E newspaper02092018

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Friday, February 09, 2018 • Vol. 37, No. 6

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February 09, 2018



February 09, 2018


ASIE Bids Farewell to Outgoing President Dinesh Shah, Introduces New Board

Honorable Guest Dr. Daniel Wong (left), TBPE Chairman and Former Sugar Land Councilman conducted the swearing-in ceremony for the ASIE 2018 board members: (L-R) Sekhar Ambadapudi, Avinash Patel, Archana Sharma, Tej Kour, Apoorv Kumar, Chaitanya Gampa (Sec), Sirish Madichetti (Tr), Showri Nandagiri (VP) and Sai Gowthami Asam (Pr). Photos: Navin Mediwala

HOUSTON: American Society

of Indian Engineers and Architects (ASIE) held a ceremonial event on Thursday, Jan. 25 at India House to bid farewell to the 2017 Outgoing President Dinesh D. Shah and Board and for the recognition and induction of their new Board for 2018. A packed hall of nearly 100 ASIE members and guest were in attendance. 2013 Past President Vishal Merchant was the emcee for the event. Vishal, briefly sharing historical information about ASIE and the tradition of this ceremonial event. In support of the ASIE Mission to develop future of architecture and engineering students, ASIE recognized 3rd year UH architecture student Tanmay Thakkar. He was selected as the first prizewinner of the contest for affordable single-family housing sponsored by Seeds of Sharsptown, in collaboration with UH College of Architecture. Outgoing president Dinesh D. Shah expressed his sincere thanks to ASIE members and the board for making 2017 the most suc-

cessful year in the ASIE history with 14 technical seminars, an architectural field trip, two ethics seminars, 40 corporate members, 285 total members, and passed on a surplus fund for the year 2018. Shah also recognized outgoing board members Chetan Vyas, Madhu Kilambi, Gaju Patel, and Poolkeshi Patel with plaques and certificates of appreciation to continuing second year board members Chaitanya Gampa, Sirish Madichetti, Archana Sharma, and Tej Kour. After the recognitions, Emcee Merchant introduced the Honorable Guest Dr. Daniel Wong, who serves as President and CEO of Tolunay-Wong Engineers, Inc. in Houston. Dr. Wong is also serving as a Chairman for the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) since 2012. Then Merchant introduce the incoming 2018 President Sai Gowthami Asam. Asam has been active member of ASIE since 2012. She served on ASIE Board as IT Chair and in Gala

2018 board. Addressing the audience of mostly professional engineers, Wong praised ASIE and members for the active role they play in the engineering and architectural field. He also admired ASIE for serving as a forum to assist its engineers and architects members in career advancement by providing networking through continuing educational seminars, workshops and field trips. He briefly talked about TBPE and added TBPE is also working together for the policy matter with Architecture Board. Then incoming President Asam thanked the Past President Shah and his board for carrying out the successful year. She assured the members that she will make sure to keep the momentum and take ASIE to the next level during her one-year term. Presenting her vision as a young engineer she said, “Our 2018 mission is to develop management

and leadership skills for young engineers, architects, technicians, and designers of Indian origin in the Greater Houston Area. We will continue to increase the corporate membership and annual membership as we will be celebrating ASIE’s 25 years.” out Awards to students in Junior, Ninth & Senior Divisions based on their projects.” Asam recognized the 2018 ASIE Advisory Council members and presented the plaque to the retiring Advisory Council Members Vishal Merchant and Naresh Kolli. She presented the Glass Plaque to Dinesh Shah for the token of appreciation on behalf of ASIE. For the present surprise for Shah, she unveiled the new banner of Past President with his name added in the history of ASIE. After the vote of thanks, the program concluded with dinner provided by Hyderabad House.

Incoming 2018 ASIE President presents a plaque to Outgoing 2017 ASIE President Dinesh D. Shah.

Reception Committee in 2014, as Secretary in 2015 and as Treasurer in 2016. Asam is currently working as Senior Structural Engineer at Versabar Inc. She holds a BSME degree from JNTU Kakinada, India; and an MSME from Missouri University of Science and Technology (University of Missouri-Rolla). Dr. Wong then conducted the swearing-in ceremony for the entire

Banner showing the list of past presidents was unveiled by ASIE 2018 President Sai Gowthami Asam with a surprise addition of Outgoing President Dinesh D. Shah.



February 09, 2018



February 09, 2018


Gauhar: An Exhilarating Theatrical Journey to a Bygone Era BY JYOTI KULKARNI

HOUSTON: Indian theater lov-

ers in Houston were transported to the exhilarating life of a tawaif (court singer/dancer). The occasion was an extraordinary play “Gauhar”, depicting the life of Gauhar Jaan, a legendary North Indian classical court musician and dancer of the early 20th century. Gauhar’s claim to fame is that she is the first Indian voice to be recorded by His Masters Voice (HMV) Gramophone Company of India (now Saregama). Gauhar produced more 600 records from 1902 to 1920, in more than ten languages. She would round off each recorded performance by announcing, “My name is Gauhar Jaan!” Saragama India is planning to bring out a selection of her recordings in the near future. The play is based on a book by Vikram Sampat, My Name is Gauhar Jaan. The play was adapted by Mahesh Dattani and superbly directed by Lillete Dubey. Produced by Mumbai-based Prime Time Theater Co., the play was brought to Houston by a local dramatic company, EnActe, as the first stop of a US tour. Gauhar Jaan was born as Angelina Yeoward in 1873 in Azamgarh UP, of Armenian descent. Her father, William Robert Yeoward, worked as an engineer in a dry ice factory, and her mother was Victoria Hemmings, an Indian by birth. In 1879, the marriage ended and mother and daughter migrated to Banaras in 1881 to live with a Muslim nobleman. Victoria then converted to Islam and changed her name to Malka Jaan and Angelina’s name to Gauhar Jaan. The play unfolds the poignancy and vulnerability of Gauhar’s life of a courtesan, despite her eminence and dedication to her art. Gauhar was celebrated by her patrons, but none would marry her because of the social stigma. As a result, Gauhar was romantically involved with numerous noblemen, singers and businessmen, but died in relative obscurity and

poverty. The play also depicts legal battles to save her assets from servants, who tried to take advantage of Gauhar’s innocence. An accomplished dancer and singer in her own right, Rajeshwari Sachev, who played the lead role of Gauhar, was exquisite in presenting on stage Gauhar’s pain resulting from life’s conflicts, her revelations and jubilations in music. Some readers may remember Sachdev hosted several musical TV shows such as Antakshari. The daughter of renowned classical maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan, actress Zila Khan portrayed Gauhar’s aging mother Malka Jaan. With the singing of haunting melodies, she beautifully created the ambience of a bygone era. The audience appreciated the fact that both Rajeshwari Sachdev and Zila Khan performed highly difficult classical ghazals and thumris live on stage. Notable also was the actor Denzil Smith, who played Gauhar’s father, and later, Fred Gaisberg, the Englishman who made the HMV recordings. The cast included Danny Sura, Rajeev Siddhartha, Sukanya Chakraborti and Sanjana Shukla. Sukanya and Sanjana are actually California-based actresses, who had to learn their parts in just three days. Despite the tragic nature of the play, there were some comic scenes, particularly the reaction of the servants to the gramophone machine, calling it a “devil”, and the Englishman’s reactions to a funny rendition of a Western ballroom dance. It is unfortunate that many Houstonians missed an opportunity to attend the play with its superb content and authentic production values due to short notice of the performances. An EnActe spokesman said the actors and backstage staff were able to obtain their US visas only 15 days before the start of their tour. As Houston was the first stop for the touring play, hopefully the production will garner bigger audiences in other US cities.

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Rajeshwari Sachdev

Gauhar Jaan and her musicians in a recording studio. Credit: Saregama.

IACF Elects Architect Mahesh Wadhwa as President


Indo-American Charity Foundation (IACF) has elected Mahesh Wadhwa as its President for 2018. Serving on the IACF’s Executive Committee with Wadhwa are Swetha Arora, Secretary; Venkat Iyer, Treasurer; Sreeni Nakirekanti, Joint Treasurer; Shobana Muratee as President–Elect; and Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, Immediate Past President. Wadhwa joined IACF in 2015 as a Director and served during 2017 as the President-Elect. “I would like to improve IACF’s community outreach,” explained Wadhwa as one of his goals for the charity organization. “Additional efforts will be conducted to focus on signature events and to build a strong platform for continuity for the 30-year-strong organization.” In 2018, IACF completes 30 years as a leading non-profit representing the philanthropic spirit of the Indo American community in Houston while addressing needs in the areas of education, family, general needy and healthcare in the metro Houston area. Driven by its motto “We live here, we give here,” IACF strives

Mahesh Wadhwa

to serve the greater Houston community in more ways than it can. Last year, IACF was among the leading Indo-American organizations to support hurricane Harvey victims through fundraising and volunteer work. Wadhwa is President of Wadhwa and Associates, Inc., an engineering and architectural firm providing building services for 35+ years. WAI specializes in designing hotels/motels, banks, medical/retail/ office buildings, manufacturing & distribution facilities. With hundreds of projects under the belt, WAI has many satisfied customers around the world including: U.S., Mexico, Asia, and Africa. After completing his B.S. in

Architecture in 1966, Mahesh moved to U.S. in 1974 and worked with Stran Steel on the prestigious Alaska pipeline project. He then lead a team of architects at a sister company of MW Kellogg, before founding WAI in 1982. Wadhwa brings a wealth of experience to IACF from his connections with professional, business and philanthropic organizations. He has served as an advisory board member of United Central Bank and American Society of Indian Engineers (ASIE), as council member at India House, and as the VicePresident of India Culture Center (ICC). He has volunteered his design services for The Science of Soul Study Center, Sikh Center, Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS), Hindu Worship Society (HWS), the initial master planning of the India House. Presently he is designing the BAPS staff quarters. Wadhwa practices yoga regularly and is also an amateur singer. He lives with his wife Shashi. He has two sons and enjoys the company of his four grandchildren.

