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Friday, February 05 2016 | Vol. 35, No. 06


Indo American erican News Published weekly from Houston, TX

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From left: Ashok Mago; Congressman Pete Olson, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Dr. Renu Khator, Consul General Harish Parvathaneni, Nandita Parvathaneni, Congressman Ted Poe, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Council Member Mike Laster and Council Member Jack Christie, at the Republic Day Reception on January, 31.

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February 05, 2016



February 05, 2016


25 Years Later, Still a Twinkle in His Eye, Mischievousness in His Wit! BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: It was as if he

hadn’t left the radio dial; he just slipped from one mic in the studio to the mic at the stage. And he carried on with his usual flair of stringing together flowery verses to entertain his guests, except it was all in Urdu in deference to the mixed audience, rather than the mix of Punjabi that his show is known for. “I had an interest in music ever since my childhood,” explained the Showman. “I would listen outside from the street, as the chowkidaar (watchman) would not let me in,” he continued. “I had to wait till I got to the US to start this radio program.” “So I started this ‘Punjab Rung’ program with my wife Shami and younger brother Feroze,” said Shah Jee, “and everyone asked why, so I told them I am retired, I am a nikama (worthless)!” using a term that brought titters from the audience. He still runs the show, though now from his fully equipped home-studio in his house in The Woodlands. With aging legs, he seldom gets around, but his voice and wit are still as good as gold and Shami Jee is constantly by his side. Shah called the program in honor of the place (Lahore) of his birth and the “three rung (colors) of life: bachpan (childhood), jawani (youth) and budrapa (old

age) of life.” The Pun (five) Jab (waters) that form his outlook on life are pyar (love), mohabat (romance), dosti (friendship), aman (peace) and bhaisara (brotherhood) and true to his creed, he has

ran the show every week for the past 25 years stressing these principles. And during that time, he forged an affectionate friendship with the founder of Indo-American News, the late Dr. K.L. Sindwani.

Punjab Rung electronic media existed for the desi community. Suraiya offered her appreciation and continued support before she left for another event. The Consul General of Pakistan, Afzaal Mahmood, attended the event and very gamely handed out prizes to the winners of a general knowledge quiz on Islam to three youngsters who won the series of questions. After a buffet dinner, a musical program included songs by local artists and the soothing voice of Reza Pirzada, who also DJed the event. For more information on Punjab Rung, contact Shah Jee at 713-449-6946 or by email at

The team that started Punjab Rung, from left: Feroze Shah and his wife Cookie, Shami Shah and Islam Shah, the Voice of the program, more affectionately known as “Shah Jee” at the 25th Anniversary celebration at Shahnai restaurant.

Shah Jee in an undated photo from the early days of the Punjab Rung program.

At the party to celebrate 25 years of being on the air, the banquet hall of Shahnai restaurant (which is celebrating its 15th anniversary) was full on Friday, January 22 and though it was to start at 7pm, “our people have a habit of being late”, teased Shah Jee as people finally trickled in at 8, all of whom he and Shami Jee welcomed with customary gusto and affection. After a few appetizers, Dr. Javed Aslam opened the evening with words a witticism and verses of benediction from the Quran. And then Shah Jee recognized his adopted sister, Suraiya Saleem, who, with her husband the late Dr. S. M. Saleem, used to the run the popular “Kehkashan” radio show for 25 years, during an era when few other



February 05, 2016




February 05, 2016

New Alignments, Initiatives Revealed at Consulate’s R-Day Reception BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: Most people who

attended the Indian Republic Day reception last Sunday, January 31 probably expected the usual fare of speechmaking, photo ops, light entertainment and a good line up of appetizers. In this, those who came to the event at the Hilton Post Oak hotel, which has become the favored site of the Consulate to mark Indian national events, were not disappointed. What they were not expecting were the major announcements that four separate officials made as they strode up to the podium to say their piece. Just as last year, the reception emphasized the Make In India campaign, a hallmark of the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he took office May 2014, with the side walls laid out with banners, an LED screen showing videos and posterboard cutouts of the striding lion, both in the lobby and onstage, symbolizing the campaign. After the program, as guests dined, the LED screen played out videos of cabinet ministers explaining India’s goals and advances made in attaining them. As expected, the usual list of local elected officials, business and industry leaders, arts and culture figures and media were invited to the event held on a Sunday evening, which was a departure from the previous years’ insistence on holding the event on the date of the actual Republic Day, January 26. Among them were newly elected Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner,; Hon. Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX 2nd); Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX 22nd); Harris County Judge Ed Emmett; Houston City Councilmen Mike Laster and Jack Christie; Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis; Jay Guerrero, representing US Senator John Cornyn; Booker T. Morris III representing Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX 18th and Sam Merchant representing Congressman Al Green D-TX 9th. Also in attendance were Padma Shri Awardee and founding Chairman of the US India Chamber of Commerce Dallas/FortWorth, Ashok Mago; Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardee and Chancellor & President of the University of Houston, Dr. Renu Khator; and members of the Consular Corps.

Consul General addressing the gathering.

Consul General (left) honoring The Honorable Mayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston (right) with a plaque in recognition of his efforts for promoting Indo-US economic engagement and friendship.

Indian Consul General Harish began the program by noting that both the Indian and US constitutions begin with the words “We the people …”, grant fundamental rights, and encourage shaping one’s destiny through hard work. He noted the progress that had been made in bi-lateral relations and trade in recent years between the two countries, and the personal goodwill between Modi and US President Barack Obama. Harish cited his own ability to build strong relationships in the Bayou City during his three and a half years in the city, saying “he and his family had received a warm welcome in Houston.” He noted many accomplishments in Indo-Texas trade during that time:

the largest investments by Texas in India and Indian companies in the region; the 6 million tons per annum of LNG, soon-to-be-shipped from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass export terminal; the trade delegation headed by former Mayor Annise Parker that visited India last year; the International Yoga Day event that drew 3,000 to the George Brown Convention Center last year and the planned visit to India by Turner in 2016/17 heading another trade delegation. In a departure from his predecessors, Harish used the occasion to announce, to applause and murmurs from the hall, that he had been appointed as Ambassador to Vietnam and expected to leave in the next few months. He later said that he successor will be Anupam Ray, an IFS officer who is currently on scholarly leave on the faculty at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce of the University of Kentucky and recently was the deputy Coordinator of the BRICs Summit in 2012. Houston has been a jumping-off spot for all previous Consul-Generals to take on an assignment as Ambassador to their next postings. This was one of four major announcements that evening. Turner gave his congratulations and spoke of Mahatma Gandhi’s inspiration to Martin Luther King and how that affected him personally. He acknowledged that India had become an important partner to Houston’s economy and his intention to work with the Indian community here.

Students from Anjali Center for Performing Arts performing a classical dance on this occasion.

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:713-789-6399, email: Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News,7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 05, 2016 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM





February 05, 2016

Chinese New Year Celebration HOUSTON: In the Year

of Monkey, Southwestern National Bank wishes to thank our devoted customers for their valuable trust in us over the years. To express our appreciation, a Lion Dance for Chinese New Year will be performed at 12:30 P.M. at the main bank loca-

tion on February 8 (6901 Corporate Dr., Houston, TX 77036). Refreshments and drinks will be served at that time for your enjoyment. Southwestern National Bank invites you to join this festive Chinese New Year celebration and looks forward to seeing you!

CG P. Harish Appointed Ambassador to Vietnam, New CG-designate for Houston is Anupam Ray


Consul General of India P. Harish (IFS:1990) has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly. The new Consul General in Houston is expected to be Anupam Ray (IFS 1994),

who is currently attending the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. Mr. Ray has previously served at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in New York and the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh.

