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Friday, February 16, 2018 • Vol. 37, No. 7

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IACF’s Passion to Serve! Peacock in the Desert

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Folio 53 from Shiva Rashasya (left) and Lord Shiva on his vimana (aircraft), Jodhpur collection, c.1527. Opaque watercolor on and gold on paper, Mahrangarh Museum Trust.

From left: Dr. Purvi Parikh, Alpa Shah, Shobana Muratee, Zenith Ellankil, Mahesh Wadhwa, Prem Cholia, Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, Sreeni Nakirekanti, Venkat Iyer, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Nanda Vura, Swatantra Jain, Bela Thacker, Dr. Ratna Kumar, Hasu Patel, and Dr. Ramesh Cherivirala, on Monday February 5 during the check presentation event, held at the Mayor’s office in the City Hall.

70th Death Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

P8 People from different faiths paid tribute to Gandhian Philosophy of practicing one’s truth while adhering to non-violence on Saturday, February 3 at Unity of Houston.

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February 16, 2018

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COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

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Children in Houston Awarded for Helping Children in India

From left: Manjit Soni, Vaani Gupta, Swatantra Jain, and Divyesh Khatri.

(Back row, from left): Manjit Soni, Bimla Jain, Swatantra Jain, Asha Dhume, Tegh Thind, Ajeet Nagi, and Vikas Bahl. (Middle row, from left): Arrman Katarya, Ezra Douglas, Divya Khatri, and Sharron Thind. (Front row, from left): Yash Katarya, Neil Bose, and Aaryaa Joshi. Readers Not Pictured: Jay Semlani and Adrian Chew.

SUGAR

LAND: On February 11, at the Madras Pavilion in Sugar Land, eleven children from the Houston area were recognized for helping children in India get a better education. How exactly were these local kids able to help children on the other side of the world? It is actually a lot simpler than you might think: They were participants in Pratham USA’s annual Readathon program. Pratham USA aims to raise awareness and funds to support Pratham, one of India’s largest education non-profits focused on eradicating child illiteracy. Pratham USA hosts an annual Readathon program across the United States to encourage children to read with a purpose. Supporters sponsor the children as they read a target number of books to raise funds for Pratham’s mission of “Every Child in School and Learning Well.” The 2017 Readathon program spotlighted at this award ceremony ran from May to December and raised $3,151, according to Manjit Soni, the Pratham Readathon Mentor in the Houston Area. The online campaign sites show that Pratham USA Readathons raised $65,723 nationally in 2017, with the program generating $560,546 for Pratham’s mission since its inception in 2012. The award ceremony was sponsored by Pratham USA’s Houston Chapter President, Asha Dhume, with Manjit Soni organizing the event. “Volunteering with Pratham has been very rewarding,” expressed Manjit Soni, as she shared about her background as a teacher. Before the awards were present-

ed, Vikas Bahl, a Pratham USA Director of Development, shared how Pratham develops low cost solutions that address gaps in the education system to improve learning outcomes and influence education policy. He stated that Pratham has reached over 50 million children since its inception in 1995. Bahl also shared about Pratham’s vocational training program for young adults that boasts a 75% job placement rate for its participants. He added that Pratham’s Second Chance

program helps young girls that have dropped out of school receive a second chance at getting an education, resulting in an impressive 85% pass rate. Children closed the ceremony by singing “Happy Birthday” to Swatantra Jain, Pratham USA CFO and Houston Advisory Board member, after he presented the children with their awards. Jain then promised to match the children’s sponsorships dollar for dollar in 2018. He also encouraged the children to read double the amount of books they read in 2017 once the 2018 Readathon

launches in May. While any outside observer can see the positives to this initiative, the strongest cases are made by the ones closest to the program. “There is no friend as loyal as a book,” stated Vaani Gupta, a sophomore at Village High School and a volunteer with Pratham USA’s Readathon program. She chose this quote from Ernest Hemingway to express how books played an integral part of her life growing up as an only child. One award recipient also shared her experience with the program: Hello, my name is Aaryaa Joshi. I am a fourth grader and a reader of Pratham USA Readathon. First and foremost I would like to thank Pratham and Ms. Manjit Soni for providing us such a wonderful

platform. Reading is one of [my] favorite hobbies and what is more fun than pursuing your hobby for raising money [for] a good cause[?] It gives me immense pleasure to raise money for the underprivileged kids back in India. I would really appreciate it if each one of us can make sure that we influence our friends to participate in this program. Today I would like to raise a toast for all wonderful readers and the Pratham USA Program. Let’s spread the word to make more Readathon readers in America, so we can ultimately make more readers in India too. Article by Peace Cowen, Development Associate at Pratham USA

Pratham Houston Appoints Asha Dhume as President, Dr. Randeep Suneja as VP

Asha Dhume, President of the Pratham Houston chapter.

HOUSTON:

Pratham USA is pleased to announce the appointment of Asha Dhume as President and Dr. Randeep Suneja as Vice President of the Pratham Houston chapter. Asha has been involved with Pratham Houston for the last seven years, serving as the Vice President for the past two years, and has played an integral part in the chapter’s growth. Asha is serious about human-

Dr. Randeep Suneja , Vice President of the Pratham Houston chapter.

itarian issues and is involved with several organizations. She is the past president of Club 24 Plus, an organization whose mission is to build bridges between the Indo-American and mainstream Houston communities with the underlying principle of promoting philanthropy. Asha also serves on the board of The Lighthouse of Houston, a nonprofit education and service center dedicated to assisting the visually impaired. She holds a Master’s degree

in Business Administration from Rivier University, New Hampshire, and a Master’s of commerce degree from Mumbai University. Asha is married to Pankaj Dhume, past Pratham board member and past president of Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston. Dr. Randeep Suneja is one of the few quintuple board-certified cardiologists in the US. He is the founder and medical director of the Cardiology Center of Houston, which he established 25 years ago. He has been honored with numerous awards for his engagement in the local community and was named citizen of the year by both the Katy Chamber of Commerce and the Katy chapter of the American Heart Association in 2015 and 2006 respectively. His involvement with Pratham, which began in 2004, is inspired by the love for education instilled in him by his mother. He has served on the Pratham Houston board since

2016. “Education is the biggest game changer in transforming an underdeveloped country to a developed one,” Asha said. “By giving access to education to the underprivileged children, Pratham provides a foundation not only for their individual success, but also for the family they are or become a part of and takes them out of the inevitable cycle of poverty, unemployment & exploitation.” “I am deeply honored to be elected by the Pratham Houston board as the President for 2018 & 2019,” Asha continued. “My goal is to increase awareness and raise funds so we can succeed in our mission of ‘Every child in school and learning well’ and make the world a better place.” Pratham has impacted 50 million children so far and was recently featured as one of the Top 10 charities in Houston by The Houston Chronicle.