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February 09, 2018

Space City Raas Partners with Kalakriti Performing Arts for the First Garba/Raas Competition

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HOUSTON: The University of Houston’s

Space City Raas (SCR) in partnership with Kalakriti Performing Arts put on an outstanding show this last weekend at Cullen Performance Hall! Eight Raas Garba teams from Texas, Missouri, Florida, and Pennsylvania traveled far and wide to compete and earn bid points to Raas All-Stars, the Raas National Championship. An exciting RAS video played at the show, presenting their event as its tenth anniversary, coming this March in Dallas. The Space City Raas board is a group of Roarin’ Raas alumni, dedicated to continuing the legacy of their founder, brother, and standing example on what it means to be a teammate, Rakesh ‘Rocky’ Patel. To commemorate him, the board invited the Be the Match Foundation to the show. Be the Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, and has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world for the past 25 years. Space City Raas highlighted that matches found for South Asian patients are less than 3%. Their heartwarming and informative speech before intermission led to many audience viewers to register for bone marrow donation. The dance performances were beyond energetic and enigmatic. Each team was composed of a mix of Raas and Garba songs, and included an incorporation of thematic elements. For example, Texas A&M Wreckin’ Raas incorporated themes of an airport through out their entire performance, ending their dance with a clever line alluding to their lost luggage. SLU Raas, from Saint Louis University, traveled through a Supermarket in their dance, showing them going

down the isles and grabbing common grocery. All of these themes accompanied a combination of traditional Gujarati folk dance and modern influences. These performances were a perfect of example of the Indian-American youth, and their drive to preserve their two cultures. An array of judges were picked for Choreography, Execution, and Artistic Element. The talented Kusum Sharma from Kalakriti Performing Arts was one of two Artistic Element judges, using her experience and knowledge on Indian dance to decide her top choices. All of the judges went through thorough judges training, as well as an exciting judges deliberation after all the performances were done. They went through each and every opinion until the there was a consensus. While the judges spent time deliberating their top choices, to beautifully arranged dance pieces went into motion. One was a classical dance team from Sunanda Nair Performing Arts, and the other was a Bollywood dance organized by Kusum Sharma’s Shri Natraj School of Dance. Both performances showcased differing Indian styles of dance! At the end of it only one team came out on top, and that team was University of Texas, Dallas, TaRaas. In second and third place were UT Texas Raas and UF GatoRaas, respectively. Families and friends from all over Texas came to watch an unforgettable show. From high-energy performances, to meaningful and charitable speeches, Space City Raas was an event that created a lasting impression on a diverse audience. Kalakriti Performing Arts is non-profit organization with mission to support Indian culture and heritage through artistic and visual dance forms. Over the years Kalakriti has worked with several other Houston non-profit organizations to support their fundraiser. Ramleela a signature event of Kalakriti held annually at VPSS Haveli. Ramleela 2018 will be held on October 21, 2018. For more information and for future event details please visit www.kalakritiusa.org or www.facebook.com/kalakritiusa. Kalakriti & SCR look forward for your support next year and seeing each of you again at our next event in Dallas at RAA ALL STARS X on March 31st 2018.


February 09, 2018





February 09, 2018

Solve Word Search & the Names of the Winners will be published in Our Next Issue

Find 10 words on Valentine’s Day: • • • • • • • • • •

Candy Cards Cupid Doves February Flowers Heart Valentine Red Love

R���� �� W��: • Like us on Facebook, Indo-American News • Solve the Word Search puzzle • Email us the screenshot of our liked Facebook Page, and the solved puzzle at indoamericannews@yahoo.com • Email by Wednesday, February 14, 2018 • For first 3 entrees only, 1 submission per month, 1 per Household

Last Week Word Search Winners

1) Vibhu Parmar 2) Sameer Agarwal 3) Preeti Malwani



February 09, 2018


Story of Fish Teaches Sikh Kids a Lesson in Having Faith in Guru Nanak

The kids from the school surrounded Singh, Likhari and teacher Manjit Soni with copies of the book they received.



Bhupinder Singh was in the middle of explaining the central theme of his book and had gotten to the point when the main character, a young boy named Aman, turns to his dadaji (paternal grandfather) crying that he wouldn’t get the bike he wanted. His dadaji tried to divert his attention by reminding him about the cruise they had gone on where they had seen dolphins. “They eat other fish, because they can’t get out of the ocean to eat,” said dadaji. “Where do you get your food from?” “From the grocery store,” yelled out a little boy from the crowd of

kids sitting on the floor of the worship hall of the Gurdwara Sahib of Southwest Houston. A bemused Bhupinder Singh looked out at the kids. He was delighted they were paying such close attention to the story he had written and self-published in the children’s book “Fish Eat Fish World”. He continued on and a few other kids blurted out comments. At the end, he said, Aman’s dad gets a new job “and Aman gets his bike”, many more kids cried out together! This reaction is what Singh had wanted when he first came up with the idea for the short 32-page book geared to Sikh children in the US and other western countries. The 8 by 10 book with a glossy cover and many colorful illustrations (by

a young Canadian artist, Bhagat Singh Bedi) is based on a line from Sikh scriptures attributed to the second Guru Angad “Nanak chinthaa math karahu chi(n)thaa this hee hai” (Nanak says do not worry, the Lord will take care of us all). In the end, dadaji says “Don’t worry about your needs as the Creator .. provides sustenance to all.” Singh launched his new – and first children’s – book at the GSSWH last Sunday, February 4 just after the kids from the adjoining Punjabi School were finishing reciting the ardas (prayers) in Punjabi and practicing on their pronunciations. The school Director Manmeet Likhari encouraged them to practice and then introduced Singh and his “attempt to

Punjabi school Director Manmeet Likhari introduced Bhupinder Singh and his book “Fish Eat Fish World”

get kids to love reading books.” Singh admitted that he was not a writer (though he has written four books on Sikhism and several religious articles) and didn’t have an artistic mind, so he ventured to “find an illustrator who could pull together the Sikh ethos”

in his drawings. As the little kids came forward to surround him and receive a copy of the book (it is being distributed free of charge), he realized that he had recreated that ethos for future generations of Sikhs.


10 February 09, 2018


Grand Celebration of Thai Poosam at Sri Meeenakshi Temple on Sunday, February 4 BY BHARGAVI GOLLA


Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Thai Poosam with great grandeur, devotion and enthusiasm on February 4. This is one of the biggest and colorful festivals at MTS. Around 1000 devotees participated in the celebration and about 250 registrations for Kavadi and Paalkudams. It is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai (January – February) on a full moon day and the day of the star Poosam (Pushaya). Thai Poosam is dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan, the son of Shiva and Parvathi. Murugan is also known as Karthikeya, Subramanya, Shanmukha, Shadanana, Skanda and Guha. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvathi presented a Vel (lance) to Lord Murugan to vanquish the demon army of Tarakasura and combat their evil deeds. Therefore, Thai Poosam is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Devotees prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting for at least six days before Thai Poosam. Priests Sri Manickasundara Bhattar, Sri Kalyana Sundaram, Sri Balaji Sethuraman and Sri Sridharan Raghavan performed initial rituals including Sankalpam, Vinayaka puja and Punya-

havachanam at the Ganesh Temple for Kaavadi (a semicircular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod with small milk pot on both sides) and Paalkudam (brass pots with milk and covered with a coconut and tied by yellow

cloth) and handed those to devotees. Devotees carried kaavadis on their shoulder and paalkudams on the head in a procession around the main temple to Kalyanamandapam while chanting Vetrivel Muruhanukku Arohara and Mu-

ragan devotional bhajans. Many children along with their parents carried kavadis and paalkudams in the procession. By completing this walk the devotees feel a sense of satisfaction and spiritual awakening in their lives. Energetic devotees entertained the crowd with Kavadi Dance and Kummi Attam at the procession At the kalyana mandapam priests performed the Abhishekam, Alankaram, and Upacharam to “Utsava Murthi” of Lord Murugan and Deivayanai and Valli Devi with the milk from Kavadis and Paalkudams. Devotees recited “Kanda Shasti Kavacham” and Bhajans, which filled the atmosphere with sacred vibrations and Divine energies. Volunteers distributed the milk from the “Ab-

hishekam” and “Prasadam” bags with coconuts and fruits. The Utsava Murthies were taken in a procession on the silver chariot to the main temple for the final Aarathi. The procession was accompanied by Chenda melam performed by young MTS devotees. The Divine Thai Poosam concluded with a sumptuous feast, organized by Food committee lead, Rani Chilukuri and served by volunteers. MTS Chairman Dr. Padmini Ranganathan thanked the priests, staff, Board and volunteers. This event was coordinated by Dr. Dorairajan, Malar Narayanan and Nachal Sethuraman. A short video of the event can be found at: https://youtu.be/EC_r6k5CQrE



February 09, 2018

That Soothing, Haunting Voice Soothes Us Once Again! This Time, it’s Bunty!!

