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Friday, April 06 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 14

Indo American erican News

www.indoamerican-news.com Published weekly from Houston, TX

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Rehan Siddiqi brings ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas to Houston to perform one sold-out concert on April 7 with a public-demanded encore performance to follow on April 12. page 7

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April 06, 2012

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Udipi Patrons’ Homes Burglarized in Katy

BY KALYANI GIRI HOUSTON: A Colombian gang is allegedly behind a spate of burglaries in Katy and in Fort Bend County. Since December 2011, more than a dozen homes near Grand Lakes and subdivisions around Katy belonging to Indo American families were looted, most in under ten minutes, and tens of thousands of dollars worth in cash, gold and electronics were stolen. Twelve out of fourteen of the burglary victims ate at Udipi Café on Mason Road prior to their homes being ransacked, said Fort Bend County Chief Deputy Craig Brady, a lead investigator with the Sheriff’s Office. He believes that the thieves choose their victims while camped out in the restaurant’s parking lot, write down license plate numbers of potential victims, run them through their smart phones, and get their home addresses. “It’s obviously a very popular restaurant with the Indian community in that area, and these thieves wait until it looks like the whole family is going to be out for an hour or two,” said Brady. “All these guys need is four minutes to ransack a house and leave,” added

Brady. All the incidents had three factors in common, added Brady. The victims were all of Indian origin, the thieves were searching for jewelry, and the victims were out dining when their homes were burglarized. Most houses were accessed through the master bathroom windows, which are rarely linked to the overall alarm system. In one solitary case, the alarm did go off in one of the houses, but with the six-minute response window from the alarm company, the thieves had enough time to raid the home and escape. Sathish Rao, owner of Udipi

Café, was devastated by the turn of events. “I want my customers to come in and enjoy their dining experience, and not have to worry about their homes being violated in their absence. I’m so relieved that the sheriff’s office has invested so much time and manpower in investigating these crimes,” said Rao. Brady said Udipi Café is definitely not involved or part of the ongoing investigation. The restaurant owner and staff have been very helpful in cooperating with investigators and also want the speedy apprehension of the perpe-

trators, added Brady. “Law enforcement through several operations and surveillance teams know that there is a Colombian gang responsible for these burglaries and we’re actively working round the clock to solve this case,” said Brady. “This gang does not stay in one place for too long, but moves to other areas and other cities. The public can help in being more vigilant about suspicious cars or people in their neighborhood, and look out for each other. Don’t hesitate to report any activity that your instinct tells you is out of place,” added Brady. Neighborhood watch teams are essential, but do not take the law into your own hands, call 911, added Brady.

In all the homes broken into, nobody was home which augured well for the families, as someone could have been hurt, said Brady. Homeowners have requested more patrol cars and residents are arming themselves against further violation of their homes and property. The sheriff’s office says that it is approaching state legislators to ask them to make home addresses private so they cannot be found by running license plate numbers in a public database. The public is advised to call 911 to report anything suspicious in their neighborhood. To report information about this case anonymously, call 281-342-TIPS. Call the sheriff’s office at 281-3414666 to speak to an investigator.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

Photos: Krishna Giri


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April 06, 2012

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

April 06, 2012

A Journey on the Magic Bus to a Better Future

BY KALYANI GIRI HOUSTON: The signal light snapped red, and Rahul Brahmbhatt’s taxi shuddered to a halt at an intersection in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai. Seated in the rear passenger seat, Rahul’s attention was drawn by a young boy tapping on the window and literally jumping up and down in excitement. The boy put down a box of wristwatches he was peddling, and eyes shining, he pointed to Rahul’s t-shirt with the signature logo of a tiny red bus and exclaimed in delight, “Magic Bus, Magic Bus!” Then he whistled and was instantly joined by a group of other little boys, whose faces lit up when they spotted Rahul’s shirt, and immediately started miming the act of dribbling a soccer ball. The traffic light changed, and the boys picked up their wares, waved, and dispersed. For the young Houstonian who had just joined Magic Bus as a newly minted intern, it was a defining moment. Rahul realized through those cheering boys, the far-reaching impact that the sport and development organization has had in reaching over 200,000 children and youth from marginalized communities thus far. A chemical engineer from the University of Texas at Austin, and a George Mason University graduate in Sports Management, Rahul served the grassroots developmental organization Indicorps before joining Magic Bus. He is committed to helping the fastest growing nonprofit charity with operations all over India implement its innovative sports-based curriculums to empower children, youth, and communities to engage in the areas of education, health, gender, leadership, and livelihood to enable them to break the cycle of poverty. The Magic Bus was founded 1999 by Englishman Matthew Spacie, who was posted to Mumbai as Chief Operating Officer for

the elite travel company Cox and Kings. An avid sportsman, Spacie was playing rugby at a local field when he saw several boys avidly watching him. He taught them the game and soon discovered that it encouraged discipline, the importance of respecting others, and a sense of purpose. It ignited within Spacie, the need to develop a different approach to involving children from the slums without taking them away from their families. He involved the parents and teachers and got their cooperation. The module is a mentoring program that provides local community role models to children from age eight, called Community Youth Leaders; they promote access to education and health services for children they work with, and focus on developing their social and emotional skills. Magic Bus follows the child’s journey through childhood and delivers confident young people into higher education, vocational training and the workplace. The organization welcomes 100,000 children to the program per year. Magic Bus was registered as a Section 25 nonprofit and is today one of the top ten charitable organizations in India. Spacie was in Houston over the first weekend of April 2012, to introduce Magic Bus to the local community and announce the presence of chapters in the USA. Accompanying him were Rahul and one of Magic Bus’s many success stories, Parvati Pujar, who completed the program and went on to college to graduate with a B.Com. Degree. She continues to be a group leader and has developed nurturing programs of her own. Spacie said that Magic Bus aims to reach 1 million children by 2015 and that sustainability depended on the local communities, individuals, and businesses in India. But at the enormous rate of growth, the organization needs outside funds hence the call for US

Matthew Spacie, Founder, Magic Bus

“Be strong, my young friends; that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita. These are bold words; but I have to say them, for I love you.” Swami Vivekananda to pitch in. Magic Bus has worked with and received support from UNICEF and has partnered with several prolific literacy organizations such as Pratham. Sponsors include BMW, Ashoka Foundation, DHL India, Goldman Sachs, and FIFA. For more information about Magic Bus, visit www.magicbus. org. For a local contact, email rahul@magicbususa.org or visit the website www.magicbususa.org.

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A group of Magic Bus kids enjoying a game of football.

Rahul Brahmbhatt, General Manager, Magic Bus USA, with some of the Magic Bus girls who came to San Francisco in July 2011.

NBA Cares Basketball Workshop with Brandon Jennings

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

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April 06, 2012

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COMMUNITY The Legend Returns

April 06, 2012

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Showman Rehan Siddiqi brings back Pankaj Udhas for a second record-breaking performance on April 12

He loves to listen to Begum Akhtar and Mehdi Hassan just like any other ghazal lover would. He still listens to The Beatles and feels they are the only ones that can be considered true pop musicians. He likes to play golf and cricket. Most of all, he loves to spend hours with his family— time permitting. Yet, he is not any other average man. He is, the world-renowned ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas, the man with a golden voice.

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HOUSTON: Legendary award-winning which to his bad luck never saw the light ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas with the mel- of the day. Disappointed he waited in vain. lifluous voice is so popular with legions of Once Pankaj heard his brother Manhar’s fans within this city, that it will take two Urdu teacher listen to Mehndi Hasan and concerts to appease the yearning of his ad- Begum Akhtar. So much was he attracted mirers. Brought to Houston by impresario towards this form of music that he went on Rehan Siddiqi, Udhas’s performance here to learn Urdu to be able to grasp the depth on April 8, 2012, is a sold-out show. So ofghazals. And the rest, as they would say, much in demand are the tickets that Siddiqi was history. Pankaj Udhas found his desrequested that Udhas return for an encore tiny. Tuesday, Wednesday and thru Friday An avid philanthropist Udhas has a penpresentation.Only He readily complied, and so eem. Oneacupon per visit. second show is billed for April 12, 2012 chant for social causes. Thursday Only His sheer determination to do something at the new Stafford Center. So delighted is Present coupon to redeem. One cupon per visit. the musician that he will be meeting fans at good for the society has led to his associaMaharani Music Store on Hillcroft on Fri- tion with organizations like Cancer Patients day, April 6, between 5.00pm and 8.00pm Aid Society, Parents Thalassemia Unit, Spastic Society of India, and MIND. He to sign autographs and shake hands. “Thank you Houston for welcoming me works extensively for the eradication of back,” said Udhas in a taped message. “It leprosy, cancer and, for the cause of the means a lot to me. I promise to give you my mentally retarded. In his 17 years of social work he has done numerous concerts to best performance ever,” he added. He also promised that the show would be collect over Rs. 50 lakh for social organiza(Chicken, Lamb or Veg) a crowd pleaser with a repertoire that in- tions. He even donated the funds received cluded songs such as Chitti aayi hai, Chan- from the sale of his album Nabeel released di jaisa rang, Ghunguroo toot gaye, Sharab in 1989 to the Cancer Patients Aid Society. (Veg and non -veg curry) Udhas is an extraordinary human being, cheez hi ayse hai, and App jinke qareeb hote hai. The singer thanked and praised his pro- avers Siddiqi, who will be presenting a moter Siddiqi lavishly as the youngest he’d plaque of excellence to Udhas at the conTuesday thru Friday upto 3:00 PM ever worked and lauded Siddiqi for his cre- cert on April 8. Siddiqi has successfully ativity, hard work, and professionalism. promoted and hosted big name stars such Pankaj Udhas’s name conjures a voice as Sonu Nigam, Atif Aslam, Sunidhi Chauthat is as sweet as honey itself. He deserves han, Sukwinder Singh, Anu Malik, and Ali credit for making ghazals popular at a time Zafar. He has brought Rahat Fateh Ali Khan when it was losing its foothold to western- to this city on trip concert tours and drew ized Indian music. And today, amidst the over 8000 attendees at the Reliant Arena Average Tuesday, Wednesday and cacophony of fast and loud pop music he in 2011. He is planning on a huge internaNot your INDIAN CUISINE Thursday Only has proved that ghazals have staying power tional tour involving big stars in 2013. SidPresent coupon to redeem. One cupon per visit. and can still charm music lovers the world diqi also runs the largest desi radio network over, and that music is not what is made by in this city called HumTum Radio 24/7 on machines but stems from an artist’s soul. 1480am. He also broadcasts simultaneously Udhas’s odyssey to success started at the on 1110am Saturdays and Sundays. tender age of five when he realized his abil“Promoting good music through great arity to sing. But it was only after his first tistes is truly a blessing,” said Siddiqi. “With stage performance when he sang Ae Mere the right ambiance, quality sound, and light Watan Ke Logon and won a prize of Rs. 51 support, they are bound to put forward inthat he made a firm decision to take up mu- spired performances. To me, that it the only Tuesday thru Friday Only Present coupon to redeem. One cupon per visit. sic professionally. He began studying Hin- way to show due respect to the artiste and ALCOHOL FREE dustani classical music and then decided to the audience,��� he added. 5211 Highway 6 S, Missouri City, TX 77459 We do Party Trays and Catering too. break into the film industry. 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of the passing regions while delivering exceptional service. This year, Rocky Mountaineer launches SilverLeaf Service, the company’s newest and third level of service, available on all First Passage to the West trains between Vancouver and Banff or Calgary. This exciting addition to the Rocky Mountaineer line-up offers an attractive upgrade from RedLeaf Service, giving guests another option to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes. In SilverLeaf Service, guests enjoy panoramic views through the oversized windows of the singlelevel dome coach as well as hot meal service at their seats. Offering over 45 vacation packages, Rocky Mountaineer highlights the best of British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies. Some popular packages in the 2012 brochure are the Rail and Cruise itineraries. Combine a Rocky Mountaineer rail journey with an Alaskan cruise on Holland America’s ms Oosterdam from Seattle, WA, or on ms Zuiderdam from Vancouver, BC. Travellers revel in tasteful luxury onboard the ship, and stroll the deck for a view of wooded Inside Passage shores and monumental glaciers. There is no limit to the amazing scenery and wildlife you will encounter along the way and the memories you create with Rocky Mountaineer will last a lifetime. Book a qualifying 6 night Rocky Mountaineer vacation of six nights or more by April 30, 2012 and receive a FREE additional hotel night in Vancouver plus your choice of a FREE dinner in the Rockies or a sightseeing tour*. (*Some conditions apply)

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HOUSTON: India Culture Center, Houston (ICC) sponsored a musical program for Indian Senior Citizens Association (ISCA), Houston on March 24 at Bayland Park. The program was enjoyed by more than 160 members and the lunch was sponsored by ICC. ICC President Rajiv Bhavsar and the team assured ISCA for it’s continued effort and assistance to them at the National Convention of Seniors in 2013 in Houston.

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COMMUNITY

April 06, 2012

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Asia Society’s Beautiful New Home Unveiled in Grand Four-Day Celebratory Soiree

BY KALYANI GIRI HOUSTON: There’s hardly been as much anticipation and excitement generated in the recent history of this city as much as that leading up to the opening of Asia Society Texas Center’s (ASTC) spanking new abode in the heart of the museum district. The $48.4 million, 40,000 square-foot, stylish contemporary edifice designed by the luminary Japanese Harvardeducated architect Yoshio Taniguchi will be the venue for ASTC’s annual Tiger Ball on April 12, 2012, an event that draws a stellar array of patrons, business and cultural leaders, and international diplomats. The Tiger Ball fundraiser kicks off a four-day Pan-Asian celebration of the historical inauguration of the building, a dream realized after nearly a decade in planning, conception, and to fruition. Guests will get the opportunity to peruse the elegant masterpiece and to meet with Taniguchi who will be coming to this city for the event. This year’s grand benefactors to the Ball are the

Above: Exterior of Asia Society Texas Center’s new headquarters. Designed by Japanese Architect Yoshio Taniguchi, it contains 38,000 square feet spread over two floors and basement Photo: Paul Hester Below: The Mountain Music Project, Raj Kapoor on Nepali drum Photo: Asia Society Texas Center

Hon. Hushang Ansary and Shahla Ansary. Gala Chairs are Margaret Alkek Williams, Sushila and Durga Agrawal, Judy and Scott Nyquist, and Y. Ping Sun and David W. Leebron. Over the four days of festivities, ASTC has planned a colorful collage of cultural events that include

Spotlight Asia, a glitzy cocktail party, hosted by chairs Divya and Chris Brown on the evening of April 13; the soiree will be a members-only event. April 14, from 11.00am – 12.00pm, Mayor Annise Parker and a host of dignitaries will be present for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the building. Over two days, April 14 – 15, at 12.00pm – 6.00pm, the general public of this city will be treated to cultural performances, family activities, and exhibitions at the First Look Festival. Diverse

entertainment will reflect the many facets of ASTC’s global ethos. They include the Naniwa Tobi Dento Hozonkai, a group of 14 performers comprised of construction workers and scaffold builders from Osaka, who will demonstrate traditional ladder stunts of Edo-period (1600-1868) firefighters. Also included is a presentation by Cameron McCarthy, an Australian Aboriginal performer and storyteller from North Queensland who is a well-known dideridoo player. Local Odissi Indian Classical dancer

Shipra Mehrotra will offer gatherees a glimpse into the traditional art form of India. The Mountain Music Project, a Nepalese and Appalachian music group, will offer a rendition of their local musical traditions. Riyaaz Qawwali, will perform South Asian Sufi devotional music led by Sonny Mehta. And in celebration of the grand opening of the ASTC, the Houston Grand Opera To Go will present an excerpt from The Clever Wife; A Chinese Folktale. First Lady Barbara Bush and the Hon. Roy M. Huffington founded Asia Society Texas Center in 1979. It is the leading global and Pan Asian organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of the USA and Asia. Asia Society has chapters worldwide and seeks to increase knowledge, enhance dialogue and creativity, and generate new ideas in fields of the arts, culture, policy, business, and education. For information about the Tiger Ball, visit www.TigerBall2012. org. For grand opening events, visit www.ASTCGrandOpening. org. For more information call 713-496-9904.

