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Friday, December 23 2011 | Vol. 30, No. 51

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23, 2011

Jyoti Amge


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Devotion Guides Her to Paint Precious Artworks

now that the kids hibit organizing of which she By Jawahar Malhotra are gone, I have the was helped by her close friends, HOUSTON: “The paintings just time to concentrate the family of Raj Bhavsar who speak to me. As I go along, they on my passion for works with Wallis State Bank and guide me and sometimes I ask out painting.” Besides is involved in community events loud ‘Where are you going, mata? the Tanjore style, with the ICC. “Her work is marYou better bless the house you go Mittal also does ab- velous,” Bhavsar said. “We often to’,” quipped Anju Mittal with a stract art which was present some of our motel clients chuckle as she described her mornalso on display in with her Tanjore art pieces and ing routine of painting in her home her one-woman ex- they not only display it promistudio while listening to bhajans. “I hibit held this past nently, but believe in their divine paint all day,” she added. “It’s like Saturday, December influence.” a 9 to 5 job! But really, it’s like giv17 at the Southwest ing birth to a picture.” This is what Mittal likes to Comfort Inn on the hear, that the way the paintings And if people can talk to their Southwest Freeway spoke to her while she was makplants and nurture them, Mittal near West Bellfort. “talks” to the paintings that unfold ing them, was the way that they About 200 people are spreading their message of before her as she practices the Tancame to see her ex- faith, hope and guidance. jore art style that involves many phases but starts out as a wooden board. She gets many of her materials from India, especially the gold foils, which cannot be mailed due to US regulations and have to be Anju Mittal poses with one of her favorite paintings of Radha and Krishna brought in by hand through friends done in the Tanjore style at her one-woman exhibit last Saturday, December 17 or relatives. at the Comfort Inn Southwest. The Tanjore painting style originated in the town of Thanjavur (an- Uttar Pradesh, a small factory quickly learnt the technique. Even though she has painted all glicized as Tanjore) in Tamil Nadu town mid-way between Meerut and dates back to about 1600AD. and Delhi, once a flourishing her life, when she moved to the The themes are mostly of Hindu mill town in the Modi family’s US in 1973 after her marriage she gods and goddesses and saints, but textile business, but now a dis- got caught up in raising a famthe multi-phase process produces tant memory though the huge ily, moving often in the US for many embossed layers which are mill and factory still remain. her husband Shiv’s work as mefinally pasted with gold and silver As a child, he was exposed to chanical engineer with Bechtel, foils and overlaid with semi-pre- art since her mother was an art Her daughter Gunjen is a yoga cious stones called Jaipur Stones. teacher but she taught herself instructor and counselor and reThe results are vibrant, colorful how to paint. She realized that cently got married and her son and stunning and the paintings gen- she loved the Tanjore style with Vivek is a lawyer in California. The artist Anju Mittal poses with her son Vivek (with beard) stand“I love to dance and used to ing next to her husband Shiv and the Raj Bhavsar family, who are erally appreciate and become col- its round faces and thick lips, colors and goldwork and took a teach Bollywood dancing wher- her close family friends and have helped her with the exhibit and lectibles by art lovers. Mittal is a native of Modinagar, course in New Delhi where she ever we were,” she recalled, “but to promote her paintings. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra


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December 23, 2011

Golden Bank c celebrates a Turnaround year y with employee appreciation a

10 Indians s stand Tall with mark Zuckerberg MUMBAI: An Indian is rubbing shoulders with the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and pop star Lady Gaga as one of the top achievers in the world under the age of 30. Kunal Shah, 29, managing director at Goldman Sachs, is one of the 10 Indians on the Forbes list of under-30 achievers after he became the firm’s youngest MD at 27 last year. A promotion to the post of a managing director before 30 is rare at Goldman Sachs, the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history. Shah is an emerging markets trader for Goldman in London. The Cambridge math graduate joined Goldman in 2004, analysing interest rate products, before trading on the global macro desk, according to Forbes, which looked at people across 12 different categories, including law, social, mobile and technology. In finance, Forbes has also featured Vikas Mohindra, financial advisor at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The 25-year-old broker gathered $38 million in three years from scratch. Also on the list is Manvir Nijhar, co-head of European equity derivatives sales at Citigroup. The 28-year-old London School of Economics graduate left BNP Paribas after four years to give “Citi’s derivatives business a jolt”.

The division managers of Golden Bank along with the President Dr. Joe Huang and Board Chairman Kenneth Wu onstage during the end of the year bonus presentation at the Bank’s Christmas Party held last Saturday, December 17 at the Marriott Westchase Hotel. Photo: Jawahar Malhotra

By Jawahar Malhotra HOUSTON: Golden Bank celebrated the holiday season with a Christmas Party for its employees and some key clients at the Marriott Westchase hotel on the Westside this past Saturday, December 17. Nearly 200 people attended the reception and three course dinner to hear how the bank had fared through the year and participate in holiday festivities. Many had their holiday pictures taken by the ornately decorated Christmas tree in the lobby. Golden Bank was established in 1985 as Texas First National Bank and later went through a change leading to its present name and leadership. It currently has six branch locations, four in the Houston area - on Bellaire Blvd. (Southwest), FM 1960-Champions (Northwest), Harwin Drive (Southwest) and Sugar Land and two in the Dallas area in Richardson and Plano. The company currently has about 100 employees and most of them were on hand for the party, along with their significant others. “We had a great turnaround year, inspite of the downturn in the economy,” said Board Chairman Kenneth Wu as he spoke to the audience. “We had to put in a lot of hard work and everyone pitched in to reorganize our departments and in working with each oth-

er,” he said as he announced that everyone would be given a bonus that evening. “In particular, I want to thank the support of my wife to whom I will give half my salary and three quarters of my bonus!” he added to chuckles all around. These sentiments were echoed by Dr. Joe Huang, the President and CEO as he came to the stage and extended his warmest wishes to everyone. He was followed by the chief guest, James H. C. Wei, the Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural office in Houston, who first spoke in Chinese, and then later in English, in wishing everyone happy holidays and a prosperous new year. The emcee for the evening, Suzi Kuo presented the four 10- and 15-year service award winners, who got gold necklaces and a certificate of appreciation from Wu and Huang. After dinner, the two congratulated the division managers who were called onstage to receive bonus packets that they could distribute to their employees. Afterwards, about two dozen employees – mostly women except for four men – came onstage to a sing along of two Christmas carols as they swayed to the music. The evening drew to a close with games played on the dance floor with a few surprises and door prizes.


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December 23, 2011

srimad Bhagavata s s saptaha Utsav at namadwaar

HOUSTON: A grand, sevenday celebration of the Lord, with Srimad Bhagavatam and Nama sankirtan reverberating constantly, will usher in the New Year at Houston Namadwaar prayer-house, located at 3642 Bailey Avenue, Manvel, TX 77578, in the Pearland area. The week-long event, organized by Global Organization for Divinity, will take place from Dec 26, 2011 to Jan 1, 2012. A special guest at Namadwaar this year will be Poornimaji, disciple of HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji of Chennai, India. An excellent young speaker who is well-versed in the Puranas and Itihasas, Poornimaji has enthralled Houston audiences before in 2007 and 2008. This year she will render a Srimad Bhagavata Saptaha discourse series in English, at Namadwaar from Dec 26 to Jan 1. The katha timings are 6:30pm to 8:30pm from Dec 26 to Dec 31, and 11am to 1pm on Jan 1. Apart from the lecture series, the seven-day utsav at Namadwaar will include events all-day such as Srimad Bhagavata parayan, bhajan sessions, Mahamantra Nama sankirtan, Divya Nama sankirtan, Vana bhojanam and Nagara sankirtan, Kaun Banega Bhagavata quiz program, and several children’s programs including a musical drama presentation of Bhakta Meera, a talent show and a fancy dress presentation by

health and happiness, keeping us physically and mentally sound; so that the New Year ushers in a wealth of peace, joy and love in all our lives. With this specific prayer in mind, the Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mahamantra will be chanted at Namadwaar on New Year’s Eve. The events at Namadwaar are all free and Poornimaji, disciple of HH Sri Sri Muralideverybody is welcome hara Swamiji of Chenna to attend. children of Gopa Kuteeram. The Global Organization detailed day-by-day schedule is for Divinity (G.O.D.) is a worldavailable at wide non-profit organization that A special New Year’s Eve cul- aims to promote peace, harmony tural program and satsang will be and universal love amidst cultural held on December 31 to welcome diversity through spiritual transthe New Year with divine prayers formation by chanting the Divine for unity and brotherhood. Names. This is a time of the year to thank Houston Namadwaar is one the Lord for all the good things of 19 such Namadwaar prayerthat we received during 2011, and houses around the world—and the to earnestly pray to the Divine so only one in the USA—that have that the New Year sees no anger been established by G.O.D. for the of Mother Earth in the form of above purpose. The Mahamannatural calamities; so that the New tra is constantly chanted within Year continues to see peace in our the Namadwaar during operating Nations, keeping them free from hours. The Houston Namadwaar any kind of violence; so that the is open to the public every day. New Year sees a cure in all kinds of physical and mental ailments in For more information, call Jesuffering families and wipes sor- evan Nair at 281-402-6585 or rows from all troubled hearts; so Email houston.god@godivinity. that the New Year sees all-round org or visit


Fond Farewell to acharya Premchand shridhar a s HOUSTON: It was an emotion filled ceremony at ASGH on Dec 11, as scores of people from the extended Hindu community in

philosophy but lived it every day. All of us had a bitter sweet feeling, on the one hand we were sad that he would be retiring from ASGH and we would miss their hospitality and warmth, on the other hand happy that Acharya ji and Shanti ji will be getting a lot of time to spend with their children, grand children and great grand children in India. In his twelve Acharyaji tearing up in his farewell remarks years in Houston as the resident Houston gathered to bid a fond pracharak at Arya Samaj, he also farewell to Acharya Premchand served as a spiritual beacon not Shridhar ji and his wife Shanti ji. only for Arya Samaj but also the Acharya Premchand Shridhar ji greater Hindu community, whethepitomized the true meaning of er it was through his Radio talk ‘acharya’ through his indelible show –Ved Sudha, or his Sunday contributions during his twelve pravachans at Arya Samaj, his year stay in Houston. writings and books, and speaking It is a testament to his deep engagements at various commuknowledge of Vedas, his integrity, nity conferences and discussions, simplicity, humility and dedication or conduction evening classes to promotion of Vedic philosophy on Gita, Upanishads, Satyarth and teachings of Arya Samaj, and Prakash and other scriptures. Not his unwavering love and affection only is Acharya ji a learned Vedic for everyone who came in contact scholar, he is also a keen student of with him, that everyone was so all other religions, like Buddhism, emotionally charged and sad to see Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Juhim off. It is rare to come across daism to name a few. Acharya ji’s someone like Acharya ji, who not great oration skills, and his ability only taught and preached the Vedic continued on page 7