The performers for the ghazal concert, from left, Bobby Jutley on the tabla, singer Jaswinder Singh “Bunty”, Rennison Macwan on the keyboards and guitar and Azim Khan on the 5-string electric violin.

The organizers with promoter Rashmi Gupta (center); from left, Rita Saaraf, Kokie Patel, Sudarshan, Vinay Sharma and Niti Mohan, the emcee.

The performers on the low dais in the Auburn Lakes Clubhouse last Saturday, February 3



TX: It was a cold and wet night with a steady light drizzle and a light fog would soon descend along the pinetree lined backroads. Inside the Auburn Lakes Community Club House was packed with people who had come to listen to a live ghazal concert. And the velvety soothing voice of Jaswinder Singh “Bunty” did not disappoint as he and his accompanying three musicians serenaded the packed hall with songs in a tribute to the late great ghazal singer Jagjit Singh. Once again, in the fifth year in a row, Rashmi Gupta, pulled together this concert for Indian music lovers in The Woodlands and Spring. She is a connoisseur of classical Indian music who acquired her passion at the knee of her late mother Aruna Gupta, a

well-known classical music promoter and noted artist in her own right in New Delhi. Perhaps subliminally channeling her mother or by coincidence, but certainly at her own initiative, Rashmi Gupta has become the force in North Harris County behind bringing some renowned artists to play in an intimate setting for 100 people where they can be yards away from the performers and then mingle with them afterwards. Two years ago she brought in the vocalist Pandit Vinayak Torvi, last year vocalist Pandit Kaivalya Kumar and this year it was Bunty, as he is better known to his admirers. Gupta is supported by others who share her passion, and for this past concert held on Saturday, February 3, businessmen Mukesh Mittal and Vijay Goradia sponsored the concert “and many others wrote checks to show their support,” said

Gupta. Niti Mohan was the emcee of the evening and Rita and Dr. Sunil Saraf helped Gupta with all the details. After the concert, a buffet dinner was catered by Hyderabad House which also did the appetizers. The audience was ecstatic over the 90-minute medley of ghazals from Jagjit Singh and 19th century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, intertwined with snippets of other songs, Punjabi tappe and folksongs by Bunty. He played the harmonium and was accompanied on the low dais by Bobby Jutley on the tabla, Rennison Macwan on the keyboards and guitar and Azim Khan on the 5-string electric violin. Bunty sounds so uncannily like Jagjit, down to the inflections, that it felt like the late great was with us. He had people dancing in their seats and then jump up to dance in front of the stage at the last pulsating number. The resemblance was no coincidence as Bunty spent his formative years under Jagit Singh’s guidance and accompanied him onstage during his 2001 UK concert tour. In 2001 Jagjit Singh introduced Bunty’s debut album “Aage Aage Dekhiye”. Bunty has launched several other albums - Ishq Nahin Asaan, “Yours Truly”; “Dilkash”; “ Ta m a n a ” ; a bhajan album, “Meri Vinati Suno Hey Ram” released by TIPS ; and “AKS” released by Universal. He lives in Long Island, New York and often tours across the country. Gupta has her eyes already set on a concert by Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra, the foremost Hindi classical singer, in the same venue on Friday, May 25, as part of his 40-city tour. Prior to that the Indian Music Society is planning a to have Mishra come for a Behrav to Behravi (Dawn to Dusk) concert in Houston on May 5 and a workshop the day after.


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12 February 09, 2018


Auspicious Maha Mrityunjaya Homam at Sri Guruvayurappan Temple, Houston

different items are being arranged for this Homam and some of the special pooja items specifically will be brought to conduct this ritual. Sivarathri special pooja will be performed on Feb 13 evening. Temple Board invites all devotees to participate in Sivarathri celebrations. To book Pooja/Homam please contact temple at (713) 729-8994 or Register at front desk. For more information contact Dr.

ual of Vedic tradition will be performed in the temple on Sunday, February 11 from 9 am to 11 am at 11620 Ormandy St, Houston TX 77035. The powerful Havan (Mrityunjaya Homam) is performed by chanting the Mrityunjaya mantra described in the Rig Veda. This ancient mantra has the potential to invoke Shiva through different aspects such as Rudra, Tryambaka and Mrityunjaya. It is believed that while performing Mrityunjaya Homam by chanting Maha Mrituynjaya Mantra creates divine vibrations that are considered to secure you from negative forces

Biju Pillai (President 832-2473411), Soniya Gopan (Secretary 409-515-7223). Sri Guruvayurappan Temple, Houston is located at 11620 Ormandy St Houston TX 77035. For further details visit www. guruvayurappanhouston.org or email at temple@guruvayurappanhouston.org

HOUSTON: This auspicious rit-

and danger and act as a protective shield. This auspicious ritual is being conducted every year in conjunction with Sivarathri celebrations. Hundreds of devotees will be participating Mrityunjaya Homam this Sunday (Feb 11) to seek Lord Siva’s blessings to grant devotees with health and peace. Nearly 25

Laya Taal Saadhna on Saturday February 17

HOUSTON: On Saturday Feb-

Job Posting:

ruary 17, the Indian Music Society of Houston and students of Tabla Guru Pandit Shantilal Shah will present what has come to become an eagerly anticipated annual event – Laya Taal Saadhna. This year’s event bears special significance as we celebrate Pt. Shah’s 15 years in Houston. Since the day he moved to our city in 2003, he has dedicated himself to furthering the timeless art of the Tabla and enriching the musical understanding of our community. While the previous Laya Taal Saadhna programs have focused exclusively on showcasing the

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skills of the students in the form of Tabla ensembles, this year’s performance takes it up a notch by showcasing the various Dimensions of Tabla – as an accompaniment to vocal, instrumental and dance performances too. The first part of the program – the “Tabla Ensemble” – scheduled from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, will take the audience on a rhythmic journey through the sounds of Tabla. Nearly 100 students of Pt. Shantilal Shah will present ensembles of powerful compositions and complex patterns in various rhythmic cycles that are a hallmark of this percussion instrument. The second part of the program – “Dimensions of Tabla” – scheduled from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM will feature senior student performers, holding the audience captive with their outstanding skills, accompanying other equally skilled artistes in Hindustani Vocal, Carnatic Violin and Kathak Dance as well as performing a Tabla Solo, highlighting the various facets and capabilities of this instrument. Free to the public, all music lovers and those interested in Tabla are cordially invited to attend. Pt. Shah – a Tabla maestro, is very well known in the Hindustani Classical Music community both

in the United States as well as in India. He is both a performing artist as well as an outstanding teacher. Hailing from Banaras, his initial taalim was from Pt. Mahadev Prasad Misra. He later moved to Pune to become a disciple of the legendary Taal Yogi, Pt. Suresh Talwalkar. A popular accompanist, he has graced the stage with many of the top Hindustani Classical musicians, including Pandit Jasraj, Smt. Aarti Ankalikar, Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe, and Pts. Rajan and Sajan Misra. In December 2017, he performed with legendary vocalists Pts. Rajan and Sajan Misra at the Sawai Gandharva festival in Pune – a multi-day music festival featuring the cream of the classical musicians of India, which draws in excess of 10,000 audience members including highly respected artistes who are in attendance, every day. His repertoire extends to the field of Western Classical music too. In 2014, he performed with the Houston Grand Opera in their production “River of Light”, which received tremendous accolades across Houston. Pt. Shah will be part of the upcoming worldwide musical tour titled “Bhairav Se Bharavi Tak”, wherein he will be performing with maestros Pt. Rajan and Sajan Misra at various cities in the US, Canada and possibly South America too. Taking place at the beautiful 450-seat UC Theater in the University of Houston main campus, Laya Taal Saadhna is sure to be a memorable event for all music lovers – beginners to stalwarts. For more information and tickets, please visit www.LTS2018. com or www.imshouston.net.



February 09, 2018

Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy Receives the Golden Aesculapius Award from the Bexar County Medical Society

Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, receiving the Golden Aesculapius Award from Dr. Sheldon Gross, President of the Bexar County Medical Society. It is the highest honor given to a physician for services to medicine and the society.


