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Friday, February 02, 2018 • Vol. 37, No. 5

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Consul General Anupam Ray and his wife Amit with the speakers featured in the evening reception, from left, Ashok Belani, Executive VP, Schlumberger; Dr. John Mendelsohn, former President of MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. Vistasp Karbhari, President, University of Texas at Arlington and Abidali Neemuchwala, CEO, Wipro.

DAV Sanskriti School children singing Vande Mataram at Arya Samaj of Greater Houston.

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February 02, 2018

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India House Flaunts the Cultural Diversity of India at the 69th Republic Day Event BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA

HOUSTON: The Republic Day

is celebrated every year on January 26 to honor the historic day on which the Constitution of India came into effect, in the year 1950. The Constitution of India tied together the hitherto fluid borders of the country and gave birth to the ‘sovereign democratic republic’ that we celebrate each year in the most magnificent way. This year marked India’s 69th Republic Day and India House, Houston, celebrated it in a glorious style, on January 26 at 10.30 am. India House, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization aims at uniting cultures, creating bridges and serving the community by bringing resources, education, services and Indian culture to Houstonians. Each year India House celebrates Republic Day with much fervor and enthusiasm, and this year was spectacular as well. The event saw over hundred high-spirited attendees who were all pepped up and enthusiastic. The event started with the flag hoisting of United States, India, Texas and India House by Dr. Virendra Mathur, Trustee, India House, Anil Aggarwal, VP Finance, India House, Kul Bhushan Uppal, Board of Director, India House and Swapan Dhairyawan, President, IACCGH. The American and Indian National Anthem was sung by Kruthi Bhat, and it evoked and eulogized the history of both of these supreme nations. The renditions of Jai Hind filled the air with vibrancy and holding this excitement people moved inside the banquet hall where the rest of the celebrations were arranged. The Executive Director of India House, Col. Vipin Kumar welcomed and greeted everyone while Dr. Virendra Mathur read out the message of the President of India. Their glorious welcome and speech were soon fol-

Dr. Virendra Mathur, Trustee, India House

lowed with some entertainment, while light refreshments were

Col. Vipin Kumar, Executive Director of India House

being savored. Patriotism teaches us to love our country and embrace the whole humanity, and the next set of performances truly gripped the attendees with patriotic emotions. Payel Mitra sang some mesmerizing Indian patriotic songs and Dolly Goyal, Artistic Director of Steps for Dancing, along with her dance group performed on some patriotic songs. The bhangra performance in their perfectly synced traditional attire engulfed everyone in its spirit, instantly injecting adrenaline and charging the attendees, reviving

memories of their homeland. The much appreciated mouthwatering snacks and drinks were sponsored by Chef Nirman Shah of Nirmanz Food Boutique and Umang Mehta of Deep Foods. The official photographer for the day was Bijay Dixit. Earlier during the day, the Indian Consulate in Houston also hoisted the Indian flag at 7:00 AM. The Republic Day event was celebrated, followed by a dinner reception at the

Photos: Bijay Dixit

Consulate, hosted by the Consul General of India Dr. Anupam Ray. India House offers multiple programs and services to the Community and most of these are FREE of charge. Please contact India House with your queries at 713-9291900, email them at vipin@indiahouseinc.org or visit www.indiahouseinc.org.

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February 02, 2018 5 COMMUNITY The Indian Flag Flutters and Voices Rise in Admiration tive VP, Schlumberger; Dr. John Mendelsohn, former President of MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. Vistasp Karbhari, President, University of Texas at Arlington and Abidali Neemuchwala, CEO, Wipro. Congressman Al Green (D-9th Dist) came for awhile to deliver a short speech and a Congressional Certificate. Following their speeches, guests were ushered downstairs to the back parking lot which had been covered by a huge white tent in which were set dining tables with

US Congressman Pete Olson (R-Dist 22) with the Executive Directors of India House at the flag hoisting ceremony in the morning.

Guests stood in the 50 foot long hall craning to listen to the speakers at the raised dais at the front

The tent in the back parking lot of the Consulate where dinner was served

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: It is one of the two

most patriotic days in the Indian

government’s calendar; an occasion to be proud of the progress that the country has made since it gained independence, completed its transition into an independent

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republic and Republic Day in New Delhi is a day when Rajpath, the wide avenue between the Presidential residence and India Gate, is filled with pageantry, parades, cultural floats from all parts of the country, motorcycle officer s doing death defying stunts and weaponry; while crowds in bleechers line the way. The evening ends with a Beating the Retreat spectacle. The Indian Consulate celebrated India’s 69th Republic Day with much less pomp, but certainly a lot of substance in the kind of understated way that agrees with the temperament and personality of the current Consul General Anupam Ray. Last year, he held the flag hoisting at the Consulate on Scotland Street and a function in his house off Woodway with some classical dances and songs in the back patio area, which was a departure from the previous six years of the event being held at the Hilton on Post Oak. This year, Ray dispensed with the entire cultural accoutrements and decided to hold the entire evening program at the Consulate itself. It was in the approach that many Indian Embassies (which have the space) do by holding the event on their premises. But who would have guessed that the large hall behind the visa acceptance room could hold 300 (by some estimates) people in the evening? But all the invited guests stood for 45 minutes while Ray and the invited speakers delivered their feelings about the shape of India’s Republic and what it meant to them. In the evening, they were Anupam Ray Ashok Belani, Execu-

white linen and three buffet serving lines. Mingling among the crowd were a pack of young IndoAmericans who are running for office in this upcoming Midterm election: Juli Matthew, Sri Preston Kulkarni, and Judge Ravi Sandill. The morning flag hoisting brought in less people and US Congressman Pete Olson (R-Dist 22) and the Executive Directors of India House were the featured speakers on the same stage in the same large hall.

Ilayaraja Honored with Padma Vibhushan, Upcoming First Time Performance in Houston

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OUSTON: Ilaiyaraaja is a critically acclaimed Indian film composer, singer, and lyricist and the first Asian Composer to score a Symphony. He is a gold medalist from Trinity College of Music; London and has composed over 6000 songs and provided film scores for more than 1000 Indian films in various languages in a career spanning for more than 30 years. Ilaiyaraaja is accredited with setting a trend for film music in South India, by introducing Western musical nuances into songs. Apart from Tamil, he has also worked in Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films as a music director. He was honored with Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India. “A joint Secretary level official from the Information and Broadcasting ministry had telephoned me to inform me about the honor. He asked if I’d like to accept the award and I said I would. I also told him I would participate in the function to receive the award. This honor to me means that Modi government respects Tamil Nadu and Tamil people a lot,” Ilayaraja told reporters in a brief interaction. Soon after, wishes started pouring in from everyone for Ilayaraja. Su-

perstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan called and congratulated the 74-year-old legendary composer. Oscar-winning composer A.R Rahman congratulated Ilayaraja via a tweet. Having made his debut as a composer with 1976 Tamil film Annakkili, Ilayaraja is known for many hit albums which include 16 Vayadhinile, Nayakan, Sagara Sangamam, Mouna Ragam, Sindhu Bhairavi, Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal and Raaja Paarvai among others. Some of his best Hindi albums are Sadma, Paa and Cheeni Kum. He will be performing for the first time in Houston on Saturday, March 10 at the Smart Financial Center in Sugar Land. The concert is presented by Rajender Singh of Star Promotion. For further information, sponsorships, and tickets call Rajender Singh at 281-222-4500 or visit starpromotioninc.com

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COMMUNITY

February 02, 2018

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Republic Day Celebration at Arya Samaj of Greater Houston

DAV Montessori School Kids Patriotic Performances

DAV Montessori and Sanskriti School children singing Vande Mataram

Indian National Flag Hoisting Ceremony and Singing of National Anthem

ASGH AKM Youth Recognition for Community Service awards

January 28, last Sunday witnessed remarkable celebration of India’s Republic Day at the Arya Samaj Greater Houston by coming together of the star performers of its both the schools, DAV Montessori and DAV Sanskriti School. The Sunday assembly heard the talk by Acharyaji encompassing

the Vedic concept of nation building and the role of its citizenry. Four varnas of Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra are four pillars and no nation can afford to disregard their importance though the nomenclature may change in modern times, such as, teachers and researchers (Brahman), police and army personnel (Kshatriya),

HOUSTON:

people engaged in agriculture, manufacturing, business and commerce (Vaishya) and the serviceoriented people (Shudra). India is marching ahead to become a positive force to reckon on the global arena. It is a solemn occasion to remember the countless people making sacrifice to gain independence.