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December 23, 2011

Farewell to Acharya Premchand shridhar s

continued from page


to distill abstract and difficult concepts into words that we can understand and relate to, is something that made him a treasure for us in the Houston area. Over the years, he provided counseling, guidance and support to those who needed help to resolve their personal problems and conflicts. He provided solace and comfort to those who were sick or lost their loved ones. He served as our beacon of guidance in the matters of Arya Samaj, and under his guidance and help we grew as better human beings, and Arya Samaj grew by leaps and bound to serve our community. His easygoing, sincere and affectionate manner and communication skills won our hearts and endeared him to us, and we will surely and sorely miss that now that he has returned to India. His dedicated service to Arya Samaj has been critical to the success of DAV Sanskriti and DAV Montessori Schools. In his farewell remarks Dev Mahajan informed us

that in 2012, ASGH will be embarking on an expansion of DAV Montessori School and some ASGH facilities, doubling the school’s current footprint to accommodate the demand for more enrolment. Acharya ji played a critical role in nurturing the growth of DAV Montessori School, which started shortly after in Acharya ji’s arrival at ASGH, with seven students in year 2000. Today the school has over ninety students and a consistent demand from the community for expansion. ASGH and its managing committee and congregation could not have provided a more fitting farewell gift to Acharya ji. Acharya ji and Shanti ji were very touched and tears welled in their eyes as they acknowledged the warmth and af affection for them which was in abundant evidence. We note with pleasure that they have arrived safe and sound in India and are enjoying their time with their extended family. We all wish them a very blissful, happy and healthy life.

Acharya Premchand Shridhar ji and his wife Shanti ji with ASGH family

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23, 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O




December 23, 2011

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(TOI) The democratic Party candidate for Congress in Michigan’s 11th District, Dr Syed Taj, said he is “disgusted by the gridlock in Washington, DC. “Politicians seem altogether too caught up in the game of politics. I think it is about time for us to focus on policy,” he told IndiaWest. Born in Gaya, Bihar, the 65-year-old physician plans to retire in March as chief of medicine at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Mich., after six years at the post. Next year, he will also complete his fourth year of a four-year term on the Canton Township Board of Trustees. Taj said he is the only candidate who has filed so far to run on the Democratic side in a district with a registration edge for the GOP. The filing deadline is May 15. The district includes about 28 cities and towns, including Canton, Livonia, Plymouth, Plymouth Township, Northville, Northville Township, Novi and South Lyon. The Republican incumbent, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia, will face at least two primary challenges. They are coming from state Senator Mike Kowall of White Lake and a veteran of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, English teacher Kerry Bentivolio of Milford. “I intend to run a competitive campaign and raise the issues that are important to the people in my district. Job creation, the economy, energy independence and national security will be the hallmarks of my campaign.” He added, “As a doctor, I feel I would bring a new perspective to Congress. I have experience in health care, I have a small business and I have worked in a bipartisan manner on the Canton Township Board of Trustees.” He also pledges to protect Medicare and Social Security. Asked what his main achievements have been on the township board, Taj cited helping to reduce property taxes. “By taking monies from the reserve fund, we also were able to lower water bills for Canton residents. Together with my colleagues, I helped create

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a business friendly environment where new businesses could come to Canton. We also provided leadership and support so existing businesses could expand.” After attending high school in Gaya, Taj received a medical degree from Ranchi Bihar Medical School in Patna. After postgraduate pediatrics work in Patna, he trained in geriatrics and adult medicine in the U.K. and moved to Michigan with his wife in 1982. “I began my career as a medical resident and worked my way up to become the chief of medicine at Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center in Dearborn,” he said on his campaign Web site. “My wife, Sofia, my son, Asad, and I live in the home we built in Canton. My wife is an accomplished artist, Urdu author and poet and my son is studying hard at the University of Michigan in preparation for medical school next year. I am extremely proud of my family.” When elected to the Canton Township board in 2008, Taj said he became “the first elected Democrat in recent times to the board.” The Indian American congressional candidate is a board member of the Canton Community Foundation and the Wayne County Senior Alliance. Taj’s campaign manager is Natalie Mosher, who lost an upset bid against McCotter in the last congressional election.

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December 23, 2011


Former s sugar Land resident r wins Prestigious Piano Festival in India w

By ashley DeJean (Dnaindia) Being the youngest contestant in the advanced category, 11-yearold Aditya Deshpande, never really expected to win MusiQuest, a national piano competition. “Right now it hasn’t sunk in yet, so it’s a weird feeling,” Aditya said. “It’s like I have not won at all. Usually, I don’t think about it much, so every time I do I feel good.” While Aditya Photo: The Academy of Music doesn’t typically The pianist only started playing get stage fright, he found himself four-and-a-half years ago and was nervous before the competition. “I was nervous, because the pieces I up against some stiff competition, was playing were hard, so I was as MusiQuest was open to students afraid I would mess up in front of up to 25 years of age. Early on, Aditya’s mother felt he the international panel of judges. But then, I played my first piece had a gift for music. “We used to listen to classical music a lot and and got gold.”

A remarkable young pianist who used to live in Sugar Land has recently been awarded a top prize in India’s most prestigious piano festival. This middle-schooler became interested in piano by listening to the radio here in Houston. he seemed to recognise snippets from years ago that he had heard somewhere,” said Swati. “I figured we had a piano at home, so why not get him started on that.” Swati may have suspected her son had a gift, but his talent constantly surprises her. He reads through books of sheet music like novels, playing the pieces out in his head before trying out those that catch his fancy. He can even pick out several notes played together while

blindfolded. Aditya’s talent was discovered just before moving to India from Texas at the end of 2008. “I was playing easy piano pieces and getting bored, so I just tried playing a harder piece and I played that for my last recital in Houston,” Aditya said. “That is actually how I started playing bigger pieces,” he added. His family was worried that they wouldn’t be able to find a suitable piano teacher in India who was advanced enough for Aditya and knew how to teach chuldren. Fortunately, they found Roxana Anklesaria-Doctor, who founded the Academy of Music in Pune.Aditya modestly attributes

his success to her teaching. The standard VI of the Symbiosis Primary School enjoys playing piano because his talent gives him confidence. It also helps him relax. “If there’s any tension before I start playing, I try to clear my mind of that, but usually it doesn’t go away,” Aditya said. “When I start playing, it’s like a big weight is lifted off me and I have no problem.”While he says he’s not sure what the future holds, Aditya has big dreams. He thinks it would be amazing to have the chance to play for Zubin Mehta, the famous Indian conductor, and aspires to have the chance to play at Carnegie Hall in New York.

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By terri langforD angfor (Houston Chronicle) The owners of a Houston mental health program were arrested on Wednesday, December 14, charged with trying to bilk Medicare out of $90 million for treatments that amounted to little more than patients “watching movies, playing bingo or engaging in other activities,” federal authorities contend. Mansour Sanjar, 78, and Cyrus Sajadi, 64, both physician owners of Spectrum Care in West Houston were charged in the alleged phony treatment scheme, which involved kickbacks to the owner of an assisted living facility in exchange for finding and funneling patients to the clinic. Chandra Nunn, 33, the owner of the home, also was arrested. All three are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks. Since 2006, Center and Sajadi had been submitting bills to Medicare for supposed treatment at their “partial hospitalization program,” known as a PHP. The arrests come just two months after a Houston Chronicle investigation uncovered hundreds of millions in Medicare dollars spent to shepherd mentally fragile Texans by ambulance to mental health clinics and PHPs where patients claimed they watched TV and ate junk food. According to the indictment, the Spectrum Care owners submitted $90.4 million in claims starting in 2006 even though the PHP services “were not medically necessary, and in some cases, never provided.” Nunn’s role was that of a patient broker, or what clinics call, a “marketer.” Sanjar is accused of paying Nunn with a $10,000 check in September 2010 to refer patients their way. The indictment accused all three defendants of paying Medicare beneficiaries cash and cigarettes if they came to Spectrum. Attempts to reach the three were unsuccessful. Texas Medical Board records show the agency disciplined Sajadi last February for failing to keep good records on a patient. The doctor did not admit to or deny the findings but agreed to complete in one year, eight hours of continuing education on medical recordkeeping. In 2005, Sajadi was ordered by the board to complete nine hours of ethics courses, pay a $1,000 fine for violating a state law that requires a doctor who denies medical records to explain why the information was not provided. The board also disciplined Sanjar in 2003 for overprescribing narcotics to a patient.

The federal charges filed Wednesday did not list the name of Nunn’s facility. Public records show she is the registered agent for an operation called Love & Caring Homes Inc., that was incorporated on June 28, 2010. It is unclear whether the home was licensed by the state. Spectrum is one of nearly two dozen community mental health centers and PHPs in Harris County

that have collected millions in Medicare dollars, but require no license to operate in Texas, the Chronicle’s investigation in October found. The patients are mostly poor, some near homeless, who live in personal care homes, assisted living facilities - like that owned by Nunn - or apartments arranged by caretakers and caseworkers. The paper’s investigation also documented that the burgeoning business of mental health care in Houston is further fueled by the local private ambulance industry, which ferries patients to therapy and also bills Medicare. Nearly $500 million was paid by Medicare to private EMS operators in Harris County over a sixyear period, records show. By the federal government’s own rules, many of these EMS transports are not medically necessary and should not even qualify for federal dollars. Wednesday’s arrests were part of a larger operation involving several federal and Texas agencies

including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas. “This case is another excellent example of the partnership and cooperation between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Justice and our investigating agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas. “We will continue to work closely with each other to ensure those who engage in such fraudulent health care practices are brought to justice.” According to Medicare data obtained by the Chronicle, Spectrum Care received more than $1 million from Medicare in 2010. The indictment filed indicates Spectrum Care has been paid more than $6.5 million since 2006. Private ambulance data obtained by the Chronicle also shows private ambulances making trips to Spectrum collected more than $19 million in Medicare money in recent years. When asked about whether ambulance companies would be charged in relation to Spectrum’s scheme, U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Alisa Finelli would say only that “our investigation into Spectrum is ongoing.” A report released Wednesday, based on 2011 Department of Justice data, shows Houston is second in the nation for Medicare fraud prosecutions. When grouped with Miami, these two federal court districts accounted for more than one of every five health care fraud prosecutions. The report was the work of the Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearing Clearinghouse.