On January 20, Rajam Ramamurthy, MD received the Golden Aesculapius award from the Bexar County Medical Society in San Antonio, Texas. This award is the Society’s highest honor recognizing a lifetime of distinguished service by a BCMS member to our patients and the medical profession. Dr. Ramamurthy is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, University of Texas Health in San Antonio. Dr. Ramamurthy was born in a small gold mining town, Kolar Gold Fields in South India where she completed high school. She received her undergraduate education and entered medical school at the Prestigious, Bangalore Medical College. She came to the US in 1967 to Cook County Hospital in Chicago Illinois where she completed her pediatrics training and fellowship in Neonatology. She moved to San Antonio in 1977 with her husband who was professor of Anesthesiology and a pain management specialist. Her son Sendhil Ramamurthy is an actor and daughter Sujatha is an Internal Medicine and Psychiatry specialist. She is a distinguished teacher. In 1989 she received the outstanding faculty award from the graduating class of 1989. The same year she also received the Presidential Award for Excellence in teaching. She developed the first structured course to teach resuscitation of the newborn. As a regional trainer, she trained hospital-based instructors in almost 59 hospitals in south Texas. Since that time she has organized the Neonatal Resuscitation Program of the American Academy of pediatrics every year for the incoming freshman residents in the Departments of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Family Medicine and OB/GYN. To Date she has trained over 700, residents and fellows in Newborn resuscitation. In 1984she was inducted to the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame in the ‘Science and research’ category. She received the TMA Academic Excellence award in 2013. That same year she received the ROTA Award the highest honor for teaching

given by the University of Texas Reagents. Mentoring physicians coming from international schools has been a big part of her service. Twenty-five percent of the physicians and residents in training in the US are from international schools. She finds, introducing them to American Medicine, preparing them to excel in this environment and serve the patients locally with understanding of the diverse economic and social background they come from, very rewarding. This involvement led to her appointment from AMA to the National organization; Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates, Board of Directors where she served for 8 years. She was chair of the International Medical Graduates (IMG) section of TMA. Her interest in IMG issues led to her becoming the chair of the IMG section of AMA. She wrote the first document on ‘International Medical Graduates in the Health Care workforce in the US. In 2003, she received the Frank C. Webber, MD Award from the Medical Student Section of the Texas Medical Association. In 2004 Dr. Ramamurthy became the President of Bexar County Medical Society, the first woman president of the society in its 153 year history. She is also the first woman to receive the Golden Aesculapius award. Dr. Ramamurthy has also provided yeomen service to the San Antonio in the area of arts education. She is one of the founders of the Arathi School of Indian dance in 1981. She has served on numerous arts boards including the Dean’s advisory council of the College of Liberal and Fine arts of UTSA, Carver Development Board and currently serves on the board of Arts San Antonio an organization that focuses on bringing outstanding national and international performers and connects them with students in area high schools through the ARTSTEACH program. The Golden Aesculapius Award is a fitting recognition of her lifetime dedication to teaching and service to patients and the community.



14 February 09, 2018


February 09, 2018



16 February 09, 2018


International Customs Day 2018

Maharashtra Governor Shri Vidyasagar Rao at International Customs Day ‘2018


(INDIA): Mumbai Customs celebrated International Customs Day ‘2018 with great zeal and enthusiasm on January 27. The formal function was organised at Y.B Chavan Centre, Nariman Point, Mumbai at 10.00 AM. Shri Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao, Honourable Governor of Maharashtra was the chief guest on the occasion. Maharashtra Minister for Housing Shri Prakash Mehta, Flag officer Commanding in chief Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra and Ms. Zia Mody, Founder & Managing Partner ABZ & Partners were the other guest who graced the occasion. Senior officers of the department Shri Rajeev Tandon, Chief Commissioner of Customs Zone-I, Shri Vivek Johri, Chief Commissioner of Customs, zoneII and Shri Amrit Pal Suri, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai Zone-III were also present on

the Dias along with the guests. This year the World Customs Organization (WCO) theme was “Security of the Business Environment”. Shri Rajeev Tandon, Chief Commissioner of Customs, ZoneI, Mumbai, welcomed the Chief Guest and the other Guests present on the dais and also gave introductory speech on the subject. Thereafter Vice Admiral Shri Girish Luthra and Zia Mody gave his speech on the topic “Security of the Business Environment”. Shri Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao, Honourable Governor of Maharashtra lauds the Customs department for its role in preventing smuggling, contraband goods and fake currency entering the country. He also hailed the department in generating revenue, in nation building and making Indian economy safe and secure. He also laid emphasis in improving infrastructure and simplification of procedure by the

Shahrukh Khan & Amruta Fadnavis at International Customs Day ‘2018

Shri Bharat Gade Receiving Award from Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao.

customs department. Serving and retired officers and staff were also facilitated by the Honourable Governor. Among the special awardees Shri Bharat Gade, Superintendent of Customs, New Custom House, Mumbai who have been conferred the President’s award for the year ‘2018 for his outstanding contri-

bution to the Customs Department was felicitated by Honourable Governor of Maharashtra on the occasion. Mumbai Customs Coffee Table Book was also released by Honourable Governor of Maharashtra on this occasion. Further, the cultural programme was organised in the evening

at Shanmukhanand Hall, Sion, Mumbai. In this event, several prominent personalities including Bollywood stars “Shahrukh Khan, Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar, Ranveer Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh, Alia Bhatt, Anushaka Sharma, Sushmita Sen, Annu Malik, Annu Kapoor, Bappi Lahari were present and enthralled the crowd. GST song which was sung by Smt. Amruta Devendra Fadnavis was also launched on the occasion. Music CD for the same was inaugurated by Smt. Amruta Devendra Fadnavis, Shahrukh Khan, Shri Rajeev Tandon, Chief Commissioner of Customs Zone-I, Mumbai, Shri Vivek Johri, Chief Commissioner of Customs, zone-II, Mumbai and Shri Amrit Pal Suri, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Zone-III , Mumbai on the occasion.



Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Names New Trauma Medical Director HOUSTON: Memorial Hermann M.D., and Rondel Albarado, M.D. Southwest Hospital recently named Kulvinder Bajwa, M.D. as Trauma Medical Director. This appointment is an important step in the hospital’s journey to becoming a Level II Trauma Center. “It’s critical to have the expertise and immediate availability of highly skilled trauma physicians like Dr. Bajwa as we continue to serve the trauma and acute medical needs of Southwest Houston and surrounding communities,” said Greg Haralson, CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. “As our new Trauma Medical Director, Dr. Bajwa brings more than two decades of expertise to Memorial Hermann Southwest. His medical experience coupled with his unrelenting focus on high-quality and safe care makes him a tremendous asset to our team.” Dr. Bajwa received his medical degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He completed his general surgery residency and served as Chief Surgery Resident at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center/Temple University. From there, Dr. Bajwa went on to serve as a general and trauma surgeon in the local community and with the U.S. Army, where he also served as a Brigade Commander. Currently, he

Dr. Kulvinder Bajwa

serves as a Colonel in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army Reserves. He also is an associate professor at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “Memorial Hermann Southwest plays a critical role in serving the medical needs of the Greater Houston community,” said Dr. Bajwa. “I am excited to lead our team in our commitment to provide high level, acute care to those who enter our hospital.” Five Memorial Hermann affiliated physicians, who also serve as assistant professors of surgery at the McGovern Medical School, will join Dr. Bajwa, including: Joshua Person, M.D., Kathryn Balinger, M.D., Spogmai Komak, M.D., David Kim,

In 2016, Memorial Hermann Health System pledged to upgrade trauma capabilities within its integrated network in order to provide high-quality trauma care to greater Houston and surrounding areas. A Level II Trauma Center, as designated by the American College of Surgeons, offers 24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care. “Houston only has two Level I Trauma Centers, while a region this size should have six. By providing the community with additional options to receive high-level trauma care, we can reduce the burden on those locations handling all of the cases,” added Haralson. Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center recently received its Level II Trauma Verification. As part of its advanced trauma network, Memorial Hermann also operates two Level III trauma centers at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital and Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital. Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital, Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital and Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital operate Level IV trauma centers.

February 09, 2018


Major Fire at Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, 40 Shops Gutted

MADURAI: A major fire broke

out inside the premises of famous Meenakshi temple in Madurai in which atleast 40 shops were gutted, police said. However no one was injured, they said. Temple authorities ruled out any sabotage and said electrical short circuit in one of the shops selling pooja articles caused the fire late last night. The blaze did not cause any damage to the sculptures inside the temple though many of it was covered in soot, police said. Fortunately all the sculptures in the 1000-pillared hall were saved by the timely intervention of the temple officials, workers and the fire and rescue service personnel. A team of fire extinguishers battled past midnight to put out the fire and bring the situation under

control. Poojas would be held as per schedule, and cleaning up of the eastern side of the temple would be done in three days, officials said. Various organisations including Hindu Baktha Jana Sabha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Hindu Munnani had been demanding to vacate the shops from the temple premises and keep the premises clean. Meanwhile, devotees were allowed to offer worship in the temple this morning. District Collector Veera Raghava Rao, who was at the temple told reporters that there was no need for panic, and devotees could offer worship as usual. About 300 police personnel have been deployed in and around the temple for security. -livemint.com


18 February 09, 2018 Relax, Have a Bamboo

The bamboo is out of the woods. Just days ago, it was mired

in the controversy that has dogged it for decades, over whether it is a grass or timber, and whether the forest department has control over it. Today, it is the only windfall beneficiary of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget, with Rs 1,290 crore allocated for a National Bamboo Mission to facilitate its cultivation and trade. Jaitley has clearly looked east, and the people of the Northeastern states headed for elections have caught his drift. For them, bamboo is serious business. But in the rest of the country, where the economic significance of the bamboo is not blindingly obvious, the grass has purely punitive connotations. It’s just a stick to beat you with. And so the National Bamboo Mission has raised a bumper crop of jokes about why the BJP wants more of it. The finest are without comment, mute pictures that speak a thousand words, depicting lathi drill at RSS shakhas. But people who feel shaken and stirred by the BJP’s flagship policy interventions cannot hold their peace. They are saying that after the buffets of demonetisation and GST, the government has gone directly to the bamboo. Just before Lord Greystoke mutated into Tarzan and went at something, Edgar Rice Burroughs customarily wrote that he had “cast off the thin veneer of civilisation”. Yesterday’s bamboo jokes accused the government of similarly jettisoning even the appearance of civility. The National Bamboo Mission is inelegantly named. It suggests a military operation behind enemy lines. It is crying out for an acronym, and fortunately the government excels in conjuring them up. NaBam? NaBooM? No thank you, NaMo can do better than us. But isn’t it politically interesting how easily the image of a vengeful government adept at martinetry was conjured up by a mere budgetary allocation? -- Indian Express