Two pioneering stalwarts were singled out for their birth anniversary falling in proximity, namely, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (23 Jan) and Lala Lajpat Rai (28 Jan). It is all but natural for the children to come forward who will be the future torch bearers. Three kids of the DAV Montessori School in their colorful attire resembling the Indian tricolor delivered speeches that would enthuse patriotic fervor in any soul. As the assembly moved in the open area, they had a delightful serving of songs by the children of DAV Montessori and DAV Sanskriti School, including the full recitation of Vande Mataram that had motivated the youth of the yester years to even lay their life for the motherland. One dance item by the little kids attracted everyone’s eyes as well as ears as it was based on the fusion of mul-

tiple patriotic songs. In fitness of the occasion, two high school teenagers, Kanika and Dhruv were awarded the Certificate of Recognition for their selfless voluntary work at Arya Samaj Houston. They are active members of its teenager group called Arya Kishor Mandal (AKM) and will be the perfect role models for the younger ones. The climax was the unfurling of the tricolor, followed by the entire group singing the national anthem. Younger kids even less than 5 years were cautioned a priori the need to stand still during the national anthem and they didn’t let down. The crowd was served a delicious meal in a smooth quick manner. Arya Samaj of Greater Houston can be reached https://www.facebook.com/AryaSamajOfGreaterHouston/ for more information.

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10 February 02, 2018 HOUSTON:

Bihar Association of North America (BANA) organized its Annual Gala Night on December 31st at Irene Stern Fulshear Community Center. In a colorful program of the evening BANA members and their children presented a variety of dances, songs, music and games. On the occasion BANA also released Biharika 2017 - the 15th edition of its biennial magazine for which the chief editor this year is Mr. Vijay Singh. The magazine acts as a souvenir for the activities BANA conducts during the year as well as giving an opportunity to members associated with BANA to write and publish relevant and interesting articles. Continuing on to its established tradition of ‘Fostering Cultural and Academic Excellence’, the articles in the magazine greatly focus on the arts, culture, tradition and history of Bihar with key highlights being academic and cultural events organized by BANA. The Academic event is conducted every year in the month of August. It is open to all school going students from the Greater Houston Area. Various contests including spelling bee, general math, science, arts, vocabulary, speech, SAT mock exam and debate for students are undertaken. Approximately 150 students had registered for this event for each of the past two years. BANA has also been conducting cultural event every year with performances in the area

COMMUNITY

Bihar Association of North America’s Annual Gala Night of music, dance and plays. Some of the plays well acclaimed by the community during past few years include ‘Loha Singh-Bandhan Tute Na’, ‘Aisi Thi Amrapali’, and ‘Bhule Bisrey Raste’. BANA also proudly presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Ravi Kant Choudhary and Mrs. Mithuya Choudhary for their exceptional service in the area of culture, education and social development. Mr. Choudhary is a past President of BANA and has

been instrumental in promoting BANA’s cultural and academic festival in the Houston Area. The events during his tenure have been very well received and where level of participation reached new heights. Through his efforts, BANA also reached out to other organizations of Caribbean origin but with Bihari roots to perform at BANA events. Mr. Choudhary is also the

founder of a charity organization ‘Triveni Care’. The organization provides support for girl’s education. Triveni Care also distributes solar lamps and solar home light systems to various remote areas in Bihar to promote clean and environmentally friendly energy. Mrs. Mithuya Choudhary has been a constant force behind several musical and dance performances over the past ten years.

Several children and adults have performed folk dances of Bihar and Bollywood specials choreographed by her. She is a graduate (Visharad) in Hindustani Classical Music and a former Vocal artist of All India Radio Patna and Guwahati. Over the years, BANA mem-

bers have enjoyed her excellence in music as evident by the numerous musical performance she has done and coordinated for the organization. (Bihar Association of North America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization)

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February 02, 2018

Padmaavat Premiere Brings Bollywood Glamour Back to Houston

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and Masala Radio brought back the nostalgias of glamorous Bollywood movie premieres with the premiere screening of the much awaited Padmaavat in 3D IMAX on Thursday, January 25 at 7:30 PM. CEO Javed Meghani exclaimed, “I wanted to celebrate Texans Energy’s record 4Q sales, and in one week, Masala Radio was able to organize this beautiful Premiere Night, and blast it throughout Houston. We were flooded with emails of electricity bills, and on Monday we had re-

cord signups; more than in any one day of our ten-year history. We sold out the 3D IMAX theater in 2 days of promotion and had to accommodate overflow in a second Theater!” Texans Energy and Masala Radio clients, sponsors, VIPs, friends, family and crew were treated to an elegant Premiere with souvenir tickets and professional photo shoots with giant posters and royally dressed characters of Padmaavat, Raja Ratan Singh and the evil Alauddin Khalji. All of this happened amidst a giant

octagon Tent Couture Maharaja Tent that looked like it was straight out of the movie! The Masala Crew, dressed in elegant Rajasthani garb, welcomed guests with traditional tikkas and sword wielding royal guards kept the anxious crowds from creating a stampede to get the best seats. While many guests adorned themselves in the dresscode turbans, bandini, cholis, and large kundan jewelry - bodla tikkos and nose rings - Girish and Shital Rathi claimed the $500 prize for best dressed Rajasthani couple. “At first, I thought the 3D glasses would be annoying for a 3 hour Bollywood movie, but the effects of watching Ghoomar and the fight scenes in 3D were stunning” said Bhavna Pandya of Tent Couture. A live DJ and Dhol added pre-show entertainment, and Infused Performing Arts presented a live Ghoomar dance which many felt was “the icing on the cake.” Javed & Nisha Meghani were so pleased with the response and success of the event, they are planning their next event incentive. Stay tuned to Masala Radio for more Bollywood and Cultural Event Incentives to save hundreds of dollars on your electricity bill by switching to Texans Energy.

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COMMUNITY

IMAGH Inducts its Boards and Unveils New Goals for 2018 Unless We Are United, We Will Never B J M Succeed As a Community Y

AWAHAR

ALHOTRA

HOUSTON:

The meeting in 2016 when the new Executive Committee was unveiled was on board the Star Cruiser after it slipped through Galveston Bay on a crisp Fall day. This year, the Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston became landlubbers and held its Board meeting over lunch in the cozy upstairs private dining room ambiance of Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant on Post Oak on Sunday, January 28. It was big jump for a young, seven year-old group which has steadily made its presence felt in Houston’s panoramic fabric of diverse organizations. It has done so through multiple events each year and two other offshoots, Club 65 for seniors and SAYA (South Asian Youth Alliance) for young people. IMAGH’s signature event, the annual Eid Miland has gained quite a reputation for its inclusion of many groups even as it honors Islam’s major festival. At the meeting, there were many faces familiar to the Indian community who were honored and many selected to the new Board of IMAGH and the Advisory Board and each was given a few minutes to describe their perspectives on working together as a team. Also in attendance was Adrian Garcia, the Democratic candidate for County Commissioner Precinct 2, who has become a friend of the community from his years as Harris County Sherriff. Garcia inducted the Board members with a swearingin ceremony. The emcee for the program was Cynthia Cisneros, a former news reporter at Channel 13 KTRK and now its Vice President of Community Affairs. The program began with welcoming statements by IMAGH President Munir Ibrahim who spoke of how IMAGH embraced its cultural diversity. He thanked the host for the luncheon, Dr. Maqbool Haq, who is also Chairman of the

BY KUL BHUSHAN UPPAL

HOUSTON: Here is a short The Board of Directors of IMAGH with Chairman Dr. Maqbool Haq (left)

The Advisory Board of IMAGH with Chairman Abeezar Tyebji (right)

The Executive Team of IMAGH with President Munir Ibrahim (right)

Board; Abeezar Tyebji, who is Chairman of the Advisory Board and jokingly referred to Latafath Hussain, whose brainchild was the creation of Former Harris County Sherriff and candidate for IMAGH, as County Commissioner Adrian Garcia with IMAGH “The Godfa- President Munir Ibrahim (right) and Advisory Board Chairman Abeezar Tyebji (left) ther”. Each one of the Board members goals for 2018: to raise $10,000 spoke about their efforts and espe- for an annual Houston Science and cially Tasnim Vadva, who is this Art Festival for Kids and a series year’s Eid Milind’s Event Chair. of Discover Houston Walks run by Hussain welcomed all the new the Advisory Board. Tyebji was Board members and recognized ecstatic about how well recogthose who have been influential in nized and respected IMAGH had his life and efforts to get IMAGH become and the compliments he going: Mariam Izza, Gordon and had heard at the recent Republic Sylvia Quan; Shakuntla Malhotra, Day program at the Indian ConHaq and Tyebji. Haq outlined two sulate.

