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Will India’s Rising Inflation Lead to More Social Unrest?

Earlier this week, India’s opposition parties came together in a rare show of unity to take to the streets in cities across the country By Paranjoy Guha Thakurta (BBC) They protested against the government’s recent decision to raise fuel prices after it scrapped its subsidy of petrol prices in an effort to cut the budget deficit. Supporters of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party joined hands with their ideological rivals among the Communists to paralyse normal life in large parts of the country. Opposition leaders thundered that the government was more concerned more about “the health of its oil companies than of its ordinary people.” The government’s chief economic adviser Kaushik Basu said the revised prices of petroleum products would add less than 1% to the official wholesale price index. But the government’s critics argued that such a calculation did not take into account the “cascading effect” of an increase in transport expenses on account of higher diesel and petrol

costs. Even sections within the ruling Congress party were unhappy with the government’s decision although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh justified the move. “People are wise enough to understand that excessive populism should not be allowed to derail the progress our country is making,” Mr Singh said. “The subsidies on petroleum have reached a level which is not connected to sound financial management of our economy. “So, this decision has been taken to put some burden on the common people, but it is manageable.” High inflation India is not Zimbabwe. Nor has inflation touched triple-digits as it had in the past in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Russia or Israel. However, by the standards of most countries still struggling to get out

Prices of all food items have all gone up considerably.

of recession, inflation in India has been rather high at around 10-11% in recent months. This has prompted the country’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India, to increase interest rates by 0.25%. Another interest rate increase is expected soon, which has far from enthused industry and trade.

Inflation, economists have argued for long, is akin to a tax on less welloff sections of society. When inflation occurs largely because of rising prices of food products (as it has in India of late), it becomes a double burden on the underprivileged since food accounts for more than half the expenditures of the poor.


Over the last seven months, food inflation has ranged between 13% and 20%. Prices of pulses, dairy products, sugar, edible oils, fruits, vegetables and cereals have all gone up considerably. The government acknowledges that the bottom one-third of the country’s 1bn-plus population lives below a contentiously-defined “poverty line”. India is currently mulling the enactment of a new law conferring the right to food to all its citizens. Until the middle of 2008, inflation in India was driven largely by high prices of petroleum products. The country imports over threequarters of its total requirements of crude oil though it has surplus capacity to refine petroleum products (some of which is, paradoxically, exported). continued on page



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Badminton star Saina Nehwal leading the ‘Run for Population Stabilisation’ at Rajpath on World Population Day in New Delhi.

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India in Pictures

Elephants being decorated outside a temple for the Rath Yatra, in A model walks the ramp Ahmedabad, during the Chennai InternaGujarat. tional Fashion Week held in Chennai. Painted storks at Pazhaverkaadu Lake near Chennai, Tamil Nadu.


In the absence of bulls, farmers make their children sit on the ploughs as they plough their fields in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh.

A sadhu offers water to his pet monkey as he waits to register for the annual Hindu pilgrimage, Amarnath Yatra, in Jammu.

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Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010

Will India’s Rising Inflation Lead to More Social Unrest?

continued from page


Whereas kerosene and cooking gas are subsidised, the benefits often do not reach those the subsidies are meant for. Shifting the burden For instance, kerosene is under-priced because it is supposed to be used by the poor for cooking and lighting and also aimed at discouraging the use of wood for burning. However, the fuel is illegally diverted to adulterate diesel and petrol because of price differentials and is smuggled out of the country. India levies high taxes on pe- The strike impacted life in large troleum products - half of the parts of India selling price of petrol and nearly a third of the price paid by consumers 60% of the country’s total cropped of diesel go towards various imposts area is not irrigated and dependent on levied by the federal and provincial a four month-long monsoon during which period 80% of the year’s total governments. However, instead of paring taxes on precipitation takes place. Whereas the ongoing rainy season in India portends a favourable crop output, prices of farm produce may not fall immediately. Prime Minister Singh has conceded that inflation would come down to 5-6% not before December, contradicting earlier official claims that a fall in the inflation rate was imminent. The government is implementing a rural employment guarantee scheme that legally mandates 100 days of unskilled manual labour in a year at a minimum Inflation burdens the daily wage of 100 rupees (or just underprivileged over $2) to every family demanding such work. But high food prices have sharply petroleum products which contribute handsomely to the exchequer, the eroded the real incomes of large secgovernment has chosen to shift the tions of the population. There is a cynical view that the burden on to consumers. Inflation is a consequence of a since the political opposition to the combination of demand-pull and ruling Congress party is in disarray, since the next elections are four years cost-push factors. Over and above higher transporta- away and since sections of India’s tion costs and a poor monsoon in upper middle classes just do not care 2009 contributed to food shortages about the poor, the government will not succumb to pressures to “roll pushing prices up. Despite comfortable stocks of back” prices. But the incumbent elite in Delhi wheat and rice, the distribution of cereals is inefficient; the problem is may be sitting on a dormant volcano, compounded by poor storage facili- if popular protests over rising food and fuel prices erupt the way they ties. India’s farmers are vulnerable since did this week.

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Redirecting Kinetic Energy

The managing director of the Kinetic group on what it took to sell an iconic brand By Veena Venugopal (MINT) It is perhaps an indicator of a gender bias that if you google Sulajja Firodia Motwani, 40, one of the first results that comes up is a listing on (most hot male lists have Bollywood stars and cricketers, not CEOs). So let’s get that out of the way. Motwani is gorgeous, fit and looks a decade younger than she really is (and she is tickled by the eDesibabes reference). But as I learn in the course of our meeting, what makes Motwani really different from other business leaders is not her good looks, but her candour and her ability to clinically analyse a bad situation and choose a rational option. It’s been 13 years since Motwani started working with the Kinetic group, the engineering and twowheeler company that her grandfather H.K. Firodia set up. In that time, Kinetic became a household name, a girl’s first set of wheels, a symbol of freedom—from gears and the necessity of a male rider. Motwani, now managing director, was the face of the company. All seemed great until mid-2008 when, loaded with debts and unable to compete with the big boys of the two-wheeler segment, 80% of the company’s stake was sold to Mahindra and Mahindra. Anyone else would have cloaked this under meaningless, positive-sounding phrases such as strategic redevelopment or changing the paradigm. But Motwani calls it what it is—a disappointment, something that had to be done. “It was difficult,” she says, “and I had to convince the whole family that the best decision would be to have an alliance. If the market changes and you don’t have the right construct to make it in the changed market, then you can’t succeed.” Motwani saw only three options for a mid-sized player in a market dominated by large companies who have very strong bargaining powers: an alliance, becoming a niche player or closing the business. “If we had done nothing,

then we probably would have had to shut it down. Or we would have to be so niche that we become a scooter company only in, let’s say, western India. I thought an alliance was the right way—it would move the company forward. Mahindra is a good partner, they understand the rural market, our customers, dealers and employees would benefit from the deal and we would also profit by being shareholders. So I was convinced this was the best way forward. And I laid it out to the family,” she says. Motwani has spent the last two years changing tack and quietly focusing on building new businesses. So there’s an auto component division, an engineering services arm and an infrastructure company. But what Motwani is most excited about is an announcement that she will make in the next few months—the launch of a company that she guardedly says will bring the Kinetic brand from your garage to inside your home. The word in the market is that this will be a line of home appliances. “But don’t write us out of the automobile industry. It’s in our blood, we will come back to it at some time in the future,” she says. Motwani wants to focus on the new consumer business while her brother, Ajukya, will look after the engineering and infrastructure business. Her two sisters are not involved in the company. Working in the family business was not a non-negotiable condition thrust at her, but one she chose for herself. In 1992, after she completed her MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, Motwani stayed on in the US and worked for Barra International, an investment analytics


company. But working in Kinetic was always part of her plan and she came back to join the company in 1997. She says she did not just sit back and play the role of the owner’s daughter by throwing her weight around. She earned her stripes, spending the first three years looking after the dealer network, travelling 20 days a month all over the country. “Once people know that you are working hard and your agenda is only that the business should succeed, they are quite supportive. As for being a woman, I feel people’s expectations from women are so low that they are overtly impressed if you just manage to make your point intelligently,” she says. But a ready-made career in the family business is not as easy as it looks from the outside. “There are challenges to working in your family business. For one, the buck stops with you. If you screw up, you can’t change your job. Of course, when the company does well, you get the benefit. But if something goes wrong, it affects you directly. It becomes your life,” she says. Though her self-image is professionally driven, she is careful to remind herself that it should not become her life. Nine-year-old son Sidhant is a top priority, as is her fitness regime. “You don’t realize it because you are living it day-to-day. But when I get a chance to sit and look back, then I feel that I have been able to embrace a lot of things; I can multitask—be a good mom, a full-time professional and keep myself fit. I have been able to balance my life reasonably successfully,” she says. Motwani has not let the business troubles of the last couple of years damage her optimism. “I am always saying ‘be positive’, it’s a joke in the family. In the movie No Entry, Anil Kapoor’s character constantly says ‘be positive yaar’ in a very annoying way. My family makes fun of me by mimicking that,” she says. Then Motwani discusses something else not often heard from a business leader—gratitude. “There have been failures and problems, but I still feel fortunate. I tell myself if I can’t be thankful and happy, who can. I don’t have the right to complain, I’ve been given so much,” she says.