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No. 31

The Queen is Dead

Maharani Gayat ri Devi passes away at the age of 90

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BollywoodSho EXPLOSION 200ws4U Brings 9 to Houston HOUSTON: Sonu dhi Chauhan and Nigam, SuniHard to make a stunning Kaur are set the Explosions eventappearance in Bollywood Shows organized by 4 by Moid Khan. The U conducted event be held at the Reliant is set to Arena on August 7, 2009.

ers to Houston thus

making Houstonian s dreams organizing “Explosion come true, by 2009” Concert. “Explosion 2009 will Houston residents be giving a night non-stop session long of rock rocking Bollywood melodies, promising one of the most memorable musical treats like never witnessed before. For tickets log on to www.bollywood or call 281-2354711.

Moid Khan informed that Houston residents have been waiting for a long time to see the live performance of Sonu Nigam. Bolly Bollywoodshows4u is bringing the performperform

Houston. The Foundation could not have chosen a to raise awareness better topic among IndoB P Americans in Houston K about its HOUSTON: If there’s one recent Indian studies programs. movie that has polarized opinions the discussion of the Prior to film, Parul about India, it Fernandes is lionaire. The movieSlumdog Mil- explained and Krishna Vavilala ements of entertainmhas all the el- is currentlythat the Foundation ent designed conducting Hindi to glue you to your seat – shock, Level I and Level II courses awe, amusemen as well as t, love and inspiration disgust, true Jainism classes on Hinduism, and the Anthropolo have seen movie . Some people India. gy of The each time moved several times, received Foundation has also to There are a few tears and joy. governmensupport from Indian others, however, t’s Ministry of who could not get past the slum seas Indians to fund a OverChair 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 The town hall mony, child prostitution disharmeeting was or or, and ganized by the Foundation for lice brutality. These scenes poIndia Studies at were the University of followed by uplifting scenes in

Ambassador Ambassador MeeraMeera Shankar Shankar visits Houston Visits Page 11

Houston Page 11

Central Texas Temple Grows

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NRI nvestors LoseChilled Money IACCGH to Maytas Waterm Helps elonto Proper ties in Soup Hire India Page Page 5 26

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December 23, 2011


Tn Tn nF F 2012 Fund r raising in dallas fund raising held on Dec 18 was coordinated by Rajan Subramanian (President of Dallas Metro Tamil Sangam) was also well attended. At th´vent, $21,500 was pledged by Steering Committee Donors to support the convention. On Dec 18, the details about the 2012 convention were announced. Complimentary food was served by Madras Pavillion, Dallas.

Ayyappa mandala Pooja on december 25

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pression of sharing happiness. All are welcome to partake this maha prasadam. Sri Ayyappa (also called Sri Dharma Sasta) is worshipped as the Hindu deity who upholds righteousness (dharma) in this world. For more information, visit www.


23 at 7pm and (2) Sabarimala yatra enacing and Neyyabhishekam on December 25 at 8am. The vibrant celebrative events on December 25 will include procession, pettathulall, melam, saranaghosham, and bhajans . The grand feast ( pampa sadya) at noon is considered as the symbolic ex-

Regency Sq

HOUSTON: Forty one days of religious fervor associated with Ayyappa Mandalam season, the astrologically auspicious period for Ayyappa vrutham, culminates on December 27. The concluding ceremonies will be conducted in two days as follows: (1) Kettunira on December

Grand Opening Special


ers. Dr. P. Vaduganathan, Rajan Radhakrishnan, Srikanth Venugopalan, and Dr. S.G. Appan accompanied Kannappan. There were three presentations made at the occasion. The dinner presentation and the fund raising was hosted by Subra Chockalingam and Geetha on Dec 17 and was attended by about 50 people. The brunch presentation and

DALLAS: Dallas is a major partner city for the Texas hosted 2012 National convention of Tamil Nadu Foundation (TNF) that will be held in Houston from May 25-28, 2012. A delegation of the Houston convention organizing committee headed by Sam Kannappan, visited Dallas on Dec 17 and 18, to meet with Dallas community lead-

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12 December 23, 2011 By Divya Dugar & tarini awatraMani (CNNGo): “Having a belly is a sign of prosperity too. When I go to my village, at least people know that I am not starving in Mumbai,” says Ganpat Patil. In Japan, the sumo wrestler is a sex symbol -- which is probably no less counterintuitive than the potbelly as an emblem of prosperity in India. “More money, more food” seems to be the faulty equation. This old logic, that measures prosperity by the size of a paunch, however, seems to be giving way to modern standards of nutrition. Obesity and tubbiness is increasingly being recognized for what they are: signs of malnourishment. At least in urban India this is partially evident in the range of baked soya snacks available as an alternative to heaps of deep-fried batter. The concurrent growth of the fitness industry and healthier eating options are also testament to a trend that favors the image of the well-toned Bollywood hero to the waistline of the endearing god Ganesh. Data from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development on health patterns in emerging economies, shows India still has the lowest obesity rate as compared to Brazil, Russia and China. But even if one in five Indians are overweight, that’s still a lot. Swelling stomachs that threaten seam lines are still a common sight. Take the traffic cops, for example. All across India, Police Departments are taking sizable measures to get their cops to fit into uniforms that aren’t meant for the likes of Santa Claus and Obelix. Traffic officers are being shipped off the street to shape up. In the capital city, hundreds of tubby policemen have been warned they could lose their jobs if they don’t get in shape by going to the gym or attending bhangra lessons. I mean, where is a good reality T.V. show when you need one?


w india why i loves its Paunch

In Mumbai, photographer Divya Dugar explores this obtruding problem through photographs and candid talks with men -- and some women -- about their relationship with their rotundity.

“My belly is not that big, this is a sign of good health. I just have one meal a day and never sit around in taxi waiting for passengers, always keep taking small strolls, it is normal to have some paunch.”

Potbelly 1: Traffic tummy

Profession: Street vendor “What to do? Now I am like this only. It is OK after having four children; what do you expect? Having a belly is natural. I am happy with it, my children like me with some fat, makes me more motherly.” Potbelly 6: Poser paunch

Name: Vinay Shekar Age: 56 Profession: Traffic policeman “With all this chaos, increasing traffic and accidents, I am sure I will lose all my extra weight in no time.”

Name: Bhola Age: 30 Profession: Washerman “I don’t have any medicine to reduce my pot belly. I just eat and be happy. It is not that bad, I know some women still find me attractive.” It’s normal to have some paunch, says this cabbie

have this paunch. I am becoming more fat every day but it is OK, one should take things easy. I will try next year to reduce some of my paunch. Visit me next year, you will see a whole new me, hopefully.” Potbelly 8: Telly belly Name: Moinuddin Iqbal Age: 34 Profession: Telephone booth owner “I have always been like this, people make fun of my belly but it is now part of my personality. It does affect my movement and also my social life. I hope one day things can change for me.”

Potbelly 4: Potato tomato paunch

Cops have been asked to trim their tummies to 34 inches

Potbelly 2: Street foodie Name: Rajesh Ram Age: 40 Profession: Street food vendor “Having a potbelly is hereditary in my family, my grandfather, father and even my brother has a potbelly. I don’t think too much about it, in fact I never did till you asked me.”

He never thought to think about the size of his stomach

Potbelly 3: Emergency airbag Name: P.N. Upadhyay Age: 53 Profession: Taxi driver

Name: Ganpat Patil Age: 48 Profession: Vegetable seller “This potbelly is due to my work -- I am all the time sitting and selling vegetables, that’s why. But having a belly is a sign of prosperity too. When I go to my village, at least people know that I am not starving in Mumbai.”

Women still think I’m hot. Why worry?

“People make fun of my belly,” says Moinuddin Iqbal

Potbelly 9: The wife Name: Reema Talwar Age: 55 Profession: Housewife “I have always been a bit chubby and had a belly. But frankly speaking, I don’t care, life is too short to fuss over such things.”

Sell potatoes. Or be one?

The barber’s not sure why he’s so fat The stomach - a sign of maternity

Potbelly 5: Yo mama so Name: Ratan Dutta Age: 35

Potbelly 7: Barber belly Name: Mohammad Akbar Siddiqui Age: 38 Profession: Barber “I don’t know why I am fat and

Housewife thinks life’s too short to stress about size

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© 2011 All rights reserved.


Big day for a Little Lady

December 23, 2011


Jyoti Amge dreams of Bollywood acting career after being crowned world’s shortest woman By Michael inBar NAGPUR(MSN): Turning 18 marks a major milestone in the life of any young women, but Jyoti Amge finds herself the subject of some added hoopla today – she is now officially the World’s Shortest Living Woman. Representatives from Guinness World Records traveled to Jyoti’s hometown of Nagpur, on December 16 to acknowledge her entry into adulthood — and her new entry into its world records. Standing at 24.7 inches, she displaced 2-foot-3-inch American Bridgette Jordan as the world record holder. “It is wonderful to celebrate my 18th birthday with a new world record; it’s like an added birthday present,” the Jyoti is measured at 61.95cm on her 18th birthday by pretty brunette with a 10-foot smile Guinness World Record officials, making her the world’s said in a statement. “I feel grateful to shortest woman be this size; after all, if I weren’t small and had not achieved these world records, she can look a 2-year-old in the eye, Jyoti is I might never have been able to visit Japan a clotheshorse: She designs her own clothes and Europe, and many other wonderful and jewelry to fit her size. Jyoti was a vision in a striped sari and countries,”Jyoti said. Baby of the family: With sister Rupali, 18, Archana, 23, mother Ranjana necklace at her awards ceremony today, atWhile Jyoti has a form of dwarfism called Amge, 45,, father Kishan, 52, and brother Satish, 22 in 2009 achondroplasia that has limited her growth tended by 30 friends and family members. — she’s grown just a third of an inch since After receiving her plaque and cutting a darling daughter. “This year is a special cel- She has attended regular school since age 4, she was hailed the World’s Shortest Teen- birthday cake, the 2-foot teen took a mo- ebration and we expect more visitors than sitting at a desk designed to accommodate ever to Jyoti’s birthday party,” he said. “But her. ager in 2009, and isn’t expected to grow any ment to brag about her hometown. Guiness World Records Adjudicator Rob “I have put Nagpur on a world map,” she it has always been this way, she’s always further — she makes it clear big dreams can Molloy adds that seeing Jyoti embrace her told the Associated Press. “Now everyone been very popular. come with a small size. While Jyoti revels in her diminutive stat- size can serve as a lesson for all. “Jyoti enJyoti plans to pursue her college degree will know where it is.” No less prideful was ure, she lives her life like any young girl, courages us all to look beyond mere size and her dad, Kishanji, who noted that birthdays and then seek fame on the big screen in Bollywood film productions. And even though are always a big deal when it comes to his hanging out with her sisters and friends. to just celebrate our differences,” he said.