message for our community in the Houston area. Unless we are united, we will never succeed as a community... If we can envision a world where we support each other and help each other find their place in this ever-changing society, then we can become the change we want to see. Jealousy, envy, criticism, and judgment are excuses for insecure people. As we help others to become self-assured, we create an environment in which all people are guardians for each otherregardless of gender, religion, race, color. Unless we are united, we are not in a position to be an example of unity for others or achieve success. If we are divided, we cannot be a principle of unity for others. Let us learn to accept each other, appreciate each other and accept each other’s differences; if we are to be able to accept others who do not share our beliefs, our values, and our culture. Let us strive to be universal, embracing all people for the sake of humanity. People who value “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” are one people. Unity and love must be fostered not just within ourselves but with the larger community that includes the youth, the aging and the aged. We cannot afford to be inwardlooking and exclusive. We must reach out and share our love ideologies with others beyond our confines. We must reach out to those of

different inclinations, cultures and races. We need to strengthen ties with them. God loves us all and we are all His children. It would be appropriate to invite each other to one another’s celebrations. Another area in which we can build unity is to work together on social projects, especially for the poor. Finally, let me say that there can never be success, unity or peace unless there is mutual respect, appreciation and support of each other. We must harmonize our beliefs and cultures and take part in charity. To achieve this goal of unity let me conclude with these famous words from Swami Vivekananda - Take up one idea - our community. Make that one idea your life - think of it, the dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This way we can bring the entire community together under one roof and a future powerhouse to be reckoned with. One more thing always end the day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were, tomorrow’s a fresh opportunity to make it better. Let’s change the way we think, and let’s change the way we treat each other in the New Year. We are all born winners no matter where we are from.

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16 February 02, 2018 BY BHAMY V. SHENOY

HOUSTON: Dakshina Kannada

and Udupi districts in India have the maximum number of professional colleges per capita in India. In addition to being the cradle of banking, these districts are a cradle of private professional colleges (17 engineering and 8 medical). However when it comes to standard of education, they cannot claim excellence. My interactions with students at Aloysius Institute of Management (AIM), and with teachers at Besant and Nitte educational institutions, confirmed that India’s education system is in grave need of intensive care. My purpose was to persuade students and teachers that we must think outside the box to usher in a new era in India’s education. This is supported by the survey results of Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report 2017 (ASER 2017) released January 16, 2018. ASER found that rural youths, ages 14 to 18, do not have foundational skills in reading or basic arithmetic. About 25% cannot read basic text, and more than 50% struggle with simple division. More shocking was the indifference of the media, which failed to draw the nation’s attention to this disturbing reality. Almost all students at AIM thought they received a quality education. We discussed various metrics to assess education standards. Is it scoring high marks?

COMMUNITY

Holding a Mirror on India’s Education. We Need a Revolution!

Difficult to believe. But this is a classroom in Mewat (near shining Gurugram) where math is taught.

High ranks? Maximum percentage of pass? In discussing the creation of an environment of learning, igniting critical thinking, and encouraging students to ask questions, it became obvious to everyone that their schools could have done a better job. Only three students had read Ramayana and Mahabharatha, which was the case in hundreds of schools I have visited in recent years. Shouldn’t this shock our educationists? No student in the West can graduate from high school without having read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, their classics. Only two students I met had any interest in entering politics. I pointed out that our constitution says that our leaders are chosen based on elections, and asked them how can

any of us afford to be indifferent to taking part in elections? That question did not elicit any reaction from the students. Not one student had read ten books during the last twelve months. Only four had read a few books. When students were urged to ask questions on topics of their interest, none were ready. If these students had a solid foundation in elementary and high school, and were encouraged to think creatively, they would surely have been better prepared to do so in college. Teachers at Besant College was more encouraging as seventy percent thought they had a good education. But, by the end of our interaction, all changed their opinion and agreed that their education

was below par and that they were not imparting a quality education to their students. No one came up with any good reasons for such a sorry state of affairs. Some teachers argued that students do not respect them, and it was difficult to motivate them to take studies seriously as their laptops, iPads, and smartphones are more important than books. Only three teachers said they have gone “beyond the call of duty” to take special interest in students after class hours or during holidays. On the declining ethical standards in education sector, all agreed that no one can become a vice chancellor of any university these days without paying a huge bribe, which only reinforces a cycle of corruption from the top. At the end, most teachers agreed that they would attempt to mentor students after school hours, motivate them to read books, discuss ethics and moral values. Even if a small percentage of teachers did so, significant change in the educational environment in the college is possible. The most exciting interactions were with the professors of Nitte Engineering College. They were liberal in thinking and interested in contributing to the betterment of students. All of were fully aware of the limitations of the current educational system, which is driven by rote learning to

clear exams. They readily agreed to mentor students and motivate them to read books other than their text books. I discussed my innovative program to ignite students’ critical thinking, “True Education,” which has been implemented by a college in Mysore. The program consists of 20 discussion sessions on various topics. All the professors agreed to experiment with it. I learned again that when management takes interest, and teachers are exposed to new ideas, some will be motivated to go beyond the call of duty to guide their students. While students may have lost the habit of reading books, if teachers take an interest and mentor them, a beginning can be made to promote reading books. To usher in a new era, we need a revolution in education. Evolutionary changes attempted by hundreds of NGOs by demonstrating success of their pedagogy or outstanding schools or application of information technology are not enough. It is time that Pratham, with well-established credibility, attempts to bring about such revolutionary changes. Unless compelled by society, our political leaders are unlikely to bring about much-needed reforms. The destiny of a nation is shaped in classrooms by dedicated teachers.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

17

New Sikh Children’s Book “Fish Eat Fish World” Release, Feb. 4

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

H

February 02, 2018

OUSTON: Bhupinder Singh, a mechanical engineer and a Vice President of Newage Casting Co. a manufacturer and distributer for cast iron plumbing products in Houston has written four books on Sikhism and has also penned articles that have been published in magazines and journals. He recently released his first children’s book “Fish Eat Fish World” which will be launched at the Gurdwara Sahib of Southwest Houston this coming Sunday, February 4. Singh’s previous books have dealt with philosophical issues geared towards adults, but this is his maiden attempt to reach out to young kids. He says he was motivated by the lack of children’s books and characters that deal with values that relate to their parent’s cultures while they grow up in the West. “English children’s books are mostly written by western authors and reflect the environment they grew up in,” he said. “I wrote this book to fill this void. In this book, I bring a Sikh character that Sikh children can relate to.” While driving one day and listening to a kirtan whose chorus was “Nanak chinthaa math karahu chi(n) thaa this hee hai” (Nanak says do not worry, the Lord will take care of us all), Singh, 68, thought he could weave a story around this concept and made an outline for a story. He kept expanding on it till he got it finished and then found an illustrator to draw

Book Cover Design

the pictures to go with it. The book is about a young Sikh boy called Aman with long hair tied to the top of his head who is picked upon by bullies. As a father of two grown sons, he can relate to this when they going to school and were taunted by calls of “Door Knobs” and “Smurfs”, Singh recalled. Aman’s Dadaji (paternal grandpa) gives him emotional sup-

port and counseling to handle the bullying. He hopes that the final product, a 32 page brightly illustrated book, will appeal to Sikh and non-Sikh children and will provide diversity and broaden the stereotypes in the landscape of children’s books. He has received a lot of positive feedback from the people who have read it so far. “My best endorsement is when children take the book to school to share with their teacher,” he said, “and the teacher reads it to the other stu-

Bhupinder Singh

facturer and distributer for Cast Iron Plumbing products in USA which he and his son jointly set up. He was born in Bhamo, Burma (now known as

Myanmar) and had his early education there. He moved with his parents to India and completed his high school education in Imphal, Manipur. He did his B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Regional Engineering Collage, Surat, Gujarat. He is a Registered Professional Engineer practicing in USA. He started his engineering career in New Delhi and while working there he had opportunity to live in Japan and subsequently in South Korea. After a tenure in South Korea he immigrated to the US. He has written four books on Sikhism and several articles that have been published in magazines and journals.

dents in class.” “The main take away from the book is trusting the Creator,” said Singh, “and realizing that He will take care of their needs. But, it is not about becoming complacent in life,” he continued. “Don’t sit back without making sincere efforts.” Bhupinder Singh is the Vice President of Newage Casting Co. a manu-

