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Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

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Friday, May 14 , 2010

Business IndoAmerican News


Tile Center USA

Home Improvement Done Your Way By Jacob David

There are lots of reasons why you can support local businesses rather than the large, faceless, corporate home improvement stores. It helps the economic balance, for one. Sanjay Hemrajani, owner, Tile Center USA, has diversified from just tiles to selling several materials needed for remodeling your home. Tile center USA offers competitive rates starting at $14.99/sq.ft on granite, commercial and residential carpeting, kitchen counter tops and custom sinks, mosaic, outside turf, pebble strips for building exteriors, natural and engineered hardwood floors, porcelain tiles, vinyl floors, and the latest, special high polished reflective glass tiles that make attractive back plashes for your kitchen. Hemrajani started Tile Center USA in the year 2000, learning all he could from a friend about the stone business. In ten years, he has three locations. Two are being renovated into 16,000+ sq.ft showrooms, which will be ready by 2011. The third location is on US59 and Bissonnett. His stores supply home improvement materials to resi-

dential clients and a few well established contractors. Sanjay is from Delhi where he has a large garment accessories business at the Sadar bazaar, which is a wholesale market. His company oversees the distributorship of garments for other textile companies in India. Coming to USA, he kept leaving for India to support his business there. When he saw that the home improvement business had a

serious market here, he started learning all he could about it. “Today, God has blessed me with three locations, you can succeed in this market only if you have multiple locations and command large volume purchasing.” However, he has no immediate plans to diver-

world markets

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nepal NEPSE

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continued on page

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$1702.00 per oz.







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Brent $80.92 Spot +1.10% Spot Bid Prices


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Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

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B U S I N E S S in d ia

Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

U.S. Professors Now Outsourcing Grading to India WASHINGTON D.C.: A veteran university professor, frustrated with the tedium and time of grading papers, has created a company that outsources the job to India. With a dozen clients in academia and a thick skin, Dr. Chandru Rajam is prepared to weather the outrage EduMetry Inc. of Herndon, Va., has set off. Virtual TA, which hires offshore university-educated staff to assess, grade and comment on student assignments, is only one of the EduMetry services. But it is by far the most controversial. “Our intent is not to cheapen or degrade the learning and teaching equation,” Rajam told the Star. “We think there is a better model. We never outsource the responsibility, we’re just outsourcing the activity. “I like to half-jokingly point out that a mother is outsourcing childcare to a daycare provider. If you can entrust the care of your infant to a third person, any form of outsourcing should be fair game.” Since it was created five years ago, EduMetry has assembled a team of adjunct professors, retired teachers, “homemakers with masters’ degrees” and other university-educated staff, most in India but some in Singapore and Malaysia, to grade 2,000 student assignments a week. A selling point, said Rajam, is the extensive comments that accompany each grade – something graduate assistants and

professors can seldom supply. A professor at George Washington University, Rajam understands the wary response so far. “The vast majority of the comments tend to be negative. We knew what we were in for at Day One. Nor do we claim our service is for everyone. If the studentteacher ratio is very manageable, such an institution has no need for our services. But there are a variety of higher education contexts, so I think there is a role for us.” Among students, he said, “any apprehension at first blush goes away when they see the quality of the feedback.” “Everyone who has ever had a college degree knows what it’s like to just get ‘good’ written in the margin and wonder what it means,” said Terri Friel, dean of the business school at Roosevelt University in Chicago. “This gives students a great deal more guidence.” Friel used Virtual-TA at her previous university, Butler in Indianapolis. At Roosevelt, she has used one of EduMetry’s other programs. “I consider Chandru a brilliant business man. His company offers something really unique.” Virtual-TA graders are trained to compile reports for professors that point out overall problems as well as specific student errors, she said. “They can say, ‘Your students aren’t getting this concept.’ It’s a very nice system.”

A western Canadian college or university is among EduMetry’s dozen clients, but Rajam declined to identify it. The University of Houston director of business law and ethics, Lori Whisenant, is a client, as are professors at the University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration, West Hills Community College in Coalinga, Calif., Ohio Northern University and George Washington. Whisenant’s seven teaching assistants had to wade through papers from 1,000 students each year. “Our graders were great but they were not experts in providing feedback,” Whienant told The Chronicle of Higher Education about her teaching assistants. With Virtual-TA, “we’re working with professionals.” Prices vary per course, but Virtual-TA estimates the program costs a university about $12 per student per assignment. Six assignments for 20 students would cost $1,440. EduMetry graders receive from $500 to $1,000 a month, depending on hours worked, according to GlobalPost, a news service. EduMetry has developed a checklist for each professor that begins several weeks before a semester with a briefing on course content, the professor’s style and expectations, said Rajam. A grader will typically send an early run of papers back to a professor to see if the work is handled according to plan.

“As a business school professor, what I find is there are double standards,” said Rajam. “As long as outsourcing meant for the last 30 years only the flight of bluecollar jobs, that was okay. The moment it extends to knowledge work, immediately people get defensive. The idea that EduMetry can’t mark an English Composition 101 paper is ludicrous.” Indeed, an article by the Chronicle on EduMetry generated nearly 100 comments, many angry that their work was devalued. “This is race-to-the-bottom economic rationalism,” wrote Raymond J. Ritchie. Students “are paying big tuition fees for an education in a Western country and they get marked by a call-in-centre in India! This idea is so cheap and nasty.” “I don’t want to come across as disrespectful or painting with a large brush,” said Rajam. “The members of the academic profession who seem to have the greatest difficulty are not as cognizant of what’s going in the global economy. They are people who don’t have a deep understanding of the world today.” Said Friel: “I also think grading is a very low level way of teaching. It’s not the best use of the brain power and talent of your professors. But this doesn’t mean you can’t go and read a student’s paper. I take exception to the people who think this takes everything away from them.”



Indian Govt Sees Nuclear Business Opportunities in Central Kazakhstan New Delhi: External affairs minister SM Krishna will fly to Kazakhstan for talks with key leaders of the Central Asian Republic. On top of the agenda will be to finalise discussions on an inter-governmental agreement on nuclear cooperation. India is planning to build small and medium sized nuclear power stations in Kazakhstan. An official of the Nuclear Power Corporation will be part of the minister’s delegation. A team of top Indian businessmen are accompanying Krishna hoping to benefit from a multi-billion dollar industrialisation project chalked out by Kazakhstan. Officials, however, made it clear that the process would take its time as there are some loose ends which need to be tied up to prepare a deal, very much in line with the one signed with Russia. Building nuclear power stations in smaller countries in the neighbourhood is one of the benefits of the India-US civil nuclear agreement and the exemptions granted to India by the Nuclear Suppliers Groups. India is also looking for business opportunities for its private sector, which falls in line with the recent efforts of president Nazarbayer to promote the quick industrial policy. The policy seeks to set up roughly about 170 new projects, which is a lucrative opening for India Inc.


Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

Despite Obstacles, Warren Buffet Eyes India for New Investments

India's largest business newspaper reports today that Warren Buffett is "keen on acquiring a majority stake in a state-owned general insurance company," but current rules limit foreign ownership. The Business Standard, quoting sources involved in the planning of Buffett's visit to India next March, says he will "take up the issue" with the government during the trip. According to the newspaper, foreign investors can't own more than 26 percent of an Indian insurance company. The government has proposed raising the limit to 49 percent, but that would still be short of majority control. The sources tell the paper that Buffett's "fallback option" is to

set up his own general insurance company or "acquire a significant stake in an existing company." Another potential obstacle is that right now "the rules do not allow the government to shed stake in the four public sector general insurance companies - New India Assurance, United India Insurance, National Insurance and Oriental Insurance." In addition, with all four of the state-owned companies generating profits, the government may not want to reduce its ownership. Buffett told shareholders earlier this month that "we've looked a lot at being in the insurance business in India" and "people there will be living a lot better 20 years from now."

