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Friday, August 05 2011 | Vol. 30, No. 31

Indo American merican News

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At SlutWalk, A Quiet Statement

Fashion House Inara Debuts to Packed Audience at SBR Expo

By Kalyani Giri HOUSTON: Against cascades of a pristine white tulle backdrop, models in skinny heels draped in exotic sarees drew tumultuous applause as they sashayed and pirouetted down the catwalk. Shimmery, and lavishly appliquéd with embroidery and colorful sequins, the visually rich confections heralded the debut of the Inara couture line of

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saris by a rising young star on the local fashion scene, Nara Lakhani. Inara, named for the Protector Goddess from Middle Eastern mythology, shared the ramp with six other designer houses at the Sabse Bada Rupaiya (SBR) Magazine Fashion Show and Expo held at the Crowne Plaza River Oaks on July 31. Undeterred by the steamy weather, a diverse capacity audience attended the event that coincided with the eve of Ramadaan, the month-long fast observed by the Islamic devout, that culminates in the celebration of Eid al-Fitr; the show accorded those pondering what to wear for the Eid festivities a wide selection. The silver and white theme of the décor rendered a coolness to the hall, deep in contrast to the heat of the day, and was reflected in the tall vases of creamy hydrangeas and icy ropes of silver beads dangling from gnarled faux tree branches. Thronging the periphery of the room were racks of garments and tables bearing ornate clutch/hand bags and bindis and all manner of voguish accoutrements for the fabulous fashionista. The whimsically named MABY USA couture jeans (maybe you’ll like them, or maybe you won’t!) by yet another young designer Tanaz Choudhury kicked off the show with pizzazz; high stepping models sporting Amy Winehouse beehive ’dos and wearing the signature collec-

Malhotra of Glitz EnterFor more information about tainment coordinated and Lakhani’s designer wear, visit compèred the show. Mixing www.inarasaris.com. Choudhury’s and spinning catchy tunes MABY USA is at www.mabyusa. was DJ AV. Lakhani, who com. For Kannan’s décor, www. is also publisher/owner of decor1events.com. SBR Magazine, was clearly overwhelmed by the support from the community. Her sarees in a multitude of textures and varying in levels of glitziness were bridal trousseau worthy, yet also appropriate for most festive occasions. “I’m ecstatic by the positive response to the show. Being behind the scenes Nara Lakhani (L) with Emcee of the most of the time, event, Abiya Malhotra Photos: Omar when I looked out Mejia for LastNightPics.com I was amazed to see how much of tion of denim embellished with fragile georgette inlays encrusted a challenge it was to get with pearls and colored beads, from one end of the room crochet inserts, and intricate mo- to the next!” enthused tifs, worked the ramp. Choud- Lakhani. “I’m so gratehury’s daughter Chloe debuted the ful to my family without children’s line of denim, a new ad- whose help and encouragement, this wouldn’t dition to the collection. Other design houses showcas- have been possible, also, ing their garments were Parinaz to our make-up and henna Boutique, the Princess Royal Col- artists Zohra, Sonia and lection, Sajnee Boutique, among Fathima of Hooked on others. Kurtha outfits with trendy Henna, and Nalini Kantrouser-style pants, lehengas, nan of Décor One, I am and some men’s-wear were also truly so blessed,” added Sajnee Boutique with accessories by AR displayed for purchase. Abhiya Lakhani. Designs

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dr. nikam: “Breathe deeply, Keep cool, learn to manage your stress” By Jawahar Malhotra HOUSTON: When it comes down to what stress is and the ways to manage it, it seems that everyone’s an expert, and this audience of a little over 80 desis, with a smattering of Anglos, was no different. They knew what caused stress, chipping in their responses to the question. Job pressure. Relationships. Ego. Worries. Money. Deadlines. Anger. Jealousy. Bitterness. Certainly they had experienced stress of one sort or the other, and they even shouted out the ways the handled it. Meditation. Eating too much. Eating too little. Drink. Listen to music. Kick the dog. Use humor. Praying. Focus on something positive. Go shopping. As Dr. Nik Nikam prodded them on, the audience at the JVB Preksha Meditation Center participated fluidly in this initial workshop on Stress Management co-sponsored by the India Culture Center and the Indo American Charity Foundation and held last Sunday, July 31 in the pyramid shaped pavilion in the back of the property located on the city’s west side. “This workshop is intended to help you find ways to manage stress, not get rid of it,” said Alok Jain, the program coordinator and Board Director at the Center. “You will learn tips on how to deal with stress.” Nikam peppered his talk with bits of humorous anecdotes and witticisms that he is known for almost as widely as his work as an interventional cardiologist for the past 25 years. He has been a past president of the Indian Doctors Association, participated in Toastmasters, spoken on radio and written over 100 articles on stress and other health issues. Nikam is also the author of two books – Stressless Mind & Priceless Body (1995) and the recently released Heart Healthy Lifestyles – which explore ways to lower stress and associated health complications. Nikam’s message is that stress is universal and 99.9% of times, stress is not fatal. Stress can be good or bad, but is, by one definition, the body’s response to any kind of change, manifesting itself in many ways, not only physical, but mental, emotional and psychological. Nikam added to the list of stress inducers, with death of a spouse as the number one factor, followed by divorce, getting married, lifestyle changes, lack of sleep, kids leaving the house and even vacations. All this stress can cause real and perceived pain and suffering and the audience helped to tick off some of the symptoms. High blood pressure. Anxiety. Anger. Weight loss. Weight gain. Depression. Loss of libido. The symptoms provide clues on the treatment to 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

Alok Jain introduces the objectives of the workshop as speaker Dr. Nik Nikam waits to start his talk in front of the audience at the JVB Preksha Meditation Center last Sunday, July 31. After the program, Dr. Nikam posed with Samani Parimal Pragyaji and Samani Akshay Pragyaji with JVB Preaksha Chairman Swatantra Jain at extreme right.

follow. In the ‘fight or flight” response to stress, two hormones are involved: adrenaline associated with aggression, which causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, circulation and anxiety; and acetylcholine linked with flight, which slows the heart rate, a feeling of weakness, nausea and passing out. These hormonal secretions may last from 5 to 15 minutes, but leaves a person not feeling normal for several hours later. “In order to manage your stress, the second step is ‘How are you going to respond?’; but the real first step is ‘How much are you responsible for your life?’,” said Nikam as he paced the floor and showed a slide presentation. “We need to make a change within ourselves and learn some techniques.” Among these techniques, Nikam listed effective time management, good communication skills, assertive behavior, meditation, music, and a good attitude. “Develop an optimistic, positive outlook,” advised Nikam, “and remember that listening is the most important part of communicating.” He added that developing a sense of humor was extremely helpful in defusing a stressful situation. “Most humor comes from painful experiences separated by time and space.” To drive home the point, Surender Talwar,

the Executive Director of the IACF and an excellent vocalist sang a verse from a Hindi bhajan after Nikam’s presentation and at the conclusion of the workshop and Dr. Raj Bhalla, President of India House, added a few witticisms from his abundant collection of humorous anecdotes. Nikam concluded with responses to several questions from the audience. It was Samani Akshay Pragyaji, one of the two resident nuns at the JVB Preaksha Center (the other nun is Samani Parimal Pragyaji) who showed the group a few tips on how to manage stress. A young woman who has been in the order for only a few years and in Houston for the past four years, Samanji explained with remarkable clarity the medical symptoms and reactions that take place, in stressful conditions, down to the secretions of the pituitary gland in response to a response from the hypothalamus and the effects of cortisol, serotonin, norendronamine and endrohonine. “Stress is a positive or negative reaction to a situation,” Samanaji explained. “If stress increases and performances increases, then it is good stress. She classified unhealthy stress in three deteriorating ways: physical, mental and worst of all, emotional.

To handle stress, Samanji advised a change in mindset and having realistic expectations. “But without practice, the theory is incomplete and we cannot change our body chemistry,” cautioned Samanji. And in order to get there, she guided the group through some meditative exercises that can induce alpha rhythm in the brain and increase the gray matter which is responsible for sharpening the memory and increasing efficiency. Samanaji led the group first through Preaksha, which means “to see with the mind’s eye” in an exercise called Mahapranthani which activates the neurons and increases concentration through 15 repetitions of chanting “mmmm” out loudly “like the sound of a bee” with the eyes closed. This was followed by diaphragmmic breathing, repeating the “mmmm” on the exhale. “Breathe in slowly, breathe out completely,” Samanji coaxed gently as the group had their eyes closed. The final exercise involved breathing in and out through alternate nostrils in order to help balance blood pressure. As they left the workshops, many said that they felt a sense of renewal and relaxation after the exercises, an effect of the alpha rhythms that Samanji had referred to, which brought a smile to the faces of those, like Alok Jain and the JVB Chairman Swatantra Jain, who organized the workshop. JVB Preksha Center holds workshops every second Saturday of the month, andmeditation, bhajans, relaxation and pravachans every Tuesday from 10 am to 2:30 pm. Call Swatantra Jain at 832-875-3511 for more information.