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


18 February 02, 2018 Discovery of Asia: India and Asean Assembling all 10 heads of state or government of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) in Delhi, as chief guests for the upcoming Republic Day parade, is undoubtedly a big push for India’s Act East policy. Asean leaders will also be attending the Indo-Asean Commemorative Summit marking 25 years of their dialogue partnership. There’s no denying what lends urgency to this confluence: America withdrawing from the region and China muscling in. Some parallels between Asean and the European Union (EU) are interesting in this regard. European nations chose to drop their differences and come together because of the experience of two world wars. Likewise, Asean nations were initially brought together by the fear of rising communist insurgencies in their neighbourhood in the 1960s. A similar situation looms today, as China’s meteoric economic rise is transforming into Chinese assertiveness on territorial disputes in the region, together with other ways of undermining a multilateral rules-based order. As a result, despite Asean’s deep economic engagements with China, the bloc doesn’t want to put all its eggs in Beijing’s basket. On India’s part, boosting ties with Asean has multiple benefits. Not only is greater connectivity with the bloc crucial to developing India’s northeast region, greater Asean investments into India can result in a multiplier effect across economic sectors. Asean nations like Vietnam are well-integrated with global value chains. India can tap into these to give its own manufacturing sector a boost. Similarly, facilitating greater Indian service sector exports to Asean as well as freer movement of people is imperative. The services-manufacturing combo can lead to a balanced trade and investment relationship by drawing on each side’s inherent strengths. There’s also a case for boosting tourism cooperation. Many Indian tourists have already experienced high-quality tourism facilities in Asean nations. The same could be replicated for Asean and other tourists to India by inviting tourism and hospitality companies from the bloc to invest in popular circuits, such as the one centred on Bodh Gaya. There’s also scope for enhancing security cooperation between India and Asean, all of which could be used to moot the next big idea: Indian membership in Asean, which would become one of the world’s most dynamic economic zones. Asean favours a looser union structure than EU while India joining up would make it as potent as EU; making its chances of future success correspondingly greater. -- Times of India

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Queering the Pitch: India at Wanderers BY RONOJOY SEN For much of the final Test match in Johannesburg between India and South Africa, where Virat Kohli’s men won a remarkable victory, the conversation was all about the pitch. The ball swung alarmingly on the Wanderers pitch from day one and continued to do so for all four days of the match. This was accompanied by some disconcerting bounce from the third day onwards, leading to serious concerns that the match might be called off. In the end, the match did go on and India won one of its more memorable victories outside the subcontinent in conditions that were heavily skewed in favour of the home team. Controversies over pitches are, of course, nothing new. However, these complaints are usually levelled against India, which has been a graveyard for most visiting teams over the last two decades or so. It is a common refrain of most visiting teams that the pitches in India are dust bowls that turn square from day one. While in some instances the criticisms are justified, the complaints often betray a bias against turning pitches, which are somehow seen as unfair. In contrast, swing and bounce, with which teams like Australia, South Africa, England and the West Indies, at one time, are far more accustomed to, are seen as legitimate. As Mukul Kesavan has pointed out, we have accepted the Anglo-Australian definition of what is a ‘sporting’ wicket. This has led to situations where pitches outside India, which are prepared to help the home team, rarely ever get flak. I recall a conversation with the great Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, a few months before he died, during the 2011 India-England series played in England. He believed that the pitches prepared for that series – where India was blanked 4-0 – were comparable to county pitches that he had played on during the 1960s and not entirely suitable for Test cricket. Unsurprisingly, however, India’s loss was put down to the inability to play swing. There have been other instances, going further back, where pitches

Dean Elgar tries to sway out of the line of a short ball, South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Johannesburg, 4th day, January 27, 2018

have obviously helped the home team. The most notorious example perhaps was the 1976 Test match between India and West Indies at Sabina Park, Jamaica. In that match, Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi declared India’s second innings at 97 for 5 and effectively forfeited the game, since three batsmen had been hurt during the first innings and were unable to play. Both the pitch and the sustained short-pitched bowling by the West Indian pace battery contributed to India’s woes. As Wisden had then reported, “The virgin pitch had an immense bearing on the tactics of the West Indies as also the result. The bounce at each end was vastly different and even at one particular end was variable because of an undulation on a fast bowler’s length, the ball rising from it to alarming heights.” However, at the time and later the West Indies captain Clive Lloyd did not find much fault with the pitch. At an event several years later, where Bedi and Lloyd were present, both disagreed on what had happened in 1976. While Bedi thought the pitch was patently unfit for cricket, Lloyd felt that Indians were merely poor players of pace bowling. The reason why the Wanderers pitch has become such a talking point was that the home team was the one complaining about it. South African opener Dean Elgar, despite staying unbeaten in the second innings, later said that that the match should have been called off on the third day due to uneven bounce and excessive move-

ment. Going beyond the current controversy, one might note that pitches are just one of the many elements, along with the weather, the toss and at one time the umpires, that determines the results of cricket matches. There is no other sport where such a constellation of factors, which are extraneous to the skills of players, has as huge an impact on the eventual outcome. This is what Ashis Nandy had called the structure of ‘fate’, which he believes is unique to cricket. Thus, pitches will continue to be a bone of contention and home teams will more often than not ruthlessly play up home advantage. This will also contribute to the continued role of fate and chance in cricket. -Toi Ronojoy Sen is a Senior Research Fellow at ISAS & ARI, National University of Singapore. He has wide-ranging interests from politics to books to sport. The Wanderers Stadium pitch for the third and final Test between India and South Africa has been rated “poor” by ICC match referee Andy Pycroft. The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced that according to the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process, the pitch has received three demerit point. The demerit points will remain active for five years and if during this period the venue reaches the thresold of five demerit points, then Wanderers Stadium will be suspended from hosting any international matches for 12 months.

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


IMMIGRATION

February 02, 2018

19

Bill Introduced in US Senate Seeks to Increase Annual H1-B Visas

W

ASHINGTON: Two Republican Senators today introduced legislation in the Senate that seeks to increase the annual H1-B visa limit with an aim to bring in the World’s “best and brightest” to the US. Introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake, the Immigration Innovation (I-Squared) Act of 2018 provides work authorisation for spouses and dependent children of H1-B visa holders and establishes a grace period during which H1-B visa holders can change jobs without losing legal status. It also exempts spouses and children of employment-based green card holders from the cap. The legislation is supported by top American IT companies, including Microsoft and Facebook, and top trade bodies, including US Chambers of Commerce and Information Technology Industry Council. In a joint statement Hatch and Flake said the bill focuses on areas vital to maintaining US’ competitiveness in the global economy -- the availability of employment-based non-immigrant visas (H1-B visas) for industries in which there is a shortage of American labour, reforms to the H-1B programme to reduce fraud and help protect workers, increased access to green cards for high-skilled workers and directing fees collected for H-1B visas and green cards to promote STEM worker training and education. Previous versions of the bill were introduced in the last two Congresses. “Now more than ever, we need highly qualified workers with the skills employers need to succeed in the information economy,” Hatch said. “As I’ve long said, high-skilled immigration is merit-based immigration, and we need a high-skilled immigration system that works. “The Immigration Innovation Act will help ensure that our companies have access to the world’s best and brightest and are able to fill jobs in highly technical, specialised fields for which there is a shortage of American labour,” he said. Hatch said, it, at the same time, addresses abuses in the H1-B visa programme to ensure that it is not used to outsource jobs or undercut American wages. “And it provides nearly USD 1 billion in new funding for STEM education and worker training programmes through increases in visa fees. This bill is a win for all sides,” he said. The reforms included in the ISquared Act are critical to fixing a broken US immigration system that has been unable to keep up with the needs of American employers, Flake said. “Taking these steps to foster a vibrant economy for homegrown and foreign entrepreneurs, increase access to the high-skilled talent that US businesses depend on, and attract the best students in the world to US universities will help ensure the United

States remains a leader in innovation and global competition,” he said. The bill uncaps the existing exemption (currently 20,000) for holders of US master’s degrees or higher from the annual numerical limitation on H1-B visas for individuals who are being sponsored for or who will be sponsored for a green card. It increases the annual base allocation of H1-B visas from 65,000 to 85,000. The bill creates a marketbased escalator to allow the supply of H1-B visas to meet demand. Under the escalator, up to 110,000 additional H1-B visas (for a total of 195,000) may be granted in a fiscal year if certain requirements are met. The bill prioritises adjudication of cap-subject H1-B visa petitions for holders of US master’s degrees or higher, holders of foreign PhDs and holders of US STEM bachelor degrees. It subjects employers who fail to employ an H1-B worker for more than three months during the individual’s first year of work authorisation to a penalty. The bill prohibits employers from hiring an H1-B visa holder with the purpose and intent to replace a US worker and provides work authorisation for spouses and dependent children of H1-B visa holders. It increases H1-B worker mobility by establishing a grace period during which H1-B visa holders can change jobs without losing legal status. The bill updates 1998 law exempting H1-B dependent employers from certain recruitment and non-displacement requirements. It raises from USD 60,000 to USD 100,000 the H1-B salary level at which the salarybased exemption takes effect. It also narrows education-based exemption to H1-B hires with a US PhD Eliminates exemptions for “superdependent” employers altogether. The bill eliminates annual percountry limit for employment-based green cards and adjusts per-country caps for family-based green cards. It enables the recapture of green card numbers that were approved by Congress in previous years but not used. The bill exempts spouses and children of employment-based green card holders, holders of US STEM master’s degrees or higher, and certain individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts and sciences from worldwide numerical caps on employment-based green cards.