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COMMUNITY

April 06, 2012

ISKCON Celebrates Sri Ramanavami Festival

BY CHIRAG BHATT HOUSTON: The last day of March 2012 was Ramanavami and the local ISKCON temple in Houston celebrated the event with an awesome cultural program. The program commenced with Sunday School children, Sree and Damodar, singing the bhajan Ram Naam ke Heere moti. This was followed by a wonderful Bharathanatyam solo to Saraswathi Stuthi by Shwetha Mohandas, student of Anisha Rajesh of Upasana Kalakendra located in Katy. Saraswathi Stuthi, composed by Bangalore Ramamurthy, in the ragam Mohanakalyani, set to Adi talam in praise of Goddess Sharada is a song picturing Goddess Saraswathi as the one who travels in the realm of music, one who resides in Sringeri, one who lives mightily in the Pandya Desa and Kerala, who lives in the heart of Sankara of Kaladi and who is believed by Brahma to be the wheel of time An Oddisi group dance performance, Basant Pallavi, featured Bidisha Nandi, Anoushka Dasgupta, Suravi Sarkar, Asmita Sadhukhan and Joyee Chakrabarti - students of Supradipta Dutta, Artistic Director of Kala Bhavan in Sugar Land. Basant Pallavi is an intense rhythmic piece that gives the dancers ample scope to demonstrate intricate footwork. In this number, as in all Pallavis, the music and the movements build up

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HH Gunagrahi Das Goswami and drama director HG Vatsal Dasa with the actors from the drama Kidnapping Sita. Artist include: Shreya, Krishnaiah, Radha, Srinidhi, Kripa, Vasavi, Mohini and Swathi.

gradually to climax in a fast tempo of complex patterns, highlighting several rhythmic variations. A captivating Kathak group dance, Ram Vandana was presented by Sadhvi and Sara, students of Uma Nagerseth, Artistic Director of Natya Upasana Dance Academy in Sugar Land. Kidnapping Sita, a special drama echoing the theme of Rama Navami, staged by the Sunday School children of Iskcon temple, was the feature presentation of the evening. Shreya, Krishnaiah, Radha, Srinidhi, Kripa, Vasavi, Mohini and Swathi provided the audience a glimpse into the story of how Ravana kidnapped Sita in the forest. HG Vastal Dasa directed the drama. A very special

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guest, His Holiness Gunagrahi Das Goswami was in Houston for the festival. He spoke about the glories of Lord Rama from Canto 09, Chapter 10 – Srimad Bhagavatam. Maharaj said, “To remove lust from our minds, we must take shelter of the holy names. In this age, the simplest way to do that is by chanting the mahamantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” A wonderful prasadam feast was prepared by several devotees and served to the crowds. Everyone left the temple singing “Raghupati Raghava Raja Rama, Patitapavan Sita Rama”. Jai Shri Rama!

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Dr. Paul Mehta Passes Away

HOUSTON: M. Paul Mehta passed away on April 1, 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer. Dr. Mehta was born in 1937 and grew up in Ferozepur, India. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Arts degree in English, and a Master of Arts degree in History from Punjab University in India. He secured a position as a professor of English at RSD College in Ferozepur, India. After marrying Sudesh Sharma in 1963, they moved to Canada, where he served as the Assistant Principal for Leask High School in Saskatchewan. Thereafter, he received a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Montana. In 1970, he joined the faculty of Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota and served as a professor, chairman of the Division of Education & Psychology, and as the founding dean of the School of Education and Human Services. In 1986, Dr. Mehta was named the dean of the College of Education at Prairie View A&M University and served in this role for more than twenty years until his retirement from the deanship in 2007. He remained as a professor on its campus. Dr. Mehta demonstrated his lifelong commitment to education by being elected to statewide and national governing boards of state and national organizations such as the Texas Association of Colleges

Dr. Paul Mehta 1937- 2012 for Teacher Education, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Holmes Partnership, and the Council of Academic Deans for Research Education Institutions. He was the recipient of several honors and awards from these organizations. Dr. Mehta also frequently presented and published articles in the area of higher education leadership and governance. He was proud of his contributions to Prairie View A&M and, particularly, the annual Technology Camp for Kids which he developed over ten years ago on its campus and the M. Paul Mehta Scholarship Fund, which he established to further teacher development. In addition to his many contribu-

tions to the field of education, he volunteered tirelessly to the IndoAmerican community by serving as a past president and trustee of the India Culture Center, an umbrella organization of Indo-American organizations throughout Metropolitan Houston. He also served on the Board of Directors of India House, a multi-service community center. Dr. Mehta is survived by his wife of forty nine years, Sudesh Mehta; daughter Samita Mehta; son-inlaw Utpal Mehta; grandson, Naren Mehta; son Neal Mehta; daughterin-law Monique Rodriguez Mehta; and granddaughter Nicola Mehta. He also left behind countless friends and family throughout the U.S., India, Canada, and England, who will miss him dearly. Funeral services for Dr. Mehta was held on Wednesday, April 4 at the Garden Oaks Funeral Home at 5pm. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday, April 5 at the Arya Samaj Center at 14375 Schiller Rd. Houston,TX 77082 at 4pm. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests that contributions be directed to the Dr. M. Paul Mehta Scholarship Fund, Prairie View A&M University, Office of Development, P.O. Box 519, MS 1200, Prairie View, TX 77446 (checks payable to PVAMU with M. Paul Mehta Scholarship #074334 denoted on the memo line).

Charity Golf Tournament to Honor Memory of Iman Haq BY KALYANI GIRI HOUSTON: Spirited, and with an exuberant smile that ignited warmth in the hearts of all who knew her, Iman Haq’s petite figure belied a powerful will and strong convictions. A gifted equestrian who adored her horse Beau and her temperamental cat Cheeka, the true center of Iman’s world was her mother, Naila Qureshi who guided and nurtured her with love and wisdom. The 19- year-old, a graduate of Klein Forest High School and a Lonestar College student, was an avid writer who looked forward to studying journalism at the University of Texas in Austin, and embracing a career in communications in what she envisioned as a bright future. But fate decided otherwise, and on April 5, just a day before her 20th birthday, Iman’s life was tragically cut short in a car accident. Shattered, her many friends rallied around Iman’s mother, helping her get through those dark days of grief and heartbreak. It has been a long hard haul

Iman Haq for those who loved her, but a year later, as testimony to Iman’s philanthropic spirit and in commemoration of her compassion, her friends, who formed the volunteer group Friends of Iman, are hosting a charity golf tournament benefitting a number of non-profit organizations she supported. The event, Drive for Iman, will take place at the Oakhurst Golf Club on Saturday, April 14, 2012. Tickets are $100 per player and include hospitality services provided by volunteers, range balls, golf carts, refreshments, a buffet lunch, silent auction access, and other fun family activities for all ages. The primary beneficiary from

the golfing event will be Developments in Literacy, an international non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and empower underprivileged youth by operating student-centered model schools and providing high-quality professional development to teachers and principals across Pakistan. Last year funds raised were around $10,000 and was donated to several Texas-based organizations and charities including the Brenham-based Camp for All that strives to enrich the lives of children and adults with challenging illnesses or special needs. As part of their extensive curriculum this program utilizes equestrian therapy, which celebrates Iman’s passion for horses. Friends of Iman is a volunteer organization based in this city. For ticket sales contact Iman’s mother Naila Qureshi at 832)640-4626, or Ryan Reader at 713-202-8818. Email address for the organization is imanzfriends@gmail.com.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


April 06, 2012

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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14 April 06, 2012

Isha Volunteers Organize Precursor to The Inner Engineering Program by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

HOUSTON: Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev will be in Houston, from May 4-6, offering The Inner Engineering Program, at George R. Brown Convention Center. As a precursor to this event, on Sunday

April 1, Isha Foundation volunteers held a curtain-raiser at India House. Hosted by President of India House, Jugal Malani, the event was attended by 100 guests including community leaders and local media. An Isha teacher took the participants through a guided meditation, which provided them with greater insight on the power and purpose of Yoga and meditation. Music from the ‘Sounds of Isha’ ensemble, a comedic and animated skit staged by the volunteers, and a delicious meal generously sponsored by local restaurants further livened

the evening. Dr. Sen Pathak, distinguished research professor at M.D. Anderson said, “I have lived in Houston for the last 42 years and have had numerous opportunities to attend and

participate in social, educational and spiritual gatherings for many visiting leaders, performers, professors and spiritual gurus from around the world including India. I can say with great honesty that the enthusiasm, creativity and performance I witnessed from volunteers of Isha Foundation was one of the best, if not The Best.” Perhaps, the most compelling moments were Sadhguru’s live message to the Houston community. He said, “My effort is to bring a technology for your wellbeing. Today, there are various technologies for external wellbeing, because

of which, human life has become more comfortable and convenient than ever before. As a generation of people, we are the most comfortable generation ever, but we cannot say we are the most joyful, peaceful or loving generation, because we have taken care of the external technologies; we have not made use of the inner technologies. So I’m coming to Houston to offer this dimension and the way it works in utmost purity- Technology for Inner Wellbeing.” Bangar Reddy, who along with Vijay Pallod was instrumental in planning the event, said, “I have been working with all the Isha volunteers to see that this program is successful. What touched me is the enormous benefit it offers to inner wellbeing, and that it can reach people of any race, religion, etc. It’s interesting to note that many well-known professionals, doctors and community leaders who otherwise have extremely busy schedules have signed up for this event. I look forward to attending this myself and I am encouraging my friends and neighbors to do the same. Houston plans a Texas-sized welcome for the Sadhguru.” To learn more about the Inner Engineering with Sadhguru, please visit www.BeBreatheBlossom.com or call 832-408-0663 or email Houston@IshaFoundation. org.

COMMUNITY

Government College in Andhra Pradesh Honors Krishna and Lakshmi Vavilala The Chairman of the Foundation for India Studies (FIS), Houston, Krishna Vavilala and his wife, Lakshmi were honored by the Government College during a recent visit to their home town Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. “It was indeed an emotional moment for me and my wife, Lakshmi, to be honored by my own Alma Mater where my grandfather, Vavilala Vasudeva Sastri, a literary giant had served as a Lecturer and Superintendent of vernaculars, 137 years ago” said Krishna (Sastri) Vavilala, 75, who graduated with distinction from the college getting his first degree in B.Sc. Physics in 1955 before becoming an Electrical Engineer from BITS, Pilani. The “Sanmanam” done in traditional Indian style was part of the college’s 159th Anniversary Day celebrations which was well attended by several Government officials, educationists and students. Founded by the British in 1853 at the same time as the Presidency College in Chennai, the Rajahmundry Govt. College was the first and oldest college in Andhra Pradesh, initially affiliated to Madras University and later to Andhra University. Under the dynamic administration of its current Principal, Dr. G. Samuel Moses, the college has about 3500 students on its rolls.

The Rajahmundry Govt. College imparted Western standards of higher education without losing Indian ethos and has produced personae of par excellence in all walks of life and learning. For example, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a former President of India (1962-1967) was on its faculty and taught Philosophy at the college in 1916-1919. Also on the faculty was Vavilala Vasudeva Sastri (1874-1897) who made three significant landmark contributions to Telugu literature by authoring the very first original Telugu social drama, “Nandaka Rajyam”, a very first translation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar into Telugu. Lakshmi Vavilala’s father, Dr. G.V.L.N.Murthy had also graduated from the same college obtaining his first degree in B.Sc. Chemistry before getting his Doctorate and then became the first Indian Chief Chemist of Tata Iron Steel Company at Jamshedpur.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

April 06, 2012

15

“Love the Love”: A Musical Tribute to Sathya Sai Baba by Dana Gillespie

HOUSTON: The Sathya Sai Organization will present a musical tribute to mark the anniversary of Sathya Sai Baba’s departure from his mortal coil. This free concert features one of Baba’s well-known devotees, multi-award winning British blues singer, Dana Gillespie. As a renowned radio, music, film and theatre personality, British blues singer Dana Gillespie has given numerous performances, won several accolades and traversed the globe. But, this talented artiste who played Mary Magdalene in the first run of Jesus Christ Superstar felt that there was something missing. As Dana herself puts it, she did not have a “bed of roses” life and this left a yawning gap in her being. Unexpectedly she picked up a copy of Howard Murphet’s Man of Miracles (a book that has drawn thousands of devotees, including many westerners to Sai Baba). The very next week, Dana was winging her way to India in the hope that her life would finally be complete with the grace of a spiritual guru. Dana continued to make the journey to India each year, for she experienced several instances of Baba’s presence and grace in her life. Dana gave expression to her yearning for Baba in the only way she knew-through the soulful medium of the blues. After many visits, Baba finally blessed her with ample opportunities for a unique form of service that of reaching hearts and souls all over the world and delivering his message of universal love and peace through the unlikely, yet soul-stirring, medium of music, specifically the blues. In the thirty one years that Dana has been in Sai Baba’s service, she has performed