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COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

In Harvey’s Wake, IACF Presents a Check of $200,000 to the Mayor of Houston BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA

HOUSTON: In it’s philanthropic spir-

it; Indo American Charity Foundation (IACF) has been addressing needs in the areas of education, family, and healthcare in the Metro Houston area since almost three decades. They have been providing scholarships to high potential college bound students with financial needs, supporting local charities, feeding the homeless and needy, and providing free medical clinics and vaccinations. About seven weeks after the Hurricane Harvey howled through the roofs and walls of several homes, shattering not only properties but also lives, the IACF team had organized a fundraising gala. Their cause to support the hurricane victims helped them raise $200,000, and earlier this month, a group of IACF Board members met with

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, to present him with this check. While Houston has bounced back from the catastrophic damage, the city is still recovering and any kind of amount is significant enough for its speedy recovery. A little known fact is that the fundraiser gala, which was held on October 7, 2017, was about to get cancelled. However, the immediate past president Dr. Vanitha Pothuri and the IACF board retained the idea of holding the gala, which went on to be successful, with more than $200,000 being raised. The chief guest of the gala, the philanthropic Swatantra Jain generously donated $50,000. He and his wife Bimla

have donated to many local charities and stand amongst the well-known philanthropists in the Indian community. Dr. Pothuri committed $25,000 of her own,

Photos: Vanshika Vipin Varma

while Gala Chair, Swapnil Agarwal, committed another $10,000. The noble intent and hard work eventually paid off, as the gala turned out successful with around 600 people in attendance. Mayor Turner, the Guest of Honor at the fundraiser last year, was unable to attend the event and was represented by Houston Vice-Mayor Pro Tem Jerry V. Davis (District B). The check presentation event was held at the Mayor’s office in the City Hall, on February 5. After a brief introduction session the check was presented to the Mayor. Mayor Turner stated, “I am overwhelmed and very thankful to everyone at IACF”. He mentioned that there were thousands of affected people that still need help, and these mainly included children and the elderly, people with special needs, people with low or no income, along with the ones who have exhausted their resources. Continuing his heartfelt thanks, he mentioned, “ I’m deeply thankful to everyone, and specially the entire South-Asian community, for coming forward to help support the victims of Harvey. This is a great demonstration of the amazing diversity of this city.” Swatantra Jain praised Mayor Turner as one of the greatest Mayors. Mahesh Wadhwa, the current President of IACF shared his thoughts. Referring to Mayor Turner, Wadhwa stated,“ This is just a drop in the bucket and we are honored that you are accepting this check”. Dr. Pothuri who was instrumental in making the gala a success shared with the Mayor the vision of IACF. She mentioned that IACF’s annual fundraising events help raise funds to help students in need of scholarships and to support other local organizations working towards improving health, education and human services in the Greater Houston Area. Mayor Turner wished IACF the best and mentioned that he was glad to receive the check. Currently serving on the IACF’s Executive Committee are Mahesh Wadhwa, President; Swetha Arora, Secretary; Venkat Iyer, Treasurer; Sreeni Nakirekanti, Joint Treasurer; Shobana Muratee as President–Elect; and Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, Immediate Past President. This year, IACF completes 30 years as a leading non-profit organization, representing the philanthropic spirit of the Indo American community in Houston. Driven by its motto “We Live Here, We Give Here,” IACF strives to serve the greater Houston community in more ways than it can. IACF’s next event, ‘We Walk, We Care’, is a walk-a-thon being held in April 2018, in Sugar Land. For more information on IACF visit www.iacfhouston.com

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

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MFAH Presents “Peacock in the Desert”: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur

BY PRAMOD KULKARNI

HOUSTON: An opportunity to

learn about one fascinating aspect of India’s exceptional culture will soon be available for Houstonians courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH). Titled “Peacock in the Desert”, the exhibit will display centuries of royal treasures from Jodhpur in Rajasthan for the first time in an epic presentation. Scheduled to open on March 4 until August 19, the exhibit features masterpieces and relics—never before seen beyond palace walls— that illustrate the history and artistic legacy of the Rathore dynasty. A select group of Indo-Americans had an opportunity on Monday, February 5 to preview a presentation of the exhibit from MFAH Director Gary Tinterow himself at the home of Counsel General Anupam and Dr. Amit Ray. “This is an opportunity to connect your children and grandchildren to their heritage,” suggested CG Ray. “There is no better way of engaging them to what is good, exciting and magical in India’s heritage.” The exhibition showcases nearly four centuries of artistic creations from the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur, in the northwestern state of Rajasthan. Lavishly made ceremonial objects; finely crafted arms and armor; sumptuous jewels; intricately carved furnishings; a monumental 17th-century court tent, and more outline the dynamic history of the Marwar-Jodhpur region and the Rathore dynasty that ruled it for

An official portrait of Maharajah Gaj Singh, who cooperated fully with the MFAH in creating the “Peacock in the Desert” exhibit. Gulabpash (rosewater sprinkler), Lucknow c. 1850, silver repousse work and enameling (left) and Mahadol (palaquin), Gujarat c. 1700-1730, gilded wood, glass, copper and ferrous alloy, both from Mehrangarh Museum Trust.

“Peacock in the Desert” benefactor Dr. Durga Agarwal (left), MFAH Director Gary Tinterow, MFAH Trustee Sushila Agrawal, Counsel General Dr. Anupam Ray and Dr. Amit Ray.

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more than 700 years. Special objects of interest will include Maharajah Gaj Singh’s silver Rolls Royce and his personal 1944 L-5 Sentinel aircraft. In his presentation, Tinterow said he personally paid a visit to Jodhpur and spent time with the Maharajah (affectionately called Babji) and received full cooperation from the Maharajah and his Mehrangarh

Museum Trust in developing the exhibit. “MFAH even paid for the restoration of the beautiful palaquin,” explained Timterow. Lead Underwriters for “Peacock in the Desert” are Nidhika and Pershant Mehta. Additional support from the Indian community came from Medha and Shashank Karve; Sushila and Dr. Durga D. Agrawal; Paul and Manmeet Likhari; Jag and

Pinder Gill; Dr. and Mrs. Srinivasa Madhavan; Usha and Kumara Peddamatham; Dr. Mani and Anuradha Subramanian; Rama and Geetha Rau Yelundur; Mr. and Mrs. Sundaresan Bala; Monjula and Ravi Chidambaram, Shantha Raghuthaman and Miwa S. Sakashita and Dr. John R. Stroehlein. An MFAH trustee, Mrs. Agrawal urged the gathering at the CG’s home to encourage their friends, relatives, children and grandchildren to attend the exhibit and experience the grandeur of the royal arts of Rajasthan MFAH offers another avenue for Indo-Americans to support the exhibit by attending a gala dinner at the museum on Friday, March 2. A table for 10 at the gala is available for $25,000. Individual benefactor seating is available for $2,500 and young patrons can join for $750. For additional information, call (713) 639-7581 or email kpelini@ mfah.org. Presented concurrently with “Peacock in the Desert” is another exhibit focusing on India: “Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs”, on view through June 3. The retrospective features work by visionary Indian photographer Raghubir Singh spanning the 1960s to 1990s.

