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Friday, June 4 2010 | Vol. 29, No. 23

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It’s a Devotional Musical Saga

India Wins Celebrity Cricket Bollywood actor Salman Khan, left, and Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar share a moment during the presentation ceremony at the celebrity cricket match in Dubai, UAE

See Exclusive AR Rahman Jai Ho Tour Rehearsal Pictures on Pg 26

Malayalee Couple Dies in House Fire

Thomaskutty and Aleyamma Thomaskutty, the couple who lost their lives in the fire north of Sugar Land are survived by their two sons Paulson and Nelson. Investigation is ongoing.

HOUSTON: After success in 2009 and on public demand, the live musical and visually spellbinding show Sathavaro Shree Radhey Shyamno (Part 2) is coming back to Houston. Just like Part 1, this is also a devotional musical saga of the immortal life and story of Lord Krishna and Shree Radharani performed by a crew of more than 35 artists with live songs, music and dances. Everyone, including the ones who are not Lord Krishna's devotees, will be mesmerized by this show of spectacular sets, breathtakingly gorgeous costumes, and exceptional performances. This is another opportunity for the people who missed it last year to experience one of the most successful live music and dance show from India. And for the people who attended the show last year, this is another chance to see a much bigger and better show with many new songs and dances and to get immersed in the enchanting experience all over again. Most of the crew from last year is coming back including the choreographer Punita Hirani and the child artist Khushali Hirani, who won the heart of each and everyone in the auditorium and got a standing ovation with non-stop applause. Namaskaar Entertainment is brings this show in Houston on Saturday, June 12th, at Morris Cultural Arts Center of Houston Baptist University.

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SUGAR LAND: A Sugar Land couple, well-known in the Indian community, died in an early morning house fire on Sunday, Local 2 reported. The fire started around 3 a.m. at a home on Branchwater Lane. The victims have been identified as Joseph Thomaskutty, 56, and Aleyama Thomaskutty, 52. Those who knew the couple said Joseph was a former pastor in India who recently Continued on Pg 3

Abraham Elected Sugar Land’s Mayor Pro-Tem

By Dinesh Shah SUGAR LAND: Thomas Abraham, the fourth-term councilman for the at-large Position was elected as a Mayor Pro-Tem for the city of Sugar Land on Tuesday May 1st, during the council meeting. Mayor Jimmy Thompson nominated Thomas Abraham for the position which was seconded by Councilman Russell Jones. The motion was passed unanimously by seven votes. He is the first Asian American selected as a Mayor Pro-Tem in the history of Sugar Land, while

the city has celebrated the 50th Anniversary last year. A successful businessman, Thomas Abraham has also set several records in his political carrier. He is the first elected official for the Indo-American community, not only in Greater Houston Area but in the State of Texas. As a first Asian-American, he has been elected as a President of Texas Municipal League Region 14, which serves the needs of more than 1,100 cities and towns. In addition, at present, he serves as a President of Sugar Land Development Corporation, Chairman of Sugar Land Reinvestment Zone No. 3, and a Board Member on the HoustonGalveston Area Council. He also served as a Council Liaison for Sugar Land Municipal Regional Airport for two terms, which he takes a pride for city's State of the Art Airport, terminal building with a US custom office, and two new

INSIDE THIS WEEK: $400,000 raised for deserving children in India at Akshaya Patra Food for Education Benefit event. Story on Pg 7

A Mumbai opening adds spice to West Houston. Story on Pg 10

additional taxi ways, one of them named as “Taxi India.” Serving as a humanitarian, Councilman Abraham has assisted in raising funds during Tsunami and Gujarat earthquake in India. He has also played an important role to promote economic development of the city by encouraging new businesses and development including TelFair, Lake Pointe, Riverstone and Imperial Sugar. He supports for the Safety First, lower taxes, high quality infrastructure, and aggressive economic development incentives. Abraham believes in building partnership with business, which creates strong economic growth and development. A great honor was bestowed to him to meet Prime Minister of India Mr. Manmohan Singh, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other high ranking officials at the White House.

Arif Memon: Bollywood glory and vanishing trick Story on Pg 12

Councilman Abraham and his wife, Sarah and two children, Bryan and Lauren have lived in Sugar Land since 1989. He has as accomplished a long list of achievements, but he attributes the credit of his accomplishment to the Sugar Land community, as six years ago during his first time election, he got elected with only two votes in the runoff, and then for last three terms, he ran uncontested. “Together, our business climate, amenities, lifestyle, and people make Sugar Land a great place to live and work,” said Abraham. The city of Sugar Land was founded in the mid 1800s as a sugar plantation, and the City was incorporated on Dec. 29, 1959, encompassing only 2,265 acres. Today, the award-winning city has land area of over 15,000 acres with ETJ and population over 110,000 with ETJ limits.

Singh is king of concert extravaganzas. Story on Pg 25

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Author Chitra Divakaruni’s Palace of Illusions Chosen by MFAH Prestigious Honor for Indo-American Community

By Kalyani Giri HOUSTON: The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) has selected internationally renowned award-winning author and poet Chitra Divakaruni’s best selling The Palace of Illusions for their summer Online Book Club. It is the first time that the museum has trained the prestigious spotlight on a book by an Indian writer, and a matter of pride for the local community that Divakaruni is such an integral part of. The MFAH book club program, launched in 2009 by the museum’s Education Department, is inviting pre-existing book clubs across the city that read the books prescribed in the program on an educational tour of the museum. Led by docents of the museum, the crafted visits, that began on June 1, 2010, will endeavor to connect the works of literature with works of art on display in a unique interdisciplinary experience. Each tour lasts about one hour and invites participants to discuss the book along with works of art in the MFAH collection. For The Palace of Illusions, docents will correlate works of art on view in the museum’s Arts of India gallery to the book and will lead book club members in open discussion. The Palace of Illusions is Diva-

karuni’s brave and brilliant interpretation of the Indian epic, The Mahabharat, as told by Panchaali, the wife of the leg-

endary Pandava brothers. Not unlike Homer’s works in Western literature, Divakaruni’s is a fresh account of an ancient narrative, textured and patterned by the thoughts and actions of a profusion of characters that intermingle with gods and goddesses. As the complex plots and subplots unravel and culminate

in a great war, Panchaali feels the weight of responsibility; at a very young age, a sage told her that she was fated to be the cause of the strife. Crafted with compassion and an unerring understanding of human frailty, Divakaruni captures with exquisite ease the ancient tale and imbues it subtly with a contemporary lyricism. There’s love, love unfulfilled, treachery, power struggles, mystery, mysticism, and war and great loss. In other words, The Palace of Illusions is an excellent book club read that promises to open many new vistas for spirited discussions. Chitra Divakaruni is the author of twenty-four published books. Her works include Arranged Marriage, Sister of my Heart, The Unknown Errors of Our Lives, The Vine of Desire. Two books have been made into movies, with others in production. She resides with her family in Houston and serves as the Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Houston. To learn more about the MFAH program, visit www.mfah. org/bookclub or call Chelsea Schlievert, Public Programs Coordinator at the Museum of Fine Arts at (713) 639 7816. For more information on Chitra Divakaruni’s books, visit www. chitradivakaruni.com.

Indo American News • Friday, June 04 , 2010

Malayalee Couple Dies in House Fire

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worked as a hospital chaplain and was a pillar in Houston’s Indian community. “Any project events, any events that take place in the Houston ... in our community, he’s in the front to help them, to give them guidance and to talk to people,” said Warghese Kochummen, the victims’ nephew. The couple has a 24-year-old son and a 22 year-old son, Paulson and Nelson . Both were away at school. Investigations are ongoing. However there are no updates that the police have released to the public as to date. The children Paulson and Nelson are now back in Houston, living with their father’s side of relatives. The investigators are doing their job collecting dental records and also doing DNA sampling. Investigations are also going on into the actual cause of the fire. Boby Jacob, nephew of the Thomaskutty family spoke to IA News. Community Response: “We were at church and I got a call and a text from a friend saying my cousin’s parents passed away,” said Selvin John. By mid-morning the street was packed full of family and friends for Pastor V.J. Thomaskutty and his wife. “I live close to here and he was

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my pastor and he’s my brother-inlaw’s brother-in-law. So, I know them,” said Nathaniel Thomas. L o v e d ones say the Thomaskutty’s had two adult sons and were very communityoriented. The pastor didn’t have a church, but they say he was involved with many. “The father was a pastor and he ministered at different churches. So, they knew everyone very well in Houston, especially the Indian community.” said John. “They’ve been very supportive for the community, prayerful , pleasant and nice people,” said Santhamma John. KIAH 39 If you receive your paper more than 4 days after the Dateline, please file a complaint with your post office or call the USPS Consumer Affairs Office at 713-226-3442 Indo-American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly on every Friday (for a subscription price of $30 per year) by Indo-American News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036, Tel: 713-789-6397, Fax: 713-789-6399, Email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo-American News, 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036.