Dana Gillespie taking blessings from Sathya Sai Baba

several times in his august presence. She has transported his message to countless music lovers and spiritual aspirants across the world. Dana’s concerts are amazing, life-changing experiences; the themes of her concerts continue to be common blues themes, the ones that have engaged, delighted and often agonized the human mind, matters of love, separation, happiness, yearning, the narrative of the plethora of emotions that move human beings from the zenith of ecstasy to the depths of despair. However, since coming to Sai Baba, the locus of Dana’s expression has seen a sublime shift, she still sings the blues, but her allusions to love now revolve around love of and for God. Her expressions of yearning now point to man’s eternal quest for union with God. Her depiction of the range of emotions has now transcended from the human to the divine; she still sings songs of hope and yearning, but the goal is now happiness of an everlast-

ing nature, the joy that comes from universal love and peace. Sai Baba bequeathed to his devotees the message of universal love, omnipresent divinity and encompassing unity. This message has manifested itself in a myriad of service initiatives, including educational projects, health and infrastructure initiatives all over the world. Throughout his life, Sai Baba has been an oasis of love and comfort to all those in need. This magnetic love has drawn remarkable musicians, artists, sportspersons, statesmen and people from every walk of life to him. Dana Gillespie is one such, rather unlikely devotee. Dana has served as an important instrument in Baba’s mission through her music and performances all over the world. Her music is a true reflection of the rich experiences that she has had with Baba, redolent with hope, love, joy and devotion. Mirroring the global nature of Baba’s fol-

lowers, Dana’s music incorporates a rich amalgam of rock, the blues and Indian music to create a mellifluous blend that is as inspiring as it is serene. Bold yet soothing, emotional yet melodious, Dana’s dulcet vocals transport the listener to a world of divinity and harmony. In the last three decades, Dana’s rich and evocative voice has given manifold expression to the tenets of universal love, oneness, harmony, peace and such core human values that were so dear to Sai Baba himself. Her music exhorts us to see God in all, to love one another as we would want to be loved, and to experience the joy of our inherent divinity. “Love the Love” is organized by The Sathya Sai organization, a network of groups (Sai Centers), which facilitate service, devotional and educational activities along with living the spiritual ideals instructed by Sathya Sai Baba. Sai Centers welcome people of all faiths while providing a place to meet, study and practice the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba. Sai Centers also give back to their local communities by encouraging members to engage in selfless service. The Sathya Sai organization has a presence in over 114 countries with more than 2,000 Centers worldwide, 200 of which are in various cities across the United States. Love the Love concert will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 3:00-5:00pm at Unity of Houston Church. To reserve your free tickets and for more information, visit www. lovethelove.org. For more information about Sathya Sai Organization, visit www.sathyasai.org

statefarm.com/southasian

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


16 April 06, 2012

PUNJABI SOCIETY OF HOUSTON

VAISAKHI 2012 PRESENTS PRESENTS

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Enjoy the evening with

Gidha, Punjabi Folk Dances, and much much more.... Family Friendly Show

Cultural Director: Jasmeeta singh, 713-858-8229

Exclusive media sponsor: Music Masala

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DJ Mani/Akash, DJ Anoop/Gurwinder 832-259-8879 832-620-9611 Sponsorship: Bhai Amar Singh and Aman Singh Sidhu 713-478-3640 832-863-4756 Tickets: Sukhpreet Kaur and Pritpal Singh 713-291-5749 832-807-7346

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www.punjabisocietyofhouston.org No professional video & photography allowed in the hall.

Our Sponsors

1. Bawa Jewelers and Monty Remax: Grand Sponsor 2. Raja Sweets 3. Churches Chicken 4. Padda Family and Rai Family 5. Lalit Jallan ( put the logo) 6. Dr.Dhesi

7. Anoop Singh “Wangate 8. Daljit Singh Sukhpreet Kaur 9. Bobby Singh and Jasmeeta Singh 10. Harinder Singh and Jasleen Kaur 11. Dharam singh Padda 12. Rani Food

13. Sangeet radio-1460 14. Rehman Morton-1050 15. Mr. and Mrs. Bedi 16. Mr. and Mrs Lamba 17. Mr. and Mrs Lakhari 18. Mr. and Mrs. Gill

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

April 06, 2012

Out of the Box Networking:

IITAGH’s Second Mentoring Event BY VIKAS GAUTAM HOUSTON: About 25 people gathered at India House on Saturday, March 31, when the IIT Alumni of Greater Houston organized its second mentoring event of 2012 on “Out of the Box Networking”. The event started with 20 minutes of informal networking over tea and snacks, compliments of IITAGH, followed by 45 minutes of presentation by Vinod Sharma, senior manager at Exponent Inc. Following a welcome note and introduction by the IITAGH President Witty Bindra, Vinod Sharma gave insights on spiritual underpinnings. Vedanta principles emphasize the personal responsibility we bear and opportunities we share to sharpen the proverbial saw of our judgment through social networking. These spiritual concepts drawn from the Bhagavad Gita reaffirm the strategic relevance of living in consultation with honesty, humility and transparency. After the presentation, three IITAGH trustees – Pradeep Anand, Sundy Srinivasan and Abhijit Gadgil took the floor in a panel discussion format. They shared their experiences

on networking and mentoring with the audience by their insightful and profound comments. The panelists discussed about the giving before receiving, and noted how the networks are established and nourished. They shared examples of social networks like LinkedIn, IACF, etc. that they were part of, and also discussed the richness and satisfaction of being both in mainstream and specific (to India) organizations. Finally, the floor was opened up for questions and a lively Q&A session entailed discussed aspects of relationships including three types – receiving, reciprocal and giving. The event ended with a note of thanks to all the panelists, and specially Vinod for making time to give his very interesting talk. Some people stayed around for another round of networking after the event. IITAGH has several events planned for the year, including a “Rock for Charity” concert on April 7, a Spiritual Talk on May 5, and a Children’s Play and the Annual Picnic in October. For more information, visit www. iitagh.org.

17

Spiritual Allergy By Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev It is very important that the spiritual dimension of life is brought into everybody’s lives. Why many people have developed an allergy to spirituality is because somebody always told them, ‘spirituality means leaving everything and going to the mountains.’ Even if you want to go, there is not enough space for all of you there. You had better learn how to be spiritual in your office, in your home, on the streets, wherever you are. You had better learn that because spirituality is about your interiority, not what you do outside. Spirituality is an inner science to create a conductive inner atmosphere because the quality of your life is dependent on how you are within yourself. That quality this moment depends on how joyous, how peaceful you are. This dimension you have completely neglected. Unless you do something to the inner, you will not know what it is to be peaceful, to be joyous, you will not know how to go beyond the limitations of being just a physical body and mind. See, your body is simply accumulations of what you have gathered from the Earth – when you leave you can’t take an atom of this body. So this body is not really yours. Your mind is not yours too. It is also just an accumulation – what you have gathered from the backgrounds in which you were brought up in life.

When you transcend the limited experience of what you know as yourself, you begin to experience that which is not physical, the spiritual, the Divinity of your true nature So there is something else which needs to be looked at beyond these dimensions. Even if I erase all your memory, still you will be here. Yes? Your family will disappear, your status will disappear, your business will disappear, everything that you own in the world will disappear. But still you are here. So beyond all the things that you identify yourself with, still there is something called as you. That you is not subject to what you accumulate from outside. But unfortunately that you has been so much covered, so much crowded with other things that you never allowed yourself to look at that. You always thought that what you are identified with is much more important than who you really are. Now if your focus shifts, then the other dimension can start opening up for you. The whole process of spiritual science, yoga in particular, is to somehow elevate you to an experience

that is beyond the five sense organs. When you transcend the limited experience of what you know as yourself, your experience of life is naturally in a different dimension. Then you begin to experience that which is not physical, the spiritual, the Divinity of your true nature. If you are ready and willing to experience life in a deeper dimension, to be truly happy, I have methods. Then you can begin to experience the joy, the blissfulness of knowing who you really are. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a yogi, profound mystic of our times, and visionary humanitarian. His presence creates an extraordinary opportunity to break through limitations into one’s natural state of freedom, love and joy. Named one of “India’s 50 Most Powerful People” by India Today magazine, Sadhguru has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide, contributing to his vision of raising human consciousness. Learn Isha Kriya, a simple and powerful guided meditation designed by Sadhguru. Find a free session near you by calling 832-408-0663. Also, Sadhguru will be conducting a 3-day Inner Engineering Program in Houston, Texas on May 4-6, 2012. To learn more, watch Sadhguru’s videos, or access the free meditation, visit www.BeBreatheBlossom.com.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06 , 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


18 April 06, 2012

Losing Another Stalwart

After the recent passing of Dr. K.L. Sindwani, we must sadly report the demise of another community stalwart—Dr. Paul Mehta. A long-time Houstonian, Dr. Mehta was a Dean at Prairie View A&M as well as a tireless community advocate. He was the president of the India Culture Center and also served on the Council of India House and the Punjab Culture Club. At any formal community meeting, you could depend on Dr. Mehta to bring the discussions in the proper manner under Robert’s Rules of Order. I also remember Dr. Mehta recounting his service at the Public Works Department (PWD) in Punjab where a heirarchy of under-the-table payments was cast in stone, with no place for an honest person such as himself. We’ll dearly miss his stories, humor and love of life. Pramod Kulkarni

United Against Common Foe

The only complaint New Delhi can have with the decision of the United States government to add the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief, Hafiz Saeed, and one of his lieutenants to its ‘Rewards for Justice’ programme is to say that this should have been done earlier. By putting the equivalent of a $10 million bounty on the head of the terrorist leader, the US has sent among its strongest signals yet that it sees the Lashkar as a threat not merely to India but to itself and the wider world as well. No one should expect Saeed to suddenly be accosted by shadowy men, bundled into a helicopter and flown to Guanta-namo Bay. Among all the world’s leading terrorists he has been exceptional in the openness with which he could operate: holding rallies in Lahore, speaking to the media and reportedly considering a run for an assembly seat. Though the US reward for his capture means he is a legitimate target for a drone strike, Saeed will be safe in the knowledge that Washington cannot dare attack so deep in the Pakistani heartland. His safety also flows from the protection he receives from the Pakistani military and support he gets from large swathes of the populace. What, then, does putting a price on his head accomplish? This should be seen in the context of India’s long-term strategy of trying to isolate and pressure Islamabad over Lashkar. Pakistan had originally argued that Lashkar was a derivative of the Kashmir dispute, an argument once broadly accepted by much of the world. The restoration of normal politics in Kashmir, the decline of insurgency and, most recently, the expansion of Lashkar’s terrorist operations to other parts of the world has slowly eroded Islamabad’s case. The US also began to move against Lashkar as much because its cohorts began attacking coalition troops in Afghanistan as Indian warnings that Lashkar was a terror threat to all. Evidence gleaned from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s lair is believed to have shown a stronger relationship between Lashkar and al-Qaeda than had been thought to have existed. The self-interested motives for the US decision are not unexpected. However, they represent further evidence of a convergence of interests that India and the US have been seeing in foreign policy and security issues. Most importantly, they also indicate a convergence of vision regarding Pakistan — something that is crucial not only for the relationship but also for the future stability of Pakistan itself. Hindustan Times

EDITORIAL

Beating Malthus at His Game BY PRITISH NANDY Travelling across three continents in the past ten days, it’s interesting to observe how different people, different cultures imagine their future. In India, newspapers reported the SRS data sent to the Union Government by the Registrar General of India which state that women will form 51% of the elderly in India by 2016 despite statistics in most states that show the girl child population declining. By 2025, 60+ people will form 12% of the population and 10% will be bedridden, requiring utmost care. In short, India will be home to the world’s second largest population of aged people, 80% of them in rural India. This, warns the media and rightly so, will mean a total reorientation of India’s current healthcare plans. By 2050, the number of 80+ Indians will increase from the current 78 lakh to 5.14 crore. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s will quadruple. Diabetics will rise by 300%. Dementia will haunt every fourth Indian. And more and more young people will suffer from heart attacks and strokes because of changing lifestyle. The 60+ population will quadruple, from 8.4 crore in 2005 to 33.5 crore in the next 43 years. In short, any which way you look at it, India 2050 looks grim, scary, overcrowded by the sick and the old. In the West, future projections are the exact opposite. Scientists predict 2050 will be an infinitely more clever and exciting time to live in. Societies will be much more multi-cultural, multi-racial. Aeroplanes will be too afraid to crash. Yogurts will wish you good morning before being eaten. And human consciousness, the stuff that Deepak Chopra talks so much about, will be stored on supercomputers, assuring immortality for all of humankind. They also predict that by 2050 those currently 50- could and will probably live forever. Hunger would be history. A single tablet will be able to fill any stomach. And the hand held tablet will in every hand, providing instant access to education, information, entertainment. No, these are not idle claims by science fiction writers. The immortality prediction comes from the head of the futurology department at BT who,

By 2050, the number of 80+ Indians will increase from the current 78 lakh to 5.14 crore. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s will quadruple. Diabetics will rise by 300%. Dementia will haunt every fourth Indian. And more and more young people will suffer from heart attacks and strokes because of changing lifestyle. The 60+ population will quadruple, from 8.4 crore in 2005 to 33.5 crore in the next 43 years.

at 44, has shaped his vision of the future from his knowledge of applied maths and theoretical physics and his experience in missile design, optical networks, broadband network evolution and cybernetics. By 2050 Western scientists expect to download your mind into a machine, so that when you die it’s not a major career problem. You simply move from the real to the virtual. And then, once your body is restored to perfect condition, you can download it back. In any case, with DNA research going the way it is, all body parts will soon be replaceable, re-grown in labs, making it that much easier to immortalize us, The costs may look forbidding at first but within a decade they will come down to feasible levels where we can expect the poor to access it as part of routine procedure. In fact, they are saying that today’s youngsters may never die, and cite advances in computing power demonstrated recently when Sony released details of PlayStation 3. It’s 35 times more powerful than previous games

consoles, 1% as powerful as the human brain. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain, and well before 2050, we may have a conscious computer. Fascinating? Indeed. And it depends on where you are, how you look at the future. While you and I worry about over population, old age, disease and deprivation, another part of the world is ready for immortality and tectonic shifts in technology that can transform everything as we know it. I may not be around to see it all but, if the timelines are right, my kids may be the first samplers of Immortality Version 1.0. A bit creaky and cranky I am sure, like all first models. But if they hang in there, they can soon upgrade themselves. By the time they reach Version 3.0, Eternal Life will be all flawless and perfectly designed. By Louis Vuitton or Salvatore Ferragamo or whoever will be designing immortality in 2050. I doubt if there will be many takers for God. Will it be fun? Or will we still ask the same questions? Who am I? Why am I here? Who is Katie Price doing? Whoever it is, I am all for immortality, not Malthusian paranoia. TOI

Reader Feedback

Sounds like sci-fi story of a novel I read long back where the most advanced human race survives in the core of earth with the precise concept where prosthetics are so advanced that a human body is created without copulation and all data can be downloaded and implanted again in a new body– only here the core is replaced by the west. In reality, with globalization, borders getting thinner, changing political system, this might be uniform across the continents (if at all it happens). For all that you know, we might have fast food with real nutrients and cigars without carcinogens, and prosthetics so advanced that they can actually replace damaged portion of brains. If we predict future, why not project it positively – after all what is life without optimism, and what life does a cynic live if you call his living a living. Nitin Shenoy, Bangalore

Indo American News FOUNDER: DR. K.L. SINDWANI

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06 , 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


INDIA

April 06, 2012 income tax

Is Lord Balaji Temple at Tirumala only for VIPs?