New Alignments, Initiatives Revealed at Consulate’s R-Day Reception CONTINUED FROM PAGE


Booker Morris and Sam Merchant said a few words and presented proclamations from Lee and Green. But it was Ted Poe, known for his country witticisms and habit of shooting from the hip, who made the first surprising announcement. He noted that this was India’s 67th Republic Day and his own 67th birthday too. He joked, that as former judge, he could issue a court order to have Harish “stick around.” He ended by stating “the US needs to establish a more candid relationship with Pakistan. We don’t need to pay them to hate us, - don’t need to send aid to Pakistan … since it is used against us.” Pete Olson, clad in a sleeveless waistcoat, and favored by Modi, opened by folding his hands and offering a namaste.“ We have no better partner in the world than India,” he carried on, quoting figures for impressive trade growth over the past 15 years. He was impressed by Modi’s recent surprise visit to Pakistan and also echoed Poe’s sentiments of establishing closer ties to India than Pakistan. Finally, it was Emmett, a long-time enthusiastic admirer of India who has traveled there and has a son who lives in an ashram near Pune, who made the last of the announcements by insisting on four assignments for the Bayou City. He asked for more Indo Americans on Boards and Commissions in the county and city; establishing direct flights between India and Houston; establishing direct shipping routes between Mumbai and Houston and identifying opportunities to share knowledge and technology with India. A dance presentation by students from the Anjali Performing Arts Center – whose Director Ratna Kumar was recognized - where Harish’s daughter Amani learns classical dance, culminated the program before a deep round of appetizers was served, catered by Udipi restaurant, whose owner Satish Rao was present. INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 05, 2016 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

February 05, 2016


Please Join Us

At the Geetanjali Radio Annual Gala

Sunday, Feb 21, 2016


Sterling Banquet Hall, 5475 W Sam Houston Pkwy N, Houston TX 77041

Social Hour:

6pm to 7 pm


Meet and Greet, Cocktails, Food, Dance & more Musical Evening with Evergreen Hindi songs by Versatile Singer Bansi Chabria

Thanks To Our Event Sponsors Mr. & Mrs. Jugal Raj Malani Mr. Anand & Dr. Ashima Chauhan Mr. & Mrs. Altaf Neelofer (Kohinoor Diamonds) Mr. & Mrs. Vinod Pragna Shah (ABC Travels) Dr. Shatish Patel Mr & Mrs Suresh Usha Shenoy (Kirti Jewelers and KV Diamonds) Official Caterers: MADRAS PAVILLION Mr & Mrs. Dr. Vivek Kavadi Umang Mehta (DEEP Foods)

To Reserve Tickets Please Call 832 878 4338 or Email

Special Thanks: Event Photographer: Mr. Asit Patel & Mr. Sachin Patel Sound: Mr. Darshak Thakkar Event Planner: Mr. & Mrs. Hema Sajj DB Events Special Thanks: Yogina Patel, Mr. Ajay Nagarani, Mitra and Vinay Media: Indo-American News Thanks to all the Organizations: ICC, Orissa Culture Center, Shri Sita Ram Foundation, Gujrati Samaj of Houston TX, Hindus of Greater Houston, Ekal Vidyalaya, Post OAK Title Co, Ashok Bhambani, Santan Shiv Shakti Mandir, Banke Bihari Parivar, Abraham and Co Realtors, Sindhi Friends, Sunflower Enterprise, Sterling Banquet Hall and To all my Family & Friends Thank You, Shoba, Rakesh & Hiren Joshi




February 05, 2016

BKM Celebrates 2016 Pongal with a Mega Kids/Youth Talent Show

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HOUSTON: BKM(Bharathi Kalai Man-

ram, a forty year old Houston organization dedicated to the promotion of literature and performing arts of Tamil speaking people from India celebrated Pongal, the traditional harvest and thanksgiving festival of Tamilnadu at the Meenakshi Temple in Pearland on Saturday, January 23. The Pongal festival provides a platform for children to perform. It serves as a great event to ensure the transmission of the culture from one generation to another. The children (with some parental involvement) embraced this event with enthusiasm. There were a total of about 55 performances involving 200 plus kids ranging from ages 5 to 15 and total program time of more than five hours. The kids ranged from tiny tots to teens and all of the displayed a very passionate sense of involvement and dedication to their chosen performance. The items performed ranged from Tamil Thai recitation to Bharatanatyam dances beautifully choreographed to contemporary dances to popular Tamil (Kollywood) numbers. The

performances can be described as energetic and enthusiastic. The BKM committee lead by Cultural director Ravi Sethuraman, Joint Treasurer Priya Chandru, Communications Director Senthil Arcot and Pongal program team of Dr. Vijaya Ramachandran, Kuzhali Arcot, and Vyjayanthi Vivek deserve a round of congratulations for their attention to detail, meticulous programming, and keeping the program on clock. The outgoing committee for 2014 led by President Sridhar Srinivasan was felicitated on the occasion. Then all the teachers of the Tamil school were felicitated for their hard work and service. Then, Incoming President Tupil Narasiman then introduced his team for 2016. Narayanan, chairman of Meenakshi Temple Society spoke and congratulated BKM for putting up a great event. BKM also felicitated Seshadri Kumar of India Herald for his yeoman service to the Houston community. The event concluded with a tradition South Indian dinner including the traditional Pongal that was catered by Annam Restaurant. The attendees left with a happy heart and with eagerness for the next Pongal event.



February 05, 2016


Founder and Chairman of Akshaya Patra Madhu Pandit Dasa Receives the Padma Shri Award ity. This is highlighted by the fact that Akshaya Patra is the only NGO in the country to win the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Gold Shield Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting five times in a row and has been placed in its prestigious Hall of Fame. Under Madhu Pandit Dasa’s inspirational leadership, Akshaya Patra has grown from providing 1500 children with school meals to 1.5 million children in 15 years, becoming the world’s largest NGO-run school lunch program. Akshaya Patra is poised to serve its 2 billionth meal later this month. Madhu Pandit Dasa completed his Bachelor in Technology in Civil Engineering from IIT-Mumbai in the year 1980. While he was doing his Masters in Technology

one of the most admired publicprivate partnerships in the sphere of education and child welfare. Studies conducted by leading research organizations, A. C Nielson and Sigma clearly establish the positive impact of Akshaya Patra’s school meal program. The studies demonstrated an increase in student enrollment, especially among female students, a decrease in drop-out rates, and improved health and academic performance of the students. Madhu Pandit Dasa set up a robust governance model which has made Akshaya Patra a hallmark of transparency and accountabil-

STONEHAM, MA: The Govern-

ment of India has awarded Madhu Pandit Dasa, Founder and Chairman of Akshaya Patra, the Padma Shri Award for distinguished service rendered by Akshaya Patra for children in government schools in India. The Padma Shri Award is India’s fourth highest civilian award and recognizes those individuals who have made a distinguished contribution in arts, education, industry, literature, science, sports, medicine, social service, and public affairs. Madhu Pandit Dasa received the Padma Shri award on January 26; the Award is traditionally given on India’s Republic Day. Of receiving the Award, Madhu Pandit Dasa said, “This award is recognition of our humble service of leading this cause of nutrition for education amongst the govern-

course in IIT-Mumbai in 1981, he dedicated himself to the service of humanity by becoming a full-time member of ISKCON. Upon founding Akshaya Patra, Madhu Pandit Dasa had the foresight to set it up as a fully separate and secular 80G not for profit organization. As a true service leader Madhu Pandit Dasa and the other ISKCON members dedicated to the organization fully give of themselves with no remuneration. Their greatest reward is to see the smiles of the children receiving the food and know the impact of this noble work. For more information about Akshaya Patra and APUSA, Akshaya Patra’s affiliate 501 (c) (3) organization which mobilizes for Akshaya Patra in the US, and to learn about how to get involved, please go to www.