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Refugees at the Doorstep


The arguments put forth by the Centre in the course of the January 31 hearing in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 793/2017 in Mohammad Saleemullah &Anr V. Union of India & Ors, are not new: The Centre said that refugees are eating into the limited resources of the country, illegal migrants are more vulnerable for getting recruited by terrorist organisations, and that all the Rohingya are terrorists. The August 8, 2017, circular, which articulated the government’s position that illegal immigrants from Rakhine are to be identified and deported, is not only unconstitutional but also contradicts India’s own stand. Fundamental principles of refugee law tell us that more often than not, refugees crossing borders arrive illegally in the country of asylum and relatively few are able to get a visa to escape persecution. Refugee law makes a concession in the case of an individual who proclaims that she could not have arrived “legally” in the country of asylum because of circumstances that made her flee in the first place. This is also why the refugee status determination process is an inquisitorial process and not an adversarial one, because the law recognises that a refugee is in a vulnerable state since she is fleeing actual or the threat of persecution, often at the hands of state agencies. Thus, to begin with, the Supreme Court ought to have ordered a temporary stay on the circular and proceeded to hear the matter with some urgency. In 2012, following protests of the Rohingya before the UNHCR seeking a less precarious legal status, the government announced that it would issue Rohingya refugees long term visas (LTVs), based on asylumseeker cards. Asylum-seeker cards are not cards in the eye of law; the legal existence of an individual with this document is precarious. The government asked refugees, therefore, to return to their places of residence and approach the FRRO or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office to be issued these visas. What is novel about extending LTVs to the Rohingya is that except the Hindus from

Pakistan and Bangladesh, foreigners, especially mandate refugees, are not known to receive LTVs. Granting LTVs to Rohingya refugees meant that the government, not just the UNHCR, was recognising them as refugees. Clearly, the Indian government, which has had at best an ambivalent stance on refugees, is capable of bringing in progressive measures. Prior to the government’s announcement, in December 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) drew up what it called standing operating procedures (SOPs) to deal with foreign nationals who claim to be refugees. The procedure contemplated by the government was in conformity with the refugee status determination process followed by the UNHCR globally. A refugee, according to the SOP, would have to prove well-founded fear as per the definition of “refugee” under the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. Based on a determination by states/Union Territories and recommendations made to the MHA, the government, under this process, would verify the individual and issue an LTV. The Minister of State for Home Affairs, as recently as May 2015, stated in the Lok Sabha that the SOP deals with those who claim to be refugees. If the government is now abandoning its position and ignoring the law, it needs to explain why. India is not the refugee capital of the world, as the government has claimed. India’s refusal to address the refugee issue in a holistic manner helps it “manage” refugees as suits it. There are a num-

ber of instances, such as in Jammu and elsewhere, where the Rohingya have been arrested for various offences. Thus, to say that the only way to deal with security concerns is to abandon the refugee policy, violate the law and deport refugees, is neither constitutionally sound nor responsible. The problems regarding the Rohingya — illegal movement of foreigners across the borders and refugees within the country and overstaying of the visas — are not specific to them. South Asian history makes India’s relationship with its neighbours more complicated than rhetoric would have us believe. De jure statelessness makes the Rohingya more vulnerable and they are now at India’s doorstep. What the Supreme Court should consider is how the SOP follows both national security concerns as well as the basic rules of refugee protection. Rajeev Dhavan’s analysis of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the allied legislation gives us an idea of the institutional mechanism that can be conceived in India without an exhaustive refugee protection framework in the form of a separate legislation. To say that deportation of the Rohingya is the answer is not only lazy and unstatesmanlike, but also ignores India’s own interests in the long run and, of course, the law. -- Times of India The writer is a lawyer with Factum Law, Bangalore

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February 09, 2018


How to Get Your Children to LOVE Learning

February is the month of love, and it’s also the perfect time to inspire your children to love learning.

HOUSTON: Love is in the air, and

what better time than now to inspire your children to love learning? One of the best ways to do this is to find what they already love doing and incorporate learning into those activities. If the student is already finding enjoyment in certain activities, learning will just be an added bonus. Best in Class Education Center, which helps K-12 students succeed academically through customized educational programs, shared a few tips on how to incorporate learning into activities students already enjoy, inspiring them to love learning. • Playing Make-believe Many young children love to play make-believe and put on plays for their parents. This is a great opportunity to incorporate reading into their lives. Surrounding them with books will continue to strengthen their imagination. As students grow and learn through different make-believe situations, they develop their own goals, whether that means becoming a doctor, teacher, astronaut, or even a prince or princess. Incorporating reading and imagination into their day to day will trigger the right side of the brain and encourage them to love reading and learning as they grow up. • Sports While some children love to play make-believe, others enjoy staying active and playing sports. Finding time for physical activity is extremely helpful and healthy for children as they continue to grow and mature. One way to incorporate learning into sports is through math. If your student loves to play sports, they probably also love to learn about sports statistics and news. While they are


watching or playing a game, try incorporating math questions to stimulate their brain. For example, if they are playing basketball and their team is down 10 points, ask them the different ways they can make up those 10 points. Answers could be five layups, ten free-throw shots, or three threepointers and one free throw. • Technology It is no secret that technology is playing a larger role in everyone’s lives. Before children can even talk, they can usually figure out how to work their parents’ smartphones or tablets. Instead of distancing from this trend, use technology for its advantages. There are many educational games out there that can be beneficial for children to play instead of passively watching a movie. In addition, letting students inspect the technology and learn how it works is also a great way to build interest in engineering and IT. • Recognize Achievements While incorporating learning into activities that children already love is important, is it also essential to recognize their achievements. Especially at an early age, letting them know that you are proud of them and that they

have done a great job really helps their self-esteem in an educational setting. There are many cases of students at older ages who lose their interest in learning simply because they don’t feel confident with their performance or ability. Therefore, encouraging from the very beginning is a great way to set a positive background for their educational experience. To help your students exceed their academics goals, Best in Class Education Center offers a variety of customized, supplemental enrichment courses and tutoring options to ensure your students are equipped with the tools they need this school year. Best in Class Education is targeting the addition of 20 more units in 2018. The state of Texas has been identified as a key state for growth. The current team behind Best in Class is looking for passionate and dedicated individuals to join this premier franchise family and ensure our youth will excel academically. For more information about Best in Class services for your student, or about current franchising opportunities, visit www.bestinclasseducation.com or call toll free at 1-888683-8108.

Indians Will Have to Shell Out Double for Health Surcharge for UK Visa

ONDON: The UK government on Monday announced plans to double a so-called “health surcharge” paid by long-term visitors and students from countries outside the European Union (EU), including India to 400 pounds per year. The surcharge, introduced in April 2015, will rise from 200 pounds to 400 pounds per year, with the discounted rate for students being increased from 150 pounds to 300 pounds. The surcharge is paid by all visitors from outside the EU seeking to live in the UK for six months or more to work, study or join family members. The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care plans to make the increase effective from later this year in order to raise additional funds for the state-funded National Health Service (NHS), which has been struggling with funding issues. “It is only right that people who come to the UK should contribute to the running of the NHS. The surcharge offers access to health care services that are far more comprehensive and at a much lower cost than many other countries,” said UK Immigration Minister Caroline

The surcharge is paid by all visitors from outside the EU seeking to live in the UK for six months or more to work, study or join family members.