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Low Priced Desi Mobile Phones Enter the Market By Arindam Mukherjee

NEW DELHI (Outlook): They’re cool, look good, are feature-packed, and priced incredibly low. After grabbing an instant following in rural India, desi mobile handset brands— names unheard of elsewhere—are seeking to capture a slice of the lucrative urban and semi-urban markets of India’s ever-growing telecom pie. The big global players have reason to be worried: this is one MNC onslaught that is being matched (at unbelievable price points and with unique, if not quirky, features) by Indian wannabes. In the past 18 months, over 10 new homegrown brands—most of them led by first-generation entrepreneurs—have garnered a market share of about 14 per cent, up from just 4 per cent in 2008-09. Micromax, the leader among Indian brands, claims sales of over 10 lakh handsets every month. Another player, Spice, from the B.K. Modi stable, sells about 5-7 lakh handsets a month. Karbonn, Lava, Lemon, Zen...the list is growing rather rapidly. The absence of entry barriers has obviously helped. Handsets are sourced from China without any investment in manufacturing and R&D. According to sources, there are currently 262 registered handset importers in India, while the applications of 30 others are under consideration. As a result, a new brand of mobile phones is coming up almost


U.S. Harley-Davidson Opens First Chopper Outlet in India

HYDERABAD (NDTV): HarleyDavidson, the USA-based heavyweight bike maker opened its first dealership outlet in the country in Hyderabad on Friday. Though the company has identified dealers in Delhi, Mumbai, Chan-

weight and ruggedness. Speaking about the Indian market for heavy weight bikes, he said last year as many as 700 heavy bikes of all brands, excluding Harley-Davidson were sold in the country. Without revealing any figures, Prakash said

digarh and Bangalore, the outlet in Hyderabad - Banjara Harley-Davidson - became the first to start operations. “We will launch our bikes in other cities before the end of this year,” said Anoop Prakash, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson India after the outlet was formally inaugurated by Telugu Film star N T Ramarao. Prakash said the bike is perfectly suitable for Indian roads due to its

they made enough investments in the country to last for the next 20 years. The company has launched 12 variants of the bikes in 883 cc to 1800 cc range in the Indian market. He also said all the bikes are made in the USA and shipped to India. The company started bookings for the bikes since April this year and there is no waiting period. The bikes cost anything between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 35 lakh.

Customers check out Indian brand mobile phones at a Delhi store.

every two months. The result is not surprising. Market leader Nokia has lost almost 12 per cent market share since last year. Another player, Sony Ericsson, has thrown in the towel by vacating the low-end handset market. The attack is forcing MNCs to change their strategies. After losing the game in the low-cost basic phones segment, they are now offering mid-level handsets—aimed at urban youth and executives—at very attractive prices. Some of them have even launched new ranges to retain customers. That’s also because the Indian companies have taken a lead in innovation, something that’s crucial for urban markets. So get ready for a mobile phone that doubles up as a universal remote to run your LCD

TV, DVD player, even the AC. Or one that can mimic motion sensor games like the energetic Nintendo Wii. Or an all-weather phone that produces an ultrasonic humming to drive away mosquitoes. All these handsets are priced under Rs 6,000. “The present options for urban audiences are expensive. We will launch our products at more reasonable price points,” says Naveen Paul, national marketing head for Spice Mobility Ltd. Micromax’s Bling, which comes in a square-and-slider keyboard format, comes dangerously close to Nokia’s X5 01 and Motorola’s Android 2.1 phone Flipout in terms of design concept. Micromax is also talking to operators for bundling its 3G handsets.

Best Security for Athletes, Tourists During Games: Dikshit NEW DELHI: The thousands of visitors, including athletes and tourists, during the October Commonwealth Games will be provided with the best security, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said Friday. Speaking at a seminar “From Commonwealth Games to Olympics” here, she also exhorted the people to showcase Delhi’s rich culture during the Oct 3-14 Games, when around 100,000 visitors are expected to throng the city. “We seek more and more people’s cooperation from across the country for the successful conduct of the Games,” she added. Commenting on the preparations for the Games in the wake of the monsoon’s arrival, she said: “We have already done a lot of work and at the same time we are aware of the rains. There would be no problem in timely completion of the projects.”

Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010

An Indian worker cleans the windows at the newly renovated Tennis Stadium for the 2010 October Commenwealth games in Delhi

“We have to face many obstacles and overcome those obstacles. The people from every part of the country can be a part of this game. Also, if people from all walks of life - painters, theatre artists or volunteers contribute then we will say with full confidence that we will certainly do it,” she said. To a question about the maintenance of the infrastructure coming up for the Games, Dikshit

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said the responsibility lies with the sports ministry and also it can be used for training programmes for the budding athletes. As to whether Delhi was ready to host Olympics, she noted that the city’s potential to host any big event would be “more visible” after the successful completion of the megaevent, which will have the participation of 71 countries.



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GoM to Look into ‘Honour Killings’

The Union government decided to consult the States and set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to suggest changes in the law to deal with the matter. By Smita Gupta NEW DELHI: The Union government, united on the need to deal with the pernicious practice of “honour killings,” but facing division in the Cabinet on how to tackle the issue, on Wednesday decided to consult the States and set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to suggest changes in the law to deal with the matter. Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said after a Cabinet meeting, “We do feel the pressure to bring amendments [to the law} in the monsoon session of Parliament. There is not only social pressure [and] media pressure, but within our own Cabinet and party too; we feel the so-called honour killings have to be brought under the ambit of the law of the land.” At the Cabinet meeting, there was agreement on the fact that the current laws simply cannot deal with such killings. But that was it. Home Minister P Chidambaram’s fervent plea to expeditiously amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act and the Special Marriages Act in the monsoon session did not find favour with many of his Cabinet colleagues. Chidambaram’s point was that the government could not afford to waste time in more discussion, unless it was prepared to see many more girls summarily killed. But his colleagues felt that it was too complex an issue

Others who spoke of the need to exercise caution included Surface Transport Minister Kamal Nath and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, who suggested some changes in the law to deal with such killings specifically. Sources in the government told TheHindu that the crux of the changes proposed focus on placing the

onus of proving innocence on the “khap panchayat” members – and this includes not just the charge of murder, but of being an abettor, or having instigated any other sort of humiliation, including stripping, social boycott, etc. The amendments, if made into law, would also make all “khap panchayat” members associated with a death accountable.

“I’m Not Isolated in Politics”: Jagan

Akhil Bhartiya Mahila Samiti members shout slogans during a protest against honour killings in New Delhi.

to be dealt with hastily, especially as “khap panchayats” that exerted pressure to act against young lovers marrying within the same “gotra,” village or outside the caste, often had social sanction. Minister for Youth and Sports M.S. Gill pointed out that there could

be problems in implementing any changes in the law, given that the Centre was dependent on the State governments to do so. He wanted to know whether when a whole congregation of villagers was involved in issuing orders to kill someone, all of them could be held accountable.

HYDERABAD: On the second day of his controversial yatra, Congress MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy gave indications of a confrontation with the party amid speculation that the rebellious son of former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was all set to float his own party. Resuming his ‘Odarpu (condolence) yatra’ in Srikakulam district, he made political comments unlike yesterday saying, “politics in Andhra Pradesh have deteriorated and touched the nadir in the last ten months since the death of my father”. After unveiling a statue of YSR at Narsannapet, Jagan said, “I am not isolated in politics. How can I be isolated when scores of people like you are behind me even if some political leaders are talking different things about me? “I don’t know how many people were there behind my father. I hope all of them will remain with me whichever turn the state politics may take.” Jagan’s utterances on day two of his yatra, which may now extend to four days because of the inordinate delay in his schedule, were in total contrast to what he spoke on the first day where he confined himself to speaking about the “love and affection” being showered on him by the people. Sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel has been in constant touch with Chief Minister K Rosaiah to take regular feedback on Jagan’s yatra and the comments he has been making.


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Revisit Laws on Quota Exceeding 50 Per Cent: Supreme Court

A Supreme Court bench, however, allowed the continuation of 69 per cent quota for education and jobs for one more year in Tamil Nadu NEW DELHI (PTI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to revisit the laws providing quota in excess of 50 per cent to reserved categories in government jobs and educational institutions. The apex court, however, allowed the continuation of its interim orders for one more year concerning the two States by which it had made operational the 69 per cent quota in Tamil Nadu and restricting Karnataka from exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling as laid down in the Mandal Commission case. A Bench comprising Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar pronounced separate orders by disposing of two batch of petitions and made it clear that it was not expressing any opinion on the validity of the laws. The first batch of petitions had challenged the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of seats in Educational institutions and of appointment or posts in the services under the state) Act, 1993, which

A file photo of medical students protesting against proposed reservation for OBC candidates.

provided 69 per cent reservations. The second batch of petitions had challenged the Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and Appointments or Posts in the Service under the State) Act, 1994, which provided 73 per cent reservations. While dealing with the petitions on Tamil Nadu quota law, the Bench said government will place all quantifiable data available with it before the State Backward Class Commission which will revisit the issue of reservation. Meanwhile, the Bench said the interim orders passed by it protecting 69 per cent quota in jobs and appointments will continue for a year. The court noted that certain parameters laid down by the Supreme Court in Mandal Commission judgement will have to be taken into account by the Tamil Nadu Backward Class Commission if the government wanted to exceed the 50 per cent ceiling. Re-examine laws: Supreme Court says Karnataka In the case of Karnataka, which through an interim order, was restrained from exceeding the 50 per cent quota, the state was also asked to reexamine its law based on the fresh data if it wanted to provide reservations beyond the ceiling. While dispos-

ing of the petitions, the Bench noted that since the matter was brought before the apex court, there had been two amendments in the Constitution pertaining to Artices 15 and 16 providing reservations for OBCs in higher educational institutions and quota for backward classes in promotion respectively. Since the academic year of 199495, the apex court had been every year passing directions to Tamil Nadu government to create additional seats for open category students in educational institutions until the petition challenging the 69 per cent reservation benefits was decided. The petition filed in 1993 by an

NGO had challenged the Constitutional validity of the 69 per cent reservation provided by the state on the ground that the apex court had ruled in the Indra Sawhney (Mandal case) that the percentage of reservation should not exceed more than 50 per cent. The Act providing 69 per cent reservation to different social castes was also placed under the 9th Schedule of the Constitution to make it beyond judicial scrutiny. However, a Constitution Bench in 1997 had held that even those laws placed under the 9th Schedule were liable to be struck down as illegal if it violated the basic features of the Constitution.