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ment school children through the Akshaya Patra program. It is an inspiration for me and the entire team at Akshaya Patra to reach out the work of our foundation to many more hungry children of this country. Quality food for these children is a need for quality education that will in turn create citizens of great character. Our children are the real asset of our nation”. Madhu Pandit Dasa has been a visionary leader for Akshaya Patra and designed the first centralized kitchen to provide school meals to underprivileged children in the Government schools of Bangalore Rural District during July 2000. Akshaya Patra works with the Government of India and state governments and is


10 February 05, 2016


India’s 67th Republic Day Celebration at India House

HOUSTON: Continuing its an-

nual tradition, India’s 67th Republic day was celebrated in a patriotic ceremony on the grounds of India House on Tuesday, January 26. The event commemorates the day when India’s constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, completing the country’s transition towards becoming an independent

republic and giving people the power to choose their own government. In honor of the day United States, Indian and Texas flags were hoisted outside the front entrance by Trustees of India House Dr. Virendra Mathur and Durga Agrawal, and V.P. Operations of India House Nagraj Eleswarapu. People from different cultures

and ethnicities were gathered on the occasion and together they embodied the patriotic spirit of Independent India. The U.S National Anthem was sung by Chloe Choudhury, and attendees proudly joined her in the singing of the National Anthem of India. The atCONTINUED ON PAGE

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February 05, 2016


India’s 67th Republic Day Celebration at India House




For Any Ceremony Contact Pradip Pandya 832 466 9868 Email:

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Photos: Bijay Dixit

tendees were then invited into the banquet hall. Greetings and messages were delivered by speakers including Durga Agrawal and Kul Bhushan Uppal. The Indian patri-

otic songs sung by Sankalp Srivastava, Padma Iyengar and Payel Mitra, led us all to a nostalgic trip down memory lane, reminding us of the courageous spirit of freedom

fighters. The fellowship was continued as attendees were treated to light snacks and drinks provided courtesy Kurry Walah, Masala Munchies, and Deep Foods. The event connected us with our Indian roots reminding us that even though we are far away from home, the love for our country is embedded in our hearts. For more information on India House and its various programs visit us at or contact vipin@ indiahouseinc. org or call at 713-929-1900.

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Red Roses, Hearts and Bollywood Nights!!



Well well… You guessed it right…that time of the year when we celebrate Love!! Love and romance is often associated with red roses and hearts. Though there are many other objects that signify the essence of love, but to impress

or express love we keep it simple with anything that is heart shaped or a bunch of “Red roses”. Like your birthday and New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day is another way of celebrating the state of your relationship. This year Kusum Sharma is bringing her production of ‘Bollywood Nights’- the Indian way of celebrating love with Bollywood theme dance on classic love stories. There will be theme couple contests (Soni Mahiwal, Laila Majnu, Heer Ranjha and Romeo Juliet), open dance floor with dhol, fun games and lot more entertaining activities. It will be a romantic musical evening which will be frosted with fun and sprinkled with surprises. For those who want to spend a special evening with their loved ones dispatched without disturbance this is the place to be in. Valentine's love affair will get even more brownie points if you are able to dine and wine with your valentine. In February, most of the places

we look around will have odd or intriguing item that's heartshaped or that is decorated with hearts. If you have been bitten by the love bug then come over and have a date with Bollywood nights. Whether you are single, couple or family join the Valentine's day celebration on 14th February from 4-8pm at Stafford Civic Centre . All proceeds go to 501(c ) (3) Kalakriti Performing Arts.


Contact: Gopal Aggarwal


12 February 05, 2016


Preview of “Gandhi’s Gift” Screened at the Observation of Shrddhanajali to Mahatma Gandhi at Unity Houston

Children of Arya Samaj DAV Sanskriti School performing at the commemoration of 68th Shrdhhajnjali, Memorial Service, to Mahatma Gandhi at Unity Houston. The event was organized by Mahatma Gandhi Library.

HOUSTON: Mahatma Gandhi

who spread the message of nonviolence, truth and global peace, died on January 30, 1948. Mahatma Gandhi Library (MGL) in collaboration with Unity Houston commemorated Shraddhanjali, a memorial service, on Saturday, January 30, at Unity Houston. Mahatma Gandhi said “I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up

with all suffering.” He was never afraid of death. Currently, the world is encountering several challenges including intolerance, impatience, and terrorism. Hence, it is essential to follow the ideas and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, especially truth and non-violence, not only to achieve international peace and prosperity, but achieve the same within one’s own heart.

Mahatma Gandhi Library is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the universal values of peace, non-violence, truth and love. The library was started almost twelve years ago by the vision and dedication of Atulbhai Kothari and today, with many dedicated volunteers, their worthy efforts continue. The Shraddhanjali program started at 4:00 pm with a gracious

welcome by MGL board member Dr. Sitaben Kapadia, one of the few living who have actually met Gandhiji in person. Rajan Chawla was a brilliant Master of Ceremony for the program, which initiated with an Invocation from Reverend Mindy Lawrence, associate minister at Unity Church who oversees Pastoral Care, Unity Peacemakers, and the Unity in Community Service Team. This was followed by a special reciting of Shlokas (songs) from the Bhagavad Gita (Gandhiji’s favorite Scripture) by the adorable students of DAV Montessori School. The program continued with a beautiful rendition of the bhajan Vaishnav Janato by the glittering voice of Smriti Srivastava and her group from Arya Samaj. 7-year old. Khusi Kawedia, 2nd place winner of the annual speech contest delighted the audience with her speech, “Bullying: my perspective”. Cynthia Lucas, a film producer and writer of transformative documentaries that educate, inspire and motivate, presented a brief clip of her newest production which will be released in late 2016, Gandhi’s gift, a feature length documentary guiding the audience through the climactic, last eight years and four months of Gandhi’s

life. The audience was then treated to a wonderful dance by the students of DAVSS, choreographed by Dolly Goyal titled Bande me tha Dum Vande Mataram. Atul Kothari, founder of the Mahatma Gandh Library, graciously recognized Shafeli Jhaveri, a longtime volunteer of the library and the perennial cultural program coordinator of 1000 Lights for Peace, for her excellence in service and self-less dedication to the activities of the Library. MGL’s speech contest winner, Anusha Satya, recited her winning speech with absolute conviction titled “Does War lead to Peace.” High school student Jai Sehgal presented his awe-inspiring 1st place winning entry in iTribute multimedia presentation entitled “Spirit of Service around me.” The keynote speaker for the program was Rev. Kyra Baehr of Unity Bay Area Houston who gave a moving tribute and explained “that there is a powerful force within all of us that can lead to miraculous changes” The program continued with the adorable children from DAV Sanskirti School of Arya Samaj Houston led by Smriti Shrivastava, as they sang beautiful song “De Di





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14 February 05, 2016



February 05, 2016

Hundreds Join Surya Namaskar Yogathon


Participants performing Surya Namaskar. 4 year old Charvi Damani was one of the youngest to perform surya namaskar.

HOUSTON: Hindu Swayamse-

Sharad Amin, National HSS PR incharge addresing the participants

vak Sangh USA (HSS) concluded the tenth annual "Yoga for Health, Health for Humanity Yogathon" or "Surya Namaskar Yajna". The 16day event aims to create awareness about Yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind and spirit. Surya Namaskar integrates simple Yoga postures in 10-steps that, along with easy breathing technique, can provide immense health benefits to both the body and the mind. Each year Hindus worldwide celebrate January 14, as Makar

Participants from all walks of life performed surya namaskar.

Sankranti, a day that marks the change of season as the sun enters the sign of Capricorn or Makar. Makar Sankranti ushers in longer days; thus, the festivity symbolizes sunshine in life. To mark this occasion, HSS had organized the "Yoga for Health, Health for Humanity" Yogathon from January 16 to January 31. HSS initiated this health awareness project in 2006. Since its inception, participants from 40 states actively took part via various Yoga Centers, community organizations, schools and colleges

regardless of individual faiths and beliefs, have participated and collectively performed over 4 million Surya Namaskars. Community leaders and many elected officials across the nation have appreciated this initiative and encouraged their residents to participate and gain the benefits of an overall healthy life style. As a part of this nationwide event, Houston HSS chapter had organized unique 24 hour “surya namasker” yogathon at Keshav Smruti in Southwest Houston.