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BY ARUN KUMAR TIRUPATI (TOI): At Tirumala, all pilgrims are equal in the eyes of the Lord. But VIPs are always more equal in the eyes of the management of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). On March 18, restless devotees inside the Vaikuntam queue complex began shouting slogans. The reason: AP governor ESL Narasimhan was in the presence of the Lord at the time and ordinary mortals were forced to wait. Narasimhan has visited the temple six times (January 8, 29, February 5, 6 and March 18 and 19) in the last two-and-a-half months. Every time he is at the temple, it’s an agonizing wait for the pilgrims. Though a maximum of 1,200 are supposed to be allowed in for ‘VIP break’ darshan (twice daily, in the morning and evening), their number goes up to 3,000-4,000 a day and the common pilgrim lines are stopped for 3-4 hours. But who is a VIP devotee? As per the norms of the TTD, these comprise a huge list which include MPs/MLAs/ ministers/chief ministers/governors/ judges of AP high court / district judges and IAS officers of the AP cadre. Those who donate more than Rs 1 crore, film personalities, industrialists, corporate honchos and sportspersons are also treated as VIPs. Since all these VIPs do not descend on the same day, the mere presence of VIPs is not a problem. “They come with a huge entourage and stick around for long putting common pilgrims to hardships. This is the problem” says a temple official. Former TTD chairman Adikeshavulu Naidu used to chaperone liquor baron Vijay Mallya stalling darshans for common pilgrims for two hours,” recollects former DG of police T Suryanarayana Rao. Adding to the trouble are recommendation letters issued by VIPs. A pilgrim carrying a VIP letter is also treated as a VIP with no proper scrutiny. “Present chairman Kanumuri Bapiraju revels in prostrating before VIPs. He issues VIP passes randomly often on the basis of a VIP letter,” charges Kamalananda Bharati Swamy of Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samithi. There are also allegations that some of these VIP passes are blackmarketed. A separate cell has been set up to peruse recommendation letters of

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VIPs are always more equal in the eyes of the management of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.

board members for darshans/Arjitha sevas/accommodations provided under the discretionary quota. “This is subject to the availability of rooms and influx of pilgrims. But this rule is always flouted to pander to VIPs,” a temple official says. As if this wasn’t enough, Bapiraju has now proposed an exclusive counter to facilitate VIP break darshan for all the public representatives and their families and friends. Demands to prune the entire VIP list to 1,500 and do away with the discretionary VIP quota have become

strident of late. “Why cannot TTD issue a daily statement on how many VIP passes have been issued by its officials,” Samanchi Srinivas, BJP leader, asks. Though TTD argues that several development works taken up at the temple are directly or indirectly linked to the largesse of these big shots, an IAS officer who was executive officer of TTD says this problem can be overcome only when the VIP list is revised. TTD chairman Bapiraju was not available for his comments.

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COMMUNITY INDIA

Sri Lankan Tamils Anchor Island of Hope in India BY ANUPAMA CHANDRASEKARAN CHENNAI (Mint): When Kopalapillai Ratnasingham and his wife Chandramathy set foot in their hometown Trincomalee in north-east Sri Lanka last October for the first time in more than a quarter century, they were greeted by cloudy skies, a light drizzle and a throng of relatives whose sight unleashed an emotional deluge. It was as if the floodgates had been unlocked. Tears streamed out of the couple’s eyes as long-lost aunts, uncles, brothers and friends draped them in garlands of marigolds and roses and enveloped them in embraces. The images have been preserved in video clips of the Ratnasinghams’ visit to the homeland they had left in 1986. The husband and wife landed in Trincomalee a few weeks before the wedding of their eldest son to Chandramathy’s niece, a union allowed in Tamil tradition. More significantly, they were seeing their first-born nearly a decade after he was deported to Sri Lanka following a botched attempt to move from India to Canada host to a large number of displaced Sri Lankan Tamils through an agent who turned out to be a fraud. Subsequently, though, their eldest son managed to make that shift from Sri Lanka. The trip helped Ratnasingham who fled civil war-stricken Sri Lanka for India on a rickety boat one January evening in 1986, leaving behind 200 acres of paddy fields and the family’s construction business to revisit a question he had put on ice for 26 years. “Do I want to go back to live in Sri Lanka?” the stout, moustached Ratnasingham said in a lilting accent, using ornate, archaic Tamil vocabulary, starkly different from the Tamil spoken in Chennai and a remnant of his Sri Lankan lineage. “If someone spends 30 years in a prison, that will most certainly become his home, and Chennai is now our base.” Despite the end of a 29-year civil war in May 2009, many Sri Lankan Tamil refugees aren’t romanticizing a return to their homeland, which would entail uprooting a painstakingly built life in India. “They go back for nostalgia and find that the country is still a police state,” said Ramu Manivannan, a Chennai-based political scientist, who has travelled several times to Sri Lanka and has visited refugee camps. “Unfortunately, their dream of a return cannot be swallowed as reality.” After the final rout of the separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam three years ago by Sri Lankan government forces, the arrival of Tamil refugees to India slowed to a trickle, and some even commenced their return to the island nation. In 2010, 2,040 refugees compared with none in 2007 went back to Sri Lanka, according to Tamil Nadu’s department of rehabilitation. That number dropped to 1,672 in 2011 as Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government failed to ease repressive wartime measures or hold

India has long been a source and destination of international migration. But with India’s global presence increasing, its appeal as an immigrant destination is changing and new communities are taking root in the country

of grills, doors and every tile. Ratnasingham points to a digital picture from the trip showing a thin, tubular, rust-coloured gap on one of the walls, implying theft of even cheap metal water pipes by looters. Ruddy blooms on rose plants outside their home were the only shreds of the family’s past remaining. But things were not all smooth even during the short visit. It took a tempestuous turn within two weeks when Ratnasingham faced a three-day arrest by Sri Lanka’s anti-terrorism

Sri Lankan Tamilian Kopalapillai Ratnasingham (center) along with his wife Chandramathy and son Aravinthan in Chennai.

out assurances for the refugees’ safe return. Around 68,155 refugees still live in 112 camps in India, eking out a living doing blue-collar and other labour-intensive jobs. Some families living outside camps even run successful businesses, with regular reporting to the local police on any travel being the only reminder of their status as refugees. Building a life on foreign shores Nearly 30 years ago, Ratnasingham reluctantly chalked out a new chapter in his life as a courier for a Chennai goldsmith he had approached to pawn his wife’s jewellery to support his family of five. The amiable and sprightly Ratnasingham saved up his Rs150-a-day wage, scraping even the daily Rs20 refreshment allowance into the kitty, to springboard into what he knew best. He started a construction business, a trade he learnt back home from his father and brothers. The growth of the brick-laying, construction and repair enterprise launched in 1990 helped Ratnasingham and his wife buy a two-bedroom apartment in north-western Chennai a decade later and pay for their three sons’ education. The couple eased into domestic rhythm and normalcy in Chennai, which they decided to seal by getting Indian citizenship in 2004. “We would like to go to Sri Lanka for a month or two, but ultimately, this is home,” said the 54-year-old Chandramathy, in the kind of curlicue Tamil spoken by her husband, about the land she has now spent more time in than her place of birth. What was a hunch for several years got stamped as truth four months ago when she and her husband made the monthlong sojourn to Sri Lanka for the wedding of their eldest son. Ahead of the wedding, the family went to see what had been their home in Trincomalee; its soot-streaked walls were pockmarked with bullet holes, and the concrete shell stripped

department, deflating the family’s happiness before the wedding. His subsequent release on proof of innocence, the presence of the army in Trincomalee, lack of proper roads in the region even three years after the end of the conflict, helped make up the Ratnasinghams’ minds: they would remain anchored in India. Hidden angst Aravinthan, their second son who has Chandramathy’s shiny eyes and easy smile, concurs. In fact, the 26year-old Sri Lankan citizen chose to return to Chennai last year despite earning a permanent resident status in Canada after nearly six years in the North American country, where he did a diploma in animation. His elder and younger brothers have chosen to work and live in Canada. Yet, the slim-built Aravinthan’s cheery disposition seems like a deliberate effort to cloak past angst. While he didn’t face any discrimination growing up as a Sri Lankan Tamil in Chennai, this marine engineer was forced to switch to a sedentary career in animation and photography after his Sri Lankan citizenship got him no job, jettisoning his dream to sail from coast to coast with the merchant navy. He now manages the accounts for his father’s two-year-old partnership in a large Chennai-based hardware and paint store, Ratnasingham’s latest investment to retire from the hectic construction business. Two months ago, Aravinthan invested a couple of lakh rupees in a fledgling photo booth business to be pitched at college events and weddings. “It was devastating at first to change careers after the grim realization of being an outsider in India,” says Aravinthan, who can speak Tamil like a local as well as swing into his family’s lyrical dialect. “But now I’m happy. I would love to travel to Sri Lanka on work, but for all other reasons, it seems like a foreign land.”

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06 , 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06 , 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

21


22 April 06, 2012 BY SAPNA SANKHLA CHENNAI (Hindu): ‘We provide state-of-the-art comforts and leisure facilities, five-star residential accommodation and multi-continental cuisine, sprawling playing fields and sports facilities, wired classrooms, a 17-acre, five-hole trainer golf course, ergonomically designed furniture, ‘lux levels’ of light in classrooms, earthquake-resistant campus with an intelligent building management system, controlled central airconditioning with fresh air intake, fire safety systems, access control, CCTV surveillance, public address system, background music, cable TV, 100 per cent power backup, and broadband connectivity.” The list seems unending. I wondered at the glossy brochure: is it the promotional literature of a five-star hotel or school? What are we trying to make our children into, by establishing schools like these? We have a lot of money so we are giving them the best. It’s sarcastic! What about endurance, strength, stamina, adaptability, self-reliance, discipline? Are these parameters not required? Are we not making our children ‘delicate dolls’? Is it not necessary for them to know what it is to be under the sun for some time, to sweat it out, to breathe a spell of fresh air, to learn to endure the harsh realities of life, to eat food which is simple and not always delicious, to develop their stamina and burning calories, to be independent, not to be a

OPINION

Do we Really Need ‘Five-Star’ Schools? that school managements focus on character building. Unwarranted snobbery There is also the danger of unwarranted snobbery. While a certain level of comfort and cleanliness is necessary, the extent of luxury five-star schools provide is unnecessary and will engender needless elitism. Impressive buildings and five-star facilities don’t guarantee the best education. Conspicuous consumption Another characteristic of Gen-next schools which has attracted the ire of slave to technology, to be acquainted with our ethos and culture? Are we not hampering their natural growth process? In ancient India, we had the gurukul system. Life at the Gurukul was tough. The sishyas (students) had to follow strict discipline and sacrifice their worldly comforts. They lived as equals regardless of their social status. There was regular physical service the pupils rendered to their gurus. The gurukul system taught students simple living, loyalty to duty and inculcated in them a quest for learning. At the end of the training, the students emerged as responsible individuals who were well learned and capable of facing the toughest challenges of life. But where are these five-star schools-cum-hotels for? I still remember that day when a four-and-a-half year old child studying in such a school told my daughter,

“You know Didi, in my classroom we have touch screens everywhere.” I strongly felt that in the world of touch screens we are missing the essential human touch. By promoting schools with five-star amenities, the new international schools are nurturing an elitist, money-and-status-conscious mindset. On interaction with students from these schools, it has been noticed that most of them have little respect for teachers or visitors and sport an air of superiority. If five-star schools want to deliver holistic education as they claim, there’s much they can learn from India’s well-established public schools, which respect tradition and enforce discipline and good manners. While making the important decision of choosing a school for children, parents should note that high tuition fees do not necessarily translate into good education. They should insist

educationists is that they are over-influenced by the five-star hotel culture bordering on conspicuous consumption. There’s an emerging consensus that fraternisation in such artificial environments desensitises children to the plight of the great majority of the poor and the disadvantaged. There is growing indiscipline among students. It is a matter of great concern. Parents should make the right choice. They should keep in mind the long-term objectives of education. We must remember ‘Education is not for making a living, it is for making a life’.

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April 06, 2012

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OPINION ENTERTAINMENT

24 April 06, 2012

Indian Diaspora Making a Mark in Hollywood is undoubtedly the more supremely reigning energy of the universe. The film will probably be the tale of war trauma given more meaning and purpose by the pursuit of a strange and mysterious love. Ravi Mehta, in his film career, has clearly demonstrated that just as climbing the corporate ladder involves many years of immense hard work, several tedious steps and enormous amounts of perseverance and UDIP

K CPA DEV PATHA ANCE BEMA INSUR

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(starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Sean Penn), and The Campaign directed by Jay Roach starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis (Galifianakis from The Hangover). The third film he has worked on, The Lucky One, directed by Scott Hicks is scheduled for release on the 20th April 2012. In this film Mehta has been credited as the “Executive Producer”. In Hollywood, an Executive Producer’s (EP) role is wide ranged – the EP represents a financial investor in the film project but is not directly involved in day to day production, more often than not, the EP is the person who finds and buys the literary property that a film is based on, (in this case, the film is based on a book by Nicholas Sparks which was released in 2008), the EP also oversees the process of further developing the project by hiring other producers

for the film and is responsible for the overall production. The book came at a time when many American soldiers returned after serving in Iraq. Addressing this concern pertinent to American society, the story follows the life of US Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (played by Zac Efron in the film) as his destiny unfolds. He returns to North Carolina after a successful third stint in Iraq. He believes that what kept him alive was a lucky charm he happened to have stumbled on, which is the photograph of a woman he does not know at all. He learns that her name is Beth (Taylor Schilling) and sets out to find her. After finding her, it is a matter of persuading her of his love for her and convincing her that the universe meant for him to find her. The story will perhaps act as a good reminder that even amidst war and violence, one finds love, which

patience eventually leading to the top, so it is with the film industry, which has its own hierarchical structure. Rising from Production Accountant to the position of Executive Producer with 14 years of experience in various films says something about rising up the Hollywood ladder! Here’s wishing Ravi. D. Mehta all the success with The Lucky One and perhaps this will be the lucky film of his life taking him to greater heights.

