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Friday, January 18 2013 | Vol. 32, No. 3

Indo American erican News

Rehan Siddiqi


Bringing Top Class Entertainment to Houston Rehan Siddiqi of Hum Tum Radio has brought over 250 events in the last 17 years. This first quarter, Rehan brings Adnan Sami and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to Houston. Published weekly from Houston, TX

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Vivekananda’s Sesquicentennial Remembrances & Youth Convention

P8 Indian Americans at 2013 Houston Marathon

P4 Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary Celebration at VSGH: Arun Kankani (left), Ajit Giani, Pt. Suman Ghosh, Pravrajika Sitaprana, Indian Consul General P. Harish, Chitra Divakaruni and Dr. Amrit Achari.

P3 Ft. Bend GOP Reaches Out



January 18, 2013



January 18, 2013


With an Eye on Demographic Shifts to Asians, Ft Bend GOP Reaches Out

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA SUGAR LAND: In a belated acknowledgement of the growing strength in numbers of Asians in the county, local Republican leaders, led by Congressman Pete Olson of District 22 met with a packed room of local community members at Madras Pavilion restaurant off Highway 6 and US 59 this past Sunday, January 13. Originally scheduled for at 3:30pm, the event had been rescheduled to 1pm to allow people to watch the Texan-Patriots game later that afternoon. Support for the event came from the Indo American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) whose

IAPAC President Sujeeth Draksharam shared some ideas with the elected officials. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

position) in Ft Bend and Sujeeth won,” said Olson, adding that adding Asian diversity was a step in the right direction for the party’s future in the county. The event was mostly an opportunity for a large group of elected Republican officials to introduce themselves to a crowded hall of Indo-Americans and give a twominute synopsis of what work they performed in the offices that they held. The 21elected officials included three Indo-Americans – first term Sugar Land Councilmen Harish Jajoo and Himesh Gandhi and Stafford Councilman Ken Mathews – as well as the Ft. Bend County GOP Chairman Mike Gibson and Tina Gibson, the new Auxiliary Committee Chairman of the Republican Party for Ft. Bend County. After welcoming remarks by his

local Chief of Staff Tyler Nelson, Olson opened up the event with a nod to his alma mater Rice University for its recent study indicating that Asians were the fastest growing demographic in Ft. Bend County, a fact that was already apparent to most in the room. According to the study, it is also true of Missouri City and Pearland, while Richmond-Rosenberg too have high concentrations, all of which are within the redrawn lines Congressman Pete Olson said of Olson’s district. that the Republican Party has “If the growth continues, by not done a good job of reaching 2020 South Asians will be the out to Asians. most dominant group in the county,” declared Olson. “And the ReBoard members were present, inpublican Party has not done a good cluding the current President Sujob of reaching out to them,” he jeeth Draksharam and immediate added. He stressed that the Party past-President Sanjay Rao. “Both and South Asians shared the same these men recently ran for Repubvalues conservative values and belican Precinct 4102 Chair (a 2 year lief in tradition which would put them in natural alliance. Olson then introduced each office holder and let them explain their background and duties, some even venturing to share their or About 21 elected officials from Ft. Bend came to the reception organized by Republican office cell numCongressman Pete Olson at Madras Pavilion restaurant in Sugar Land on Sunday, January 13.

bers. Two Sugar Land Council members – Amy Mitchell (who won the last election by one vote) and Harish Jajoo are both seeking re-election this May as their first terms expire. Sonal Bhuchar, a former Trustee and President of the Ft. Bend ISD was given a few minutes to share her experience from the last election when she ran against Rick Miller for the State District 26 which he eventually won. She cautioned that, although South Asians share some of the same values as Republicans, the GOP has been reluctant to include people of other cultures, which she attributed to her loss in the district race. After the presentations, the microphone was given over to the assembled to get their input into how the Republican Party could serve them. They heard from a few people, including Draksharam and Gorany Mokherjee, a die-hard Republican and recent transplant to the area from Michigan where he served a Republican Precinct Chair. Dr. Subodh Bhuchar, Sonal’s husband made a few statements about the Afford-

able Healthcare Act, stating that “the only certain thing was uncertainty” and Sanjay Rao asked whether Rick Miller would ask for a session of the State House to open with a Hindu prayer to which Miller replied “yes”. They also heard from an educator lamenting the depiction of Hinduism in textbooks and Rishi Bhutada, who is on the board of the Hindu American Foundation, who wanted to present the officer bearers with the HAF’s agenda. On a reporter’s concern regarding the dichotomy between Republican values and the social responsibility that is taught in Hindu temples and question whether this reception represented a movement away from the Tea Party platform to the Center, Olson recalled a meeting with a young man in the northeast who was “concerned about the threat to his good life” by way of responding that the GOP had seen the different ethnic groups come together and seen a “sleeping giant grow”. He added that the Tea Party movement didn’t represent the entire Republican Party’s values.

Republic Day Flag Hoisting Flag Hoisting ceremony on India’s 64th Republic Day will be held on Saturday, 26 January, 2013 at 10am at Consul General’s Residence (5634 Briar Drive, Houston, TX 77056). Consul General Parvathaneni Harish will read President of India’s Address on this occasion. Refreshments will be served. Indian nationals and friends of India and their families along with children are cordially invited to the function. Participants are requested to assemble at Consul General’s Residence by 9:45am. Kindly bring a photo ID.

Correction Spectacular Wedding Highlights the Malani Creative Touch, Eye for Detail in IAN dated Jan. 11, 2013. In some copies, we inadvertently reported that Nikita is finishing her residency in Pediatric Neurology. This statement is incorrect as Nikita is currently attending her fourth year of medical school. We regret the error. Indo American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $40 per year) by IndoAmerican News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036, tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-7896399, email: Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News,7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036




January 18, 2013

VSGH Celebrates Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary

BY THARA NARASIMHAN HOUSTON: Youth is that wonderful time in life when energy is limitless and the potential to develop in all aspects of creativity and innovation are just unfolding. Major decisions crucial to ones subsequent life such as career, family and above all values that will guide them throughout their lives are to make an indelible impression in their minds at this crucial time. Swami Vivekananda emphasized the potential nascent in the youth and addressed them directly in many of his speeches. Inspired by that the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston (VSGH) organized a Youth Convention as a befitting manner to celebrate Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary . The event was held at their temple located at 14809 Lindita Drive on Saturday, January 12. With a packed hall and about forty enthusiastic youth participants engaging in discussions on relevant topics amongst themselves, observers felt that Swami Vivekananda’s words were at work. “My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come, my workers. I have formulated the idea and have given my life to it.” The participants mostly comprised of students from University of Houston, The University of Texas at Austin and young volunteers of Sewa International and young professionals. The convention commenced with an enlightening inaugural speech by Joseph Emmett who emphasized the power of the controlled mind and essentially provided a primer on Raja Yoga. In his brief yet profound talk to the youth he presented the essence of what Vedanta, manual for life aimed at looking beyond the body, and awakening the intellect. He reflected on his own spiritual quest- being born a Texan, after completing the Vedanta Academy’s rigorous, three year residential course in Pune, India in 2001 Joseph returned to America and completed his studies in South and East Asian Religions and earned a Bachelors degree from Washington University

in St. Louis. Currently he heads the Vedanta Cultural Foundation West in Los Angeles. He said that academic institutions do not teach control over the mind and that is what is required to be successful be it in spiritual or mundane life. He broke the stereotype that Vedanta is only to be delved into when someone is old and is passed ones professional career. The next part of the event focused on various topics of discussion: • Vivekananda’s Message to the West was presented by Utsab Das. His remarks were How Swami Vivekananda touched upon divinity of the soul and had similarities of the ideals of western philosophers. Literate Americans had been made familiar with Indian thought by such writers as Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. When Swami came to America he came with the intention to get financial aid for the poor in India. When he found that western society was purely materialistic at that

rights, down the road India faced too many invasions from other religious factions. To protect them they were confined as homemakers and men to the role of breadwinners. Hence no education and professional opportunities were given to them. • Science and Technology in the Light of Vedanta was informative and presented by Aditya Aravind. He pointed out although the connection between Science and Ve-

ence such as evolution in biology, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in psychology and certain cyclic models in cosmology echo ancient Vedantic thought. From a practical standpoint modern technology can be used effectively to make the ancient knowledge of Vedanta accessible far and wide. • Vivekananda’s Idea of Service was presented by Kriti Dogra of SEWA International. After returning to India, Swami Viveka-

time he realized the need for spiritual awakening and therefore his speech had an impact representing Hinduism at the World Parliament of religions. • The Role of Women in Society was presented by Dr. Dolon Das. She presented the fact that no gender preferences were seen in Vedas or Upanishads. Initially Swami Vivekananda saw women as an obstacle to self realization but later saw no distinction and recognized them as of a Divine Mother. The group discussion turned out to be a women’s point of view forum. Although women’s position in Hinduism from the Vedic age was at an exalted position with equal

danta is not easily decipherable both strive to look for an objective reality. Science pertains to the study of external nature and looks for its underlying cause by analyzing the observations while Vedanta studies internal nature with the objective to find the ultimate reality. The former deals, by definition, with the material universe, so called; the latter deals with the subtle realm of the mind in which the universe is perceived and known, and delves far deeper into the nature of things. In this sense, religion, as Swami Vivekananda saw it, was an extension of science. Aditya also pointed out that specific ideas in modern sci-

nananda emphasized service to others in community, society and the country. Unselfish work in an unattached manner is true service. There are so many opportunities out there to seek out to serve. ‘Seva’ or service is the most important purpose of living. To the more discerning, it made way of life as a ‘spiritual pursuit’. As his guru, Ramakrishna taught Swami Vivekananda that a human being struggling to stave off hunger cannot concentrate on spiritual development and hence addressing the mundane needs is imperative and leads to the path of Karma Yoga. • Harmony of Religions was the topic handled by Dipti Chaudhuri.


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This was open to everyone’s interpretation of religion and how individuals defined their identity. One has to know their religion well to build the charisma like Swami Vivekananda. To accept other religion’s values and traditions is very important and in the present days it is easy to relate with this in a global context of education and learning. • Vivekananda’s Teachings as Inspiration to the Youth was presented by Tantrik Mukerji. He pointed out that Swami Vivekananda himself was the embodiment of youth, dynamism and vibrancy. The life and ideals of Swami ji are the greatest inspiration for the youth. The youth face various challenges and yet it is the most wonderful period of one’s life. It is extremely important not to decide the purpose of life with the narrow objective to be something or the other. Swami ji always held that the real birth of the individual takes place when the purpose of his life germinates. Once the purpose of life is clear, all actions of life become driven by that purpose. Science and Spirituality with illustrative and quotation of Swami Vivekananda was presented by Kalyan Sasmal. He brought out the salient message of Swami Vivekananda in relation to spirituality saying it is necessary to arm our youth with the relevant knowledge and skill that will convert their mammoth potential to desired results. The Youth convention moderator Pravrajika Sitaprana, Vedanta Society of Southern California Santa Barbara Convent, praised the youth for their participation and excellent ideas presented by them. She remarked that all four types of yoga, Raja, Jnana, Karma and Bhakti Yoga were all invoked and played out at the convention . The program was planned and coordinated by Ayati Ghosh, Chaya Timmaraju, Malabika Sengupta with support from Vedanta Society of Greater Houston President, Swapna Chaudhuri. In the mornign session at VSGH before the conference, eminent Houstonians and Pravrajika Si-

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January 18, 2013


With a Twinkle in His Eye, He Tells a Tale of Illicit Happiness

Author Manu Joseph was in town to read passages from his latest novel The Illicit Happiness of Other People at the Asia Society this past Tuesday, January 15. He was joined with other guests after the reading. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: Somewhere after the reading he had done from his newly published novel, Manu Joseph was probably expecting questions about the process he used to write the tale of a family in South Indian dealing with the loss of son and of course why he had used such a provocative title, “The Illicit Happiness of Other People”. He asked both questions and deftly handled them with a subtle hint of mischievousness as if he was suppressing some other dark secret. “I’m a very pleasant, happy person,” he declared. But the room full of people at the reading last Tuesday night, January15, at the Asia Society in the Museum District were still left with lingering thoughts and ideas that flowed from the narratives he had just read. “People are usually happy at the misery of others,” Joseph said, ‘and the title flows from that. There is an eerie goal that Nature wants to achieve by supplying us happiness. It’s like a drug and doesn’t just stem from what we do”. He added that those who cannot accept the drug of happiness have the option to opt out of life, which is what one

of the characters in the novel does. Manu Joseph is a journalist first and currently is the editor of Open magazine, based in New Delhi having moved there two years ago from Bombay. “I wanted to quit Open and write this novel, instead they gave me a promotion and moved me to Delhi,” he quipped. Joseph was born in Kerela but grew up in Chennai (formerly Madras) where he did his BA in Literature from Loyola College. He answered an ad in the paper and got his first job as a journalist. He wrote his first novel Serious Men in 2008 and then waited 18 months for it to be published. When finally it was, the critics acclaimed it with several awards. “Actually, Illicit Happiness is the novel that I should have written first,” Joseph explained, “since most first novels are semi auto-biographical. But then, everyone around me was writing a novel, so I decided to do something different.” Joseph admits that Illicit Happiness is semi-autobiographical in parts and is rooted in real characters and events from his childhood “although only my sister knows me well enough to see many of these” he clari-

fied. He said it is humorous to the extent that “fiction focuses on accuracy of description and uses integrity to say what you want to say and that can strike people as funny.” For Joseph, this style of writing is a memory of an observation and could be an analogy, bias, opinion, bitter or affectionate. He illustrates it with the memory he had years ago while in Madras that all bras were white and he used that in a scene. “Humor is often a consequence of the reader’s reaction rather than purposeful writing,” he stated. In both of his novels, love and the male/female relationship is one strand – not a major one.