16 February 05, 2016 Shrddhanajali to Mahatma Gandhi at Unity Houston CONTINUED FROM PAGE


Hamein Azadi.” Charlie Patel, president of the India Cultural Center, then addressed the audience and gave his support and pledged continued collaboration with the Mahatma Gandhi Library. Dr. Manish Wani, on behalf of the MGL board, gave a brief presentation of 2 exciting new upcoming events: a soon to be published book about Kasturba, authored by Dr. Sitaben Kapadia and the securing of land in Stafford, Houston and plans for constructing a Mahatma Gandhi museum. The program concluded with a vote of thanks by Vijay Singh, Chair of the program. The crowd was encouraged to visit the Gandhi Darshan Exhibit on display and the MGL booth. The event culminated with the singing of one of Gandhiji’s favorite bhajans, Raghupathi Raghav Raja Ram” by the Arya Samaj choir students led by Smriti Shrivastava. It was followed by beautiful instrumental music in the background while all present enjoyed refreshments. The Shraddhanjali program at Unity Houston commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s life was truly inspirational and proved to keep the legacy of peace, truth, non-violence and love alive, penetrating the hearts of all in attendance.


Hundreds Join Surya Namaskar Yogathon CONTINUED FROM PAGE


At the Yogathon 215 young and not so young men and women and children participated, performing more than 15,000 Surya Namaskars. They were from 26 different organizations whose members participated in the event. Vivek Singh from Sugarland branch of HSS , was the highest performer with 403 Surya Namaskars. Twenty-nine participants did more than 100 Surya Namaskars, twelve did more than 200, three did more than 300 and one did more than 400. Night slot of the yogathon was covered by the youths. 12 youths performed nonstop suryanamaskar from 11:00 pm thru 6:00 am . Vivek Sharda , one of the youths attending the night shift said “The atmosphere was serene and peaceful during the night shift. Everyone got into a deeply meditative mood, moving the bodies in tune with the chants and following the natural rhythms of breathing cycles. The energy in group really motivated us. We were able to achieve 2210 rounds of Surya Namaskar during the night shift. Surya Namaskar Yajna was a success because of the participation of a large number of yoga teachers and community members, “Every year the number is going up and general awareness about adopting a healthy life style with simple practice of Surya Namaskar is increasing”, said Manoj Rathi, Houston co-coordinator of this event.

He also appealed to the audience not to just do suryanamskar for one day but make it part of daily lifestyle and also got assurance from them to attend 24 your yogathon next year. Vaishali Sheth of Svyasa gave credit to yogic exercises for mind-body control and total relaxation for a satisfactory and contented life style. She does Yoga and also teaches it. Sixteen-year-old Sarvani Desabhotla, asked young people to forget about their TV, cell phones and computers for some time and take to Surya Namaskar and other yogic exercises to make a change in their lives. She said since he started practicing Yoga her grades have improved and her attitude to life has changed. She also said that she is able to study well and sleep well and also stopped getting nightmares after started doing regular suryanamaskars. She attends Spring Branch shakha . At the outset of the program, Sharad Amin, a dedicated HSS volunteer and national HSS public relation in charge , said that “Yoga and Surya Namaskar are manifestations of great Hindu values that promote healthy mind in a healthy body. This is a great combination for healthy living and is now a part of a nation-wide campaign.” Subhash Gupta , President of Houston HSS chapter and well know yoga practitioner Shekhar Agrawal from Patanjali Yog Peeth were also present during the conclud-

ing session of 24 hour Yogathon. The program was concluded by Subhash Gupta by thanking every participating organization and coordinators of the event. All the participants were requested to enter their count of suryanamskar into the specially designed smart phone app developed by HSS. The app offers not only ability to update the count but provides lots of resources related to suryanamskar and reporting. For more questions or suggestions, email at or call 713-732-8233



February 05, 2016


Big Data: Solving Tomorrow’s Business Challenges, Event by IITAGH


talk on Big Data at Jones Business School, Rice University on Feb 1st, along with RIABC. Ram Sriharsha, Architect at Spark and Data Science at Hortonworks explained the concepts of Big Data to a packed room, through a free flowing discussion. Ram, who talks at various Spark summits all over the world, mentioned that this was special event for him as audience actively participated and enquired on topics which made him to think before he answered. The talk, which started at 6:30pm and went on till 8:15pm, after which several attendees stayed back to ask more in depth questions. Ram used the black board, the white board and slides to walk attendees through Big Data technology: HDFS, MapReduce, Spark and others. Ram pulled up on the screen, MapReduce and Spark code to explain the differences in Big Data technologies. The event was attended by 50 Big Data enthusiasts representing people from various industries, technologies, and demographics. One of the attendees’ kid who has been learning programming Javascript was very curious on how Big Data was going to shape her future. Some of others had questions like I am from a Chemical Company, I want to make sense of the data I am generating. I work in a commodity trading company, I would like to use Big Data

concepts to get better at my job. I own an electrical lab, we generate lot of data, I want to know if I can use Big Data to solve our problems. Ram said that it was perfectly ok for rest of us who didn’t know what question to ask about Big Data. Ram mentioned that the key for a Big Data application is to know the problem we are trying to solve before we decide to use Big Data Technology. He explained that 60% of today’s Big Data problems compose of problems which have 1 billion data points with 100 features, 37% have 100 million data points with 10,000 features and less than 3% have a billion data points with millions of features (the likes of Google, Facebook etc). IITAGH (IIT Alumni of Greater Houston) hosted this event under its Develop and Connect pillars.

IITAGH had reached out to the local Big Data meetup groups and Rice’s statistics, Computer Science students to benefit from Ram’s expertise. IITAGH President, Shamanth Shankar thanked Prof Kris Ramesh from Rice and Nishanth Babu President of RIABC (Rice Indo American Business Club) for arranging for the room at Rice, Shiladitya Basu (IITAGH Core Committee Member) for helping out with the attendees and thanked Ram for being available to speak in short notice. ITAGH is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. We help our members Connect, Develop professionally and Give Back to the local community. Our membership is open to all, everyone is welcome. We have currently over 1100 members. We have no membership fees

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18 February 05, 2016

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Indians Holding Back Indians

Waiting for a Big Bang

Finance Minster Arun Jaitley was sensibly measured in his

response to the chatter in Davos that India was in a sweet spot. He accepted credit for the fact that India ranked amongst the fastest growing economies in the world at present. But he made it clear that India could not rest on this particular laurel. Much is needed to be done to deliver “achhe din”. Now back home, the FM needs to put together a budget that puts flesh on his intended next steps. He needs to detail not only the arithmetic of governance but also the way he proposes to navigate the economy through the choppy international waters of collapsing commodity prices, demand slump, rising debt, sectarian strife and terrorist violence. The Union budget is not a state of the Union pronouncement but it is the one occasion when all members of Parliament are present and the speech is widely reported. It, therefore, offers a platform to define the government’s economic strategy and, in particular, to embed its various programms, such as Make in India, Digital India and Start-Up India within a holistic, multidimensional and international framework. Against this international backdrop, it is no surprise that India attracted a positive comment at Davos. Its macro fundamentals are strong. The balance of payments is healthy; the current account deficit is down to 1 per cent; the fiscal deficit is on track to reach its target of 3.9 per cent of GDP; inflation is in check and, on a trade-weighted basis, the rupee exchange rate is not a cause for worry. But the FM knows better than most that these macro details hide underlying weakness. Growth is not generating enough jobs and the numbers of unemployed and underemployed are increasing; private sector investments have dried up in the face of over-capacity, high debt and slackening demand; the public sector has not taken up the investment slack; the banks are loaded with non-performing assets and there is a gap between the rhetoric of structural reform and the reality on the ground. The FM does not need a tutorial from armchair commentators on what needs to be done. That said, my hope is that he will present a big bang budget that will address most, if not all, of the above issues. And that he will set out a roadmap for leveraging the benefits of the oil price decline. Now, however, India’s pitch could have greater resonance. This is because investors have woken up to the reality that they do not really know what is going on in China, that its numbers cannot be trusted and that, when push comes to shove, they have no — or at best limited — recourse. In contrast, India does not fudge its numbers, information is freely available, its problems are on full display and criticism is normal. This altered mindset should be in the FM’s mind when he is crafting his speech. Vikram S. Mehta The writer is chairman of Brookings India and senior fellow, Brookings Institution