MADRAS PAVILION AT & DAAW CATERING

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BY SOWMYA NANDAKUMAR HOLLYWOOD: Ravi. D. Mehta, an American of Indian origin has made a name for himself in the expansive world of Hollywood on the production front of this distinct film industry. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) lists Mehta’s association with Hollywood since 1998, when he started out as a Production Accountant in the not so highly rated (by IMDB) film, Why do fools fall in love directed by Gregory Nava. Mehta’s first big break seems to have come three years later in 2001, when he worked as Production Accountant for Training Day, directed by Antoine Fuqua, starring Denzel Washington. In 2004 Mehta stepped up the ladder from being a Production Accountant to being an Executive in charge of Production, also known as the Executive Producer (EP), for Cinderella Story, directed by Mark Rosman. From 2004 until now, he has worked in that capacity for 19 films some “not so highly rated” and some relatively better known projects. Some of the films he was associated with were Lady in the Water by Manoj Night Shymalan (2006), and the more acclaimed The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford directed by Andrew Domink, starring Brad Pitt (2007). In 2012, he has worked on three films two of which are still in the postproduction stage – The Gangster Squad directed by Ruben Fleischer,

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Asia Society Texas Center

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Raj Kapoor Nepalese percussionist

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Houston Opera To Go Selections from The Clever Wife, based on Chinese folktale

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The Mountain Music Project Nepalese folk music meets American bluegrass

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AsiaSociety.org/Texas 713.496.9901 INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06 , 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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In a Business Recast, Aditya Birla Retail Cuts Stores, Jobs BY JOEL REBELLO & SAPNA AGARWAL MUMBAI (Mint): Aditya Birla Retail Ltd, a unit of the $28 billion (around Rs1.43 trillion) Aditya Birla Group, has shut its small-store food and groceries business in some large cities and exited from Mumbai, as it embarks on a major restructuring after five years of losses. The retailer, which runs the More shops, has shut about 50 outlets across India and plans to focus only on bigger stores, two company executives said. “The process of shutting down the stores started in March and about 225 people have been asked to leave. About half of them are trainee customer service executives, the lowest rung of the retail business, and others are from the head office,” one of the two executives said. The executive declined to be identified as she is still on the payroll of the company and is yet to receive her final payment and relieving orders. Chief executive officer Pranab Barua said the company has decided to focus on the large-store format and has shut all its small shops in Mumbai, and some in Pune and Delhi. Barua replaced Thomas Varghese in early March. He was earlier heading Madura Fashion and Lifestyle. Varghese has taken over as head of Jaya Shree Textiles. Both Madura and Jaya Shree are divisions of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd. The company website still lists Varghese as chief executive of More and Barua as chief executive of Madura. Aditya Birla Retail has close to 500 so-called supermarkets and 11 bigger stores. “We are closing the non-profitable stores, 40 to 50 because huge funds are required to run these stores. Besides, the rents in Mumbai are high. We will now focus on large stores, but

Aditya Birla group’s ‘more’ supermarket

continue to run supermarkets in the south and markets which are doing well, such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata,” Barua said, adding 15-20% of its supermarkets are not profitable. The company had secured and unsecured debt of Rs3,113.36 crore in March 2011, according to its cash flow statement submitted to the registrar of companies. Its stand-alone revenue was Rs687.93 crore and the firm posted a loss of Rs423.10 crore in fiscal 2011, according to its annual report. “We have 11 large-format stores, including the three we opened in fiscal 2012. Barring these three, all are profitable. We plan to open more such stores in 2012-13,” he said. Barua confirmed that some employees have been told to go, but said the number was only “100 to 150”. While the executive quoted earlier in the story said all 28 supermarket stores in Mumbai, seven stores in Delhi, 12 in Pune and four in Punjab have been shut, and eight Pune stores are still operating because inventory has not yet been exhausted, Barua said “only four to five stores” have been closed in Delhi and Pune. “We have closed all 25 supermarket stores in Mumbai,” he said. The More brand operates two categories of stores—supermarket, a

The retailer has shut about 50 outlets across India and plans to focus only on bigger stores small-store format such as the neighbourhood groceries store (spanning 2,000 sq. ft), and hypermarket (between 40,000 sq. ft and 100,000 sq. ft). Aditya Birla Retail has about 7,000-8,000 employees, Barua said. More has been giving massive discounts on its stores in the last one month, said a consumer who frequents the store in Andheri East, a Mumbai suburb, adding that the store has been shut effective Saturday. That the developments have been sudden can be gauged from the fact that the company was hiring till about six months ago. An executive who was hired from abroad a few months ago said the company has shifted focus following a change at the top management. He did not want to be identified. Barua denied that the change in management has anything to do with the new strategy. “This is all a part of the process. Change in people need not lead to a change in strategy,” he said. High rents and rising debt have affected all large organized retailers

in India. Rising food prices have also weaned away consumers from this format. On 21 February, Aditya Birla Retail’s Rs.100 crore loan was not renewed by UCO Bank, according to documents on the registrar of companies website. Organized retail accounts for less than 8% of the overall Rs.45,000 crore retail industry of India. In food and groceries retail, the largest segment within organized retail, small-store retail format—similar to the pop-and-mom stores of traditional retail—has seen its total share decline as retailers such as Subhiksha Trading Services Ltd and Spinach, run by Wadhawan Food Retail Pvt. Ltd, shut stores following the financial crisis in 2009. “Retailers have yet not got the supermarkets format right,” said Arvind

Singhal, chairman of Delhi-based retail advisory firm Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd, while explaining that retailers have expanded their geographic footprint rapidly, carry too much merchandise, and have frequent management changes. These have added to complexities of the business. Like Aditya Birla Retail, Reliance Retail Ltd, too, is increasingly focusing on hypermarket retail for growth. “Supermarket retail accounts for 50% of the overall organized food and groceries retail. I would not rule this format out completely, but whether it will account for 20% or 40% of the overall food and groceries retail in the future, that we will have to see,” said Abheek Singhi, leader, consumer practice India, partner and director at the Boston Consulting Group, a consultancy firm.

Middle Class Taking to Luxury Brands

MUMBAI (HT): The two-day Mint Luxury Conference, now in its fifth year, saw the most well-heeled of society and the Indian industry huddling up to share notes and brainstorm on luxury in the environs of Taj Land’s End, Mumbai. “Luxury is not just a style statement or a way of presenting yourself. Luxury is aestheticism and craftsmanship. Money does not guarantee taste , you either have it or you don’t,” minister of state for parliamentary affairs and planning Ashwani Kumar said, pointing out how the middle class was slowly turning into a big market for luxury brands. The saree was the attention-grabber of the day as two leading fashion designers , Diane von Furstenberg and Angela Missoni expressing their fascination for the Indian apparel. As the day progressed, the speakers delved into more serious issues such as the future of luxury in India and the impact of 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) on luxury, and the challenges for luxury brands in India. “The problem with India is tax duties, which are three times more than that of the European Union and two times than China,” said Armando Branchini, executive director, Fondanzione Altagamma, the Italian association of luxury goods. “The condition of 30% local sourcing for 100% FDI can also be challenging,” he added. The post-lunch session witnessed some lighter moments, especially when a gentleman dressed in ethnic Indian clothes pointedly asked Stephen Alden of the Maybourne Hotel Group if his hotels treated guests on the basis of the way they dressed, or their net worth. Earlier in the day, the inauguartion got underway with a rescheduling of the first two sessions. The inaugural session had to be pushed back after the keynote session by Kumar got delayed.

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BUSINESS INDIA

April 06, 2012

Christian Louboutin: Dressing up the Woman in Red

The shoe designer on why women wear heels, on his signature red soles, and his intense connection with India “When a woman wears my shoes, it changes her pace, changes her figure, adds to her confidence, and how she feels about herself,” says Louboutin, 49, whose label sells more than 500,000 shoes across 51 stores worldwide in a year. He should know, having grown up in a woman-dominated household and having worked for a brief period as a salesman. The iconic French footwear designer, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his label, has a big year ahead of him. His Capsule Collection—20 shoes and four bags most representative of his work—is now beginning to reach his stores worldwide, though his 51st store at the DLF Emporio mall in New Delhi, which opened in February, is yet to receive it. “Nothing goes completely everywhere from a collection because we have to keep many things in mind like the weather, what colours work in which country. For example, the CNN Girl, a pair of high boots in thick leather, will not make sense for India,” he says. Apart from the collection’s launch and his recent book release (a monograph revealing the artistry and theatricality of the world of Louboutin), he is most excited about the ongoing show for the Parisian cabaret Crazy Horse, for which he has designed and guest-choreographed some sequences. He is also now looking forward

to a retrospective of his designs at the Design Museum in London in May. You may wonder why a woman would willingly put herself through the torture of balancing on heels, but Louboutin does not. You see, he knows that women wear heels for many reasons—to look good, to feel confident. But the key reason is that they want to bridge the gap between themselves and men, he says. “Tradition starts everything. In different cultures, where men wore heels like in France, you will see it was specifically for aristocrats and royals so that they could look taller, raise their

stature. If you look, literally in every country, women are shorter than men and one of the reasons why there is a desire to be on heels is to have the same type of height as men. “In my company, which has mostly women, I now find girls are always taller than the guys. It’s funny how earlier men would at least have eye contact with the girls, but now I mostly find men, including myself, having to look up at the girls. Maybe soon men will need heels too.” Louboutin, who designs for both men and women, started a full line for men only two years ago. While designing shoes for men can be equally exciting, one thing is certain: Shoes do not change the body language of a man. “Their shoe can be a little more sporty or dressy, but it does not change the way a man will walk,” he says. His men’s shoes also come with a red sole (and I know this because I got to see the underside of Louboutin’s shoe) but the Chinese Red ubiquitous in the women’s shoes is something else. It started when he felt that a shoe design lacked energy and saw an employee painting her nails red. He took that nail polish and applied it to the soles of shoes, and voila! The design was complete. Louboutin is currently in the process of fighting a court battle with fashion house Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) to retain solo rights to produce shoes with that specific shade of red

in the soles. Louboutin says his first exposure to India was through Indian cinema. “I knew more about Bengali cinema, of course. In Paris, we saw Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, etc., but I wanted to see real Indian cinema. I had seen some Bollywood movies from the 1960-70s—Mother India, another movie with Hema Malini and Dilip Kumar where she is becoming a princess.” His quest for Indian cinema led him to Madras (now Chennai) first and he remembers seeing huge, handpainted posters that are not around any more. He has a collection of posters from Indian cinema and continues to add to it. As someone who came to India in the 1970s for the first time and has continued to do so over the years, Louboutin says a lot has changed. “It’s probably less exotic from what it was 20 years ago but India still inspires me in many ways. You have such diverse craft traditions, so many colours, techniques.” The feedback from the Indian store in the first month has been that a lot of flat sandals and mid-high heels work here. “I did not foresee that in India this would be the demand to such an extent. But then, if you wear heels that are too high with a sari, you walk in a different way. Pumps don’t really work with a sari either and a medium heel is what works best. We must have more of those.”

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BY SEEMA CHOWDHRY NEW DELHI (Mint): The scene unfolding before me at the deserted Club Bar at 10 am at The Oberoi, New Delhi, is amusing. News has come that Christian Louboutin has finished his meeting and is now headed towards the bar. The women from the external public relations team in India which works for the brand, who are waiting with me for him, spring into action. Out comes the red pouch from the handbag and from it the famous red-soled, 6-inch, peep-toe pumps. These are slipped on, the more comfortable, manageable heels tucked into the pouch and then stuffed in the handbag. A little hesitant tottering on the heels, and we are ready to receive the czar of shoe design. Meanwhile, I sneak a glance at my sensible, boring, 2-inch, black slip-on sandals and wonder if I have made the fashion faux pas of the year. Louboutin arrives in a white Lacoste T-shirt and shakes hands with everyone, sits next to me and… coughs. The air conditioning bothers him and there is a flurry of activity as one of the girls on “tower heels” totters off to find out if the interview venue can be shifted to a non-AC location. My eyes are fixated on her retreating behind, half expecting her to topple in an ungainly heap on the Oberoi’s posh, spick-and-span floors, but she sails out of my line of sight without a mishap.

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Latest Controversy: Bribe Offered for Tatra Truck Contract

Manmohan Singh: ‘No’ to Gen. V. K. Singh’s Sacking BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT The Indian defense minister, AK Antony and chief of the army staff, Gen. VK Singh had dangerously stood for three days last week at the precipice with both indirectly engaging in a public spat. The media and the opposition parties had a few field days. Both the electronic and the print media went overboard by “breaking stories” hourly and daily respectively. Thank God that good sense finally prevailed and the two hastily withdrew from the cliff thereby avoiding what could have been a major catastrophe. Yet, the confrontation left a sour taste in the mouth which no amount of Listerine gargling will help remove. The controversy was a golden opportunity for BJP to fish in the waters which had already been dirtied, and it did not hesitate to demand the sacking of the defense minister. The party raised several points regarding the letter that the army chief had written to the Prime Minister about lack of preparedness in the armed forces and demanded a thorough inquiry how, where and who leaked this secret letter. Both the defense minister and the army chief called the leakage of this top secret letter as an “act of treason”. Fortunately, a timely consensus emerged among the government and opposition parties ‘not to discuss in public the sensitive defense issues’. A latest report on a TV news channel says that the Intelligence Bureau which inquired into the leakage of the secret letter has given a clean chit to Gen. Singh. In order not to further aggravate the tense situation, the Prime Minister successfully resisted the pressure by some “powerful sections in the government” to sack Gen. Singh. Last weekend Army Chief Gen. Singh issued a conciliatory statement that somewhat took the heat off the controversy. It said that the general had no differences at all with the defense minister and that a deliberate “smear campaign” had been unleashed by some “rogue elements” to “project a schism” between him and the minister. The general clarified many issues and questions raised during the past week. The defense minister on his part stated that the government had full faith in the chiefs

of the three armed forces. Gen. Singh is scheduled to retire on 31 May and the government, especially the Prime Minister and the defense minister, do not want to create a crisis situation by taking any precipitate action against the general. Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh, chief of the army staff-designate, is already in the capital and being suitably briefed. Even though no action is being proposed against Gen. Singh, it is becoming clearer by the day that the remaining two months of his tenure will at best be ‘lame-duck’. Already, the defense ministry has scaled down to the minimum the proposed official visit of the army chief to Nepal. The general is scheduled to visit Nepal for a SAARC regional seminar on countering terrorism and disaster management. The original four-day visit that had also included a bilateral dialogue between Indian army delegation and its Nepalese counterpart has now been cut down to two days. So has the number of delegates has been pruned to the minimum. Interestingly, the spotlight has now shifted to Tatra trucks that originally sparked off the current crisis. Gen. Singh had initially alleged that he was offered a bribe of Rs. 140 million about 18 months ago to approve the deal for the purchase of 600 Tatra trucks. Subsequently, he had reportedly named a retired general Tejinder