Illicit Happiness took Joseph three years to write – “it took a while to marinate,” he said – and was released in India six months ago. Knowing that the media interest would be specific, his publicist arranged for this small tour of the US where he spoke at a couple of functions in New York, including the Asia Society there and then came to Houston for this reading before returning to Delhi. He was well received in Houston where he read passages from the novel and explained their significance to a rapt audience. “This was the longest reading I’ve ever had,” he chuckled with a twinkle in his eye.


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January 18, 2013

Rehan Siddiqi Takes Over the Concert World of Houston

HOUSTON: Showman Rehan Siddiqi has brought over 250 events in the last 17 years in various venues like Reliant Arena, Berry Center, Sugar Land Skeeters Stadium, Stafford Civic Center, George Brown Convention Center, Arena Theater, Cullen performance Hall and many other. Siddiqi has successfully promoted and hosted many big name stars such as Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sonu Nigam, Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Priti Zinta, Akshay Kumar, Adnan Sami, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghosal, Kailash Kher, Anu Malik, Umer Shareef, Shazad Roy, Hadiqa Kiyani, Jawed Ahmed, Sukwinder Singh, Shazia Manzoor, Fariha Perwaiz, Amanat Ali, Ali Zafar, Atif Aslam, Himesh Reshamiya and many more. In 2012, Rehan successfully presented the first south Asian event at the Sugar Land Skeeters Stadium. It drew over 10,000 attendees, exceeding the stadiums capacity. This was the first time that a record breaking crowd was noticed at the stadium and people were unable to get in due to the limited capacity of the Sugar Land stadium. In 2007, Houston witnessed over 8000 people in the Sonu Nigam concert organized by Siddiqi, the biggest ever performance in Houston. In 2010 he brought two Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s back-to-back concerts on popular demand as the shows were completely sold out. One of them was sold out in spite of being scheduled on a weekday. He is one of the first promoters in USA to present a solo singer like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at Reliant Arena with a record sold out crowd in 2011 of over 8000 people. Rehan has a passion for doing shows and is an expert in organizing them well, in a way very different from others. The sound, light, and stage management in his shows are exceptional; he adds a personal touch to every element of the show, which make him different from all other promoters. He works hard and delivers top quality shows by working on the minutest details. Most of the artists only want to come back if his name is associated with the show. The entire Houston audience believes in him and knows that if a show is organized under his banner, it will be a world-class event. Houston is one of the biggest markets in the US for Bollywood and Pakistani concerts. It has even

the ongoing traffic of over million people, with Shahrukh Khan and Humtum radio on the billboard. Rehan is presenting the first ever Lamborghini wrapped with Humtum radio, and this has become the talk of the town including the mainstream market. OwnUstad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will perform in ing and running the Houston on April 20 at Reliant Arena biggest south Asian radio in Houston gives him great flexibility in running the entertainment business, by using the full potential of his radio and 18 years of experience in the en-

tertainment business. “Doing a concert these days involving million dollars of annual investment is just like choosing a stock. But being in the radio business for over 18 years and connecting with the audience daily gives me the flexibility to choose and present who ever is more popular and in demand just like a stock and above all doing the show with a class is what we are all about and team work is what makes it happen. Away from the world of hate I believe in bringing smile and happiness and through the radio and concerts we bring entertainment in many lives”, said Rehan. In 2012, we brought over 50,000 south Asians to different events

that we presented. When people and specially senior citizens come and tap on our shoulders for brining them close to their culture and entertainment in America, it’s indeed a proud feeling and it’s a feeling bigger than profit or loss. Therefore, whenever we do a show, we definitely do the calculation of the project as its a business but believe it or not, we go out of the way to make sure that it is well presented and organized, so that it is well accepted by our audience,” he added. For further details about the upcoming shows, see ad on Page 2 and 31 or visit www.humtumradio. com

Houston Durgabari Celebrates Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birthday

Adnan Sami will perform in Houston on March 23 20 at Arena Theatre

taken over big cities like New York and Chicago. The average south Asian entertainment business exceeds 2 million dollar annually in Houston and in the years 2009-2012 all the big shows have been brought to Houston by the impresario Rehan Siddiqi. He has announced three big names in the first quarter of 2013. First, he is bringing the world’s fastest keyboard player and singer Adnan Sami back to Houston after 8 years on Saturday March 23 at Arena Theater. Second, a Pakistani group called Strings and finally, followed by the biggest singing sensation Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at Reliant Arena, expecting a record crowd of over 8000 people again. Rehan has introduced many mainstream sponsors in the South Asian community like McDonald’s, Mercedes Benz, Silver Eagle, Money Gram, Dish Network, Lamborghini of Houston, various banks and builders like Riverstone. Siddiqi also runs the largest 24/7 desi radio network in this city called HumTum Radio on klvl 1480am (www.humtumradio. com). It is the first desi radio to have its own billboard for an entire year on Hillcroft, noticed by

BY JAYA GHOSH HOUSTON: On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Houston Durga Bari society, one of the prominent Hindu organization in TX celebrated Swamiji’s birthday on Sunday January 13 with full of respect and enthusiasm. Swami Vivekananda needs no introduction. He was one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the modern world, a great lover of humanity whose unconditional love extended to all people without any distinctions of caste, class, creed, race, region or religion. Swami Vivekananda is also remembered as a great patriot, the first cultural ambassador of India to the West. When Kashmir to Kanyakumari is celebrating Swamiji’s Sesquicentennial birthday in epic style with different activities and seminars nationwide, here in Houston different Hindu organizations have tried their best making this day as remarkable as possible. Houston Durga temple is one of the distinguished and eminent one in Texas, remembered Swamiji with a full of devotion and joy. Hundreds of devotees visited the temple during the main puja hour. Special puja, lectures about swamiji’s life, his teachings and a devotional music program was organized by Durgabari religious committee to commemorate the auspicious day. A good crowd of more than 250 people thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. All the spiritual discussions delivered were of high quality. Local artists presented a

wonderful program with uplifting lectures and songs. Head priest Dr. Bishnupada Goswami first performed Radha Krishna puja. After the puja, pushpanjali and Bhog arati, the actual music program started with tribute to Vivekananda through an introductory speech and an opening devotional song of Ramakrishna Dev by Rupa ghosh. Audience found Dr. Ananda chatterjee’s lecture about karma yogi Vivekananda and his life very informative and uplifting. We all know that swamiji’s speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in September 1893 made him famous as an ‘orator by divine right’ and as a ‘Messenger of Indian wisdom to the Western world’. A 2nd generation kid Devangshu delivered that exact speech by heart. Audience was totally amazed by his performance. Jaya ghosh, a freelance journalist presented ‘witty side of swamiji “with a simple story telling style and received huge applause. Audience was really delighted to learn all those unknown stories about Vivekananda’s life. Veteran singer Sanghita Moulik’s vajan and Achintya ghosh’s devotional song got tremendous kudos from the public. Another noticeable presentation was Swapan Dasgupta’s devotional Rabindra sangeet ‘matha noto kore dao ” and Kalabhavan students of Durgabari led by Kamalpriya roy ,a singer of Biswabharati repute nicely presented a patriotic song ekla cholore” encouraged public to sing along with them. The extra ordinarily well-pre-

sented serene celebration of Swamiji’s birthday was ended with a melodious Bengali song “braja gopi ‘ by another 2nd generation singer , RJ Samrat Bhattacharya of Radio Masti . After the program, all the visitors enjoyed the scrumptious lunch sponsored by devotees. Durgabari also observed January 1 as the Day of Sri Ramakrishna’s Self Revelation – Kalpataru Diwas. A good number of local artists and eminent personalities also participated in the program. Swamiji was totally inspired by the philosophy and teachings of his guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansha Dev who was one of the greatest religious leaders ever born in India. He believed that all living beings are divine. By applying as guided by his Master Sri Ramakrishna’s doctrine of Harmony, Swamiji brought about an overall unification of Hinduism on the basis of the principle of unity in diversity. He was India’s first great cultural ambassador to the West. Sister Nivedita wrote: “it may be said that when he began to speak it was of ‘the religious ideas of the Hindus’, but when he ended, Hinduism had been created.” On the night of July 4 1902, before his Mahasamadhi, he had written to a Western follower: “It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is one with God.”



January 18, 2013

Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary CONTINUED FROM PAGE


tapranaji from Vedanta Society of Southern California’s Convent gave lectures on “Many Facets of Swami Vivekananda”. The program began with a couple of melodious bhajans on Swami Vivekananda. Pravrajika Sitapranaji, who was presiding over the day’s activities, spoke on “Swami Vivekananda as a Jnani”. She spoke on how Swamiji was inspired by his Guru Sri Ramakrishna’s teaching to serve all beings viewing them as manifestation of Divinity. Swamiji spread this unique message, which combined Jnana and Karma yogas to the whole world and practiced this by action. Pandit Suman Ghosh spoke on “Swamiji as a Musician”. He mentioned how Swamiji had learnt Hindustani classical music and how his devotional songs would put his guru, Sri Ramakrishna, in samadhi. The aim of musicians to reach the right “sur” along with the right ‘laya’ and ‘tala’, is the same as the aim of spiritual seekers. Hence, one should learn to sing in the proper way to make it effective in lifting the mind to the transcendental realm. Honarable P. Harish, the Consul General of India spoke on “Swamiji as a Patriot”. He mentioned Swamiji’s message to Indians to take pride in their country, uphold its great traditions and help others out of misery. Professor Chitra Divakaruni spoke on “ Swamiji as a poet”. She mentioned Swamiji’s love for poetry and music. He conveyed the subtle spiritual truths of Vedanta through beautiful and inspiring poems which challenge, inspire and encourage the readers to know their Divine nature and experience the Divine bliss. As an illustration, she recited

few of Swamiji’s numerous poems. Arun Kankani, Head of Sewa International, spoke on “Swamiji as a Karma Yogi”. Swamiji was an ideal karma yogi achieving God realization and spreading the truths of Vedanta all over the world in a short span of only a few years. He shared three readings on Swamiji on Karma Yoga- what is the necessity of doing good to others, how to work efficiently and not let the karma bind one and how to attain the goal of spiritual seekers of absolute freedom by doing selfless work for the benefit of the many. Dr. Amrit Achari spoke on “Swamiji as a Bhakta”. He said that Swamiji’s devotion and service to Sri Ramakrishna was similar to that of the great devotee Anjaneya, or Hanuman towards Sri Ramachandra. Through his Guru’s grace, Swamiji got the vision of Mother Kali, attained supreme devotion and spread the message of Vedanta and continues to inspire millions all over the world through his powerful message for all to realize their true identity. Ajit Giani from Bahai International spoke on “Swamiji and Harmony of Religions”. He mentioned that Swamiji was the Father of Interfaith Dialog. It is very important for all to practice religious harmony to live in peace, otherwise humanity will destroy itself in a short period. Time has come to start recognizing Divinity in all religions and all people, which will help to solve the present challenges of the world. Pravrajika Sitapranaji summarized the sessions and said we should help spread the message of Swamiji to all, which is what the youth conferenceconference successfully did.

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January 18, 2013

Indian Americans at the 2013 Houston Marathon

Lost Creek Park Half Marathon group with finisher medals and t-shirts: Ram Sivaraman (left), Pankaj Desai, RIddhi Desai, Neeta Balsaver, Kanchen Kabad, Mallikarjun Shintri and Sesh Bala. (Not in the picture Vimal Kothari and Indira Modi.)