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Loyalty Takes Butler from Poor Nepal Village to New York By Verena Dobnik NEW YORK – Indra Tamang was a teenage farmer in a Nepalese village without running water or electricity. He barely learned how to write and lived in a straw, mud and stone house with his parents before landing a hotel job in the capital of Katmandu. But after befriending a well-todo hotel patron, the young man started traveling the world, meeting the likes of Andy Warhol, John Lennon and Patti Smith, and living in New York, Paris and the Greek island of Crete. Almost four decades later, luck struck again: A Manhattan woman bequeathed Tamang her entire estate — including two apartments in the famed Dakota building off Central Park and her Russian surrealist art collection. After all, for 36 years, Ruth Ford and her brother relied on “Indra darling” — as she often called the now 57-year-old — to tend to their activities on three continents. He was ever present in the apartments he inherited, available around the clock as Ford’s health deteriorated. She died in August at 98, leaving nothing to her estranged daughter

and two grandchildren. So how does a dirt-poor teenager who speaks only Nepalese turn into a globe-trotting sophisticate — and now, a multimillionaire? He started as a personable waiter whose fine table skills were noticed by a hotel guest — a Mississippi-born writer, photographer and gay cultural activist in his 60s named Charles Henri Ford. He hired Tamang in 1973, first to get groceries and the mail by bicycle to his Katmandu house, then to cook too. Eventually, the bohemian artist taught Tamang how to use a camera and made him his photo assistant. He became a sort of surrogate son — a factotum who lived the adventures of Ford and his entourage. At one point, Ford, Tamang and a friend rode a Volkswagen minibus from Istanbul to Katmandu via Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. In Paris, home was a studio on Ile Saint-Louis, and Tamang took French lessons. And there was a house on Crete, where the American’s young sidekick learned some Greek from local fishermen. In New York, they lived in a small apartment at the Dakota four

Ford’s books and exhibited in Manhattan galleries. Tamang also set up cameras for Ford for profiles of wellknown faces. As the years passed, his attention shifted from the brother to his ailing sister, who was losing her sight and hearing; ironically, the brother died first, in 2002. In recent years, In this May 26, 2010 photo, Indra Tamang, the Tamang was on Nepalese-born butler who inherited two apartments call even at home in The Dakota building, background, from his wealthy employer, stands near the building in New in Queens with his wife and chilYork dren. He skipped floors above Ford’s sister, Ruth family vacations to take care of Ford, a former actress, model, bills and appointments, organize muse to artists and writers like papers and supervise Ruth Ford’s William Faulkner, and widow of home, though she had a maid. Hollywood actor Zachary Scott. After her mother’s death, ShelThe Nepalese emigre went along ley Scott received “a modest setto celebrity-studded parties the tlement” negotiated with the attorsiblings hosted or attended, tak- ney for the estate, said Arnie Herz, ing pictures of famous figures that Scott’s lawyer. Tamang agreed to were later published in Charles the resolution, whose details re-

Indo American News • Friday, JUNE 04 , 2010 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

main confidential, Herz said. Scott is “very happy” for Tamang, Herz said, and she “personally did not make a penny out of the modest settlement, because she gave it all away.” Her mother had sent her to boarding school as a young child, and the estrangement began, Herz said. “The mother was a socialite, hanging out with the rich and the famous, and I have the impression that the daughter did not receive the level of parenting she needed,” Herz said. Now, he said, Scott lives a “simple, meaningful life, and she’s not interested in bashing her mother.” Neither is Tamang. “Between Charles and Ruth and me, it was a friendship,” he said. “I wasn’t just a butler; our bonds were more than that.” When they died, seven years apart, he organized a Buddhist rite for each one in Queens — first for Charles, who followed the Buddhist philosophy, then for Ruth, after her Episcopal funeral. He says he never looked for another job, though his salary was so modest he could not support his continued on page

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Indo American News • Friday, June 04 , 2010

SOCIETY

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New Survey Showcases Huge Impact of AAHOA Members ATLANTA. May 27, 2010 – The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) is often referred to as one of the most powerful organizations in the hospitality industry – and now a comprehensive new independent research project proves that’s true. The study – conducted by the prestigious Atlanta-based firm of PKF Hospitality Research (PFKHR) – shows that the 10,000 members of AAHOA own 20,156 hotels which together have almost 1.8 million rooms and a property value of $128.7 billion.* PKF-HR findings are based on a typical year of operation. According to widely accepted industry research, AAHOA members own more than 40 percent of the total number of hotels in the United States and 39 percent of all of the guest rooms. Employment at these hotels totals 578,600 employees, including the equivalent of 436,900 full-time jobs plus additional part-time workers, who are paid $9.4 billion annually in salaries and wages. Payroll taxes, subsidized health insurance, vacation pay, and pension contribution add another $2.5 billion in compensation. AAHOA hoteliers are typically small business entrepreneurs, but have established portfolios that include numerous full-service, limited-service, and independent lodging facilities. They have strong roots in their communities and generate a powerful local “ripple” economic effect through their expenditure of operating expenses plus capital investments. For example, AAHOA members spend more than $31 billion annually on operating costs that include: • $11.9 billion on labor • $2.3 billion on utilities • $2.2 billion on payments to franchise companies for royalty payments, guest loyalty program costs, plus reservations and marketing assessments • $2 billion on property taxes • $1.3 billion on food and beverage purchases

• $1.2 billion on room, food, and beverage department supplies • $1.1 billion on credit card commissions, and Another $900 million is spent annually by AAHOA members on capital improvements, such as: • $548.1 million on guest room furniture • $162.1 million on carpeting • $113.4 million on televisions • $84.1 million on beds “These numbers dramatically confirm the significant role that Asian American hoteliers play both in our industry and in our country’s economy,” said Tarun S. Patel, AAHOA Chairman. “These survey results will be invaluable as we advocate on behalf of our members with franchisors, legislators, bankers, and others.” “The findings of this research are simple but there’s nothing simple about the hard work, commitment, and business acumen that our members have continually demonstrated in order to achieve this unmatched level of influence and impact in an industry that’s complex, competitive, and cyclical,” said Fred Schwartz, AAHOA President. By The Numbers Key additional findings by PKF Hospitality Research show: Types of Hotels Owned By AAHOA Members 75.3% of the hotels owned by AAHOA members are limited service hotels, which are defined as properties that do not offer food and beverage • 14.1 % are full service hotels • 5.1% are extended stay hotels • 4.9% are all suites hotels • 0.6% are resorts Mix of Hotels & Guest Rooms Owned By AAHOA Members • 62.9% of hotels are affiliated with franchise brands • 37.1% of hotels are independent properties • 66.5% of guest rooms are at hotels affiliated with franchise brands • 33.5% of guest rooms are at independent properties

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“ Akshaya Patra Rocks!” Deepak Chopra Tweets After the Food for Education Benefit Event $400,000 Raised for deserving children with 500 attendees

BOSTON: The Akshaya Patra Foundation hosted a sold-out Food for Education Benefit Event on Sunday, May 16 at the Westin Hotel in Waltham. The event included a keynote address by the worldrenowned Dr. Deepak Chopra, and an astonishing $400,000 was raised to benefit the school lunch program for deserving children in India. The 52-member host committee included influential community members and change agents who were instrumental in making the event a great success. The event attracted 500 local leaders from diverse professions. The festivities brought in not only long-time supporters, but also many people experiencing their first introduction to Akshaya Patra. Madhu Sridhar, President and CEO of Akshaya Patra, received a thunderous applause when she shared with the guests the Akshaya Patra’s success story and the hope it has brought to millions of children. She urged the crowd to help make poverty history by making sure hunger is not a barrier to education and added, “We are gathered to bring smiles of hope to five million children by 2020, the organization’s next goal. It is our collective challenge, our collective obligation, our collective responsibility and it will be our collective joy when we meet this next milestone. We can’t just sit on the sidelines and watch this happen. It is a measure of our humanity.” Deepak Chopra, MD, a worldrenowned authority in the field of mind-body healing, a best-selling author, and the founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, delivered the keynote address. He has been heralded by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century and the “poet-prophet of alternative medicine.” Dr. Chopra addressed the keys to human happiness and said that “the most important way to fulfillment is to make someone else happy.” In addition to donating money to feed a large school for an entire year on behalf of his grandchildren, the next morning Dr. Chopra

in India where Akshaya Patra has kitchens. “I am overwhelmingly touched by the generosity of all those who are not only keeping their commitment to the Akshaya Patra children year after year but also introducing the Akshaya Patra solution to eradicate hunger and promote education simultaneously to the network of their friends,” said Sridhar. “Organizations that address vital issues and offer a real possibility of bringing about change attract individuals and activists and keep them engaged. Akshaya Patra is doing just that.”