It increases worker mobility for individuals on the path to a green card by enabling such individuals to change jobs earlier in the process without losing their place in the green card line. It also creates new conditional green card category to allow US employers to sponsor university-educated foreign professionals through a separate path from H1-B. The bill also proposes to enables F1 student visa holders to seek permanent resident status while a student or during Optional Practical Training (OPT). It increases fees for H1-B visas and employment-based green cards and directs fees toward state-administered grants to promote STEM education and worker training. “The Senators’ proposed I-Squared Act is an important step in protecting US workers, investing in STEM education, and ensuring that we can recruit people to fill jobs here in the US,” said Brad Smith, president, Microsoft. Erin Egan, VP of US Public Policy, Facebook said the legislation will modernise the H1-B visa and green card programmes while also encouraging increased STEM education in the US to train the next generation of US workers in high-growth fields. Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer, US Chamber of Commerce said the bill would vastly improve high-skilled immigration to the US by establishing market-based H-1B quotas and instituting various reforms to employment-based immigrant visa system that would make nation’s immigration system more merit-based. Lynn Shotwell, executive director, Council for Global Immigration said that the legislation would ensure that employers acting in good faith have access to the top global talent they need to compete, while providing additional investments to train and educate US workers in high-demand STEM fields, while also reforming the H-1B programme with enhanced protections for US workers. “This bill will greatly enable continued US innovation, job creation, and economic expansion while preventing abuses of the H-1B programme that could harm US workers,” said Mark MacCarthy, senior vice president for Public Policy of the Software & Information Industry Association. -news18.com

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20 February 02, 2018

BEWARE

How The Internet Is Destroying Your Brain

Just Being Online Makes You Re-

ally, Really Depressed It has been theorized for basically as long as the Internet has been publicly available that being online can make you seriously, clinically depressed. It’s not an assertion made without evidence, as numerous surveys of infrequent-to-addicted internet users show a positive correlation between their number of web surfing hours logged and their subsequent feelings of sadness, isolation, and alienation. Some critics postulate that heavy use of the internet more than doubles a person’s chance of being depressed;others say that the internet might not be depression’s trigger so much as it is its refuge. Online Socializing Makes You Insular When communicating in person, the entire interaction is punctuated with non-verbal cues that can totally supercede the meaning of the words within it. Absent the conversation partner right in front of you to indicate

his or her sarcasm or sincerity, you have only your own filters through which to interpret the language. It should come as no surprise that your internal filters are surprisingly dependent on your present mood; thus a semantically ambiguous phrase like “no thanks” sent after a particularly rough commute home is much more easily-absorbed as a sardonic dismissal instead of–and perhaps how it was intende–a mere polite refusal. If the opposite happens, and you are endowed with a ton of friends on Facebook or some other social media site, other studies have demonstrated that your stress levels are likely through the roof. The higher your friend count, they say, the more likely you are to be consumed with publishing bite-sized and socially acceptable aspects of your personality to the online public, which only exacerbates issues with your real-life relationships. The end result: the stress of maintaining online friends prevents you from making–and maintaining–

any more real ones. It Encourages Multitasking, Which Reduces Your Ability To Task, Period The Internet, with the aid of computer hotkeys, has given its users the incredibly easy ability to jump between tasks, subjects and ideas within a matter of seconds. Because there’s no wait, we make these jumps frequently–really frequently–about every two minutes. Except we never actually utilize the “multi” part–or even the “task” part of the Internet’s supposed gift. Instead, we get caught in the ceaseless mental doldrums between interrupting and restarting. And so, given that clear memories of single events are unattainable on the Internet, the brain attempts to compensate for that with blurry, multipleexposure memories of everything that happened. Multi-tasking in this sense can reduce one’s ability to pay attention at all, and in turn reduces our ability to think critically and problem solve. Studies have shown that after a while, your ability to recall memories starts to deteriorate, along with your IQ. The more one multi-tasks, the greater the cognitive damage becomes and the harder it is for you to recover. And if these habits begin in childhood, the risk of developing an attention

deficiency disorder spikes, as well as many other behavior problems down the line. Google Is Replacing Your Memory When you learn something, you don’t burn the information into your brain like a hard drive, but rather map the neural pathway of sensory, motor, and abstract activity occurring at that moment. Thus, in recalling a memory you are actually reliving an identical brain state as when it was encoded, while at the same time adding new details from the present. And when you don’t recall a memory very often, your brain slowly scrubs off the older, more inane details as if de-fragging the whole system. This is a good thing, called transience, that the brain does anyway, allowing for more space to store information. But when that process invariably starts with “Google it,” it presents a problem when trying recall information found through the search engine. It Encourages Addiction To Itself As the internet continues to act as your de facto brain, it becomes increasingly important for you to have handy at all times, which makes you use it more to compensate for your atrophied brain matter, which makes

you use your brain less, thus requiring you to rely on the internet even more. It’s not an exaggeration, either: as well as being totally depressed, heavy users have shown shrunken sections of white matter in multiple sections of the brain. For their part, social media sites are setting the standard for digital nicotine, employing all the bells and whistles to keep users coming back. Video game fans will be well aware of the thrill of leveling up: The screen flashes, the music plays, and the numbers go up; it’s all very gratifying. And it makes you want to do it again and again, until…you don’t even know what, but you’ll do everything in your power to feel this way once more. If this sounds familiar to something you’ve been warned about, it should; this is basically what happens when you get addicted to drugs. It’s Totally Integrated Into Society Even if you wanted to get away from the Internet, whether from your very real fears of NSA surveillance or your desire to stop hemorrhaging brain cells, it’s all but impossible now. As stated above, just about everyone has a smartphone as well as Internet at work and home. More and more, manufacturers and media are switching to digital means of delivery, making Internet a prerequisite for a certain standard of living and rendering any remaining devices like VCRs or boom boxes simply anachronistic. Don’t go panicking just yet, though. You probably aren’t addicted to the internet, and you can take this test if you’re really worried about it. The potential for new technology to be dangerous will always be present, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to indulge in vices responsibly. Like anything that can become too much very quickly, the key word is moderation.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

-all-that-is-interesting.com


COMMUNITY

February 02, 2018

21

Houston Community College Request of Proposals (RFP) India’s Best-selling Author Amish Tripathi to Tour the Human Patient Simulator RFP No.: 18-13 USA, Houston Event on Feb 6 at UH Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement HOUSTON:Acclaimed Indian aurelayed for thousands of years, and thor of the Shiva Trilogy fame Amish Tripathi will be touring the US in the first week of February. Indic Book Club is collaborating with the author on a three-city tour in the United States. Events are scheduled for Tuesday, February 6 in Houston at University of Houston; Wednesday February 7 in New York City; and Thursday, February 8 in Washington, DC. About the Author Amish Tripathi is a recognized contemporary Indian fiction writer. His books- The Immortals of Meluha (2010), The Secret of the Nagas (2011) and The Oath of the Vayuputras (2013), which collectively comprise the Shiva Trilogy, and Ram – Scion of Ikshvaku (Book 1 of the Ram Chandra Series) (2015), Sita – Warrior of Mithila (Book 2 of the Ram Chandra Series) (2017), and Immortal India – Young Country, Timeless Civilisation (Amish’s first non-fiction book) (2017) — have 4 million copies in print. His books have been translated into 19 Indian and International languages. He is one of the top 100 celebrities in India and was recently awarded the Icon of the Year. Described as ‘India’s first literary popstar’ by world-renowned film director Shekhar Kapur, Amish’s unique combination of crackling