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HOUSTON: It was a cold, wet and windy Sunday morning. It was a great day to just sleep in. It was a perfect morning to stay at home in your pajamas and sit on the leather couch to watch TV while sipping hot coffee or tea. A determined group of Indo Americans decided to do otherwise. They have been training for months and will not let a little bit of weather come in the way! They were there outdoors in downtown Houston, exposed to the elements, getting drenched, on slippery blacktop roads, and navigating ankle-deep puddles of rain water as they were running or walking the full or half marathon. Undeterred by the worst marathon weather in ten years, the Indo Americans of Houston made their presence felt at the 41st anniversary of the Chevron Houston Marathon on Sunday January 13. The Houston Marathon is a world-class event right at our doorsteps and attracts athletes from around the globe. This year there were 13,000 in Full Marathon (26.2 miles) and 12,000 in Half Marathon (13.1 miles) runners registered. For the first time this year the 5K race was held the previous day for better crowd control and management. Braving the weather, there were thousands of volunteers and spectators. Each year the organizers do a better and better job, and this year was no exception. The feeling and excitement when you complete a marathon is unparalleled. You

do not remember the weather but always cherish how thrilling it was completing the course, the timing, the adventure, in all a very exhilarating experience. Besides, you have earned bragging rights. A casual scanning and observation suggested the participation from the Indian American community at marathons is steadily growing but can be more. There definitely should be a greater participation not only in running and walking, but in volunteering and being spectators. The Houston Marathon is very popular but has limits on how many can sign up. There is a lottery system in place for the last three years. Chances of getting selected are better if you enter as a group of 10 rather than as individuals. As a group, everyone is in or everyone is out. The Lost Creek Park Group of Indo Americans was lucky to get selected for the half marathon. The Lost Creek Park group that ran included Sesh Bala, Mallikarjun Shintri, Pankaj Desai, Riddhi Desai, Indira Modi, Ram Sivaraman, Neeta Balsaver, Kanchan Kabad and Vimal Kothari. The 10th person, Dhani Kannan, deferred his race selection to 2014. All the participants completed the half marathon successfully. For more information about 2014 Marathon, visit www.chevronhoustonmarathon. com. Organizations like USA Fit will help you get trained for it. For more information, visit



January 18, 2013


Nikki Haley’s Husband Deployed in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (TOI): South Carolina’s Indian American Governor Nikki Haley bid tearful goodbye to her husband Michael, who has been deployed on a yearlong mission to Afghanistan. Michael Haley is captain in the South Carolina National Guard; which he joined in 2006 nd this is his first deployment to Afghanistan. He will undergo a month-long training in Indiana before being leaving for Afghanistan where he will be deployed as part of a unit that will teach Afghan farmers to grow sustainable crops. At the departure ceremony, Nikki Haley and her two children, daughter Rena, 14, and son Nalin, 10, were seen hugging Michael and wiping off tears alongside the families of other departing servicemen and women. “We are a proud military family who understands the sacrifices any family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country. This is what our men and women in uniform sign up for, and although Michael, like his brothers and sisters, is looking forward to his mission, we will miss him while he’s away. “Rena, Nalin and I are proud of Michael and will pray for his - and all others’ - safe return,” Nikki Ha-

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South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (left), comforts her son, Nalin, 10, and her daughter, Rena, 14, as her husband, Capt. Michael Haley, right, gets ready for a deployment ceremony for the South Carolina Army National Guard. Photos: Rainier Ehrhardt, AP

ley wrote on her Facebook page. “Praying for Nikki Haley’s husband Michael and all of our troops as they serve our country overseas,” Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana said in a tweet. Jindal was the first Indian American governor of any state. Nikki Haley followed by becoming the second Indian American governor and the first Indian American woman governor of any US State. At 40, she is currently the youngest governor in the US.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley watches as her husband, Michael, boards a bus with his National Guard unit heading to Afghanistan.


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10 January 18, 2013


AAPI’s Global Summit Discusses Quality of Healthcare in India

KOCHI: The Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2013, organized by the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in collaboration with the government of India from January 1 to 3, discussed ways to bring the most innovative, efficient, cost effective healthcare solutions to India. Over 1,250 delegates from around the world, who participated in the sixth annual summit, returned home enriched by a variety of seminars, workshops, gala, and entertainment. Described as a forum to discuss and offer ways to provide the most innovative, efficient, cost effective healthcare solutions to India, the various topics discussed at the GHS 2013 explored the possibilities for greater collaboration and cooperation between the physicians and health care providers in India with those of Indian origin and major health-care providers abroad. The international convention center at the prestigious Le Méridien in the commercial capital of Kerala wore a festive look as the delegates from around the globe filled the Oman Hall for the inaugural ceremony on New Year’s Day. In his welcome address, Dr. Narendra Kumar, President of AAPI and Chair of GHS 2013, said, “Your presence here today in large numbers from around the world is a testimony to your continued commitment and dedication to devote your time, skills, and resources to serve the needy and the sick, who have fewer opportunities to care for their health needs in India.” The Summit, which is a public-private initiative between the Government of India and AAPI, according to Dr. Kumar, “is all about dedication and commitment of Indian-American physi-

Dr. Narendra Kumar, President of AAPI delivering the inaugural address during GHS 2013 in Kochi,India

cians to improving healthcare in India.” In his inaugural address, Vayalar Ravi, India’s Minister for Overseas Affairs, said, “Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment.” He complimented the Indian doctors who have made tremendous progress in the medical world and are known for their excellent and compassionate services to their patients around the world. Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala, who delivered the keynote address, after inaugurating the summit with the lighting of the traditional lamp, highlighted the Kerala model of healthcare which has resulted in Kerala being the leader in providing healthcare among all the states in India. He pointed to the highest life expectancy of 75, and the least infant mortality rate among all the states of India as proof of the effectiveness of Kerala’s healthcare policy over the past decades. Advisor to the Prime Minister of India, T.K.A Nair, while felicitating AAPI for this innovative summit, lauded the physicians

of Indian Origin for their achievements and leadership around the world. While focusing on the government’s many programs to reach healthcare to all, he urged the private sector to work and collaborate with the government to make healthcare affordable to all of India’s people. Others who had addressed the august gathering included, Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, President, American Medical Association; Dr. Emmanuel Cassimatis, President & CEO, ECFMG, USA; Dr. Vinay Kumar, President, Indian Medical Association; Dr. Chittaranjan Ranawat, clinical professor of orthopedic surgery, Cornell University, New York, Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Group of Hospitals; Dr. K.K. Talwar, Chairman, Medical Council of India; and Dr. M.S. Valiathan, Honorary Advisor, Manipal University. The summit was packed with several plenary sessions, interactive roundtables, clinical practice workshops, and meet-the-expert/ CEO’s sessions, providing an ambience of learning and inspiration. With participation from some of the world’s most well-known physicians and industry leaders, the summit proved to be very critical and significant, especially when India is increasingly becoming a destination for medical tourism. More than 100 opinion leaders and expert speakers from across the globe presented cutting-edge scientific findings related to clinical practice, representing major centers of excellence, institutions and professional associations. For the first time at GHS, a CEO Forum representing CEOs from around the world and from hospitals, teaching institutions and major healthcare sectors, including pharmaceutical, medical devices and technology, came together to

explore potential opportunities for collaboration. Omar Ishrak, Worldwide CEO of Medtronic, Inc. was the keynote speaker, while the session was moderated by T K A Nair. Dr. G.N. Singh, Drug Controller General of India with his team was joined by leading healthcare policy makers and Hospital CEOs. During the valedictory ceremony held on January 3rd at the IMA House, Kochi Dr. Narendra Kumar received a symbolic “Key” marking the launch of the Amrita Peripheral Clinic, supported by AAPI and run by AKMG. “AAPI supports 15 clinics around the country. However, this is the first one in the state of Kerala,” Dr. Kumar said. While summarizing the outcome of the summit, Anwar Feroz, who has been instrumental in organizing the summit said, “Through the successful summits, we have been able to influence the government of India, state and local governments and the private sector in enacting policies and programs based on the inputs and recommendations from the summit.” “What we do here is going to help make policies and programs that benefit the people of this great country,” Dr. Jayesh Shah, President-Elect of AAPI, said. While lauding the vision, hard work, planning and networking Dr. Kumar has shown, Dr. Shah, “Narendra has shown us how to do a global summit. I have walked with him through the entire planning and organizing of this summit and have seen how passionate and committed he has been to make this summit a grand success.” For more information about AAPI, visi



January 18, 2013

Spiritual Prayer for Healing

BY KRISHNA GUPTA Since I came from India as a student in 1963, subsequently joined with my wife, had experienced, read, and visualized many incidents in our life. Life was not rosy in those days, but survived in all the good or harsh conditions and environments. Many incidents happened from time to time, but with the grace of God, we are healed and the memories are left behind. After attending kirtans and bhajans in the Gurudwaras and temples, we learned that group prayers are the most beneficial healings in the world, and prayer can heal the individuals to great extent. There are quite a few healers in this world, but we learned that Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ were the greatest and selfless healers, Based on their teachings I have written a consolidated prayer which may be useful under many circumstances and incidents. It is advisable that recitation of prayer should be performed collectively by the devotees; the place should be calm and quite in order to concentrate on the individual to be healed. Our hearts are totally filled with grieves about the incidents happened in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and many other places. Our prayers are with the families of those who became victim of this gruesome, merciless crime and for

all the departed souls, wounded devotees and law officers. Our sympathy, memories, encouragement, strength, and condolence to bear the immense loss to all the families, relatives and devotees will always be there in our hearts. Recitation of Prayer

Oh; Almighty God, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotent, Infinite creator of the universe, the protector, the basis of all life, merciful, pervasive, present in the whole universe, is the flow of the rivers, giving fragrance to all, smiling in the moon, sun, stars, and also the sweet voice of the chirping birds. We ask that you send us the healing love of cosmic rays from the highest vibration entering through our soul stars and further entering our Crown Chakra flowing perfectly through our bodies. As these vibrations flow perfectly through our bodies, grounds us through the crystalline core of the mother earth. Take away all of our negativity and replace it with nothing less than the perfect and holiest white light. We ask that the holy light flow perfectly through our bodies; and flow abundantly down our arms, out our Palm Chakra, and out to each finger tip. Our words and actions may be a witness that you are living in us. To the one that is lonely, may we be a friend. To those with heavy burdens, help us to meet their needs. Guide us and heal us so that we can be a greater service to others. Our mind body and soul is

all yours, you are the only one who can cross the river of our life and show us the right path. We want to be in my purest form and will forget our pride and identity in your devotion. You are the ultimate and we belong to you. We are as much yours as you are ours. You are source of energy and we can always feel your mercy. Please enlighten our heart, shower us with supreme joy and protect us from all the ill feelings. We know we do not have much to offer, but with your grace, we will give you all. Oh God, we pray with our folded hands, please accept our prayers, let our deeds be pure, and let our ears always hear your hymns. Please do not keep us away from your mercy, let your blessings and sacred name be on our tongues, and be with us in sorrow, happiness at all the time. Enlighten our path from darkness to light, mortality to immortality. Let the whole world be happy and free of illness, sorrow and sadness. Take from our heart all guile and worldliness, jealousy, greediness, angriness, and selfish motto. Please give skill to our hands, clear vision to our mind, kindness and sympathy to our hearts, grant us wisdom, show us the path of righteousness and show us to perform true and noble deeds. Oh Lord, You are a great healer, and we bow our head before you with our clear and pure heart. Blessed and cure at least part of the burden of our suffering fellow men, women, children and families. Thank you, Almighty God and Angels for listen to our humble prayer.