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23, 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O

14 December 23, 2011


The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi

India’s dour mood makes British nervous n

Open 7 days a week

The story thus far…It was announced that a meeting was to be held in a garden called Jallianwala Bagh, to protest against the government’s actions. General Dyer took no measures to prevent the meeting. He reached the place soon after the meeting began and he took with him armored cars and troops. Without giving any warning he ordered, “Fire till the bullets are finished.” The soldiers fired 1600 rounds into that unarmed mass of people. Once a park, Jallianwala Bagh was now a scene of the most brutal massacre of hundreds. Hundreds of men, women, and children were butchered, though the official figures given were only 379 killed and 2000 wounded. Leaving the wounded and dying on the ground, the troops marched away. The name Jallianwala Bagh became synonymous with massacre. There were other even more shameful deeds done all over the Punjab. Indians were ordered to crawl on their hands and knees. General Dyer also ordered that in certain areas all Indians were to alight from vehicles and salute whenever they passed a British officer. At certain places men were stripped naked and flogged. Students and children were ordered to walk miles for roll call, to attend parades, and salute the British flag. Then there was the stripping and flogging of marriage parties, the censorship of communications, and cutting of water and electricity supplies to Indian families. The administration of General Dyer’s martial law created a reign of terror in the Punjab. C. F. Andrews, who had already reached the Punjab, wrote to Gandhi and begged him to come at once. Gandhi wanted to go, but the Government turned down his requests for permission to visit the place. Finally, in October that year, the Viceroy permitted him to visit the Punjab, and Gandhi went. On his arrival at Lahore railway station, Gandhi found that almost the entire population of the city

was waiting for him. The Congress had appointed a committee to enquire into the atrocities committed in the Punjab. On his arrival in Lahore he was requested to join the committee. He started a slow but most methodical investigation of the incidents in the Punjab. Gandhi thus had the opportunity to get to know the Punjab and its people. The people flocked to him. They loved and respected him. Jawaharlal Nehru, who was also there in the Punjab, realized that Gandhi was the leader of the masses. People were drawn to him because of his thoughts and deeds. Nehru saw the scientific accuracy with which Gandhi was conducting the enquiry. Gandhi’s report of the atrocities showed that the Government was trying to shield certain persons. He was never interested in taking revenge on anybody but he was shocked at the way the government sat silent when its own report was published. He was greatly moved by the sufferings of the people in the Punjab. He knew the extent of the atrocities committed on the defenseless people. Gandhi now advised the people to not cooperate with the Government in every possible way. He advised them not to accept any of the honors offered by Britain, and requested those who had already received honors to return them.

He wanted people to start a movement to boycott the law courts. He advised people not to buy any foreign goods. He wanted every effort to be made to persuade Indians not to serve the Government in any capacity. He called out students from the educational institutions. Gandhi’s influence on the Indian people was steadily growing. The old leaders, many of them with liberal policies, were vanishing from Indian politics. By the end of 1920 Gandhi was the undisputed leader and head of the Indian National Congress. The Congress was fighting for immediate Home Rule. Its method of fighting was nonviolent noncooperation with the government, and defying carefully selected laws at suitable times. Gandhi was very interested in Jawaharlal Nehru and his socialistic views. He was most impressed with the account given by Jawaharlal of his contacts with the peasants. Jawaharlal explained the difficulties the peasants were experiencing, particularly the high taxes they had to pay. The political situation in India grew worse. The Government became nervous. There was tension everywhere and amidst the suppressed people there was the danger of violence. In spite of the hard attitude of the Government, Gandhi believed that England would soon right the wrong before it was too late. Jawaharlal was of the opinion that England would not change her policy unless she was forced to do so. Jawaharlal was right. Soon the Government started arresting the leaders and imprisoning them. The British were afraid to loosen their grip on India. On August 1, 1920, in a letter to Lord Chelmsford, the Viceroy, Gandhi gave the signal for a noncooperation campaign. Along with it he returned the Kaiser-i-Hind gold medal which had been awarded to him in 1915. In the columns of Young India Gandhi wrote in detail in defense of nonviolent noncooperation. With other leaders he traveled extensively addressing huge meetings and preaching the

essentials of satyagraha. Everywhere the crowds welcomed him with great love and enthusiasm. Again and again he warned the people against violence. He abhorred mass fury. “If India has to get her freedom by violence,” he The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi is brought to you courtesy Mahatma Gandhi Library. said, “let it be by the disciplined violence named war.” At the end of August the Gujarat Political Conference passed a noncooperation resolution and a special session of the Congress was held in Calcutta on September 4 to 9. Gandhi had prepared the draft of the non-cooperation resolution. Gandhi was not sure how much support he would get at the Congress session. When

Shraddhanjali to Mahatma Gandhi Saturday, January 28, 2012 at Rose Garden Hermann Park

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he moved the resolution he said that he knew the resolution envisaged a policy which was different from the policy hitherto followed. “But,” he declared, “knowing this, I stand before you in fear of God and with a sense of duty to put this before you for your acceptance.” The special Congress session adopted the noncooperation plan as a means of attaining Swaraj. During the latter part of 1920 Gandhi advocated a triple boycott. He wanted an absolute boycott of the Government and all government institutions, including schools, colleges, and courts. If the people were free of these they could easily have their own schools, colleges, and courts, and the power of the British would collapse at once. There was much laughter and ridicule from the moderates and the supporters of British rule. But Gandhi paid no attention. — To be Continued

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December 23, 2011

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16 December 23, 2011

a anita desai on longing and striving s

By ranDy y BoyagoDa (NYT) Sometimes a mango is just a mango. This is rarely the case in Indian novels, where mangoes tend to be luminescent orbs dangling in steamy air, glistening with sweetness, sex and Being itself, waiting to be plucked, caressed, birthed. Either that or they’re muddy and rotten and piled high on a dirty road, surrounded by rancid garbage, rank cooking fires, beggar children and grinning, greasy swindlers. In other words, mangoes in India’s literary fiction are much like India in literary fiction: distinguished by pleasing aromas or permanent anarchy, if not some chutneyed combination. For almost five decades, Anita Desai’s writing has avoided this easy trafficking in the delicious and malicious. She has instead created a body of work distinguished by its sober, often bracing prose, its patient eye for all-telling detail and its humane but penetrating intelligence about middling people faced with middling prospects. Whether in India, Mexico or America, Desai’s characters tend to be easy marks for new possibilities — for something, anything, other than life as it is. This vulnerability leads to promising experiences, which often become fresh disappointments. For a writer so taken with such arrangements, the best results are minor-key masterpieces; the lesser efforts are melancholy suffocations. Both outcomes are evident in the three novellas that make up her new collection, “The Artist of Disappearance.” “The Museum of Final Journeys” describes the early stages of an Indian civil servant’s career. Sent to a decrepit rural outpost, he must deal, day by gloomy day, with supplicants petitioning him about con-

Anita Desai Photo: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

voluted property claims. Spectacularly underwhelmed by his monotonous duties and their depressing locale, he copes by lapsing into a drowsing wakefulness — until an old man implores him to visit a nearby estate that he says has been transformed into a museum and then abandoned by its eccentric owners. The young bureaucrat is skeptical, but as a relief from boredom goes anyway, only to discover a series of fallingdown rooms filled with wondrous prints, textiles and objects from distant places, as well as a bamboo grove occupied by a pathetic, chained elephant. Enlivened by what he’s found, he realizes that the seemingly “meek, obsequious” old retainer is more accurately, and distressingly, “a small, determined man doggedly performing his duties to the last” — attempting to secure government support for the failing estate. Will the young man find his purpose in saving this strange museum or will he be absorbed into its decline? As he considers

what to do, the story suddenly jumps forward, midsentence, to the civil servant looking back many years later, without much feeling or interest, at this posting as part of the larger story of his average life and typical career. After she has superbly built up the suspense of her narrative, Desai’s snappedapart transition to a desultory valediction is disappointingly fragmentary, a devaluation of our finely developed investment in this man’s life. In contrast, the title novella is a slow-drip tale about a sensitive recluse named Ravi, who survives his decadent, self-destructive parents and creates an intricate stone artwork in the woods near a North Indian hill station. When the place is chanced upon by a young woman who works for a documentary film crew searching for evidence of environmental degradation, this accidental discovery — confusing, then terrifying, then exciting for the young woman — offers a jolt of energy, but it’s not enough. Throughout, Ravi’s sensibility is both too dark and too precious: when he’s not doing his therapeutic art-scaping in the woods, he’s moping around the burned remains of his family home or hiding out from visitors. Meanwhile the members of the film crew are mostly variations on listlessness until they find filmable material — first Ravi’s delicate glade and then a large-scale mining operation, with its “great gashes that had opened out into caverns of white limestone.” Yet this juxtaposition of the artistic and the industrial seems surprisingly stark, coming from a writer of Desai’s usual subtlety. The collection is redeemed, however, by the third novella. Eloquent and understated, “Translator Translated” lays bare the soured

life of Prema, a middle-aged Delhi English teacher who attends a school reunion where she has a nervous, exhilarating encounter with Tara, a confident and flashy classmate who has since become a player in India’s publishing industry. After they agree that Prema will undertake an English translation of a book written in one of India’s regional languages, Oriya, excitements and disappointments follow. As Prema tries to reinvent herself as a translator, editor and even author, her energies are consumed by her ef efforts to catch up with a contemporary who has always seemed so far beyond her. Here Desai quietly, relentlessly exposes the longings of someone at the slack-end of life, trying to renew it by redressing a perceived early injustice. Happiness for Prema is not just seeing her name on a published book, it’s also visiting Tara in her office to chat about future projects — at last, as equals. But she tries too hard, makes bad decisions and eventually concludes that she is merely “a tired woman going home from work with nothing to look forward to,” one of those who have “had a moment when a window opened, when we caught a glimpse of the open, sunlit world beyond,” only to see “that window close and remain closed.” At her finest, Desai is a brilliant anatomist of people like Prema — men and women who seek, gain, but fail to triumph in such moments and are left to play their own kind of solitaire, matching what was to what might have been. Randy Boyagoda’s second novel, “Beggar’s Feast,” was recently published in Canada. He teaches literature at Ryerson University and is writing a biography of Richard John Neuhaus.