Nokes. “The income generated goes directly to NHS services, helping to protect and sustain our world-class healthcare system for everyone who uses it,” she said. According to the department’s estimates, the NHS spends 470 pounds on average per person per year on treating surcharge payers. Its projections suggest that the increased charges may provide around an extra 220 million pounds every year, which will be pumped back into NHS services. “Our NHS is always there when you need it, paid for by British taxpayers. We welcome long-term mi-

grants using the NHS, but it is only right that they make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability,” said UK Health Minister James O’Shaughnessy. “By increasing the surcharge so that it better reflects the actual costs of using health services, this government is providing an extra 220 million pounds a year to support the NHS,” he noted. The health surcharge is payable by nationals from countries like India if they are seeking to live in the UK for six months or more, or to extend their stay. The payment is made at the time the immigration application is made and is payable until such time as the person is granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or returns to their own country at the end of their visa period. The surcharge is not related to urgent and emergency care, which is available from the NHS regardless of immigration status. Migrants with indefinite leave to remain in Britain are exempted from the surcharge, as are asylum seekers, refugees and those who have been identified as victims of trafficking or modern slavery. -indianexpress.com


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20 February 09, 2018

Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14. It is

a festival of romantic love and many people give cards, letters, flowers or presents to their spouse or partner. They may also arrange a romantic meal in a restaurant or night in a hotel. Common symbols of Valentine’s Day are hearts, red roses and Cupid. What Do People Do? Many people celebrate their love for their partner by sending cards or letters, giving gifts or flowers and arranging meals in restaurants or romantic nights in hotels. People who would like to have a romantic relationship with somebody may use the occasion to make this known, often anonymously. Valentine’s cards are often decorated with images of hearts, red roses or Cupid. Common Valentine’s Day gifts are flowers chocolates, candy, lingerie and champagne or sparkling wine. However, some people use the occasion to present lavish gifts, such as jewelry. Many restaurants and hotels

Happy Valentine’s Day

have special offers at this time. These can include romantic meals or weekend breaks. Background There are a number of Saints called Valentine who are honored on February 14.The day became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages in England. This may have followed on from the Pagan fertility festivals that were held all over Europe as the winter came to an end. Traditionally, lovers exchanged hand written notes. Symbols: People who have fallen in love are sometimes said to be ‘struck by Cupid’s arrow. Other symbols of Valentine’s Day are couples in loving embraces and the gifts of flowers, chocolate, red roses and lingerie that couples often give each other. -timeanddate.com



February 09, 2018

Mahashivratri Festival

ahashivaratri Festival or the ‘The Night of Shiva’ is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity. Shivaratri falls on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun, which corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. Celebrating the festival of Shivaratri devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of Shiva Lingam to appease Lord Shiva. Legends of Mahashivratri There are various interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in

different parts of India with different rituals and traditions. The current Puja Vidhi includes visiting Shiva temple early in the morning. People make sure to finish Shiva Linga Puja before afternoon as the temple usually open only in the evening for Darshana not for performing Puja activities. While worshiping Lord Shiva in the morning, people offer milk, water and various other items including Dhatura, Bilva leves and fruits. Here’s Lord Shiva Puja is performed by devotees during Maha Shivaratri as per various texts from religious scriptures: People believe that one should get up very early in the morning on the day of Maha Shivaratri. Ancient scriptures say that adding sesame seeds to the bathing water purifies it and bathing with this water not only purifies body but also the soul. If possible one should prefer bathing

that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it as Mahashivaratri - the grand night of Shiva. Traditions and Customs of Shivaratri Mahashivaratri FestivalVarious traditions and customs related to Shivaratri Festival are dutifully followed by the worshippers of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe strict fast in honor of Shiva, though many go on a diet of fruits and milk some do not consume even a drop of water. Devotees

in Ganges. While taking bath one should take oath to keep fast for the whole day and to break the fast onluy on the subsequent day of Maha Shivaratri. One should seek the blessing of Lord Shiva to stick to their good ways of life and blend love in other’s lives. The fast of Maha shivaratri is very tough and devotees should abstain themselves from having food in any form during the fasting. Though in general cases people can have fruits and milk during the day time, in the strict form of Puja, people don’t even drink water throughout the day. In evening before going to the temple for Shiva Linga puja one should again take bath. Those who cannot visit temple for one reason or the other can perform Puja at home by shaping the mud in the Shiva Linga form and applying Ghee to it. According to the ancient texts and scriptures the Puja need to be performed with various materials

strongly believe that sincere worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri, absolves a person of sins and liberates him from the cycle of birth and death. Shivaratri is

considered especially auspicious for women. While married women pray for the well being of their husbands unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who is regarded as


the ideal husband. To mark the Shivratri festival, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in river Ganga. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva temple to give ritual bath to the Shiva Lingum with milk, honey, water etc. On Shivaratri, worship of Lord Shiva continues all through the day and night. Every three hours priests perform ritual pooja of Shivalingam by bathing it with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water amidst the chanting of “Om Namah Shivaya’ and ringing of temple bells. Nightlong vigil or jaagran is also observed in Shiva temples where large number of devotees spend the night singing hymns and devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva. It is only on the following morning that devotee break their fast by partaking prasad offered to the deity. -mahashivratri.org

MahaShivratri Puja Vidhi like rose water, yogurt, Ghee, milk, honey, sugar, water and sandalwood. The Puja can be done either one time or four times in the whole day. People who perform Four Prahar Puja should do the Abhishek with water during the first Prahar, second Prahar with curd Abhishek, third Prahar with Ghee Abhishek and the fourth with honey Abhishek. After performing the Abhishek rituals, the Shiva Linga should be adorned with garlands of bilva leaves. The reason behind using the Bilva leaves is that they placate Lord Shiva. After adoring the Shuva Linga with Bilva garland, Kumkum and Chnadan is applied and Dhup isw lighted. Then other items like Madar flower, Vibhuti also called as Bhasm are offered to the Shiva Linga. Thought out the Puja one should keep chanting the Mantra, “Om Na-

mah Shivaya”. The fast should be broken only on the next day of Shivratri after having bath before Chaturdashi Tithi ends and in that way most benefit of the Vrat is obtained. It is also recommended that one

should have only one meal a day before Maha Shivaratri so as to make sure that there is no trace of any undigested food inside the body when you are on fast. -mahashivratri.org


22 February 09, 2018


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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Baingan De Pakore (Fried Eggplant Fritters)

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is sitting down with a hot cup of tea and “garma-garam” (piping hot) pakoras (fried fritters). Below is a reprint of Mama’s Baingan De Pakore recipe, which can be a meal by itself, with some nice chutney, and keeps you warm on a wet, muggy day. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions. Pakoras – as well as samosas - have become so popular worldwide that these Indian snacks have become universal world foods, like quiche, donuts, dumplings and sushi. Pakoras are inexpensive and quick to make, and they are hard to resist: if you eat one, you’ll probably not stop and will eat many more. And among the vegetable variety, baingan (eggplant) pakoras have a unique taste that people really enjoy. Because pakoras are essentially vegetables covered in batter and then fried (though some make paneer or meat ones too), people sometimes make a whole meal, rolling them up in a roti, and eating it with a little chutney. What makes all the difference in taste is the spicy chickpea flour batter or besan and then deep frying it. When making pakoras, not all vegetables turn out tasting the same, and the usual ones used are potatoes, onions, cauliflower, sometimes fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves, and of course, paneer. But, I have realized that one overlooked vegetable is baingan (eggplant), usually sliced length-wise and about an inch thick to give the best taste. And of course, pakoras need to eaten hot from the frying pan in order to be best appreciated. In some places, pakoras are made of singhara atta (water chestnut flour) but the taste is not as satisfying as using besan. Other forms of pakoras are the tempura batter in Japanese cuisine or the chicken nuggets that are so popular these days.

Ingredients: • 1.5 cups besan (chickpea flour) • Water – enough to make a running paste • 1 medium baingan (eggplant) – round or long • 2 cups tael (vegetable oil) for deep frying • ½ tsp ajwain (carom seeds) • Spices to taste: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper) Directions: 1. Wash the eggplant and cut length wise, about 4 inches long, and about 1 inch thick slices. Eggplant cut in round slices doesn’t give the same taste. 2. Place the sliced eggplant in a bowl and sprinkle with namak and mirch and let them stay for 30 minutes to marinate the vegetable. 3. In a bowl, pour 1.5 cups of besan, mix in ajwain, namak and mirch and

then while slowly pouring in water, knead the dough till it becomes a soft, running paste. 4. Heat the oil in a karahi (wok). Throw in a small dab of batter to make sure the oil is very hot. Take a slice of eggplant, dip it into the batter then release it into the hot oil. Keep doing this till the surface of the oil is covered with battered pieces. 5. When one side is slightly brown, turn it over using a sieved spatula and turn over a few times to make sure both sides are cooked. Be careful that they do not become dark brown. Take them out and place on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. 6. Serve hot with some tomato ketchup or mint or tamarind chutney. 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.




Many people will enjoy their morning and then just leave – or afternoon – tea their cups or mugs on the counter, wait or coffee them later. If you do ing this often enough, you’ll soon see a sta to clean in the cup or mug and after awhile, th in develop e brown stain is ha as you have to scru rd to remove, b hard to get them off. The best way to av oi is to just fill your cu d the brown stain, if you can’t wash it right away, p can wash them, Th or mug half way with water and let it e stains won’t be ab sit till you le to cup or mug will sta y white for a long tim set into the ceramic and your e.