Amish Tripathi

story-telling, religious symbolism and profound philosophies has turned him into an Indian publishing phenomenon, with spiritual guru Deepak Chopra hailing Amish’s books as ‘archetypal and stirring’. Amish’s books are a fine blend of myth, fiction and philosophy, with a fast-paced narrative making them gripping. Having been described by BBC News as “India’s Tolkien of Hindu mythology”, Amish has reimagined millennia-old mythological tales and turned them into bestselling works of fiction. For generations, children of Indian descent have heard and learnt important lessons from the classic tales of Gods and Goddesses such as Lord Shiva, Lord Ram, and Lady Sita. These powerful tales, rooted in history and culture, have been

have helped keep Indian traditions alive through the vicissitudes of time. However, there has been a fear over the last few decades that these ancient stories are being slowly forgotten by an increasingly Westernized Indian youth. Amish’s works have infused new life into these stories as they appeal to younger generations of fantasy readers with wildly different plotlines based on the same ancient Gods. The youth of India have loved these modern reimagining’s of familiar Hindu mythology, which have an extraordinary mix of deeply liberal messages and proud roots in Indian traditions. About Indic Book Club Indic Book Club (IBC, http://www. indicbookclub.com) is a global, multi city, horizontal network of academics, authors, artists & activists involved in protecting, preserving, and promoting Indic Thought. The IBC seeks to bring a renaissance by nurturing a network of Public Intellectuals and enabling their transformation into leaders of cultural thought and expression. As part of Indic Academy, IBC also provides access to research, training, mentorship, and financial support Fellowship program. IBC has given platforms to Indic intellectuals, thought leaders, authors and artists throughout the world including in the United States, India, Canada, Germany, UK, and Australia.

Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Thursday, February 22, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs.edu/procurement.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


22 February 02, 2018

SUDOKU

Place a Number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. Send us the correct answer before February 07, 2018. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).

PUZZLES / RECIPES

Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Gur te Ajwain da Wadda (Molasses Carom Seeds Patty) wise, break the gur into smaller pieces. 2. Place a small frying pan over medium heat and when it is nice and hot, throw in the ghee and let it melt. 3. Now, add the ajwain and stir. Then add the saunth and smashed badam. Stir till the badam are a little brown. 4. When the badam are brown, add the gur pieces, turn off the heat and let it melt while stirring. 5. Place on a plate to cool off and then serve.

Solution Next Week

In North India, every child knows the

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joy of eating gajjak (a soft molasses swirl) or ravri (hard molasses pellets) especially during the winter months when these are plentiful. You can find villagers who come to the city for a few weeks with their bags of gur (jaggery or sugarcane juice rock molasses) and set up stalls where they make gur sweets, popular in the cold season. And then just as quickly, they are gone! Gur then takes its place on the back shelves waiting for winter to arrive again. Unfortunately, most of the Indian children growing up in the US have no idea what gur and gur based sweets are all about. They don’t realize the beneficial, energy giving qualities that gur has. Gur is the solid brown, unrefined, coalesced natural product of boiling sugar cane juice in round bottom vats till it is dry. It is a brown raw mass made of upto 50% sucrose, 20% invert sugars and 20% moisture with the remainder made up of other insoluble matter, such as wood ash, proteins, and bagasse fibers from which it gets its color. Bagasse is the dry pulpy residue that remains after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice. Gur provides many health benefits like preventing constipation; detoxing the liver; providing antioxidants and minerals like zinc and selenium; relieve PMS symptoms in women and act as a natural sweetener. But because it is high in calories, it must be taken in moderation especially by diabetics. It is good for the heart, purifies the blood, prevents anemia and asthma and strengthens the immunity levels. It can help in treating a cold or cough and relieve bone and joint pains, which is what this recipe is good for. This is an age old recipe which has been in my family for

generations. It combines the benefits of gur with that of ajwain (carom seeds) and moderates the bitter taste. When eaten hot, it can help relive the discomfort of minor pains and illnesses. Ingredients: • 2 tbsp gur (jiggery or sugarcane rock molasses) • 1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds) • ½ tsp saunth (powdered dry ginger) • 4 tsp badam (almonds) • 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) Directions: 1. Smash the almonds into small pieces, but do not crush them. Like-

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 (since renamed Faisalabad) 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 late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share her delectable Punjabi vegetarian recipes for future generations.

MAMA’S TIP O F THE

W

EEK HEAT GUR (MOL ASSES) CAREFU LLY TO MAKE SWEET S NACKS

Gur or sugarcane ro during the winter m ck molasses is a favorite all across N onths as it is consum orth India ed fighting the cold. Fr om December to M for the energy it provides in arch, you can find full of sweet snacks the m ravri (hard coated pe ade with gur and gajjak (soft shelled bazaars swirls) and llets) selling by the gr they’ll even warm them on a small co am. If you ask the stall vendor, al-burner. But for those who ar how hot it gets whe en’t familiar with cooking with gur, be n melted and how it takes long to cool careful of don’t want to burn down. You your palate on the first overcook the gur, in stead of a melted pa spoonful. And also, if you tty, you’ll end up w cookie that is calle d ravri! ith a crispy

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23

Padmaavat: A magnificently-mounted paean to A Rajput ‘aan baan shaan’

ll those agitating over how Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat would trample all over Rajput pride, you may rest easy: the director didn’t need a memo from the Karni Sena and all the other self-styled ‘armies’ on keeping it ‘sanskaari’ — his entire film is a relentlessly opulent, magnificently-mounted paean to Rajput ‘aan baan shaan’. And, whichever way you slice and dice it, and Bhansali is a master at grandstanding, to the pernicious practice of ‘sati’. Here’s how it goes, just in case you are one of those rare people who haven’t been breathlessly following the film’s troubles: the Rajput king Ratan Singh (Kapoor) is the hero, the Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji ( Singh) is the villain, and the object of their mutual adoration is the utterly gorgeous Padmavati, who will always and forever be a good Indian girl, and later, wife. When we see her first, she is fleet of foot and clear of eye, a joyous free spirit who has a will of her own. She ends up committing ‘jauhar’, her life and death circumscribed by male notions of honour. If that’s not patriarchy, then I’m Queen Padmavati, who of course did not exist. And while we, of course, cannot judge the actions of the dramatis personae who presumably lived in the 13th century (even if they were mythical creatures, created by the poet Malik Mohammad Jayasi) by present-day gender roles, we do see that the director has a problem on his hands: how do you

T

he10thRoyalStagMirchi Music Awards was held with grandeur in the presence of many Bollywood A-listers like Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee and many more. The star-studded event was hosted by Bollywood’s King of Melodies, Sonu Nigam, with exciting performances by Shreya Ghoshal, Ayushmann Khurrana, Javed Ali to name a few. Here we present to

show a beautiful queen jumping into a pyre, along with hundreds of her compatriots (a cringe-making shot has a pregnant woman and a little girl), without glorifying the act? One way of doing it is to stuff the beginning and the middle acts with so much glitter and glamour that we are expected to be swept away. Which we dutifully do: there’s a kind of beauty in the way Bhansali creates his frames. I liked the fact that, unlike in his Devdas and Bajirao Mastani, where we are constantly distracted by the scenery, here we are aware of it as background, as it should be: the characters are foregrounded, as they should be. But there’s only so

much lavishness the eye can take before being overwhelmed. It helps that Deepika Padukone, who never been lovelier, wears those stunning costumes, never letting them wear her, even if her waist is decorously covered in the Ghoomar song. Shahid Kapoor sports kohl in his eyes, and clearly articulated muscles in his chest, often left bare. But his role is not articulated enough: he is left spouting rousing dialogue about Rajput valour. Much more visible is Jim Sarbh, deliciously camp in his portrayal of the slave Malik Kafur, who looks with such louche longing at Khilji. But this film belongs, far and away, to Ranveer Singh’s Kh-

ilji, who bites into mounds of meat and his part with such relish that you can taste it. If it hadn’t been for the extreme reactions from a bunch of extreme reactionaries-cum-buffoons which nearly derailed the release the film, Padmaavat would have been just another Bhansali extravaganza, full of costumery and puffery. But given that all art is political, even if it is dressed up art, Padmaavat becomes more than it is, because the director chooses to heavily outline the vileness of his antagonist, and underline the ‘pati-vrata ness’ of Rani Padmavati. Far from any subtle touches, Bhansali’s blackand-white delineation of the good