B U S I N E S S in d ia

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Battle of the Ambani Brothers: Loss for Anil NEW DELHI: The look on Anil Ambani’s face told the story, as he left Court No. 1 of the Supreme Court, and rushed past an army of journalists waiting outside for a comment. He had just lost corporate India’s biggest legal dispute to his brother Mukesh, who chose to watch the proceedings from his office in Mumbai. Minutes earlier, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan rejected his plea for cheap gas from Krishna-Godavari-D6 fields where Mukesh’s RIL has the contract to extract gas. By conferring ownership of the gas to the government, the court effectively fixed the price of gas in favour of Mukesh at $4.20 (Rs 190) per unit, 80 per cent higher than Anil’s demand of $2.34 (Rs 106) per unit. “In a constitutional democracy like ours, national assets belong to the people,” the judgment noted. “The government holds such natural resources in trust. Legally, therefore, the government owns such assets for the purposes of developing them in the interests of the people. In the present case, the government owns the gas till it reaches its ultimate consumer.” It also said the Ambani family memorandum of understanding (MoU) — the cornerstone of Anil’s arguments — that seeks to divide gas between group firms of the two brothers was not binding. “The MoU was signed as a private family arrangement between two

Anil Ambani lost Rs 6000 crores to big brother Mukesh. Both have been in a dispute of a gas price dispute for the Reliance field on the East Coast.

brothers, Mukesh and Anil, and their mother (Kokilaben),” Justice Sathasivam said. “MoU does not fall under the corporate domain. It was neither approved by shareholders nor it was attached to the scheme (of demerger of Reliance). Therefore, technically, the MoU is not legally binding.” It asked RIL and Anil’s RNRL (Reliance Natural Resources Ltd) to sit together within six weeks and renegotiate a gas supply agreement in conformity with the government policy and go to the company court in the Bombay High Court within eight weeks. In separate statements, Anil and RIL said they were ready for the renegotiations. Gracious in his defeat, Anil, who


lost about Rs 6,000 crore of wealth on the stockmarkets on Friday, walked across to Mukesh’s lawyer Harish Salve and shook his hand soon after the order was read — two orders actually, read by two judges — in a courtroom packed with furiously-writing journalists and black-robed lawyers, and drove away in a champagnecoloured Volkswagen Passat. “RNRL looks forward to an expeditious and successful renegotiations with RIL within the stipulated period of six weeks to secure gas supply for the Group’s power plants in line with the SC order,” Anil told reporters at 2.50 pm in a conference call. “RIL would renegotiate the gas supply master agreement (GSMA) in line with the government policy,” RIL Executive Director P.M.S. Prasad said. “The price will have to be $4.20 (Rs 190) per unit.” He also said the company would not be able to give gas for 17 years as demanded because the life of the field was 11 years. “I welcome the SC’s judgement upholding the government’s stand,” petroleum minister Murli Deora told reporters. The judgement had legislative advice embedded in it. “We consider it appropriate to observe and remind the GoI that it is high time it frames a comprehensive policy/suitable legislation with regard to energy security of India and supply of natural gas under production sharing contracts,” Justice Reddy said.

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Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

Renzo Rosso: The Diesel Engine is on Fire


The ad campaign of this iconic brand that’s just come to India has echoes from the founder’s life: stupid is cool By Rachana Nakra Diesel’s Renzo Rosso sold his first pair of handmade jeans for $2 (around Rs89 now) in Italy. The founder and president of the iconic denim brand made the pair with 2m of denim, using his mother’s sewing machine, when he was 15. He dipped the denim in bleach to lighten the shade of blue. “I don’t know why, maybe because the denim was stiff, but I took the jeans and did this,” he says in his heavily accented English, mimicking the motion of placing the jeans on the floor and scrubbing them. The first distressed denim was born and worn by Rosso’s friends. “That would give me money to go out at night and drink. This was 40 years ago, can you imagine?” Rosso says. Four decades later, Diesel has set up its flagship store in Mumbai, the first in India. I meet the man behind the brand in Juhu on the day of the store launch. He is here on a short visit and this is the first time he has stepped into the store. Dressed though he is in a dark shirt with a black blazer and, of course, jeans, it may seem that Rosso needs a haircut and shave. But the unruly mop, the three-day-old beard and unbuttoned shirt that reveals a silver pendant bearing his initials, all add up to the casual and cool look that’s quintessentially Diesel. Rosso has partnered with Reliance Brands Ltd to bring Diesel to India. Darshan Mehta, CEO, Reliance Brands, is also at the 7,500 sq. ft store, showing Rosso around. For the company that created a market for new jeans that looked old, something that may have sounded stupid turned out to be a smart idea. In fact, Diesel’s latest advertising campaign is asking people to “be stupid”—right from the signs at the entrance and as a running theme inside. “Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls,” says one of them. As a Diesel philosophy, no two stores in any part of the world can look the same—the displays and merchandise are different. Rosso is happy with the look of the Mumbai store but he

still doesn’t think it’s complete. “This is me. Even when a new collection is coming out, I never say, wow, this is fantastic. It could be better. It’s kind of a malady. You want to achieve perfection,” he says, sipping his espresso on a white couch on the first floor of the three-storey store. The Diesel story began in Italy when a friend offered Rosso a job as production director of a small company manufacturing jeans. In 1978, he created Diesel, starting with his own line of distressed jeans. He named it that because it was easy to pronounce the world over. “Everyone was shocked with my idea to sell distressed jeans 32 years ago. Nobody understood it. They make broken denim? They must be crazy. We had few customers,” he says. But Rosso was convinced: “I defend my opinion, and developed the concept till one day, it became a part of every luxury line everywhere,” he says, smiling. Denim before Diesel was a symbol for rebels, feels Rosso. It wasn’t fashion. Diesel made denim fashionable. “Premium willbecomeimportant,because premium is more real and less expensive than luxury denim,” he says. Now, with its headquarters in Molvena, Italy, Diesel is present in around 80 countries, with 5,000 points of sale, and had a turnover of €1.3 billion (around Rs7,579 crore now) in 2009. The hardest nut to crack was the US. How do you take denim to a country that took denim to the masses, is the birthplace of iconic denim brands such as Levi’s, and then sell it at a higher price? “No one accepted our price. We would sell jeans at about $62-64.” Their first licensing agreement with an American company had to be terminated because it started manufacturing cheaper denim. The second one went bust because the company it partnered with went bankrupt. “I don’t know if I was being brave

or stupid but I decided to keep the employees and start over. I called friends for advice and apologized to old customers. I couldn’t afford any more mistakes,” he says. In 1992, they came up with the Diesel for Successful Living advertising campaign. The campaign made a mockery of Americ a n advertising, which promised to improve your

while travelling abroad, premium denim is still an alien concept for most. How can he justify a price tag of $500 for something that’s available to the Indian consumer at $50? “If you bring 10 different jeans from different brands right now I can show you so many detailing Diesel has that others won’t. You will continue to discover them many months after buying them,” he says. He lifts his shirt to show me the double belt loops, one each for a big and small belt, and then points to droplets of white paint, a detailing done by hand. “The finishing inside, the kind of treatment that goes into making a pair, every piece is different. We have special machines to do our hip. It is not straight but like this,” he says, making a half-moon in the air with his finger. “It’s difficult because you have to train people to work in a different sort of way. It gives you more volume and the butt is…”— he explains the rest with his hand gestures. Rosso and Mehta hope to open seven stores in India this year and 22 within five years. Over 30 years have passed since the brand was launched, but Rosso and Diesel continue to remain relevant to their target market—the youth. He says his biggest strength as a busi-

nessman is innovation. “Stupid sees things as they can be and not as they are,” says a poster from the Be Stupid campaign. Rosso says he could get ideas from anywhere. “When I am on the Web, when I am talking to you, could be in the restaurant, in the disco, in the street, anywhere. I take pictures and I read 200 magazines from all over the world,” he says. He makes sure that he and his employees have a lot of fun. Rosso divides his free time between his farm, playing football and doing yoga. “I go to pubs, disco, drink, enjoy and in other free time, I am also making sex. I am very social, no?” he says, laughing. He has six children with his ex-wife and lives in Bassano del Grappa in Italy. He has people who have taken over the finance and logistics of running the company, leaving Rosso free to work in the creative space. For someone advocating being stupid, what is the stupidest thing he has done? “So many. First, to have a name like Diesel. Now it’s cool, but in the beginning, for a clothing line to be called that, was not. To decide to enter the US market. And to decide to make all Diesel stores different. It’s easy to make it same like a chain, but this is my way to run business,” he says.