Akshay Patra President Madhu Sridhar at the Food for Education Benefit Event

wrote on his Twitter account to his over 200,000 followers, “It was a wonderful & humbling experience 2 see so much compassion in action. AKSHAYA PATRA ROCKS!” At the request of Sridhar, Dr. Chopra graciously agreed to speak for Akshaya Patra once a year in the US. The event was sponsored by Leader Bank, MFA, Chitika, A123 Systems, Abacus Software, Venus Capital and Deshpande Foundation. New corporations that sponsored the event this year included EMC, CSS, Patni, InteQ and J.P.Morgan. In addition, enthusiastic volunteers from Leader Bank helped the registration process go smoothly for a second year in a row. The event raised over $400,000. There was a constant flow of donations made during the pledge drive, led by Al Kapoor of Millennium Ventures and Sridhar. Two meal delivery vehicles were sponsored at a cost of over $20,650 each; three large schools were sponsored at a cost of over $12,600 each; two mid-sized schools were sponsored at a cost of over $4,200

each; and 20 small-size schools were sponsored for $1,400 each. The rest of the money raised was for providing healthy meals to deserving children in all eight states

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of the world’s largest NGOrun midday meal programs, feeding 1.2 million children each day in over 7,000 schools through 19 kitchens in eight states in India. A public-private partnership, Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunch at a fraction of the cost of similar programs in other parts of the world. It costs $28 to feed a child daily for the entire school year. With an

average government subsidy of 50 percent, $28 feeds two children. This meal gives these children an incentive to come to school, stay in school and provides them with the necessary nutrients they need to develop their cognitive abilities to focus on learning. The organization also sources its food stocks from local markets, thereby reducing costs associated with transportation and food spoilage while supporting the local economy. In a short time, the foundation has grown to become the largest, and certainly most innovative, school lunch program in the world. Akshaya Patra is a great example of what can be accomplished when the public sector, private sector and the civic society collaborate-a cost effective, scalable solution with high quality service delivery. After reaching its goal of feeding one million children each school day, Akshaya Patra’s next milestone is to serve 5 million children daily by 2020. For more information, please visit www.foodforeducation.org.

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Graduation Ceremony for Prajna Students at the Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple

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HOUSTON: Excitement was abound as children from toddlers to teens entered the Ashtlakshmi Temple on May 23rd for a day that they had been looking forward to all year. They were dressed in their Sunday best with traditional Indian attire and their foreheads donned the namam and tilakam, signifying devotion to God. Like the rays of the sun on that lovely summer day, their parents, well wishers and teachers blessed these students with continued success. On May 23rd, Prajna Learn-

Technologies Inc. The Guests of Honor were the prominent members of the community Dr. Kota Reddy, Dr. Sreelata Reddy, Dr. Vijay SriNarasimiah (President of Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple), Dr. Chary Tamirisa (founder of Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple), and Mr. Bangar Aaloori (President of JET USA). The day ended with a surprise magic show for the children with guest magician, Steve Burton. Prajna classes are held every Sunday from 10am to 12pm where the students are taught slokas,

further information, please email to trenu108@gmail.com The Prajna school and Sri Asthalakshmi Temple are run under the direct guidance of His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji with an emphasis on learning. In addition, Swamiji promotes service activities through his organization known as VT SEVA. Through this organization, He has established a Quick Response Team for Natural Disasters, The first junior college of its kind exclusively for the blind and visually challenged, Cancer

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Prajna students at the second graduation ceremony at Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple

ing Center held its second annual graduation ceremony. Prajna was intitiated by His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji to educate and impart our valuable and true Vedic knowledge and heritage to all. The goal of this education is to inculcate the learnings into daily practice and to empower students to achieve their goals. On the day of graduation, the ceremony commenced with a beautiful rendition of “Vande Mantaram” by Srimathi Smitha Nellutla and sloka chanting by the students themselves. This was followed by the presentation of student certificates by social activist Mrs. Raj Malani, wife of Mr. Jugal Malani, President of India House. The teachers were recognized as well and were presented with gifts of appreciation by Varalakshmi Yerragudi, Presdient of Premier

yoga, bhajans, and stories. Students are expected to -Learn the basics of our tradition - Get familiar with Scriptural vocabulary and terminology - Get introduced to the Vedic literature, stories from our Itihasas and Puranas - Learn slokas and prayers -Understand virtues and values and much more. During the school year the children have participated in various cultural activities including a Ramayana play and a Goda Kalyanam dance drama. They also celebrated Earth day by planting trees on the temple grounds. The Prajna school is conducting a Summer Camp starting June 6th every Sunday until July 23rd. During this time the children will learn painting, Hanuman Chalisa, and stories from Krishna Leela. For

Indo American News • Friday, JUNE 04 , 2010 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

Awareness Outreach Programs, the Jeeyar Integrated Vedic Academy, and Tribal Schools in remote villages of India. Swamiji will be conducting a Sri Yagam, a unique mass prayer for world peace and prosperity. This unprecedented event will be performed for nine days from July 23 to August 1st in New Jersey, USA with one hundred and eight Ruthwicks (specially trained Vedic scholars). Several thousands of devotees from all over the world are expected to participate in this nine-day ceremony. We invite all individuals, organizations, institutions and associations of any affiliation to join the Sri Yagam Team and help in uniting all citizens across the world in jointly praying for World Peace, Harmony & Prosperity. For more information please visit us at http://www.ashtalakshmi.org/


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Loyalty Takes Butler to New York continued from page

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family without his wife also working. The Fords’ assets were mostly in property and art, and they were not cash-rich, Tamang said. People think he’s now rich, but until the estate liquidates more assets and high inheritance taxes are subtracted, “I don’t have more money now than I did before,” he said. “I still have to live, pay my mortgage. ... And relax a little bit.” Then he added, laughing, “We’re not talking about a couple of hundred million dollars like a rock star!” Ruth’s three-bedroom apartment is on the market for $4.5 million. The art collection includes works by the late artist Pavel Tchelitchew — a Russian man who was Charles’ longtime partner and died in 1957. Tchelitchew’s portrait of Ruth Ford sold in April at Sotheby’s for nearly $1 million, including buyer’s premium. Another auc-

tion of artworks is scheduled for Thursday in Paris, followed by three more Manhattan sales in the coming year. Tamang is still recovering from the sensational headlines that surprised him in early May. “The Butler Did It,” The Wall Street Journal wrote in breaking the inheritance story, which was followed by a media blitz that left him exhausted and confused, his phone ringing incessantly. These days, his greatest pleasure is to take his 10-year-old daughter, Zina, to school and pick her up in the afternoon. Zina has two adult half-sisters born in Nepal — children of Tamang’s first wife, who died in 1986. She never left Phakhel, their village of several thousand people a two-hour drive southwest of Katmandu.Tamang visited often over the years and sent money to his wife and children, and to his parents and five younger siblings. He moved his two older daughters to the United States a dozen years

ago, once he remarried and had someone to help care for them. There were times when he felt homesick, he said, “but then I said to myself, `be happy wherever you are.’” He met his current wife, Radhika, in the 1990s in Washington. And now, they’re pondering their future.He hopes to archive Ford’s artwork, writings and films, and to organize exhibits of photographs — Ford’s and his own. Tamang says he’s grateful for his poor yet rich Nepalese heritage, which taught him that “if you work and you’re honest and earn people’s trust, maybe something good will come to you.” Then he added a string of thankyous spanning his life. “I thank my mother and father for putting me on this Earth,” he said. “And thank you, Mississippi, for bringing Charles to me. And thanks to him and Ruth for making me a New Yorker!” “And thank you, America.” -Yahoo News