10th Royal Stag Mirchi Music Awards: Complete list of winners you the complete list of winners: Best Song: Hawayein from Film: Jab Harry Met Sejal Male Singer: Arijit Singh for Hawayein Female Singer: Shreya Ghoshal for Song Thodi Der from Film: Half Girlfriend Music Composer: Pritam Chakraborty for Song Hawayein Lyricist: Irshad Kamil for Song: Hawayein

Lifetime Achievement Award: Bappi Lahiri Royal Stag Make It Large Award : Ayushmann Khurrana Upcoming Male Singer: Asit Tripathy Upcoming Female Singer: Meghna Mishra Upcoming Music Composer: J.A.M 8 Upcoming Lyricist: Santanu Ghatak

Indi Pop Song of the Year: Man Marziyan Best Song Producer : Clinton Cerejo & Hitesh Sonik Best Song Engineer: Bhaskar Sharma ,Chakir Hussain & Praveen Murlidhar Listeners’ Choice Song: Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga Jury Award for Best Album of Golden Era (1957) : Pyaasa -timesofindia.com

Hindu and the bad Muslim (who could also, gasp, swing both ways) is so stark that that we are left with no illusion about which part of the political firmament he wants to be on the right side of. Finally, and we can’t get away from this, the question for us while watching this fresh version of the oldest tale in the book – ‘ek tha raja, ek thi rani, dono mar gaye, khatam kahani’—is, how do we deal with the fact of a woman being forced to jump into a pyre to save the ‘honour’ of her husband, and her people? Of course, Padmaavat is spectacular: no one can do spectacle like Bhansali. This was what he was born to do. You can easily delight in it while the going is good. But nearly three hours of it, and looping rhetoric around what constitutes Rajput valour can and does become tiresome. And that compulsion to make ‘sati’ so good-looking, when the singeing of flesh can be so gruesome, is troubling. If there’s one thing that keeps us from brooding too much through the film, it is Ranveer Singh. Not once does he try to make us like him, and that makes us like him even more. As a performer, his chief asset has been his unpredictability, in a good way. As Bhansali’s scarred, manically-over-the-top Khilji, he is electric. And try as anyone might, so is the attraction between the galloping outsider and the lovely queen: it is their doomed love story, whose embers rain on the screen, that we take away with us. -indianexpress.com

Happy Birthday Urmila Matondkar February 04, 1974

Abhishek Bachchan

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

Febuary 05, 1976


24 February 02, 2018 3rd Test: India Triumph on Extremely Tough Pitch BY SIDHARTH MONGA

J

OHANNESBERG: (ESPN Cricinfo): India 187 (Kohli 54, Pujara 50, Rabada 3-39) and 247 (Rahane 48, Kohli 41, Bhuvneshwar 33) beat South Africa 194 (Amla 61, Philander 35, Bumrah 5-54, Bhuvneshwar 3-44) and 177 (Elgar 86*, Amla 52, Shami 5-28) by 63 runs India couldn’t out Dean Elgar at all, but found a way around him to complete their third Test win in South Africa. He was ridiculed on the third evening for a short ball that hit him in the face and caused an interruption in the play, but Elgar tried his darnedest - in vain - to deny India. The visitors were efficient and ruthless even as Elgar and Hashim Amla went more than half the day without losing a wicket and added 119 of the 241 required for the second wicket. India waited and waited for the first breakthrough without giving away free runs, and once the wicket came they swooped in on the kill. The last nine wickets fell for 53 runs. As at Lord’s 2014, Ishant Sharma began the slide with a mid-afternoon spell of 7-2-15-2, but here the load was shared. His victims were big: Amla and Faf du Plessis. Jasprit Bumrah was equally impressive in his nine-over spell that followed up with wickets of AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock. Once the two were taken off, Mohammed Shami came back from an average morning with quick, full and accurate bowling to run through the tail. This was one of India’s great wins in Test cricket as they came here beleaguered, having lost the series, and were presented with a treacherous surface. They got most of their selections right, made the bold move of batting first, batted with extreme courage and determination with contributions all around, including a couple of 30s from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Having set South Africa 241, they would have looked at an easy job, but there were hiccups. Play was suspended 19 minutes before stumps on the third evening as the umpires were concerned about the players’ safety.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was declared Man of the Match for scoring 33 runs in the first inning and taking 3-44 wickets.

After meetings, it was decided the pitch would be given a chance on the fourth morning, but overnight and early-morning rain pushed India’s quest for a win back by an hour. The pitch did show signs it had settled down a little with the uneven bounce becoming a lesser concern for the batsmen than the seam movement. Elgar took eight blows on the body, including four on the third evening. Amla was rapped on the gloves by length balls a couple of times. Between them they were beaten 26 times, but they kept batting on. Elgar had to keep getting attention on his forearm. Amla wore reinforced gloves. Inch by inch they took South Africa closer. Elgar showed a lot of ticker in not getting perturbed by the number of blows he took. He showed great judgement in leaving the ball, didn’t follow the ones that seamed away from him, and kept nudging away ones and twos. There were a few lucky runs between the slips and the gullies, but you need that in these highly unusual circumstances and conditions. The India captain praises his team for not caving to criticism of their performances in the opening two Tests against South Africa Amla was more in control of what

he was doing, shuffling well across to know what lines to leave and then also opening up the leg side for runs. India tried going behind his legs, but his bat kept coming down in time. The punch to balls higher than his waist, a shot almost unique to Amla, continued to be his friend. In his 40s, when Amla got stuck and scored just two runs off 39 balls, the punch came to his rescue and saw him through to a second fifty in the match. Elgar’s method was different. When India put together a spell of 25 balls for just two runs, he ended it with a hoick over square leg. Elgarwas not there to look pretty. He was there to just be. As long as he could be. When he reached his fifty, after accepting congratulations from Amla and the crowd, he quietly knocked the left side of his chest, then his thigh pad twice, and again his chest, his heart. He had shown enough of it. India played the waiting game. This was a mature spell of play. When not much was happening they sought to shut down the scoring. Hardik Pandya did a job too, bowling six overs for 15. If the worst happened, India wanted to be in the game by the time the new ball was taken. By the time Ishant was brought back about 25 minutes before tea, South Africa needed 117 runs and the second new ball would be available in

28 overs. Having looked to get Ama behind his legs because of his shuffle, India now had a short midwicket in place. Ishant, the rare bowler pitching balls on a good length, was now rewarded. For the second time in the Test, Amla failed to keep a clip to leg down, and Pandya at short midwicket accepted the catch. As it happens in fourth innings, more so on pitches like these, the new batsmen find it incredibly difficult to bat. This was India’s moment. They couldn’t afford another partnership. South Africa needed one more man to bat out of his skin to add to the efforts of Elgar and Amla. De Villiers was the man who could run away with it. Bumrah, though, oproduced a ball that only a settled batsman could have avoided. It reared off a length, and held its line, and the edge was taken at gully. On the other side of tea, Ishant and Bumrah did their one-two again. Ishant got one to nip back in and stay low too to hit du Plessis’ stumps. Quinton de Kock grabbed a golden duck with Bumrah bowling quick and straight at his stumps. The pace and efficiency of this four-pronged attack was too much for the rest. Elgar, who carried his bat with 86 not out off 240 balls of pure grit, and Lungi Ngidi fought hard with the lastwicket stand of 16, but they were only

SPORTS

Ashok Daniel is First Indian to Complete Tor des Géants

MELBOURNE: Rohan Bopanna

and his Hungarian partner Timea Babos frittered away a one set advantage, going down to Mate Pavic and Gabriela Dabrowski in the Australian Open mixed doubles final here on Sunday. The fifth-seeded Bopanna and Babos lost 6-2 4-6 9-11 to the Croat-Canadian pair of Pavic and Dabrowski, seeded eighth, in a match which lasted one hour and eight minutes. Bopanna and Babos dominated the opening set, helped to a great extent, by their erratic opponents, who conceded seven break points. The Indo-Hungarian combine converted two of those chances to claim the early advantage. However, Pavic and Dabrowski roared back into the match in the second set. Their serve was flawless and pair did not concede a single break point. It was Bopanna and Babos’ turn to become erratic now and they were broken once by Pavic and Dabrowski before drawing level. The two teams headed to a tiebreaker from here and after a gruelling contest, Pavic and Dabrowski emerged triumphant. Interestingly, Bopanna had won his maiden Grand Slam crown at the 2017 French Open with Dabrowski.