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23, 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O


December 23, 2011

a depends on which sside of the counter you are in all

By Dr. Tiny nair (Hindu) When I was a young boy, my father often used to ask me to buy some postcards on my way back from school. We lived in a small dusty town in West Bengal. The man behind the counter in the post office was the slowest human I have ever seen in my life. There would be no flicker of expression on his face on seeing me coming to the other side of his table, obviously asking for postcards. He would talk to the woman in the next table about Sunil Gavaskar’s dazzling performance and how Bengali cricketers were discriminated and politically excluded from the team. After a straight 10 minutes, he would see me, open his table drawer and fish out, not the postcard, but a betel nut and paan, elaborately design it with buntings and put it in his mouth. Only after the full taste of paan had reached his central ner nervous system would he look at me and ask ummm? Invariably he would not have small change, and would tell me how bad government made such problems before I was permitted to leave.

On Saturday evenings, I used to accompany my mother to the ration shop for our quota of sugar and rice. It would be a long queue. Once, the post office man was just behind us. He was so perturbed by the process that he was venting his anger by telling people close to him in the line about the problems

set up industry and the Trinamool fights tooth and nail. I think it all boils down to which side of the counter you are. That, according to me is the first law of counter. Your authority depends on which side of counter you are. And that obviously leads you to the second law. The subject continues to be on the same side of counter till disturbed by an extraneous force like retirement or election, as the case may be. But once you are pushed out to the other side of counter, life changes, often drastically. I know of a police officer who became depressed, needing psychiatry support and finally committed suicide. Not lack of money, not family problems, but


he could not do with the lack of power, the absence of police car, the missing uniformed driver and the salutes. All that comes as long as you are on the inside of the counter. And one last thing. It may not be logical and always true, cannot be put forward as a law, but just a belief I have. Every action, done when you are on the inside of the counter, has an equal and opposite reaction once you are out on the other side, today or tomorrow. The laws have been proven and validated umpteen number of times. Well, why is it then that they are not in the textbooks? It took decades before my predecessor’s laws were accepted. And if Newton could wait, why not me?

s special c chanting meditation at m r radha madhav dham Begin the New Year by participating in 24 hour NamSankirtan to open your heart and bring you closer to God. Join us at Radha Madhav Dham starting on December 31, 2011 (noon) through January 1, 2012 (noon) for this devotional program. Radha Madhav Dham is a traditional Hindu Temple and ashram located in the serene Hill Country outside of Austin. We also offer overnight accommodations with delicious vegetarian meals included with your stay. Please call for reservations and rates at 512-288-7180 or visit www.RadhaMadhavDham/ accommodations . For more information about our New Year’s program, visit of the rationing system, till he was loud enough to be heard by the ration assistant who made it clear that anyone not liking to stand in the queue could go home. After all, he never asked us to come and queue up. It was funny. It all depends on which side of counter you are — in life, in post-office or in the ration shop. The Congress tries to pass a bill and the BJP is against it. The CPI (M) government tries to

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Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O

18 December 23, 2011 less is more Once upon a time, i used to have this much prized pocket transistor - my trusty companion during my TV-less childhood. It followed me to my study table, dining room and would eventually follow me to bed and lull me to sleep with its late-night movie songs which also ensured that i dreamt of my favorite stars. Our favorite programmes were the sponsored ones promoting movies soon to be released. I still remember the dramatic voices of the likes of the redoubtable Ameen Sayani, giving tantalising tit-bits about the story along with audio clips from the movies, and the frenzy of anticipation it all built up. This was further whetted by glimpses of scenes from those movies in the few film glossies that were available then. Eventually the movie would arrive - heralded by this old rickshaw-wallah who would put up the lurid, grossly exagger exaggerated posters on three sides of the rickshaw and huddle with a loudspeaker on the seat himself and blast through the town, “Maar-dhaadh, naach-gaano se bharpoor film... aaj se Ashoka taalkies par.” Too dignified to actually run after the rickshaw, we did run out on the street to catch a glimpse of the stars staring out of the posters at us. Cut to the present. Turn to any channel at any time and you can’t escape the stars. A three-year-old will tell you who is endorsing which brand with a bored yawn. Stars today actually appear to spend more time on TV than on films - giving umpteen interviews, gracing an award function here, gyrating away to glory there. And if you’ve still missed them, switch to some popular ‘reality’ show and my bet is you’ll find them there promoting their film! They say times have changed, but the net effect is just superglut. They frequent our drawing rooms more than our friends; we know more about them than we know about our neighbours. In short, their supposed media savvyness has all but destroyed their charisma. Audiences are smarter than to fall for all the overexposure and hype. We know very well that the promos may be the best part of films, so we steer clear. Perhaps it’s time to revise movie marketing and flashback to the ‘less is more’ era. - Madhumita Gupta


i india c cinemascope By SiTaram T Taram yechury Dilip Kumar, our one-time colleague in Rajya Sabha, tweeted on his 89th birthday on December 11, even as the deaths of Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, MF Husain, Bhimsen Joshi, Bhupen Hazarika and Jagjit Singh continue to sink in. A void, difficult to fill, has been left behind. But we must end this year in celebrating the life and work of these creative giants who, along with many others, moulded the collective consciousness of the country’s post-independent generations. The celebration lies in the resolve to carry forward their contributions in creating, what is popularly called, a national psyche. In the 1970s, I remember the night-long recitations of Faiz Ahmed Faiz at the Jawaharlal Nehru Uni-versity, and the enchanting singing of Bhupen Hazarika, which left evev erybody at the univer university recite or sing these for months on end. A Tamil student would be singing Bhupenda’s Asomiya and Bengali rendition of Paul Robeson’s ‘Old Man River’ or an Odisha student reciting Faiz saab’s poetry, melding revolutionary urge with a lover’s passion. Persuaded by us, the university also invited Balraj Sahni to deliver its convocation address. He chose to be cremated draped in a red flag. Hindi cinema — I don’t like the term Bollywood as its origins lie in aping Hollywood — moulded a social consciousness that reflected the aspirations of a resurgent and an independent India. The hopes generated by Raj Kapoor through his characters achieving what appears impossible, Bimal Roy’s influencing the national agenda on issues like land reforms (Do Bigha Zameen), untouchability (Sujata), Dev Anand’s eternal romanticism or Guru Dutt’s nostalgia of a bygone era, among others, gave an expression to the concept of the ‘Idea of India’. These contributions created a common consciousness that wove

together the bonds of commonality in diversity. This, however, didn’t happen accidentally. The Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA) was formed in 1936 under the presidentship of Munshi Premchand in Lucknow. In the same year and in the same city, the All India Kisan Sabha and the All India Students’ Federation were established. Sajjad Zaheer, who was sent as general secretary of the Communist Party of Pakistan, after Partition, was its general secretary. The writers’ association brought together literary giants like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Saadat Hasan Manto, Bhisham Sahni, Ali Sardar Jafri, Josh Malihabadi, Firaq Gorakhpuri, among many others, including Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi and Shailendra, whose lyrics gave the most cherishable images of the acac tors that we recolrecol lect today. A few years later, in the wake of the Bengal famine of the 1943 and the Quit India Movement, the Indian Peoples’ TheatreAssociation (IPTA) was formed, bringing together giants like Prithviraj Kapoor, Ritwik Ghatak, Utpal Dutt, KAAbbas and Salil Chowdhury, among others. It no longer mattered whether one was associated with the PWA or the IPTA. Every creative personality of those times was influenced by these movements, as Dev Anand himself said about Navketan Films and Vijay Anand in his last interview. Premchand, in his presidential address, said that the PWA’s “purpose is to mould our thoughts and emotions and give them the right direction”. He summarised the duty of a writer by saying, “He becomes the standard bearer of humanity, of moral uprightness, of nobility. It becomes his duty to help all those who are downtrodden, oppressed and exploited — individuals or groups — and to advocate their cause. And his judge is itself — it’s before society that he brings his plant.” Both the PWA and IPTA carried forward the struggle to give

expression to the changes taking place in Indian life and to assist “the spirit of progress in the country... discourage the general reactionary and revisionist tendencies on questions like family, religion, sex, war and society”. It’s no secret that the Communist Party played an important role in catalysing these organisations and their works, in addition to the contributions made by the communists in bringing into the agenda of the freedom movement the issues of complete independence (a decade before the All India Congress Committee resolution of the ‘Purna Swaraj’), land reforms, the abolition of zamindari through the militant peasant movements and the linguistic reorganisation of the states. The communists, thus, carried forward the realisation of the Idea of India. It’s no coincidence that Mehboob Khan’s banner had a hammer and sickle, opening his magnum opus Mother India. The giants of Hindi cinema came from such ranks. The generation of actors that gave expression to such a collective social consciousness are no more but have left behind their everlasting images for us to cherish. The content of these, however, were given by the lyricists and were expressed by the artists. It’s indeed ironic that while their words have been rendered into songs, many of these people never got their due. They virtually remain ‘unsung’ heroes. Hopefully, Parliament will give them at least some of their due by legislating the pending Copyright Act in the current session. The current domination of the Khan quartet over Hindi cinema and its content created by many distinguished, creative minds including our Rajya Sabha colleague Javed Akhtar, AR Rahman and others, must continue to nurture the building of such social consciousness in modern times that will further the realisation of the Idea of India, combating, as PWA had said, “trends reflecting communalism, racial antagonism and exploitation of man by man”. With this spirit of celebration, as 2011 draws to an end, we wishYusuf Khan saab and Hindi cinema that this ‘suhana safar’ continues towards the realisation of the Idea of India. HT Sitaram Yechury is CPI(M) Politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP

I Indo Am American News Founder: dr. K.L. Sindwani

editor: Pramod KuLKarni BuSineSS manager: Jawahar maLhotra managing Partner: KriShna giri Community rePorter: KaLyani giri Community editor: manaSi goKhaLe adminiStrative manager: vanShiKa viPin BuSineSS & reCreation: JaCoB david graPhiC deSign: SaqiB rana correspondents chicago: nand Kapoor, UK: aseem KUlKarni new delhi: raj Kanwar ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-NEWS or 6397 Fax: 713-789-6399, email:, website:

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O


December 23, 2011

russia Plans to Ban Bhagavat Gita r

MOSCOW (Siliconindia): Bhagvad Gita, one of the most sacred Hindu religious texts, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as “an extremist” literature across Russia, with a court in Siberia’s Tomsk city all set to deliver its final verdict in a case filed by state prosecutors. The case, which has been going on in Tomsk court since June this year, seeks to get a Russian translation of ‘Bhagvad Gita As It Is’ written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), on the Hindu religious text banned in Russia and declaring it as a literature spreading “social discord”, apart from rendering its distribution on Russian soil illegal. In view of the case, Indians settled in Moscow, numbering about 15,000, and followers of the ISKCON religious movement here have appealed to Manmohan Singh and his government to intervene diplomatically to resolve the issue in favour of the Hindu religious text, an important part of Indian epic ‘Mahabharat’written by Sage Ved Vyasa. The ISKCON followers of Russia have also written a letter to the Indian Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi seeking immediate intervention, lest the religious freedom of Hindus living here be compromised. “The case is coming up for a final verdict on Monday in Tomsk court.

We want all efforts from Indian government to protect the religious right of Hindus in Russia,” Sadhu Priya Das of ISKCON and a devotee of a 40-year-old Krishna temple in central Moscow, told IANS. The court, which took up the case filed by the state

pros prosecutors, had referred the book to the Tomsk State Univer University for “an exex pert” examinaexamina tion Oct 25 this year. But Hindu groups in RusRussia, particular followers of the ISKCON, say the university was not qualified, as it lacked Indologists. The Hindus had pleaded with the court that the case was inspired by religious bias and intolerance`from a majority religious group in Russia, and have sought that their rights to practice their religious beliefs be upheld. The prosecutor’s case also seeks to ban the preaching of Prabhu-

pada and ISKCON’s religious beliefs, claiming these were “extremist” in nature and preached “hatred” of other religious beliefs. “They have not just tried to get the Bhagvad Gita banned, but also brand our religious beliefs and preachings as extremist,” Das said. In fact, the ISKCON devotees have taken up the matter with the Indian embassy in MosMos cow too, apart from writing to the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi, for an early diplomatic intervention, before things get worse and the court passes an adverse verdict banning the ‘Bhagvad Gita’ and Krishna consciousness teachings. In the Nov 1 letter, addressed to Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji, ISKCON’s New Delhi branch Governing Body Commissioner Gopal Krishna Goswami, said the prosecutor’s affidavit claims Lord Krishna “is evil and not conforming to Christian religious view”. Goswami also urged Singh to accord priority to the matter during his Moscow stay and to take it up with the Russian authorities.

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congressional india i caucus welcomes w a ambassador n nirupama r rao Fremont: Congressman Ed Royce of California and Congressman Joe Crowley of New York along with The Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans welcomed Nirupama Rao as India’s Ambassador in Washington at a reception in the Rayburn Building at Capitol Hill on 1st December, 2011. The event was attended by a large number of U.S. lawmakers, administration officials, journalists, academics and prominent Indian Americans. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was present. Many members of the House India Caucus from both political parties including Congressman Howard Berman and Former Chair of House India Caucus, Congressman Gary Ackerman attended the evening reception. “The House India Caucus has been

a tremendous source of strength in promoting India-U.S. relations for almost two decades now,” Nirupama said. The event was attended by a large number of U.S. lawmakers, administration officials, journalists, academ-


ics and prominent Indian Americans. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was present. It featured Indian Food and began with the singing of the U.S. and the Indian National anthems by Riti Bhalla from New York.

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O


20 December 23, 2011

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By arun JanarD anarDhan (Mint) Patrick Piana remembers coming to India 24 years ago as a backpacking college student on a budget—with one crucial difference to his visit in November. This time, he stepped out of his hotel only twice: on the way from the airport and on the way to the airport. The chief executive officer of Rémy Martin, makers of fine cognac, wants to be able to do more in the future though: see more customers, more bars, hotels and restaurants. Also, he wants to be able to go to other cities besides Mumbai and Delhi. “There’s much more that needs to be seen to better understand the development in the country,” he mumbles. Fresh into Mumbai from Delhi, off the next day to Vietnam and back in France by the weekend, Piana’s schedule offered no surprises as to why the most amount of walking for him on this trip would be from one conference room to another. Early on a Wednesday morning, he looks bleary eyed, from the travel rather than any discomfort at the Taj Lands End hotel in Bandra, where he meets me. It’s too early even for him to swivel a Rémy XO: “I don’t recommend drinking early in the morning,” he muses. The 42-year-old does not fit into a stereotype, if there is any, as the head of a 287-year-old company. Standing tall, with a gentle smile and a measured manner of speaking, he does, however, fit the description of the distinguished gentlemen who could be seen in an oak-lined bar, sitting on a leather chair, twirling a cigar in one hand and a Rémy in the other. “Most cognac is not consumed as an after-dinner drink,” he corrects my archaic ideas. “It’s in parties and nightclubs, as cocktails in the US mainly, with water in China, among other combinations. I had this wonderful mojito in Germany recently with Rémy. It’s important that as the maker, as the guardian of the temple, sometimes we explain how to taste, how to drink to be able to find the aroma, the subtlety. (But) if someone wants to put Red Bull or tomato juice or whatever…” he trails off before recovering. “Success for us is to be part of the social life of people.” That’s how this nearly three-centuries-old product stays relevant. “If you think about the fact that we stand for quality, craftsmanship, energy… these values go back centuries and these values will express themselves differently now,” he says. “For instance, Rémy has been partnering with hip hop and R&B in the US for 15 years, that’s the way you make yourself relevant while still being true to yourself. “The major danger for a brand is to try to be somebody you are not. People will see through that. What is different is how you say it—using technology, iPads, you bring the story to life with the tools of the modern age. You don’t have to show them black and white pictures.” The reason Piana was in India, minus the backpack but loaded with plans for the future, is because he feels the company, with a turnover of

€486 million (around Rs3,400 crore), has not been fully committed to India in its two-year association with the country. “It’s time to start seeding; in a business like cognac, time is of the essence. Seeding does not mean getting in and quickly establishing the

Patrick Piana travels half the time but does not get to be the tourist that he wants to be sometimes. He says you learn a lot more from people than history books

company, it’s to hire people who will develop the company for generations to come and to better understand the market.” He says the economic downturn that began in 2008 helped Rémy rebound and refocus on priorities. So when the economy suffered, instead of moping and pulling back, “we said it’s just another crisis. At the worst time, in the middle of 2009, someone asked, ‘Where is India (in your plans)?’ We had to be here because if we are responsible for a 300-year-old company, we have to be in a market that’s going to be a leader for the next 100 years,” says Piana. India, indeed Asia, also gives him

a sense of hope for the future with its positive outlook. The Frenchman, born in England to an Italian father, is truly European in every sense but believes people of the continent aim only for stability instead of growth. “You see people are much more positive about the future here than in France or Spain,” he says. “It’s a key driver for success—to look at the future and try to see the world as something that will improve.” Piana, who joined as CEO of Rémy Martin in August 2009, started his career with Philip Morris before becoming the senior vice-president of Moët Hennessy USA. Since 2007, the postgraduate in marketing and strategy DEA from the Université de Paris Dauphine was the senior vicepresident of Pernod Ricard USA, in charge of the development of Pernod Ricard Group brands in the US mar market. Piana is now in charge of managing the brand, the communication teams, manufacturing, the development teams, the groups responsible for making the products, as well as the financial control teams of Rémy Martin’s cognac activities. “When you think about cognac,” he pauses, every bit a person who likes what he does and loves talking about it, “it gives you the opportunity to work with an aromatic palate like a painter. In painting, the colours are the same but talent and vision will make the next one different from the previous one. The high-end spirits industry is not a business—we don’t respond to a functional need but to an emotional, socializing need. At the end of the day, you don’t drink cognac because you are thirsty but because you want to enjoy an aromatic experience in your mouth. That’s where innovation lies.” Considering that he is constantly on the run, from one meeting to another, from one continent to another, Piana likes to run even when he gets time off work—usually the marathon. Based in Cognac, France, he describes the joy of being able to run through vineyards, any which way he feels, sometimes along the river, 5km each way. When at home with wife Anne, children Ines (12), Baptiste (10) and Oscar (4), his attention is completely on the family, and not on a computer or the BlackBerry. “My children are young but you cannot allow only half of yourself with them. They deserve, and know how to get, your full attention.” I encourage him to drop his practicality for a moment and get philosophical: As a young leader of an old, successful company, what does he make of his future? “As the leader of a company with products that are at the same time the fruit of tradition, knowhow and conveyors of emotion, it brings me to meet lots of people that makes my life interesting. I didn’t know it would be like this five years ago. Life is about choices—some choices you generate, others you just have to make them because things happen to you. I am an optimist. I know good things will happen.”

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O

INDIA By SugaT ugaTa Ta SrinivaSara SaraJ Sara araJu Ju (Outlook) The annual Champa Shasti festival held over November and December at the Kukke Subramanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka has an unusual tradition. On all three days, the Shivalli Brahmins are served a multicourse meal in seclusion in the temple precincts. And after they are through, instead of clearing the spread plantain leaves on which the food’s served, Dalits, backwards and local tribespeople are allowed to roll on the leftovers. The belief is this ritual will cure the ‘devotee’ of ailments, especially skinrelated ones, and will gift a child to those praying for a baby. It’s also considered an ideal form of thanksgiving to the local deity after “wish fulfilment”. The ritual, called ‘maade snana’ in Tulu and Kannada, is said to be over four hundred years old but there are no written records to prove such a claim. As the tradition reinforces and ‘enacts’ caste hierarchies, where even a Brahmin’s ‘jhoota’ is bestowed with powers to cure people from subaltern communities, it had been catching a lot of flak since last year from progressive groups in the state. Especially as this was being allowed in a temple that belongs to the muzrai department, a state-run body which administers Hindu temples. Last week, though, saw protests heating up more because after the huge outcry last year, the local administration had promised to end this ritual which violates basic human dignity. Apparently, under “pressure from devotees”, the administration allowed the practice from November

The Leftover God

Devotees do the ‘maade snana’ on leftovers at the Kukke Subramanya temple

28 onwards. Nearly 4,000 people joined up to roll over the leftovers. What took the row beyond the usual temple affairs level was muzrai and higher education minister Dr V.S. Acharya’s statement that it was a “faith-based ritual and banning it was tantamount to hurting the sentiments of the people”. People immediately started questioning not only his credentials as a trained medical doctor, but also his RSS roots. They began asking if he would similarly allow dowry, child marriage and other social evils as they are also faith-based?