“BJP is Still a Party With a Difference”: Claims Party President Nitin Gadkari

DEHRADUN: Claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party is still a party with a difference, its President Nitin Gadkari today said his rise from an ordinary worker to the post of its chief was something that could happen in his party only and not in parties where the post is reserved for one family. “I used to paste posters of BJP in a village of Maharashtra and now I have become the national President of the party. This can happen only in BJP because it is still a party with a difference,” Gadkari said addressing the party’s ‘Janakrosh’ rally here. Such a ‘phenomenal’ rise of an ordinary worker cannot happen in Congress which is still plagued by dynastic rule, he said and threw a challenge to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior Congress leaders to try and head their party. “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee can never dream of becoming the President of the Congress as the post is reserved for


Nehru-Gandhi family,” he said. Gadkari claimed that BJP is still a party with a difference while “Congress is a private limited firm.” “In true sense the internal democracy today exists only in BJP and I am proud to be associated with it,” he said. He said he is just an ordinary worker and was merely trying to hold the responsibility of a captain. “Acaptainissuccessful only when all the members of the team play well with full force,” he said. Gadkari also accused the UPA of not doing anything on the issue of Chinese intrusion into India. In this regard, he said he constituted a high-level party team which recently visited the border areas along China where they found incidents of several Chinese intrusion. Similarly, he said Bangladeshis are intruding into the country from Assam side and the government despite being aware of this is sleeping over the issue as it looks upon them as a vote bank. Criticising the UPA for delaying the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the BJP President asked, “Is Afzal Guru the son-in-law of Congress? Why is he being given special treatment?” Gadkari also slammed the UPA government for curtailing the Concessional Industrial Package to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh by three years and said if the BJP comes to power in 2014, it would restore the package with retrospective effect.


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Woman Blames PM Security for Son’s Death KANPUR(Outlook): A young boy succumbed to head injuries during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week and his mother alleged that the road blockades erected for PM’s security prevented the family from taking him to hospital in time to save him. Usha Sharma, who has become distraught and inconsolable after her only child bled to death, also wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to ensure that a similar tragedy does not befall anyone else in future. “No mother should go through the same tragedy,” a weeping Sharma said today after she wrote a letter to Gandhi in which she also sought a compensation of Rs 10 lakh. The boy’s father Tasdud Hussain said a fax has been sent to the prime minister drawing his attention to the incident. “This kind of thing should not happen to anyone else. If there is a situation like this again, people should be allowed to go for medical treatment and the police should help them,” he said. Usha and her husband alleged that they were stopped from taking their eight-year-old son Aman to hospital

by security personnel who had barricaded all major roads here for the Prime Minister’s visit to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) on July 3 as part of security curbs. The boy had sustained serious head injuries after falling from a height at his home. The Kanpur police on its part told the UP police top brass that there were four other roads through which the family could have taken the boy to the hospital. The couple, residents of Shyam Nagar locality, claimed that though they requested security persons to allow them to commute through Coca-Cola crossing which had been barricaded due to security curbs, they were asked to take a longer route to the nearest hospital. A five-minute journey to the hospital was reported to have taken about 30 minutes. Aman, a student of Class II, bled to death on his way to the hospital, the family said. In her letter to Gandhi, written on July 6, Sharma has requested the UPA Chairperson to make sure that in future security forces do not stop the injured from being taken to hospitals. The Uttar Pradesh police on its part denied knowledge of the incident.

“No police official on security duty is aware of any such incident taking place in Kanpur on the day”, ADG (Law and Order) Brij Lal told newspersons in Lucknow. As per the report sought from the DIG\SSP Kanpur, no police officer on duty has been found having any knowledge of any child being denied permission to reach hospital due to the security curbs and barricading nor anyone asked for taking the injured boy to hospital, Lal said. Also, the reply from the Kanpur police states that the place from where the boy had to be taken to hospital has four other roads through which he could have been taken to hospital, the ADG said, claiming there were no restrictions on these roads. To a question, the ADG said he was fully satisfied with the reply of the Kanpur police over the issue saying that the incident was coming to light only today after a lapse of five days. Additional District Magistrate Shailendra Kumar Singh told PTI that some roads had been closed on July 3 in view of the Prime Minister’s visit to IIT in the city. An inquiry has been ordered into the incident, he said.

Bachchan to Return as Host of India Millionaire Show Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan is back as the celebrity host of Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. MUMBAI: Kaun Banega Crorepati was launched in 2000 and became one of the most watched shows on Indian television, typically attracting 15 million viewers. The actor hosted the first season, but the second season was scrapped midway in 2006 after he fell ill. Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan replaced him in the third season. Bachchan has acted in more than 180 Indian films, over a 40-year period. He remains Indian’s most popular actor. ‘Great honour’ “I’m here to confirm that I am indeed going to be doing Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC),” Bachchan told a packed press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday.

“It’s a great honour, great pleasure,” he said. “Kaun Banega Crorepati is a good television habit. It brings the whole

family together and knowledge is shared in the most interesting and entertaining way.”

The show is likely to go on air by the end of this year or early next year, said Ajit Thakur, marketing head of Sony which is producing the show. With Bachchan as anchor, the show became one of India’s most watched TV programmes as soon as it was launched. Its popularity was due in part to Mr Bachchan, who enjoys mass appeal in India. He was voted the greatest star of the millennium in a 1999 BBC poll. Bachchan continues to act in several films every year and was last seen in Teen Patti (Three Cards) in January, where he starred alongside British veteran Ben Kingsley.

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Indian Woman Delivers in Air, Abandons Baby in Plane Toilet By Harmeet Shah Singh NEW DELHI (CNN):An unmarried Indian woman delivered a baby in the toilet of an international flight and abandoned the infant in the plane’s washroom, police and doctors said Thursday. Cabin crew of the Turkmenistan Airlines rushed the newborn to a hospital as the plane arrived in the northern Indian city of Amritsar on Wednesday, said Varinder Kumar, city police commissioner. The toilet was taken to the hospital with the baby, and surgeons had to cut it away to get the newborn out, said H.P. Singh, a doctor at Amritsar’s Fortis Escorts hospital. The baby’s condition was critical, Singh said, and it might take at least two to three days to recover. The mother admitted to the same hospital was, however, stable, he said. “She was unmarried. It looks like she wanted to get rid of the baby,” Singh said. Police confirmed she was single and plan to question her once she was declared medically fit. Abandoning newborns is an offense punishable up to seven years in jail, Kumar said. “We will see what action can be taken (against her) after the interrogation,” he said. The mother, believed to be age 25, belongs to Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district, according to police. Her flight had originated from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, Kumar said. In largely-conservative India, premarital sex remains a taboo. Last year, India’s federal woman rights watchdog ordered an investigation into reports young would-bebrides were subject to “virginity tests” for a mass wedding. The alleged tests in June last year happened in Madhya Pradesh state controlled by conservative Hindu nationalists who are members of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. But a district magistrate said they were simply “clinical examinations” initiated after one of the brides gave birth at a previous similar event. Earlier this year, India’s top court ruled live-in relationships between adult couples are not a crime. The supreme court also quashed


more than 20 cases against a south Indian actress for her comments on pre-marital sex in 2005, which had sparked angry protests. Actress Khushboo, who uses one name, said her remarks aimed to highlight precautions that partners should take in order to prevent AIDS. More than half of India’s billionplus population is below age 25, officials say. With rapid modernization and a growing economy, the country’s young work force has grown over the past few years. But marriages remain a venerated custom in India.