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The Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) Seminar on

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The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi


The Story of Mahatma Gandhi

The story thus far…After the defeat of Japan in August 1945, Britain agreed to a planned withdrawal from India. All through his life Gandhi had worked for unity between Hindus and Muslims, without much success. There was a large section of nationalist Muslim in the Congress but leaders of the Muslim League were drifting further and further away. Gandhi was not the man to give up hope, however, and he pursued his efforts to bring about a settlement. On the other hand, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, was hostile to the idea of unity. The Viceroy invited all leaders to Simla and tried to find a solution and bring about HinduMuslim accord. Jinnah would not agree to anything except a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. Britain announced and held an election in India. The Congress won most of the non- Muslim seats and the Muslim League won most of the Muslim seats. The deadlock continued. “We can settle the Indian problem in ten minutes if Mr. Gandhi agrees to the creation of Pakistan,” said Jinnah. But Gandhi was distraught. “Cut me in half,” cried Gandhi, “but do not divide India in two.” His words fell on deaf ears. In February 1946, the British government sent a Cabinet Mission to India. It consisted of Lord PethickLawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander. The task of the Cabinet Mission was to study the situation and make recommendations. After careful consideration, the Cabinet Mission issued a statement proposing the withdrawal of British authority from India. They had the idea of a united India. On August 24, 1946, the Viceroy announced the formation of an Interim National Government to replace the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Jawaharlal Nehru was the Vice-President of the Interim Government. The Muslim League declined to join on the ground that it had not been given the right to nominate all the Muslim members. After the installation of the Interim Government, Gandhi was anxious to return to Sevagram, his ashram near Wardha, but the Congress leaders prevailed on him to stay longer in Delhi because they wanted his advice. Then the Muslim League decided to join the Interim Government and an announcement was made to that effect on October 15, 1946. Gandhi once again felt free to return to Sevagram. He was about to leave Delhi when news came of disturbances in Bengal. There was widespread communal rioting in Calcutta and in the Muslim majority district of Noakhali in East Bengal, with murder, arson, looting, forced conversions, forced

marriages, and abduction. Gandhi was confused and griefstricken. Instead of returning to Sevagram, he set out for Noakhali to try to bring peace there. The communal riots spread. There were similar riots in Bihar and the Punjab. Several thousand were killed and injured. Gandhi was greatly distressed by these events. He tried to calm and reassure the

The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi is brought to you courtesy Mahatma Gandhi Library. people. He walked from village to village and from house to house carrying his message of peace. Wherever he was, there was peace, at least outwardly, but the general situation in India was worsening. Rioting spread from the towns to the villages. In Bihar the Muslims were suffering and Gandhi went there to instill courage into the Muslim minority. The situation in India was so dreadful that the Congress leaders realized that the best way open to them was to accept Jinnah’s demand for a division of the country. Nehru met Gandhi to inform him of this decision. Gandhi asked him, “Is there no way out? No hope of a united India?” Nehru was sad and grave. “Bapuji,” he replied, “unity is

impossible... we have to accept it (division of India). Otherwise this deadly turmoil will never cease.” Gandhi bowed his head to hide his despair. On June 3, 1947, British Prime Minister Attlee announced the plan for partition. The Congress and the Muslim League accepted it. For Gandhi it was a spiritual tragedy. With infinite sadness he said, “All of India must accept Pakistan in loving resignation. We have no choice. Hindus must lead the way to a friendly settlement.” Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy, was anxious not to delay the ushering in of independent India and independent Pakistan. He shortened the time limit for the British to quit India. The date for the declaration of Indian independence was fixed for August 15, 1947. Thus on August 15, 1947, India’s long struggle and suffering for freedom was over. A new nation, although split in two, was born. Lord Mountbatten hailed Gandhi as “the architect of India’s freedom through non-violence.” Gandhi had never given his approval to partition, but when it was done he accepted it and did everything possible for the attainment of Hindu-Muslim friendship. Yet the tension between Hindus and Muslims continued to increase. As a result of partition over 700,000 Hindus, Sikhs, and other nonMuslims, fearing the Muslims, in Pakistan left their homes and set out towards security in India. From India about the same number of Muslims, fearing the Hindus, left their homes for Pakistan. One and half million people on the move were exposed to starvation, disease, and death on the way. Gandhi was on his way to the Punjab when he stopped in Delhi, hoping to quell the riots that had broken out there. Gandhi’s gospel of forbearance and forgiveness towards Muslims marked him as a traitor in the eyes of many Hindu extremists. In the face of fanatical opposition, Gandhi redoubled his efforts and the major disturbances in Delhi subsided, but there were




January 18, 2013


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The Story of Mahatma Gandhi CONTINUED FROM PAGE


still disturbances here and there. Gandhi decided to do penance by fasting, which he thought would bring about a change in the attitude of the Hindu fanatics. The fast began on January 13, 1948. There was gloom all over India at the news of Gandhi’s fast. People thought that he would not be able to survive another fast. The whole world watched as Gandhi, 78 years old, fasted to save his country from destruction. On January 18 a peace committee, representing all communities, met and signed a pact pledging unity and the protection of life, property, and faith to the Muslim minority. Gandhi was informed of the pledge and he broke his fast. Gandhi was staying at Birla House. Every evening he held a prayer-meeting in the grounds. During his prayer-meeting on January 20, a bomb was thrown at him, but it missed its target.

Gandhi continued his prayer meeting as if nothing had happened. “Bapuji, a bomb exploded near you,” said a voice. “Really?” Gandhi said. “Perhaps some poor fanatic threw it. But let no one look down on him.” On January 30, after a midday nap, Gandhi woke up at 3.30 p.m. The whole day he had had a stream of visitors. Sardar Patel went to see him at 4 p.m. Nehru and Azad were to come after the evening prayer. Gandhi left his room at 5 p.m. and went towards the prayer hall. He passed through a cordoned-off path, accompanied by Manu and Abha, his grand-daughters. As he was walking along a youth came forward as if to seek his blessings. But he stood in front of Gandhi and at point-blank range fired three shots in quick succession. All the bullets hit him. Gandhi fell, uttering the prayer, “Hay Ram.” Gandhi was dead. The assassina-

tion gave the world a tremendous shock. Nehru went on radio to tell the country of Gandhi’s death, his voice choked with emotion: “Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. I do not know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the Father of the Nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that. Nevertheless, we will not see him again as we have seen him for these many years. The light has gone out, I said, and yet I was wrong. For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. The light that has illumined this country for these many, many years will illumine this country for many more years, and a thousand years later that light will still be seen in this country, and the world will see it and it will give solace to innumerable hearts.”

Life of Pi Wins Best Original Score at Golden Globes 2013

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(TOI) Composer Mychael Danna won the best original score motion picture award for “Life of Pi” at the 70th edition of the prestigious annual Golden Globe awards here. Danna beat Alexandre Desplat (“Argo”), Dario Marianelli (“Anna Karenina”), Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil (“Cloud Atlas”) and John Williams (“Lincoln”) to walk away with the prestigious trophy at a glitzy gala Sunday night. Directed by Ang Lee, “Life of Pi” is based on Canadian author Yann Martel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name. It is about the journey of an Indian boy who survives a storm and is left on a life-boat with a tiger.




January 18, 2013

I am honored to serve as the President of the Chamber for the year 2013. The Chamber continues to provide strong support for the business community in Houston. Membership thrives only when the organization listens to the needs of its members and provides the solutions and services they need. In 2013, the Chamber will focus on the following areas that will benefit the Indo-American business community: Energy & Education.

There is tremendous potential for businesses in both countries to leverage the many opportunities in these sectors. We will also continue to encourage local business opportunities through outreach and networking events. Healthcare and financial management are important topics for our community, on which we intend to present seminars. I am thankful for the continued support of our members, advisors, board of directors, staff, and volunteers. Along with the executive team of the Chamber. I look forward to serving you this year. —Pankaj Dhume


Providing small business entrepreneurs with knowledge relevant to establishing and strengthening their businesses. YO U N G PR O FE SSIO NAL S N ET WO R K

Brings together talented and ambitious young members to share their stories and inspire each other. WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

Women professionals, from a diverse range of industries and backgrounds, come together to discuss leadership challenges, share their personal and professional journeys, and provide inspirational learning opportunities. TEE IT UP FOR LITER ACY GOLF TOURNAMENT

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Our annual lectures series invites eminent speakers from the community to share their knowledge and experience with our membership. H I L L C R O F T- H A R W I N N E T W O R K I N G I N I T I AT I V E

Endeavors to create a platform for businesses to convene and discuss issues affecting business environment, productivity, and quality of life in the Hillcroft-Harwin area. GAL A

Attended by members, supporters, sponsors, dignitaries, awardees, and volunteers. Expect good food, goodwill, and good cheer! C. Aku Patel, Swapan Dhairyawan (Treasurer) Seated: Pankaj Dhume (President ), Ajit Thakur (Past President), Joya Shukla (Secretary), Jagdip Ahluwalia (Executive Director) Not in picture: Amod Bavare, Harish Katharani, Nitin Kapadia, Karen Francis

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Fostering economic links between American and Indian businesses and coordinating efforts between facilitative organizations like sister chambers in India and the US.




16 January 18, 2013


Murder Mystery Deepens in the Death of Chicago Lottery Winner

BY ALEX PEREZ AND MICHAEL JAMES CHICAGO (ABC News): Urooj Khan had just brought home his $425,000 lottery check when he unexpectedly died the following day. Now, certain members of Khan’s family are speaking publicly about the mystery -- and his nephew told ABC News they knew something was not right. “He was a healthy guy, you know?” said the nephew, Minhaj Khan. “He worked so hard. He was always going about his business and, the thing is: After he won the lottery and the next day later he passes away -- it’s awkward. It raises some eyebrows.” The medical examiner initially ruled Urooj Khan, 46, an immigrant from India who owned drycleaning businesses in Chicago, died July 20, 2012, of natural causes. But after a family member demanded more tests, authorities in November found a lethal amount of cyanide in his blood. “When we found out there was cyanide in his blood after the extensive toxicology reports, we had to believe that ... somebody had to kill him,” Minhaj Khan said. “It had to happen, because where can you get cyanide?” Authorities could be one step closer to learning what happened to Urooj Khan. A judge Friday approved an order to exhume his

which also showed Urooj Khan’s family is questioning if the couple was ever even legally married. Ansari, Urooj Khan’s second wife, who still works at the couple’s dry cleaning business, has insisted they were married legally. She has told reporters the night before her husband died, she cooked a traditional Indian meal for him and their family, including Khan’s daughter and Ansari’s father. Not Urooj Khan, center, holds a ceremonial check in Chicago for $1 million as winner of an Illinois instant lottery game, June 2012. At left, is Khan's wife, feeling well, Khan retired Shabana Ansari. early, Ansari told the Chicago Sun-Times, falling asleep in Khan reportedly did not have a a chair, waking up in agony, then body at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago as early as Thursday to per- will. With the investigation mov- collapsing in the middle of the ing forward, his family is waging night. She said she called 911. form further tests. “It has been an incredibly hard Moments after the court hearing, a legal fight against his widow, Urooj Khan’s sister, Meraj Khan, Shabana Ansari, 32, over more time,” she told ABC News earlier remembered her brother as the kind than $1 million, including Urooj this week. “We went from being of person who would’ve shared Khan’s lottery winnings, as well the happiest the day we got the his jackpot with anyone. Speaking as his business and real estate check. It was the best sleep I’ve had. And then the next day, everyat the Cook County Courthouse, holdings. Khan’s brother filed a petition thing was gone. she hoped the exhumation would Wednesday to a judge asking Cit“I am cooperating with the inveshelp the investigation. “It’s very hard because I wanted ibank to release information about tigation,” Ansari told ABC News. my brother to rest in peace, but then Khan’s assets to “ultimately en- “I want the truth to come out.” Ansari has not been named a we have to have justice served,” sure” that [Khan’s] minor daughshe said, according to ABC News ter from a prior marriage “receives suspect, but her attorney, Steven Kozicki, said investigators did station WLS in Chicago. “So if her proper share.” Ansari may have tried to cash the question her for more than four that’s what it takes for him to bring justice and peace, then that’s what jackpot check after Khan’s death, hours. according to court documents, “Absolutely, positively, you needs to be done.”

know, she had nothing to do with her husband’s death,” Kozicki said. Despite the legal battle over the estate, Minhaj Khan said the family “can’t really point fingers or we can’t really speculate until a further investigation is done.” “When they are exhuming his body, I really hope the truth does come out, and our family finds some peace and we get to the bottom of this,” he said. “Because everybody has to go one day, but the way that he died was not the way to go.” Urooj Khan won $1 million in a scratch-off Illinois Lottery game in June, though he elected to take the lump sum payout amounting to $425,000 after taxes. He said he planned to use the money to pay off his bills and mortgage, and make a contribution to St. Jude Children’s Research Center. “He had a successful business, he was a great father, he was a great uncle to us and we knew him since the late ‘80s, since he came here [to the United States],” he said. “We lived with him. My kids used to play with him too, you know? I have two little girls. He was a really big family man and everybody loved him. “He was the life of the party,” he said, “always joking around, always joking with us and the family.”