Bill Gates to Adopt Bihar Village Forever in blue jeans: osso’s brand, which started as a cult fashion brand, now sells in 80 countries through 5,000 points of sale.

life. Rosso says he is a big fan of irony and the Be Stupid campaign is only the latest in a series of advertising campaigns that have pushed the envelope. “At that time, all the advertising looked same. Our campaign came as a shock to everyone,” he says. The US market was unexplored territory then. So is India now. Although there are many Diesel loyalists in the country, buying their perfect fit

PATNA: Microsoft Chief Bill Gates will adopt a backward village in Bihar during his daylong visit to the state Wednesday, officials said. The philanthropist, accompanied by officials of the Bill and Melinda

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Gates Foundation, will visit the state for the first time. Gates would adopt Gularia village in Khagaria, about 170 km from here, and help improve the socio-economic condition of the people, the district’s Superintendent of Police Sudhanshu Kumar said. At present, the village, comprising mainly Mahadalits, considered poorer than dalits, does not have even basic civic amenities like running water, electricity, schools and health centres.Gates is also scheduled to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the state capital to discuss development issues and changes taking place for the poor.


Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010


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Tile Center USA - Home Improvement Done Your Way

25 his straightforward style. One American client quipped, “You are the only Indian who has his original name on the business card.” To which Sanjay tells him, “My name is my identity, I do not want to lose it. If I can pronounce your name, you should learn to pronounce mine. It’s only fair.” Sanjay has a valid point. His business Tile Center USA is fast becoming a brand name. With the economic recession that hit America in 2007, 2008 and

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2009, all businesses including his have seen over 30% drop in sales. But the market is returning strong. People are now better educated about their buying power after the serious mortgage fall out. They are buying homes more responsibly and taking on mortgage debts that they can handle. The home improvement market is recovering. Added to this slow economy, Sanjay makes it attractive by offering products that are affordable compared to the corporate stores. For those who have been putting off home remodeling projects, now is the time to get started. Save yourself some serious money. Also for Real Estate Investors and people who buy and flip homes, visiting this store could help your new home project look more attractive and save you a ton of money. Visiting any of his three stores, set in a triangulate fashion across the map of Houston, they are easily accessible, located near major highways. Large 18” tiles are being sold as low as $1.99

sq.ft (Reg: $3.99) and installation charges vary based on the job. 12” tiles start from $1.29. Sale Prices vary each month as they have attractive tile designs coming into the market regularly. Most tiles are imported from Spain, Italy, India, Brazil, Peru and Argentina. The latest is the high reflective 1” squares which form a united 12” tile, glued on a mesh. However, this may not be good for high oil splatter areas near the range in your kitchen. You can custom cut it to fit different areas inside your home. Opaque glass box type tiles for alcoves in clinics, offices or home bathrooms offer you much needed privacy and lots of natural light. Mosaic floors are available in several varieties, whole or chips. A series of durable hardwood floors - natural and engineered, retail - 1st quality, with easy interlocking pieces are made of French Oak, Natural Red Oak, Maple, Beech, Cherry, Hickory, Acacia, and Peruvian Tiger Mahogany. Engineered wood is highly compressed wood, glued in layers, has a better recycled factor, less warp,

and more durable for humid areas like Texas. Choosing engineered wood for your home floors is all about going green and help save our planet from further deforestation. High grade engineered hard wood floors have tested for a 100 year life span. Natural quartz stones from MSI for kitchen counter tops are spill, stain, crack resistant and do not need sealing, repolishing or reconditioning down the years. Counter tops also come with beveled edges

which are safe and user friendly. There are also a variety of pre-fabricated, full length kitchen counter tops. Carpets for both home and office are from Shaw Company who are pioneers in the industry (started 1946 as STAR Dye company) are soil and stain resistant with low shedding and disintegration factors. They are made from 100%


high grade UV BCF (bulked continuous filament) Olefin Fiber, woven polypropylene material, with a 5 year warranty on indoor and 2 year warranty on outdoor varieties. These carpets have high strength fiber, low static, sunlight, mildew, humidity, abrasion resistant and very comfortable. Olefin dries rapidly too. Shaw offers a variety of carpets - a range of fiber textures, loop, weave and twist patterns. For high traffic areas, Vinyl Composition tiles are best suited, provided by Cortina Classics. More new products are coming to Tile Center USA. The store’s products will definitely engage those avid home remodeling enthusiasts, interior decorating wizards, and real estate investors who are thinking of fixing their home purchases for a quick and high resale, while saving them money. Located: 8907 Gulf Fwy, Houston, TX 77017 Ph: 713-944-8453 • 9730 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77074 Ph: 713-773-9995 • 14300 Northwest Fwy, #824, Houston, TX 77040 Ph: 713-996-9500 - this location closing Sept. 2010. The third new location will be opening at 45 North and West Rd.

Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

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Indo American News Nepal’s Living Goddess Kumari Writes High School Board Exam

KATHMANDU: A Nepali girl revered by many as a “living goddess” or Kumari is taking her high school leaving exam, the first test by a sitting “deity” in a centuries-old tradition, the Himalayan Times daily said on Friday. Girls from Kathmandu’s Newar community are chosen by Buddhist priests to serve as “living goddesses” confined to temples in the three ancient cities of the Kathmandu valley, home to the Nepali capital. Critics of the practice say the tradition abuses the children’s human rights leaving them unprepared to face real life after retirement on puberty. Two years ago, Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the government to ensure basic health care and education for the Kumaris or the virgin “deities”. Chanira Bajracharya, the Kumari of Patan, a neighbouring town south of Kathmandu, was among nearly half a million children who started taking their school-leaving certificate exam on Thursday. She was given private tuition in the temple, caretakers said.

“English is an easy subject for me. I could answer all the questions,” Chanira was quoted by the daily as saying.

Newspapers also published a picture of her taking the exam, her eyes rimmed in black and a third eye painted on her forehead. There are about 11 such goddess girls in Nepal. Times of India Photo: Brenda Wilson


South Asia News of the Diaspora

Convicts in Indian Prison Join World Economy HYDERABAD: Being behind bars won’t keep a group of Indian prisoners from joining the global work force. Convicts in a southern Indian prison

Working conditions for the inmates of Charalapally Central Jail, in India’s technology hub of Hyderabad, will be somewhat different from usual offices.

of the jail’s more educated prisoners. The prisoners will earn 5,000 rupees ($110) a month, up from the roughly 450 rupees ($10) they now

will soon join the nation’s outsourcing boom at a data processing centre being set up by an information technology company that works with dozens of businesses around the world. Convicts in a southern Indian prison will soon join the nation’s outsourcing boom at a data processing centre.