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February 16, 2018

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COMMUNITY

Shraddhanjali 2018, Commemoration of 70th Death Anniversay of Mahatma Gandhi

Children from DAVSS Sanskriti Sunday school of Arya Samaj Greater Houston performing Aye Malik Tere Bunde Hum at the Shraddhanjali.

Rev Mindy Lawrence, Associate Minister at Unit of Houston, welcoming everyone to Shraddhanjali.

HOUSTON: Mahatma Gandhi Library

(MGL), and Unity of Houston jointly observed Shraddhanjali, Memorial Service, to commemorate the 70th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Saturday, February 3 at Unity of Houston in collaboration with Arya Samaj Greater Houston, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, The Ismaili Jamatkhana Center, Houston Non-violent communications, Compassionate Houston, Rothko Chapel and Baha’I Faith. It was quite a thing to behold! So many different faiths paid tribute to Gandhian philosophy of practicing one’s relative truth while adhering to non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi who spread the message of truth, non-violence, and global peace, died on January 30, 1948. He said “I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.” He was never afraid of death. Currently, the world is encountering several challenges including intolerance, impatience, and terrorism. It remains essential to follow the ideas and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, especially truth and non-violence, not only to achieve international peace and prosperity, but to achieve the same within one’s own heart. MGL is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the universal values of truth, non-violence, love and service. The Mahatma Gandhi Library was founded in 2004 through the vision of Atul Kothari and today 14 years later, the non-profit continues to make an impact in the Houston community because of many dedicated volunteers. The annual Shraddhanjali program started at 3:00 pm with a gracious welcome by Rev Mindy Lawrence, Associate Minister at Unity of Houston. Sanjay Jain was a brilliant Master of Ceremony for the pro-

gram, which commenced with an Invocation from Anisa and Alma Roshan-Zamir from the Baha’I Interfaith Devotional group. This was followed by garlanding of Mahatama Gandhi’s portrait and lighting of the lamp. Next was a beautiful rendition of the bhajan Aye Malik Tere Bandey Hum, by the melodious voices of DAV Sanskriti Sunday School students from Arya Samaj Greater Houston lead by their inspiring teacher, Smriti Srivastava. Anusha Sathya from Seven Lakes High School, 2nd place winner of the annual MGL speech contest, delighted the audience with her speech, “Peace is the goal, non-violence is the way”. Laura Arango and Hannah Lindley on behalf of the Powell Lindsay Suitcase Theatre of the Baha’I faith shared with the audience a song based on the words revealed by Bahauallah. Unity of Houston was recognized with a plaque of appreciation given to Rev Mindy Lawrence by Atul Kothari, trustee of MGL, for their gracious hospitality and years of collaboration and support of the Mahatma Gandhi Library. Karen Starz. President of Houston Nonviolent Communications gave a stimulating perspective on authenticity as exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi and the importance of this value. The audience was then treated to a wonderful dance by Arya Samaj DAVSS, choreographed by Dolly to the National Song of Bharat, Vande Mataram, using the vivid colors of Bharat’s flag. The keynote speaker for the program was David Leslie, Executive Director of Rothko Chapel. His stimulating speech reminded us that pluralism and diversity could be portals to unite us all. Kamal Haji then conducted the Ismaili Jamatkhana choir in their beautiful rendition praising Allah bringing tears of joy in the eyes of many in the audience. Ajit Paralkar, chairman of the Gandhi Sesquicentennial committee, spoke about the upcoming yearlong celebration of Gandhi’s 150th year birth anniversary, to be held from October 2018 to October 2019. Organizations and academic institutions are invited to host events celebrating Gandhi’s message of truth, nonviolence, love and peace. Visit www.gandhi150.us for more information. High school student Arnav Sood presented his awe-inspiring 1st place winning entry in iTribute multimedia presentation entitled “A Force More Powerful, my perspective.” Mr. Bob Fleming, chairman of the board at Compassion Houston, gave his personal insights on Gandhiji’s 11 vows and what it means to live a life of spiritual growth. The program continued with the adorable children from DAV Sanskirti School of Arya Samaj Houston led by Smriti Srivastava, as they proudly sang Vande Mataram. CONTINUED ON PAGE 13

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


9 Bollywood Shake Celebrates Love in a Magical Way!

COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

SUGAR

LAND: Valentine’s Day conjures up images of love, romance and red roses and that’s exactly what you found at Bollywood Shake’s First Ever Valentine’s Day Party! With passion and love filling the air, couples boogied to their hearts’ content. With red roses symbolizing deep and undying promises of love, the evening presented an ethereal feel. Ruchika Singh Dias of Bollywood Shake organized this event along with Saritha and Sharat Yempati of Yuva Houston at the Nirmanz Banquet Hall on Saturday, February 10. This exclusive event included Valentine themed decor, romantic atmosphere, Live Performance by Zee Music Artist Salman Mithani, Music and Dhol by DJ Tamim Shakir, Couples Games and Food by Nirmanz Food Boutique. Over 50 couples enjoyed the evening with music, masti and fun on the occasion. The lovely hosts for the evening were Rutvi Chauhan, Mrs. Bollywood USA 2017 1st Runner Up and Chandni Pal, Mrs. Bollywood USA 2017 2nd Runner Up. The evening began with all the men presenting a red rose to their lady love in a special way (some on their knees!). Then started the first game, Pyaar Ka Imtehaan, where three couples were asked questions and had to match answers with their valentine. Some

questions were “Who is the first to make up after a fight?” and “Who spends more money in shopping?” The winning couple Anand and Dr. Ashima Chauhan matched on 5 out of 6 answers! In the next game, Pyaar Ka Izhaar, participants were asked to propose to their valentine and the audience voted for the best proposal. The

winner was Manali who chose to propose to her husband instead of the other way around! Then came the featured performance by Zee Music Artist Salman Mithani who serenaded the loving couples with his beautiful voice, many of whom came on the floor to dance to his music. Guests were then treated to scrumptious cuisine

prepared by Chef Nirman Shah especially for this occasion. Four types of chaat items were served as appetizers including bhel, pani puri, papdi chaat and dahi kachoris. Dinner included a lavish spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items with favorites like Paneer Kadai and Chicken Tikka Masala.