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serenity reflecting samia: ornaments Unique, whimsical By Kalyani Giri HOUSTON: Meet Samia Adil and chances are that you’ll be bowled over by her effervescence and easy warmth. She’s forthright, savvy, and sports a slightly tough exterior

Samia Adil

that belies a vulnerable core. She has known and transcended tragedy, only to emerge stronger and more confident. A single parent to her 9-yearold daughter Dua, she is a young woman of many talents ranging from handling the daily logistics at an import company, and moonlighting as a DJ and a radio host. Samia recently showed her prowess as a jewelry designer of significant talent when she launched her maiden entrepreneurial endeavor, Serenity by Samia. Her jewelry is original and intrinsically individual with touches of whimsy that reflect her personality. Conceived by Sa-

mia and hand made by artisans in Turkey, she incorporates textures and fabrics, iridescent semi precious stones, silver and gold leaf, along with tiny benedictions i n -

scribed in Arabic on some of the pieces. Others may hold a talisman such as a tiny shoe or whatever strikes this artist’s fancy. Versatile and stylish, some long necklaces have multiple uses as belts, bracelets or as hip head-gear. Samia prefers to call her pieces ornaments rather than jewelry. “To me, accessorizing with the right pieces completes a look and enhances the appearance of a person, so ornament would be the right word,” said Samia. The ancient designs of the Ottoman Empire of Turkey, the Moghul era of India, and the antique silver of the Bedouins inspire her creativity. She has been working

on her line of ornaments for about one year, but the lack of time and resources delayed the launch, which finally took place on July 14, 2011, at the Cru Wine Bar on Kirby. Attended by a diverse group of friends and well-wishers, the Serenity line garnered her validation from her peers and emboldened Samia to consider it as a possible vocation for the future. This week, Samia was nominated as Luminary Ambassador for Total Health – Body and Mind by the Asian American Family Services, the outcome of which will be announced at a glittering gala at the Hotel Zsa Zsa on September 8, 2011. Born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia, Samia hails from a supportive, loving family. She holds a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and English Literature, and a diploma in interior design. Her radio program on 1480 AM at Hum Tum City on Saturdays (1- 4 pm) is upbeat, replete with l a u g h t e r, where she exhorts listeners to live their lives the best they can, and encourages people to

“keep smiling, think positive, and keep dancing”. But she uses the platform also to address darker societal issues such as domestic violence and racism. As a DJ, she indulges her passion for dancing and festivity. It has been an uphill journey, but she is in a good place now, she said. “I’m blessed to have a tremendous support system in my family and friends, real angels sent by God. My brother Imran is my best friend and my princess Dua makes my world go round,” confided Samia. “My employers are my Godfamily who have seen me through tough times and recognized my potential and helped me grow and stabilize my life to raise my daughter. I strongly believe that without all these angels, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’m doing.” For more information visit www. serenitybysamia.com.

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Indo American News • Friday, Aug 05, 2011

In Their own words: A History of Desis in the Bayou city

There are faces I remember, All my life, though some have changed. Some forever, not for better, Some are gone, and some remain. All these places had their moments, With lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living, In my life, I’ve love them all. “In my life”, The Beatles , 1965 By Jawahar Malhotra HOUSTON: Like the Lennon-McCartney song goes, a freshly started project under the auspices of the Federation for Indian Studies at the University of Houston, in partnership with the Houston Public Library, hopes to digitally capture some of the faces and moments from our desi community for posterity. “We got this idea from the Oral History Project that was initiated by our previous Mayor, Bill White,” explained Krishna Vavilala who has successfully championed for a FIS program at UH as its Chairman and has now turned his attention to preserving a piece of the history of Houston’s Indo Americans. “So many of our pioneers have grown much older, and some have already passed on. We want to capture their voices, faces and achievements. This is a first of a kind project for the Indo American community.” The idea popped up in Vavilala’s mind just over a year ago, but funding was always a big issue as the costs of recording, editing and then uploading these related stories is a major expense, one which the FIS hopes to bridge with a fundraiser on Friday, August 19 at the Junior League. Some initial seed money has already been provided by the Vavilala and some other donors. Vavilala is working on the time-consuming effort of applying for a large grant. But, as time marches on, the first three candidates out of the nearly 100 that will comprise the initial OHP have already been

Jawahar Malhotra (left) interviewed Dr. Paul Mehta (center) and Col. Raj P. Bhalla for the Oral History Project during the second taping session at the Gregory School. The project has been organizerd by Krishna Vavilala (bottom).

selected and interviewed in the past three weeks and the rest will follow at the rate of two a month, unless more funding allows for a speedier process. The first was Dr. P. N. Rao, 81 who retired as the Professor and Chief of Cellular Pharmacology from M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Institute. The second was Col. Raj P. Bhalla, 81, a retired Indian Army officer and corporate executive and currently the president of India House. The third was Dr. Paul Mehta, 75, Dean Emeritus of the College of Education at Prairie View A&M University and a former president of the India Culture Center and the Punjabi Culture Club. This reporter (who was the host of the 1990s local television program “Asiana Television” produced by Indo American News) was the interviewer for the Bhalla and Mehta segments recorded this past Thursday, July 28 at The Gregory School studio. For Vavilala, 72, the OHP is the latest iteration of doing service for his community. An electrical engineer, he has taken a 3-month leave-of-absence from Bechtel in order to devote full time to getting this project off the ground. Not one for focusing on personal wealth, Vavilala has chosen to get satisfaction in his Golden Years in the pursuit of ways to enhance his community and his culture. For more information on the Oral History Project or the Foundation for Indian Studies, contact Krishna Vavilala at 713-7955169.

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MetLife Announces South Asian Spelling Bee New York and Boston Winners

Announcement

The 2011 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee (www. southasianspellingbee.com) concluded its 10 city tour this past weekend with two events in the New York & Boston areas. With a huge turmout, the bee attracted some top talent as well as young and new spellers that competed for the coveted prizes and titles. “This event is being rec- Niteka Mokal, Director – PR & Media Services , Touchognized as the essential plat- down Media Inc (L) and Rahul Walia, Founder of the form to get your first experi- South Asian Spelling Bee (R) with Boston Winners ence and also meet and interact with veteran title sponsor for the third consecutive year, spellers,” said Rahul Walia, Founder - South we’re excited with the growing success of Asian Spelling Bee. the events,” said Jeanine Beratta, JD, finanIn New York, Arvind Mahankali from cial services representative, MetLife FinanForest Hills, NY was the regional champ cial Group of Massachusetts. and Nabeel Rahman from Williamsville, The winners received cash prizes of $500, NY was the first runner up while Sanjana $300 and $200 respectively. Malla from Haverstraw, NY came in at third Children upto 14 years of age are eligible place. to participate and the contest saw spellers “It is great to see our youth demonstrate of even 6 years of age compete and make such talent and commitment. MetLife con- it past a few rounds. There are 8 more citgratulates all of the children and their fami- ies on the anvil and for more information lies who took part in this year’s Spelling and to register your child, please visit www. Bee,” said Anil Lamba, financial advisor, southasianspellingbee.com. Metropolis Financial Group, an office of The top two winners plus one parent each MetLife. from every city will be given an all expenses In Boston, Surabhi Iyer from Franklin, paid trip to NJ on August 12 for the Finals. MA was the regional champ and Pratima The contest will be telecast globally on Rao from West Bloomfield, MI was first Sony Entertainment Television - ASIA. runner up while Anshul Joshi from Acton, Attendance to watch the finals is free and MA was second runner up. to reserve your FREE passes interested par“We were pleased to see how many fami- ties may visit the website www.southasianslies participated in the competition and ben- pellingbee.com for more details. efited from the information MetLife providTo reserve your FREE passes to the Fied to help parents learn more about how to nals, please call 848.248.4139. plan for the rising costs of education. As the About Touchdown Media Inc.: Touchdown Media Inc., is a specialized South Asian advertising and promotions firm based in New Jersey. Now Its 8th successful year, Touchdown has helped clients- both mainstream and otherwise, reach out to the lucrative South Asian market. Touchdown has helped many clients achieve their media and marketing goals within the South Asian Diaspora in New York Winners the US.