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Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010


Coffee Chains to Spread the Brew’s Aroma By Rachita Vats MUMBAI (HT): India’s per capita coffee consumption, at a nascent 7580 gm stage, is set to see a push from coffee retail chains that are looking at rapid expansion in the face of 35-40 per cent annual growth. “The total organised coffee market in the country is $140 mn (about Rs 630 crore). There are 1,300-1,400 organised café outlets. We will see a lot of global players coming in even as existing players expand their operations. Growing youth spending, lack of alternative hang-outs, and a growing number of office complexes will drive this market. There is growth potential in tier II and III markets as well,” saidPurnendu Kumar, AVP, Technopak Advisors. The homegrown Café Coffee Day (CCD), Italian Barista Lavazza and Costa have around 1,250 cafes across India. Most of these players are expanding. According to industry estimates, there is scope for another 5,000 outlets close to offices, colleges and malls. Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company’s CCD is expanding in India even as it looks at acquisitions overseas. It recently acquired a Czech Republic-headquartered coffee retail chain and is looking at the Middle East and the Far East. “The foreign business contributes only one per cent to our revenues. By 2015, we expect

this to be at least 10 per cent,” said Gupta. CCD has 16 outlets abroad. In India, eyeing tier II towns, the chain plans to invest Rs 150 crore to increase its current retail strength of 970 stores (70 added in 2010 already) to 1,150 by the year-end. “The growth story cannot be talked about without including non-metro locations,” said Alok Gupta, director, CCD. The company claims that small towns and cities account for two-thirds of

its revenues. Café Coffee Day recently unveiled its new brand identity a more trendy, chatty red logo, with a positioning statement of ‘A lot can happen over coffee’, targeted at youth. The font used for the brand name is casual and youthful. Localisation has been part of CCD’s efforts to pull in consumers. “We are re-creating street food, café-style. It is about appealing to the Indian taste but in a café style,” said Gupta. Food makes up 40 per cent of CCD’s menu. Barista Lavazza, the second largest in organised coffee retail in India,

has just over 200 outlets and plans to launch 45 outlets a year over the next three years. It will set up 12-15 highway stores, with the menu altered to suit the traveller’s appetite. Recently, Barista introduced idli and kaandapoha in its menu. It plans to invest Rs 250 crore in the next four years to take its store count to 500. It has signed pan-India deals with HPCL, IOCL and BPCL for highway outlets. It has marked the Bangalore-Hosur, DelhiChandigarh, Delhi-Mathura, Delhi-Shimla and BangaloreMysore highways for standalone and gas station cafes in 2010. Barista Lavazza grew 25 per cent last year to touch Rs 225 crore, and enjoys 17 per cent market share. Lavazza India has two verticals Fresh & Honest and Barista Coffee Company. Meanwhile, Costa Coffee and Coffee Bean are expanding in major metros, with Costa targeting 300 outlets by 2014. And at least three international brands Coffee Republic (UK), Coffee Club (Australia), and Café Jubilee (Malta), are looking to set up outlets in India. Going forward, “price and local menu will be the driving factors. With tier II & III cities as growth markets, a robust supply chain will be important. The chains will have to have sufficient scale and good supply chain logistics,” concluded Pinakiranjan Mishra, partner and national leader retail & consumer products, Ernst & Young.

Every Morning you start your days with Yoga, Ayurveda and indigenous goods Divya Dantmanjan, Dant Kanti-Tooth paste, Keshkanti (Shampoo) Kanti (Soap), Ojas (Soap), Amala juice, Aloe Vera juice, Divya Pey

Europe Woes Could Hit Recovery of Indian Tech Firms BANGALORE (TOI): India’s leading information technology exporters should report robust quarterly sales, thanks to improving demand from their mainstay financial clients, but Europe’s debt crisis and rising salaries could cap their outlook. Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies and Wipro Ltd face uncertainty on orders from Europe - the second-biggest market for the sector after the United States. “There has been no major impact on volume growth due to the crisis,” said Harit Shah, an analyst with brokerage Karvy Stock Broking. “It could have an impact going forward, especially due to the euro. We will have to watch for what the management has to say.” Indian software services firms are ramping up investments to grow their market share in Europe, which accounts for about a third of their revenue. The U.S contributes more than half. Research firm Forrester said in a report last week that Europe’s volatile

economic situation and uncertainty about corporate IT budgets would result in possible delays or cancellations of some outsourcing projects. Analysts expect Infosys, which sets the tone for India’s $60 billion outsourcing sector and counts BT Group and Goldman Sachs among its clients, to edge up its dollar revenue growth forecast for 2010/11 to 17-19 percent from the 16-18 percent estimated by the company in April. Investors will focus on management comments on deal flows, the outlook for pricing and technology spending by their clients. Growing competition from IBM, Accenture and Hewlett-Packard also pose a risk for the industry, which manages complex computer networks and maintains technology operations for Fortune 500 customers. “The indications we are getting is the pricing environment is stable and improving and the volume growth is good,” said Jayesh Shroff, fund manager at SBI Mutual Fund. “Of course, the macro headwinds

are there. America is still improving, Europe is in trouble. But the demand from corporates has improved.” Last month, Accenture posted better-than-expected results, indicating continued business momentum. Indian IT firms are boosting hiring and have raised salaries by 10 to 20 percent on average to keep staff from being poached by global rivals on strong demand in outsourcing. Brokerage Macquarie said profit margins at Infosys and Tata Consultancy could drop by 200 basis points and 250 basis points, respectively, in the June quarter due to the wage increases. The Indian rupee’s 3.3 percent weakness against the US dollar in April-June should partially counter the impact of salary hikes and euro volatility for Indian software exporters. Shares in Infosys, valued at about $35 billion, have risen 10.2 percent this year and Tata Consultancy is up 3.3 percent, versus the 5.6 percent rise in the sector index and the main index’s 2.1 percent gain.



Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010

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Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010


Partners in Parenthood

Why does a mother’s gender come in the way of guardianship of her child?

By Geeta Padmanabhan A Bill that will give Indian women equal rights as men in adopting children, and becoming guardians of minors, including their own kids, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha recently. That’s right. All these years, moms couldn’t be legal guardians of their own kids. Titled the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2010, it seeks to remove the offending clause from the earlier Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. Once it becomes law, a minor kid’s mother, besides the father, can be appointed its guardian. The GAW Act uses the phrase “either the father or any other person, in case the father is not alive or not fit” to authorise courts to decide guardianship. The amendment will include the mother “so that courts shall not appoint any other person as guardian of a minor if either of the parents is fit”. The PLA 2010 Bill will also make changes to the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956, to give a major Indian Hindu woman of sound mind equal rights as men to adopt (or give away in adoption) a son or daughter. All these years she couldn’t do this. The men-only guardianship laws (Section 6, HAMA, Section 19, GAW Act) grabbed national attention when Githa Hariharan (author) went to court over them. In 1994, she applied to the RBI for relief bonds on behalf of her 11-year-old son. She was told only the father could sign the application. ‘No, madam,’ they said,

The GAW Act uses the phrase “either the father or any other person, in case the father is not alive or not fit” to authorise courts to decide guardianship. The amendment will include the mother “so that courts shall not appoint any other person as guardian of a minor if either of the parents is fit”.

‘legally you can’t be the guardian.’ If she wanted to sign as her child’s guardian, she had to produce a certificate to prove that her husband “was unfit, or that he was dead, or had taken

to vanaprastha”. As long as his lack of fitness wasn’t proved, the child’s welfare rested with the father. Quoting sections of the law, she wrote in 1999 (www.githahariharan.

com): “High courts have delivered the entire package of the minor’s welfare and guardianship to the father... in effect stripping the mother’s right to be an equal partner in parenthood.” Ironical, she fumed. Women can be natural guardians of “illegitimate” children, not “legitimate” ones. We are legally fit to be caregivers, not decision-makers for our children. With help from the Lawyers Collective, she filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court. The petition asked: What disqualifies a mother from making decisions about her child’s welfare? And, if there is no rational basis to this law, what is the sole criterion at work? The mother’s gender? Did this not violate equality promised in the Constitution? On February 17, 1999, the Supreme Court ruled: “The father by reason of a dominant personality cannot be ascribed to have a preferential right over the mother in the matter of guardianship.” Asked Githa: “Are we so blind that we need the law to tell us a mother has the right to be her child’s acknowledged guardian?” After that, several judgments went the mothers’ way, says lawyer Uma Ramanathan, reminding us of cases relating to Jijabain Vithalrao Gajre, Panni Lal, Anjali Anil Rangari and Kumar Jahgirdar. In 1960, the Supreme Court ruled that a father’s guardianship of his minor children was not a fundamental right. Courts now decide cases around the beneficial interest of the minor.


Is it time for a guardian-theme party? Well, “even if the minor is in wrongful confinement or taken away without the mother’s consent, she will have to go to court where the minor resides,” points out Uma. Courts tend to leave the custody to the parent who has the child at the time of starting the proceedings. And the child becomes a major long before the case is settled. Orders for protection / maintenance for minors are difficult when the child and the father are in different countries. “Generally, in all mutual consent divorces, the mother becomes a legal guardian only if the father agrees. If not, she has to go to him for no-objection for a passport in the child’s name, and documents for the child’s education.” “The laws today are not (completely) gender-equal. There are questions about surrogate mothers and donorrelated issues,” says Uma. “That, of course, is a different ball game.” Still, let’s wish the new Bill a smooth passage. WHAT WOMEN WANT • Decisions about her future should not be based on fear of losing access to her child • Mother’s signature should count on application forms for school / college, passport and medical access • Mothers should be able to invest in children’s names, make legal decisions about their financial welfare • Married women should be able to adopt children, and give them in adoption


Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010


How Technology Impacts People Skills

By D. Murali CHENNAI (Hindu): Though not a new book, ‘Talk to the Hand’ by Lynne Truss (www. should make an interesting reading especially to those suffering from ‘the utter bloody rudeness of everyday life’ arising from new technology. When people look for a piece of technology to blame for modern manners, it is often television that cops the lot, but we forget what an impact the telephone had when it was first introduced, the author reminds. With the advent of the phone, people could choose to conduct real-time private conversations with people who weren’t there, she adds. Among the many ‘phone’ fears that were voiced in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, this alarmist warning came from the editor of a Philadelphia newspaper: he cautioned his readers ‘not to converse by phone with ill persons for fear of contracting contagious diseases.’ But why is it that a phone wields so much power? Because a phone conversation, being both blind and one-to-one, is a more intense and concentrated form of communication than talking face-to-face, reasons Truss. “Inevitably, then, when a phone call competes for attention with a real-word conversation, it wins. Everyone knows the distinctive high-and-dry feeling of being abandoned for a phone call, and of having to compensate – with quite elaborate behaviours – for the sudden half-disappearance of the person we were just speaking to.” Mobile rudeness Conceding that mobile phone behaviour can often be rude to others, does the answer lie in switching on a tape recorder and placing it in front of the person speaking, or in picking up their phone and throwing it out of the window? Wait, rudeness is not in answering a mobile phone, because answering a ringing phone is a kind of conditioned reflex that few of us can resist, the author explains. She agrees, however, that inconsiderateness is a proper cause of concern, and in particular highlights a new development of relations in public: that group pressure no longer operates in the way that it once did. “‘Whatever happened to consideration?’ we cry.” For, the prerequisite of consideration, as Truss lays down, is the ability to imagine being someone other than oneself. The craving instinct To those who despise new technology, it can be shocking to know that interactivity with machines and virtual worlds is believed to be

making people smart in important ways. It seems the neurotransmitter called dopamine (associated with craving) responds with high excitement when there is seeking and searching to be done, as the book informs. The craving instinct triggers a desire to explore, as if the dopamine system says, ‘Can’t find the reward you were promised? Perhaps if you just look a little harder you’ll be in luck – it’s got to be around here somewhere.’ Citing Steven Johnson’s ‘Everything Bad is Good for You,’the author says that intelligence nowadays is all about application, instead of IQ. It is the ability ‘to take in a complex system and learn its rules on the fly.’ Screen-bound lives Truss doesn’t accept, though, that the Internet and social networking applications are ‘augmenting our people skills,’ as Johnson asserts. True, each of us has a virtual social group in our email address book, but the group has no existence beyond us; it is not a ‘group’ at all, she protests. “True, hot information whizzes around the world with the speed of supersonic gossip, but, crucially, we can choose to ignore it.” Many aspects of our screenbound lives, avers the author, are bad for our social skills because we get accustomed to controlling the information that comes in, managing our relationships electronically, deleting stuff that doesn’t interest us. “We edit the world; we select from menus; we pick and choose; our social ‘group’ focuses on us and disintegrates without us.” But why should this be a matter of concern? Because of the confusion that arises when we step outdoors and discover that other people’s behaviour can’t be deleted with a simple onestroke command or dragged to the trash icon, the author observes. She laments that sitting at screens and clicking buttons is a very bad training for life in the real world. Limitless self-absorption In the author’s ‘grand theory of social alienation in the early twenty-first century,’ we are kings of click-and-buy, capable of customising any service, publishing on the Net, communicating through multiple platforms, and accessing tonnes of favourite entertainment content. Disturbingly, the effect of all this limitless selfabsorption is to make us ‘isolated, solipsistic, grandiose, exhausted, inconsiderate, and antisocial,’ Truss warns. “In these days of relative affluence, people are persuaded to believe that more choice equals more happiness, and that life should be approached as a kind of happiness expedition to the shops. This attitude is not only paltry and degenerate, but it breeds misery and monsters…”

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Briton to Try Drinking Water Gadget in India LONDON (PTI): A gadget that purifies and converts muddy water into potable water has been designed by a British student who will introduce it in India over the summer before producing it on a mass scale. Oxfordshire-based student James Bartlett, 23, has designed the cheap and simple way to purify muddy drinking water without electricity. The gadget reportedly has the potential to

The gadget, named BlueDrop, works by harnessing the Venturi effect, which is used in carburettors to suck petrol into an engine’s air stream. In Bartlett’s design, dirty water passing through a tube will suck in chlorine, which cleans it enough to make it drinkable. He said early experiment showed it worked so well that, once perfected, it could make River Thames water clean enough to drink. His invention, which he designed while studying a BSc in Industrial Design at Brunel University, was runner-up in the Xerox Innovation Award, presented to students who have come up with the best new inventions. Bartlett said: “When this has been done before, it has had thousands of complicated metal parts to make it work, which you cannot get in rural Sisters and nuns drink the water from dispensing India because the cost is too kiosk after the inauguration at Water Purification Plant high. This project has been at St. John’s Medical College Hospital Campus, in about designing one as cheap Bangalore. as possible which needs only three parts.” provide millions of people across the world He will spend his summer in India, getting access to safe drinking water. feedback from people and perfecting the Adding chlorine is one of the cheapest design before it is produced on a mass scale and safest ways of disinfecting dirty water, in India. but previous attempts have been either too He said: “We want to turn it into a viable expensive, or have not mixed the gas in the business which we can set up quickly if it right amounts. works. I have tried it in the laboratory and I Bartlett’s invention has been to create a have been testing it in my sink at home. I’m chlorination unit that costs just 1.35 pounds prepared to give drinking river water a go, but (Rs. 100 approx) to manufacture, and he is a little bit more work needs to be done before now waiting for a patent. I would want to try. If it works, it could save thousands of lives around the world.”


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h u m a n r i gh t s

Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010


A Mother’s Fight for Justice Despite all that she has endured, Neelam Katara remains a picture of stoic determination and motherly affection By Vasudha Mehta (IT) A smiling photograph of her elder son Nitish adorns the front wall of Neelam Katara’s drawing room, at her quaint little railway bungalow on Chelmsford Road. It is nearly a decade since Nitish was murdered, and in the time since then she has endured much that should have wiped the smiles off her own face. But Mrs. Katara has sustained her will and determination through the years. In the early hours of 17 February, 2002, Nitish was burned to death mercilessly by Vikas and Vishal Yadav - brothers of Bharti Yadav, the daughter of U.P politician D P Yadav. This was because the Yadav brothers disapproved of Bharti’s relationship with Nitish. It was Neelam who identified her son’s badly charred body, dumped in the bushes at Khurj, 80 kilometers from Kavi Nagar, the venue of the Ghaziabad wedding he had gone to attend on the preceding fateful night. A plain reading of the facts of the case, and the prosecution will tell you that a protracted legal battle initiated by Nitish’s spirited mother lasted eight years (and still counting), at the end of which the two accused, Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav were found guilty by the trial court of Nitish’s gruesome murder, and each given a life sentence. But the proceedings and the verdict are only one side of the story; they do not adequately recount Neelam’s experience with the justice system, and the things she endured while fighting this long battle for justice. Neelam Katara is the daughter of a police officer from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. Her maternal grandfather was a judge, and her paternal grandfather was a public prosecutor. But she herself knew very little about the intricacies of law, and neither was she inquisitive to learn about the justice systems and its workings during her near-perfect and well-protected childhood and married life thereafter. Equally, she did not know that at the age of 50, her life would take a sharp turn that required her to understand the system’s harsh realities. Nitish didn’t return home on the night of 16 February. At first, Neelam did not worry, thinking that the young man would be enjoying himself at his friend’s wedding. But then she received a call from Bharti, who conveyed to Neelam her fear that “her brothers had taken Nitish away somewhere”. After making several phone calls to Nitish’s friends to trace his whereabouts, Neelam finally decided to head to Kavi Nagar (Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh) herself and lodge a complaint and an F.I.R with the police over there, in which she pin-pointed her suspicion towards Bharti’s brothers. “At this point, I didn’t realise that it would have been better had I lodged this complaint at a police station in Delhi, that would have saved me the hassles of getting this case transferred from the Uttar Pradesh trial courts to the trial courts in Delhi - something which ultimately happened in August