January 18, 2013

Indian-American, Sanjay Sethi Pleads Guilty to Hiding Millions in Secret Accounts NEW YORK (IE): An IndianAmerican entrepreneur has pleaded guilty to charges that he concealed from US tax authorities nearly USD 7.9 million which he held in secret bank accounts in India and Switzerland and has agreed to pay USD 2.4 million penalty for not disclosing

them. Sanjay Sethi, 52, of New Jersey pleaded guilty yesterday before US District Judge Jose Linares in Newark federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to conceal assets in undeclared bank accounts from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Sethi used corporations in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands to conceal his assets and income he held in secret bank accounts in Switzerland and India, US Attorney Paul Fishman said. “Our criminal laws do not tolerate those who use foreign accounts to conceal their assets,” Fishman said. “Cheating the government out of tax dollars hurts all honest taxpayers.” Sethi faces a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison and a fine of USD 250,000 when he is sentenced on April 18. He has agreed to file true and accurate tax returns and to pay to the IRS all taxes and penalties owed, in addition to the USD 2.4 million

penalty. The criminal information says that Sethi opened secret accounts with “one of the largest international banks” headquartered in England with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, India and the US. While the information has not

named the bank, media reports said the bank is HSBC. The bank operated a division in the US called NRI Services through which it encouraged US citizens to open undeclared bank accounts in India, the 12-page criminal information said. According to documents filed in the case, Sethi schemed with bankers from the US, UK and Switzerland to conceal his assets and income derived from those assets. Sethi used nominee and shell companies formed in tax-haven jurisdictions to conceal his ownership and control of assets from the IRS, besides filing false and fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. Born in India, Sethi became a lawful permanent resident of the US in March 1989 and a US citizen in June 2004. He opened an IT and software development company SanVision Technologies in 1992 and also set up an entity Karol Bagh Charitable Trust which he used to conceal his ownership of undeclared accounts

Announcement ICC Houston will celebrate India Fair- 64th Republic Day celebrations on Saturday, January 26 at Bayou City Center, 9401 Knight Rd, Houston TX 77047. Free Entrance, Free Parking. Highlights include Cultural, Parade, Booths, Awards and Flag Honoring. For more information call Devesh at 832-419-7576.

in Switzerland into which Sethi deposited the proceeds of real estate transactions related to properties located in India. Between 2001 to 2009, Sethi met with his co-conspirators and opened numerous undeclared bank accounts in India and Switzerland, and used shell companies to transfer millions of dollars to undeclared offshore accounts. The total tax loss to the Government was between USD 80,000 and USD 200,000. “This guilty plea serves as another warning to those who still think they can hide their assets offshore through the use of shell companies, nominees, and foreign bank accounts,” Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department’s Tax Division said. According to the criminal information, Sethi met with ‘UK banker A’ at the offices of the bank in New York and discussed opening of an undeclared bank account in Switzerland. The banker told Sethi that the undeclared account would allow his assets to grow tax free and that bank secrecy laws in Switzerland would allow Sethi to conceal the existence of the account. Since 2003, Sethi transferred USD 3.4 million, USD 2.3 million and another USD 2.2 million, when he sold a house in New Jersey, in the undeclared accounts. Sethi also failed to file a Report of Foreign Bank or Financial Accounts (FBAR) with respect to his foreign accounts. US citizens who have an interest in a financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of USD 10,000 are required to disclose the existence of such account on their individual income tax returns. “The object of the conspiracy was for Sethi and his co-conspirators to conceal from the IRS the existence, ownership and income derived from Sethi’s undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland and India,” the charges said. HSBC branches have been under investigation for offshore tax evasion. Last month, HSBC agreed to pay USD 1.92 billion to settle allegations of violating US money laundering laws. Apart from Sethi, several other Indian-origin men based in the US have been charged with using HSBC accounts to hide income in India. New Jersey businessman Vaibhav Dahake had pleaded guilty in April last year to conspiring with HSBC bankers to hide his Indian accounts from the IRS. Last August, federal jurors convicted Milwaukee neurosurgeon Arvind Ahuja on tax fraud charges, including that he filed false tax returns and failed to report to federal authorities millions of dollars hidden in offshore accounts.



India House Incorporated Annual General Body Meeting will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 8888 West Bellfort Street Houston, Texas 77031 Lunch : 12:30 pm Meeting: 1:30 pm

RSVP: 713-929-1905

Help Wanted Gujarati couple looking for a live-in nanny for a newborn baby and light household work. Contact: 281-827-5041


The Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) Small Business Networking Reception on January 22nd, 2013 6:30 PM to 8 PM

at Narin’s Bombay Brasserie

3115 West Loop South #110, Houston, Texas 77027

Cost: Free for IACCGH members. Members are invited to bring a potential member as a guest. Registration is required.

Come join us for our first networking event of 2013. This event will focus on showcasing successes of the small business community and offering our small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals a chance to network. Meet your 2013 board members and learn about our 2013 plans!

Please RSVP to or to (713)-624-7131 Nonmembers interested to attend Contact: Pankaj Dhume, President, IACCGH, or Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director at




January 18, 2013

Ganesh Anand Catering Services Pure Vegetarian South & North Indian Dishes. Chaat & Snacks Contact Babulbhai: 832-891-1421 13180 West Park Dr. @ Synott Houston, TX 77082

Make ‘Giving’ an Enjoyable Pursuit for your Child BY GOURI DANGE (Mint) My son is 15 and will be applying for undergraduate admissions in the US, UK or Singapore. He is required to show a certain number of hours of volunteering work as part of his application process. His school has tie-ups with some well-known NGOs, and there is quite a rush for this as many of his friends are also applying to schools abroad. Almost every mother is doing a lot of this work herself—not just goading and cajoling the child to put in the requisite hours, but also completing the work, including doing the teaching as well as correcting of assignments when the child is to work in teaching underprivileged children, or reading to the blind, etc. I don’t want to do any of this for my son, and have warned him about it. He is upset with me because he feels I’m making a point of nothing, and that the other children’s mothers are much more “understanding” about their workload. His father

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feels that since it’s all part of the application process, we have to help him in this area. How do I get my son to get into the real spirit of it? Am I being too unrealistic and demanding for no reason? This is how the other parents see it too. While this seems to be a common occurrence in some circles—children “farming out” the volunteering “component” to their mothers—you are right in taking exception and refusing to do it. Our children (and

Start young: Don’t let your child simply pay lip service to volunteering work. Photo: Sunil Saxena/Hindustan Times

Indian adults too) have to be taught that if we want to go into a system and culture different from ours, we must respect its requirements in its spirit. To teach Indian children to “bypass” this Western requirement seems to me a grave disservice to the child as well as to the system in which we are so eager to send them. Why are we teaching children this early, and encouraging and abetting them, to “buck” the system, and to take only what is agreeable and convenient from what is offered in that system of education, and pay only lip service to the volunteering part? If you feel strongly about this, you need to send out a strong signal to your child. Let him know that you don’t see it as some “necessary evil” or boring requirement that has to be somehow “managed”, but as part of the better education abroad that you are spending very good money on for him. Perhaps if we started early with our children genuinely volunteering

even in the smallest of ways from when they are much younger, we would not have a situation where parents are simply buying them their “freedom from volunteering” so they can concentrate on their other workload. Your husband needs to back you up on this. He could spend time with his son and help him get into the real spirit of the charitable work he needs to do; or he could do what he thinks is needed—simply take on that volunteering work himself. You could simply stick to your stand on this matter. Let’s not teach our children to jugaad their way out of every situation that does not suit them. Find other parents who feel the same way; there must be enough of them, it’s just that they are not the ones around you. And pool resources like driving your children to wherever they need to volunteer, or help them plan or problem-solve with the volunteering situation, rather than bailing them out by leaving them conveniently out of the whole process. Believe in the fact that they will be much better human beings once they actually do participate, and even if they go reluctantly and resentfully, make this a non-negotiable situation.


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January 18, 2013

Urvashi Dholakia Wins ‘Bigg Boss 6’ Title

MUMBAI (MidDay): The show came to a star-studded end as Urvashi bagged the Rs.50 lakh award. She emerged out of the locked house after three months, and her family - her mother, and two children, stood in the audience to welcome her. Urvashi, best remembered as Komolika of “Kasautii Zindagii Kay”, was in tears. She is the third female winner of the show in row, after Shweta Tiwari and Juhi Parmar, who won the fourth and fifth seasons, respectively. “Thank you,” she said upon her exit. She was among the 15 contestants who entered the “Bigg Boss” house in October 2012, and managed to stay in the top four, with Imam, Sana Khan and Niketan Madhok occupying the remaining positions respectively. Urvashi displayed a strong winning chance ever since she entered the show. She was appreciated for her upfront and honest attitude, was a smart player and always stood up for the right. She often got involved in verbal spats with Imam, Sapna Bhavnani and Delnaaz Irani, but she patched up with them, creating amicable relations with everyone on the show. The finale, hosted by “Dabangg”

The show came to a starstudded end as Urvashi bagged the award for Rs. 50 lakh.

hero Salman Khan, had celebrities like Prabhudheva, Emraan Hashmi and Tusshar Kapoor in attendance. It was high on entertainment quotient with Salman’s spicy performance on popular number “Pandeyji seeti” from his movie “Dabangg 2”. Prabhudheva, who had directed the superstar in “Wanted”, appeared on the show with choreographer-turneddirector Remo D’Souza to promote


their upcoming film “ABCD: AnyBody Can Dance”. The trio shook a leg together on the music from “ABCD...”. Emraan used the platform to promote his new film “Ek Thi Daayan”, while Tusshar and actress Neha Dhupia came to promote their new reality comedy show “Nautanki: The Comedy Theatre”. The former contestants of the current season of the show also entertained viewers. While celebrity hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani and Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Yadav, Vishal Karwal and Karishma Kotak performed a water act together, Vrajesh Hirjee went inside the house and mocked the contestants. Item girl Yana Gupta entered the “Bigg Boss” house in a cage and performed on the song “Aa zara”, from “Murder 2”. Popular TV actresses Rati Pandey, Keerti Nagpure, Pooja Gor and Rashmi Desai also performed on the show. Unlike previous seasons, the sixth season of “Bigg Boss” promised to be ‘Alag che’ (different), by catering to a family audience. Though it lived up to the promise to a considerable extent, the show indeed saw some ugly spats between Rajev Paul and Imam, and Delnaaz and Urvashi.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: Done in by Half Measures BY SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR (Reuters) You know it’s a bad omen when a scene in a Vishal Bhardwaj movie reminds you of one in Shirish Kunder’s last film. I felt the dread creep up on me as I watched a scene where a breathless reporter reports a UFO sighting in an Indian village -- reminding me of a similar scene in “Joker”, a film that ranked as one of the worst of 2012. Thankfully, that was the only UFO scene in the film, but there was one

which involved cow dung being flung across fields, as well as a longdrawn-out scene where two men try to pull a bucket out of a well. If all this is making you wary, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Bhardwaj’s film starts off funny and his trademark style is evident -- from the brilliant “cigarette smoking is injurious to health” message at the beginning to the Tarantino-esque first scene. Bhardwaj takes on the touchy issue of farm land being taken over to expand India’s cities and make way for retail and commercial space, but he chooses to tell the story through a cast of decidedly oddball characters. Harry Mandola is a rich man (how he got rich and what his day job is, we

are never told) who wants to turn his village into a concrete jungle so that he can get even richer. One way of doing this is converting agricultural land into barren land, at least on paper, and for that Mandola has the backing of the state’s chief minister, simply referred to as Deviji (a delightfully demented performance by Shabana Azmi). Mandola promises to marry his only daughter Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) to the Deviji’s son Baadal (Arya Babbar) to seal the deal. All would have gone on smoothly if it hadn’t been for Mandola’s nasty drinking habit. After another of his drinking sprees, Mandola barges in on a meeting of farmers, who are discussing how they can save their land, and urges them to revolt -- against him. He instructs his righthand man Matru (Imran Khan) to lead the revolt. Of course, when the alcohol wears off, Mandola realises that he’s become his own worst enemy. The villagers, now emboldened, ramp up their protests, helped by a mysterious entity who calls himself Mao and writes letters to them on red fabric. There are several great ideas in there somewhere and you would expect a film-maker of Bhardwaj’s calibre to flesh those out easily, but unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. The director does the unthinkable -- he simplifies the issue and the farmer’s problems seem trivial. You don’t have to look too far to see

Bhardwaj’s inspiration -- a band in the film is called the Kusturi-ca Band (probably after Serbian film-maker Emir Kusturica, known for his absurdist cinema), but Bhardwaj doesn’t manage to take the madness all the way, getting caught up in a boring love story. The theatre of the absurd can be funny and engaging if it goes all the way. Half measures mean that the film begins to look a little sad and embarrassing in the second half. There are some inspired moments, like Shabana Azmi’s slightly crazed act, and the Mao references, but in trying to add a commercial angle, Bhardwaj goes for a love story between Bijlee and Matru. What starts out as an interesting film disintegrates, and leaves you bored. There too many coincidences and convenient plot twists and the end will leave you anything but satisfied. The other big handicap is that Bhardwaj’s leading man just isn’t up to it. Imran Khan goes red in the face trying to muster up a Haryanvi accent and act tough. You can actually see the effort in his acting and that’s why it jars all the more. The star of the film is undoubtedly Pankaj Kapur. As Mandola, he is quirky, feisty and energetic and overshadows both young actors with the sheer energy he brings to the screen. Azmi gives him a run for his money, playing a deliciously evil character. I wish her exit had been written better though. “Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola” is a disappointing film, one that could have been so much more. (Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Indo American News)