There will be no phones and very limited Internet access for the convicts, who are in prison for crimes ranging from petty theft to murder and rape. “There will be no security hazard involved,” said C. Narayanacharyulu, a director of the company, Radiant Info Systems, that will set up the jail office in about four months. The prison data processing center will be the first of its kind in the country. The center will employ about 250

earn making textiles or doing carpentry, said C.N. Gopinath Reddy, director general of prisons in Andhra Pradesh state where the prison is located. Regular starting salaries at data centers are generally about three times what the prisoners will make. “Once they become experienced in this work and go out after completing their sentence, a whole new world of opportunity will wait for them,” Reddy said. WN

Beijing Gaffe May Cost Minister Ramesh

NEW DELHI: Minister of State Jairam Ramesh may lose his ministerial berth when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh carries out a cabinet reshuffle, which is expected once the celebrations of the first anniversary of UPA-2 on May 22 get over. The Congress party and the government have taken such a serious view of Ramesh’s remarks in Beijing that the Home Ministry was blocking Chinese investment in India that he could even

find himself out of the council of ministers. “Something will have to be done (about him)…What he did in Beijing was very serious,” said a top source. Said another leader ominously: “Whether the Jairam chapter is closed or not will be decided by those to whom he explained himself.” Since his return Ramesh has apologised to Prime Minister Singh.



Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

in d ia

The Dog Matrix

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Obscure, ingrained rituals cast a dark spell around Tamil Nadu’s cult of reason By Pushpa Iyengar Recently, Tamil Nadu got an ‘ISO certification’ from none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “On many fronts today, Tamil Nadu is a role model for the rest of the country,” he said. “It has attained new heights in rural development and agrarian transformation. It is the hub of India’s dynamic automobile industry, has some of the most modern textile mills and a vibrant services economy.” What the PM could also have mentioned is that if you wish to set up a software park, are looking for excellent medical care or good education, Tamil Nadu is also the place for you. All in all, it’s a fitting reputation for a state run by parties unhesitatingly committed to rationalism—the credo of the Dravidian movement. Rationalism, indeed, should have been by now implanted in the state’s DNA, given that Dravidian parties have ruled it for 40 years. Even today, in his mid-eighties, Tamil Nadu CM Karunanidhi presides over “self-respect marriages” that are scrupulously shorn of rituals. And yet every year in Pullipudupet village, a three-hour drive from Chennai, during Kaanum Pongal in midJanuary, a girl marries a frog. This is no frog-turns-into-prince-after-beingkissed fairytale. Once married, the frog is released back into a pond, while his “bride”, usually a minor, goes back to school, and marries, much later, a man who will perhaps turn into an alcoholic, and lives unhappily ever after. That is what happened to seven-yearold Ramana’s great-grandmother, and then to her grandmother. Like them, Ramana was dressed up as a bride two months ago, for a ritual for which nobody—including the village priest and the headman, Raman, who selects the “bride”—has any coherent explanation. “She was even taken in a procession from house to house and the whole Dalit colony divided itself into two groups, with one side being the bride’s family and the other side being the frog’s relatives,” recallsAdilakshi, who was a witness to the festivities. However, the ritual, observed only by Dalits, was aborted because the police stepped in, just as the taali (mangalsutra) was to be tied on the girl. This left Ramana’s mother, Shashi, not relieved—as you

A man marries a dog in Vilathikulam village to atone for his ‘sin’ of killing two dogs

might expect—that her daughter was spared this strange fate, but distraught. “Look at her,” she told Outlook, “how weak she has become ever since the marriage was stopped.” There’s no shortage of such rituals in this so-called rational state, and marrying a frog is a comparatively harmless one when set against others, like burying babies in the sand and having coconuts broken on your head. The coconut-breaker, Periasamy, the chief priest of a temple near Tiruchi, has carried out the ritual for 23 years, and has probably mastered the knack of avoiding serious injuries. Even so, his ministrations leave some devotees bleeding from the head. In another violent annual ritual, at the Sri Achappan temple in Vellampatti in Tiruchi district, young girls are lined up by their own parents before a huge crowd to be whipped by a priest to exorcise evil spirits. Only when they cry out (after their hands are virtually split open), are they “liberated” from the spirits. In a separate annual event held recently, a temple functionary and a woman devotee took sweets out of boiling oil with bare hands, and in an even more bizarre ritual conducted last month, a temple official bit the throat of a goat and sucked its blood. Meanwhile, men have been known to marry, not frogs, but at least in one case, a dog, to atone for some obscure sin. Official interventions have not made

An even more brazen version of the ritual was carried out in 2002. Babies were buried in the sand for a full minute at the Muthukkuzhi Mariamman temple at Peraiyur in Madurai district in a function presided over by a minister of the then ruling AIADMK. While the resulting furore led to the banning of that

71-year-old Muthammal plucks sweets out of boiling oil in a temple

much difference. Ask Thadhampatti village’s administrative officer R. Rama, who was on an inspection round on July 9, 2009, at Periyathadhampatti village—about45kmfromMadurai— where every five years children are briefly buried in the sand to propitiate the deity of the Muthalamman temple in the village. “I did not see anything amiss. But after I went away, 50 children were placed on neem leaves lining pits of 4x2 sq ft, covered with a yellow cloth and the pujari jumped over them, holding the deity on his head.”

ritual and the sacking of the minister, the three persons involved in the July 2009 incident are out on bail. As the NHRC has pointed out, the beliefs leading to such rituals are deeply held, and social awareness campaigns are the best way forward. But they seem to be largely ineffectual in a state which is said to be a frontrunner in education. “The urban ethic is yet to penetrate the deep interior of the village,” explains inspector general of police Prateep Philip, who is also project director of a social organisation called Friends


of the Police, and has organised ‘Social Justice Tea Parties’ to campaign against untouchability in 37,786 villages covering 1.5 milion people for the last two years. While he sets his faith on multimedia training to dispel the “shibboleths of superstition”, Ovia, a member of the Dravida Kazhagam, the original party that propounded the rational way of life, argues that superstition is actually on the rise, not on the wane. “Lack of ability, fear and greed are pushing people to become more superstitious because in today’s world they want short-cuts.” She also points out, as many others do, that the stoutly rationalist ideas of Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy are being diluted by his very own followers. They argue, indeed, that a powerful reason why superstition and outlandish rituals flourish is that Tamil Nadu’s current leaders legitimise them by their own practices. Jayalalitha is openly superstitious, observing rahu kalam and crushing lemons under the wheels of her car to neutralise the evil eye; a woman minister in her government once famously wore a dress of leaves to propitiate the gods in Jayalalitha’s favour, while another rolled on the ground for oneand-a-half km for the same reason. Jayalalitha’s bete noire, current CM Karunanidhi, who projects himself as Periyar’s intellectual heir, is rumoured to wear his trademark yellow shawl to remain longer in power. The double standard followed by the party was strikingly evident when the CM did not criticise party leaders who performed pujas, and an MLA pulled a temple chariot for the long life of the CM’s political heir, deputy CM M.K. Stalin, on his birthday on March 1. As a DMK source put it: “It’s just like the way our leaders promote Tamil while all the while sending their children to convent schools.”- Outlook

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in d ian d ias p o r a

Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

South Asian Candidates Set Record in British House of Commons LONDON (HT): Setting a new record for representation of Asians in the UK, a record number of 18 candidates, including eight Indian-origins have made their way into the prestigious British House of Commons after emerging victorious in the just concluded UK parliamentary polls. Arecord number of eight Indian-origin candidates including two women have been elected to the parliament. Another ten Asian candidates, mostly of Pakistan origin, have also won in the general election. They included three Muslim women - all Labour - elected to the 650-member House of Commons. Prominent among the Indian-origin candidate is Keith Vaz who has been re-elected from the Leicester East constituency for the sixth time, gaining a bigger vote than ever before. Vaz won 53.76 per cent of the vote, totalling 25,804 votes - up by more than 1,000 votes on his total for the 2005 General Election. Other winners are Vaz’s sister Valerie, a lawyer who won her seat of Walsall South in the West Midlands on a Labour ticket and Ms Priti Patel, a Conservative candidate from Witham. Keith Vaz and his sister will be the first brother and sister to sit in the House of Commons at the same time. Vaz said today: “It is truly an honour to have been re-elected to represent the people of Leicester East. I will continue to do my very best to repay the confidence and trust that people have placed in me again.

Labour candidate Keith Vaz cekebrates his sixth win with the support of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty.