Hungary’s Timea Babos (left) and India’s Rohan Bopanna hold their runners-up trophies after the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


February 02, 2018

N

Budget 2018: Major Reforms in GST and Boost to Infrastructure

EW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget 2018 on February 1. Earlier, the Economic Survey prepared by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian pegged India’s GDP growth at 7-7.5 per cent in the upcoming fiscal year. The survey also pointed out that the GDP growth has averaged 7.3 per cent for the period from 2014-15 to 2017-18, which is the highest among the major economies of the world. Here is what India Inc expects from Budget 2018 KK Mookhey, Founder & CEO, Network Intelligence: In last years budget, the Finance Minister announced the setup of CERTFIN. While the initiative was much needed, we hope to see much more specific action points in the 2018 budget that will align with the digital transformation journey that the country is undergoing. The 2018 budget must support

the development of the cybersecurity infrastructure by focusing on people, process & technology. Vivek Agarwal, Co-founder, Mtech Informatics: As the country eyes the top position, the mobile phone industry expects the government to maintain and introduce more favorable policies for domestic manufacturers. First, in order to prevent dumping of phones in the Indian market, the government should increase the duty on CBU’s to 20 % per cent Second, we expect the government to lower bank loan interest rate by 2-3 per cent. Last but not the least, we hope the government extends the IGST benefits to manufacturers. Avneet Singh Marwah, Director & CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd: Last year the consumer electronics industry saw a decline by 10-15% due to two —GST and Demonetisation. Televisions have been put under 28

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley coming out of Parliament after tabling the Economic Survey.

per cent GST slab, therefore we saw a larger decline in sales in third quarter. As a result, offline trade has taken the maximum hit and we expect GST on television should come down to 18 per cent. If the government does not consider a reduction, we may

see jobs cut down by 35 per cent. If India wishes to maintain its ‘fastest growing economy’ tag, then we must increase consumerism, which can’t be achieved by placing a 28 per cent tax bracket on a consumer electronics like smart television. Indian Express

Indian IT Firms Looking for Ways to Soften 10% US Tax Blow WASHINGTON DC: An an- multinational companies are exploring ways to retain their competitive-

ti-abuse provision in the US tax code that President Donald Trump signed into law last month is forcing Indian information technology (IT) services companies to look at ways to mitigate the impact of the tax blow. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, designed to encourage American companies to invest and create jobs locally, seeks to discourage offshoring of work to overseas group companies by way of a 10% tax on the payments made to such offshore entities. This tax, called the “base erosion and anti-abuse tax”, or BEAT, hits Indian multinational companies in the IT sector, which caters to their US clients through American subsidiaries. Tax experts said the 10% BEAT makes their payments to the Indian parent an extra cost of doing business in the US and that Indian

ness by reworking their business strategy. “It can be said clearly at this point that this (BEAT) will disincentivize outsourcing to a related party,” said R. Chandrasekhar, president of Nasscom—the apex industry body for the IT sector—and former IT secretary to the government of India. Chandrasekhar, however, was quick to add that unlike the early days of India’s IT sector’s boom, today, overseas entities offshore their IT services requirements to Indian firms not primarily because of cost, but because of the quality of skill. Vipul Jhaveri, partner, Deloitte India, said the 10% BEAT on payments US companies make to offshore related parties becomes an extra tax cost, which could impact the competitiveness of Indian IT and ITeS (IT-enabled services) exports if it is passed on to the ultimate consumer

in the US. “Indian multinational companies are exploring ways of mitigating the impact of BEAT in their overall cost of serving US customers,” said Jhaveri. According to Chandrasekhar of Nasscom, the impact of BEAT on

Indian multinational firms will depend, to a large extent, on the exact nature of the transaction, the nature of corporate holding and the business response that the company adopts in dealing with the change in laws. -LiveMint

25

India 6th Wealthiest Country with Wealth of $8.2 Trillion

BENGALURU: India has been

ranked sixth in the list of wealthiest countries with total wealth of $8,230 billion, while the United States topped the chart, says a report. According to a report by New World Wealth, the US is the wealthiest country with total wealth of $64,584 billion, followed by China ($24,803 billion) and Japan ($19,522 billion). Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country/city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities. The report, however, excludes government funds from its figures. Others in the list include United Kingdom (4th, $9,919 billion), Germany (5th, $9,660 billion), France (7th, $6,649 billion), Canada (8th, $6,393 billion), Australia (9th, $6,142 billion) and Italy (10th, $4,276 billion). “In general, it was a good year for all W10 (wealthiest 10) markets, thanks to strong global stock market gains—the MSCI world index was up 23% and the Dow Jones (DJIA) was up 26% during the year (in US dollar terms),” the New World Wealth report said, adding “wealth held in China, India, USA, Japan and Australia all grew strongly over the past year”. According to the NewWorldWealth report, India was the best performing wealth market globally in 2017 as its total wealth rose 25% from $6,584 billion in 2016 to $8,230 billion in 2017. China’s wealth during the year saw an increase of 22% and global wealth rose by 12% (from $192 trillion at the end of 2016 to $215 trillion at the end of 2017). Over the past decade (2007-2017), India’s total wealth increased from $3,165 billion in 2007 to $8,230 billion in 2017, a jump of 160%. The report further noted that India, is home to 330,400 HNWIs (high net-worth individuals), ranking it ninth in this aspect. The US topped the list with 5,047,400 HNWIs. High net-worth individuals are those with $1 million or more in net assets.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


26 February 02, 2018 Job Posting:

Part Time Broadcast Technician

Job Posting:

PART-TIME MULTIMEDIA CONTENT CONTRIBUTOR

The KTRK-TV Production Department is looking for a part time Broadcast Technician who is a self-starter and works well with others. Duties will include but not limited to building graphics with Adobe Photoshop, robotic camera operator, audio assistant, and floor manager for live and recorded programming. This position might also be used for various production-related duties as assigned by the Production Manager. Prior broadcast experience in a live Control Room environment is a plus.

Are you a news junkie who scans the headlines every morning? Are you tied to your twitter feed throughout the day? Can’t go to bed before watching the 10pm news?

Qualified candidates must be able and willing to work flexible hours, early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. Weekly work hours will vary. Applicants must be able to lift up to 25 pounds and stand on your feet for long periods of time. A strong work ethic and positive attitude is required as is the ability to handle multiple tasks

In this position, you will work with producers and contribute to digital platforms, among other duties. If you love to write and want to make a story your own, we want you.

To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at www. disneycareers.com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 520419BR No Telephone Calls Please KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Job Posting:

Web Producer – Part Time

KTRK-TV is looking for a part time digital producer who can do it all to be part of the team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. The ideal candidate will have three years’ experience working in major market television or print news internet operation, the ability to shoot and edit video and working experience of Photoshop. Additionally have proven social media expertise and must be flexible with work schedule which may vary depending on station needs and projects. Candidate must be able to handle many projects simultaneously. Candidate must be a self-starter and have a ‘Do It Now’ mentality to excel in our fast-paced environment. We are a 24/7 news operation, so digital producers must be willing to work any day or shift, as needed. To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at www.disneycareers. com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 520420BR. No Telephone Calls Please KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, TX is accepting applications for a part-time content contributor for both broadcast and digital. This is a great opportunity for someone looking to advance their career as a multi-media journalist.

Must be willing to work overnights, weekends, and holidays. The ideal candidate can multi-task in a fast-paced environment and has experience gathering information and writing news stories - along with a good understanding of social media trends and apps. College degree and some experience in a working newsroom is preferred. To be considered all interested candidates must apply online at disneycareers.com, ref job # 520716BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. In addition, please mail writing samples to: Human Resources, KTRK-TV, 3310 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005 and include the job reference number. No Telephone Calls Please KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Job Posting:

Temp Producer, Multi-Platform Content

KTRK-TV’s Programming Department has a temporary opening for a Producer with a proven track record in broadcast and digital content creation. Will work on a variety of projects including both short and long form, live and taped shows. Must be able to come up with creative & relevant content ideas, and possess key production knowledge necessary to produce, present & promote this content in a compelling manner. Requires excellent writing and producing skills, in-depth shooting & editing knowledge. Must be an effective communicator with a “can do” attitude. Must be organized, efficient, and capable of juggling multiple projects and working under tight deadlines. All applicants must be willing to work any day or shift needed. To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at www.disneycareers. com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 520422BR No Telephone Calls Please KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

First Ever

24 Hour

Telugu Radio in Houston

Online at www.radiohungama.net & Every Sunday 12 PM to 3 PM CST On

KCHN AM 1050 Contact: Sridhar Dadi at

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houstonradio@yahoo.com INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


February 02, 2018

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February 02, 2018

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