ven by the impunities granted to security forces in India’s criminaljustice system, the alleged gang rape of women in the embattled tribal land of Bastar by “suraksha bal (security forces)” — to use the words in a police first-information report — was particularly disturbing. A minor girl and a pregnant woman were among those raped during an anti-Maoist operation in five villages of Bijapur district between October 19 and 24, former colleague Chitrangada Choudhury wrote in this newspaper. “Two men held my hands down on either side. Another man sat on my legs and raped me,” the gangraped minor told Choudhury. They said I was meant to be killed, but I was being spared. They said, the next time I would be dead. I became unconscious when it was happening.” Yet, the alleged rapes — largely ignored by the national media — were not as much the issue as was a rare official acknowledgement of crime. “When I heard the women’s stories, I was completely shocked,” Bijapur’s collector, Yashwant Kumar, was quoted as saying. The police broke tradition by registering a rape case, although no investigator visited the crime scene. I would like to proven wrong, but I am sceptical about further action. As the new year rolled in, the Reserve Bank of India’s straightshooting and erudite governor Raghuram Rajan — in no way referring to the incident in Bastar — provided some context to the Indian tendency to persecute and prosecute the poor. “It has often been said that India is a weak State. Not only are we accused of not having the administrative capacity of ferreting out wrong doing, we do not punish the wrong-doer — unless he is small and weak,” Rajan said in an email to his staff. “No one wants to go after the rich and well-connected wrong-doer, which means they get away with even more.” What Rajan said holds good for

World-class institutions but abysmal delivery of services. TN Ninan, writer and editor, says that India works for the top 40% of its people, not for the bottom 60%. almost every sphere of public life in India, a democracy notorious for protecting the strong and rich and going after the weak and poor. What happens in Bastar may not really affect or bother people like us (PLUs), but it should because this “culture of impunity”, as Rajan termed it, is holding India back from “strong sustainable growth”, The proclivity of Indian officials to persecute those who can be persecuted is widespread, relentless and knee-jerk, a de facto reaction to power. Of course there are exceptions, but I would argue that, in general, Indians — specifically, those in the bureaucracy — hold other Indians back in world-leading, unique ways. Indeed, the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plans will depend on how this culture of impunity can be addressed. That will largely depend on local bureaucracies, not as much on the Centre, which will increasingly limit itself to ideas, policy, funding and inspiration. As Modi cuts corruption at the Centre and gets his officials out of direct supervision, for instance, of health and education, these tasks will be taken over by the states. It’s uncertain if states can cope. Harvard professor Lant Pritchett famously called India a “flailing state”. He likened the bureaucracy to a brain that works with limbs that refuse to obey: World-class institutions but abysmal delivery of services. TN Ninan, writer and editor, says that India works for the top 40% of its people, not for the bottom 60%. A recent example: The acquittal of actor Salman Khan, who allegedly ran over one person and injured four 13 years ago while

under the influence. There was against Khan — in the words of the judge — a “strong suspicion of guilt” but not enough evidence. The US journal Foreign Policy ran a story with the headline: “How to get away with manslaughter, Bollywood style.” The impunity India offers the strong is at work, in situations more mundane and less urgent than gang rapes in Bastar and the death of pavement dwellers in Mumbai. Those so protected get true freedom — from the law. Rajan’s observations referred in particular to the failure of banks to act against India’s biggest loan defaulters, whose doubtful or bad debts now top Rs 2.67 lakh crore Those who are not influential must live with petty harassment and corruption. In Mumbai, homes and hotels are currently hounded by an excise department that forces on them multiple visits to get a permit that allows them to serve liquor at private parties, provided they buy liquor from a list of unofficially approved local stores. I have my own story to share. Last year, my chartered accountant said I would have to, for the first time, pay service tax, which meant I would need to register myself as an assessee — and pay Rs 2,000 as a bribe. What for? I asked mystified. To be registered, he said. But wasn’t it all online? It is, he said, but when the final email is ready, no one hits “enter” for free. Our regulations are not always very clear, our staff sometimes is neither well informed of our own regulations nor willing to help the customer, our responses are occasionally extraordinarily slow and bureaucratic,” said Rajan. The important point: Discarding the protections to the rich and persecution of the weak do not mean being against business or wealth but acting against all violations — and otherwise getting out of the way. As Modi asked at his start-up soiree: “Please tell us what not to do.” Sure, but who, exactly, will listen? Samar Halarnkar is editor,


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February 05, 2016


15 Ways to Include Fitness in Your Routine

I m too busy with work!’ is the common excuse used to procrastinate and avoid working out. But that doesn't mean we continue to lead a sedentary life. Here are 15 ways you can include fitness in your daily routine. Working on your muscles, joints and mind daily even in small way is the way to stay fit and healthy.

What is fitness?

Fitness implies having the capacity to perform physical activities and maintain the stamina and energy levels to do your daily work. You may be thinking, I am burned out half way through the day. It's time to re-think your daily routine to include fitness to keep you going through the day without feelings exhausted. Brisk walking: 30 minutes of brisk walking can increase heart rate that will burn calories and increase metabolism. It can improve stamina too. Take the stairs: There are couple of reasons to take the stairs: - Weight loss - Stamina

- Improves cardio Tighten your butt: Squeeze your butt muscles; this will help you burn calories. Get the perfect butt by clinching your butt muscles 10-15 minutes once in three days. Plus you can do it while standing or sitting. Proper posture: Stand correctly or sit straight, it will help you flex a lot of muscles - neck to legs. Proper posture improves confidence and poise too. Back exercises: Strengthen your back muscles with this exercise - imagine that you are holding a pencil with your back muscles. Hold this position to avoid dropping the pencil. This will improve your back muscles and core muscles. Heavy weights: Before you open that bottle of water or a soup can, try lifting them and stretch them parallel to the floor (your body should be in a T position). This will tone the arms and shoulder muscles. Bicep curls: Try bicep curls with your shopping bags; use your grocery bags as

weights. Hold the bag and lift your arms to your elbow level and bring them to your shoulders. Try it till your biceps give way. Take a walk at work: It is important to stretch and move about at work especially if you have a desk job. Get up and take a walk to increase the circulation, mobility and avoid DVP. Do the dishes: Washing and scrubbing the dishes can tone your muscles. But let's put in some effort into doing the dishes to get the well toned arms. Answer the phone: Talking to friends and families on the phone can take more that two minutes. Hence walk around while you talk to your friend and keep the circulation going. Clean up your act: Cleaning the house is a great way to get a full body workout. Whether you are dusting or sweeping or mopping the floor, you are bound to stretch and burn calories. Sex it up: Sex is another way to lose weight naturally and you increase your endorphins too. Sex is beneficial mentally and physically. Sleep well: Good health also means complete rest. Sleep is a way for you to rejuvenate your body and mind. This will keep you mentally and physically healthy. Commit to another person: For some people, adhering to the social aspect of exercise is important. For instance, if you have agreed to walk with your neighbourhood friend after dinner, there are slim chances that you will let them down. -TimesofIndia