2002 following my appeal to the Su- account that was allegedly created preme Court. I appealed because after by Bharti (although she later denied witnessing first-hand the amount of this). The print-outs of those mails political clout and influence exerted were not considered healthy evidence by D P Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, it in the court. Neelam, who now unwas apparent that the judges in those derstands such things much better courts could be intimidated and influ- than she did at first, thinks that the enced, something which I still stand investigative agencies should have by”, recalls Mrs. Katara. This would made the effort to trace the IP address be only the first of her many lessons of the sender of those e-mails. The political interference was also from the trial. In November 2002, hearings in the high. When the trial was entering a case began. Like many others, Nee- crucial phase in end 2003, the Uttar lam’s impression of the courts was Pradesh Government suddenly withobtained from Bollywood depictions drew the first public prosecutor given of courtrooms and their processes. by them to Mrs. Katara in this case, In reality, of course, the courts are the criminal law expert S K Saxena. nothing like that. And after umpteen Katara is certain this was done under visits to all types of courts, Neelam pressure from the UP government, now carries no illusion of how they of which D P Yadav was then a part. look like ... “The actual courtrooms Subsequently, for three years, D.PYaresemble nothing like the Bollywood dramas show them to be”, she remarked. Bharti Yadav and Nitish’s ‘honour killing’ Bharti Yadav’s family was opposed to her romance with Nitish, because he wasn’t from the same caste as theirs. But Neelam would never have guessed it would get them riled enough to kill him, in the name of their family honour. The Kataras are a well-educated family, and caste and creed were not important to them. Mrs. Katara says, “I never thought that Nitish would be killed, we never taught him to be speak loudly or distinguish amongst people on the basis of any caste or creed, we “I didn’t realise that it would have been better had I lodged this complaint at a taught him to trust people police station in Delhi, that would have and that is why perhaps saved me the hassles of getting this despite knowing the fact case transferred from the Uttar Pradesh that Bharti’s brothers were trial courts to the trial courts in Delhi”, disapproving of his rela- says Neelam Katara tionship with her, he agreed to accompany them that night.” “There has been a surge in the dav maintained before the courts that number of ‘honour killings’ of late, he did not know where his daughter but these are nothing new,” says Mrs. lived (rendering the summons to her Katara. “They continue to happen in useless), although he had himself vishordes in every small town in Uttar ited her in the UK during this time. Even after the Yadavs were conPradesh every week and it is the castebased segregation in the matrimonial victed in 2008, the political dealing adverts in our city’s papers which is has not stopped. The Mayawati Govfurther adding to this divide in this ernment in Uttar Pradesh has moved country. Even educated people like a special petition in the Ghaziabad us, who were previously unaware Metropolitan Magistrate’s court askof their castes, are suddenly getting ing the court in public interest to ‘drop awakened to it ... and such ‘honour all cases against D P Yadav thus far’ killings’ will only increase in days to apparently because the man has had a change in heart now and serves come,” she warns. The prosecution was mundane, and the people of the state with utmost didn’t make full use of the informa- dedication! Any regrets? tion it could have obtained. And it Does Mrs. Katara have any regrets, took Neelam Katara a while to realise this. She now thinks that the Public after all these years of the trials? Prosecutor and the judges should “Yes,” she answers. “One of them have done more - for instance, by is that I wasn’t allowed to be there directing the investigating authorise when Nitish’s friends were being to exercise the power of the cyber examined as witnesses. One of the laws and trace the password to Nit- friends was a police officer’s son, ish’s hotmail ID. The personal emails and the other was the son of a retired from Bharti in that account would High Court judge ... both of them, in have shed further light on this case. their respective statements, in front Even after Nitish’s death, his younger of the judge, feigned ignorance on brother received some mails from an the circumstances that may have led

to Nitish’s death. I wish I was there at those moments - to see them eyeto-eye, perhaps they would have felt ashamed if not regretful at letting a friend like Nitish down. I also regret not having hired a private lawyer in the initial days, as that left me completely wondering what was going on in the case when I was unable to attend the witness examinations initially.” “The other regret I have is that I trusted the Public Prosecutors blindly, and believed everything that they said or suggested till it became too apparent that the new Special Public Prosecutor K K Singh given to us in January 2004 was not on our side. Insensitively, he just kept on telling me, ham appko bhi London lekar chalenge, and the first thing he did after being appointed our PP was that he moved a petition to the judge asking the court ‘to drop Bharti Yadav as a witness in this case’ - which was unacceptable to me, as her testimony was of crucial significance in this case and that’s the day I started running around to find an able private lawyer who could pursue this case on my behalf. But hiring a private lawyer also meant spending a lot of money as every hearing requires me to pay the lawyer appearing on my behalf.” Using the law against justice As I heard Mrs. Katara speak, I wondered why it takes so long to finish a case in India, despite the initial statements given to the police - the Yadav brothers confessed to murdering Nitish, and even Bharti Yadav had confessed to her relationship with Nitish. All of whom back tracked when it came to speaking up in front of the magistrate, but why were their statements not admissible in the court as evidence, I wondered? The answer - under Section 161 of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code, though the police has the power to examine witnesses and record statements in writing, the same is not acknowledged as evidence in the court of laws, based on the view that the police can force anyone to make any statement and it is only a statement made by the witness/accused in front of a judge that counts as admissible court evidence (Section 164 of CrPC).

This makes me wonder whether the police should examine witnesses in the first place if nothing they do counts in the courts! The system is also easy to exploit, and quite blatantly too. If an accused person is wealthy, then he holds the power to prolong the case as much as he wishes, simply by relying on ‘adjournments’. Also, a witness can delay the case as much as they want by refusing to turn up and be examined. In this case, it took over three years (from July 2003 to November 2006) for the courts to bring Bharti Yadav back to India from the UK and examine her as a key witness in this case. Despite all that she has endured, Neelam Katara remains a picture of stoic determination and motherly affection, who advises young people not to get cynical of the way things work in India. She advises everyone to speak up against injustice and not give up so easily. “Every time I go to the courts, I realise that I am more fortunate than millions in this country who don’t have the financial resources or the mental strength to bear through these long judicial trials. In their fear to not lose all wealth and all of their peace of mind during the course of fighting protracted long legal battles, most people give up. I am glad I did not,” she says. I can’t help but ask what has kept her going all these years to sustain her fight? “I don’t know,” she said. “The moment I saw Nitish’s badly burned body in those bushes, I had made up my mind that the people who committed this should not go unpunished. I am doing just that. Every day I wake up to the thought of ‘what if’ the Yadav brothers get bailed out, and thus, my battle for justice continues ...”, she concluded. By her side, in spirit and support are her 80-year old parents, her younger son Nitin and her trusted legal counsel Kamini Jaiswal. Her perseverance is a sign of her enduring love for the child who was cruelly snatched from her. But for Neelam Katara, this legal battle is no longer just about the court case around her son. Seeing justice done in this instance has become a mission that sustains her life.

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Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010

life & style

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In Ambitious India, Workers Add Social Savvy to the Skill Set

They call her India’s Miss Manners, and she is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar industry to help Indian companies improve workers’ social skills. By Emily Wax NEW DELHI (ST): They call her India's Miss Manners, and she is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar industry to make Indian companies more competitive globally by improving their workers' social skills. Pria Warrick has become the guru of graces for a new generation of call-center techies, chief executives, animation artists, MBAs and Bollywood film stars, all of whom are helping drive India's rise as a world economic power but sometimes without a certain polish. "Backs straight! Napkins on lap. Great. Class, cut your burger neatly," Warrick told a class of young Indian professionals, methodically performing fork-and-knife surgery on a McAloo Tikka patty — a spicy potato burger from McDonald's — as practice for dining in Europe and the United States. Warrick's school is part of a fastgrowing trend in corporate India to remedy what analysts and recruiters call a serious impediment to India's global economic goals. Although many skilled Indian workers have degrees from top universities, analysts said they are often jaw-droppingly inept at the basics of international workplace etiquette: dressing properly, hosting a meeting, making inoffensive

small talk and even using cutlery. Fearing that such deficiencies are hurting India's leadership potential, companies are spending millions of dollars on corporate finishing school for tens of thousands of workers. In many cases, those workers are products of India's burgeoning middle classes who are the first generation in their families to enter the nation's booming and globally minded economy. The outsourcing giant Infosys built a Global Education Center in the southern city of Mysore, teaching more than 50,000 graduates leadership and corporate manners, or "soft skills." The company has also partnered with 400 engineering schools to train 4,400 faculty members to teach more than 80,000 students how to be "industry-ready" when they graduate. "Before my training, I actually lost a client because I barely talked during a presentation," said Srikantan Moorty, vice president of education and research at Infosys, who has helped design the company's soft-skill classes. "The report was technically correct. But I was so shy that it was hard to seem persuasive." Tata Consultancy Services, the country's largest information technology company, has an in-



India Miss Manners Priva Warrick is fast becoming the guru of graces for the new generation of Indians

house training center along with an affirmative-action program. It has joined with the government to help economically disadvantaged students improve their office and leadership skills. There are also thousands of neighborhood storefront corporate manners institutes holding packed

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classes on weekends in cities and small towns across India. In tiny offices, they offer "Spoken English" and "Personality Grooming." The schools are unregulated, and the quality of the programs varies. Many are run by hucksters preying on the ambitious and gullible. Still, analysts estimated that more than half of India's 3 million graduates go to finishing schools, making it a growing, $60 milliona-year industry. "Everyone sees an opportunity right now in finishing schools, from the big corporations to the retired teacher who thinks they have wisdom to share," said Pallavi Jha, managing director of Walchand Dale Carnegie Finishing School, which teaches the art of winning friends and influencing people in an emerging Indian economy. In the northern city of Varanasi, flight attendants and customerservice trainees filled the Arora School for Spoken English, Body Language and Accent Training. One student, Rehan Ahmed Khan, 22, said his family has been in the sari-making business for generations. He said he had paid $200 for a four-month course. “With this school, I feel I can go anywhere and expand my business to the rest of Asia to America,” Khan said. “I now know to always

smell fresh, never arrive late to a meeting with internationals and look people in the eye. Plus, these skills make me cool.” In New Delhi, Warrick works in a charming bungalow. She has starred in her own reality-TV show in Britain, on which she took four ill-mannered, binge-drinking young Britons to India to teach them poise and respect. Her classes cover everything from dining etiquette to avoiding questions that are acceptable in India but inappropriate elsewhere, such as asking a person’s salary or weight. She teaches that it is fine to maintain common Indian habits such as respect for elders and standing when a boss enters the room. But she counsels that other customs, such as recommending skin-lightening cream to colleagues, might cause problems. “I learned how to power-dress, wear a tie and not wear my trousers so high — they can be dropped to the waist,” said Kabir Nayar, 30, a technology executive.Warrick said that her business once catered to “girls marrying rich men” but that once India’s economy took off, she was deluged with corporate students. “In India, we have the brains,” she said. “But when it comes to soft skills, we are way behind.”