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January 18, 2013

Above the Din

The flaring of tensions along the Line of Control, and the killing and mutilation of Indian soldiers, have angered many in this country. They have also caused sections of the commentariat and the political establishment to seemingly lose their sense of proportion. Television anchors and opinion-makers have egged each other on to make more sweeping, increasingly jingoistic proclamations, calling into question the very foundation of India’s Pakistan policy that recognises both countries’ mutual stakes in peace. Almost ten years of the ceasefire along the LoC (despite the recent strains on it) has allowed the bilateral relationship to focus attention on issues of trade and travel rather than the old contentions of Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, and obviated a case for external mediation. This dialogue with Pakistan’s civilian leadership is one of the big achievements of the UPA and therefore it is more the pity that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Zardari have failed to sustain the momentum in the last couple of relatively eventless years. The resulting drift has brought on a situation where noise is able to lead policy, or give an appearance of doing so. On Tuesday, Manmohan Singh, who, in his years as prime minister, has been personally invested in calm conversation between the two countries, declared that it “cannot be business as usual” with Pakistan. On the same day, the planned visa-on-arrival for elderly Pakistani citizens was put on hold. The BJP has evidently decided this is the moment to look tough, and fallen over the line separating strength from vengefulness. Sushma Swaraj demanded “ten heads” from Pakistan for the killing of Hemraj. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena has stayed true to its patented tradition of petty vindictiveness, making sure that Pakistani hockey players are unable to play in Mumbai; they have been asked to return to Pakistan. For all the building hysteria and agitprop in India, it has scarcely been noticed here that Pakistan is paying little attention. It has other worries to attend to, including its supreme court ordering its prime minister’s arrest on corruption charges on Tuesday, the recent massacre of Shias, drone attacks on its western front, the complexity of counter-terrorism efforts and the uneasy balance between its power centres. In this moment, India needs to step up engagement, rather than invite confrontation. Indian Express

Reader Feedback

The ruling classes of India who are intent on increasing the GDP as the sole aim of the country by selling the country to Wal-Mart etc do not care for anything that disturbs their profits. They claim that anything that distracts them from their profits is wrong. If the tribal people in Dandakaranya agitate over destruction of their forests or pollution caused by mining, it is against development. If the small traders complain of the mega corporations who will destroy ancient petty trading communities, it is against progress. If the environmentalists complain of excessive looting of natural resources, it is extremism. Vijay Krishna

When Schoolchildren Dream of Startups BY SARITHA RAI Entrepreneurship is steadily becoming a desirable goal for the middle class. There were groups making blockprinted cloth bags, coasters from recycled material, miniature toys, chocolate-frosted cupcakes and office stationery. They talked of modest venture capital, marketing tactics, and balancing expenses and income. But the most arresting feature of the presentation? The budding entrepreneurs were a roomful of energetic, enthusiastic 11-year-olds. Just as striking was the fact that the exercise was being replicated across eight branches of the National Public School, or NPS, a Bangaloreheadquartered school chain that has built a brand around grooming its students to ace the IIT and medical entrance exams and more recently, the SATs for admission intoAmerican colleges. The event is amongst the early signs that the traditional Indian education system, long criticised as being designed to create only employees and a “workforce”, is poised for change. Through slick PowerPoint presentations that morning, the students described their projects. They had worked collaboratively in teams of five or six to come up with ideas. They would draw on available material, buying only limited items, and all the products would be handmade. To get started, they would each tap their parents for a couple of hundred rupees, which would be their venture capital. All profits from the sales would go to a charitable cause. One sixth-grader said her group was inspired by Abdul Kalam’s statement that India needs job creators, and not job-seekers. Teased by an audience member on whether that meant creating work for their parents, the girl shot back, “I want to first create a job for myself so that I don’t have to work in a boring office.” India is poised on the brink of change, as there is a generational shift in students’ thinking on entrepreneurship, said Bindu Hari, who steers the NPS school chain founded by her father, K.P. Gopalakrishna in 1959. “At one time, the top goal of a student was to find government employment

One sixth-grader said her group was inspired by Abdul Kalam’s statement that India needs job creators, and not job-seekers. Teased by an audience member on whether that meant creating work for their parents, the girl shot back, “I want to first create a job for myself so that I don’t have to work in a boring office.”

and later, it was an MNC job,” she said. “But the current generation is willing to take risks and go out to grab opportunities.” Even parents were more amenable to kids branching away from conventional career paths, Hari said. On 11-year-olds grasping the concepts of starting up a venture, she said she was often amazed by the maturity of fifth and sixth graders today. It is necessary to sow the seeds of entrepreneurship at a young age, said Hari. The school first worked on a pilot project before transplanting it to all schools in its chain, including a school each in Chennai and Singapore. It works with four modules: raising capital, designing the product, marketing and understanding the balance sheet. “The most crucial part is that students work in groups and the exercise becomes as collaborative as entrepreneurship is in real life,” said Hari. Entrepreneurship is becoming a more acceptable option amongst India’s middle class, said Ravi Venkatesam, the parent of an 11-yearold NPS student. “In the last two

decades, many traditional, middle class Indians have turned successful entrepreneurs, not just in information technology, but in a variety of other fields,” said Venkatesam who runs his own BPO consulting practice. That NPS was running a module on entrepreneurship was a reflection of what middle-class parents seek for their children, he said. The interest amongst youngsters in the world of business and in entrepreneurship is startling, said Subroto Bagchi, co-founder and chairman of outsourcing firm MindTree and author of the book, MBA@16. “Business is not the taboo word it used to be when I was growing up,” Bagchi said. While researching his book, he was surprised that the teenagers did not have a uni-dimensional view of entrepreneurship. “A lot of them were interested in entrepreneurship as an agent of social change.” While his book only deals with an urban sample, Bagchi said entrepreneurship as is also spreading to small-town India. The recent demand for translations of the title into Indian languages such as Hindi and Telugu is evidence, said Bagchi. Indian Express

In Gujarat As Well AHMEDABAD (ToI): They are young and dreaming big. These 89 young students, in the age group of 12-16 years from across the world, are part of National Summer Camp on Entrepreneurial Stimulation at Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI). In one of the business simulation exercises, they were handed building blocks and asked to come up with new building structures in a limited period of time. Simulation exercises creates a hypothetical common workplace scenario and instructs students for company formation, earning profits and problem solving. Says Arnav Kalra, 12, “Entrepreneurship offers a flexibility in approach and more importantly we can be our own boss rather than working under someone else. The real learning was meeting with people from a totally different backgrounds and cultures.”

Indo American News FOUNDER: DR. K.L. SINDWANI PUBLISHER: JAWAHAR MALHOTRA EDITOR: PRAMOD KULKARNI MANAGING EDITOR: MANASI GOKHALE ADVERTISING & ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER: VANSHIKA VIPIN CORRESPONDENTS HOUSTON: MANU SHAH, CHETNA SAMAL CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR, INDIA: 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:



January 18, 2013

BY SUJATA KELKAR SHETTY (Mint) There are people who appear to remain slim almost magically, no matter what they eat and whether they formally exercise or not. Janaki Bahri, the 29-year-old mother of a boy who just celebrated his first birthday, is one of those people. She has always been slim and petite and returned to her pre-pregnancy size within six months of the baby’s birth. Bahri is an active person but is not someone who works out regularly. She says that she has not worked out in over a year and a half and didn’t have to exercise to lose her pregnancy weight. If you ask her how she remains slim, her instinctive reply is: “It’s genetic; my father is exactly the same way.” Meanwhile, urban India is putting on more weight now than ever before because we are putting more energy into our bodies than we are using up, consistently. Lancet published a paper in November 2010 that looked at the growing health concern of obesity in developing nations like India, Brazil and China. The study was led by Daniel Chisholm and his colleagues at the health division of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and found that dietary habits and a sedentary way of life were causing an energy surplus in our bodies and fuelling the obesity epidemic. Food, our energy-giving source, is burned by our bodies in three ways, via our basal metabolic rate (BMR), the thermic effect of food, and physical activity. BMR is the rate at which we consume energy at rest and approximately 60% of all the energy expended by our bodies is because of our BMR. The more lean body mass we have, or the more muscle mass we have, the more our BMR, which is why trainers at gyms keep asking people to lift weights. Eleven per cent of our energy expenditure is on digesting the food we eat, what scientists call the thermic effect of food. Our physical activity burns the remaining 29% of the energy*. This

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You’ve Got to Move It

Take the stairs, cook dinner, play with your children, take an evening walk—and knock off those extra kilos without hitting the gym.

physical activity is through formal exercise like jogging and swimming and through everyday activities like typing on the computer, shopping, cooking, standing in a line, etc. James Levine calls energy expenditure that occurs through everyday living Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). Dr Levine, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic

in Rochester, Minnesota, US, and his colleagues led a biomedical team of over 150 people who worked for over 10 years to develop, among other things, a special underwear to detect body movements using the same technology used in fighter jet control panels. The study participants were 10 obese and 10 lean people who were monitored every half-second,


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24 hours a day, for 10 days. Published in the journal Science in January 2005, the study Interindividual Variation in Posture Allocation: Possible Role in Human Obesity by Dr Levine and others found that lean people moved a lot more in small ways every day than obese people. This was the case even when the thin people were artificially made to put on weight by being given 1,000 more calories a day and the obese people were artificially made to eat 1,000 calories less a day. The lean people just had a higher NEAT no matter what. NEAT at work Because NEAT is such an important source of calorie burn, how much energy we spend while we work depends on where we work. For example, if you have a desk-bound job where you hardly leave your desk all day, you burn about 300 calories a day. A farmer, on the other hand, burns 2,300 calories per day. That’s a 2,000-calorie difference, and maybe one of the reasons why obesity isn’t an issue in rural India yet. In the medical research fraternity, this is old news. This data is from research done by A.E. Black and colleagues at the Dunn Clinical Nutrition Centre, Cambridge, UK, and it was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition way back in 1996. But the difference in the numbers of calories used in a desk-bound job, which most of us have, versus a farmer’s is enough to make us all sit up and take notice. While nobody is suggesting that you take up farming, becoming more active while having a desk-bound job is certainly possible (see Count How Much You Burn). The table shows you that you can actually burn as many calories at work as you would during an average hour in the gym if


you put NEAT into practice. Jyotsna Changrani, co-founder and director of Meta Wellness, Mumbai, and faculty at the New York University School of Medicine, US, says that she and her colleagues at NYU did put NEAT into practice in their office to see if it would make a difference. They found that on an average they lost 2-3kg each over a span of six months while staying on a healthy diet. The point is, you can lose weight and stay fit by burning more calories while living your life. You don’t always need a gym membership to lose weight. Just as your level of activity matters in the workplace, NEAT levels differ dramatically depending upon what you do during your leisure time as well. If you are coming home from work at 5pm and sitting in front of the TV till 11pm, you’ll burn about 50 kcal. While, say, for argument’s sake, you spend the evening repainting your apartment, you will burn about 100-150 kcal per hour. So that’s 600 kcal spent in redecorating your home versus 50 kcal spent sitting in front of the TV. This comparison is one that Dr Levine and his colleagues make in an article published in September in the Surgery for Obesity And Related Diseases. Again, perhaps repainting your apartment isn’t something that we would do for recreation in India, but the point is a valid one. So to boost your NEAT, apart from moving around more in your office, you can come home and involve yourself in more activities. You can cook dinner for the household, play with your children and take an evening walk with your spouse. If you do this regularly while eating a balanced, low-fat diet, you will be able to knock off those extra kilos you’ve put on over the years without a single day spent in a gym. We asked Bahri if she moved around a lot while she was going about her daily life and she said: “Yes, I’m pacing the floor as I talk to you over the phone. Isn’t that what everyone does?”


KTRK-TV, the ABC O&O located in Houston, TX is looking for a journalist who is a strong writer, understands how to use graphics and can produce a well-paced newscast under daily pressure. The ideal candidate is both a leader and a listener. If you can spend all day crafting a newscast and drop everything for breaking news, then we want to hear from you. Candidates must have experience as a line producer in a large or medium market. iNews, desktop editing and Ignite experience a plus, as is knowledge of the Houston area.

KTRK-TV, the ABC O&O located in Houston, TX is looking for an experienced news producer for temporary employment. The ideal candidate has line producer experience in a large or medium market, experience with breaking news, dealing with multiple live shots, writing and editing. iNews, Aurora desktop editing and Ignite experience a plus, as is knowledge of the Houston area.

For consideration all interested applicants must apply on-line at: by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. If you are truly ready for market #10, please send writing samples and a copy of your latest newscast including one that demonstrates your ability to handle breaking news to: Human Resources, KTRK-TV, 3310 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005. Please Reference Job ID: 86064BR on all materials submitted. No phone calls please, and no third parties.

For consideration all interested applicants must apply on-line at by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. If you are truly ready for market #10, please send writing samples and a copy of your latest newscast including one that demonstrates your ability to handle breaking news to: Human Resources, KTRK-TV, 3310 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005. Please Reference Job ID: 86065BR on all materials submitted. No phone calls please, and no third parties.

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January 18, 2013

Mama’s Punjabi Recipes


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PUNJABI BESAN DI KADHI (CHICKPEA FLOUR CURRY) Kadhi is a dish that is made all over India with many variations. In some parts of India, they throw minced vegetables in the curry and eat it with boiled rice. Rajasthani and Gujurati kadhi is usually thinner and has a sweet taste. Sindhi kadhi uses imbli (tamarind pulp) to give it the sour taste. In the traditional Punjabi style, it is made with thick besan curry and has fried vegetable pakoras (fritters) in it with some yogurt to give it a sour taste. It is usually eaten with tandoori roti, paranthas and sometimes with rice. For Punjabis, rice is usually made for special occasions or if a person is sick: the staple diet is usually wheat rotis or paranthas but these days Punjabis in the cities have changed their ways due to influences from other communities. Punjabi kadhi tastes best when made with plain pakoras rather than those with vegetables in them.