Independence Day Flag Hoisting

HOUSTON: Flag Hoisting ceremony on India’s 65th Independence Day will be held on Monday, 15 August at 9:30am at Consul General’s Residence (5634 Briar Drive, Houston, TX 77056). Consul General Sanjiv Arora will read President of India’s message on this occasion. Refreshments will be served. Indian nationals and friends of India are cordially invited to the function. Participants are requested to assemble at Consul General’s Residence by 9:25am. Kindly bring a photo ID.

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sewa International’s ‘Get Inspired Houston’ Internship

HOUSTON: For hundreds of Bhutanese refugees, Houston offers a second chance at life. Arriving in the city, after spending 18 years in Nepalese refugee camps, they carry with them the painful memories from the camps they left behind and the hope of a new beginning. Sewa International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of disaster and empowering families in need, extends a helping hand to the Bhutanese community and provides education, job training, and emotional support. Every summer, students from various parts of the world are getting involved in Sewa’s ‘Get Inspired Houston’ (GIH) internship. Bright young adults have volunteered for the last two months to assist the Bhutanese in overcoming the new challenges they face in the United States. Since June 2011, GIH interns organized two free immunization drives, a day trip with 27 refugees to watch the July 4 fireworks at Eleanor Tinsley Park

Home. The event took place on Saturday, July 23, from 4-8pm at the gallery Caroline Collective and attracted over 60 visitors. The exhibit featured the artwork and journey of Bhutanese refugee children and celebrated Houston as the new home of more than 5000 refugees. Luna Oliveira, Sewa intern coordinator, went above and beyond to organize the event and was amazed by how the exhibit’s success exceeded even her greatest expectations: “The art show was wonderful. It was better than I had envisioned it to be. Everything went very smoothly and I want to thank the help of Sewa’s interns and volunteers for bringing everything together perfectly. Everyone had a great time and I could see the artists were all proudly standing next to their paintings ready to answer any questions”, said Luna. At the center of the exhibition were two ca. 4ft. high houses, one representing a Bhutanese hut and the other one standing for an American brick house. The inside walls of both houses showed artwork made by the children, such as Batik printings, dream catchers and masks. This setup gave the viewer an understanding of how the outside world of refugees might change entirely, while their creativity and imagination will always remain uniquely inspired by their own cultural identity and personal experiences. Shishir Karki is an international Sewa International’s Third Annual Art Show was student from Nepal and works for held on July 23. The exhibit featured the artwork Sewa as intern coordinator and inand journey of Bhutanese refugee children and celebrated Houston as the new home of more terpreter. He believes, “This event will develop a sense of inspiration, than 5000 refugees motivation and continuation on the and, last weekend, an exhibit featuring art- side of the children to go along with their art work created by Bhutanese children. work in future.” The Children’s Activities team spends Suryansh Purwar, the Houston Chapter five days a week with kids at the Villa Coordinator for Sewa International was Bella apartment complex in Bellaire, cho- very impressed with the outcome of the art reographing dancing performances, playing show. These kids deserve more opportunisoccer, visiting the public library, making ties to showcase their talent. As an organiartwork, flying kites and much more. Allis- zation, Sewa International is glad to have sa Abdelwahed, the women’s empowerment helped these kids” said Suryansh. coordinator, meets with about 20 women Sewa International is currently looking twice a week to talk with them about topics for high school seniors and college students such as American history and finances and who would like to volunteer and spend time help them launch their own t-shirt printing with refugee children. To get involved, visit business. Other interns are involved in the www.sewahouston.org or email at Housyouth mentorship program, grant writing ton@sewausa.org. and public relations team. Save the Date for Sewa Houston’s Annual The highlight of this year’s internship Fund Raising Gala, on Sep 10 at the Univerprogram was Sewa International’s Third sity of Houston Balroom, 6pm onwards. Annual Art Show: The Story of a Travelling

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HOUSTON: Sangeet Radio, Houston’s only 24-7 South Asian American radio network, is commemorating the holy month of Ramadan through its special, annual Islamic radio broadcast on KBRZ 1460AM. The radio network has been broadcasting this special programming across the airwaves of the Greater Houston area, since its inception in 1997. Through this distinct broadcast, which features religious segments throughout the day honoring Ramadan, Muslims are able to create an Islamic environment within their homes and come together as a family during this time of year. Each daily, religious broadcast is unique, and starts from the twilight hours of the morning, offers consistent reminders through the radio network’s “Call to Prayer” broadcasts, and

features segments from sunset through midnight dedicated to this holy occasion. Sangeet Radio’s Ramadan programming schedule includes: · 5 am – 7 am: “Sehri” – a program featuring Naats, religious speeches (recorded or live), translation of the holy Quran · Daily: “Azan” (Call to Prayer) – broadcasted each day during specific times, all year long · 7 pm – 12 am: “Iftar” – a program featuring live, on-air speeches by various religious community leaders, Naats, Taraweeh (translation of the holy Quran), and much more “Islam is a faith requiring daily interaction, and we noticed there was a need for a South Asian ra-

dio network to provide an Islamic atmosphere via radio transmission to those observing Ramadan,” said Saeed Gaddi, founder and CEO of Rajput Media Services and Sangeet Radio. “Our special programming during this time of year on Sangeet Radio has enabled Muslims to engage in better practices with their faith.” Sangeet Radio will broadcast its special Ramadan programming through August, this year’s holy month for Muslims. Throughout the year, Sangeet Radio also recognizes the faiths of Houston’s growing South Asian American community through various special programs and segments honoring all cultures. Since its inception in 1997, Sangeet Radio is the first of its kind in North America offering 24-hours, seven days a week, all-encompassing South Asian radio programming. For more information, visit www.sangeetradio.com or call 832-327-1000.

radio Houston celebrates 5th Anniversary HOUSTON: Radio Houston celebrated its 5th anniversary on July 26. A big number of listeners participated and send their best wishes on Air, via Emails and Text Messages. Honorable Mayor of City of Houston, Annise Parker was the Chief guest and the whole team of Radio Houston (Rahman Moton (CEO), Farah Iqbal, Alka, Mitwa and Sunny) were present at the occasion. Radio Houston is a Rahman Moton presentation and goes on air Monday to Friday on AM 1050 from 12-3pm. It got popular in a short span of time due to its unique and interesting programming.

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Free Health screenings for everyone at “life and soul” Health Fair

MANVEL, TX: Global Organization for Divinity’s first annual health fair, Life and Soul 2011, will be held on Saturday, August 13 from 8am to 1pm at Namadwaar, 3642 Bailey Ave, Manvel, TX 77578. Honorable Delores Martin, Mayor of Manvel, and Honorable Tom Reid, Mayor of Pearland, who have both always extended immense support to Global Organization for Divinity’s community activities, will be guests of honor at the event. Sponsored by several likeminded organizations focused on community service, the health fair offers a great opportunity for people of all ages—from children to seniors—to have several health screenings performed at absolutely no charge. Free health screenings that will

be offered include Body Mass Index, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar, EKG, Stroke screening – Carotid Doppler, PAD Screening – ABI, Lung Function Test and Pulse Oximetry, Vision Screen,

Bone Density and Mammogram. Cardiologists, Certified Diabetes Educators, Rheumatologists, Gastroenterologists, and Eye and Allergy Specialists will be available onsite to answer any questions. There will also be free helmet giveaways for kids sponsored by Texas Medical Association, door prizes every hour, snacks and beverages, as well as healthy Mediterranean food sampling. Other event sponsors include Alvin Community College, Walgreens, Sleep Center at Kirby, Krog-

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er, Liberty Medical, Geo-Grafx, Speech and Voice Care Center of Houston, My Nurse Home Care, Sanofi, Barbed Rose restaurant and Third Coast Terminals. Global Organization for Divinity (G.O.D.) is a worldwide nonprofit organization that aims to promote peace, harmony and universal love, amid cultural diversity, through spiritual transformation by chanting the Divine Name. Community-service oriented activities of G.O.D. USA include fostering education and culture, inculcating values and principles in youth, and providing food, clothing and supplies to the needy, apart from conducting health fairs and medical camps such as this one. For more information about Life and Soul Health Fair, contact Jeevan at 281-402-6585 or Michelle at 832-533-8371, email: houston.god@godivinity.org.

sudesh Khurana memorial scholarship Awarded by Punjabi culture club HOUSTON: The Punjabi Culture Club of Houston announced the winner of its Third Annual Swadesh Hurana Memorial Scholarship at a function held recently. The winner is Sajani Patel, a recent graduate of Cypress Woods High School in Cy-Fair Independent School District. She came in first among her graduating class of 677. Sajani has been extremely active in school clubs and has held leadership roles in organizations such as Key Club, Science Olympiad, Spanish Club, Student Council and National Honor Society. She has also performed voluntary services at the Houston Food Bank, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston Janamashtami celebrations and numerous other social, religious and civic groups. The scholarship was established by the Balwant Singh Khurana family to honor the memory of Swadesh Khurana, the loving wife of Balwant Khurana, who passed away quite suddenly in October 2007.