For dessert, the chef prepared a special mixed sweet Falooda in a beautiful presentation. Following dinner, the couples played a few more games – Kitne Door Kitne Paas where couples danced with a balloon between them and Nach Baliye where couples had to dance on a newspaper which kept getting smaller and smaller! Finally, the couples danced the night away to DJ Tamim’s music! The kids were also kept entertained in a separate kids’ area. While everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day with much fun and fervor, Bollywood Shake made it all the more special with their first ever Bollywood Valentine’s Day Party. It was a delight to see couples come out to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a special way. Bollywood Shake would like to thank the sponsors for this event – Malti Kumar of Transamerica and MyTaxFiler. In addition to running a very successful Bollywood dance school and hosting their own radio show (Bollywood Shake Radio Online & On the App 24x7), Bollywood Shake hosts several events throughout the year including Bollywood Pageants, Fashion Shows, Dance Competitions and New Year’s Eve Galas. They look forward to seeing you at their next event!

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

Key to India’s Immortality? Author Amish Says It is Balance

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India’s top-selling author Amish Trivedi’s latest book is “Immortal India”. Amish spoke to a large gathering of his fans at the University of Houston with Sunanda Vashisht serving as the moderator.

BY PRAMOD KULKARNI

HOUSTON: India’s latest liter-

ary phenom is Amish Tripathi. His mythological series, “The Shiva Trilogy” and “Ram Chandra Series” have garnered a tremendous following among India’s youth as well as mature audiences. Amish’s latest book is non-fiction, “Immortal India”, which is a compilation of his articles and speeches relating to a discussion of why the Indian civilization continues to thrive while other ancient civilizations such as those of Rome, Babylon, Egypt and Incas have long disappeared. Amish discussed aspects of immortal India as well as questions from his avid readers in the audience about his mythological series and his creative writing process at an interactive session hosted by the Indic Book Club in association with the University of Houston Graduate Indian Student Organization and Hindu Yuva on Tuesday, Feb. 6 evening at the UH central campus. The Houston event was part of Amish’s first US lecture tour with appearances in academic campuses and mainstream locations throughout the country. Amish’s publisher Westland Books India arranged for sale of his books and author signing before and after the lecture. Amish’s remarks were moder-

ated by local scholar and blogger Sunanda Vashisht. The variety of topics Amish discussed included the following: Why is India immortal? Enemies have attacked us physically and intellectually for centuries. I think it is the concept of balance as opposed to extremism. We believed in both non-violence as well as self defense. Similarly, we achieved balance between liberal and conservative thought. As a result, our civilization was rigid enough to fight back for our values when it had to and liberal enough to change when it had to. What was the status of women in ancient India? India had achieved balance between women and men. Did you know that some of the verses in the Rig Vedas were written by rishikas? There is also no value in demonising men. That was the genius of India--finding balance. It is this characteristic that we need to understand, explore and communicate to the rest of the world. Sunanda is right in saying the Indian civilization has shrunk in modern times. One reaction would be defensive. The better approach is to be confident of our culture and communicate our values and sense of balance to the rest of the world. How do we deal with polarization in the political arena? Political debate in India and

the US has become polarized and there’s a tendency to think of the other side as evil. It is not about exploring the issues. This is when an authoritative regime becomes attractive. I think the world can learn from ancient India’s approach of balance, that there is no absolute truth, but multiple truths. How will you present the Shiva trilogy in the visual media? I met recently with some Hollywood producers and we’re planning to produce a series that will be streamed online on a platform such as Amazon, which is supporting my US tour. A m i s h touched upon numerous other topics, such as the absence of caste rigidity in ancient India, but it was evident to see that Amish had established a remarkable connection with his readers and the audience doted on his every word.

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COMMUNITY

Sri Kulkarni Files for the Democratic Party Nomination, District 22 Seat, Which Covers Sugar Land, Pearland and Parts of Katy BY MANU SHAH

HOUSTON: For the past year,

Srinivas Preston Kulkarni, a diplomat in the US Foreign Service, was experiencing a nagging sense of unease. The rising anti-immigrant sentiment and the veiled justification of the white supremacy rally by the President troubled him, but the tipping point was the Republican Party’s support of Alabama’s Roy Moore and his disparaging remarks about Americans who are not Christians, families under slavery and disrespect for US Constitutional law. Sri, 39, knew he couldn’t continue serving an administration that was in stark violation of his personal code of ethics and “so anti-American.” In mid-December 2017, he did what few would dare to do: he cleared out his desk in the Department of State where he worked and filed for the Democratic Party nomination to run for the 2018 US Congressional elections from Texas. Sri asserts that Roy Moore’s campaign is completely antithetical to American values, “beyond politics, beyond basic morality and values.” The only way, Sri emphasizes, he could make a difference was to run for Congress and speak out against the current administration. Sri did confer with his family before taking such a huge leap. While his siblings had some practical reservations, his mother, Margaret, was completely supportive and joins him on his campaign trail. According to her, “Since he (Sri) was a kid, he has always stood up against bullies. I’m so proud of my son for continuing to follow his convictions throughout his life and standing up for what is right, whether the bully is in his high school or in the White House.” Sri filed his nomination for the District 22 seat, which covers

Sri Kulkarni

Sugar Land, Pearland and parts of Katy, a seat held by Congressman Pete Olson since 2008. “I have been very concerned with the divide in this country caused by the current political discourse. Sri Kulkarni’s message of bipartisan problem solving and respect for all including immigrants resonates with me, and that’s why I support his campaign for Congress,” stated Ramesh Bhutada, local Indian American businessman. In 1980, Sri’s father, Venkatesh Kulkarni, who is from India, and his mother Margaret moved to Houston where Venkatesh, a novelist, taught at Rice University and Margaret worked for Exxon. The couple have four children – Sri is the oldest, Krishna, a software developer, Margo, a data scientist and Silas runs his own NGO. They are all educated in Ivy League schools such as Princeton, Yale and Columbia and Sri joined their ranks with a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard last year. Sri grew up seeing two different worlds. He lived in Sharpstown, a crime riddled African American neighborhood in Houston but was bused across town to a primarily white public school in an affluent neighborhood. Sri describes it as “feeling out of place in both places.” He excelled in academics, was