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Ingredients: 2.5 cups besan (chickpea flour Spices: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), haldi (turmeric) and sukha dhania powder (dried coriander seed powder)

1.5 cups of plain dahi (yogurt) 3.5 cups of water Some vegetable for frying pakoras 1 teaspoon methi danna (funugreek seed) A dash of amchoor (mango powder) if desired Directions: • Mix 1.5 cups of besan, 1 cup yogurt and 3 cups of water well and keep to the side for 10 minutes. • Mix the rest of the ingredients separately to make the pakoras in step 3. Adjust quantities if you want more pakoras. • Heat the oil in a karahi (wok) and pour small portions of the mixture in lumps in order to make the pakoras. The lumps will fluff up and when the pakoras are brown, take them out and place on a paper towel to take the oil out. • In a saucepan, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and add the haldi, mirch and methi dana and stir till they are roasted. Add the mixture from step 1. Stir continuously taking care that the mixture does not bubble and spit out. If it does, then add a little cold water. Make sure the kadhi is not thin, but remember, after cooling, the curry will thicken. • Add the salt to taste and bring to boil the mixture for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to simmer.

Be careful not to add too much salt because if the yogurt is a bit sour then you will not need much salt. If you like, add a little amchoor and you could almost do without the salt. • Add the pakoras to the curry and let the soak for at least 20 minutes. Let the mixture simmer over low heat and stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. If it does then remove from heat. The pakoras will be softer the longer they are in the mixture. • Serve with hot roti or paranthas. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the oldfashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable recipes.

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India Moves to Block Dolphin Shows, Citing Cruelty BY JOHN UPTON (NYT) Indian animal welfare officials moved this week to block plans to put performing dolphins on display at theme parks and malls across the country, saying it would violate federal laws about cruelty to animals. At least five dolphin park proposals have been floated in recent years by businesses and local governments, with the plans aimed at providing India’s increasingly affluent middle class with a new and exotic form of entertainment. In a letter sent on Monday, January 7 the Animal Welfare Board of India directed state governments and wildlife wardens to block any efforts to capture or transport dolphins, or to keep dolphins, porpoises or whales in captivity. The board ruled that dolphin shows and exhibits would violate the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. “All types of studies have shown that these animals, after capture, are under a very high level of stress,” said S. Chinny Krishna, the board’s vice-chairman, in a telephone interview. “A wild animal belongs in the wild. That’s why they’re called wild animals – these are not domestic animals.” Krishna said dolphin exhibits are “purely for making money” and that they serve “no educational purpose.” Backers of the proposed new dolphin parks in India deny that their projects would inflict cruelty on their star attractions. Rather, they argue that they would help educate the public about wildlife. “It is not cruel,” said N. Venugopal, chairman of the Greater Cochin Development Authority, which wants to build a dolphin park in the southwestern state of Kerala. “People will be entertained.” Other parks are planned in Mumbai and near Delhi, according to local news reports. Indian animal welfare activists who had lobbied the board to block dolphin exhibits welcomed the letter. The country dabbled with captive dolphins once, but with disastrous results. In early 1998, a small pod was brought into the Dolphin City amusement park near Chennai, but within six months all of the dolphins were dead. Activists accused the park of failing to provide them with needed


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medical care. The activists say there are now no captive dolphins on display at zoos or other attractions in India, and that the Animal Welfare Board’s ruling would help keep it that way. “We’re taking big strides forward in being the most compassionate nation on Earth,” said Arpan Sharma, chief executive of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations. Rhinos and tigers in India’s wildlife parks are under constant threat from poachers, as wild animals are in many parts of the world. But India often shows more tolerance for semi-wild animals who live near or in the same area as humans than many other countries. Packs of wild dogs roam city streets at night, without fear of being culled, for example, and groups of monkeys live in wealthy neighborhoods and on government buildings. “We have a very active animal welfare community,” Sharma said. The board serves as an official

adviser to the government and it does not have any enforcement powers. But Sharma said he was confident that the ruling would eventually help kill off the proposals to exhibit dolphins in India. “The Animal Welfare Board is not promulgating any new legislation,” Sharma said. “All it is doing is informing the states that dolphinaria [dolphin parks] are in violation of the existing laws of the land.” Venugopal, however, said he was hopeful that the Greater Cochin Development Authority could find a way to legally move forward with its proposed dolphin park. Sharma said animal welfare groups would use the letter to fight such efforts in court. The letter was the latest in a string of such decrees and laws to be issued worldwide. Similar restrictions have been imposed by the United Kingdom, Chile and Brazil. Other countries have outlawed the capture, import and export of dolphins.


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A dolphin jumping in open water on his way to a dolphin show arena on Roatan island near Honduras, in this March 5, 2003. (File photo)

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Hobbled on Energy, India Ponders a Multitude of Dams

BY RACHEL NUWER (NYT) As we noted here last week, over 600 million people lost power in India last summer, setting a modern record for the number of people affected by a blackout. Well before that, though, India’s government was grappling with growing pressure to increase the dependability of its electricity service — for the growing numbers who have intermittent power and the 400 million who live without it. As a solution, the government proposedconstructing292damsthroughout the Indian Himalayas — roughly a dam every 20 miles. If completed, the 7,000- to 11,000-megawatt dams would double the country’s hydropower capacity and meet about 6 percent of the national energy needs projected for 2030 (based upon 8 percent annual growth of the nation’s domestic product). The dams, the reasoning goes, would provide electricity to needy people as well as offset carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Scientists and citizens alike are crying foul, however, pointing out that the dams will probably displace millions and wreck ecosystems throughout the Himalayas. No binding provisions are in place to ensure that displaced people receive adequate compensation and help with resettlement — and most of the projects are proceeding without adequate environmental impact surveys. “The key issue is that there’s no requirement in India’s law to do cumulative impact assessments,” said R. Edward Grumbine, a senior international scientist at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Kunming Institute of Botany. Dr. Grumbine and his colleague, Mahara Pandit at the University of Delhi, wrote one of the first scientific papers discussing the dams,

Dying young cotton plants in the village of Tadhadgaon in India last August. Because of a lack of rain, many villages downstream of the Jayakwadi dam, built in the 1970s, have suffered. Photo: Kuni Takahashi

recently published in Science. “We’re projecting into the future based on studies that are scarce and projects that haven’t begun yet,” Dr. Grumbine said. “No one in the scientific or policy communities would suggest that we have enough of an understanding of the situation to nail down specifics yet, but right now it doesn’t look good.” For starters, impacts on species and ecosystems are likely to be significant. The dams are proposed in areas of the Himalayas that are rich in biodiversity. And their creation threatens to submerge over 130,000 acres of forest, which would probably push 22 plants and seven vertebrate groups into extinction by 2025, according to an estimate by Dr. Grumbine and Dr. Pandit that was published earlier this year in Conservation Biology. “We’re basically talking about a train wreck, but we don’t have enough data to be precise about how many cars would be involved in that train wreck,” Dr. Grumbine said. For the same reasons that research-

ers cannot easily calculate impacts on biodiversity, knowledge of the potential human costs is also lacking. The Indian government has not been hesitant about relocating its citizens: the country is second only to China in embracing the practice. Estimates of the number of people already displaced by dams in past decades range from 16.4 million to 40 million. Because India has not approached the subject of resettlement in a people-friendly way, Dr. Grumbine said, its citizens are organizing more powerful resistance movements against hydropower development, including protests and intense media coverage of the situation, although such efforts receive relatively little attention in the Western press. How these dams may affect communities and ecosystems in neighboring downstream countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan is little discussed. Climate change offers a further strike against the projects. By 2050, scientists predict, the water supply

from the Brahmaputra and Indus — two major rivers among the 28 that would receive dams — will decrease by about 20 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Those reductions would in turn cut the rivers’ capacity to produce electricity, undermining the dams’ purpose. Alternative options exist.As a result of poor grid transmission and energy theft, for example, India loses about 20 to 30 percent of the total power it generates annually — an amount that is greater than current hydropower production. If those losses could be reduced, the imperative for building more dams would lessen. “India should pick the low-hanging fruit and create more efficiencies in their current delivery system,” Dr.

Grumbine suggested. “By doing so, they wouldn’t have to build any dams or coal-fired power plants, at least for the next decade, which would buy the country some time.” India could also undertake demandside management studies of its people’s power needs as well as look at more environmentally friendly power options, like solar. “It’s a pretty sunny country,” he said. “The good news is that the dams are proposals; the vast majority are not under construction yet,” Dr. Grumbine added. “This Science paper will certainly stimulate further discussion within India and create more of an international awareness, but I’d be the last person to translate that into some political impact.”

Retail Inflation Rises to 10.56 Percent NEW DELHI (The Hindu): Rising for the third consecutive month, retail inflation breached the doubledigit mark at 10.56 per cent in December, driven by higher prices of vegetables, edible oil, pulses and cereal. The retail inflation was 9.90 per cent in November and 9.75 per cent in October 2012. The vegetables basket in December recorded the highest inflation of 25.71 per cent among all the constituents that make the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Vegetables were followed by the oil and fats segment at 16.73 per cent. Sugar turned more expensive by 13.55 per cent. Pulses and cereals became dearer by 13.46 per cent and 13.70 per cent on an annual basis. Meat, fish and egg rose becoming 11.64 per cent more expensive. Clothing and footwear witnessed 10.74 per cent increase in prices. In urban areas, retail inflation rose

to 10.42 per cent in December from 9.69 per cent in the previous month. The CPI for rural population increased to 10.74 per cent during the month from 9.97 per cent in November. All India provisional General (all groups) CPI numbers of December 2012, for rural, urban and combined are 126.8, 124 and 125.6, respectively. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to take into account the double-digit retail inflation when it comes out with its third-quarter policy review later this month. Wholesale price based inflation for November was at 7.24 per cent, much higher than the RBI comfort level of 5-6 per cent. Concerned over the persistent inflation, the RBI has kept key interest rates unchanged since April, 2012. Industrial output growth rate had contracted by 0.1 per cent in November, from a robust 8.3 per cent in October.





January 18, 2013

Dhoni, Jadeja Chase England to Tie ODI Series

KOCHI (ESPN Cricinfo): India 285 for 6 (Dhoni 72, Jadeja 61*) beat England 158 (Pietersen 42, Bhuvneshwar 3-29) by 127 runs Kochi, in tourist terms at least, is the gateway to the backwaters but India, 1-0 down in the ODI series with four to play, were in no mood to take that journey. MS Dhoni, impassioned not just with the bat but just as strikingly in every aspect of his captaincy, made that abundantly clear with every muscle flexed and every order barked and it was England who were sunk without trace in a 127-run defeat. England’s pursuit of 286 always looked a daunting task and it became an improbable one from the moment that Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan in the space of three balls in an outstanding new-ball spell. There is nothing like a humid evening in Kochi to perk up a swing bowler and Bhuvneshwar, a 22-year-old from Uttar Pradesh playing in only his fifth ODI, also summoned impressive stamina as Dhoni ran his 10over spell through without interruption and was rewarded with his best international figures of 3 for 29. But the match had swung India’s way much earlier than that - and it was Dhoni, a captain deemed to be under pressure, and Ravindra Jadeja who were at the heart of it. England had sensed they held an element of control, at the very least, for much of India’s innings but 108 runs from the last 10 overs, 68 from the last five, shook that notion to the core. As so often, Dhoni was left to plot a route to victory, wresting control from England’s attack with 72 from 66 balls. He creates his own virtuous circle, creating a febrile atmosphere and then feeding off it, in turn causing a crowd of around 70,000 to roar with even greater intensity. He fell four balls from the end of the innings when he sliced Dernbach to Joe Root at deep cover - a suitable end because Dernbach’s unwavering policy of bowling wide to him outside off stump had been England’s most effective counter. India approached the last 10 overs in unconvincing shape, at 177 for 5, having been confounded in the batting Powerplay by the variations of

Bhuvneshwar Kumar took crucial wickets to peg England back, India v England, 2nd ODI, Kochi.

