: “My preAnhonoraryappointmenthasgottenLord cise tax status? is that of a ‘non-dom’ Swraj Paul into a political brawl. - a status that allows the taxpayer to has been simple - I am one of the most avoid paying taxes in Britain. “Two of Labour’s biggest donors open people (about the fact) that I am - Lord Paul (recently made a privy non-dom. That’s what the law allows councillor by the prime minister) and me and that’s what I am. “I have never Sir Ronald Cohen, both long-term hidden the fact or said it was my own residents of the UK, are also ‘non- private affair. I don’t know why they doms’,” added Ashcroft, who used to are using my name, except to cover themselves up.” While Paul, a close live in Belize. Alongside, Conservative leader friend of British Prime Minister GorDavid Cameron claimed Ashcroft’s don Brown, has given 69,000 pounds status “happens to be the same as Lord to Labour - including 45,000 pounds Paul, one of Labour’s biggest donors, to Brown’s 2007 party leadership someone whom the prime minister campaign - Ashcroft has given the Conservatives 4.5 million pounds. made a privy councillor.” Former Labour minister Denis McBut the Caparo Group chairman dismissed the comparison, saying: “It Shane said: “The Tory propagandist is really ridiculous for anybody to start Iain Dale is tweeting frantically about comparing me to anybody. My view Swraj Paul, a Labour donor and In-

dian steel magnate with business operations across the globe. “Unlike Lord Ashcroft - who is a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, has an office and staff at the Tory HQ, and masterminds the Tory strategy to win key marginals with a massive targeted spend - Lord Paul has no party or policy role.” However, the Conservatives, bidding to topple Labour in general elections due by June 3, are asking questions about Brown’s 2009 appointment of Paul to the privy council - a position they say is meant for people who are involved in affairs of State or have close relationship with the Crown. The opposition party pointed out that Paul does not attend cabinet meetings and the highest position he has held in public life is one of 18 deputy speakers of the House of Lords, the upper chamber of parliament. Paul clarified that his contributions were made by the Caparo Group rather than by him personally, and that he pays the bulk of his taxes in Britain. “This law was not made for me or Lord Ashcroft. It’s been going on for the last couple of hundred years. The day they change it I will have to abide by the new laws. Until then it gives me the option,” he told BBC radio.

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Chennai Remembers the Generosity of Houstonians after the Tsunami

The Tsunami struck India’s southeast coast on Dec 26, 2004 and brought death and devastation; it brought to a standstill the lives and livelihoods of fishermen living in those areas. The generous donations that Houston-based non-profit organizations made early in 2005 for the victims of the Tsunami were recognized then, and remembered again now in 2010! The Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) celebrated its Diamond Jubilee on Feb 24, 2010 in Chennai. At that event, FPAI acknowledged and recognized in particular those donors that had enabled FPAI to reach out beyond their normal realm of activities when they adopted a few villages where the affected fishermen and their families lived. Using donations from three Houston-based non-profit organizations, FPAI had three fiberglass boats constructed, launched and donated for use by fishermen. Specifically acknowledged were Sri Meenakshi Temple Society, The Bharathi Kalai Manram and The Indian Music Society who together donated a total of US $13,000 for the

three boats. Also acknowledged was the Indo American Charity Foundation which had donated $3,000 earlier for another boat through a different organization in India, the SOS Chatnad Trust. The Chief guests for the FPAI Diamond Jubilee celebration were Mr. M.R.K. Panneerselvam, Minister for Health, State of Tamil Nadu and the Honorable Mayor of Chennai Thiru M. Subramanian. Mrs. Prabha Bala of Houston had solicited and facilitated the donations from the above Houston non-profits and worked with FPAI for the direct benefit of the fishermen; she attended the above event and received a memento given as a thank-you gesture from FPAI of Chennai. FPA India is a leading NGO (NonGovernmental Organization) in India. They envision health, particularly sexual and reproductive health, for all people, especially those marginalized due to poverty, in the broad context of sustainable development leading towards the alleviation of poverty, stabilization of population, gender equality, and human rights.

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Govindaji Gaudiya Matha Temple

Opening soon in N.W. Houston HOUSTON: On February 24th, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Govindaji Gaudiya Matha temple Sirla GuruDev has several hundreds commenced construction with the of thousands of followers/disciples initial leveling of the land on the cor- worldwide. ner of Keith Harrow and Cairnleigh The new temple being erected (16628 Keith harrow Blvd.), couple called Govindaji Gaudiya Matha, of blocks from Highway 6, in N.W. will serve the community both locally Houston. and naT h i s tionally. event T h i s marks will be what will the first become temple known as in NW a great triHousumph for ton. It the spread w i l l of India’s provide Sanatana an array Dharma of spirias it will Gurudeva performing Bhoomi Pooja tual and be home cultural to the world-renowned and premier resources for Houston’s growing proponent of Sanatan Dharma, His community of followers of Sanatana Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Dharma as well as provide a facility Narayana Goswami Maharaj. Srila to host the national events with Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja, or Sri- Gurudev which attract practitioners la Gurudeva as he is known for short. from around the country and around He has travelled throughout the world the world. On March 27th, 2010 , extensively over the past decade and the entire Houston community is a half, placing his divine transcen- being invited to become a part of this dental teaching in the hearts of people celebration and also join in the Ram on all of the earth’s six continents. Navmi Mela being held on the propComposing over forty authoritative erty at the site of the future temple. literatures of the Gaudiya Saraswati There will be day long celebrations line, he has re-established the flow and Mela for the entire family. This of pure devotion unto the Supreme will be a unique opportunity to particLord, Sri Krsna, as was originally ipate in a festival that will be not only introduced into the Western world in entertaining , fun-filled but spiritually the 1960’s by His Divine Grace A.C. uplifting as well.

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