a bit of a book worm, a Math and Science whiz and an Honors student. His teacher Dr. David Sherron at Lamar High School writes on Sri’s Facebook page: “One of my all-time best students was named Sri Kulkarni... he was phenomenal as a person as well as a student. If this is the same person who is running for Congress, then I wish him success and can say emphatically that America needs him! When not buried in his books, Sri, at 15, was a dedicated Lieutenant Governor for the KEY Club, organizing and leading food drives, neighborhood cleanups and other service activities. As the oldest, Sri often pitched in to take care of his younger siblings. At 18, his father was diagnosed with cancer and Sri chose to drop out of UT for a year to take care of his father. It was a subdued time for Sri as he watched his strong father wither in front of his eyes. For solace, he turned to the scriptural prayers his father had taught him, but in 1998 Sri’s father succumbed to the disease. Sri was devastated, and it was only when the family traveled to India to immerse the ashes in the Ganges that he gained some sort of release from the grief. He began to understand one of Hinduism’s tenets – that life and death are part of a cycle and beyond one’s control. A piece of advice from his father is still gospel to him - to take care of “mind, body and family.” He meditates “to clear his mind” and is devoted to his family. After his father’s death, Sri divided his time between helping raise his siblings and graduating from the Plan II Honors program. His study of Linguistics and Russian in college was put to good use when he was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer by Secretary of State Colin Powell. He served for 14 years and honed his

Sri with his mother Margaret, brother Silas, sister Margo (Lakshmi), and brother Krishna.

Sri pictured with his 3 siblings: Krishna, Margo (Lakshmi), and Silas.

diplomatic skills during postings in Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan, and Jamaica. He constantly sought to reconcile differences between Arabs and Kurds and Israelis and Palestinians through dialogue, an accomplishment he’s proud of, and a skill, he says, he will bring to the “present politically hostile environment.” Along the way, Sri picked up several languages, Mandarin, Hebrew, Hindi, and Spanish, which is handy when meeting people. At 6.2 feet, he exudes a quiet determination, speaks with a refreshing

directness and mingles easily. With campaign manager Karim Farishta who worked in the White House and a team of 15 committed volunteers, Sri hit the campaign trail. He tapped family and friends in a fundraising bid and raised $34,000 in the first 13 days. (more than the previous nominee raised in 1 year). The campaign has now raised over $80,000, more than any Democratic nominee in the last 8 years. The South Asian community, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and AFLCIO – the largest labor union clearly appear to be leaning towards him. He’s also packing in the hours, reaching out to everyone in Gurudwaras, temples, masjids, and churches, and meeting representatives of Indian organizations like the Gujarati Samaj, Maharashtra Mandal, the Telugu Cultural Association, and the India Culture Center as well as all other communities in the district. Some of the issues he’s vocal about is the improvement of the public school system, affordable healthcare for all, adequate care for veterans, greater cybersecurity to protect the country, rejecting demonization of specific faiths and fair wages for all. Sri admits it’s a crowded field of candidates but is confident that if he wins in the primaries on March 6th, he can clinch the seat for Congress in November. His campaign, he adds is “not anti-Republican or anti-Trump,” it’s pro-American.”

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

13

Sugar Land City Councilman Himesh Gandhi Seeks Re-Election

SUGAR LAND: City Council Member

and longtime community leader Himesh Gandhi is seeking re-election on May 7th to a fourth and final term as At-Large Position 1, promising to continue his focus on improving the lives of residents in a thriving community. “Sugar Land has been my home for most of my adult life. It is a diverse, growing city where we are successfully merging cultures, ideas and values,” said Gandhi. “I am committed to maintaining quality development and robust city services while following smart spending practices.” First elected in 2012 at the age of 35, Gandhi was the youngest councilman to be elected in a citywide vote. He has served on numerous City Council committees and was

Himesh Gandhi

also a member of the task force that spearheaded development of the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land—an iconic concert and performance hall that opened last year. Other successes and projects launched by the city during Gandhi’s previous term include the successful annexations of Greatwood and New Territory, the acquisition of a former prison site for redevelopment, the completion of drainage projects and the return to normal operations after the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. “As a member of City Council, I will continue to listen to my constituents and work with my fellow council members and the city staff to ensure that Sugar Land remains a premier city with a solid vision for the future,” Gandhi said. “Together, with our forward-

looking residents, we can accomplish even more great things for this city.” Gandhi is an attorney and shareholder with the law firm Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC. He is board certified in commercial real estate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has served leading roles in numerous community organizations. In 2015, he was honored by the Houston Business Journal as one of the region’s 40 Under 40 young leaders. Gandhi earned a BBA from Houston Baptist University and his law degree from the South Texas College of Law Houston. He and his wife Farrah and son Jaiden live in the Telfair neighborhood. To learn more, visit his campaign website at www.HGSugarLand.com

Shraddhanjali 2018 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8 Dr. Manish Wani, on behalf of the MGL board of trustees, gave a brief presentation of Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum Houston being built by MGL. The exhibits of this museum are being donated by the Birla group from India. The land has been purchased and architectural renderings are ready. Everyone in the community is invited to do their share to keep the flame alive of the world hero, Mahatma Gandhi. To take a virtual tour of the museum please visit https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=iPgucmGS16U&t=24s The audience was then treated to the amazing voices of the Unity of Houston choir, singing “The world needs all the good I can do, Amazing Grace and the Peace Song. The program concluded with a vote of thanks by Sanjay Jain. The crowd was encouraged to visit the Gandhi Darshan, Glimpses of Gandhi, exhibition on display and the MGL booth. The finale was paying respect to Mahatma Gandhi by the audience, bowing before a picture of Mahatma Gandhi, while Smriti Sriivastava and her group sang one of Mahatama Gandhi’s favorite bhajan, Raghu Pati Raghav Raja Ram. The Shraddhanjali program at Unity of Houston commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s life was truly inspirational and proved to keep the legacy of peace, truth, non-violence and love alive, penetrating the hearts of all in attendance. To learn more or to receive monthly newsletter of Mahatma Gandhi Library please visit www.gandhilibrary.org

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14 February 16, 2018

COMMUNITY

Suneja Tests the Katy Marathon as a Pilot Fundraiser for Pratham

slightly behind his previous pace. The winner of this year’s 4th Annual Katy Half Marathon was 42 year-old Eduardo Fernandez timed in at 1:18:15. “It was an enjoyable race, but perhaps because of the cold weather or the preponderance of many marathons at this time of the year, the participation was way down,” Suneja, said after the race. “There were perhaps 40 other Indians running this year.” But Suneja was the only one running to raise money for his favorite charity. What propelled Suneja this year was a cause close to his heart. When Suneja joined the Board of the preeminent India-focused Pratham USA non-profit charity in 2016, he toyed with the idea of combining his two passions and help to raise money while doing so. The Board agreed with a pilot program to see how it would work and so, this year, a week before the Katy Marathon, it launched the Pratham Marathon page on its website and Suneja pushed it forward to all his supporters. “Incredibly, within six days, we raised $7,410 for Pratham,” said a delighted Suneja. “People donated between $10 and $1,000 from all over the world.” Encouraged by the response, Pratham will replicate the pilot program in the United Airlines New York City Half Marathon on March 18 with six runners, according to Pratham President Asha Dhume who is exploring all possibilities for raising funds for the charity and was delighted by Suneja’s run. “I am focused on major contributions right now,” she said, “in preparation of our Houston Gala on Saturday, May 12.”