As so often, Dhoni was left to plot a route to victory, wresting control from England’s attack with 72 from 66 balls. Dernbach and Steven Finn, which conceded only 21 runs in five overs and dismissed their batting mainstay, Suresh Raina, in the process. Dhoni had failed to manage India’s run chase in Rajkot, holing out at long-off against Dernbach’s slower ball. He received a near-

replica in the closing overs but this time his hands were fast and his brain quicksilver and he muscled it well beyond the boundary rope. It was a statement about how things would be different this time. What Dhoni stirred, Jadeja delivered, rounding things off by taking 14 from Dernbach’s last three deliveries to finish with an unbeaten 61 from 37 balls. They were impressive statistics for a batsman who had been overshadowed until the last. As for Dernbach, for all his relative success against Dhoni, he still spilled 73 from nine overs. For Chris Woakes, who was playing his first ODI in India after his late inclusion for the injured Tim Bresnan, it was an examination far beyond anything he had ever experienced. He thought he had Dhoni caught at the wicket when he had made 6 from nine balls but it was impossible for the umpire Vineet Kulkarni to hear a nick in such a din and normal-speed TV replays, which were all that were shown, made things no clearer. Raina had made 55 from 78 balls before he dragged on a pull at Finn and departed bashing the peak of his helmet with his bat in frustration, just as Virat Kohil had done earlier when he flayed Woakes to the cover boundary. Raina prospered primarily against the offspin of James Tredwell, two slog sweeps for six representing the highlight of his innings, and ensured that Tredwell, who took four wickets in the opening ODI in Rajkot, did not repeat the mayhem. As for England’s bonus allrounder in the opening match, Joe Root, who bowled nine overs relatively unscathed, there was no encore. India’s opening pair did not survive long, Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane both departing by the fifth over. Finn and Dernbach, also impressive with the new ball, had clamoured for several lbw appeals before they prospered by hitting the stumps. Dernbach’s nip-backer to bowl Gambhir through the gate was a delivery made to order. There are few more productive, or less convincing, shots in ODIs than Gambhir’s dab through gully for four, bat hanging away from his body and he had

played it the previous ball much to the bowler’s frustration. The ball that cut back was the classic retort. Finn also brought a delivery back in his next over, late inswing accounting for Rahane as he shuffled across his crease. India’s frustration grew when Yuvraj Singh fell to an erroneous lbw decision by Steve Davis, who did not see - and, like Kulkarni in the case of Dhoni, certainly could not hear in such a deafening atmosphere - a deflection off the glove as he swept at Tredwell. With no DRS in use, Yuvraj had to take his punishment, although he did not do so without a stray comment or two. So, for that matter, did Alastair Cook in England’s reply, with Bhuvneshwar fortunate to win an lbw decision with a delivery that pitched outside leg stump. Cook should have been run out on 17 when Jadeja failed to pick up cleanly at midwicket to take advantage of complete confusion between Pietersen and Cook over a leg-side single. Dhoni’s annoyance was clear, but Bhuvneshwar’s eighth over had an impact on the course of the match and the captain’s mood. First Pietersen (42 from 44 balls) was bowled by one that jagged back as he sought to run into the off side and two balls later Bhuvneshwar found movement away from the left-handed Morgan from a good length and Dhoni dived to claim one his finest catches against England this winter, in what has been a somewhat troubled wicketkeeping sequence. England, four down for 74 by the 17th over, had much rebuilding to do. But the ball turned for India’s spinners and it was jerry-built stuff. Craig Kieswetter and Joe Root assessed a while then both got out, Kieswetter unimpressively as he pushed a short ball from R Ashwin to midwicket, Root sliced apart by Jadeja’s arm ball. Woakes’ managed a second-ball duck - another Jadeja arm ball to enhance his excellent match -and England’s tail quickly subsided, in no doubt about the extent of the challenge ahead. David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Hockey League Starts

NEW DELHI: Field hockey players are set for a financial windfall when they take part in a new tournament from Monday that is inspired by cricket’s popular Twenty20 leagues. The Hockey India League (HIL), sanctioned by the sport’s world governing body, will have top stars from around the world turn out for five city-based franchises over the next four weeks to February 10. The 34-match league offers players lucrative fees and promises to raise field hockey’s profile back to its old heights in India, before a string of poor results saw its fan base fade. India, who won the last of their eight Olympic field hockey gold medals at the Moscow Games in 1980, failed to qualify for the Beijing Games in 2008 and finished last in London. But that did not prevent companies from splurging on hiring players at the HIL’s auction in New Delhi last month, which drew extensive coverage from the usually cricket-obsessed media. Indian captain Sardar Singh was picked up by the Delhi Wave Riders franchise, owned by a property developer, for $78,000 per tournament over the next three years. Moritz Fuerste, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) player of the year for 2012 after helping Germany win two successive Olympic golds in Beijing and London, went to the Ranchi Rhinos for $75,000. Dutch veteran Teun de Nooijer, 36, was sold to the Uttar Pradesh Wizards for $66,000, while the Punjab Warriors bought Australian striker Jamie Dwyer for $60,000. The Mumbai Magicians, the fifth franchise in the fray, have Indian defender Sandeep Singh and national goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh as their star players. Sardar, Sandeep, Fuerste, de Nooijer and Dwyer, who were all named marquee players by their respective franchises, will be paid an additional sum which is 15 percent higher than the next player in their teams. Franchise owners include the Sahara conglomerate, a long-time sponsor of sport in India, and the Jaypee group, which built the infrastructure for the country’s inaugural Formula One Grand Prix.


January 18, 2013


India and Pakistan Agree to Ease Tension along LoC NEW DELHI (HT): Earlier in the day, Army Top military commanders chief Gen Bikram Singh of India and Pakistan on rejected Pakistani allegaWednesday agreed not to tions that Indian troops allow escalation of tensions had crossed the LoC and along the Line of Control indulged in unprovoked (LoC) with the Pakistan firing, saying any casualty Army asking its troops to on the other side may have observe ceasefire strictly been due to retaliatory firand exercise restraint. ing. The ways to defuse the “Our jawans don’t cross tension on the LoC in JamLoC. We honour human mu Indian troops fire at LoC rights. We fire in retaliawhen provoked, says Army tion when provoked,” he chief Hina Rabbani says Insaid in Khairiar in Uttar dia is ‘warmongering’ PM Pradesh after meeting rules out business as usual the family of Lance Naik as India turns up heat on Hemraj who was beheadPak and Kashmir, which ed by Pakistani soldiers was triggerred by the brutal in a cross-LoC attack in Indian Border Security Force (BSF) troopers patrol along the border fence at an outpost killing of two Indian sol- along the India-Pakistan border in Suchit-Garh, some 36 kilometers southwest of Poonch sector of Jammu diers by the Pakistan Army, Jammu, winter capital of India-controlled Kashmir, Jan. 10, 2013. Tensions between and Kashmir on January were discussed during a India and Pakistan escalated following deadly skirmishes on the line of control (LoC) 8. telephonic conversation be- in Kashmir. India on Tuesday accused Pakistan of killing two of its troopers. However, Responding to the Pakitween the Director Generals Pakistan rejected the charge, saying India has killed its two troopers during firing at stani charge that one of its of Military Operations (DG- its post on the LoC. (Xinhua/Stringer) soldiers was killed in “unMOs) of the two sides. provoked firing” along the Pakistan Army DGMO conveyed Meanwhile, in Islamabad, the state- LoC, the Army chief said it may have The Army in New Delhi said the talks lasted for ten minutes starting that orders have been passed to troops run Pakistan Radio claimed the coun- happened during cross-firing. 10am and during this there was also to strictly observe the ceasefire and try’s DGMO lodged a strong protest “These are normal activities that an understanding not to allow the exercise restraint, the Army Head- with his Indian counterpart over kill- take place at the LoC. We have requarters said. ing of a Pakistani soldier. situation to escalate. taliated in response to cross-firing,”

he said. Replying to questions, Singh said “the relationship (between the two countries) is got to be seen on what has been going on at the border”. The Pakistan Army had alleged Indian troops had violated the ceasefire along the LoC late last night and “carried out unprovoked firing” in Hotspring and Jandrot sectors. On the possibility of getting back the head of Hemraj, which was taken away by Pakistani soldiers, the Army chief said efforts are being made to get it back. Singh, however, refused to respond to Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s statement that the Indian Army chief’s comments were “provocative”, saying he was yet to read the statement. He met the family of Hemraj and offered his condolences. He assured them that all their requirements will be met. Meanwhile, the three Services chiefs met in the evening to discuss issues including the construction of a national war memorial at India Gate and the setting up of a national defence university at Gurgaon.

Millions Attend Islamic Gathering in Bangladesh DHAKA (Dailytelegraph) : Devotees flocked to the River Turag at Tongi, some 40 kilometres north of Dhaka, as an imam from India led the concluding prayer of the Biswa Ijtema, or World Muslim Congregation. Local television stations broadcast images of pilgrims crying as they raised their hands in prayer on both banks of the river, and on bridges, roads and rooftops along the venue. Organiser Nurul Islam said Indian imam Jobayer Hasan, a leader of Tablig Jamaat, an Islamic group that has been holding the event since 1964, conducted the prayer in Urdu, seeking divine help for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. “We’ve estimated that more than three million people joined the final prayer. Some eight to 10 kilometres of road leading to the venue were clogged up with people,” he said, adding that around 30,000 foreigners joined the congregation.

At least three million Muslims gathered to pray on the banks of a river near the Bangladeshi capital as the world’s secondlargest annual Islamic congregation.

pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It became so popular among Bangladeshi Muslims, mostly rural poor who can’t afford the Hajj, that the organisers started hosting the event in two phases last year. The second phase, which also lasts three days, will begin on January 18. Bangladesh is the world’s third-largest Muslimmajority nation, with Muslims making up nearly 90 per cent of its 152 million population.

Muslim devotees arrive on overcrowded trains to attend the World Muslim Congregation in Bangladesh. Photos: AFP

The normally congested streets of Dhaka looked deserted on Sunday, a week day in the Muslim-majority country, as people took trains, buses and private cars to attend the prayer. For the last three days devotees have braved chilling temperatures as they prayed and listened to Islamic scholars in marquees, with Bangla-

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desh experiencing its coldest winter since independence in 1971. Tablig Jamaat, a non-political organisation which has tens of millions of followers across the globe, urges people to follow the tenets of Islam in their daily lives. The Biswa Ijtema is the second largest annual gathering of Muslims in the world, after the Hajj

Bangladeshi Muslim pilgrims offer Friday prayer on the banks of the River Turag in Tongi.

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January 18, 2013

In India, Solar Ambitions are Suddenly Outsize

BY DAVID FERRIS (NYT) After years of lagging behind China and the West in the adoption of solar power, some states in India are proposing to build solar farms at a galloping pace that leaves them at risk of falling short of electricity (a familiar problem here) or of paying higher prices for it. In just the last five months, five Indian states have announced plans to bring giant amounts of solar power online within five years, including 1,000 megawatts in Andhra Pradesh, 350 megawatts in Rajasthan, 800 megawatts in Madhya Pradesh, 1,000 megawatts in Chhatisgarh and a whopping 3,000 megawatts in Tamil Nadu. By comparison, the entire nation of India currently has just over 1,000 megawatts of solar power, and California, the leader in solar power in the United States, has around 2,000. India has more than 300 sunny days a year and much of the nation lies near the equator — ideal conditions, geographically speaking, for harnessing solar power. The central government has a goal of producing 22 gigawatts of solar power by 2022. Proponents say that solar energy might reduce the country’s dependence on coal, which is always in short supply, and slow the effects of climate change, including sea-level rise, which endangers the country’s coastal cities. The national government, known here as the Center, intends to lean heavily on the states in working toward that target. And in the last few months a handful of states have emphatically responded. “The momentum is shifting from the Center to the states,” said Vineeth Vijayaraghavan, who publishes a newsletter on the Indian clean tech industry. Recent events in Tamil Nadu underline the risks of trying to build out solar power too quickly.

A worker cleaned panels at a solar plant in the village of Meerwada in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which aims to add 800 megawatts of solar power within five years. Photo: Reuters

Rolling blackouts are a fact of life here because of a 4,000-megawatt deficit in power production. In response, the government announced in October that it was seeking bidders to build 1,000 megawatts of solar power each year until 2015. Tamil Nadu modeled its bidding process after one that worked out strongly in the central government’s favor. In 2011, the center sought bids for solar power and was overwhelmed by suitors — it received 5,000 megawatts’ worth of proposals for 1,000-megawatt projects. The government held a novel reverse auction that

made solar developers compete with one another to see who could sell power to the state more cheaply. The resulting rates saved the utility and its customers significant money.


Tamil Nadu introduced its own 1,000-megawatt offer last October, and initial interest by solar developers was intense. But some companies grew wary when they examined the fine print. Rules were vague about when payments would be made; the state’s power distributor, known as Tangedco, is in poor financial health, which makes it harder for solar builders to secure loans; and the utility took no responsibility for transmitting the electricity that the developers created. Furthermore, the projects had to be unveiled at a punishing pace: companies had to acquire land, line up financing, build the solar farms and switch on the power by the end of this year. As of Friday’s deadline, the state had received bids for just 499 megawatts, less than half its target. Energy officials maintained in a press report that the response was “by no means discouraging.” But Tobias Engelmeier, the managing director of Bridge to India, a solar research and consulting firm, said that since many of the bids won’t meet the state’s criteria, Tamil Nadu may end up getting only 150 megawatts of solar power this year. “I think that Tangedco was expecting a lot more enthusiasm,” said Madhavan Nampoothiri, a solar consultant in Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s capital. “They weren’t able to allow an extension, and now they’re going to have to.”


January 18, 2013


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