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The scholarship was endowed through the Punjabi Culture Club because of Swadesh’s service and contributions to the Club. The scholarship is in the amount

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Overseas Friends of BJP Honors President of BJP Andhra Pradesh, Kishan Reddy By Subhash & Dr. Siddeswar Gubba HOUSTON: The Overseas Friends of BJP, together with the Telugu community honored Shri Gangapuram Kishan Reddy at Mayuri Indian Cusine on Tuesday, July 26. Kishan Reddy, a dedicated Swayam sewak since childhood is currently a MLA and President of BJP, Andhra Pradesh State. Dr. Siddeswar Gubba, emcee of the program welcomed the chief guest Kishan Reddy and Suresh Chavhanke, Chairman of Sudharshan TV. Ramesh Shah, Swayam Sewak and Vice-President of OFBJP Southwest region, introduced the guests. Chavhanke started the program with a talk on ‘The Role of Media in India’. He pointed out the contrast between the current media telecast verses what is really happening in India and pointed to the need for honest media. He also asked for strong support for Sudharshan TV, an upcoming TV channel, which is dedicated in support of Sanathan Dharma and the people of India. Reddy, gave a vibrant speech on the current political status in India and Andhra Pradesh. For the benefit of the audience in general, he spoke in Hindi and also explained it in Telugu. The audience applauded his description of BJP’s win-win support for the State of Telangana since BJP supports a small states concept which has proven to be a success. Smaller states that were created in recent decades are doing very well compared to existing larger states. Reddy also responded to a question by the audience whether he will continue to fight against corruption and how women are currently being badly portrayed in Indian society. Houston Telugu community members

Karunakar Chowdavarapu, a creative poet, presented a plaque, with a poem that he wrote in Telugu, to the chief guest on behalf of OFBJP and Telugu friends. A.V.N. Reddy and Jithender Reddy spoke on Kishan Reddy’s hard work for society and the nation, and his success at this very young age. One of the BJP supporters said that Kishan Reddy has charisma and hoped that he will soon be rise to the top in Andhra Pradesh like Chief Minister Narendra Modi of Gujarat. Dr. Manchi C.M. Reddy conveyed vote of thanks to all who helped organizing the successful program. Kishan Reddy thanked the guests for and all their support and personally appreciated Mayuri restaurant’s team under Sridhar Reddy and the executive chef for the delicious dinner.

The take home message conveyed by emcee was that ‘Both the invited guests are working very hard to protect and preserve Dharma’ as mentioned in Sanathan Dharma, “Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha”.

Clockwise from top: From left, Dr. Manchi Reddy, Dr. Siddeswar Gubba and Gangapuram Kishan Reddy and A.V.N. Reddy; Gangapuram Kishan Reddy receives a plaque from Karunakar Chowdavarapu; from left, Suresh Suresh Chavhanke, Ganapuram Kishan Reddy and Ramesh Shah.

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At SlutWalk, A Quiet But Firm Statement What might be the event’s greatest achievement is the debate it opened up

By Anindita Ghose NEW DELHI (Mint) : Boys just eat grape and stop Girl Rape,” read one of the many fluorescent banners at Asia’s first successful SlutWalk held in New Delhi on Sunday. While poesy wasn’t one of its strong points, the logistics of the event—conceived by students of Delhi University’s Kamla Nehru College—were flawless. The event’s chief organizer, 19-year-old Umang Sabharwal, was inspired by the first SlutWalk held in Toronto in April, when women took to the streets in protest against the use of the word slut. A police officer addressing students of the York University on safety norms had said “women should avoid dressing up as sluts in order to not be victimized”. The movement went viral, with marches in Amsterdam, São Paulo, Seattle and Sydney. In all of these satellite events, participants were encouraged to dress as they pleased. And lingerie and lace grabbed headlines for the larger cause of sexual stereotyping and violence against women. Sabharwal set up a Facebook page for a similar protest march in Delhi a few months ago, and around 2,100 people pledged their presence. At 10am on Sunday, in Delhi’s protest hotbed, Jantar Mantar Road, things weren’t looking as good as promised. The walk was to start in half an hour but the crowd largely comprised irate television media and volunteers. And much to the chagrin of cameramen looking for “sexy” footage, the volunteers were dressed conservatively in loose-fitting T-Shirts with the logo, “SlutWalk arthaat Besharmi Morcha 2011”, printed across. “There are no celebrities here, only college students. Why are we here on a Sunday morning?” one cameraman remarked. And as protesters came trickling in, it was clear that there would be no mini-skirts, bras or red wigs. Before the march took off, Sabharwal took to a makeshift platform to remind those gathered about the peaceful nature of the march. There was to be no smoking, no drinking, no profanities uttered and no vandalism. She needn’t have bothered. Despite the media scrutiny, and the number of policemen employed to cordon the marchers because of threats from a Hindutva rightwing group, the quietness of the march was bewildering. Midway through the walk, marchers even climbed onto the footpath in a matter of minutes, when asked to do so by volunteers. Not far away, men from the Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association who were on a hunger strike, looked like they could very well be part of what was turning out to be a very vanilla SlutWalk. Things were so staid that Sunny Dhamija, who owns a beverage stall in the vicinity, had to ask if it really was the besharm kapdo wala morcha (the vulgar clothes’ march) or if there had been a change in schedule. Dhamija, who says he witnesses three to four protests a day given his stall’s location, supported the SlutWalk cause. He summarized it as: “Women shouldn’t be judged by their clothes, but by their character.” To the organizers’ credit, they had made it clear that this would be a SlutWalk “with a difference”. The event’s official website, www.besharmimorcha.in, reasons that in India, not every one is aware of the term “slut”, its usage and implications. Thus, participants were encouraged to wear what they wear on the streets; what they wear every day; what they, nevertheless, are victim-

tend. The absurdity of holding an event called SlutWalk in a city where a majority of its women wouldn’t know what it means, was highlighted by one particular event. Just as the march started off, a young woman raised her shirt for her friend to write a slogan on her belly. Seeing this, a couple of young male volunteers scurried about wildly, shouting, “Obscenity alert!” They managed to block the woman in question from press photographers while asking her to button up. The walk had its fair share of radicals. Karan Chaudhary, 22, a third-year law student from Delhi University, was there because his friends and sisters have been harassed at some point. As a law student, he was there to campaign for a change in legal language. “When a woman is molested, lawyers and journalists should be able to say that she is molested...and not that ‘her modesty was outraged’,” he says, reasoning that the way crime against women is framed can affect its punishment. There were also people who one would think had little to do with a protest for women’s safety in India. Like Jonathan Gingerish, a doctoral student of philosophy from the University of California-Los Angeles, who was there to “help support the attempt to restructure sexual power in India”. The success of the event for now lies in its numbers. The organizer’s count was 1,000, though a more conservative estimate would be 700-800. It is a triumph also that the event was held in Delhi, which has the highest instances of rape cases in the country (489 cases were reported in 2010). A similar event had been planned on 17 July in Bhopal but that had been a washout because of poor attendance. The seemingly provocative event has raised a range of contentious issues, including class differences and feminist priorities, ever since it was announced. By noon, the walk had ended and the crowd had mostly dispersed, or gravitated towards ice cream and bread pakora stalls. Marchers were exchanging their banners with slogans such as soch badal, kapde nahi (change your thoughts, not your clothes) and “Proud to be shameless”. There were some talks of a walk next year, but nothing concrete was announced. There was no petition signed either. But what might be SlutWalk’s greatest achievement is the debate it opened up. Who knows, maybe next year, Indian women won’t have to come dressed in loose T-shirts and kurtas to avoid coming across as the sluts who took part in SlutWalk.