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Singh in this respect. Tejinder Singh has in turn repudiated the allegations and even filed a criminal suit for defamation against the army chief and some others. India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated inquiries into this military truck deal and has zeroed in on Ravi Rishi, a London-based NRI entrepreneur who owns UK-based Vectra group. Rishi is currently in India in connection with the ongoing Auto Expo. CBI interrogated him on Monday. He has, however, denied all these allegations and clarified that the Tatra trucks were sold through Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), a government of India enterprise. He has further claimed that no other company in the world manufactured trucks similar to Tatra all-terrain and all-weather vehicles. That is why the defense ministry had issued an inquiry to his company on nomination basis and as such there was no question of bribing anybody. Rishi has a colorful background; an electrical engineering graduate from New Delhi’s IIT, Rishi had used to great advantage his entrepreneurial skills that helped him promote the sale of these trucks to the Indian military. These trucks were first bought in 1986 during the tenure of Rajiv Gandhi as the prime minister. Sources who know of Rishi’s background say that he cleverly used his knowledge

about the financial straits in which Tatra group in Czechoslovakia found itself in 1980s and managed to buy their trucks at very low prices. He then used his clout in India to sell them at higher prices. Though there is nothing intrinsically wrong in this, yet the investigating agency believes that Rishi in the process had broken government of India’s guidelines regarding defense purchases which stipulated that all purchases must be made directly from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). Rishi’s Vectra group is now believed to be the largest shareholder in Tatra Holdings. Incidentally, Tatra has somewhat a unique history. Adolf Hitler, the German Fuhrer, had taken fancy to Tatra cars at the Berlin Auto Show in 1933. He became so much enamored of the car that he used its T11 version during his 1933 chancellorship election campaign. He also befriended Hans Ledwinka, the chief designer of Tatra. Later, Ledwinka prepared drawings of a small air-cooled car with a rear engine and gave it to Hitler who in his wisdom gave that

drawing to legendary auto engineer Ferdinand Porsche. One thing led to another, Porsche bagged a contract to design a people’s car which was later to become famous as Volkswagen Beetle. Tatra sued Porsche for patent infringement but subsequently had had to withdraw the suit when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. Much later in 1960s, Volkswagen paid Ringhoffer-Tatra DM 3 million as an out-of-court settlement. Now, several decades later, Tatra is again in the news. The Vectra group of London-based Rishi also has a controlling interest in Tatra trucks. Indian Army is believed to have bought over 7000 Tatra trucks since 1986. The government enterprise BEML too will have much to answer and so will the defense ministry and the military purchasing authorities which had known all the facts. Those in the know of similar deals say that inquiries issued on nomination basis are in fact manipulated so as to eliminate any likely competition and such a manipulation is more often questionable.

Titan Ind Shares Up 8% on Govt Nod to Import Gold Directly MUMBAI (HT): Shares of Titan Industries soared by 8% in the morning trade on the BSE on Monday as the government allowed the company to import gold directly. Shares of the Tata Group firm shot up to Rs 247 on the BSE. Later, however, it pared some of the gains and was trading at Rs 239.55, up 4.79% at 1025 hours. In a first instance of the government allowing an actual user from private sector to import gold directly, Tata Group firm Titan Industries has been given nod to bring the yellow metal from overseas market. At present, only authorised agen-

cies and public sector units like MMTC are allowed to import gold. Titan had approached Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under the commerce ministry, seeking licence for direct gold import. In its application, the company had said it would help in saving one per cent of their operating cost and also it would get good quality gold. The rally in the stock largely outperformed the sluggish broader market, where the BSE benchmark Sensex was trading at 17,393.63, down 10.57 points at 1025 hours.

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the objective of reaching Goods and Services Tax (GST). The cardinal principle of GST was to bring in alignment of taxes for which the excise and services tax had been brought at par in the Budget for 2012-13. He said that he was not able to make any dramatic announcement and decision in the Budget. Stating that since 1989, the Indian electorate had been giving a fractured mandate with no party having clear majority, he said “You can have the power to rule, but you will have to

take others together. So within these constraints, I had to formulate the proposals.” Regarding food and fertiliser subsidies, he said that in the Budget it was said that it would be selective. “We have to provide food subsidy and in other areas. It will linked to the capacity of paying,” he said. “I have pegged the subsidy burden at two % of GDP,” he said. Mukherjee said that the last increase in oil prices was in June 2011. “There has been no price escalation since then,” he said.

Grass with Mahatma Gandhi’s Blood, Glasses and Charkha to be Auctioned LONDON (HT): Grass with a drop of Mahatma Gandhi’s blood and soil from the place where he was assassinated in 1948 in New Delhi are among rare items to be put up for auction in the UK on April 17. Other items include a pair of Gandhi’s round-rimmed glasses, ‘charkha’, a 10 inch 78rpm Columbia disc of Gandhi giving his spiritual message signed by him, and original photographs of Gandhi visiting London in 1931. The items, along with letters in English by Gandhi to Raghavan, Sgt NER Poduwal in Rangoon, and letters by Gandhi in Gujarati and a prayer book in Gujarati are expected to fetch nearly 100,000 pounds in the auction conducted by auctioneer Mullock’s in Shropshire. The highest guide price – 10,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds – has been set by the auctioneer for three items in the collection: the pair of glasses, ‘charkha’ and a casket containing the soil and blades of grass from

the spot where Gandhi was killed in New Delhi. The soil and blades of grass were collected by one P P Nambiar, who describes the samples in a provenance, and are placed in a small wooden casket containing a small glass topped box. The description of the item says: “The casket comes with a letter of provenance by P P Nambiar dated September 24th, 1996 saying that the recipient..has today received the most sacred of all relics a fraction of the pinch of soil I collected on January 30, 1948 from the spot where the Father of our nation M K Gandhi fell to the bullets of his assassin.” Mullock’s says that the item is also accompanied by a copy of ‘True but never heard before’ by P P Nambiar, which is a personal account of collecting the soil sample on the day Gandhi was murdered. It quotes Nambiar’s words...”in my search I found a drop of blood on the grass almost dried”.

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KOLKATA(HT): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said that inflationary expectations would be in the six to seven % range. “My inflationary expectations will be between six and seven % and not below that,” Mukherjee said. He said that if the inflationary expectations were below that, then it would lead to stagflation and growth would be hampered. Mukherjee said that inflation had been moderated and would be taken into account during formulation of policy rates. “I hope the RBI will keep this in view while making policy rates formulation,” he noted. He said that inflation had been perilously close to double-digit for nearly two years and food inflation was as high as 22 %. “I had to take corrective measures as these high figures were not desirable,” he said. In February, inflation as measured on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) rose to 6.95 %, against 6.55 % in the previous month. Mukherjee said that the 2012-13 Budget was placed with a view of fiscal consolidation, moderation of inflation and bringing back India to a higher trajectory of sustainable growth. Regarding improving private sector sentiments, he said that DTC would be introduced next year after examination of recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee. Mukherjee said that if fiscal consolidation was achieved, then the private sector’s elbow room for borrowing would improve substantially. The finance minister said that he had tried to mop up additional resources to give credibility to fiscal consolidation efforts and also to meet

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In Southern Pakistan, Hindu Family Claims Daughter’s Conversion to Islam Was Coerced

BY DECLAN WALSH GHOTKI, Pakistan (NYT): Banditry is an old scourge in this impoverished district of southern Pakistan, on the plains between the mighty river Indus and a sprawling desert, where roving gangs rob and kidnap with abandon. Lately, though, local passions have stirred with allegations of an unusual theft: that of a young woman’s heart. In the predawn darkness on Feb. 24, Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old student from a Hindu family, disappeared from her home in Mirpur Mathelo, a small village off a busy highway in Sindh Province. Hours later, she resurfaced 12 miles away, at the home of a prominent Muslim cleric who phoned her parents with news that distressed them: Their daughter wished to convert to Islam, he said. Their protests were futile. By sunset, Kumari had become a Muslim, married a young Muslim man, and changed her name to Faryal Bibi. Over the past month, this conversion has generated an acrid controversy that has reverberated far beyond its origins in small-town Pakistan, whipping up a news media frenzy that has traced ugly sectarian divisions and renewed a wider debate about the protection of vulnerable minorities in a country that has so often failed them. At its heart, though, it is a head-on clash of narratives and motives. Hindu leaders insist that Kumari was abducted at gunpoint and forced to abandon her religion. Local Muslim leaders say she wanted to marry her secret sweetheart: Naveed Shah, a young neighbor who said he had been conducting a secret courtship with her via mobile phone and the Internet for several months. Kumari, for her part, has said in a court filing and media interviews that she converted of her free will but public figures have questioned whether she had been pressed or intimidated into saying that. The truth may emerge Monday, when the young woman is due to testify before the Supreme Court in Islamabad. For the past two weeks she has been sequestered in a women’s shelter in Karachi on court orders. When she takes the stand on Monday, many Pakistanis hope she can resolve the central mystery: where do her religious, and romantic, intentions lie? In one sense, the drama is an old story in South Asia, where the contours of society have been shaped by waves of conversions over the centuries. Since the founding of Pakistan, most conversions are to Islam, the state religion. But such conversions usually take place quietly, even in an organized fashion, and the unusual furor surrounding the latest case stems partly from the brash manner of her conversion at the hands of a divisive local politician, Mian Mitho. After Kumari declared herself a Muslim in her town court on Feb. 27, Mitho triumphantly led the new convert from the courthouse, parading her before thousands of cheering supporters. Then he drove her in a

tiles and a carved wooden roof. Then he walked into the adjacent shrine, where murmuring pilgrims rocked back and forth in front of four tombs containing the bones of the cleric’s ancestors. Women are not permitted Sulachany Devi, left, and Nand Lal are pleading inside, he said they for the return of their daughter, Rinkel Kumari. Ms. may only peek Kumari’s family says her marriage and conversion through a small barred window in were at gunpoint. Photo: Sam Phelps the tomb wall but caravan to an ancient Sufi religious he made an exception for Kumari. shrine controlled by his family and “She was a special lady,” he said. The case has caused division within famed as a site where Hindus have the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, of been converted. There, Kumari was welcomed by which Mitho is a member. Earlier Mitho’s elderly brother, Mian Sha- this month, President Asif Ali Zardari man, the same cleric who had con- privately intervened to have Kumari verted her three days earlier who led taken into protective custody. Later, her into the towering shrine. When the president’s sister, Dr. Azra Fazal she emerged, now wearing a black Pechuho, delivered an impassioned veil, gunmen unleashed volleys of speech to Parliament about the plight celebratory Kalashnikov fire into of the Hindu community. “I have a lot of discomfort with the air and shouted “God is calling this kind of behavior,” said a senior you!” Hindu leaders, enraged, viewed the party member from Sindh Province, images as a crass provocation. “If the speaking on condition of anonymity couple was really in love, then why because of the political delicacy of this fanfare of guns?” said Amarnath the matter. “The state is not giving Motumal, a Hindu lawyer and human the Hindus an equal environment. rights activist in Karachi. “It clearly So they are turning to a narrative of shows they are trying to embarrass forced conversion to fight back.” Pir Muhammad Shah, the local the Hindu community and are bent police chief, agreed that Mitho’s acon taking our girls forcefully.” Kumari’s parents pursued the case tions had aggravated the situation. “It through the courts, claiming that teased the whole Hindu community, their daughter had been abducted and led them to believe the converby a Muslim supremacist, and that sion had been done at gunpoint.” Although Pakistan is blighted by the police and judiciary were biased against them because they came from sectarian bloodshed, rural Sindh Province is a relative beacon of rea minority background. “Mian Mitho is a terrorist and a ligious tolerance. The majority of the thug. He takes the girls, and keeps country’s Hindus, estimated to numthem in his home for sexual pur- ber more than three million people, poses,” said Kumari’s father, Nand live here, and they have a history Lal, a government schoolteacher, of tranquil co-existence with Musli noting that Mitho’s armed guards The two communities share religious had escorted his daughter to court festivals, go into business together, appearances and news conferences. and attend one another’s weddings His wife, Sulachany Devi, issued an and funerals. Yet it remains a delicate social balanguished appeal. “Rinkel was my blood, and she remains my blood. All ance. In many Sindhi towns, wealthy I want is for her to return home,” she Hindu traders have been targeted by said. Mitho, in an interview, denied kidnappers. Conversions, which are the allegations against him. “I am freighted with notions of collective merely protecting her human rights,” honor, can present a jarring social he said. And at the Sufi shrine in fault line. Officials with the Human Ghotki district, his brother, the cleric Rights Commission of Pakistan have who converted Kumari, was equally spoken of up to 20 forced conversions a month and Hindu families fleeing unapologetic. “We are saving them from the for India but they admit that the refires of hell,” said Mian Shaman, a search is thin. As Kumari’s anticipated court frail man in his 70s with a mottled complexion and a wavering voice. date nears, it has revived many old “We consider they are born again, tensions. And while no one is expectand the sins of their previous life are ing widespread violence in her case, in some of its particulars it bears a washed away.” Shaman estimated he had con- remarkable resemblance to an earlier verted 200 people the previous year. conversion scandal — one in 1936, He insisted none had been coerced. when a British magistrate returned “Forced conversions are not permit- a Hindu girl to her parents after she had been converted. The result was an ted in Islam,” he said firmly. Shaman led the way into the 11-year uprising by Muslim Pashtun mosque, a spectacular building cov- tribesmen that at one point involved ered in intricately patterned indigo 40,000 British troops.