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Mug Shot, Anyone? Want your picture on a coffee mug? Now, it’s just a click away By Prince frederick (Hindu) Now, designing personalised photo albums, calendars, posters, mugs and T-shirts will take only a little effort. Pixdelite, a Chennaibased start-up company, offers free software (www.pixdelite. com) that helps just about anyone create photo-based products on a computer. Though it performs the functions of a photo-processing software, it does not demand the training that’s often necessary to use it efficiently. After feeding in the photos, the user can direct them to select pages of the album / calendar or let them fill the pages automatically. The more creative processes that follow are just as simple, thanks to a tray of layouts, frames, colour samples and cliparts at the user’s disposal. The photo-processing section offers commands that can be executed fast, often at the single click of a mouse. The procedure for designing posters, mugs and T-shirts is almost similar. Up to the point of creating these

products online, the pixdelite software functions like most other free online photo-organising software. The pixdelite team comes into the

picture when the user wants a hard copy or a tangible replica of the album, calendar, poster, T-shirt or mug he has designed. When he places

an order by sending in his design via an automatically generated PDF format, the pixdelite team unlocks the encrypted PDF file, and turns the designs into tangible products. At this stage, the user becomes a pixdelite client seeking its services. Each product comes with a variety of specifications and prices. For example, the photo album can be of different materials and sizes. Prashant Nichani of pixdelite says: “There is definitely a market for these products. With so many digital cameras available at reasonable prices, people get easily bitten by a photo-album bug.” And, he could be right pixdelite competes with about half-a-dozen Indian companies providing similar services zoomin, itasveer, picsquare and canvera.

Now, A Car for the Blind

LONDON (PTI): Scientists are inching closer to develop a special car, which can be driven by blind motorists. The unique car, expected to be built as early as next year, will be equipped with a new technology that would

said they hope to demonstrate a prototype of the car in 2011, the Telegraph reported. “We’re exploring areas that have previously been regarded as unexplorable,” said Dr. Mark Maurer, president of the National Federation

ible.” The vehicle is based in Virginia Tech’s 2007 entry into the DARPA Grand Challenge, a competition for driverless vehicles financed by the Defence Department’s research arm. The blind organization was impressed by the invention, saying it is part of a broader mission, which will change the way people perceive the blind. Mark Riccobono, executive director of The NFB’s Jernigan Institute, said: “This will change when people see that we can do something that they thought was impossible.”

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help a sightless person to get behind the wheel. The technology, called non-visual interfaces, will guide its driver through traffic by transmitting information about nearby vehicles or objects. Vibrating gloves or streams of compressed air directed behind the wheel are among the options for communicating the information needed to avoid collisions and reach a destination. The National Federation of the Blind of the U.S. and Virginia Tech, which are jointly developing the car,

of the Blind. “We’re moving away from the theory that blindness ends the capacity of human beings to make contributions to society.” Maurer first came up with the idea that the blind could drive about a decade ago when he launched the organisation’s research institute. “Some people thought I was crazy, and they thought, ‘Why do you want us to raise money for something that can’t be done?’ Others thought it was a great idea,” Dr. Maurer said. “Some people were incredulous. Others thought the idea was incredINDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, july 16 , 2010 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010


Giving a Voice to the Voiceless in India

By Nilanjana S Roy NEW DELHI (NYT): Baby Halder became a writer between domestic chores. She wrote, hesitantly, in the pages of an exercise book given to her by her employer, an anthropology professor. In intervals snatched between washing dishes, cleaning floors, making tea, she set down her story, one slow, compelling paragraph at a time. Nalini Jameela, a sex worker, encountered writer’s block after one of her clients came across a line in an early draft of her book: “I am 49 years old.” She had told him she was only 42. Jameela lost the client and, briefly, her nerve. Anjum Zamrud Habib became a writer in the Tihar jail, where she kept a journal during the five years she spent in prison on charges, later dropped, of supporting terrorism in Kashmir. Sister Jesme, then the principal of a Roman Catholic school, says she was threatened with psychiatric treatment after she accused her religious order of exploiting women. She wrote “Amen: The Autobiography of a Nun,” while defending herself against her superiors. Over the last four years, these slim, starkly told memoirs and others of their kind have become a body of

work. They’ve given a voice to women used to being voiceless, a face to women who are usually invisible in today’s India. This year will see the publication of Habib’s “Prisoner Number 100,” and second works by Jameela and Halder. The languages are different Urdu, Malayalam, Bengali, though all have been translated for an Englishlanguage audience. But the experiences shared by the servant, the sex worker, the prisoner and the nun expose the deep fault lines of urban India. “What do I do with my maid?” asked the woman next to me at the literary festival. Hers was an egalitarian household. She had come with her child’s nanny to hear Halder read from her book “A Life Less Ordinary.” The problem was the seating arrangements. The woman did not want

to ask her maid to sit on the carpet in front not when they’re here to listen to another servant read. But the invisible but rigid code of class that rules all of us in India makes both maid and employer uncomfortable at the thought of sitting next to each other, in the same

row of chairs. There’s a Hindi phrase I’ve heard all my life growing up here: Apni aukat me raho- know your place. Halder, by the simple act of writing her story, has redefined that place forever. But four years after the book that


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organizer, scandalized that we would ask. Instead, in the red-light districts of Old Delhi, the sex workers staged their own, parallel procession. Separated from them, safely sanitized, we marched for the rights of sex workers to be treated like us. In 2007, the publishing house where I was chief editor agreed to publish the English translation of Jameela’s memoirs, and I accompanied her on book tours. Dignified in her crisp saris, Jameela would hold her own in interactions with curious, occasionally judgmental, readers and reporters. At one news conference, a young woman asked her how she could “sleep with men for money,” and whether she had lost all her dignity “as a woman.” From across the room, Jameela caught my eye and grinned. “I wonder,” she said, “why no one thinks of the profession of wife in that way as a woman who sleeps with one man, often for money or shelter. She could get better rates with a broader client base.” Three years later, waiting for Jameela’s second book to come out, I realize how much our brief conversations have stayed with me. I think of the emphasis she places on owning and controlling one’s life, on feminine power either sexual or financial, preferably both. There are two things these women have taught me. One is obvious. Baby Halder, Nalini Jameela, Anjum Zamrud Habib and Sister Jesme demonstrate the power of raising one’s voice against the injustice of being imprisoned for being on the wrong side of a long-raging conflict, against abuse, against deep-seated prejudices and class barriers. The other is less apparent. As Jameela once told me: “Don’t wait for people family, society, your man to give you respect. Take it.”

started it all, Halder is still a servant, if a more privileged one. She has a passport with much-stamped pages. She has completed a second, soon-tobe-published book. “There are so many women like me, like the old Baby Halder, who have their own stories, their own thoughts,” she said in a recent interview. “But to know what they think, you must take time.” Despite the support of her publisher and her employer, house-cleaning still takes up most of her time. The writing squeezes into the corners. Shortly after Sister Jesme’s “Amen” was released, her superiors said that she was mentally ill and rejected her allegations of sexual abuse by priests. But to her audiences during book readings, Sister Jesme came across as calm, forthright, credible. “Jesus has helped me,” she would say, flashing her trademark thumbsup. In a country where sexual abuse is rarely addressed, “Amen” sent many skeletons rattling out of the closet. “I want to give the voiceless a voice,” Sister Jesme says.And she does.Acollective sharing begins, tentatively, as women raise their own experiences of abuse but it begins. Our hypocrisy is another matter. A few years before I met Jameela, I attended a rally for the rights of sex workers and people with AIDS. It was held at India Gate, the symbolic heart of government in Delhi. There were college students, doctors, human rights workers — but no sex workers. “They can’t march with us!” said an


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When Friendships Fail… Sometimes even the best of friends fall out. Try to get over the grief and move on By Shiela Kumar It could be a combination of factors — from a fight over something or someone to the lack of need for each other. But, the truth is, the best of friends sometimes stop being so;

spend time with others, (together and individually), but as the bond grows stronger, it can, unwittingly, become the two vs. the rest. Secure in their own circle-of-two, they do not notice this, or if they do, do not care.

GOOD TIMES Can end unexpectedly

sadly, even turn foes. A yawning chasm in friendship does not develop suddenly; it’s just that the warning signs either went unnoticed or were ignored. Strangely, it’s only in hindsight that they realise that the signs had been there all along. When a good friendship ends, it causes a lot of grief to those involved; the intensity may even match or exceed the pain of a romantic rift. This is because, over the years the friendship becomes a habit — a pleasurable one at its best, a comfortable one at its most prosaic. Hanging out with the friend is as natural as spending time with family. Attempting a new venture, discussing interests… all become doubly pleasurable when it’s with a friend. A close friendship also nurtures a closed circle of two. The two do

A family affair Certain friendships extend to families — the freedom to go to each others’ homes; the invitations to family functions; and in some cases, even becoming a confidante to the friend’s family. The progression seems most natural. Just as sacrifices in the relationship seem. When the friendship is at its strongest, nothing given up for the other is too big a sacrifice. It could alternate among commonplace, vital, important and crucial — such as settling for a film one is not to keen on; attending an event with the friend who’d rather avoid it; giving up on something or someone just because the friend insists… And then, one not-so-fine day, life comes calling. And, the friendship falls apart. The cause of the rift are many.