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February 09, 2018


Kareena Kapoor Khan on Veere Di Wedding: Two Female Producers Onboard Makes it More Exciting


areena Kapoor Khan, who is looking her best self nowadays after shedding all the extra weight after the birth of her son Taimur, says her journey in the film industry has been enriching and she would like to work another two decades in Bollywood. “It’s been honorable and I would say enriching. It has been 18 years and still counting. I hope to work for another two decades,” Kareena said. Kareena, who made her acting debut in 2000 with Refugee, has many successful films like Jab We Met, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie

Aiyaary Averts Clash with PadMan, Will Now Release on February 16

After Akshay Kumar politely

obliged to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s request for not releasing PadMan on the same date as his magnum opus Padmaavat, looks like the makers of Aiyaary did the same for Akshay. Aiyaary starring Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee and Rakul Preet in the lead roles was supposed to hit the theatres on February alongside PadMan, but will now release on February 16. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh confirmed the news saying, “It’s CONFIRMED… #Aiyaary shifted to 16 Feb 2018.” This comes days after Sidharth Malhotra in a recent interview expressed faith in his producers getting a certificate from the Censor Board. He had said, “As far as I know, my producers are handling it and it is in the process. They have assured me the film is releasing on time. It is a production

aspect and I have complete faith in my team.” While the makers haven’t revealed the actual reason for film being postponed, we are guessing that the Neeraj Pandey directorial ran into trouble with the CBFC. Earlier this week, Aiyaary producer Jayantilal Gada had also told PTI, “There is no problem as such. The revising committee will see the film today. There is a screening being held today in Delhi. We are hopeful that the film will be cleared and release on February 9.” Since Aiyaary is set against the army backdrop, rumours about the Defense Ministry wanting to review the film were also being reported recently. The main plot of Aiyaary revolves around an army colonel (Manoj Bajpayee) hunting for one of his proteges-gone-rouge, an ex-army major (Sidharth Malhotra). character. -indianexpress.com

Gham, Talaash: The Hunt Begins…, Yuva, Omkara and Udta Punjab, to her credit. And she is also considered one of the most flawless beauties in Bollywood. After embracing motherhoood with the birth of Taimur with husband Saif Ali Khan in December 2016, Kareena is now geared up for Shashanka Ghosh’s Veere Di Wedding, a romantic comedy costarring Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhasker and Shikha Talsania. The actor says she is excited about the film. “It comes on June 1 and it is a summer watch. It is an exciting story about four friends. Also, there are two female producers on-

board and that is also exciting. It’s a different time in the industry as people are watching more womencentric films. This is a lot more fun and nothing serious. Hopefully, people will enjoy it,” said Kareena. With so many female faces in one film, was there any catfight? “That is just a myth. We all are friends. Rhea (Kapoor) is a very good friend of mine. The whole idea of the film was to show the story of four friends. It was so much fun and inspiring and even the film was shot with a lot of fun,” said Kareena. The actress walked the runway as grand finale showstopper for designer Anamika Khanna

at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer/ Resort 2018 on Sunday. Kareena said she is a fan of the designer’s clothes. “Even in this range, she has outdone herself,” said the actress, who is considered a fashion diva, who makes style statements on and off the screen. “For me, it was never about what I am wearing or what I am going to wear. I never thought about it. I wear what I am comfortable in and I think if a person is comfortable in what they wear, he or she looks super stylish.” -indianexpress.com

From Complete Isolation to Broken Bones, 6 Actors Who Went to Crazy Extremes for their Roles All it takes for us, the viewers, is 6. Alia Bhatt from Movie: Udta mere seconds to pass judgement on movies. What we do forget is the fact that the cast and the crew puts in so many efforts and hard work to make it. Despite the advent of technology and special effects, it’s the actors who have to put in the maximum effort. When commoners look at moviestars all they see is glamour and lots of money, but as they say the grass is always greener on the other side. While the actor’s life does come with perks like money and fame, there is also a dark side to it which probably goes unnoticed. From insane weight loss and gain, lifestyle changes and physical training to secluding themselves from the rest of the world are just a few of the ways these actors go to extreme lengths in order to get into character. 1. Ranveer Singh from Movie: Padmaavat

Punjab (2016)

3. Anushka Sharma from Movie: NH10 (2015)


Happy Birthday 4. Nawazuddin Siddiqui from Movie: Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016)

Randhir Kapoor February 15, 1947

5. Varun Dhawan from Movie: Badlapur (2015)

2. Rana Daggubati from Movie: Haathi Mere Saath (Yet to be released)


Ashutosh Gowarikar February 15, 1964

24 February 09, 2018 2nd ODI: SA Knocked Over by Spin Once Again BY FIRDOSE MOONDA


ENTURION: (ESPN Cricinfo): India 119 for 1 (Dhawan 51*) beat South Africa 118 (Chahal 5-22, Kuldeep 3-20) by nine wickets Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav shared eight wickets between them at SuperSport Park, taking their total for the series to 13, as South Africa’s biggest weakness was brutally exposed once again. Against wristspin, their line-up is close to clueless, especially without two of their leading batsmen. In the absence of the injured Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers, the hosts folded for their lowest ODI total at home, and their eighth-lowest overall. Twenty-three-year-old Aiden Markram’s international leadership debut on his home ground should have been the stuff of dreams, but it quickly turned into a nightmare. South Africa lost their first four wickets for 12 runs in the space of 26 balls and, after a very short period of rebuilding, their next six for 19 runs in 36 balls and were bowled out inside 33 overs. And just like that India cantered to a 2-0 series lead, although not before the players had wandered off for the scheduled interval break with just two runs required for victory. Virat Kohli chose to put South Africa in because he expected some early movement with two new balls; the hosts were happy to bowl second, anticipating turn in the afternoon. But they did not have to wait that long to see what spinners could do on a surface that will doubtless come under the spotlight again, for failing to play the home team’s advantage. South Africa had a quiet start as Hashim Amla tried to anchor one end while Quinton de Kock was in the wars at the other. The first ball de Kock faced, bowled by Jasprit Bumrah, dribbled onto his stumps off a block but the bails were not dislodged. The second was a bouncer, in the vicinity of his throat, and the third struck him on the left hand. De Kock got off the mark with a hook shot but continued to play tentatively and it was up to Amla to up the ante. That wasn’t easy against the Indian openers and Amla flirted with danger when he edged one over the top of second slip but seemed to settle

Yuzvendra Chahal picked his first ODI five-for, South Africa v India, 2nd ODI, Centurion, February 4, 2018.

with a gorgeous cover drive. South Africa would have seen out the Powerplay wicket-less and scoring at around four runs to the over but Amla - anticipating a fuller delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and shaping up to flay through the offside - was dismissed off a back-of-a-length ball that nipped back into him and took the edge as it passed through the bat-pad gap. Amla uncharacteristically re-

viewed, but replays showed he had to go. De Kock lasted three more overs and never looked comfortable at the crease or with his equipment. Sensing an opportunity to burrow into South Africa, Kohli brought on Kuldeep in the next over. His first ball was a half-tracker that Markram smacked in the air to deep midwicket where Bhuvneshwar was waiting. His fifth was tossed up, inviting the

drive from David Miller, who came forward as the ball dipped in and edged to slip. South Africa went from 39 without loss to 51 for 4. JP Duminy, the senior-most batsman in the line-up, had yet to face a ball and was out there with Khaya Zondo who was on debut. Duminy watched from the other end for 16 deliveries before his turn came. He and Zondo, who played calmly despite the situation, shared in a fifth-wicket stand of 48 and were allowed some reprieve when Kohli brought Hardik Pandya on in place of Chahal. They got to 95 for 4 at the halfway stage but then Chahal was brought back. In Chahal’s next over, Duminy was out lbw on the sweep. He wanted to review but Amla had used the only chance, and, even if Duminy did, it would have been in vain. The ball drifted from leg to pitch on middle and would have gone on to hit the stumps. From there, it was a procession. Kuldeep trapped Kagiso Rabada lbw after Rabada failed to pick the wrong ‘un, Morkel only lasted five more balls before he too fell to spin. Imran Tahir was bowled by Bumrah and Morris holed out to deep cover to give Chahal his maiden ODI five-for, the best figures by an Indian bowler against South Africa in South Africa, and the second-best by an Indian against South Africa ever.

Mandhana, Goswami, Pandey Rout South Africa BRISBANE: India women 213 for No. 3 Mithali Raj, who fell five runs

7 (Mandhana 84, Raj 45) beat South Africa women 125 (van Niekerk 41, Goswami 4-24, Pandey 3-23) by 88 runs Smriti Mandhana’s 98-ball 84 and fast bowlers Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey’s combined returns of 7 for 47 in 17.2 overs, helped India open the new cycle of their ICC Women’s Championship campaign with a thumping 88-run win against South Africa in the first ODI in Kimberley. India climbed to fourth on the table after just one game, ahead of England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who have played three games apiece. After electing to bat first, India made a strong start with a 55-run

Smriti Mandhana targets the off side.

opening stand between Punam Raut and Mandhana in 90 balls. The game, though, was set up by a 99-run second-wicket stand between Mandhana - who reached the milestone of 1000 runs in ODIs with a four - and

short of her fifth fifty-plus score in the last 10 matches. Mandhana South Africa hit back with four wickets for 14 runs in the space of 39 balls. After Mandhana fell in the 35th over, India could only muster 59 runs in the last 87 balls. India’s quicks then did irreparable damage to South Africa’s top order with three wickets in the first 10 overs. The hosts were quickly reduced to 57 for 5 before captain Dane van Niekerk and Kapp steadied the innings with a 37-run partnership. Pandey finished with 3 for 23, while Goswami, who is now one shy of her 200th ODI scalp, cleaned up the tail to return figures of 4 for 24 as South Africa were bundled out for 125 in the 44th over.