Letter to the Editor

Provoking change: (Above) Participants hold placards at the SlutWalk held in New Delhi on Sunday; (below) women security guards cordon marchers.

ized in. What this meant was that the only women who were even mildly outrageous were expats or foreign correspondents, who in turn, were being stalked for media bytes. Some college girls actually came escorted by their brothers or fathers, who stood dutifully on the pavement, while their wards spoke of reclaiming their space and standing up against abuse. What had prompted the “difference” was the furore against the name SlutWalk when the event was first announced. Sabharwal and her organizing committee had appended “Besharmi Morcha” to the event’s title under mounting pressure. They even had to shift the event dates from June to July to ad-

dress these concerns, and ensure adequate police protection forthe event. For Drishti Goyal, an 18- year-old from Laxmi Nagar, this name change was crucial. Goyal, dressed in a long kurta and jeans, says she wouldn’t have participated if the event was called SlutWalk. “I didn’t know what it meant,” she explains. Goyal was convinced the event was safe to attend only after Sabharwal and her team conducted talks and street plays to explain what it was go ing to be about. Speaking to media before the event, Sabharwal says her team went around city colleges as well as lower-income group areas such as Delhi’s Govindpuri slum to encourage women from all kinds of background to at-

Dear Editor, Your report “Community Comes Together in Prayer, Empathy for Victims and Survivors of Mumbai Bombings” (Dated July 22) erroneously referred to Imam Mohammed Nasrulla as a religious leader from the Dawoodi Bohra community. Imam Mohammed Nasrulla is in fact neither a leader nor a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community. The Dawoodi Bohra community stands in complete solidarity with the citizens of Mumbai against the terrible terrorist attacks and the loss of precious lives and the President and Amilsaheb of the Houston Dawoodi Bohra Community, Shaikh Nooruddin Yamani and other community members were in attendance at the Houston gathering. Mohammed Zakir, Public Relations, Dawoodi Bohra Community of Houston

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White House and Georgetown University Host Historic Hindu American Seva Event WASHINGTON D.C.: Nearly 200 Hindu Americans, youth, military and community leaders of many faiths, gathered on July 29 at The White House for the community briefing and the 2nd annual Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) conference, “Impacting Change in America and Abroad,” an event co-sponsored by the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The ancient Vedic expression, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, meaning “the whole world is one family,” was a key principle and driver of the conference. President Barack Obama supported the effort to strengthen America through community service and sent greetings to all those attending. Joshua DuBois, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director, Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and representatives from several federal agencies addressed participants on ways of engaging the faith community. Dubois remarked, “This, Hindu American gathering, is historic. We hope to bring more understanding of the government support of civic engagement.” “America belongs to all of us and it is our duty and right to serve and strengthen this great country by offering the best of our traditions and wisdom to solve today’s problems” said Anju Bhargava, HASC founder. With over 80 youth in attendance, an important objective of the conference was to engage youth who want to contribute to their American dream through public service. To promote this, HASC organized an essay contest for participants to write about the role their Hindu faith plays in service and encouraged participants to provide specific ideas and plans to start a seva center in their community. Essay competition applicants and winners were honored with a medal at the White House Briefing and provided opportunities to share their seva plan during the conference. Ved Chaudhary, HASC Board member noted “With their Seva Plan, we expect our participants to become change makers and to play a role in America valuing the talents of its diverse faiths, its pluralistic multicultural communities, the New Americans” HASC launched the following new initiatives at the White House. (1) The BhumiSeva to promote greening of the temples with youth and community in coordination with the Bhumi Project at Oxford University and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation; (2) Security and Safety in Dharmic Places of Worship with The Council of Hindu Temples and Department of Homeland Security, (3) a program to meet the growing needs of Military Families, (4) Supported ef-

Energizing Dharmic Seva: Impacting Change in America and Abroad”

HSA Executive Branch President Shashi Dongur, HSA Board of Director Rashi Jawade, Esq., HASC Founder Anju Bhargava, University of Houston HSA Representative Shivani Agrawal and Hindus of Greater Houston representative VIjay Pallod

fort to contributing to the national wellbeing through YogaPala Challenge with President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, (and 5) Seva Center development across the nation with youth and community involvement. “The event was a great start for the awakening of Dharmic seva. It included people from all faith and secular spectrums. It is about time that people of wisdom religion, Sanatana Dharma, for whom interfaith and pluralism has always been an intrinsic way of life, stand up and be counted. We, the youth, need to be proud of our traditions, be the philosophers and Vedantins of our times, the modern wisdom torch bearers, and find solutions to alleviate the suffering and conflicts in the modern world”” emphasized Sai Santosh Kumar Kolluru, White House intern and former HASC Research Scholar. Lieutenant Colonel Ravi Chaudhary, 317th RCS commander, recognized active duty members of South Asian descent at the event for their military service along with Mr. Jason Dempsey from the First Lady’s “Joining Forces” pro-

gram. “This event is about inspiring American communities toward national service,” Chaudhary said. “What better way to inspire our youth than to showcase the heroic contributions of our brave service members and their families. The White House is a fitting place to honor them.” The conference began at the White House on Friday morning with presentations and panel discussions. Special guests included Senator Harris Wofford, a legend in the service movement shared his journey of transferring the Gandhian thought to America, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, who spoke about the importance of community engagement in bringing about social change in this “historic event.” Shekar Narasimhan noted “Indian Americans have higher poverty levels than Caucasians and we need to provide scholarships to assist students get higher education”. Rabbi David Saperstein of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Dr. Joel C. Hunter of Se-

Sai Kolluru HASC research scholar and White House intern

nior Pastor, Northland Church and Dalia Mogahed of Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies addressed the various interfaith opportunities for community integration to build healthier communities to reduce poverty. Swami Dayamitra shared the worldwide humanitarian efforts of Amma MATH organization. Asim Mishra, Deputy Chief of Staff, Corporation for National and Community Service expressed his pride as he recognized volunteerism and service of Hindu Americans. Dr. Anand Parekh, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services shared national prevention and health promotion strategy and noted HASC’s leadership in promoting yoga nationally through the YogaPALA Challenge The event continued at Georgetown University on July 30th with indepth discussions on building sustainable community-based Seva Centers through UtsavSeva

and shaping development by engaging youth and community in service. Students from St. Benedicts Prep School, Newark, shared their learning of Hindu thought though arts and music. In his key note speech, Paul Monterio, Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement highlighted the importance of service and its connection with faith based organizations in America. He recognized Hindu Americans have a capacity gap and supported the infrastructure development. Distinguished panelists addressed community needs such as challenges in adaptation, mental health, senior citizens and women’s issues, disaster relief and other ways in which the Dharmic community could contribute to the national wellbeing as well as augment the Dharmic Faith-based approach to a green environment and green living. “Georgetown University’s support of this historic conference enabled diverse youth to form bonds which will go a long way in serving the country” said Dr. Siva Subramanian, HASC Board member. On July 31st, the final day of the conference, participants visited a seva center at a local temple in Lanham, MD and officially launched HASC’s participation in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Challenge, with their own Yoga PALA challenge and a yoga session. The PALA Challenge is a White House initiative to get more people active by committing to at least 30 minutes of activity a day for six weeks. The HASC 2nd annual conference was an exciting and powerful opportunity for people of different faiths to come together in an intentional way and commit to collaborating on strengthening their communities. As many speakers echoed, this historic event was just the beginning.

HASC Essay participants at the White House

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Dhoni Sahib & English ‘Fairness’

After galloping to commercial glory by seizing control of East India Company, Tetley tea and dozy bank holidays, India’s post-colonial raid of British treasures and traditions would have reached the point of breathless exhaustion, you’d think. You’d be wrong. For our man from Ranchi has gone and outdone the English by conquering even that supposed final frontier of Englishness: a sense of fairness. The letter of law is not all, English jurisprudence holds, the spirit too must be upheld by the value of fairness. Newly-arrived foreigners wishing to settle down in Britain these days are supposed to learn the English language, and adhere to British norms and values. But nothing is quite what it seems with values, especially when they clash with the law, as the entire-cricketing world (the 53 nations of the Commonwealth plus, er, Ireland and the Netherlands) will have learnt on Sunday. The stakes at Nottingham were enormous - India stood to lose its top spot in Test rankings - yet Dhoni, after conferring with his teammates, decided to withdraw the umpires’ correct decision ruling a dozy Ian Bell out. The Indian skipper has been hailed for upholding the spirit of the game and the spectators at Nottingham gave him a standing ovation. But wait. What about the law? The evidence against Bell was overwhelming. His partner Eoin Morgan signalled him to return to the crease, but the bails were off. So, in Shane Warne’s words, Bell decided to “bluff” his way through to tea. Quite rightly, Bell later described his actions as “stupid.” Now, British newspapers that said not a word about Michael Vaughan’s ‘Vaseline’ jibe at VVS Laxman have showered Dhoni with praise. The former Test cricketer Vic Marks wrote: “By his (Bell’s) foolishness, he allowed Dhoni to display to the rest of the world that the Corinthian values of old are not entirely dead.” So, now we know: the long-dead Corinthian gentleman - athletic, fashionable and born with a sense of fair play - has suddenly sprung up from the dusty fields of Ranchi to descend on the English village green. Perhaps the fair-minded English will now return the favour? There is, for starters, the small matter of a 58-year-old Indian man who has been patiently waiting to join his wife and family in England. As has been widely reported, they have been married for 37 years but Vali Chapti, who lives in the dusty fields of Gujarat, cannot come here unless he learns English. Dipankar De Sarkar, Hindustan Times

editorial

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The Beauty of Pretty

By Indrajit Hazra The Punjabis — folks from The Punjab in Pakistan, as distinct from Punjabis who live on this side of the fence — are clearly smarter than they look. Take what they’ve done with Pakistan’s foreign policy at a crucial juncture when the country’s going through a pretty rough patch and isn’t really wild about breaking roti with the Indians. They get a pretty foreign minister conducting a serious charm offensive in Hindustan. It turns out, though, that back home now, the 34-year-old Hina Rabbani Khar is terribly upset. No, not because she had to undergo a session of humiliating photo-ops with SM Krishna’s quivering lower lip and the rest of the Indian foreign minister’s 79-year-old body. She was miffed because the Indian establishment has found her oh-so-pretty. The tag of Khar being a “fashion icon”, a sort of Bibi Gaga, hasn’t made Pakistan’s first woman foreign minister too pleased either. Sure, the media is to blame. After all which sentence about Khar did you read more carefully? The one that quoted her saying: “I hope that these two countries have learnt lessons from history, but are not burdened by history, and we can move forward as good, friendly neighbours