Support for the Hindu American Foundation lations in other counSUGAR LAND: It tries to the push for was standing room more vegetarian meals only at the Hindu in public schools. A American Foundahighlighted issue of tion’s (HAF) Annual significant importance Awareness & Memto the local commubership Drive event on nity was the current the evening of May 21. state of the new Texas Over 125 members of public schools curricuthe community turned lum for social studies, up to hear Nikhil Joshi, and how the Texas Esq. and Aseem ShukState Board of Educala, M.D., co-founders tion was handling the and members of the presentation of HinduHAF Board of Direcism in the new stantors present HAF and dards.   Bhutada was explain the role of adthe first to make a forvocacy to the greater Houston Hindu com- From left to right: Rishi Bhutada, Aseem Shukla, Maneesh mal presentation presenting a Hindu permunity. Community Mehra and Nikhil Joshi Joshi said will be used to augment spective to the highly members said that they controversial Texas State Board of came away with a sense of HAF’s staffing needs at the Foundation. The evening was hosted by Rishi Education.  work, and an understanding of how HAF’s advocacy efforts play Bhutada, a local member of HAF’s a large role in representing the Executive Council, the presentaThe Hindu American FoundaHindu American community’s in- tion touched upon different issues tion is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, terests to the American public at concerning the Hindu American non-partisan organization prolarge.  A record amount of dona- community today, from the rep- moting the Hindu and American tions for the Houston community resentation of Hindus globally, ideals of understanding, tolerance was raised during the event, that suffering from human rights vio- and pluralism.

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A Mumbai Opening Adds Spice to West Houston By Jawahar Malhotra HOUSTON: It wasn’t just the black, two-seater, limited edition 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL65coupe and the souped up 2005 silver Ford GT Twin Turbo with its hood open that tempted the people who were rushing to the restaurant in the corner. Or the chance to meet the two brothers – Sanjay and Sajeev Mehta – who have a passion for cars that makes them rush to visit factories while others vacation in Bavaria. To be sure, it was the lure of some delicious food in the latest incarnation of North Indian cuisine on the Westside. If three time’s the charm, then the latest look of the restaurant that used to be Cliff’s Hamburgers, then Singha Thai Cuisine on the corner of Gray Falls and Westheimer, then the makeover into Mumbai Spice is certainly it. Out went the stuffy booths and dated packed look. In came the bright red walls, hung with abstract paintings; the large curved bar; a spacious blend of tables from the front to the back and a small outdoor dining area. It was the look that Arun Bakshi had longed for and worked long and hard to achieve ever since he left the now closed Yatra restaurant in downtown, which he had managed. Prior to that, Bakshi had worked at Bombay Palace restaurant in Highland Village before it was sold and became Kiran’s.

“I have been in the restaurant business for 36 years,” said an obviously pleased Bakshi to the crowd of members of the Houston West Chamber of Commerce (HWCOC) who were holding their monthly meeting at the place on Thursday, May 20. “I certainly hope,” he continued playing up to the crowd of nearly 80 Chamber members who tasted from a row of 10 Indian appetizers made by chef Harpal Chandok, “that you come back and enjoy more of our food.” “We try to have Chamber meetings at the location of new members,” explained Jeannie Bollinger, President and CEO of the

Continued on Pg 11

Clockwise from top: Arun Bakhshi, flanked by members of the Houston West Chamber of Commerce and friends cuts the ribbon at his new restaurant, Mumbai Spice; Bakhshi with (from left) Deepi Mehta of Travel Leaders, Jeannie Bollinger, President of the HWCOC and his wife, Rajshree; the members mingled at the May 20 event. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

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Mumbai Spice in West Houston To p : A r u n B a k s h i , owner of Mumbai Spice, HWCOC, “and we worked extra announces the winner of hard to make this event a success, the Grand Prize with help thanks in great part to Deepi Mehta from Jeannie Bollinger. Continued from Pg 10

who has been a long-time member and is involved in the Ambassador Committee that develope new members.” Mehta has owned the Travel Leaders travel agency for many years and is a well-known fixture in the community. Along with her husband Chander, Mehta ran Houston’s first popular radio show, Gateway to India in the late 70s and 80s before venturing into the travel business. For this event, Mehta offered a grand prize of three nights at the Breezes Runaway Bay Resort and Golf Club in Jamaica to those who tossed in their business cards for a drawing. (Her sons brought in the showcase cars.) And since she is a good friend of Bakhshi’s, and just loves the food that Mumbai Spice serves, Mehta urged the HWCOC to hold its monthly meeting there and also hold a formal ribbon-cutting for the new member. The event went on a well beyond 7pm cutoff, but between the choice of wines that complemented the food, the cash bar and the irresistible appetizers, it seemed that most enjoyed the tasting experience.

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Newlyweds

Avanti Kulkarni & William Seymour

Below: Bakshi welcomes the HWCOC members to his new restaurant on the Westside near Grey Falls on Westheimer, as Deepi Mehta and Rajshree Bakshi look on.

Mumbai Spice is located at 12102 Westheimer, Houston; 281-758-1400 or www.mumbaispice restaurant.com

HOUSTON: Avanti Kulkarni, the daughter of Indo-American News Editor Pramod and Jyoti Kulkarni, wed William Seymour, Jr., the son of Lt. Col. William and Carla Seymour of Boston on Saturday, May 29. A ceremony at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in the morning was followed by a Hindu ceremony and reception at Briscoe Manor. The bride’s uncle, Laxman Kuratti, served as the officiating priest. Earlier on Friday, the wedding party and guests were treated to a henna party at the home of the bride’s aunt, Prema Kuratti, and a sangeet at Pine Forest Country Club. Both Avanti and Bill are practicing attorneys based in New York.