The fact that the Kukke Subramanya temple is in Dakshina Kannada district has also added political colour to the controversy. The district has been a hot-bed of Hindutva politics of late (in 2008, it even saw a number of attacks on churches). Also, many VIP members of the state cabinet like Acharya, Shobha Karandlaje and CM Sadananda Gowda hail from the region. A statement by Vishwesha Theer Theertha Swamiji of the Udupi Pejawar math, a VHP leader himself, has not helped matters. In a nonchalant manner, he announced that he neither “vehemently op-

December 23, 2011

posed nor strongly supported” the ritual. The complexity of the issue unravels itself when we take into consideration the largely illiterate Malekudiya tribe’s support for the ritual. When the local administration hinted at a ban, members of the ST community went on a rampage, even declaring that they would stay away from building the deity’s chariot, a traditional activity they have performed for years during the festival season. (If the chariot is not built, the festival will remain incomplete without the final procession of the deity.) K.S. Shivaramu of the Karnataka Backward Class Awareness Forum believes “the backwards, Dalits and the Malekudiyas are being pushed by the Brahmins of the region to perform this ritual. They are exploiting their ignorance. They want to keep the caste divide alive.” Incidentally, Shivaramu, who went on a fact-finding mission to Kukke on November 30, was thrashed by the temple workers. “Those who attacked me were all innocent backward class people. After they attacked me, they were felicitated by the temple’s chief priest who is a Brahmin. One temple worker from the Malekudiya tribe, Nagesh, was suspended for leading the attack. The irony of the situation is those who do the ritual are backwards, those who thrash me are backwards, those who are penalised for it are backwards and those who seek a ban are also backwards,” he says wryly. Advocate and ex-chairman of the state Backward Classes Commission, Dr C.S. Dwarakanath, sees clever commercial interests at play here. He also alleges that

the ritual is part of the revivalist agenda of the Sangh parivar. “The Kukke temple, tucked away in the forests and controlled by Brahmins, was never as popular as the nearby Dharmastala temple controlled by the Jains. This controversy has helped them generate some further popularity for the temple and its powers. In recent years, the temple has seen VIP visitors like Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri and some very big politicians. It’s sad that these people visited a temple which perpetuates such human indignities.” Interestingly, except for the Left parties, no other political party in the state has so far spoken out against the ritual. “In this case, the secular parties like the Congress and JD(S) look more dangerous than the BJP. They are only worried about their votebanks,” says a frustrated Dwarakanath. Writer and activist G.K. Govinda Rao, however, feels it isn’t enough that political parties and the government push for a ban. The caste maths and pontiffs, who are otherwise so powerful, should unilaterally demand it. Some years ago, another heinous ritual called ‘Ajalu’, practised against the Koraga tribe, was banned by the government. ‘Ajalu’ had Brahmins giving leftover food as alms to them with an added bonus—a strand of their hair and a finger nail mixed in. Last week, after a week-long debate, the state government voiced an opinion— in a rather feeble voice. Social justice minister A. Narayanaswamy, incidentally a Dalit, said that they may consider banning the ritual. Till that happens, it will be a whole social ethic mucking about in the leftovers.

ha a t p a Sa In English t a v a by Bhag maji i n r o o Ms. P le of iji discip Swam a r a h d i al Sri Mur i r S H H

waar d a m n Na o t s u Ho : IMINGS @


1s t S at, 3 EVE AR ’S E Y N EW L

T IA SPEC KAT HA 6:30-8:30pm e n ts 31: r a l Ev Dec 26- : 11am-1pm C u ltu ig h t Jan1 M id n 5 p mm) (7am-6p s t n e v aily e arayana p Other d ta a v a ag ddress: h A B a d tr a n a im m nvel, TX Sr a a h M a , M e v a d A iley khan 3642 Ba 6 hours A 85 s ie it v ti -402-65 ac 1 ’s s etc 8 e n 2 m e a r G d , il s s h Fun c Kids' Talent, Fancy dre lay, Meera Bai P ed schedule il ta e d r fo See www.g

srimad bhagavata saptaha utsav Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O

22 December 23, 2011

c christmas special- Fruit cake s

Fruit Cake is one of the cakes that are made especially on Christmas. Lovely buttery taste with fruits, nuts and just the perfect amount of sweetness. In the traditional fruit cake, usually the fruits and nuts are soaked in rum for a couple of days at least but I didn't want to use alcohol so what I did is, cooked the dried fruit and nuts in 1/4 cup of orange juice and 2 tsp of rum extract till the nuts and cherries soaked up all the liquid. It worked per perfectly well and the cake tastes just as awesome. I hope you get to bake this traditional Christmas cake and enjoy with your family. Merry Christmas! Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 cup sugar 1 tsp baking powder 3/4 cup dried cherries 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/4 tsp salt 4 eggs 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter 1/2 tsp vanilla essence 1 tsp orange essence 2 tsp rum extract 1/2 cup orange juice Method:

1. In a pan, add orange juice, rum extract, cherries, raisins and walnuts. Cook on medium heat while stir stirring until all the liquid is soaked up. Switch off the gas and let this

mixture cool down. 2. In a small bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Keep aside. 3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed. 4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between. Stir in the vanilla and

orange essence. 5. Now hold on to 2 tbsp of flour mixture and spoon the rest of the flour mixture into the liquid one and stir it enough to combine. 6. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of flour mixture on the prepared fruit nut mixture and toss it well. This method will not let the fruits n nuts sink to the bottom while baking. 7. Add the nut mixture to the prepared batter and mix using a spatula. 8. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and pour the mixture into the pan. 9. Bake in 350 degree F preheated oven for about 40-45 min or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 10. Let cake cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from the pan and let it cool completely before slicing. For more recipes, visit www. or visit https:// A l s o “LIKE” Zestyflavors on FACEBOOK. Please send your feedback to

Recipe by Vaishali Sharma


low carbohydrate diets Better for easing asing weight weight

(Hindu) A low-carbohydrate diet is better than a standard, calorie-restricted one for cutting down weight and lowering blood levels of cancer-promoting hormone insulin, a British study has found. Researchers at Genesis Prevention Centre at University Hospital in South Manchester, found that restricting carbohydrates two days per week may be a better dietary approach for preventing breast cancer and other diseases. “It is interesting that the diet that only restricts carbohydrates but allows protein and fats is as effective as the calorie-restricted, low-carbohydrate diet,” said Michelle Harvie, research dietician at the Genesis Prevention Centre. Harvie and her colleagues compared three diets during four months for effects on weight loss and blood markers of breast cancer risk among 115 women with a family history of breast cancer. They randomly assigned patients to one of the following diets: a calorie-restricted, low-carbohydrate diet for two days per week; an “ad lib” low-carbohydrate diet in which patients were permitted to eat unlimited protein and healthy fats, and a standard, calorie-restricted daily Mediterranean diet for seven days per week. Data revealed that both intermittent, low-carbohydrate diets were superior to the standard, daily Mediterranean diet in reducing weight, body fat and insulin resistance. Mean reduction in weight and body fat was roughly four kg with the intermittent approaches compared with 2.4 kg with the standard dietary approach. Insulin resistance reduced by 22 per cent with the restricted low-carbohydrate diet and by 14 per cent with the “ad lib” low-carbohydrate diet compared with 4 per cent with the standard Mediterranean diet. These findings were presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in the U.S..

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O


Teri Meri Prem Kahani Teri Meri Prem Kahani from the film Bodyguard is one of the most popular numbers of 2011. Rendered by Rahat FatehAli Khan and Shreya Ghoshal, the lyrics of this song are penned by Shabbir Ahmed. Himesh Reshammiya seems to have returned as music director to reckon with, with some brilliant work in Salman-starrer Bodyguard. Dhinka Chika was another very popular song from the album.

Ooh La La Hurrah to Bappi Lahiri who has done it again with Ooh La La, a song that has caught the pulse of the crowd. The raunchy picturisation of a sensual Vidya Balan with the lecherous Naseeruddin Shah became a huge rage. The music of this number was composed by Vishal-Shekhar, and the lyrics written by Rajat Arora.

December 23, 2011

Senorita The catchy Indo-Spanish number, the music of which was composed by Shankar-EhsaanLoy was being hummed by one and all. The song has been sung by the male leads of the fim Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara - Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol. Maria Del Mar Fernandez. is the female singer of ‘Senorita’. The lyrics of this wonderful, happy song can be credited to Javed Akhtar.


Bhaag DK Bose

Chammak Chalo

An unconventional song with some intelligent, unconventional lyrics went on to become quite a phenomenon in Bollywood this year. Ram Sampath made a name for himself as music director and singer with this catchy number. Amitabh Bhattacharya has given the lyrics of this brave number. The song features Imran Khan, Vir Das, and Kunal Roy Kapoor.

Akon’s rendition of ‘Chammak Chalo’ to the tunes of VishalShekhar was a huge hit with the masses. The rough version of the song was first leaked on the Internet. This miffed off Shah Rukh Khan who was planning a huge launch with it. However, all’s well that ends well. And ‘Chammak Challo’ remains a success story that ruled the charts for a long time.

Top 10 Songs of 2011

Laung Da Lashkara

Sadda Haq

A peppy Punjabi number Laung Da Lashkara is part of the film Patiala House starring Akshay Kumar and Anushka Sharma. The song also features Dimple Kapadia and Rishi Kapoor. Mahalakshmi Iyer, Hard Kaur and Jasbir Jassi have rendered this song beautifully. Lyrics penned by Anvita Dutt Guptan, and music composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, this song seems to be playing at every sangeet ceremony.