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SPORTS OPINION

April 06, 2012

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SPORTS

April 06, 2012

Paes Clinches 50th Doubles Title

Leander Paes (right) and Radek Stepanek with the Sony Ericsson Open trophy. Pic/AFP

MIAMI (The Hindu): Indian tennis veteran Leander Paes became only the 24th player in the ATP World Tour history to win 50 doubles titles after he and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek clinched the Sony Ericsson Open, their second team trophy of the season. The 38-year-old also Paes and Stepanek, who were seeded seventh, rallied to upstage second seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 3-6 6-1 10-8 on Saturday. After dropping the first set, the Australian Open champions broke Mirnyi and Nestor twice in the second set to force a match tie-break. The Indo-Czech combination trailed 1-4 before winning six straight points to surge ahead. Stepanek closed out the victory with an unreturnable volley to clinch the win in

82 minutes. “Well actually Radek came to me and said something simple on my service return (in the second set) and that changed the whole momentum of the match. I have got to give full credit to Daniel and Max, they started out amazingly, they were all over us in the first set,” a jubilant Paes said after the triumph. “Over all these years of playing, I have got to thank many partners, I have got to thank many coaches... I have to thank my father but most importantly my wonderful partner right now, Radek Stepanek,” he added. Paes, who did little celebratory jig with Stepanek after the match, collected his third straight crown at Crandon Park, having triumphed with Lukas Dlouhy in 2010 and Mahesh Bhupathi in 2011.

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Sachin the Inspiration behind World Cup Success: Yuvraj NEW DELHI (The Hindu): “You will matter when it matters the most” are the words that Tendulkar told Yuvraj Singh, which served as an inspiration for the dashing all-rounder during India’s World Cup triumph last year. On the eve of India’s first anniversary of the World Cup triumph, Yuvraj, who is recovering from a rare germ cell cancer, has revealed that Tendulkar had a crucial role to play in his man of the series winning performance during last year’s mega—event. Yuvraj recalled that he was not in the best of form and fitness coming into the World Cup, but Tendulkar and speedster Zaheer Khan’s pep talks motivated him to do something special in the quadrennial event. “Couldn’t have asked for anything better. I didn’t expect myself to play as well as I did in the World Cup. I was coming with not great form and I wasn’t timing the ball how I wanted to,” he said in an interview posted on his twitter account about his thoughts on the World Cup anniversary. “In my tough times, I just spoke to Sachin about my issues with batting and form and fitness and he told me that you will matter when it matters the most. That is a very special thought, it remains with me. “I remember I have a picture of me and Tendulkar together which I have put in my locker. I used to have a look

A file photo from Yuvraj Singh’s Twitter account, posted by Yuvraj on 1 March, 2012.

at that picture and go into bat. He is my inspiration,” Yuvraj said. “Zaheer Khan also told me in Bangladesh before the World Cup about me doing something special in the World Cup. That time I was going through a bad wrist injury,” he added. As India complete the first anniversary of the World Cup triumph, Yuvraj described the feat as a “cherished and special moment”. “All you can remember is flying colours of the flag, Wankhede stadium (the host of the World Cup final) in joy and an Indian dream coming to reality. It was a great moment in history because winning the World Cup was everything to us and especially to do it for Sachin Tendulkar,” he recollects in the video. “It (World Cup triumph) will always be a very special memory for me and all the Indians. It is a cherished memory which we will always keep in our hearts.”

Post World Cup, Yuvraj went through the toughest phase of his life after he was diagnosed with cancer. But he is now recovering from the disease after having discharged from the hospital in Indianapolis in the US on March 18 following the completion of the third and final cycle of chemotherapy. “It (World Cup) did change everybody’s life. I didn’t expect that I would land up here after the World Cup but that’s life,” he said. “I was at the peak of my career when I was diagnosed with cancer, but now I am treated and absolutely fine. I am thankful to my guruji, my mother. It has been a tough journey but I am lucky that the cancer was detected at an early stage and I got cured. Now I just want to live my life like a normal person, just want to celebrate life,” he said. Yuvraj also thanked his fans for standing behind him in such a difficult phase of his life and said he is now raring to return to the ground. “I can’t thank everyone enough for all the prayers and wishes. I have been watching everyone praying across the cities back home for me. The support has been amazing, I couldn’t have asked for more. I actually realised how loved I am,” he said. “I just want to tell all that I am good and will be back to normal health soon. I am looking forward to playing for India again.”

Sachin Tendulkar Steps Aside for Harbhajan Singh

CHENNAI (The Hindu): Harbhajan Singh will lead Mumbai Indians in IPL-V after Sachin Tendulkar expressed the desire to relinquish captaincy. The off-spinner, who led Mumbai Indians to title triumph in the Champions League last season, revealed here on Monday that Tendulkar had requested the teammanagement relief from captaincy a couple of days ago to focus on his cricket. “Tendulkar is the boss. He had a tough last six to eight months and wants to enjoy his cricket. We will have to concede that much to him. We want him to score a lot of runs. “Even when he is not captain, his inputs are extremely valuable. Tendulkar was with the team during the

Champions League but did not play because of injury. But his suggestions played a key role in the team’s title victory,” Harbhajan said. Explosive side He described Mumbai Indians as an explosive side with plenty of options and match-winners. Looking at IPL-V’s inaugural match — Mumbai Indians versus holder Chennai Super Kings — Harbhajan said, “It will be a match-up between the two best sides in the competition.” The off-spinner, however, looked beyond the opening duel. “It is not only about starting the race well, but the important thing will be to finish the race on a winning note. We have the team to win the tournament.” Harbhajan said Mumbai Indians had tried to cover all the bases this time around. This included signing

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

up wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik. “We needed a specialist wicketkeeper who could also bat at any position. Karthik is the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the country after Dhoni.” The experienced off-spinner conceded CSK was a formidable force at home but said his side had confidence and belief going into the contest and the tournament. Harbhajan had fond memories of Chepauk where he orchestrated a remarkable 2-1 triumph for India over Australia in the gripping Test series of 2001. “That was where it all began for me. That was one of the greatest moments of my career. I want to play for India again. That is why I am playing cricket. I want to win my place back in Team India,” said Harbhajan.


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April 06, 2012

Sri Lankan in Hit Boy Band “The Wanted”

From left, Tom Parker, Siva Kaneswaran, Max George, Nathan Sykes and Jay McGuiness of the Wanted, which has a slightly older, sexier image than some other boy bands, in London. Photo: Christie Goodwin/Redferns, via Getty Images

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range from listing key members of the group on the Joint Special Operation Command’s targeting list for assassination, and imposing sanctions against ISI officials known to be linked to the group. In recent weeks, as Saeed addressed audiences of thousands in rallies called by the jihadist Difa-e-Pakistan coalition, the U.S.’ ire has increased. The $10 million reward is largely symbolic since the Lahore resident’s whereabouts are already known. Saeed, a Lahore resident, mocked the decision in an interview to Dohabased broadcaster al-Jazeera, saying “we are not hiding in caves for bounties to be set on finding us.” Rewards for Justice The Rewards for Justice programme was founded in 1984, and is claimed to have led to several key breakthroughs in counter-terror operations among them, the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, a Pakistani national who bombed New York’s World Trade Centre in 1993. It is administered by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The programme’s website says the U.S. has so far paid out over $100 million to 70 individuals who have provided information. Rewards for Justice lists just four individuals other than Saeed as carrying $10 million bounty: al-Qaeda’s Pakistan-based chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar, Iran-based al-Qaeda organiser Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil and Iraqi jihadist Ibrahim Awwad al-Badri.

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BY PRAVEEN SWAMI, VINAY KUMAR & SANDEEP DIKSHIT NEW DELHI (The Hindu) Even as India’s leadership rallied behind the United States’ decision to announce $10 million for information leading to the arrest of Lashkar-eTaiba chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, New Delhi and several independent experts warned it is unlikely to push Pakistan to act against the alleged 26/11 perpetrator. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said he hoped the announcement would “prod the Pakistan government to take action.” He, however, expressed pessimism about the prospect, saying “Pakistan was in denial and continues to be in denial.” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, in turn, claimed the U.S. decision reflected the “strengthened counter-terrorism cooperation” between the two countries. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari are scheduled to meet on April 8, but government sources said it remained unclear if the issue would figure in their discussions, since the Pakistani leader will be in India on a private visit. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rahman Malik said he did not wish to comment on the issue since his office had received no official word on the bounty. U.S. frustration Ever since the 26/11 attacks, U.S. policy-makers have debated their options on the Lashkar options which

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arrived in January and played on “The tween 5 March and 23April 2008. His Ellen Degeneres Show,” then started brother took part as well. Kaneswaran a tour of sold-out theaters. When the played the role of Carson Coombs and television show “Glee” covered the his brother that of Caleb Coombs. The song on Feb. 21, it vaulted into the brothers also appeared briefly in one Top 10, where it currently stands at episode of Uncle Max. The episode No. 3. The five members Tom Parker, “Uncle Max Plays Tennis” aired on Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay 11 July 2008. Kaneswaran was spotMcGuiness and Nathan Sykes range ted through his modelling campaigns in age from 18 to 23. George, the and recruited as a result for the band. lead singer, wears a military-short He is the younger brother of former crew cut and always seems to need Dove member and former Popstars: Friday, April a shave. Siva Kaneswaran, born6th 162012The Rivals contestant Hazel Kaneswaren. The Wanted’s lyrics are also November 1988, grew up in Ireland 9.00 AM-01.00 PM less innocent than those of One Diwith his Sri Lankan Tamil father, Irish Vishwaksena Aaradhana, rection. Their backing tracks groove mother, twin brother Kumar and six Vasudeva Punyahavachanam Puja April 6th 2012 with four-on-the-floor rhythms and other siblings.Friday, Kaneswaran started Bhajans, Kirthans , Lunch Prasad Friday,have April the 6th 2012 9.00and AM-01.00 PM electronic texture of dance modelling at 16 appeared in 4.30 PM-08.30 PM Vishwaksena Aaradhana, music. 9.00 AM-01.00 PM The video for “Glad You various ads and landed a contract with Deepa Prajwalana, Anugyan Vasudeva Punyahavachanam Puja Vishwaksena Aaradhana, Came” shows them picking up girls Storm Model Management. Vishwaksena Aaradhana,Puja, Bhajans, Kirthans , Lunch Prasad Vasudeva Punyahavachanam at Ibiza discos and Puja slipping off with Kaneswaran took partVaastu in Rock PM-08.30 PM Puja and Homam, Bhajans, Kirthans , Lunch Prasad Mritsamgrahanam, Ankuraarpanam, for intimate encounters. Rivals, televised4.30 in eight episodes be- them

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BY JAMES C. MCKINLEY JR. NEW YORK (NYT): When the boy band One Direction this week became the first British group to top the Billboard 200 chart with its debut album, a feat not even the Beatles or Coldplay could pull off many music fans caught onto a trend that tech-savvy teenage girls have known about for months: Boy bands are hot again. Not only did One Direction sell 176,000 copies of its album, “Up All Night,” in its first week of release, but the group whose members ages range from 17 to 20 has generated mobs of swooning girls everywhere it plays. At the same time, the Wanted, another British boy band with a slightly older, sexier vibe, has had a Top 10 hit single on the American charts for weeks with “Glad You Came,” currently at No. 3. TheWanted was assembled through a mass audition in 2009 by Ashley Tabor, the president of Global Talent in Britain, the same way that boy bands like ’NSync and the Backstreet Boys were put together by the impresario Lou Pearlman. Armed with songs by the English hit-maker Steve Mac, the Wanted has since released two albums in Britain and had a string of five Top 10 singles there. Signed to Mercury Records in the United States, the Wanted has had a slower buildup than One Direction. “Glad You Came” at first failed to gain traction when it was released last October. But the song’s popularity started to rise rapidly after the band Friday, April 6th 2012

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1:30 PM-5.00 PM

PRANA PRATISHTA

Our Hindu community’s efforts to build a temple are culminating on April 6th - Apr 6.00 AM-1.00 PM Our Hindu community’s efforts to build a Viswaksena Aradhana Vimana Kalasha Sthapana Saturday, Apr 7th 2012 Our The Hindu community’s to Krishna build a Viswaksena Aradhana 8th 2012. murties of Sriefforts Radha Kalasha Puja and Sthapana, Puja Friday, April 6th temple 2012 Netra Unmeelanam, LunchGo(Cow) Prasad are culminating on April 6th - Apr Our Hindu community’s efforts toSthapana, buildGo(Cow) a Puja Kalasha Puja and temple are culminating on April 6th - Apr Vimana Kalasha 9.00 AM-01.00 PMand Sri Lakshmi will be installed using 1:30 PM-5.00 PM Sthapana Friday, April 6thVimana 2012 temple are culminating on April 6th - Apr 8th 2012. The murties of Sri Radha Krishna Kalasha Sthapana Vishwaksena Aaradhana,8th 2012. The murties of Sri Radha Krishna Netra Unmeelanam, Lunch Prasad Ratnadhivasam, Yantra Sthapana Netra Unmeelanam, Lunch Prasad Punyahavachanam 8th 2012. The murties of Sri Radha Krishna Friday, April 6th 2012 Hindu rituals, as prescribed the ancient Vasudeva Puja Lakshmi 9.00 AM-01.00 PM Friday, April 6th 2012 1:30 PM-5.00 PM will be in installed using and Sri Bimba Sthapana, Ashta PM Bandhana ( Murti 1:30be PM-5.00 Bhajans, Kirthans , Lunchand Prasad Sri Lakshmi will be installed using Sri Lakshmi will installed using and Vishwaksena Aaradhana, 9.00 AM-01.00 PM Ratnadhivasam, Yantra Sthapana Sthapana) Shastras. We request your in enthu9.00 AM-01.00 PM 4.30Puja PM-08.30 Hindu rituals, asprescribed prescribed the ancient Ratnadhivasam, Yantra SthapanaPMAgama Vishwaksena Aaradhana, Vasudeva Punyahavachanam HinduBimba rituals, as prescribed in the ancient Hindu rituals, as in the ancient Sthapana, Ashta Bandhana ( Murti Deepa Prajwalana, Anugyan 6.00 PM-9.00 PM Bimba Sthapana, Ashta Bandhana ( Murti Vasudeva Punyahavachanam Puja Vishwaksena Aaradhana, Bhajans, Kirthans , Lunch Prasad Sthapana) Saturday, Apr 7th 2012 Agama Shastras. We request your enthuAgama Shastras. request your siastic participation inWe this once in a life- enthuVishwaksena Aaradhana,Puja, Sthapana) Bhajans, Kirthans , Lunch Prasad Agama Shastras. We request your enthuDeepa Sthapanam, 4.30 PM-08.30 PM Maha Lakshmi Puja Vasudeva Punyahavachanam Puja 6.00 PM-9.00 PM Hindu Vaastu Puja and Homam, siastic participation in this once in a lifeOur community’s efforts to build a 4.30 PM-08.30 PM 6.00 PM-9.00 PM Mritsamgrahanam, Ankuraarpanam, siastic participation in once in a lifeDeepa Prajwalana, Anugyan Shodhashanyaasam, Dinner Prasad time opportunity. To view thethis schedule of siastic participation this once in a life, Lunch Prasadtime opportunity. Deepa Sthapanam, Maha Lakshmi Puja To view the schedule ofBandhanam, DeepaBhajans, Prajwalana, Kirthans Anugyan temple are culminating on April in 6th - Apr Deepa Sthapanam, MahaRaksha Lakshmi Puja Vishwaksena Aaradhana,Puja, 9.30 PM-Midnight Dinner Prasad timetime opportunity. To view the schedule of Vishwaksena Aaradhana,Puja, 4.30 PM-08.30 PM Bhajans/Kirtans/Cultural Program and to RSVP please go schedule to events,Shodhashanyaasam, and toVaastu RSVP please go to Dinner 8th 2012. The murties of Sri Radha Krishna Shodhashanyaasam, Prasadevents, opportunity. To view the of Puja and Homam, DANDIYA RAAS Vaastu Puja and Homam, 9.30 PM-Midnight 9 PM-9:30pm Mritsamgrahanam, Ankuraarpanam, Deepa Prajwalana, Anugyan www.woodlandshindutemple.org Lakshmi will beand installed using and Sri 9.30 PM-Midnight Mritsamgrahanam, Ankuraarpanam, events, RSVP please Sunday, Apr 8th 2012 events, andto to RSVP please go to go to Dinner Prasad, Shayyadhivasam www.woodlandshindutemple.org Raksha Bandhanam, DANDIYA RAAS Sunday, Apr 8th 2012 Raksha Bandhanam, DANDIYA RAAS Vishwaksena Aaradhana,Puja, Raksha Bandhanam,