Dr. Randeep Suneja after running the Katy Half Marathon to raise money for his favorite charity, Pratham

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

KATY: It seems that some people never shirk from

taking on challenges and even eagerly seek newer ones out. This becomes acute when they are passionate about the causes they believe in and such was the case for Dr. Randeep Suneja, a renowned cardiologist who has lived and practiced for years in this town about 30 miles west of downtown Houston. With a busy cardiology practice which he started 26 years ago, and travels often (me made 23 trips in 2017 alone), Suneja enjoys pushing himself to compete. To a string of accomplishments which he usually underplays, is his passion for running and his compassion for helping others. A keen runner, the 57 year-old Suneja has participated in many marathons in the Houston area – and even in his hometown in December 2014 when, jetlagged from a long 20-hour plane ride and unprepared, he still insisted to running in the New Delhi Marathon. Two years ago, he was inspired by his friends to take on the Katy Half Marathon and started to practice a week beforehand. But this year, he didn’t even do that, and even sat out the rugged Chevron Houston Marathon. And to his surprise, he was able to finish at 2:47:07, MADRAS N PAVILIO & DAAWAT G CATERIN

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February 16, 2018

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15


16 February 16, 2018

COMMUNITY

Free Workshop By Sewa USA and Jain Society of Houston BY SANDEEP PAMPATTIWAR

HOUSTON: Sewa USA and Jain

Society of Houston had organized a free workshop - “Five wishes and Essential documents for the families on January 28. This very informative workshop was attended by over 70 people and was conducted by Arvind Thekdi, who is an active member of The SEWA Family Services Program. Arvind has lived in the USA over 50 years and has presented this material to the community members at several meetings and workshops during the last four years. This workshop started with Sachin Dabir giving overview of SEWA Family Services Program and briefly explaining the activities and services offered by the same. Umesh Kapur then introduced Arvind Thekdi. Arvind Thekdi gave a very informative presentation about im-

portant documents that help to organize personal, financial and

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legal information that is helpful to families in times of family emergencies or crisis. He also talked about a very important document “Five wishes” that can be used to convey personal, emotional and spiritual needs as well as medical wishes. He explained that this document lets you select the person who would be able to make healthcare decisions for you in situations where you were unable to make them for yourself. He also talked about the Texas specific requirements. Audience comprised of young couples as well as senior community members. Everyone found the session very informative. There were lots of questions and Arvind Thekdi threw light on all the as-

pects of need of documents – from difference between living will to medical will, possibilities of setting up family trust, process of probate and many more. Arvind also shared a comprehensive format to capture all the critical but often neglected document information in one place. Attending audience also got a FREE copy of the easy to use document “Five Wishes”. A big thank-you to Arvind Thekdi for the informative workshop and all the volunteers at the event; Umesh Kapur, Amita Dabir, Naina Patel and Maitreyi Pampattiwar. Jain Society of Houston were a very gracious host and served lunch to all the attendees. For more information on family workshops email at ws-houston@

sewausa.org Sewa serves humanity regardless of race, religion, color, gender or nationality. Another upcoming event organized by SEWA along with Vyasa Houston is the SDM yoga camps, which is from Feb 16 - 25. These camps are free of charge, they have a deposit, which is refunded once participants complete all the sessions. For more information and to register please contact info-sdm@ sewausa.org or (713)834-4909 / (281) 546-8202. Sewa USA is 501 (c) (3) Hindu faith-based nonprofit, charitable organization. All donations (cash, cars, clothes, securities, etc.) are tax-deductible. (Tax Id# 20-0638718).

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

Arya Samaj of Greater Houston’s AKM Youth Participate in IM’s iLead MLK Youth Day of Service BY SANIKA KULKARNI & KANIKA TALWAR

HOUSTON: On January 15, In-

terfaith Ministries (IM) for Greater Houston held a Youth Day of Service on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in bringing over 100 youth from various faith denominations, churches together for dialogue, collaboration and service in honor of Dr. King. Director of Interfaith Relations Gregory Han and President & CEO of IM Martin Cominsky warmly welcomed youth from diverse communities, faiths, explaining about IM’s mission, bringing them together to build relationships and perform meaningful service projects together. Arya Samaj of Greater Houston’s AKM youth group of 27 strong volunteers, participated in a variety of refugee service projects. Religion is often something that is not discussed outside of own’s religious groups. Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston has made an effort for people of all faiths and backgrounds to talk to each other about their respective religions. Before beginning their variety of service projects, youth from diverse faiths intermingled, sat down in circle and had a questions and answer dialogue regarding each person’s religion and belief’s. Youth explained

what they valued about their religion and became more open to communicating with one another. It forced everyone to speak to each other in a friendly and welcoming environment. Interfaith Ministries supports almost 2000 refugees and provides 4500 meals to Senior citizens daily in greater Houston area. AKM youth setup children’s bicycles, welcome signs for refugees, prepared breakfast bags, made phone calls to refugees

and created flash cards of English vocabulary for refugees.All the youth tasks seemed very simple, but everyone learnt how impactful small gestures could be. Projects allow refugees to feel welcome in a new and foreign country, and gives basic resources to those who need them most. Arya Samaj of Greater Houston can be reached on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AryaSamajOfGreaterHouston/

17

Daksha Shah’s Deeper Connect with God, Yoga! BY MANU SHAH

H

OUSTON: After waving her younger child off to college, Daksha Shah, then 40, took a decision that would change her “perspective on life” and give it a purpose. With husband Dinesh Shah’s whole hearted encouragement, she went to India and enrolled in a 6 month rigorous yoga course at the SVYASA Institute in Bengaluru in 2002. The course proved to be a life defining one for Daksha. Apart from the welcome benefit of losing weight, she says she found her passion, felt mentally and physically stronger, was calmer and most important felt a “deeper connect with God.” When Daksha returned to Houston after completing the course, she converted her living room into a yoga class for an hour. Her first students were her neighbors, Ashok and Praveena Danda and well known Houstonian Jugal Malani. Word quickly spread about her classes and today Daksha teaches 6-7 classes a day at various centers including children as young as 3 year olds at the DAV Montessori School. Jugal Malani who continues to practice yoga with Daksha says “teaching Yoga itself is great Karma Yoga and Daksha ben is a prime example of this. Her daily morning Yoga class brings fitness of body, calmness in mind and awareness in Raj’s and my life.”