Here's How Much You Should Eat Dry Fruits BY POOJA MAKHIJA

Healthy, tasty, packed with nutri-

tion, easy to carry -it's easy to go nuts over nuts. Dry fruits are not just delicacies but are powerhouses of nutrition. Packed with proteins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and minerals, these are little factories of good health. Since most of the water is extracted from dry fruits, their nutrients are condensed into small packages. But if you are watching your weight, dry fruits should be eaten in moderation as they are nutrient dense in sugars too, and thus calories. Limit the intake to about 20 grams total of mixed nuts and dry fruits and avoid snacking straight from a bag. It leads to overeating. ALMONDS Can a high-fat food be good for you? Almonds challenge this oxymoron perfectly well. It's rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that have a heartprotective role and are excellent for your brain and skin health. Almonds are also rich in Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, all of which go hand in hand to maintain normal blood pressure, improve blood circulation

and maintain healthy heart function. Trace minerals like copper and manganese found in almonds have added to their health quotient. Both copper and manganese are needed in very small quantities, but have an important role to play. Eat in small quantities (4-7 pieces) daily to get a whole entourage of health benefits. WALNUTS The outer layer of the shelled walnut -the white-ish, flaky, sometimes waxy part has a bitter flavour. But resist the urge to remove it. Research shows that 90 per cent of the antioxidants -including the phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids -are found in the skin.Walnuts are excellent sources of Vitamin E in a form that is unusual to find - gamma-tocopherol. It has a major cardio-protective role. Along with great taste and health benefits, they are sources of monounsaturated

fats and Omega-3 fatty acids. Add them to salads, desserts or just pop , them daily (3-4 halves). DATES Incredibly delicious, dates are one of the most popular fruits packed with an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, required for normal human growth, wear-n-tear and overall wellbeing. Rich in fructose and dextrose, dates provide simple sugars easily and are a good way to start the day and jump-start the body's metabolism. Enjoy 1-2 medium-sized dates daily. Over indulgence can turn the tables on you. PISTACHIOS Symbol of wellness, strength and robust health, pistachios are the evergreen nuts that no one can resist. Pistachios contain more protein in comparison with other nuts like almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts; the fat content being the lowest amongst them. They are rich in oleic acid, carotenes and Vitamin E. However, the salted counterparts negate the health quotient. Limit quantities to not more than 20 grams a day. -TimesofIndia



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20 February 05, 2016


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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 10, 2016. Email us at 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).


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Khumban Te Mutter di Turri (Mushroom & Peas Curry)

Solution Next Week

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couldn’t find fresh mushrooms in the Indian cities, but since then a virtual revolution in growing and distributing vegetables has led to their becoming readily available at not only most markets but even street vendors. The price of mushrooms have come down, but they are still not within reach of the average Indian. Years ago, you would find the occasional fresh mushroom if you happened to come across them on a stroll. Most of them were grown in Kashmir but they were dried and then shipped to other cities. If you wanted to cook them, you had to leave them to soak in water for two hours before. The dried khumban (mushrooms), and a closely related variety called dhingri, are still widely available in most bazaars and markets in India, but their darkened color and texture produces a pungent smell when cooking and a slightly altered taste. Using sun-dried sliced vegetables was – and continues to be – a common ingredient in India, though their smell while cooking can be overpowering. The taste though, of the cooked dish is quite delicious! These days, you can find khumban and mutter (peas) on most menus in restaurants across North India and it is also a favorite curry made in Indian homes, to get away from the more common vegetable dishes like bhindi (okra), gobi (cauliflower), bhangan (eggplant) and karela (bitter gourd). It is a relatively easy dish to make, and all you need is to keep the peas handy in the freezer! There is only one thing that you must make sure of when using mushrooms: clean them well by dipping in water as they can hold a lot of dirt in the top button. I prefer to clean them thoroughly with a damp paper towel as I don’t want to have to overcook the mushrooms in the extra steam from too much water.

finely chopped ½ teaspoon of lasan (garlic) powder (if desired) 1 small piece of adrak (ginger) – peeled and finely chopped 3 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), haldi (turmeric), fresh dhania (coriander), garam masala Directions: 1. Cut off the ends of the mushrooms and clean them with a damp paper towel. If you prefer, you can quickly dip them in water and then make sure to dry the mushrooms off completely, leaving them on a towel for sometime to air out. 2. Cut the mushrooms in half and keep aside. 3.Shell the fresh peas and place in a bowl of water. If frozen, do not thaw. 4. Prepare the masala in a medium saucepan. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat, then add the onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the mixture is slightly brown, add the salt, pepper and haldi and stir well. 5. Throw in the peas and stir well to coat and cook for a few minutes. If

frozen, then let the peas thaw out first before using and cook for 5 minutes. If fresh, then let the peas cook a little longer in the saucepan. Add the water and bring to a boil. 6. When the peas are a little tender, throw in the mushrooms, stir and let it cook for 5 minutes. 7. Turn the heat off, cover the saucepan and let it sit for five minutes. 8. Before serving, garnish the dish with garam masala and the shredded fresh dhania. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned 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 Punjabi recipes.



Many Indian hom es have brass uten sils which are used mentation or perh for ornaaps to serve foods at parties. In India, very commonly us brass was ed well into the 60 s and 70s in homes time, brass has falle , but over n out of favor and sta inless steel utensils everywhere now. O are used ne of the drawback s of brass was that have to occasiona you would lly get kalai or tin ning in the insides reacts with the food as the brass and gives off a gree n coating. In rural India, it is still easy to get a str Ingredients : eet hawker who w tinning and even po ill do this lish the brass, but ov er seas it is practically sib le to ge t the tinning done an 200 gm mutter (green peas) – froimposd difficult to get the One easy way to cle untensils polished. zen or fresh an the outsides an d get them to shin 250 gm khumban (mushrooms) – lemon juice and a cleanser e is to mix like Ajax in a bow item soak in it for a l of water and let cut into halves couple of hours if it the is really dirty. Take 2 medium tamater (tomato) – soft with a sponge or pape out, scrub r towel, then rinse off and let it dry. ones are best, chopped 1 small pyaaz (onion) – peeled and


February 05, 2016


Saala Khadoos

Kader Khan: Looking at Padma Awardees, it's Good I Didn't Get It



EW DELHI: Underdog-tochampion is an all-too familiar sporting film trope. You know, when you see a fiery young girl jousting with her potential coach, that she will come up trumps. The really good films stuff the script with freshness: you know where they are headed and yet you follow the journey with anticipation and pleasure. From frame one, ‘Saala Khadoos’ seals the possibility of surprises. Everything is by-the-numbers, and you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen next. That’s what stops the film from rising above the ordinary, despite the fresh faces of the two girls who have leading parts, as well as the more experienced, bulked-up turn from R Madhavan. Adi Tomar (Madhavan) is a foultempered headstrong character who has fallen afoul of the guy who calls the shots in national women’s boxing in New Delhi, an oily, corrupt fellow (Zakir Hussain) who preys upon young female hopefuls. The girl Adi discovers on a punishment posting down South, Madhi (Ritika Singh) is an aggressive spitfire: she helps eke out for her family’s meagre earnings by selling fish, is her older sister Lux’s (Mumtaz Sorcar) support, and is not above throwing a few efficient jabs and punches when


she gets riled. The setting is somewhere in Chennai. The faces are local and match the milieu. The man-on-the-spot, repping the on-the-spot boxing body is played by Nasser, who is relaxed and fits in well. The grizzled oldtimer who watches Adi’s back in the national capital is done by MK Raina, who shows, effortlessly, how less is more. You can’t say the same for newbie Ritika Singh. She is full tilt at all times, screwing up her face, her body, anger coursing through her veins, never letting up: after a while, you want to tell her to slow it down, to breathe, the part’s not going anywhere. She does manage it in a few places, and it’s in those instances that her smile


lights up the proceedings. (Sorcar, as the sister, has a much smaller role, but is more effective). Madhavan too is revved up much more than is needed, managing to break through in a couple of quiet moments. The fact that it is about women in a sporting arena– heck, that it is a sports film– should be a thing to celebrate, and you can see that effort has gone into creating authenticity while training-and-fighting-in-thering, but ‘Salaa Khadoos’ is far too literally realized to be a really strong film. Unlike Madhi’s hero Mohammad Ali, it neither floats nor stings. It drones.

onsidering the Bollywood celebrities who have made it to the Padma awardees' list this year, "it's good that I did not get one", says veteran actorwriter Kader Khan. The ever-versatile actor also hinted that "flattering" around the movers and shakers in Lutyens' Delhi could be one of the reasons behind his colleagues getting the honour. On being told the names of the industry colleagues who were earlier this week named for the Padma awards, the 79-year-old actor told

IANS in an exclusive interview: "... it's good that they did not give me a Padma Shri. I have neither flattered anyone in my life, nor will I ever. I don't want these awards if they have been given to people (in the industry) who got it this time." He believes "an award is a no big thing, but its importance lies in the people it has been conferred upon"."Earlier, there was a certain honesty in these awards but it's not the same case now. People have now forgotten to respect others and have become way too selfish. "I would think that I was not as capable as those who were chosen for the Padma awards this year. I, however, thank all those who proposed my name for it," Khan added.