PV Sindhu Settles for Silver, Loses to American B. Zhang

NEW DELHI: Defending cham-

pion PV Sindhu failed to retain the title as she went down fighting against world No. 11 Beiwen Zhang of USA in the summit clash of India Open Super 500 at Siri Fort Complex in Delhi on Sunday. Sindhu lost the final in three games 18-21, 21-11, 20-22 in one hour and nine minutes. The contest started on even terms with both the players exchanging points regularly to be at 5-5 early in the first game. Sindhu raced ahead for a while to take a 11-9 lead at the mid-game break. The top seed maintained the lead till 15-14 before fifth seed Zhang took advantage of the Indian’s unforced errors to put herself in the lead. Zhang continued the good work and gave little chance to Sindhu to bounce back as she wrapped up the first game 21-18 in 22 minutes. The second game too started similarly with the duo fighting hard for each point, before Sindhu surged ahead after 2-2 scoreline. With six consecutive points, Sindhu shifted the momentum to take 8-2 lead and went into break at 11-4. After the break, Zhang reduced the gap to four points and made it 8-12, before Sindhu came up with backto-back body smashes to stop the trend. But Sindhu gave away an easy point soon by misjudging the line as the score read 13-10. Another acuteangled smash strectched Sindhu’s lead to five points, 15-10, giving the world No. 4 Indian some much needed room. Soon it became 18-10 in favour of Sindhu as she won the second game 21-11 and forced the contest to third. Sindhu raced to 2-0 lead early in the decider, before Zhang clawed back to make it 3-3. The matched started slipping from Sindhu’s hand as Zhang won three successive points.

PV Sindhu and Beiwen Zhang (USA) pose for a picture with their medals. (PTI Photo)


February 09, 2018


India to Auction 60 Additional Small Discovered Oil, Gas Fields

EW DELHI: India will auction 60 discovered small oil and gas fields with the potential to produce 194.65 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas, the government said in a tweet after a cabinet meeting. Blocks that will be auctioned were originally controlled by Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Oil India Ltd. The fields have remained undeveloped for years due to their small size and the high cost of development. India’s previous auction of discovered small fields in 2016 was dominated by small Indian bidders. India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, imports nearly three-quarters of its energy requirements, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of cutting its fuel import dependency to two-thirds by 2022 and to half by 2030. Earlier, stateowned ONGC had torn into regulator DGH’s proposal for auctioning its discovered oil andgas fields, saying national oil companies can raise pro-

duction if they are offered the same fiscal concessions as being extended to private companies. In para-wise comments on the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons’ (DGH) proposal to auction 60 per cent stake in some producing oil and gas fields of ONGC and Oil India Ltd, ONGC said national oil companies (NOCs) should also be allowed to participate in the auction. DGH has identified 15 discovered and producing fields - 11 of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and four of Oil India Ltd - with a cumulative in-place reserve of 791.2 million tonnes of crude oil and 333.46 billion cubic metres of gas, for auctioning on the plea that private involvement will raise output. The fields “may be offered to NOCs in case the NOC assures to raise the production by working out financial viability of the field with the extending of incentives like lesser royalty and no cess to the NOC”, ONGC said on the DGH’s

draft Production Enhancement Contract Policy. DGH has in the policy proposed to auction the fields to the bidder who commits the maximum investment and pledges the largest share of its net revenue to the government. The bidder, who would pay reduced royalty rates and be exempted from payment of oil cess and import duty on capital goods under the Hy-

drocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), would get 60 per cent equity in the field and receive 60 per cent of net proceeds from sales from the fourth year after production. ONGC said the provision of the selected bidder getting a 60 per cent of net proceeds from sales should apply only when output rises above a predecided base profile. -ToI

Cognizant to Invest $100 Million in US Technology Education COIMBATORE: Information on funding education and skills protechnology major Cognizant has announced formation of a new non-profit foundation to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and digital education and skills initiatives for US workers and students. The foundation will be established with an initial grant of $100 million. “As a rapidly growing global company providing consulting, digital, technology and business process services, Cognizant is one of the largest technology employers in America. In 2017, Cognizant added more than 6,000 US workers and plans to grow its US workforce by at least an additional 25,000 over the next five years,” the company said. “The grant to the new foundation is a result of anticipated benefits due to recent changes in US tax laws,” it said. “The new foundation will focus

grams in multiple cities and states to help improve opportunities for US workers and students,” Cognizant said. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, there will be a 1.4-million-person gap between software development jobs and qualified applicants to fill these positions in the US. “As the digital economy expands rapidly and changes the way businesses, organisations and governments operate, we believe it should create opportunities for all Americans,” said Francisco D’Souza, chief executive officer, Cognizant. “Unfortunately, because of a very real skills gap, there are far more open jobs for technical work than there are trained workers to fill them,” he said. A recent ‘Cognizant Center for the Future of Work’ report on 21 jobs of the future identified artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data and

other technologies as the new tools of the trade. “The Cognizant US Foundation will directly address the existing technology skills gap through innovative programs focused on educating a wide range of Americans and preparing them to thrive in the digital era,” D’Souza said. “As a major US technology company and employer with nearly 60


Tata Motors Showcases Two Concept Vehicles, 6 Electrics

NEW DELHI: The country’s larg-

est automaker by revenue, Tata Motors Ltd, showcased close to 25 vehicles, including six electric vehicles (EVs) and two novel platforms for its passenger vehicles segment at the Auto Expo on Wednesday. Built around the theme of “Smart Mobility, Smart Cities”, the Tata Motors pavilion showcased an electric version of its compact sedan Tigor, a fully electric bus, an electric version of its first race car RaceMo and a truck running on liquefied natural gas (LNG), among others. “Tata Motors is committed to future mobility with significant investments being made in the electric, passenger and commercial vehicles segments,” said N. Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group. The key highlight of the event was the unveiling of two new vehicular architecture platforms for passenger vehicles in a bid to expand the addressable market by entering new segments. “We are increasing modularity for customisation and want to enter new segments within passenger vehicles to expand the addressable market,” said Guenther Butschek, managing director and chief executive at Tata Motors. The H5X concept vehicle, developed jointly with the company’s UK unit Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Automotive Plc, was described as the “next big leap in the SUV (sports utility vehicle) space” by Mayank Pareek, head of the passenger vehicles unit at the firm.

US facilities and clients in 49 states, we have insights into the needs of communities across the country as they seek to fully join the digital economy,” said Rajeev Mehta, president, Cognizant. “We believe the education efforts of the Cognizant US Foundation will be good for American workers and students, our communities, and the overall American economy.”


26 February 09, 2018 China Opposes Any Indian Military Intervention in Maldives

BEIJING: China on Wednesday

opposed any military intervention in the Maldives, saying such a move would further complicate the situation, a day after former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed sought India’s help to resolve the political crisis in the island nation. The picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago plunged into a political chaos last week when the country’s Supreme Court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were “politically motivated and flawed”. When asked to comment on Nasheed’s call to India, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “The international community should play a constructive role on the basis of respecting the Maldives sovereignty instead of taking measures that could complicate the current situation.” Nasheed, who is currently in exile in Sri Lanka, has yesterday tweeted that India should send an envoy, backed by its military, to release judges and leaders of political parties detained by President Abdulla Yameen. Asked how the situation could resolved internally when Yameen has arrested the Supreme Court judges as well as former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Geng said China’s stand is that relevant parties should

Maldives plunged into a political chaos last week when the country’s SC ordered the release of 9 imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were ‘politically motivated and flawed’. Photo: AFP

find a solution internally. “I made myself clear. We hope relevant parties in the Maldives can properly resolve the issue through consultation and restore national stability and social order as soon as possible. We believe they (have) wisdom and capability to address the situation independently,” he said without mentioning India. Geng skirted a question whether China is also asking Yameen to hold talks with political parties to resolve the crisis. He also sought to refute allegations by the Maldives opposition parties that China is backing Yameen because he has approved several Chi-

nese projects and signed the controversial Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China during his visit to Beijing in December. “China maintains friendly cooperation with the Maldives including the FTA which serves the common interests of the two countries. The facts have proven that after signing of the FTA cooperation has benefited the two peoples,” Geng said. “China maintains friendly cooperation with the Maldives including the FTA which serves the common interests of the two countries. The facts have proven that after signing of the FTA cooperation has benefited the two peoples,” Geng said.

Indo-American News UDIPI









JAIPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wife Jashodaben was in-

jured and her relative was killed when their car rammed into a truck in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh, police said. Jashodaben did not suffer any major injuries in the accident in which four other people travelling with her was also injured, SHO Parsoli Shyam Singh said. The deceased was identified as Basant Bhai Modi (67), a relative of Jashodaben, who died while undergoing treatment, the police said. The accident took place in Parsoli Police Station area when Jashodaben and others were travelling to Chittorgarh after attending a function in Kota, they said. The injured were rushed to a government hospital for treatment, the police said. -livemint.com



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publications, came out with an editorial saying ‘India must stop intervening in Male’. “Political struggles are supposed to be internal affairs, and New Delhi has no justification to intervene in Male’s affairs. The Maldives must be under huge pressure from India,” it said. “The Maldives’sovereignty should be respected. The political unrest should be left to the Maldivian people to address. We urge all sides in the country to exercise restraint and end the crisis at the minimum cost, striking the correct balance between legal and governmental authority,” it said. -livemint.com

Narendra Modi’s Wife Jashodaben Injured, Relative Killed in Road Accident


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China, which has huge investments in the Maldives, however has asked thousands of its nationals to cancel their holiday travel plans for this month’s week-long Chinese New Year Holiday which begins on 15 February. China views the Maldives as key to its Maritime Silk Road project in the Indian Ocean as it has already acquired Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. The Chinese official media which was silent since the crisis broke out in Maldives last week came out today in support of Yameen’s regime. The Global Times, a part of the ruling Communist Party of China’s


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February 09, 2018




February 09, 2018


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