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Arif Memon - Bollywood Glory and Vanishing Trick learned the art of movie making for 4 hours pop singer. There he learnt the art of stage fares. Rashmi Udaysingh personally asked By Jacob David HOUSTON: Today’s generation have too a week. “Yet this was insufficient. My thirst lighting. Soon he became the technical di- him to write for the paper. Coming to the US in 1999 with Aamir many soft wares to help edit video, splice for learning was great.” Notable professors rector for the entire show - handling sound, and render photographs. Not so when Arif like K.K. Mahajan who was an expert mov- props, video and lighting. Sharon Prabhakar Khan, Arif first felt that technical directing Memon was the go-to technical director, ie cameraman, and Janu Barua an accom- and Bappi Lahiri, an upcoming music direc- was starting to get hectic. Setting the prehobnobbing with the greats of Bollywood - plished Assamese film maker taught him. It tor worked together. “I had the good fortune miere for “Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani” Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Bappi was a land of magic that slowly revealed its of being technical director for both of them, he had the opportunity to work with Shah for their collective and individual shows. Rukh Khan. “I realized that I was missing Lahiri, Sharon Prabhakar, and the “God secrets to the young Arif Memon. my family. My daughters were both of advertising” Alec Padamsee, who growing up and my wife needed owned the famous Lintas ad agency. “I me. Social life until then was madowe it all to Alec Padamsee my mendening, with daily glamor parties to tor” says Arif Memon, “who told me attend and late night to dawn jobs ‘Listen more and speak little, that only working with top actors in Bolempty vessels make more noise.’ I lywood.” So he did the vanishing took that to heart and live by it today.” trick and left Bollywood overnight Arif Memon has had the extraordinary to USA not leaving a forwarding privilege to be on Michael Jackson’s address. “I had my uncles here in India Tour, 1996 as one of the four Houston, I had to settle down for Indian crew members for stage lightthe sake of my family. I wanted to ing and technical direction. It shows be there for my daughters.” Houswhere education and a passion for ton Chronicle did a column featuryour dreams can take you. ing his family on the significance of Making a humble beginning graducelebratng Eid-Ul-Fitr, among the ating higher secondary at the Burhani Muslim community. college, Arif Memon was madly in love Here in Houston, Arif has had with theater and the arts. Movies and the pleasure of working with well the art of producing kept him awake known Houston promoters like at nights. Watching director Shafi InAlok Kalia, Irfan Abji, Moid Khan amdar a thespian who died at an early who have brought in film stars age control the actors like a God, fasand music directors. He also has cinated him. “Drama fascinated me to worked with the band “Strings” and no end.” The world of movies held a traveled with them on their tours to spell over the young Arif Memon as he moved on to graduate in Commerce Arif Memon with Super Mega Star Rajesh Khanna on the movie set of “Ghar Ka Chirag” a cherished photo parts of United States going away with them 3 days for a total of 8 from the Lala Lajpat Rai College. He of yesteryears weekends. was grabbed into the world of arts Arif Memon has now returned to a more Wanting to learn more and prove himself They would not have anyone else but me, part taking in folk dance, drama, mimicry and anything that was pure octane entertain- to his parents that he can be good as any because they said they felt comfortable with gradual pace of directing, when Sunil Thakkar from Radio Masala approached him ment. “My family was totally into business professional, he took a course in Announc- me handling their shows.” With more offers coming his way, Arif to direct his show for STAR TV. Starting and were professionals, who did not want ing, Broadcasting, Compering and Dubbing me in that field. My uncle was a Solicitor - known as ABCD for short at XIC. After fin- Memon ran into the Morani brothers who on Hillcroft Mahatma Gandhi district, the who overlooked the ruling of Indian courts, ishing his course he ran into a friend who held shows featuring top names in the film video footage then moves to a full riot of others in my family were doctors and engi- personally recommended him to the all time industry. “I met them in the 90’s and became colors celebrating Holi. The show has been neers. They did not take it well when I said great Rajesh Khanna, top paid Hindi actor a freelancer. I started providing techni- well received and they are looking for other to them I wanted to enter the world of film.” who was experimenting with the new medi- cal director expertise to all producers who offers from Zee, TV Asia, channels with Somehow convincing his dad to let him go um of television, about to air a prime TV se- required me.” But Arif still remembers his whom he has worked with before. He also to take a one year course at the Xavier’s rial. Rajesh Khanna took an immediate lik- most humbling experience, “It was when got the script writer for the movie Race to be College, Institute of Communications, he ing to Arif Memon’s straightforwardness in I was with Alec Padamsee - he gave me a interviewed by Sunil, and helped get the dia world where he was broom and asked me to sweep the stage. I rector Sajid Khan to talk on Masala Radio. Going into local production, Arif has also surrounded by “Yes told him I was the technical director and he Men.” Rajesh Khan- wouldn’t hear of it. If I couldn’t do it, I could acted as second villain in Tiger, a movie, set na had 2 divisions leave, he told me. I took the broom and did to release by DVD in December 2010. Havfor film making and what was asked of me. I then realized that ing been a director on the board of South television. Starting there is no shame in doing anything as long Asian Chamber of Commerce has helped production for a film, as it is your show, even if that includes clean- him understand more about Houston’s InJai Shiv Shankar he ing the floors.” Arif Memon never felt tired dian community and its people. He now offered Arif Memon and got into acting as well with Superstar serves on the board of Asian Pacific Amerithe job of overlooking Dev Anand in Awwal Number (as an airport can Heritage Association (APAHA). Like Alec Padamsee, Arif Memon has adfilm production. With officer) and in Pyar Ka Rog (as the hero’s the actor’s personal friend). The movie did not do well, but he opted his own belief or saying, “Give libersecretary’s passing keeps it to show his kids and watch it him- ally to the world and the world will liberally away, Arif Memon self. Arif has also dabbled with being a food give back to you” and also firmly believes became indispensable critic for tabloid Midday Bombay covering that no one can stop you from your jourto Rajesh Khanna and local roadside joints seving authentic Indian ney’s path and destiny. a close trusted friend. “Doing movies behind the scenes was fun, but when Rajesh Khanna moved into politics, I had to leave him because it was not my cup of tea.” Joining Alec Padamsee, who owned Lintas, an ad agency that made socially responsible ads and created brands from scratch, social documentaries, Arif Memon teamed up with him and Arif Memon today is trying to reconnect with all his friends in Alec’s wife Sharon Bollywood Prabhakar, who was a Indo American News • Friday, JUNE 04 , 2010 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com


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SOCIETY

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Probe on Attack Against Sri Sri

Police in the Indian city of Bangalore are looking for an unidentified man who allegedly opened fire at religious guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Ravi Shankar was unhurt, but a devotee sustained minor injuries, police officials said. Sunday evening's incident happened when Ravi Shankar, 54, was getting into his car after his Sunday discourse. The guru is a modern-day spiritual icon among many in India's middle and upper classes. A senior police official told the BBC that security had been tightened around Ravi Shankar's ashram in the

southern city. "I don't want a security wall between me and my devotees who come to see me. I have forgiven the person [who fired] at me totally," Ravi Shankar told a news channel after the incident. He said he heard a cracker-like sound when he was getting into the car after the Sunday sermons. "I was later told it was a gun shot," he said.It is unclear who may have targeted the guru, who runs the thriving Art of Living Foundation in India with branches all over the world. His foundation has run yoga and spiritual classes in war-torn Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka. BBC

Siddha Healing and Shiv Yog

‘Shiv’ means infinite and ‘Yog’ means Union, “Shivyog” means union with the infinite. Each one of us has infinite potential and ‘Shivyog” is the process of unfolding the infinite potential; It is the process of transcending all limitations to achieve the abundance of health, prosperity and success.

AVDHOOT BABA SHIVANAND Tel: 281-565-6186 • www.shivyog.com Avdhoot Baba Watch Bhakti Sutra on Zee TV Shiv Anand

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India: A Report Card Do you ever ask yourself why, after 63 years of independence, we, as a country, have not fared better? No doubt life today is an improvement on what it was in 1947 (although I have uncles who seriously question that). But have we fulfilled our potential? Could we not have done better? In TV studios, such searing questions are a regular staple of discussion on Independence and Republic Days. After the initial anniversary plaudits have been expressed, the answers are plentiful but never fully convincing. This week I’ve found a more compelling set (although they’re still not complete) in Jagat Mehta’s autobiography The Tryst Betrayed. Like my parents, the author grew up in British India. He was 25 in 1947 — old enough to appreciate what had been, young enough to be ambitious for what could be and, now, mature enough to judge why it’s not been achieved. Uncle Jagat has three answers I more or less concur with and a fourth that tantalises me but I’m unsure if I fully comprehend. So let’s start with the easy three. The first is Partition. It not only split the subcontinent but, more importantly, it divided the unities of our geography, our culture and the response to our common challenges. Despite this, if India and Pakistan had emerged as friends, the debilitating effects of Partition could have been held in check. But they became enemies. We aimed to cut each other’s throats but often ended up slitting our own necks. The second answer, in a sense, builds on the first. India’s poor relations with its neighbours precluded the emergence of a subcontinental power that India could, and did, aspire to be. As Uncle Jagat puts it, “India’s relations with its neighbours is its greatest failure in foreign policy.” We judged them by “the nature of their domestic regimes,” whereas we should have instead reposed “trust in their nationalism”. The most telling example of this error was Indira Gandhi’s decision to support the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 on the grounds that “the CIA had been active in the soft belly of the USSR”. The third answer is Nehru. “Panditji”, the author writes, “was the greatest democratic dictator in history, but 12 years of his prime ministership were largely wasted.” India remained a prisoner of his policies long after their utility ended. As Uncle Jagat puts it: “The concept of the Soviet Union as a time-tested friend was based on the presumption of the permanence of the Cold War,” and not seizing the opportunity Zhou-en Lai’s 1956 offer to sort out the border maps, which “was a professional failure”. Now, the answer I find beguiling and want to know more of is a mere hint at the end of the book. “The one overriding weakness has been of us civil servants abdicating the obligation to volunteer advice in the long-term interests of the country.” This opens the door to discussion of the way our babus have pandered to their political masters in return for governorships and ambassadorial assignments. And it points the finger at a culprit who has been ignored for six decades. Karan Thapar, HT