Daksha Shah

Born in Gabat, Gujarat, Daksha moved to Ahmedabad for her graduation where she majored in English. Shortly after, she married Dinesh Shah, an engineer, and located to Houston as a young 19 year old bride. Her two children, Seema and Samit are clearly proud of their mother’s accomplishment and consider her inspirational. Daksha’s voice is loaded with conviction when she talks about the benefits of yoga. Apart from the mental and physical benefits, she says an intuitive awareness about eating healthy also evolves. Her own diet CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


18 February 16, 2018 Putting Our Best Foot Forward Recently, I came across an interesting article which quoted a top Chinese foreign policy expert associated with a thinktank affiliated to China’s foreign ministry. The article spoke about the “Modi Doctrine” — how India’s diplomacy has become more vibrant, assertive and has acquired a distinctive character under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Another event that also caught my attention was PM Modi’s recent visit to Davos to attend the important annual World Economic Forum. Even as the world acknowledges India’s emergence as an economic superpower and its growing international stature, what made me particularly proud was the PM choosing to deliver his speech in Hindi. He spoke about India’s rich cultural diversity and linked it to the robust business environment. How often do we see an important Indian personality addressing a global audience in Hindi and that too while linking our rich heritage with our economic strength? By what one reads and observes, I am sure that each one of Modi’s foreign visits is meticulously planned and executed in order to reap maximum benefit for the national interest. Many specific outcomes have also been achieved — Japan’s help in building our high-speed rail network, the India-Russia Annual Summit to sign a pact to boost nuclear power generation and more — each confirming that the prime minister literally means business. This was also on display at the critical Paris Agreement on Climate Change, crucial for the very survival for our planet, when after the US decided to back out, India stood firm and made it an article of faith. For decades now, India has been demanding its rightful position as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Time and again, it has been blocked by other superpowers. Someday, whenever the time comes for nations to cast their crucial vote for carrying out major structural changes in the UN, it will be these visits and sustained efforts of the prime minister to build strong bilateral relationship that will count. For me, at my age, having seen India through the decades, diplomacy is presenting India’s inherent richness and strengths to the world. Over the past two decades, India’s stature on the global stage has grown considerably. But what India has achieved under PM Modi is significant. India is no longer seen merely as a developing nation. When Modi speaks, world leaders listen — and listen carefully. For our Opposition parties, it is easy to criticise and demean the efforts of the prime minister. But they conveniently forget that India is now seen as a global leader whose opinion matters. While the Opposition has a critical role in democracy, the politics of demeaning diplomatic efforts to a street level will only bring down India’s stature globally and that does not serve the interest of India and her citizens. -- A R Kohli, former Governor of Mizoram in The Indian Express

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Why Can’t We Clean the Ganga?

BY APARNA ROY A Rs 2,000 crore hike in budgetary allocation to the water resource ministry towards revival of Ganga is a welcome move by this year’s Union Budget. However, history serves up a warning. Despite the completion of two Ganga action plans and generous fund flows – Rs 900 crore spent over the last 15 years – the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2017 had observed that, “not a single drop of the Ganga has been cleaned so far.” With a budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore to be executed over five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project – Namami Gange – launched in 2014, must therefore learn from the past mistakes. For north India, Ganga is at the heart of its cultural and economic landscape. The 2,525 km long Ganga flows through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal before reaching the Bay of Bengal. Along with its tributaries, it covers 11 states that are home to 600 million people and serves water to 40% of India’s population. The river is currently struggling to cope with the sewage waste and industrial effluents dumped into it. Given its religious and industrial importance, any further deterioration would have significant ramifications. In his Budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley has claimed that cleaning of Ganga “has gathered speed, and 47 out of 187 sanctioned projects have been completed.” Whereas, the latest National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) report updated on December 2017 reveals that

only 18 projects have been completed in the last four years, of which none are focussed on the key areas of rural sanitation, industrial effluent monitoring, afforestation or biodiversity conservation. Namami Gange lays much emphasis on pollution abatement through improvement of sewage infrastructure. A majority of sanctioned and completed projects therefore are sewage treatment plants (STPs). Yet, until December 2017, Namami Gange had created only 228.13 million litres per day of the 2,278.08 mld sewage treatment capacity it aimed for. With a large section of the country’s urban population living outside the sewage network, a huge amount of waste generated does not get conveyed to the STPs. In the absence of a well-connected underground sewage system, STPs would continue to suffer from shortage, under-evaluation and under-utilisation. More advance groundwork at the primary stage of assessing the scope of the problem is imperative to develop adequate supportive infrastructures for successful execution of STPs. However, piecemeal efforts on big STP projects would not lead to any significant impact. A plan to clean Ganga needs to shift focus from such centralised large capital expenditure projects, to a decentralised process that undertakes cleaning-up from upstream to downwards, progressing through each watershed before entering the major trunk channel. Creating a comprehensive and robust real-time map of pollutants and their respective sources would help in effective

monitoring of the problem. As 12 major tributaries source the Ganga, its rejuvenation would not be possible without clear rejuvenation strategies for each of its tributaries. Ganga’s freshwater ecosystem has also been severely affected by industrial discharge. A CAG report has revealed that during 2016-17, the level of pollutants in the river across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal was six to 334 times higher than the prescribed levels. Strict monitoring and action is required from NGT against the polluting industries found noncompliant with prescribed effluent discharge standards. Introducing new statutes on making the polluter pay or treating the polluted water before it enters the system would prove to be an effective solution. The most delicate problem is the pollution associated with cultural and religious festivities. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board estimated that the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 – where 120 million people participated – saw 70% increase in the organic pollution level in the river. As the Ardh Kumbh is scheduled for next year, both the central and state government should put in place well thought out strategies to deal with the problem. It is time to move beyond mere allocation of money and do serious implementation on the ground. Else, as the Supreme Court has once remarked the government, “it seems Ganga will not be cleaned even after 200 years.” -- ToI The writer works on climate change and development issues at a research foundation

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

19

Da-Bangg 2018 Reloaded, Only One Show in Texas!