Friday, April 6th 2012 Bhajans/Kirtans/Cultural Program

Hindu rituals, as prescribed in the ancient

Ratnadhivasam, Yantra Sthapana

6.00 AM-8.30 AM

Saturday, Apr 7th 2012 www.woodlandshindutemple.org Sunday, Apr 8thAM 2012 www.woodlandshindutemple.org 6.00 AM-8.30 Sunday, Shastras. Apr 8th 2012 Agama We request your enthuVaastu Puja and Homam, Mritsamgrahanam, Ankuraarpanam, Vishwaksena Aaradhana Puja

Bimba Sthapana, Ashta Bandhana ( Murti Bhajans/Kirtans/Cultural Program Bhajans/Kirtans/Cultural Program Vishwaksena Aaradhana Puja Sthapana) 8.30 AM-2.00 PM 9 PM-9:30pm 6.00 AM-1.00 PM 9 PM-9:30pm 6.00 PM-9.00 PM 6.00 AM-8.30 AM 6.00 AM-8.30 AM Vimana Kalasha Yatra and Kumbhabhishekam DinnerSthapanam, Prasad, Shayyadhivasam Dinner Prasad, ShayyadhivasamViswaksena Aradhana Deepa Maha Lakshmi Puja Vishwaksena PujaAaradhana Puja Prana Pratishta Homam, Prana Pratishta for 8.30 AM-2.00 PM Aaradhana Vishwaksena Shodhashanyaasam, Dinner Prasad Three Kalasha Day Festival Murthies, Maha Poornahuthi Puja and Sthapana, Go(Cow) Puja 8.30 AM-2.00 PM 9.30 PM-Midnight Apr 6th Ganesha Puja 8.30Yatra AM-2.00 PMKumbhabhishekam Pradhana Kumbha Yatraa Daanam, Vimana Kalasha and VimanaSthapana Kalasha Sthapana 6.00DANDIYA AM-1.00 PM RAAS Apr 7th Kalasha 6.00 Kalasha AM-1.00 PM Maha Abhishekam for Murthies Vimana Yatra and Kumbhabhishekam

siastic participation in this Our once a life-efforts to build a Hinduin community’s time opportunity. To view the schedule of temple are culminating on April 6th - Apr Saturday, Apr 7th 2012 events, and to RSVP please go to Program Highlights 2012. The murties of Sri Radha Krishna Vimana Kalasha Yatra and Kumbhabhishekam 9 PM-9:30pm Our Hindu community’s toLunch build a 8th Apr 8th efforts Kumbhabhishekam  Raffle featuring a Brand Homam, New www.woodlandshindutemple.org Prana Pratishta Prana Pratishta for Unmeelanam, Netra Prasad Sunday,Viswaksena Apr 8th 2012 Our Hindu community’s efforts to build a Aradhana Maha Prokshanam, Kumbhabhishekam Viswaksena Aradhana PranaMurthies, Pratishta Homam, Prana forPratishta for Three Day Festival April 8th 2012 Honda Accord. (Drawing Maha Poornahuthi Prana PratishtaPratishta Homam, Prana 6.00 AM-8.30 AM Dinner Prasad, Shayyadhivasam 1:30 PM-5.00 PM Sri Lakshmi will be installed and Kalasha Puja and Sthapana, Puja Three using Festival Murthies, Maha at 5:00 PM. Tickets available at IndiaPoornahuthi Grocers and AlankaramGo(Cow) to deities temple are culminating on April 6th Apr Three Day Festival Maha Poornahuthi Puja 6th Ganesha Puja Kalasha PujaMurthies, and Sthapana, Vishwaksena Aaradhana Puja temple are culminating onApr April 6th -Day Apr Pradhana Kumbha Yatraa Daanam, Go(Cow) Kirti Jewelers) Ratnadhivasam, Yantra Sthapana Apr 6th Ganesha Apr 6th Ganesha Puja Bhajans/kirtans/Chanting Vimana Kalasha Sthapana Pradhana Kumbha Yatraa Daanam, Hindu Temple of the Pradhana  Cultural Program featuring local tal- Kumbha Yatraa Daanam, Apr 7th Kalashain Sthapana Apr 7th 2012 8.30 Saturday, AM-2.00 PM Hindu rituals, as prescribed the ancientPuja Program Highlights Program Highlights Vimana Kalasha Sthapana 8th 2012. The murties of Sri Krishna Apr 7th Kalasha Sthapana Maha Abhishekam for Murthies Woodlands Apr 7th Kalasha Sthapana BimbaRadha Sthapana, Ashta Bandhana ( Murti ent Lunch Prasad Vimana Kalasha Yatra and Kumbhabhishekam Netra Unmeelanam, Lunch Prasad Maha Abhishekam for Murthies Apr 8th Kumbhabhishekam  Raffle featuring a Brand New Maha Abhishekam for Murthies 8th 2012. Theamurties of Sri Radha 7601S. ForestGate Drive Apr 8thKrishna Kumbhabhishekam  Raffle featuring Brand New Raksha Bandhanam, Saturday, Apr 7th 2012 Bhajans/Kirtans/Cultural Program

Program Highlights

Apr 8th Kumbhabhishekam  Raffle featuring a Brand New Agama Shastras. We request your enthuwillHindu be installed using and Sri Lakshmi Festival 2012 Honda Accord. (Drawing AprilThree 8th April Day Our efforts a 2012 Honda Accord. (Drawing 8th to build 6.00 PM-9.00 PM community’s Drawing April be 8th installed 2012 Honda Accord. ( Apr 6th Ganesha Puja 1:30 PM-5.00 PM Sri Lakshmi will using and Viswaksena Aradhana and much much more...Program siastic participation in this once in a lifeat at 5:00 PM. Tickets available at Indiaatat Grocers and Alankaram to deities 5:00 available India Grocers and Alankaram to deities Apr 7th Sthapana atPM. 5:00 Tickets PM. available India Grocers and Kalasha Alankaram to deities Highlights Hindu rituals, as prescribed in the ancient Deepa Sthapanam, Maha Lakshmi Puja Tickets Ratnadhivasam, Yantra Sthapana a Brand Kirti Jewelers) Apr 8th Kumbhabhishekam Raffle featuring New Kirti Jewelers) Bimba Sthapana, Ashta Bandhana ( Murti Kirti Jewelers) Kalasha Puja and Sthapana, Go(Cow)Bhajans/kirtans/Chanting Puja Hindu rituals, as prescribed in the temple are culminating on April 6th -ofancient Apr Bhajans/kirtans/Chanting Shodhashanyaasam, Dinner Prasad time opportunity. ToHindu view the schedule ofof the Bhajans/kirtans/Chanting Temple the Hindu Temple Temple of the 2012 Honda Accord. Sthapana) your Cultural Program featuring local tal( Cultural Program featuring local  enthuCultural Program featuring local tal- tal-Hindu Agama Shastras. We Bimba Sthapana, Ashtarequest Bandhana ( Murti 9.30 PM-Midnight Woodlands Woodlands Woodlands Vimana Kalasha Sthapana Sthapana) ent ent Lunch Prasad 6.00 PM-9.00 PM LunchLunch Prasad ent Prasad events, and RSVP please gothe to Agama Shastras. WetoRadha request your enthuHindu Temple of siastic participation in this once in aRaas life8th 2012. The murties of Sri Krishna Cultural Program featuring local talDANDIYA RAAS 7601S. ForestGate ForestGate Drive 7601S. ForestGate Drive 7601S. Drive  Dandiya Raas on7th Apr Dandiya Raas on Apr7th 7th DeepaNetra Sthapanam, Maha Lakshmi Puja   Dandiya on Apr Woodlands Unmeelanam, Lunch Prasad 6.00 PM-9.00 PM 4:00 PM 7:00 PM ent 4:00 PM 7:00 PM 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM www.woodlandshindutemple.org The Woodlands, TX 77382 The Woodlands, TX 77382 Sunday, Apr 8th 2012 siastic participation in ForestGate this once inDrive life7601S.  Games and Festivities for Children The Woodlands, TXa77382 7th Games Festivities for Children Dandiya To Raas on the Apr Shodhashanyaasam, Dinner Prasad time opportunity. view of Games andand Festivities for Children Deepa and Sthapanam, Maha Lakshmi Puja schedule Kalyan Uthsavam The Woodlands,using TX 77382 1:30 PM-5.00 PM Lakshmi will be installed Kalyan Uthsavam Games Festivities for Children andmuch much muchmore... more... and much much Kalyan Uthsavam and Sri 6.00 AM-8.30 AM and 9.30 PM-Midnight much more... and much much more... Shodhashanyaasam, Dinner Prasad opportunity. To view the schedule of events, and to RSVP please totime Cultural Program, DinnerVishwaksena Prasadgo Aaradhana Cultural Program, Dinner Prasad Puja Ratnadhivasam, Yantra Sthapana DANDIYA RAAS Cultural Program, Dinner Prasad Hindu 8.30rituals, as prescribed in the 9.30 PM-Midnight AM-2.00 PM www.woodlandshindutemple.org events, and to RSVP please go toancient Sunday, Apr 8th 2012 Bimba Sthapana, Ashta Bandhana ( Murti

6.00 AM-1.00 PM Prana Pratishta Homam, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

1:30Murthies, PM-5.00 PM

Sthapana)

Dandiya Raas onNetra Apr 7th Unmeelanam, Lunch Prasad Prana Pratishta for Maha Prokshanam, Kumbhabhishekam Maha Prokshanam, Kumbhabhishekam Maha Prokshanam, Kumbhabhishekam The Woodlands, TX 77382 Maha Poornahuthi  Games and Festivities for Children

Kalyan UthsavamDaanam, Pradhana Kumbha Yatraa Ratnadhivasam, Yantra Sthapana Maha Abhishekam forProgram, Murthies Cultural Dinner Prasad

Maha Prokshanam, Kumbhabhishekam

Drawing April 8th at 5:00 PM. Tickets available at India Grocers and Kirti Jewelers)

Alankaram to deities

Bhajans/kirtans/Chanting

Lunch Prasad

4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

 

Kalyan Uthsavam

Cultural Program, Dinner Prasad

Sthapana) 6.00 AM-8.30 AM Vishwaksena Aaradhana Puja 6.00 PM-9.00 PM 8.30 AM-2.00 PM

DANDIYA RAAS

Agama Shastras. We request your enthuThree Day Festival 6.00 AM-8.30 AM 6th Ganesha Puja siastic participation in this once in a Apr lifeVimana Kalasha Yatra and Kumbhabhishekam

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM www.woodlandshindutemple.org Prana Pratishta Homam, Prana Pratishta for Sunday, Apr 8th 2012 Murthies, Maha Poornahuthi

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INDIA

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37

Britain’s Finance Minister Warns India Tax Plan may Hurt Investment

NEW DELHI (HT): British finance minister George Osborne on Monday criticised an Indian plan to retroactively tax business deals, saying it could damage foreign investment in the fast-developing country. A proposal to allow Indian authorities to make retroactive tax claims is widely seen as targeting British mobile phone giant Vodafone, which has been battling the New Delhi government over alleged unpaid taxes. The company in January won a Supreme Court case against the government’s bid to tax the firm over its $10.7-billion takeover in 2007 of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa’s Indian unit. But finance minister Pranab Mukherjee then announced a move to bypass the court ruling, adding to growing wariness among foreign investors about putting their money in Asia’s third-largest economy. “We are concerned about the proposed budget measure,” Osborne said after talks in New Delhi. “Not just because of its impact on one company, Vodafone, but because we think it might damage the overall climate for investment in India.” “I was quite candid about that with my Indian counterpart,” he told reporters. “What India needs, like all countries, is a stable and predictable tax system to encourage investment.” New Delhi’s planned change to the Income Tax Act would be retroactive to 1962 and would oblige domestic and foreign firms to pay tax on any overseas transaction involving an Indian asset. Osborne’s visit coincided with seven global industry bodies, ranging from the United States to Japan, saying the tax threat was “prompting a widespread reconsideration of the costs and

benefits of investing in India.” In a joint letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, they said the “unprecedented” proposal “had undermined confidence in the government’s policies on foreign investment.” Some multinationals had already begun re-assessing their investments in the country due to mounting uncertainty over taxation, the letter said. The proposal, announced in last month’s budget, “called into question the very rule of law, due process, and fair treatment in India,” it added. Signatories to the letter include the Confederation of British Industry, the United States Council for International Business and the Japan Foreign Trade Council. “India will lose significant ground as a destination for international investment if it fails to align itself with policy and practice around the world and restore confidence in the relevance of the judiciary,” the groups said. Vodafone said last week it was urgently looking at ways to head off a potential fresh tax demand for $2.2 billion and slammed the government’s latest plans as “grossly unjust”. Indian tax officials contend Vodafone should have withheld the amount the seller, Hutchison, would have owed in capital gains tax when it sold the Indian mobile unit, which now has nearly 150 million subscribers. Vodafone successfully argued in court that the deal was exempt from any tax because it took place abroad and both buyer and seller were foreign. It also noted it was the purchaser and had made no gain on the acquisition. As well as Vodafone, transactions by companies such as SAB Miller and Kraft could be affected by the proposal.

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April 06, 2012

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April 06, 2012

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44 April 06, 2012

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 06, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


April 6 Pages 1-44