I will continue to put the needs of Leicester first and fight for what Leicester rightly deserves. I am delighted that Valerie has been elected, she will make an excellent MP and I look forward to debating in the Commons together.” Other NRI winning candidates are Virendra Sharma from Ealing Southall, Marsha Singh (Labour) from Bradford West, Shailesh Vara (Conservative) from Cambridgeshire North West, Alok Sharma (Conservative) from Reading West, and Paul Uppal (Conservative) from Wolverhampton South West. Paramjit Dhanda, (Labour) is a prominent NRI former minister to lose from Gloucester constituency. The first Muslim woman to win in

the general election to the House of Commons is Shabana Mahmood, a Barrister. She won from Birmingham Ladywood for Labour. She increased the majority of outgoing former International Development Secretary Clare Short from under 7,000 votes to more than 10,000 vote. Prem Sharma, who suffered a heart attack on April 13, was propped up at home in Reading glued to the television in the early hours of yesterday when he received another jolt to his fragile heart. The returning officer in the constituency of Reading West in Berkshire was reading out the results: “Adrian Windisch, Green Party: 582; Howard Thomas, Common Sense Party: 852; Bruce Hay, UK Independence

Party: 1,508; Daisy Benson, Liberal Democrat, 9,546: Naz Sarkar, Labour: 14,519…..” Prem’s heart missed a beat as he waited for the next name. The returning officer paused and continued: “Alok Sharma, Conservative: 20,523….” There were yells of delight from Tory ranks assembled in the Runnymede Leisure Centre in Reading, almost drowning out the returning officer’s next few words: “…and I declare Alok Sharma to be the member of parliament for Reading West.” Prem’s mind went back to the 1970s when he had tried to join his local Tory party and been rebuffed by the English traditionalists who then controlled the reins of power. “Who is this man?” they had reacted disdainfully. The Tory party of then is not the modern Tory party of today.As David Cameron today continued crucial negotiations with his own team and with Nick Clegg and his advisers to see if there can be a power sharing agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties, any deal will have to have the whole-hearted support of new Tory MPs such as Alok Sharma. But today, Prem spoke to The Telegraph as a father. “I am very, very, very proud of my son,” said Prem. Not only had Alok won but “he has made history by recording the biggest swing from Labour to the Tories in the whole country – 12.1 per cent,” Prem pointed out.



Doctorate for Gill GLASGOW (HT): Charan Gill, who arrived in the UK in 1963, worked as a waiter in a restaurant and later went on to own a chain of restaurants in Glasgow, is to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Glasgow. One of Scotland’s best known entrepreneurs, Punjab- born Gill, will receive the degree in recognition of the contribution he has made to Glasgow, a university release said. Charan came to Glasgow with his family in 1963 and worked in the Yarrow’s shipbuilders yard before taking a job as a waiter in a restaurant. He then bought a share in the company in 1983 before acquiring it a year later. Charan then started acquiring restaurants and had a chain of 17 before selling them in 2005 for 17 million pounds to move into other projects including property development and investment. He also tried his hand at standup comedy. Graham Caie, Clerk of Senate and Vice Principal of the University of Glasgow, said: “The University of Glasgow is delighted to recognise Charan for his contribution to the city. He reinforces the positive contribution that ethnic minorities have made to Glasgow’s economy.” The degrees will be awarded at ceremonies in the Bute Hall at the University of Glasgow in June and July 2010.


Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

in d ia

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India in Pictures

NEGLECTED VOICES: Disabled athletes shout slogans during a demonstration in support of their demands outside the Sports Ministry in New Delhi.

MOTHER’S DAY: A tribal mother craddling her child at Sarevela tribal village in Andhra Pradesh.

GUEST OF HONOR: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar greets Prime Minister of Swaziland Barnabas Dlamini at his office in Mbabane, Swaziland.

Praja Rajyam Party President Chiranjeevi rides a horse during his yatra at Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

REMEMBERING TAGORE: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurates an exhibition entitled “ The Master’s Strokes: Art of Rabindranath Tagore” in New Delhi.

Devotees of Devi Maha Mariamman with their cheeks pierced by rods take part in a religious procession organized by South Indian Sabha in Amritsar.


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Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010


“My Dream Man is Rabindranath Tagore,” Claims Actress Riya Sen NEW DELHI: She was famously linked to Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie and it looks like Riya Sen has a thing for authors as she considers the Bard of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore, the perfect man for herself. The controversyprone starlet, who is the grand-daughter of legendary actress Suchitra Sen says that she is a true Bengali at heart who adores the Gitanjali poet. “I grew up with Tagore and nobody ever expresses the emotion of love like he did and he understood women so well. He is the perfect man everybody dreams of, including me,” Sen told PTI. The actress who is as well known for her sultry good looks as her acting skills will be seen in a totally deglam avatar in Rituparno Ghosh’s Nauka Dubi, based on a story of the same name by the Nobel prize winning poet. “I am working with my sister Raima in the film, though we do not share any scenes in it. The story is different from the one written by Tagore, but it is based on the same elements,” said the 29-year-old actress. Sen too will join the celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore in Kolkata today, a city which is dear to her heart. “Kolkata will always be special to me. My family, mom, dad, grandmother all live there. I am based in Mumbai and travel a lot, but Kolkata will always be home,” said Sen who


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made her acting debut as a childartiste with Vishkanya in 1991. Though her Bollywood career has gone cold, Sen is back in the limelight as the cover girl of men’s magazine Maxim. Dressed in a crocheted mini dress, Sen proves that she is a ‘ten’ when it comes to glamour, though she is not sure whether that worked for her in her showbiz career. “At times, I feel I could have done without it, but then again, I have realised that it’s great. There are so many people trying to have such an image which has come naturally to me,” said the actress who has in the past grabbed headlines albeit for all the wrong reasons. From a naked MMS clip with actor Ashmit Patel to her semi-nude photograph on lensman Dabboo Ratnani’s annual calendar, Sen has had more than her share of controversies,

though her career did not benefit from all the free publicity. The actress’ last outing on silverscreen was the multi-starrer comedy Paying Guest released last year but she is optimistic that Nauka Dubi will be a turning point in her life. “I have been wanting to do a film like this for a long time and I enjoyed it’s making thoroughly. It’s a film which challenged me as an actor,” said Sen who made her debut in Bengali cinema with a small role in Ghosh’s Abohomaan. In Nauka Dubi, she shares the screen with her elder sister Raima, as well as Sharmila Tagore and Priyanshu Chatterjee. The Bengali beauty has also moved on to the South, with movies in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu to her credit.“I take up the good roles that come my way, whichever be the language,” said Sen.

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Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

the female factor

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Women Spreading Political Wings with Help of India’s Quota System By Mian Ridge TENT, Haryana: As sarpanch, or chief, of this northern Indian village, Maya Yadav has fought hard for local women over the past five years. She has encouraged more parents to send their daughters to school and fewer to shell out fat dowries when their girls marry. But her proudest moment came when she negotiated a discount on a bulk purchase of latrines. Today, Tent, in Haryana State, is one of the few villages in India to boast an indoor toilet in every house. “Before this, pregnant women had to walk into the fields,” Ms. Yadav, 50, said as she sat in her living room — and office — dressed in a scarlet sari. “No man would have thought of this.” Despite her self-confident manner, Ms. Yadav concedes that she is unlikely to have come to power had the Constitution not been amended in 1993 to reserve at least one-third of the seats for women in India’s 265,000 village governing bodies. More than a million women across India have since been elected into the reserved positions in these panchayats, which administer public services and resolve disputes on matters ranging from marriage to property. Their experience holds lessons for the central government’s current effort to extend quotas for women to the national level. The Women’s Reservation Bill, which was passed by the upper house of Parliament last month, would set aside one-third of the elected seats in the national, state and local governments for women. If it becomes law, it will usher in one of the most significant social and political changes in India since independence in 1947. First, however, the bill must be approved by the lower house of Parliament and by the legislatures in at least 15 of India’s 28 states and union territories. So far, its journey has been a