“I hope that these two countries have learnt lessons from history, but are not burdened by history, and we can move forward as good, friendly neighbours who have a stake in each other’s future” who have a stake in each other’s future, and... [zzzz]”? Or the one that carefully reported that “her monotone outfit of blue, the colour of the season, tasteful accessories, Roberto Cavalli sunglasses, an oversized Hermès Birkin bag and glass pearl jewellery added a glamour to her look”?

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) addresses the media as Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna looks on prior to a meeting in New Delhi on July 27.

Back in Lahore, Khar replied to the Pakistani media’s queries about her ‘newfound’ status as a headturner in Delhi: “You see, paparazzi are everywhere. Besides, you [members of the media] should not do such acts. Or I’ll have you summarily executed.” Okay, so she didn’t say the last bit about the execution, but you get my drift. She left Lahore airport for Islamabad in a huff, although choosing not to make a point by immediately donning a head-to-toe burqa. I feel for Khar, really. Who doesn’t know the anguish of someone who’s not given the attention for what she wants paid attention to? But like it or not, beauty is distracting — even if only to support her, I must say I found her to be a bit too pasty-looking for my taste. Both for the onlooker and the onlookee. When someone like former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright spoke, people would listen. If Khar quoted Albright’s famous words (refering to America’s dealings with China in the 90s) — “Engagement does not mean endorsement”— people would have mistakenly thought that she was talking about the days leading up to her wedding. Which is why, to my mind, good-looking ladies like Indira Gandhi (as opposed to Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher) had to prove themselves many times over (by winning a war, testing a nuclear bomb, suspending democracy, etc) that they were more than just a pretty face/goongi gudiya. Women (and men) use their looks in matters and professions pertaining to show business. So it stands to reason that they can choose to withhold — or, at least, be aware of — that trait when it comes to dealing with less external affairs. In which category does diplomacy fall into? I would think one that uses everything in the book to get things done, including the ‘what you see can also be what you get’ bits. But have you noticed how we have registered Khar’s disapproval of Indians gawking at her much more than India’s show of “concern” about her meeting Hurriyat leaders from Kashmir? There can be only one explanation for this: SM Krishna isn’t as pretty to look at.- Hindustan Times

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the indian economy: a trillion dollar Baby twice over

What actually happens in the next five years has tremendous implications for everybody ranging from the richest to the poorest By nIranjan rajadHyaKaSHa (Mint) India will almost have a $2 trillion economy by the end of March 2012, falling a mere $6 million short of the mark, according to a new report by the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) released on Monday. Data released by the PMEAC shows that India doubled both the size of its economy and its per capita income in five short years. The average income of an India is estimated to be $1664 a year. Though economies do not move in a straight line, a simple extrapolation suggests that we could have a $4 trillion economy and an average annual income of $3328 by FY17 in case the next five years are similar to the past five years, admittedly a brave assumption. As a point of comparison, it is sobering to note that China had that level of per capita income around two years ago, which already puts us ten years behind it. The real question then is whether India will indeed move along the same trajectory as it has done in the past five years. Or will its path out

of poverty be even steeper? Or will growth flatten out? What actually happens in the next five years has tremendous implications for everybody ranging from

the richest to the poorest. The former may continue to prosper, but higher economic growth will give the latter avenues to move out of poverty as well as provide the government tax revenues to help those in danger of being left behind. This is why the thrust of policy should be to encourage fast economic growth, to ensure

that India keeps on the current flight path and does not crash land as many Latin American countries did in the 1970s. The signs do not seem good right now, with slowing growth and higher inflation clouding the prospects of the Indian economy in the next few quarters. Some of the current pain could be cyclical. The bigger danger is that the slowdown in growth and rise in prices could become structural, in which case the problem cannot be tackled by the Reserve Bank of India but needs urgent attention from a distracted government, especially getting economic reforms off the ground once again. Manmohan Singh could go down in history as the man who helped energize the Indian economy after 1991 and the man who was at the helm when it lost speed after 2011.

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maharashtra Govt to review Ambani Home Land deal

The Maharashtra government will refer the land deal between the Wakf Board and Antilla Commercial Pvt. Ltd to the law ministry

Co mi ng Soo n

By MaKarand GadGIL MUMBAI (Mint): The Maharashtra government said on Monday that it will refer the land deal between the Wakf Board and Antilla Commercial Pvt. Ltd for the south Mumbai plot on which Reliance Industries Ltd. chairman Mukesh Ambani has built his residence to the law ministry. Mohammed Nasim Khan, minister for minority affairs and Wakf, gave this information in a written reply to a question raised by Eknath Khadse, leader of the Opposition in the state assembly. Ambani bought the 4,532 sq mt plot on Altamount Road in 2002 from the Wakf Board. Antilia Tower, the residence of Mukesh Ambani, In 2007, the Maharashtra government said the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. (File photo / Bloomberg) Wakf Board had no right to sell the land. Mukesh Ambani subsequently paid Rs. 10.6 lakh for a no for running an orphanage. The law ministry will consider objection certificate from the board. The Currimb- whether the deal should be referred to the Central Bureau of hoy Trust had donated the land to the Wakf Board Investigation for further investigation, the minister said.

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sunscreened into illness

Indo American News • Friday, Aug 05, 2011

Performing even Suryanamaskar indoors, sun-shy urban Indians are Vitamin D-deprived

By nEHa BHatt (Outlook) Urban Indians are going out on a limb to avoid the sun—and depriving themselves of the sunshine vitamin in a country that gets copious doses of sunlight. Fundamentally, the problem is a lifestyle that is increasingly moving indoors, with even vegetables being ordered online and almost all exercise confined to air-conditioned gyms. Indeed, few would have suspected that in a tropical country like ours, acute Vitamin D deficiency would strike as the next lifestyle epidemic. Yet, here it is, silently taking down not just women, as was generally assumed, but infants and teens in alarming numbers. It’s easy to miss the warning signs. The symptoms are relatively mild and generalised—fatigue, minor skin conditions like dryness, pain in the joints—and therefore ignored. So the deficiency often goes unnoticed unless a patient’s blood is specifically tested for it. Urja Shah, 56, a Mumbaibased housewife, in fact, discovered it accidentally. “Urja came to me with a bad case of psoriasis, a condition in which the skin flakes off,” says Dr Swati Srivastava, a VLCC dermatologist. “On an impulse, I advised her to get tested for Vitamin D, and it turned out that she was highly deficient, leading to severe dry skin, muscle cramps and spine pain.” Urja says she felt as if she’d lost some height as well, which was quite diconcerting. “I couldn’t reach a shelf in my home that I could easily reach earlier. For a good part of the last three years, I felt extremely weak. I did not feel fresh when I woke up. And I hardly had an active routine because I wasn’t up to doing anything at all.” She has been prescribed 6 lakh IU (International Units) of Vitamin D a week, which she takes orally. Urja has since stepped up to reform her lifestyle, with daily exposure to the sun, supplemented by a regular dose of Vitamin D. “Now that I’m aware that so many of my ailments are linked to Vitamin D deficiency, I’m taking no chances. I’ve increased my intake of fruits and dairy products as well. Apart from trips to the market around noon, at home, I make sure to park myself at a spot where the sun streams in. And I haven’t touched my bottle of sunscreen,” says Urja. A worrying lack of the sunshine vitamin has been lurking in the shadows for a while, but “urban Indians are just waking up to it”, says Dr Anoop Misra of Fortis Hospitals. A slew of recent studies corroborate the trend, with numbers daunting enough to set off warning bells everywhere. But it is not just an urban phenomenon. An AIIMS study done early this year says 80-90 per cent of adults and 70 per cent of children in India are Vitamin D-deficient, with teens and infants at an increased risk. In a study of a group of mothers and their infants, researchers found 92.6 per cent mothers and 86.5 per cent infants highly Vitamin D-deficient. So it’s hardly surprising that Dr Sujeet Jha, an endocrinologist at Max Healthcare, prescribes Vitamin D supplements to practically every patient who comes to him. “Unlike in