Urmila Matondkar February 4, 1974


Abhishek Bachchan February 5, 1976

24 February 05, 2016 3rd T20: Ice-cool Raina Lifts India to a 3-0 Whitewash BY DANIEL BRETTIG

SYDNEY (ESPN Cricinfo): In-

dia 3 for 200 (Rohit 52, Kohli 50, Raina 49*) beatAustralia 5 for 197 (Watson 124*) by seven wickets A thrilling chase and a cruel missed chance saw India seal a Twenty20 series sweep over Australia at the SCG, as the more settled side was victorious once again. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli laid the groundwork for India’s pursuit before Suresh Raina was able to finish things off with the help of Yuvraj Singh, who looked out of touch before finding his timing at precisely the right moment as the pair took 19 off Andrew Tye’s final over of the innings to finish off the win. Victory also lifted India to No.1 in the ICC T20 rankings; they were eighth before the series began. Raina was fortunate to be there, having escaped a stumping chance second ball. The bowler Cameron Boyce was Austra- Suresh Raina celebrates India’s win with Yuvraj Singh, Australia v India, 3rd T20I, Sydney, January 31, lia’s outstanding performer on 2016. the night, but he was let down wan only lasted nine balls, but first two balls, flicking over back- company, but Travis Head proby the glove work of Cameron in that time clumped 26 runs and ward square leg to the fence then vided common sense support to Bancroft, a speculative choice as made a mess of Shaun Tait. Rohit pounding a six into the heaving his captain, who grew in fluency wicketkeeper for this match in was a little more circumspect, but crowd at midwicket. That rather and confidence with every over. A the absence of Matthew Wade. helped keep the score ticking over simplified the equation for In- few weeks ago Watson had played The error typified Australia’s well ahead of the required rate. dia, and a pair of hustled twos similarly well on this ground for muddled approach to this seAustralia were able to pull things by Raina were followed by an the Sydney Thunder against the ries, just a month out from the back somewhat through the middle exultant last ball boundary that Sydney Sixers, and this time WatWorld T20 in India. However overs thanks largely to the bowl- completed India’s clean sweep. son went on from his typical restthey did have the consolation of ing of Watson and the legspinner Watson had won the toss on a ing place between 50 and 90 to a an outstanding century by the Boyce, who gave the ball teasing warm evening and walked out to maiden T20 international century. stand-in captain Shane Watson, flight and loaded it with spin to beat bat with his Thunder opening partThe milestone brought an exwho showed why he should be Rohit, Kohli and Raina in the air. ner Usman Khawaja. In the form pansive celebration by Watson on indispensable to the team’s cam- Boyce gained two wickets for his of his life, Khawaja strolled to 14 the ground of his adopted home paign on the same day his former effort but should have had a third, from five balls before edging a state for several reasons. Not only team-mate Michael Clarke an- when Bancroft missed the stump- good one from Ashish Nehra and was it a rare international century nounced he intended to return to ing chance that a more seasoned being dismissed for less than 50 for him and a moment to assure cricket after a five-month break. keeper might have completed. for the first time since last October. his presence in the team for the India’s bowling was not particuAfter Kohli’s exit to Boyce’s That was something of a shock for World T20 in India, the innings larly strong this night, but their penultimate ball for another spar- the crowd and the Australians, but was also doubtless a timely one a batting strength was demonstrated kling contribution of 50, Raina Watson was soon finding his range few days before the IPL auction. by Rohit, Kohli and Raina. Vitally, and Yuvraj Singh pottered around with powerful shots struck through Watson would follow up with Raina and Yuvraj did not lose their for a time. As MS Dhoni had and over MS Dhoni’s fields. He some tidy bowling, but as captain heads under the pressure of the done during the 50-over match was given a helping hand by a pair he could do little about the less ilchase - a strong lesson for the Aus- on this ground a little over a of no-balls from Jaspreet Bumrah lustrious work of others, as India tralians given their panicky dis- week ago, they allowed the equa- in the fourth over, the second from romped home. They will go into the plays in Adelaide and Melbourne. tion to stretch out while finding the free-hit he gave up by bowl- World T20 full of confidence; AusIn pursuit of 198, India needed their bearings, and Tye was left ing the first - both were crunched tralia do not look sure where to go. a fast start, something Shikhar to defend 17 from the final over. to the cover boundary by Watson. Daniel Brettig is an assistant Dhawan and Rohit were more As though rousing from a deep Shaun Marsh and Glenn Max- editor at ESPNcricinfo. than capable of providing. Dha- sleep, Yuvraj pounced on Tye’s well could not endure in Watson’s


Mirza-Hingis Triumph in Third Grand Slam

HYDERABAD: Following her

Australian Open triumph, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza said it was an unreal feeling to win three Grand Slam titles in a row and she would try to maintain the winning streak with her Swiss partner Martina Hingis. “It’s an unreal feeling. We haven’t lost a match in a long time but also to win three Grand Slams in a’s what really dreams are made of and I am really excited. It was a perfect way to start the year. We feel really happy. Three Slams in a row who would have thought. I am taking a couple of days off before going to Fed Cup in Thailand,” said Sania after her arrival here. Reacting to another query, she said “Nothing is certain. We still have to go out there and give our best and try and play the best that we can. Fortunately we have been able to do this for so many months and the whole year has been incredible. Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis were on Friday last crowned the Australian Open women’s doubles champions after they tamed the spirited Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets for their 36th win in a row. It was their third consecutive Grand Slam title for Sania and Martina, having won the Wimbledon and US Open in 2015. In an incredible feat, Sania and Martina have now extended their unbeaten run to 36 matches, winning eight titles in a row. They won five straight titles in 2015, starting from the US Open and before the Australian Open now. Asked on her Padma Bhushan recognition, Sania said “I am very honored and I hope I can be here in the country (to receive the award) and it would be amazing. I was here for the Khel Ratna and hopefully I can be here. It’s a great honour for me and I feel privileged.”

A triple crown for Mirza-Hingis.


February 05, 2016


Infosys, Wipro Join Barack Obama’s $4 billion ’Computer Science for All’ Education Plan


ASHINGTON: Three major Indian information technology firms— Infosys Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), and Wipro Ltd—

have joined US President Barack Obama’s “computer science for all” initiative as part of a public-private collaboration, pledging thousands of

dollars in grants. Obama announced the plan in his weekly address on Saturday as he emphasized on the need for teaching computer science as a “basic skill” to all children across schools in the country in a changing economy. While Infosys has pledged a $1 million in donation, TCS is providing support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities, the White House said in a fact sheet issued on Saturday. Wipro announced a $2.8 million grant for multi-year project in partnership with Michigan University to involve over a hundred school teachers, with the aim of nurturing excellence in science and mathematics. This would start with the public school systems of Chicago, Obama’s home town.