A.R. Rahman’s ‘Sadda Haq’ is one of the many good songs of ‘Rockstar’. Picturised on Rnbir Kapoor, the protagonist in the film who wishes to become a Rockstar, the song made it to the top of the charts and remained there for quite some time. Sung by Mohit Chauhan, the song has lyrics by Irshad Kamil.

Rabba Main Toh Mar Gaya Oye

This song can easily be touted as one of the most romantic songs of the year. Sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, this forms a part of the music album of ‘Mausam’. Pritam Chakraborty has composed music of this heart warming number. They lyrics have been contributed by Irshad Kamal. The song is picturised on Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor and was one of the more popular songs of 2011.

Aa Zara

Isq Risk

From ‘Murder 2’, Aa Zara is a number that seemed to go down well with the audience. Composed by Sangeet and Siddharth Haldipur, this Sunidhi Chauhan redition did extremely well and became hugely popular. The lyrics of ‘Aa Zara’ have been written by Kumaar. Yana Gupta performed on this special number. Emraan Hashmi and JAcqueline Fernandez play the main leads in the movie.

Composed by Sohail Sen, and with lyrics penned by Irshad Kamil, Isq Risk is a fun-filled song from the Imran Khan-Katrina KaifAli Zafar starrer Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. The song has been sung by Neha Bhasin.

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O

24 December 23, 2011 By B.m.h hegD egDe (Hindu) Education today in our country has not only lost its heart; it seems to have lost its direction and goal. It is a sad situation for the future generation. Well-meaning people in society are keeping quiet. The powers that be, who ought to know better, seem to be either ignoramuses or they couldn’t care less! The following case history will showcase one of the major areas where modern education, especially at the primary level, nay at all levels, is going astray to the detriment of mankind’s future. Kalyani — it is her pseudonym — was a good child who, as a teenager, was as happy as any of her age could be. Her overambitious parents were charting her educational course when she was still in high school. They were obsessed with her becoming an IITian or doctor, the mark of excellence in education these days, what with the IITs advertising the hefty pay packets that their alumni were offered by the corporates for whom profit alone mattered at the end of the day. Many people think that the pay packet of the alumni is the yardstick of excellence of an educational institution. Kalyani’s parents, with their influence, could get her a seat in one of the “top-end” schools reserved for the best “parrot repeaters,” otherwise called bright students, who can get anywhere above 95% marks in the finals. The school was proud of its distinction of sending the maximum number of students to IITs in the recent past. Kalyani did not very much relish her mathematics classes, right from her KG days. For the carefree girl, it was too much to cope with the stress of keeping pace with her teachers’ expectations almost from day one at school. Smelling a rat, her parents, anxious as they were, engaged a “bright” IIT student to coach her in the evenings, so much so Kalyani did not have any time for herself, not to speak of physical exercise of any kind. Sports were taboo too. Parental anxiety is highly contagious among children. Gradually, there seemed to be a visible change in Kalyani’s demeanour. The truly

Has education lost its Heart?

extrovert girl became withdrawn, not paying much attention to her own needs, eating less and less, and she started having sleeplessness especially after a short bout of sleep in the early part. She started losing weight. Naturally, the “intelligent” parents took her to a doctor who ran all the tests and said that everything was normal and so his job was done. He advised them to take her to a psychiatrist! Concurrently, Kalyani was irritable at school; her grades started falling, attracting more and more rebuke from her teachers and periodic dressing down by the Principal, who had a reputation of being a task master. She was a no-nonsense person who could not and did not “understand” a young mind! As ill luck would have it, the psychiatrist happened to be one of the “proud” parents of one of the students of the same school. He was very proud of his son’s achievements. The first thing that Kalyani heard was: “Did you not know that in your school, students getting less than 95 per cent are not recognised and they are usually not admitted there. How did you, a real


dolt, could even think of getting there? The school’s Education is not stuffing information into the elevated standards have depressed you.” child’s head to be vomited during the examination So saying, the next thing the psychiatrist did was to to get ranks and seats in IITs and leading medical give her a long list of antidepressants with sedatives and business management schools. Education is, in which made her sicker. She needed to be hospitalised effect, getting the best out of the student. The teacher, for a few days! Grace E. Jackson, former chief of the like a midwife, should assist the student in deliver deliverU.S. Navy psychiatry service, in her seminal book on ing, and not deliver herself. “Every child is a genius anti-psychotic drugs, especially antidepressants, has only to be converted into an idiot in school,” wrote shown, using solid data, that all those drugs are the Nobel Laureate Alexis Carrel. Education should cause of a new disease, even in the not-so-old people, aim at making healthy minds and not just making called Alzheimer’s disease! The present choice of wealthy careers. Here, society needs to be thoroughly depression treatment is counselling and behavioural deschooled to get rid of the obsession with marks and therapy, and not reductionist chemicals, that too for ranks in place of healthy education. a teenager. The last straw that broke KalySince 1986 in Houston ani’s back was the remark of her tutor one day: “I am sor sorry, I cannot coach you anymore as I ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR IN HOUSTON find I am too intelligent to teach a dunce like you!” That was the stage when I happened to see Kalyani. The rest of her story is irrelevant to the topic of this writeup. It is time that thinking people in society raised their voice against this new crime on children by both anxious parents with misplaced priorities and the whole educational set-up.


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“Keepaaahealthy healthymouth, mouth,Live LiveaaaHealthy HealthyLife” Life” “Keep “Keep healthy mouth, Live Healthy Life” Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O


Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year 2012 ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20: You may be your goals, earn enough money and provide a pretty much satisfied with the growth you comfortable lifestyle to your have made in your personal family and to yourself. Chaland professional life during lenges and circumstances may the entire year. Financial stabilcreate some doubts about your ity has been your top priority. vision and capabilities. But, Achievements and recognition that’s all in your mind. The come your way, at work. Your year is in its final stages and superiors are likely to applaud you for your you are going to embark on a new journey. So, outstanding performance. On the home front, instead of regretting your past deeds, you may things are quite peaceful. Relationships with prepare yourself for the personal and professionsiblings, parents, children, are likely to be very al challenges in the year to come. Overall, you pleasant. You welcome the year 2012 happy. have a hectic week, with a peaceful weekend. TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 You wanted to SCORPIO Oct 24 - Nov 22: Personally and make money, and you succeed. You face your professionally, you have performed very well challenges courageously. You and that has all been because of your patience and persereceive appreciation and recverance. Now that you have ognition. The year 2011 was tasted success, matters such like a roller-coaster ride for as mental peace, harmony and you.The growth has inspired spirituality become important you to work harder and confor you this week. You may tinue your journey. You want to add one more dimension to your everyday life, which is spiri- believe that life is not only about cracking deals, tuality. To find true happiness and contentment, earning profits, living a luxurious life and mateyou will seek guidance from a spiritual guru. rial success, but also about spiritual upliftment wonder2012 seems to be very promising. Be more and being grateful to the Almighty for a wonder ful life. This belief is likely to boost your morale tactful and less temperamental. and give you courage and confidence. You are GEMINI May 22 - Jun 21: You have on the right path. worked hard through the year and continue SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 22: Upbeat to reap the benefits of your and excited, you are all set to end the year patience, courage, hard-work on a positive note. You have and positive approach. Finanperformed exceptionally well cially, you may have made during 2011 and the achieveconsiderable progress, which ments give you strength to gives you a comfortable lifemove ahead in life. It is the style and social recognition. Quality time spent last week of the year, but you with loved ones strengthens the bond you share with them. You explore the spiritual side of your are unlikely to set aside your ambitions to enjoy personality. Spiritually, financially, and profes- the year-end. Financially, spiritually and personsionally, you are likely to be on a higher level. ally, you may continue to soar higher, and you The contentment will help you bid goodbye to are in the pink of your health. Disappointments 2011 happily, no regrets whatsoever. don’t dent your confidence, and you never get CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 23: There has been demotivated. Begin 2012 with same enthusiasm significant progress in matters related to family, and vigor finance and career, the three CAPRICORN Dec 23 - Jan 20: When the major areas of your life. You times are tough, you tend to become tougher. focus more on finance and evThis week, you are likely to erything related to it. However, perform your duties well, and you try to strike a healthy balreceive appreciation from ance between work and home. your bosses and co-workers. As you fulfil your professional as well personal It is the last week of the year, responsibilities with ease, good health, wealth and everyone is in a mood to and happiness follow you. Overall, you’ve party and have a good time, had an exciting and energetic 2011. The same and you are no different. Along with making energy and enthusiasm will be carried forward new professional relationships, you may form to 2012 as well. a romantic association as well. You will end the LEO July 24 - Aug 23: What a year this has year on a happy note, and welcome 2012 with been! Rises and falls. There have been times of open arms. difficulty, but you took them AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19: You are clear as a challenge. All these may about what you want to do in life and how you have worked in your favour want to go about it. At work, as you have become stronger. you are likely to come across At work, you are likely to plenty of opportunities and become more popular, receive to no one’s surprise, you will promotions, and develop healthy relationships. make the most of them. You You put your public relation skills into practice. may have a major change in Spend some quality time with your family life for good. You pay attenmembers, especially parents who are the back- tion to your family. A lot of merrymaking is on bone of your success. Tell them how grateful the cards for you. You will end the year on a high you are to have them in your life! note and will be excited to welcome 2012. VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23: There is no clear PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20: Yes, you are gotrend this week. It is likely to be a combination ing through a golden period of your life! Finally, of highs and lows. But fortuyou seem to be living your nately, you keep your calm in dreams, after a lot of struggle. every situation, be it a success You have passed the toughest or a failure. The tough times exam of life with flying colors. have made you realize the value At this juncture, you may have of money, time and your near understood the importance of and dear ones. You are determined to make material success. You realize more money and pay attention to your family, too. If you have been suffering from health is- that money commands respect and is an imsues, you should now seek medical guidance portant tool to lead a comfortable life. You are for the same. And even if there are no apparent in perfect sync with your family, and the home problems, don’t ignore your health. Find ways environment will be harmonious. This phase is also good for singles. You may meet the person to calm down and relax your mind. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23: Your self-belief is of your dreams. However, take your time to likely to be your strength this week. You achieve understand this ‘special person’ and don’t be over-emotional.

December 23, 2011



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Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, A decemBer 23 , 2011 • Online editiOn: Ay, On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O

26 December 23, 2011

Seasons Greetings


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