to roads, over all. There is also evidence that women were more likely than men to invest public money in services valued by women, like better access to safe drinking water. A study of 161 villages in West Bengal State found that more women (31 percent) than men (17 percent) raised the issue of drinking water in panchayat meetings. And villages with a woman as sarpanch constructed or repaired a total of 24 drinking water facilities, while villages with a man in charge constructed or repaired 15. Men were more likely to discuss and invest in irrigation and vocational training programs, like upgrading the skills of farmers. The same research found that women were slightly less susceptible to corruption: on avMaya Yadav, center, leads a meeting of her village’s panchayat, the governing body erage, villagers were 1.6 percentage points less likely to pay a bribe to the police or ofof local villages. ficials when the sarpanch was rough one. First introduced 14 years ago, the bill a woman. has been repeatedly knocked down. It won pasNot all the women who lead sage in the upper house on March 10 after two panchayats display such virdays of furious debate and the defection of two tues, however. A recent study parties from the governing coalition. of 42 panchayats in 12 states The bill was opposed by small regional parby B.S. Baviskar, a senior felties that argued that it would benefit upper-caste low of the Institute of Social women at the expense of lower castes, who Sciences in Delhi, found that already have reserved seats in Parliament, and the quota had produced both the Muslim minority, which does not. Critics women who were outstanding also fear that the law would allow men to put public servants and those who forward pliable female relatives as their politiserved primarily as fronts for cal proxies. their husbands or sons. Its proponents — foremost among them That is evident in the comSonia Gandhi, president of the party that leads munities around Tent. A few the coalition government, Congress — counter minutes from Ms. Yadav’s that increased political representation is vital Along with her duties as a village elder Maya Yadav still village, in the dusty hamlet of for India’s women to overcome discrimination tends to most of her home’s chores. Thothwal, residents said that and inequality. the woman who was elected report on global sex disparities, which ranks Supporting their argument that this is sorely India 114th out of 134 countries. Indian women, their sarpanch was rarely on the job and deferred needed is the recent World Economic Forum on average, earn less than one-third of men’s to her husband in all matters. Down the road wages. Only 54 percent are in the tiny village of Punsika, Virinder Singh, literate, compared with 75 another woman who was elected sarpanch, gave a convincing account of her achievements but percent of men. A deeply ingrained cul- then appealed to her adult son to answer any tural preference for sons, questions involving money. But in the majority of cases, Mr. Baviskar reflected in abortions of female fetuses, has resulted in said, women in reserved seats appeared to be a ratio of 933 adult women exercising real power. “In between there were a greater number that per 1,000 men for India as a whole, according to the last were mixtures of the two extremes, but in which census, in 2001. Haryana, women could certainly be said to be on the where Ms. Yadav lives, has road to empowerment,” he said in an interview. the most skewed ratio of any “Women who would rarely have left home are state in the country, with 861 now going out to meetings, sitting in offices with men. It’s a big difference.” women to 1,000 men. Comparisons can go only so far between Inequality is especially marked in political life. De- Parliament and the panchayats, which primarily spite the high profile of a few put policies into effect that have been enacted female leaders — including by the central and state governments. But the Ms. Gandhi and the presi- experience so far does offer evidence that the dent of India, Pratibha Patil practice of preserving seats for women is chang— fewer than 11 percent of ing the way they are perceived, by themselves members of Parliament are and others. In West Bengal villages that have a woman women. Bycontrast,thepanchayats as sarpanch, the percentage of women particistand as bastions of female pating in panchayat meetings increased to 10 representation. Academic percent from 7 percent in two years. Women in studies suggest that the quo- those villages were twice as likely to have petitas have not benefited up- tioned their chiefs about access to safe drinking per castes at the expense of water in the previous six months. The success of the quotas in increasing more impoverished groups. Women are as likely as men women’s involvement in local government has to come from lower castes to led five states to pass state-level laws raising their panchayat quota for women to 50 percent. serve on the panchayats. And the quota seems to The central government has said it will amend be benefiting both sexes in the Constitution to extend this nationwide. “Nothing in the world is perfect,” Mr. Baviskar more tangible ways. One study, by Esther Duflo, an said, “but 60 years after independence, fewer economist at the Massachu- than 11 percent” of Parliament members are setts Institute of Technology, women. “Without reservations, achieving a proper found that panchayats led by women provided more balance of power won’t take decades,” he said. public services, from wells “It will take centuries.”-NYT


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Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010




Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

en t e r t ain m en t

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Rajneeti’s Cast in National Anthem Video The video, which has been especially shot for the promotion of the film, will be shown in cinema halls for a week, director Prakash Jha confirmed. Responding to a petition filed in Mumbai seeking a ban on the film, Jha said, “Our representatives have been attending court for the matter, but I don’t think it is an issue at all. Somebody who claims to be a Congress worker thinks the film defames the NehruGandhi clan, but the film is not based on the family. In fact, not even one character is similar to anyone from the family.”


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Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010


IAA Brings India Jazz Suites Bold Colors for Love, Life, and Equality: Live at the Wortham Center Artist Zahra Ali’s Paintings on Display

Zahra’s inspiration comes from contemporary art as well as cultural influences from Pakistan. The images in her art represent people who have faced hardships at one point in their lives. The artwork (above) is the protrait of Mukhtara Bibi, who was brutually raped but refused to give into social and cultural pressures.

Kathak master Chitresh Das (right) and world’s fastest tap dancer Jason Smith create a global conversation that San Francisco Chronicle names best dance performance of the year that PBS and BBC find worthy of a documentary film. Jason is a two time Emmy Winner and Chitresh Ji is a recipient of the prestigious American National Heritage Fellowship.

HOUSTON: They may be separated by several centuries and thousands of miles, but American jazz tap and the classical Indian Kathak tradition are driven by the same irresistible impulse — to create rhythmically inventive “music’’ with the feet. In the provocative “India Jazz Suites: Kathak Meets Tap,’’presented by World Music/CRASHarts last night at the Institute of Contemporary Art, veteran Kathak dancer Pandit Chitresh Das and Emmy Awardwinning choreographer/dancer Jason Samuels Smith, 29, renowned for his explosive tap work in Broadway’s “Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk,’’ offered a dynamic exchange of dance ideas that brilliantly illuminated distinctive differences and surprising commonalities between their respective art forms, electrifying an enthusiastic sold-out crowd. Both dancers were charmingly affable, chatting up the audience with anecdotes, jokes, and explanations. Individual solo sets showcased each dancer’s stylistic strengths, each fueled by a superb trio of musicians. The innovative Smith, as he rapped at one point, speaks “right through the toes and the heels,’’ from crisp, delicately articulate cascades of taps to the powerful pounding of a pile driver. He is a dazzling technician, his feet carrying his body through flamboyant kicks, glides, scrapes, skitters, and spins, his body elegantly upright like an old-time hoofer or hunched over, body off-center, legs corkscrewing into turns.