According to the White House, the TCS and Infosys pledge is part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) effort to collaborate with the private sector to support high school computer science (CS) teachers. “Infosys Foundation USA will be a founding member of this public-private collaboration with a $1 million philanthropic donation, and, as an initial participant, Tata Consultancy Services is providing additional support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities,” the White House said. “This collaboration will ultimately provide opportunities for as many as 2,000 middle- and high-school teachers to deepen their understanding of CS,” it said in the statement. “Wipro is committed to being an involved participant in its communities. This initiative seeks to develop and

inspire young people to contribute to excellence in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education,” said T.K. Kurien, chief executive officer and member of the board, Wipro Ltd. “There is a critical shortage of excellent math and science teachers nation-wide and even more so in urban school districts,” said project co-leader Sonya Gunnings-Moton, assistant dean in the College of Education, Michigan State University. Aarti Dhupelia, chief officer of College and Career Success at Chicago Public Schools, said this partnership with Wipro and Michigan State University have a transformational impact in classrooms and communities.

GAIL Plans to Import Ethane from US for $5 Billion Petrochem Plant NEW DELHI: State-owned gas

utility GAIL (India) Ltd plans to import ethane from countries such the US for a $5 billion petrochemical plant it is setting up inAndhra Pradesh jointly with Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL). GAIL will be the second company after Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to plan import of ethane—a component of natural gas found in abundance in the Marcellus shale and used for making root chemical for plastics, resins, adhesives and synthetic products. People familiar with the matter said said GAIL is seeking supplies of up to 1.3 million tonnes per annum of ethane for 15 years on the east coast of India beginning 2022. GAIL-HPCL are planning the petrochem project after their plans to

team up with France’s Total, Lakshmi N. Mittal Group and Oil India Ltd (OIL) for a 15 million tonnes a year refinery-cum-petrochemical plant at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, fell through. That project fell as partners pulled out one after the other due to weak global demand. RIL plans to import 1.5 million tonnes of ethane annually from the US to substitute its current propane imports and a portion of naphtha used for ethylene production. Imports could start as early as 2016-end. The company has executed storage and capacity agreements for liquefaction of ethane with a North American terminal and has also ordered six VLECs (very large ethane carriers) for transporting ethane to India.

People familiar with the matter said GAIL-HPCL plan to set up an ethane cracker plant. The plant will make ethylene, which is the most commonly produced petrochemical. Ethylene is used as the basis for plastics such as beverage containers, food wrap, polyvinyl chloride, polyester, and chemicals such as those found in antifreeze, solvents, urethanes and pharmaceuticals. The five-way alliance of HPCL, explorer OIL, gas utility GAIL, Mittal Investment Sarl and Total in October 2007 had signed a memorandum of understanding to look at the feasibility of setting up the Vizag project. In 2009, the Rs.50,000 crore project was put on hold as petrochemical demand then was seen as too weak to justify the investment. Total did

pre-feasibility for the refinery project and demand studies, while GAIL was in charge of the study of the petrochemical unit. But the project in 2010 was put on the back burner before equity structure could be decided. While the refinery was to be built to process sour

and heavy crudes, which are cheaper than low sulphur sweat crude oil, the petrochemical plant was to use the naphtha produced in the refinery as feedstock. Officials said the petrochemical plant now being conceived will use natural gas as a feedstock.


26 February 05, 2016

LAHORE: Notwithstanding Paki-

stan government’s ban on the media coverage of militant groups like the JuD and LeT, Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has appeared on a private Pakistani channel’s talk show. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on November 2 had restrained all Pakistani television channels from “all kinds of coverage” of the JuD, its front Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and about 60 other proscribed organisations and their leaders. Saeed made an appearance on a talk show on Channel 24 on January 27. He glorified his organisation’s “public welfare” works and talked about

Despite Ban, Pak Channel Brings JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed on Talk Show how India and the US were ”pressuring” the Pakistani government to take action against organisations like the JuD and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Saeed, in reference to the Pathankot terror attack, dismissed the suggestion that the government was “patronising” some “non-state actors and banned organisations”. A PEMRA official told PTI that a notice to the channel would be issued for the violation of the directive. “We had warned the electronic media that in case of non-compliance (to the directive), we will take legal action -- imposition of fine or suspension or cancellation of licence,” the PEMRA official said. The PEMRA notification banned

File photo of Chief of the Pakistan's outlawed Islamic hardliner group Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

all TV channels and FM radio from coverage of banned groups including LeT, JuD and FIF under UN restriction. The UN declared JuD a terror organisation and also individually designated Saeed as a terrorist in December 2008. The US has already put 10 million dollar bounty on his head. Saeed, who orchestrated the November, 2008, Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people were killed, roams around freely in Pakistan despite being a designated terrorist and has made many anti-India remarks and speeches. -HindustanTimes

India Turns the Tide on Malnutrition

According to health experts, more than 50% of child mortality under five years of age can be attributed to malnutrition


More precisely, it tells us that one

troubling health statistic, malnutrition, may be on the mend; especially since the health data pertaining to two of the states—Bihar and Madhya Pradesh—most afflicted with malnutrition show a perceptible fall. Of course, this has to be caveated by the fact that this is a relative assess-

ment—against the fact that previously the decline of malnutrition was very sluggish—and it is not ‘Mission Accomplished’. Far from it. The point here is that after several tweaks, public policy interventions, if the data is to be believed, are finally showing results on the ground. The trick is to quickly comprehend what interventions are working and promptly scale the programme. Much time has already been

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lost. This is because malnutrition is the silent assassin and is devastating to not just large swathes of the population but also to the nation’s economy—impacting productivity and creating an army of sick personnel. Because it is not easily visible, it is ignored, especially in rural India, and had consequently acquired frightening proportions. Malnutrition is the single largest factor contributing to child mortality. It makes children fatally vulnerable to diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory infections. According to health experts, more than 50% of child mortality under five years of age can be attributed to malnutrition. And for those who survive, they remain vulnerable for the rest of their lives, which, in any case, cannot be normal—worse, they are just one illness away from plunging back into poverty or deeper into it as the case may be. So, what is there in NFHS-4 that makes us hopeful so suddenly. The first batch of data released by the government only covers 13 states. Data on Madhya Pradesh and Bihar reveal that both for stunted and undernourished children less than five years, there have been a substantive

decline. To be sure, the Rapid Survey on Children 2013–14 released last year signalled a visible improvement in malnutrition. NFHS-4 has only confirmed this trend. In the case of Madhya Pradesh, undernourished children less than five years dropped from nearly two in three children in 2005-06 to a little over two in five children in 2015-16. In the same period, the decline was from 55.9% to 43.9%. This, by any standards, is a very significant fall. What gives? I am sure health experts will dwell in detail on what worked this turn around. While that may be the case, there does seem to be some correlation between improved sanitation and decline in malnutrition. The NFHS-4 (actually a treasure trove of health statistics and accessible at shows that in both states there was almost a doubling of the population with access to improved sanitation. In the case of Bihar, it rose from 14.6% in 2005-06 to 25.2% in 2015-16 and for Madhya Pradesh, over the same period, it was up from 18.7% to 33.7%. At the least, it is a key factor contributing to the visible improvement in

malnutrition in these two states. If indeed this correlation does hold up to academic scrutiny, then it may well be providing ideological ballast to the idea of Swachh Bharat. This is an idea which seems to resonate (as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi found out the hard way during his interaction with students in Bengaluru when he chose to pan the programme) with most people. In the final analysis, it is apparent that one aspect of India’s health status is on the mend. Eradicating malnutrition is a precondition for India to realize its economic potential. The country has turned a corner, but the battle is far from over. As Ashok Alexander, director of Antara Foundation which seeks to provide preventive public health solutions, puts it: “We have come a long way, and there is an even longer way to go. Empowering the woman and enabling her good health is the surest way to tackle malnutrition.” Anil Padmanabhan is deputy managing editor of Mint and writes every week on the intersection of politics and economics.

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