It could be because of something the friend said or did, or failed to say or do — trust leaves. In some cases, a new friendship does this one in. In quite a few other cases, best friends simply outgrow each other. A lifetime of shared secrets, interests and activities suddenly seems pointless; spending time with the other becomes a painful chore. Both friends want to move on… And, there are anxieties to be dealt with, after the fall out, because in most instances, it is akin to losing a dear one from the family. There is anguish, there are tears, and a sense of intense loss. Nothing anyone can say can lessen the hurt, the pain. But, they can gradually get over it, and meet and greet without any awkwardness. Of course, it needs a little work. And, as the cliché goes time really is a great healer. POINTS TO REMEMBER * Think long and hard about the failed friendship, and evaluate * Don’t brood. It was a rich relationship; it gave you a lot — remember the good ones, let go of the bad * Decide if you want to mend the rift. If so, ask yourself if what you need to do is asking too much of you *If you have decided to mend the rift, give the relationship a trial period of one month. If old problems return, well… * Hold onto the ‘move on’ mantra. If the friendship was doing more harm than good, it really was time to end it. Sentiment is all very well, but life is all about change *Forgive the transgressions in the friendship. Forgive your friend, forgive yourself, move on…

Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010

21 Life Lessons Learned by Age 26 Here is a list of 26 life lessons I have learned thus far at the age of 26. I pass this list on to you with the simple hope that it makes you think. Sometimes thinking about your life and sorting out what you have learned is just as important as tackling a new venture. 1. Being an adult can be fun when you are acting like a child. 2. Love has nothing to do with looks, but everything to do with time, trust, and interest. 3. Laughing, crying, joy and anger… All are a vital. All make us human. 4. The greatest truths in life are uncovered with simple, steady awareness. 5. Greed will bury even the lucky eventually. 6. Bad things do happen to good people. 7. Paving your own road is intelligent only if nobody has gone exactly where you are going. 8. Uncertainty is caused by a lack

Yuck: Few People Correctly Cover Coughs, Sneezes By Mike Stobbie

NEW YORK (AP): The good news is that three of every four people try to cover their cough or sneeze, in at least a token attempt to prevent germs from flying through the air.The bad news is that most people - about two of three - used their hands to do it. “When you cough into your hands, you cover your hand in virus,” said study author Nick Wilson, an associate professor of pub-

lic health at the Otago University campus in Wellington. “Then you touch doorknobs, furniture and other things. And other people touch those and get viruses that way,” he explained. Health officials recommend that people sneeze into their elbow, in a move sometimes called ‘the Dracula’ for its resemblance to a vampire suddenly drawing up his cape. But only about 1 in 77 did that. Using a tissue or handkerchief is


another preferred option, but only about 1 in 30 did that. Coughing into hands might be fine if everyone promptly and thoroughly disinfected their hands afterward. A 2007 study by Harris Interactive done in public restrooms suggested that about one in four people don’t even wash their hands after going to the bathroom. It found that men were the worst, with one out of three failing to wash up.


of knowledge. Hesitation is the product of fear. 9. Time heals all wounds… regardless of how you feel right now. 10. Most of the time what you are looking for is right in front of you. 11. Your health is your life. 12. Chance is a gift, so act on chance when given the opportunity. 13. Kindness and hard work will take you further than intelligence. 14. People deserve a second chance, but not a third. 15. Marry your best friend. 16. Take lots of pictures. Someday you’ll be really glad you did. 17. Money makes life easier only when the money is yours free and clear. 18. Carelessness is the root of failure 19. Your actions now create memories you will reminisce and talk about in your elder years. 20. Stepping outside of your comfort zone will put things into perspective from an angle you can’t grasp now. 21. Motivation comes in short bursts. Act while it’s hot. Marc and Angel have their own blog. Marc and



Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010


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Pakistan Well Set in 1st Test vs. England ascendancy on 171 for LONDON (Cricin2, but when Clarke fell fo): Mohammad Asif to the final ball of the and Mohammad session, trapped lbw Aamer claimed three by Asif for 47, Pakiwickets apiece to stan had received a vicounteract a battling tal boost at the end of a century stand between frustrating passage of Simon Katich and play, and they made the Michael Clarke, as most of their incision. Pakistan made themAfter the break, Asif selves feel at home continued his devasin the truest sense of tating rhythm from the word on a riveting the Pavilion End, nipfirst day against Ausping the ball down the tralia at Lord’s. By the slope to nick the edge time bad light closed of Katich’s bat and in with 10 overs still send him on his way to be bowled, Mifor a gutsy 80 from chael Hussey was 138 balls, before Mardug in on 39 not out cus North was bowled alongside the No. 11 through the gate for a Doug Bollinger, but third-ball duck (174 a dramatic collapse of 7 for 51 had left the Mohammad Asif sparked Australia’s for 5). The debutants, Aussies groping for collapse with three wickets either side Tim Paine and Steven Smith were the a decent first-innings of tea. next to go - Paine had total on 229 for 9. been entrenched for 46 After winning the toss following an hour-long delay for rain, balls for his 7 when he nicked off to Umar Pakistan’s pace attack revelled in the sort of Gul, before Smith was unluckily adjudged conditions they could never have dreamed lbw to Danish Kaneria, despite getting an of encountering had they been playing inside-edge on his topspinner (208 for 7). Though Hussey found rare fluency with five this “home” Test in Karachi or Lahore. With Aamer swinging the ball late and at fours and a slog-swept six over midwicket, Ausa zippy pace, and Asif nagging away on tralia’s tail struggled to resist a now pumped-up an impeccable seamer’s length, Australia Pakistan attack. Mitchell Johnson was baminched along to 36 for 1 after 13 overs at boozled by a beautifully flighted legbreak from lunch, which became 51 for 2 soon after- Kaneria that bowled him through the gate, wards, when Ricky Ponting flicked Aamer while Ben Hilfenhaus had his stumps rattled by straight into short leg’s midriff for 26. Aamer. Though Bollinger hung around gamely Clarke and Katich made arduous but in- to keep Australia going until the close, the damvaluable progress thereafter, adding 120 for age to their innings had already been done. the third wicket to carry Australia into the


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Indo American News • Friday, July 16 , 2010


A Bollywood Debut for Osama Bin Laden Drum Bhaja! Aamir MUMBAI - Osama bin Laden is coming soon to a movie screen near you. The al Qaeda leader is the subject of a Bollywood film "Tere Bin Laden" ("Without You Laden"), the story of an imaginative young television journalist who turns an encounter with a look-alike of Laden into his ticket to fame. The journalist, played by Pakistani pop artist Ali Zafar, films a video with the look-alike, which goes viral quickly, and attempts to use his 15 minutes of fame to migrate to the United States after past attempts at getting a visa failed. "The film looks to give a fresh perspective to the repercussions of 9/11 that a lot of people are facing but I want to do it through humor," director Abhishek Sharma told Reuters. "When he comes across a look-alike of bin Laden, he hits

upon the idea of making a video. That video makes him famous and ironically, he has to use the U.S.'s biggest enemy to create a favorable impression of himself," Sharma said. This is not the first

Bollywood film to focus on the September 11, 2001 attacks and their aftermath. Over the past year, three big-budget films, including Shah Rukh Khan's "My Name is Khan" have focused on the subject. This is also not the first Bollywood film to focus on infamous personalities: A film on the last days of Hitler ran into controversy last month after Jewish groups protested, causing the lead actor to pull out of the film. Previous films have also featured controversial personalities such as Indian outlaw Phoolan Devi and mafia don Dawood Ibrahim. But Sharma says the low-budget “Tere Bin Laden,” which opens across India on July 16, is not a serious film, and expects the audience to also treat it that way. “It’s a satire, and a mad comedy. I don’t want to preach.”

At the music launch of his upcoming production Peepli [Live] at Blue Frog, Aamir Khan got into a musical mood and showed his drumming skills to a song by the rock band Indian Ocean.“It was a childhood dream to perform on stage with a long-haired and bearded band. I finally got an opportunity, thanks to Indian Ocean,” Aamir said after the gig. A lot of celebs had turned up for the gala event. The guests included Rani Mukherjee, Karan Johar, Sharman Joshi, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and the film’s actors Raghuvir Yadav, Omkar Das Manikpuri, and director Anusha Rizvi.

Sugar Sammy: Comedy’s New Rock Star

HOUSTON: Sugar Sammy, The Hollywood Reporter just named him one of the top 10 rising comedy talents from around the world, and dubbed him “Comedy’s New Rock Star”. A Canadian born to Indian parents, Sugar Sammy draws on everything from arranged marriages in his own Indian ancestry to his views on deviant sex, drugs and modern day relationships. Brilliantly entertaining and relatable, Sugar Sammy will have you laughing, thinking, and seeing life in a whole new way. Before he was opening for Dave Chappelle and working with the likes of George Lopez and Damon Wayans, the secret to his multi-national success was discovered at the Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival, where he was the first ever comedian to perform in both English, French and Hindi shows. He’s appeared at the festival for the past six years in a row, and has added other international festivals to his annual lineup, including the Sydney Comedy Festival, the Cape Town Comedy Festival, and the Johannesburg Comedy Festival Showtimes: Friday and Saturday: 8pm and 10.30pm, Sunday: 7.30pm Tickets: $15, $17 INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, july 16 , 2010 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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Indo American News, July 16 2010 Section B