In Das’s art form, the predominant rhythms unfurl through bare feet, complemented by jingly bell cuffs around each calf. But the storytelling is in Das’s expressive face and his intricate, stylized gestures — arms that swirl and slice and fingers that flutter and curl in a kind of signlanguage mime. His footwork evokes the power and speed of the warrior or the mincing, quivering steps of a frightened maiden, He and his trio stopped and started complex rhythmic passages with breathtaking precision, and he displayed remarkable multitasking as he danced and sang a song his father taught him while playing on tabla. Then the mix-up began, with each dancer trading phrases with the other’s musical trio. Das incorporated some of the jazz combo’s syncopations. Smith led the Indian trio into intimations of a funk groove and improvised a dynamite exchange with tabla player Abhijit Banerjee, who picked up the vivid timbral changes in Smith’s feet and added colorful flourishes. Smith and Das did their own solo trading. But rather than merely imitating each other’s style, each seemed to inspire the other to discover new facets of his own art form. Instead of appropriation or fusion, it was a lively cross-cultural rejuvenation that brought the crowd to its feet. Boston Globe Indo-American Association presents India Jazz Suites on May 21, 2010, 8pm at Wortham Center

Artist Zahra Ali

By Nida Hussain

Most scholars say that gender equity, political freedom and health care are among the most pressing challenges women face around the world. An artist gains immense credibility by not only being able to represent this in their work but also be able to relate to these matters. Zahra is one of the up and coming artists in Houston’s art district. Having graduated from the Texas State University with a Bachelors degree in Fine Art, she is a talented, young artist that employs various techniques involving acrylics and ink in her artwork. Moreover her use of geometric shapes and intricate details add clarity and flow to her pieces. While viewing her art, one quickly realizes that Zahra’s work illustrates that her inspiration comes from contemporary art as well as cultural influences from Pakistan. The images throughout her artwork represent people who have faced hardships at one point in their lives; however, many of these people have grown to be strong leaders in the community, opening doors for others. Zahra Ali’s artwork addresses the issues faced by women in developing countries and their unyielding determination to get their voices heard.

The women portrayed in her art are the leaders that have learned from adversity and carried on with an "I'll show you" attitude. For example, her art tackles the most absolute image of violence against women, gang rape. It is a picture of a very serene face of the rape victim Mukhtar Bibi after the brutal rape took place in Pakistan. This is the portrait of a woman who refused to give into the social and cultural pressures. Mukhtara spoke up, and using the power of voice, took her case to court where the offenders were arrested and charged. She used the monetary court settlement, and opened a center for refuge and education called the Mukhtar Mai Women's Welfare Organization. This painting and others by Zahra speak volumes about the challenges women face even in the 21st century and their will to stand with their heads held high, demanding accountability, and at the same time gives hope for equality through justice. While Zahra uses art to display powerful political messages of justice and equality, her art also extends to other facets of life, such as her focus on the family dynamic. Many of her paintings represent an abstract expression of a mother’s bond with her child. Additionally, there are several images that define not


only a mother’s but also a father’s love for his child. These paintings are particularly fascinating because they have hidden images, embedded within layers of different colors and techniques, which take few moments to emerge to the naked eye. I had the honor to attend her art show and meet the artist but also get an opportunity to appreciate all her work and for novices in the world of art, there were many people available to answer my questions. I would urge you to attend grand opening of MontroseArtSociety a multicultural art group committed to serving the community and the environment wholly by uniformly championing change and progress through a collective and creative voice. The show will be held at 3207 Montrose Blvd, Houston TX 77006 between the hours of 6:30p - 10:00p on Saturday, May 15th. You will get a glimpse into the artist’s mind and join her and other artists in the journey to see our and other cultures in a new light. I pray that together their efforts will bring forth awareness through art and creativity. Artists should not only be supported but also encouraged to raise their voices for the ones who cannot. Don’t forget your burgeoning art enthusiasm. For more info log on to


Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

Indo American News

India: Green-Net Farm Doubles the Production of Capsicum in Gujarat Capsicum or bell pepper is a genus or flowering plants in the nightshade family, native to America- since thousands of years being cultivated in tropical America- is now cultivated in many other countries. Used as spices, vegetables and medicines. It is considered to be circulatory-stimulant. With suitable stuffing with filling it with cheese-meat- flour, it is also very popular for salad, Chinese-food, fast-foods (Pizzas in Many varieties), Italian cuisines. Multinational food chains, food companies and globalisation have a very positive influence. Marts have gone smart with separate counters for vegetables and fruits. Globalisation has opened up bright avenues for protected cultivation, however, demands capital investment to the tunes of around Rs. 25 lakhs for 4000 Sq.Mts. But farmer gets good returns on their investment, and protected cultivation has become a reality for Gujarat’s farmers. They also get subsidy from Horticulture Department for purchasing Green-Net. Rajesh Patel of Khambholaj has developed a poly-house and green-house, cultivation of summer capsicum is only possible if necessary environment, temperatures are maintained.Ac-

cording to an estimate, production is doubled, quality is assured. He has laid drip-irrigation systems, overhead foggers installed to maintain optimum temperatures around 30 degrees. Temperature is presently controlled manually, but he is mooting for automation, an electronic device is fitted in the corner, announcing the weather conditions inside the poly-house. As per requirements, he runs foggers, sprinkles water on 17000 capsicum plants, maintaining humidity and temperature. Ultimate aim is to protect the king (Capsicum) against the heat wave. Marketing is not a problem; he has orders from Vadodara and Anand merchants. He has also received subsidy of Rs.13 lakh under National Horticulture mission by Deputy Director Horticulture -Anand. Due to popularity of Pizza and fast-food, it is in great demand. He is confident of recovering his invested amount in 3 years. Shri Jethabhai Thakkar has come to visit Green-Net farm. He is in process of erecting Green-House in 12 acres at Bhuj. He owns Ashapuri Agro-farm, presently 800 acres are under cultivation of mango, and dry-fruits. Shri Rakesh Patel is associated with the Horticulture mission; he has visited workshops, meetings and training, participating educational tours. He has deSAVE YOUR MONEY veloped a green10 - 20 % on Dining house at Sarsa, 3000 sq, mts. Print our coupon in Received subsidy of Rs. 6.45 lakhs under National Horticulture Mission. * Only at participating restaurants! In Himatna** Single coupon applies per meal! gar, a farmer has erected Green281-546-8433 House in around

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Straight Up

Food Talk Have Summer Fun Cooking with Your Kids

Teach Them to Make Hard Boiled Egg Mice


Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Cover the saucepan and let the egg sit in the hot water for 12 minutes. Once the time is up, run the egg under cold water to cool. Then ask your child to roll the egg on all sides to crack the shell. Peel under running water. Slice the egg in half lengthwise. Place the halves yolk side down on a plate. (Alternatively, you can slice off a bit of the bottom of a peeled, hard-boiled egg so it can sit flat on a plate.) Parents, slice tiny black olive “eyes” and radish “ears.” Then make small slits in the egg halves for the eyes and ears and push in the olives and radishes. Add long chive tails. Serve the pair of egg mice with a wedge of Swiss cheese for a playful lunch. Makes 2 mice. Caution: Keep sharp kitchen tools away from the reach of children. Our suggestion: Instead of black olives you can substitute pepper corns to make it beady eyes. Push in the pepper corns gently to make fine eyes. Take photos for memory keep-sakes. It is fun for the family and holds great memories! For more fun recipes for the summer, visit : FamilyFun.Go.Com/recipes/fun-with-kids

80 acres, investing crores of rupees. Dr. Hemant ofAnandAgriculture University revealed that in European Countries, they have Glass-Houses, to protect vegetable crops from snowfalls. They need heaters to maintain optimum temperatures required by a particular crop. Farmers invest to protect crop against heat. Every innovation has offered a new solution. Krushi Mahotsav has backed up farmers with

research and technology-transfer. Maximise production-maximise farmer’s profit remains the motto. Thanks to the vision of Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi that Krushi Mahotsav has supported range of measures to promote innovations. It really has paid dividends, that agriculture growth rate has coincided the high economic growth rates in Gujarat. The Krushi Mahotsav begins from 16th of May, 2010.