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Counting by Caste? By Sagarika Ghose The headlines scream almost every day: ‘Girl allegedly murdered because of inter-caste romance’, ‘Couple killed by relatives because of caste honour’. The matrimonials are unabashed: ‘Match sought for fair khatri girl’ or ‘Brahmin boy seeks Brahmin partner.’ A Delhi mother whispers that her daughter’s choice of husband is not “our kind of person,” but stops short of admitting that the prospective groom is not from the same caste. Characters in Bollywood films bear surnames that are drawn from the very narrow social pool of Sharma, Mehta and Roy. Indians may be holidaying in Phuket, shopping at Mango and devouring Sex and the City. But one social reality just refuses to go away. And that reality is caste. Should caste matter to a modern Indian? Of course it shouldn’t. Yet, whether we like it or not, caste is still a defining category. Excluding a narrow westernised elite band, Indians marry according to caste, socialise within similar castes, education is determined by caste and caste, by and large, corresponds to class when it comes to backwardness. Twenty years ago when then Prime Minister V.P. Singh implemented the Mandal recommendations reserving 27 per cent government jobs for Other Backward Classes (OBCs), many caste Hindus heard the word OBC for the first time. Today there are similar feelings of dread that the government has decided to include caste in the 2011 census. But it’s time that the elite and middle class came to terms with caste, debated it openly and exorcised caste demons. When Parliament pushed for a caste census there was near panic about an impending caste war. It was argued that counting OBCs would only add further muscle power to the caste chieftains to once again lobby for that terrible ‘Q’ word: quotas. But will counting OBCs make caste loyalties deeper or will it, on the other hand, provide, for the first time, hard reliable information on how many OBC castes are there and what their numerical strength is? Confronted by real numbers, it may be more difficult

Will counting OBCs make caste loyalties deeper or will it, on the other hand, provide, for the first time, hard reliable information on how many OBC castes are there and their numerical strength? for the quota warriors to argue for reservations. The Constitution makers aimed to progressively abolish caste discrimination, not abolish caste as an identity. Unless we all understand and study caste, we will never be able to fight it or develop a genuinely anticaste mindset. Political scientists Yogendra Yadav and Satish Deshpande say that a colonial caste-based census where all castes, including the Hindu ‘upper castes’ , are counted and ranked is neither feasible nor desirable. What we need is to count OBCs in the same manner as we count SCs and STs. We need to count Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) in order to get an accurate picture of their actual number. We are, thus, not counting all castes, but only backward communities. When reservations for OBCs have been provided for at the Union and state levels, surely a census is essential to find out what the hard numbers are and whether the quotas are accurate. So how does caste operate nowadays? There is the robust argument that caste is irrelevant in contemporary India. What matters is quality health and education for all irrespective of caste. Increasingly, elections are showing that caste is no longer the sole criterion for voting preferences: voters are voting for bijli, sadak, pani, padhai and hardworking candidates and not for Gujjars, Reddys and Ezhavas. But while caste may be irrelevant for a minority, it is highly

relevant — indeed saliently — for others. When it comes to social and economic progress, certain castes have done better than others and the advantages of the English language and a modern education are distributed along caste lines. Generalisations are risky, and rural Brahmins can be impoverished and backward too. Yet, access to English and to quality education has traditionally been the monopoly of upper castes. Class and caste are still by and large coterminous, and there is every likelihood that an upper class person in India is also ‘upper caste’ and a ‘lower class’ person is also ‘lower caste’. The English-speaking elite is overwhelmingly ‘upper caste’ that is comprising the forward levels of the Hindu varna system. The Bengali ‘bhadralok’ class, or the genteel class, which was supposed to be the only non-caste class in India, is also a castebased category, as the bhadralok are restricted to the upper caste even though they may not be exclusively Brahmin. A Bengali Dalit bhadralok is still unheard of. In 1996, when B.N. Uniyal undertook a survey of national newspapers, he found that among 686 journalists accredited to the government, 454 were upper caste, the remaining 232 did not carry their caste names and in a random sample of 47, not a single one was a Dalit. In a survey of matrimonial advertising carried out in 2000, ad agency McCann Erickson noted that caste remains as important in the new century as it was four decades ago. In 2002, Virginius Xaxa found that only six of Delhi University’s 311 professors are Dalits. Thus, a caste census should not be seen as simply a political instrument designed to secure quotas. The fight against caste is best fought when we know the enemy. Caste is an immutable, invisible and overwhelming reality in our daily lives. If we continue to act as if caste does not exist, or deny its existence, we would be failing to do battle with one of the most urgent social inequalities of our time. Sagarika Ghose is Senior Editor, CNN-IBN

IndoAmerican News

Founder: Dr. K.L. Sindwani Editor: Pramod Kulkarni Business Manager: Jawahar Malhotra Marketing Manager: Krishna Giri Community Reporter: Kalyani Giri Administrative Manager: Vanshika Vipin Community Editor: Manasi Gokhale Marketing & Food Reporter: Jacob David News Reporter: Rati Ramdas 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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Letter to the Editor

Congratulations on Jugal Malani Coverage

First of all I would like to congratulate for your service to our community by being the bridge between the versatile information and community members. I would like to admire your recent coverage/information regarding a simple, genuine, positive minded, philanthropist and a very successful entrepreneur-er Sri Jugal Malani. Houston should be very proud of Jugal Malani and he is one of very few in Houston. I sincerely hope that our community takes advantage of his able guidance and leadership for personal betterment to community wide improvement. Provided his time and availability, he can significantly contribute to the Houston’s economy and progress. Finally I wish a very best of luck to ‘Indo American News’. Siddeswar Gubba, PhD

NRIs Protest New Indian Visa and Passport Rules By Sunita Sohrabji Several Indian American organizations have jointly initiated an online petition drive, protesting new rules by the Ministry of Home Affairs that force U.S. citizens to surrender their old Indian passports, with a fee of $175. “This is hugely inconvenient for our community,” said Vikram Bajwa, president of the Indian Overseas Congress. The IOC is giving the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs two months to review the policy. If the rules do not change, the organization plans to

demonstrate outside the Indian consulate in San Francisco on Aug 14, ahead of Indian Independence Day. Indians who have become naturalized citizens of the U.S. must surrender their Indian passports and obtain a ‘surrender certificate’ for a fee of $175 before receiving a new visa to travel to India, say regulations recently posted on Indian consulate websites in the U.S. Failure to provide the surrender certificate would mean the denial of an Indian travel visa. The petition, jointly being circulated by IOC and the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin

among others, has already collected more than 7,000 signatures in a few days. The petition urges the Indian government to reconsider retroactive enforcement of the rules, and asks the government to reduce the fee for a surrender certificate to $25, rather than the current $175. “If this is the law, then it should have been enforced right from the start,” said Patel, a businessman. The petition can be viewed online at www.petitiononline.com/ip100521/ petition.html - IW

Learning the Scriptures the Fun Way AUSTIN: “We felt as surprise ‘visits’ by charone big family and will acters from the Scripalways cherish the wontures. derful memories of the One such visitor was best experience we ever Kagbushundi who had in our life,” said Harini ‘flew’ to Barsana Dham from Katy who attended to speak about his devothe Hindu Family Camp tion to Lord Ram. The from Dec. 26-31st at JKP, ‘characters’ answered Barsana Dham in Austin, numerous philosophiTX. Adult, teen, youth and cal and devotional queskids classes went on sitions from the children multaneously and they all and adults. These sescame together for fun-filled sions proved to be an family activities such as exciting and effective Olympics, charades, campway to learn about the fire, evening parikramas, Youth class at the Hindu Family Camp held in extraordinary wisdom leela presentations and de- December 2010. of Sanatan Dharm. The “There are no words to express our votional jeopardy. level of enthusiasm seen “I want to go back to Barsana feelings. My heart is still there. We among the children proved that this Dham,” were the sentiments ex- are already planning for the next fam- was definitely a fun way of learning pressed in the email messages sent ily camp,” wrote Reena who traveled about the scriptures. by children, who had just returned from Toronto with her daughter to Be sure to attend the next Hindu to their homes after spending 5 days, take part in the camp. Family Camp on June 29th – July The teachings of Jagadguru Shree 4th. meeting new friends and learning about their spiritual heritage from the Kripaluji Maharaj were imparted to Visit www.BarsanaDham.org/ Sanyasi teachers of JKP. Four con- the 120 participants by the Sanyasi camp for further information and current classes with an opportunity teachers of Barsana Dham. Through registration or call: 512-288-7180. to choose electives, equipped the par- knowledge sessions, book study cirJKP, Barsana Dham Ashram is sitticipants with practical experiences cles, thought provoking discourses uated on 200 acres in the hill country as well as philosophy which families of the scriptures, the participants of Austin, TX founded by His Divinity were kept engaged. There were also Swami Prakashanand Saraswati. could then share together.