dians seems to know little about the condition, while unknowingly falling prey to it. Blame it all on the modern lifestyle. Those of us who live in air-conditioned houses, go to work or school in air-conditioned cars and buses, shop in malls, and work out indoors are obviously at higher risk. That, coupled with an alluring array of products aimed at keeping the ultraviolet rays in sunshine Ayeda Ravindran, 40, Bangalore from interacting with the “I was low on energy, felt depressed and epidermis, in the process had frequent backaches. It took time to generating Vitamin D— zero in on Vitamin D deficiency. I now top-of-the-range artificial take supplements.” cooling, haute couture hats, protective clothing, and an endthe West, fortified milk and fish is not less supply of “new and improved” a regular part of the diet in India. In high-spf products that block out of the addition, these days, bone weakness, UV rays even if you do expose yourcases of diabetes and bodyaches have self to the sun. An accomplice to this all become increasingly common, is the deep-seated Indian obsession and this calls for patients taking Vita- with “fair” skin. “The misconception min D supplements,” he says. today is that the sun is an enemy, Not just that, a new study proves and that it causes cancer. So people that Vitamin D, which is actually a avoid stepping out in the sun unless pro-hormone that is produced upon armed with layers of sunblock. There exposure to the sun, holds the key to is even sunblock for kids these days, and 5-year-olds are using it. When teenagers go out to play, parents tell What to do about Vit D them not to because they will get deficiency? In fact, 15 tanned!” says Dr Srivastava. minutes daily in the sun “It has become fashionable to stay with head, face, arms out of the sun,” agrees Delhi-based exposed is all you need. physician Dr Anjan Roy, who recently treated an elderly lady with chronic joint pain, and found a marked differprevention of diabetes and heart dis- ence in her condition after administerease. “Patients with low Vitamin D ing Vitamin D injections. “Everyone levels have less secretion of insulin,” worries about getting tanned,” adds says Dr Misra, quoting the study led Dr Vandana Jain of AIIMS, “when in by him, conducted by the Diabetes fact Asian skin needs about thrice the Foundation (India), the department exposure to sun than white skin, beof diabetes and metabolic disease at cause penetration is less in the former Fortis Hospital and the department of due to darker skin pigmentation. If biostatistics, AIIMS. you get even 15 minutes of the sun at The main symptoms, acknowledge the right angle (between 10 am and 4 doctors, are pain in the joints, back- pm), with head, face and half of your ache, and weakness. All of which arms and legs uncovered, your body Ayeda Ravindran, 40, who runs a can synthesise enough Vitamin D.” stress management and performance But awareness about the deficiency coaching company in Bangalore, in India is low, she says, adding that complained of. “Ever since I re- traditionally, infants were given an turned to India from the US, I have oil massage in the sun, but with the been low on energy, suffered from breakdown of the joint family, such bouts of depression, and had frequent practices have also faded. backaches, which affected my daily With doctors only just waking up to life dramatically. I was also not able this new lifestyle malady, few people to lose weight,” she says. The symp- get themselves tested for Vitamin D toms worsened even after repeated deficiency. Besides, the blood test visits to doctors. “Awareness in India for Vitamin D is relatively expensive about the deficiency is so low,” she (`1,000-1,700). But doctors say there continues, “that they couldn’t pre- are plans to make the test mandatory scribe the right medicine for me.” for patients with diabetes, obesity and Ayeda then decided to take matters joint pain. What’s still being debated, into her own hands and educated however, is exactly how much Vitaherself about the condition on the in- min D an average Indian requires a ternet, and got in touch with doctors at day (see box). Others, like Ayeda, are the American Vitamin D Council. “I trying to spread the word. “It’s a Sunwas advised to take Vitamin D3 sup- day ritual in my home to take Vitamin plements, some 60,000 IUs a week, D3 supplement for the week, since in the form of oral cholecalciferol. I I’ve got my parents on it too. Sunnow see a remarkable difference in shine and Vitamin D supplements my condition. I’ve been able to lose are good for treating ostoeoporosis weight, mood swings are fewer, my too, since they help mobilise calcium skin feels good, and I have way more in the body,” she says. The best way energy,” she says. to prevent it? That’s an easy one, as Ayeda, however, is in a minor- Dr Misra says: “Get your moment ity. A growing breed of urban In- in the sun.”

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manufactured Goods Lead surge in Indian exports

By VIKaS Bajaj PUNE (NYT): When Ranjit Date returned to India 20 years ago after earning a doctorate in robotics from an American university, he hoped to help automate factory assembly lines in his home country. His company, Precision Automation and Robotics India, has done that. But more recently it has also begun selling robots to Western manufacturers like Caterpillar, Ford and Chrysler. This year, in fact, a third of Precision Automation’s sales will come from exports, up from almost nothing five years ago. Date’s company is emblematic of a recent surge in exports of engineered and other sophisticated goods from India — a country perhaps better known for exports of skilled services like software outsourcing. But in fact, Indian exports of goods are now nearly double exports of services, growing 37.5 percent, to $245.9 billion, in the 12 months that ended in March. Leading the way are high-value products like industrial machinery, automobiles and car parts, and refined petroleum products. Indian exports are following a different path from that taken by other Asian countries like Japan, Korea and China. Those countries started by exporting products like garments and toys made by large numbers of low-paid, low-skilled workers, before moving to more sophisticated products like cars and industrial machinery. India has largely skipped the first step and gone straight to producing capital-intensive items that require skilled workers but not necessarily many of them. Rather than pursue the traditional developing-country model of exports, India aspires to eventually achieve something more like Germany’s mix of industrial goods for the global market — even if India has a long way to go before approaching Germany’s $1.3 trillion in annual exports. Over the last decade, industrial export hubs have sprouted around India, some with the help of government planning. Here in Pune, about 100 miles east of Mumbai, a vibrant domestic automotive and engineering hub supplies the United States and other Western markets. Chennai in the south has become India’s Detroit, as car factories ship small Fords, Nissans and Hyundais to

Workers at Precision Automation and Robotics India in Pune. Photos: Kuni Takahashi

Europe, Africa and Latin America. In the west, Gujarat State is home to several large petroleum refineries that take imported crude oil and process it into products like jet and diesel fuel that are sold in other Asian countries. (The need to import crude oil for domestic use, though, is the main reason India continues to run a trade deficit — $104.8 billion in the last fiscal year.) Meanwhile, traditional exports like textiles and agricultural products together account for less than 20 percent of the goods India sells to the world. India now exports fewer garments than its neighbor Bangladesh, which has one-eighth India’s population and an economy only about one-fifteenth as large. “India has moved away from the textiles story,” said Rohini Malkani, an economist at Citigroup in India. “Now, it’s engineering goods and chemicals, including pharmaceuticals.” In many ways, these are virtues born of necessity. The country’s poor transportation and electricity infrastructure and restrictive labor laws have discouraged companies from setting up labor-intensive manufacturing plants like those for which China is known. Instead, many Indian exporters specialize in higher-value goods and services that require fewer, but more skilled, workers. The flowering of these industrial bases can be traced to the early 1990s. That is when a financial crisis forced Indian policy makers to slough off socialist policies known as the “licenses raj,” which tightly regulated industrial production and kept foreign competition out. The changes let businesses set up factories based on market

demand and allowed foreigners to invest in India, exposing domestic companies to greater competition. “India is beginning to get its act together in terms of the productivity of its industrial sector,” said Eswar S. Prasad, an Indian-born economics professor at Cornell University. “Fundamentally, India always had a good productive base. And given the low base which we were starting from, it’s not surprising that India is doing so well.” But still not as well as it could be. Some economists predict the Indian economy will grow by 7.5 percent this year, to $1.6 trillion. Such growth might thrill many countries, but it would be down from 8.5 percent last year. And it is below the 10 percent growth rate that many economists say India could achieve if it invested more in infrastructure and if the government further relaxed its tight grip on many parts of the economy. The slowing growth is all the more reason the increase in industrial exports is a bright spot for India. Here in Pune, manufacturers say exports are booming. Date, the robotics entrepreneur, expects sales at his company to increase 20 percent this year, to $67 million. The company is building a second factory, a 150,000-square-foot plant on the outskirts of Pune, to keep up with demand for its robots and automated assembly lines. He said Precision Automation’s products were 10 to 50 percent less expensive than similar equipment made by Western suppliers. Date started the business with a friend, Mangesh Kale, who, like him, grew up in Pune. After earning advanced degrees from Rensselaer

Ranjit Date, president of Precision Automation and Robotics India.

Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., they returned to India in the early 1990s — just as policy makers were pushing through early economic changes. At first many Indian manufacturers were unwilling to invest in robots, Mr. Date said, because labor in India was so cheap. But in the increasing global economy, Indian manufacturers had to improve productivity to meet rising demand and compete with foreign companies. “We have grown in waves with the Indian economy,” he said. In 2003, the company opened an office near Detroit and started winning small contracts to supply assembly line machinery and other equipment

to auto parts makers. After a few years, it landed a small contract with Caterpillar, which has since become one of its biggest customers. It also won overseas orders from companies like Renault after supplying their Indian factories. Analysts say Indian exporters like Precision Automation have performed admirably given the challenges they face. But for India to become an export powerhouse like China — which had exports of $1.58 trillion last year — policy makers must substantially improve its infrastructure, make labor regulations more flexible and improve basic education, said K. T. Chacko, director of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in New Delhi. Date said his biggest challenge was finding, training and keeping qualified engineers. His company puts every entry-level engineer through a year of paid in-house training that he says costs it 1 million rupees (about $22,200) each, because college graduates do not have sufficient skills. About one-quarter of employees stay for just three years before jumping to other companies. Infrastructure is another big concern. His factory receives power from the electric utility only about half the time, forcing him to rely on diesel generators. Yet, roads and regulatory approvals are improving, Mr. Date said. As recently as five years ago, it took customs and tax authorities seven days to approve export shipments. That has been reduced to two days, he said. “It is bearable,” he added, “but still needs improvement.”

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BollywoodSho ws4U Brings EXPLOSION 2009 to Houston HOUSTON: Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan and Hard to make a stunning Kaur are set the Explosions eventappearance in Bollywood Shows organized by 4 by Moid Khan. The U conducted event is set to be held at the Reliant Arena on August 7, 2009. Moid Khan informed that Houston residents have been waiting for a long time to see the live performance of Sonu Nigam. Bollywoodshows4u is bringing the perform-

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Houston. The Foundation could not have chosen to raise awarenessa better topic among IndoB P Americans in Houston K about its HOUSTON: If there’s one recent Indian studies programs. Prior movie that has to polarized opinions the discussion of the film, Parul about India, it Fernandes is lionaire. The movieSlumdog Mil- explained and Krishna Vavilala has all the elthat the Foundation ements of entertainmen t designed is currently conducting Hindi to glue you to your seat – shock, Level I and Level II courses as awe, amusement, well as love and inspiration. disgust, true Jainism classes on Hinduism, and the Anthropolog have seen movie Some people India. y of The several Foundation times, has also each time moved to tears and joy. received support from There are a few Indian others, however, government’s Ministry of Overwho could not get past the slum seas Indians to fund a Chair for kid’s jump into Indian studies at the UH. blinding of a child. cesspool or the An 11-minute clip of Slumdog More than 120 people with prob- Millionaire, edited by Anil Kuably 200 opinions about the movie mar, was screened to stimulate assembled at a the discussion. The town clip included held at India House hall meeting scenes depicting negative last Sunday afternoon. aspects of India such as religious disharThe town hall meeting was or- mony, child prostitution, ganized by the and Foundation for lice brutality. These scenes poIndia Studies at were the University of followed by uplifting scenes in

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WEEKLY HOROSCOPE

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records, your focus will be on funds and loans, but off them, it’s passion and sex that grabs your attention. Restlessness and anxiety is likely to surround you day and night, leading to complex ailments. Only meditation and Yoga can calm your disturbed mind. Slow down your work pace and spend quality time with your loved ones. God will bestow upon you all that you deserve. SCORPIO Oct 24 - Nov 22: You have successfully accomplished all the targets you had set. Pat your back for the good work! Wisdom and skills, will help you think out of the box and strengthen your business further. Financial gains are on the cards. You will be inspired by great personalities like Swami Vivekanand and Buddha. You wish to gain spiritual knowledge. This will give you mental strength but also peace of mind. Relationships, physical intimacy, money and investments will keep you engaged. SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 22: You will have renewed zeal and zest and let the past be. You may develop an optimistic attitude towards situations and life in general. Your practical approach at workplace will help you develop a better understanding of the work you are handling. Personal and professional collaborations are likely to help you progress in life. Besides being fruitful, these relationships bring much needed fun and pleasure in your life. You may also plan to settle some long pending legal issues. This period will prove to be a boon for your personal and professional growth. CAPRICORN Dec 23 - Jan 20: Even after achieving a lot, there’s no stopping you. You make startling discoveries and push the limits of success this week. You may show greater interest in travel, education and spirituality. You will be financially sound and secure, and monetary issues will not bother you. You may be in a mood to clear the air and resolve conflicts of the past. After all, life is better if surrounded by friends rather than enemies. On the domestic front, you will look forward to spend some quality time with family. You will have a healthy and happy time ahead! AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19: Disorientation and confusion may existthis week. You learn to manage things, get a hold on yourself. A new relationship, may turn out to be full of passion and electrifying chemistry. Though short-lived, the memories of this relationship may last a life-time. The entire week may revolve around emotions and money. At the professional front, you will reach the top of the success ladder. Besides professional growth, the week also gives you a chance to develop your personality. Your stars are shining bright, go ahead and make your way! PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20: Bogged down with work, the hectic schedule this week, is likely to take a toll on your body and mind. Expansion is on your mind, both professionally and infrastructure wise. Avoid taking too much stress. You will handle money matters quite gracefully. But be cautious while signing new deals, as you may be duped by the hidden clauses or agendas. You may come across more foes than friends in business this week. Keep distance from such green eyed monsters. Before you begin a new project, ensure adequate availability of resources. Check www.iamdailydeal.com & SAVE

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Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, AUGUsT 05 , 2011 • online edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

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ARIES Mar 21 -Apr 20:An eventful month begins, ‘think out of the box’. You are bound to hit the bull’s eye, achieving all the goals and targets you have set for yourself. Your cards suggest a job change with promotion, perks, and increment. What more would you have asked for Some legal issues like loans, funds, and deals may keep you busy. Seeking help through partnership or collaboration is not a bad idea at all, give it a thought! You will feel peaceful by practising spirituality and meditation. TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 You now learn that you cannot always live according to your whims and fancies. In an introspective mood, you are in search of true happiness and peace of mind. You will learn how to attain inner tranquillity. You will be overloaded with responsibilities at office, balancing your work and home may not be easy. But you will put in all efforts to balance them gracefully. Opportunities will come in plenty but have and use the right approach. Keep your cool and handle relationships and situations with maturity. GEMINI May 22 - Jun 21: This week assures you success. It’s time to rejoice, as you come out with flying colors. You have proved to the world that there is no goal that you cannot achieve. The sky is the limit for you, and your determination and brilliant performance will be unmatched! You are climbing the ladder of success, at a fast pace. You take up tasks, and complete each one on time and with perfection. You will be like one social butterfly, and people will love your company for the passionate energies you possess and positive vibes you emit. CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 23: Expect a sea change in your lives, you are all pepped up for the week. Business travel and progress are on the cards. If you are a student, you may get a chance to travel abroad for higher education. You are passionate about life and you leave no stone unturned to explore new avenues. Grab each opportunity that comes your way this week. Socialize and make new contacts, it may prove beneficial for you in the future. Besides luck, your stars are also showering love and romance. With butterflies in your stomach you will enjoy this week to the hilt! LEO July 24 - Aug 23:You realize that variety is the spice of life. You may take up different projects at work. This will give you a chance to be experimental and will help you discover your own calibre. You may even garner compliments from your superiors. However, stay grounded. Don’t let success go to your head. Your personal life is likely to take a back seat, and your family may feel neglected. Make up for the lost time during the weekend and take your loved ones for a drive! Relax and meditate to beat the stress. VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23: As you climb the ladder of success step-by-step, you graduate to another level, this week. Kudos to you for your consistent efforts! Your rising bank balance is likely to add to your prestige in the society. Co-operative colleagues at work and the harmonious environment at home will add to the pile of goodies in an already glorious week. But on the other hand, stay away from chicanery and pranksters. Keep your eyes and ears open and act smartly; be careful of difficult times. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23: This week may prove challenging for you. Your skills and energy will be utilized to the maximum. On


26

Indo American News • Friday, Aug 05, 2011

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Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, AUGUsT 05 , 2011 • online edition: www.indoamerican-news.com


August 5 Pages 1-26