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S t r ai g h t u p f o o d t a l k

Instructor Brings Indian Cuisine to TV

each taping. By Nancy Stohs “People really think Indian MILWAUKEE: A longfood is hot and spicy,” said time Milwaukee-area Inthe native of Chennai, India dian cooking instructor (formerly Madras). “It’s all in takes her cuisine to the the preparation. Once you learn airwaves Saturday with about each and every spice, it’s a new half-hour show on just a matter of 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 Milwaukee Public Televiteaspoon of each spice.” sion, “Healthy Indian FlaVairavan has made various vors with Alamelu.” TV appearances since 1997, The six-show series will the year her first cookbook, air at 11 a.m. Saturdays on “The Art of South Indian CookWMVS-TV (Channel 10) ing” (no longer in print) was and repeat at 6 p.m. the published, but this is her first following Friday. program. In each episode, Alamelu The shows were taped last fall Vairavan of Whitefish Bay Alamelu Vairavan in the MPTV studios but also demonstrates the preparainclude on-location shots at the tion of a complete meal. Recipes are from her cookbook, “Healthy Fondy Farmers Market and Sri Gayathri Foods, South Indian Cooking” (Hippocrene Books, an Indian grocery store in Brookfield. The complete lineup of shows is listed at 2008, $24.95). Some of the menus are vegetarian - for (click on “curexample, the first one combines Lemon Rice rent episodes”). After broadcast, each show will with Peanuts, Eggplant Masala and Lima Beans be uploaded for online viewing. For more on Vairavan, as well as her class Poriyal. Others include dishes with chicken, schedule, visit her Web site, curryonwheels. turkey or tuna. What ties them together are intense flavors com, or her blog, Spice of Life, at whitefishthat, according to Vairavan, had the film crew lining up with gusto to sample the food after

Since You Asked: Turmeric A Spice for Healthy Life I know turmeric is an integral component of curry powder, and it’s a spice we should all eat for better health. But when I taste turmeric on its own, it just seems musty and bitter. How do I use it in cooking other than to stain foods yellow? — Cathy M., Central Point While turmeric does turn foods a brilliant

yellow, its flavor is more delicate. When used without being heated, in pickled vegetables, for example, it imparts a floral, almost grass-like taste, according to Julie Sahni, a New York-based cooking teacher and author of several books on Indian cooking. Once cooked, turmeric develops a woody scent, but, Sahni told the Chicago Tribune, “be careful

Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

when heating turmeric so you don’t burn it.” We like to add turmeric to dry rubs for grilled meats and fish. Or sprinkle such blends on pan-fried, cubed white and sweet potatoes with lots of chopped onion. Like bay leaves, turmeric adds depth of flavor to vegetablebased soups. Try this recipe for Turmeric Cauliflower from Sahni’s book, “Savoring Spices and Herbs.” Cut 1 small head of cauliflower into florets; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large


skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric; cook until fragrant. Add cauliflower and toss to coat. Add 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, 11/2 teaspoons salt and 1 cup chicken stock. Cover, lower heat and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, turning until liquid evaporates and vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro and serve as a side dish. Mail Tribune

Ramani Ice Cream to Launch New Flavors NEW DELHI: Top ‘N Town ice cream, the leading ice cream brand from Ramani Ice Cream Pvt. Ltd (RICPL), has recently announced plans to introduce new flavours and new range of ice-creams – Natural ice creams. The speciality Natural ice creams will be manufactured with 100 percent natural ingredients and will be available in seven flavours including – Alphonso, Sitaphel, Strawberry, Litchi, Coconut, Guava and Chiku. The Natural ice cream range will be available at exclusive brand stores of RICPL from mid of May this summer. The price for the ice cream range will vary between Rs 50 to Rs 60, depending upon the flavour. Explaining the marketing strategy of RICPL, Arun Ramani, managing director, RICPL, said, “We follow a very dynamic market strategy and respond to the market needs quickly without any delays. Innovation always plays a major role. This helps us to respond to the competition outside from major ice-cream players in various cities. There is a strong focus on value for money of customers.” Adding further he said, “We only store fresh products in all our outlets. When it comes to the selection of the outlets, we are very careful as we only chose places for our outlets that are

highly populated. ” Sharing its future plans, Ramani said, “We have future plans to expand our operations in states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and cities like Mumbai. We have a fully operational plant in Nashik which would now also cater to the needs of Goa, Mumbai, cities of Gujarat and sub-parts of Karnataka. We are already working on the premium segment of ice-creams. The Top ‘N Town ice-cream products are available at all selected retail outlets and exclusive parlours. Currently the company is operating through 58 exclusive ice cream parlours and 8500 retail stores present all across the cities in eight states including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. When asked about the future retail expansion plans, Ramani said, “The future expansion plans qualitatively are to delight the customers with our finest and most innovative flavors of ice-cream and reach out to their exotic fantasies of ice-cream. Quantitatively we have plans to add 50 more exclusive parlours to our current number and also add another 1500 retail outlets and reach a mark of 10,000 across all eight states by 2011”.



Indo American News • Friday, May 14 , 2010

Indian Recipes Ingredients : 3/4 kg gholu fish cut into big pieces (Substitute King Fish or other fish that give you big steak sized pieces) 4 potatoes peeled 4 to 5 red dry chillies 4 flakes garlic 1/2 inch ginger 1 tbsp dry coriander seeds 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1 onion, chopped finely 6 cardamoms 4 cloves 1 bay leaf 1 1/2 cup curds 2 1/2 tbsp oil 1 tbsp refined oil salt to taste Method : Grind chillies, garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin seeds. To get more aroma heat the coriander and cumin seeds before grinding. Wash the potato pieces clean with water. Prick each potato piece at a few places with a fork. Heat the oil and fry the potatoes on medium fire till golden in colour. Keep them aside.

S t r ai g h t u p f o o d t a l k

online edition:

Gholu Fish in Curds

In the same oil, put in the chopped onion and saute them till tender and transparent. Add the ground lump of chillies, garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin seeds. Fry till oil starts oozing out. Put in the fried potato pieces. Stir for a while and pour 1 1/2 cups of warm water. When the potatoes are cooked to tenderness the gravy should come to a thickish consistency. If necessary, a little more water should be added. Put in the fish pieces and salt to taste. Lower the fire and let it remain simmering. Churn the curds which should be a little sourish. Heat 1 tablespoon of the refined oil. Season it with cardamoms, cloves and bay leaf and pour this seasoning over the churned curds. Pour this spiced curds in the fish gravy, simmering on the fire. Let the gravy be on the stove for a few minutes. Then remove from flame / range. Transfer it to a nice serving dish. Garnish it with chopped one green chilly and a little chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice. C:RecipesIndian

Delicious Chukka (Dry) Mutton By Shriya

In the vast array of food that we consume, a few dishes just hits the spot. Mutton chukka is one of those dishes for me. Being a southie, it tastes heavenly with rice dishes like Sambar rice, Rasam rice & even Briyani. If you make it a little not-so-dry you can even have it paratha or rotis. Ingredients: Oil : 1/4 cup • Mutton : 1/2 kg (cut into small pieces) • Onion : 2 cups • Tomato : 1/2 cup • Chili Powder : 2 tbsp • Green chilies : 2 to 3 • Turmeric Powder : 1/4 tsp • Ginger : 2 tbsp • Garlic : 3 • Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds : 1/2 tsp • Cloves: 3 • Bay leaves : 2 • Cinnamon : 1/4 • Curry leaves : 8 to 10 Method Of Preparation: Heat 2tsp of oil in a pan add cumin seeds and fennel seeds let it sputter add 1/4 cup of onions and 2 green chilies fry till brown. Remove from heat let it cool and grind them with ginger and garlic into a coarse paste.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker add the ground paste and fry them in medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes. And add the mutton with turmeric powder, a glass of water and little salt. Mix it all together and pressure cook the mutton for 4 whistle in medium heat. Remove from heat and keep them aside. Separate the water and mutton. Keep them separately. Heat oil in a pan add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and the remaining onions fry them till onions till light brown. Now add the tomatoes with little salt and red chilli powder, mix well and close the lid of the pan. Let it cook covered in medium heat for about 10 minutes. Now add the mutton in the pan and mix them with masalas and add 1/4 cup of pressure cook water. Add the curry leaves on top of it. Fry them till it becomes dry and remove from heat. Serve them hot with roti or steaming hot rice. C: SpicyTasty




Indo American News May 14, 2010 Business Section