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The Story of Mahatma Gandhi A carefree and happy childhood in Porbandar

This is the story of a man born more than 130 years ago. As a boy, he looked no different from the millions of other children born in India. Yet this was no ordinary child. He was to fight and overcome a great empire and, without taking to arms, set his country free. He was to be called the Mahatma, the Great Soul. Having led his people to freedom, he was to lay down his life for their sake. IndoAmerican News will bring to you over the next several weeks, the story of this remarkable man who is still an inspiration to millions of oppressed people around the world. In a small, white-washed house in Porbandar, on the coast of Kathiawad in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Mohandas Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869. His father was Karamchand Gandhi and mother Putlibai. Porbandar is an old seaport, a little distance from the Barda Hills. Even in ancient days ships from far-off lands arrived there to trade. It was the ancestral home of the Gandhi family. The grandfather and father of Mohandas were famous for their ability and for their upright character. Grandfather Uttamchand Gandhi, who belonged to a humble family of merchants, became the Dewan of Porbandar. He was succeeded by his son, Karam- chand Gandhi, popularly known as Kaba Gandhi. Karamchand had very little formal education, but his knowledge and experience of state affairs made him a good administrator. He was brave and generous. He had, however, one fault - a bad temper. Putlibai, Karamchand Gandhi’s wife, was a deeply religious woman, lovable and strong-willed woman. She was widely respected for her wisdom and good sense. People often sought her advice on various matters. Mohandas was the youngest of the six children of Karamchand and Putlibai Gandhi. He was the favorite child of the family and was called ‘Moniya’ by his parents and their friends. Moniya adored his mother. He loved his father too, but he was a little afraid of him. As a child, Moniya seldom liked to stay at home. He would go home for his meals and then run away again to play outside. If one of his brothers teased him or playfully pulled his ears, he would run home to complain to his mother. “Why didn’t you hit him?” she

lessons carefully. But he did not like learning by heart and was therefore weak in Sanskrit. Geometry was his favorite subject because it involved reasoning. Once Moniya happened to read the story of Shravana. Shravana’s parents were old and blind, and he always carried them with him in two baskets slung on a yoke. Moniya was deeply touched by Shravana’s devotion to his old parents. Moniya’s brother had a friend named Sheikh. He was tall and strong. Sheik was a meat-eater and he often told Mohandas that if he

Mohandas Gandhi aka ‘Moniya’ at age 7 (Top left) and a few years older (right)

would ask. “How can you teach me to hit people, mother? Why should I hit my brother? Why should I hit anyone?” would be Moniya’s reply. His mother wondered where her little son got such ideas. Moniya was just seven years old when his father left Porbandar to become the Dewan of Rajkot. Moniya missed Porbandar, and he missed the blue sea and the ships in the harbor. At Rajkot he was sent to a primary school. He was shy and did not mix easily with the other children. Every morning he went to school in time, and ran back home as soon as school was over. His books were his sole companions and he spent all his free time alone reading. He had one friend, however; a boy named Uka. Uka was a sweeper boy and an untouchable. One day Moniya, was given some sweets. He ran at once to Uka to share them with him. “Don’t come near me little master,” said Uka.

“Why not?” asked Moniya, greatly surprised. “Why can’t I come near you?” “I am an untouchable, master,” Uka replied. Moniya took hold of Uka’s hands and filled them with sweets. His mother saw this from a window, and she ordered Moniya to come in at once. “Don’t you know that a high- caste Hindu should never touch an untouchable?” she asked sternly. “But why not, mother?” asked Moniya. “Because our Hindu custom forbids it,” she said. “I don’t agree with you, mother. I find nothing wrong in touching Uka. He is not different from me, is he?” His mother had no answer. She angrily told him to go, have a bath and say his prayers. Karamchand Gandhi loved all his sons, but he was specially fond of the youngest. He often said to him: “You must go to high school and college and take up a profession.” Moniya worked hard, and did his

ate meat he would also grow tall and strong. There was also at that time a reform movement for a change in the orthodox beliefs and practices of Hindus. Mohandas himself had heard that many well- to-do people had started eating meat, so he, too, tried meat. He did not like the taste of meat but as time went on he started to like meat curries. Whenever Mohandas had a meat meal outside, he had to give his

mother some excuse for not eating his dinner. He knew that his parents would not forgive him if they knew he had eaten meat. He was not against eating meat then, but he was against telling a lie to his mother. This feeling was gnawing at his heart and finally he decided not to touch meat again. Mohandas had also taken to smoking with Sheik, his brother, and another relative. He had to pilfer small amounts of money here and there with which to buy cigarettes. One day, in order to pay off a debt which his brother had incurred, Mohandas stole a piece of gold jewelry. Stealing was a great sin. He knew that he had committed a greatcrime.He resolved never in his life to steal again. He wrote down a confession of his crime and handed the paper to his ailing father. Karamchand Gandhi read the confession. He tore up the paper without saying a word. The bits of paper fell to the floor. He sank back on his bed with a sigh. Mohandas left the room, tears streaming down his face. From that day, Mohandas loved his father more and more. Every day he hurried home from school to wait on him. His father’s condition grew worse and at length he died. The house was filled with sorrow. Mohandas was only sixteen when his father died. To be continued Next Week

Gandhi Jayanti 2010 Celebration as 1000 Lights for Peace Date: Sunday, October 3, 2010 Time: 5 PM Venue: Miller Outdoor Theatre For a great summer project for your children please visit www. gandhilibrary.org and learn more about various contests such as i-tribute-Multi-Media, Poster, Speech, Debate and Creative Writing for school going children Other children activities such as Field Trips and Storytelling are also being organized. To register for “Walk For Peace” at Gandhi Jayanti celebrations,

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Tony Blair to Join Venture Firm as Adviser on Technology Ventures

Indo American News • Friday, June 04 , 2010

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Tony Blair, right, with Vinod Khosla on Monday. Mr. Blair plans to offer guidance on public policy and green technology.

By Claire Cain Miller AUSALITO, Calif. — Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is turning his attention to Silicon Valley. Mr. Blair is becoming a senior adviser at Khosla Ventures, the venture capital firm founded by Vinod Khosla, an investor and a proponent of green technology. Khosla Ventures, which Mr. Khosla founded in 2004 after leaving the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, made the announcement here on Monday at a meeting of its investors. The firm is investing $1.1 billion in clean technology and information technology companies. Mr. Blair will offer strategic advice on public policy to the firm’s green portfolio companies. They include Calera, a manufacturer that uses carbon dioxide to create cement products; Kior, which converts biomass like wood chips into biofuels; and Pax Streamline, which aims to make airconditioning more environmentally friendly. “The more I studied the whole climate change issue and linking it with energy security and development is-

sues, I became absolutely convinced that the answer is in the technology,” Mr. Blair said in an interview. Mr. Blair worked on international climate change policy as prime minister, and now leads the Breaking the Climate Deadlock initiative, through which he aims to help shape international climate policy. Silicon Valley and Washington have a distant and at times adversarial relationship. That is fine when it comes to information technology, Mr. Blair said, because government is not its driving force. Green technology is different, though, because governments are trying to use it to achieve policy goals. “Technological breakthroughs that are economically viable — for governments, that’s the holy grail,” he said. Mr. Khosla said that people who worked in technology underestimated the importance of working with policy makers, and that Mr. Blair would help bridge that divide. Like Al Gore and Colin Powell, who are advisers at Kleiner Perkins, Mr. Blair will lend his name to projects, make introductions and dole out

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advice, but will not be involved in the firm’s day-to-day activity. For example, Mr. Blair said, he could potentially help to broker a deal for one of the companies to build a demonstration plant in a particular country. Khosla Ventures, based in Menlo Park, Calif., generally invests between $5 million and $15 million in technology start-ups, and also invests smaller amounts, around $2 million, in what Mr. Khosla calls “science experiments” — green-technology ideas that are so risky and early-stage that they will likely fail. Its goal is to help build technologies that do not require government subsidies to survive and that are economically viable in countries like China and India, Mr. Khosla said. “We are not trying to do incremental things,” Mr. Khosla said. “We are trying to do things that are the stuff of dreams.” Khosla Ventures is increasing its green-tech investment as most venture capitalists have been scaling back on such investments, particularly those that require building factories to produce alternative energy.-NYT

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From Fields to a BPO in Six Months A first-of-its-kind women-only BPO started by ‘Harva’ in a Haryana village is all set to harness the rural talent while changing the rigid mindset of the people, transforming rural economy By Hemlata Aithani TIKLI, Haryana – Just six months ago, Puja, 18, and Bimla Devi, 35, spent their day cooking meals, tending to cattle and working in the field -- the everyday routine of village women across Haryana. Never in their wildest dreams had they imagined that they could one day be sitting in an office working away furiously in front of a computer. Today, this is the remarkable reality of hundreds of women in Tikli and Aklimpur villages. Their agrarian way of life has not changed – they still cut fodder for their cattle and clear the cow dung -- but they are now equally adept at using a computer. They work in a business process outsourcing (BPO) centre which has set up shop in the heart of their village. A firstof-its-kind women-only rural BPO in India, this centre was started by 'Harva', which stands for harnessing value of rural India. "I never thought I would be able to work on a computer. It was a big thing for me. But now working on the keyboard comes so easily to me. We come here for eight hours and do our job. I'm so proud of myself," says Puja. A bumpy ride And how did these simple women get a hang of using a high-tech device like pros? It’s all thanks to a three- to four-month rigorous training course. Bimla can now type 35-40 words a minute, can mine relevant pieces of information from a pool of data and can do data entry perfectly. But accomplishing this was not easy. Getting these women to step out of their homes was no mean feat. It took a lot of persistence to get them to break the rigid cultural and social barriers of their male-dominated society. It was the persuasive powers of Ajay Chaturvedi, a banker, who is a business management graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and an engineer from BITS Pilani, that worked like magic on these women. "When we heard of Ajay's proposal we were elated that we would be trained and get jobs," recalls Puja. So it all began six months back with 500 women, who were selected to be trained in computer basics. "Irrespective of their formal education, they were selected for their ability to read and write, and some basic

understanding of the English language, apart from their willingness to learn," says Chaturvedi. Training was provided free-ofcostandduringthe course they learnt about office culture and etiquette, basic English and communication skills, apart from Microsoft Office computer applications. Initially this was difficult for them, recalls Archana, 29, who has a 12-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. "We were shy, a bit hesitant and Working at the BPO centre has helped enhance the image and status of women in all of a sudden Haryana, a state notorious for its skewed sex ratio and masculinised culture. had to deal with machines and technology. But graduHe also frankly admits that he did BPO model to other villages after ally, with training and motivation, we not employ the women out of char- seeing its success in Tikli, Aklimpur picked up fast," she says. ity. "Women are overall superior and surrounding villages. He has six Mining jobs beings, far more hardworking and other states in mind and has already Their determination not only got serious. They can do a job in half the laid the groundwork to open a centre them through the training but they time that men can. They are good in Bihar and Uttarakhand. were rewarded with short-term em- at multi-tasking and efficient and Enhancing image and status ployment. Out of the 500 women can work at a stretch without taking Working at the BPO centre has initially selected, 200 completed the breaks, whereas men tend to always helped enhance the image and status course and 50 were deployed on vari- take many small breaks during work of women in a state notorious for ous projects. Twenty women are still hours," he says. its skewed sex ratio and masculine working on projects, which involve Chaturvedi proudly gives the ex- culture. It has proved to be their data mining, while 30 more women ample of a 25-year-old woman - a ticket to economic freedom, albeit in are likely to get work as new projects Class VIII graduate - who learnt all a modest way. come in. the characters on the computer keyBimla, mother of a girl who is in While the opening of the BPO has board in just three hours, "something Class VII and a boy in Class II, was created jobs for these rural women, that is not easy even for people like over the moon when she received Chaturvedi emphasises that this is in me," he smiles. her first salary of little over Rs 2,000 no way an NGO project, which aims Interestingly, the BPO centre is (US$1=Rs 44.6). "Whatever little at social welfare and plays less atten- not Chaturvedi’s only rural venture. tion to accountability. He believes This entrepreneur left his lucrative that the only way to better utilise the job with Citi Bank to tap rural talent rural India market is through "socio- and opportunities. He has already capitalistic business models". dabbled in community farming for "This is a business venture with a non-rain-dependent cash crops in conscience and social responsibil- Uttarakhand. He wants to expand ity. I am a capitalist, who would see this project to 10,000 acres across the whether a business model is viable country that will benefit 10,000 farmand profitable or not. After ensuring ers in the next four to five years. He this, the social cause can be served. has also been providing credit to ruIf I create value, create business and ral people through micro-financing. opportunities, it will benefit every- Waste management is his upcoming one, including the villagers," says project. Chaturvedi. But for now, he wants to take this

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JUNE 04 , 2010 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

amount I got, it was mine. It was a result of my hard work and I realised its worth,” she says. Adds Suman Devi, 28, a mother of two, "We feel economically empowered. It gives us a sense of security. We spend the money on ourselves and contribute to household expenditure, apart from saving some for the future." Reena, 18, the most vocal of the lot, gives her take: “I feel city people always think rural women are illiterate and uncultured. But now we have proven them wrong. We are educated and all we need is just an opportunity. Since the villagers know we are getting salaries every month, they too want to send their girls and daughters-in law over here." The last six months spent at the BPO have made them better with time management and multi-tasking. "Earlier we used to spend the entire day doing household chores. But after joining the BPO, we finish all our work by 10am, come to office, work here and go back for the evening chores," says Bimla. Apart from being a source of their financial independence, the BPO centre has become a place for these women to make friends. Now they have their own space amidst 20 computers in this two-room centre nestled among sprawling fields. "We have bonded really well. During our breaks we share our happiness and sorrows, married life, problems and issues, at home or outside. It gives us a lot of emotional support," says Manju Yadav, 25, who has a daughter. All they want now is some sustainable long-term projects, which would guarantee them regular work and income. But for the time being, they are enjoying their new avatar and keying in their success story. -IT


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Indo American News • Friday, June 04 , 2010

BKM: Entertaining the Tamil Way

By Indrani Parthasarathy Bharathi Kalai Manram, Houston (BKM) provides a forum for cultural and social interaction with special emphasis on fine arts, literature & performing arts of Tamil speaking people from India. Over the last three decades, BKM has hosted many cultural events including classical vocal & instrumental music, film /light music, dance, Tamil theater and literary events by well Mahathi, popular Tamil singer, will entertain renowned artists audiences as part of BKM’s Literary and Cultural evening. from India. chestra. Lakshman Sruthi Group with To promote unity and camaraderie in the com- its leading playback singers from munity they conduct picnics, sports Chennai will entertain the audience activities as well.,They have been with Tamil light music. This famous conducting classes in Tamil for chil- troupe is known to have successfully dren in our community with branches conducted over 6,000 shows all over in Pearland, Sugar land, Katy and the globe in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi. Houston Woodlands. BKM’s up coming event is a grand will be entertained by leading singers literary –cultural event called ‘Kodai from the Tamil film industry, such as Kala Kulir Kaatru ‘ (cool breeze in Mahati, Krish, T.M.S.Selvakumar, the summer). The curtain raiser will Malathy & Lakshman. Their concerts be a grand speech by the famous have had packed audiences in other literary personality Abdul Khader. cities around America. The net proceeds from this proHe will speak on ‘Kavithaikiu poi azhagu’ (Lies make poetry beauti- gram will be used to help educate ful). This will be followed by a lively underprivileged children in villages Tamil debate ‘Solvom Velvom’ (we of Tamil Nadu in partnership with the Tamil Nadu foundation. will speak and win) Bharathi Kalai Manram is grateThis would be a showdown contest of women against men led by Abdul ful for the strong continued support Khader. Khader has five decades of from sponsors, donors members and experience in public speaking and financial assistance from Houston has significant achievements in the Arts Alliance through City of Housliterary forum. His unique definition ton. For more details on the June of phrases in every day parlance is 5th event, tickets and membership contact Srikanth on 832-364-9894 sure to captivate the audience. The evening will end only after or Padmini on 713 -829-2040.Visit a concert by Lakshman Sruthi's or- www.bkmhouston.org.

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