D

ALLAS: Da-Bangg 2018 is a show starring Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha, Jaqueline Fernandez, Prabhu Deva, Manish Paul, and Daisy Shah. The show is directed by Sohail Khan. It is being brought to Dallas, Texas by AZ and Hiba Entertainment with Tasacom and Molabs Media on June 29, 2018 at the American Airlines Center. A press conference was held to provide details about the show on January 31 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas and on February 10 at Nirmanz Banquet Hall in Sugar Land. Tickets were released and are on sale at Ticketmaster.com Organizers preset at the event included Nasir Siddiqi, Mohammad Abbas, Azhar Qasmi, Rashmi Jain, Firoz Samnani, and Hussain Ajani. They answered questions and shared further details about the upcoming show. There will be so many people here for the show, how is the security going to be like for the event? “American Airlines has their own security. They are providing the Dallas Police Department and we will also have our security team as well.” How do you plan on advertising this huge event? “We have been in this industry for 20 years now. In the past five years, the dynamics of marketing have changed significantly simply because social media has become so relevant now. For the past five years, starting with the first Arijit Singh Concert that we did on October 4th

2015, the only medium (and we were really scared) we used was Facebook. At the time, there was no snapchat; as you know, the show was entirely sold out. That gave us confidence that you really don’t need any other medium, as long as you connect with people on social media. It’s going to be guerrilla marketing and social media primarily.” For logistics, are you ready for the flood of people coming to Dallas? “Yes we are! We are dealing with a lot of limousine and bus companies. Thankfully, we have wonderful friends in Houston, Austin, and surrounding cities to help us with this.” When can I get a picture with Salman Khan? How many pictures are there? Is it first come first serve? “As you know, we will be expecting 20,000 people and the ones going back will also be wanting pictures as well. We’ll do our best to accommodate as many as we can. We don’t have the exact numbers as yet. As you know, this show is directed and produced by Sohail Khan in Mumbai and they make all those decisions. We’d love to get everyone a picture with the team but that might not be possible. It’s best to get your Elite and VVIP tickets for that reason.” What are the lowest and highest ticket prices? “All the VIP, Meet & Greet, Sponsorship tickets will be taken care of by Nasir Siddiqi. The other floor tickets

are taken care of by Rashmi Jain. It’s a team effort. The floor tickets are not available on ticketmaster.com. The lowest floor tickets start from $499. Our tickets are starting at $39, so we want everyone to be here. This is especially great for students who might not be able to pay that much. Our tickets are priced affordably so that everyone can be here. This is not for us to be making money and rip people off. We are attempting to make this as low cost as possible for you, but you know, we also have the show’s bills to pay, such as the building we are sitting in. It’s our first time ever at the American Airlines Center. There is a lot of overhead that we have to take care of. There are approx. 150 people coming from Mumbai. But, we are trying to make this as affordable as possible.” You are very famous for having great sound at your shows. So I’m assuming that this will have a good sound system as well. “Arijit Singh’s show would have to be the biggest sound system that we have arranged for, and that was incredible. This is going to be double the size. The sound system is coming in from California. The whole concert is going to be very different.” What will the stage be like? “This stage will be totally different and it will include a ramp/runway that goes into the audience.” What is the total length of the show? “It’s about 3.5-4 hours long.”

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


20 February 16, 2018

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YLDP Houston students with Mike Curtin

BY NIHARIKA PAKALA

HOUSTON: On February 3, at

India House, members of the Youth Leadership Development Program had the incredible honor of meeting Mike Curtin, the Vice President of Capital Project at Shell Oil Company. Mike Curtin opened his presentation by introducing the prevailing energy challenges that have risen as a result of global rapid population growth, and the long term plan that Shell has started to implement in order to combat them. He explained the importance of looking ahead to effectively plan for the future while being efficient and resourceful. He referenced the energy transitions Shell is currently undertaking, from oil to liquefied natural gas, to ex-

plain the importance of adapting to the changing world, and evolving alongside society to ensure long term success. Curtin’s presentation revolved around the central message: “culture outweighs strategy.” Conflicting cultural mindsets are the differences in how people think and react to the dynamic world. Curtin revealed how good leaders will not try to change the technology, but rather learn how to leverage the technology to bring about success. These leaders influence others by connecting with them, and having a compelling purpose to drive change for the greater good. Their positive outlook on life allows them to recognize how not every failure should result in success, but rather a lesson to learn from. Their vulnerability and self awareness is

Mike Curtin, the Vice President of Capital Project at Shell Oil Company.

what allows them to excel in life. As high schoolers training to enter the professional world, Curtin’s speech gave us invaluable insight on how to emulate the leaders we all aspire to be. Staying positive while collaborating with peers comes with effort and maturity, both of which are imperative for success. Even outside an academic environment, being the smartest person in the room will only hinder us more than it will help us. It was only after Curtin’s presentation when our group realized how easy it really is to be a leader in our everyday lives. Ultimately, planning for the future, connecting with our peers, and living with purpose are the keys to becoming the leaders of a successful tomorrow.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

February 16, 2018

Family Quiz Show to Premiere on Zee TV this Month HOUSTON: On Saturday, February 24, media and entertainment mega-giant ZEE Entertainment will debut “America’s Smartest Family” - a brand new television game show where 16 families will compete for a $10,000 cash prize. Airing exclusively on ZEE TV, the highly-anticipated series is the first-ever English-language quiz show of its kind, placing some of the globe’s brightest South Asian families on stage for a chance at the title of “America’s Smartest Family.” Hosted by 23-year-old YouTube sensation Zaid Ali, “America’s Smartest Family” is a unique mashup of the American household favorites “Family Feud” and “Jeopardy,” but with that special ZEE TV twist that celebrates its South Asian heritage. Complete with a diverse set of categories and a buzzer, each episode will feature five challenging in-studio question rounds, testing pre-screened contestants on their ability to answer quickly and more importantly - their ability to work as a team. Only the fastest, most well rounded family will get to take home the crown. Round one consists of four questions; with a toss deciding which family goes first. Participants can choose from one of five topics - including science, math, arts, history and geography. Once a category is chosen, it may not be selected for the remainder of the round. During the first round,

Host Zaid Ali with some of the contestants from America’s Smartest Family.

100 points will be awarded for every correct answer. There are no deductions for wrong answers until round three and four, when a mistake can cost a team 100 points for every incorrect answer. As the game progresses, questions become increasingly difficult. By rounds three and four - each correct answer is worth 200 points. During the fifth and final round, the game takes a turn and host Zaid Ali spices things up by offering clues. If the team answers correctly without a clue, a maximum of 1000 points is awarded. If the family chose’s to get clues, each clue costs them 200 points. At the end of five rounds, scores may vary from -2400 to 5500. In the event of a tie, an extra tiebreaker round will identify the winner. In the first four episodes of the season, four families will compete against one another, accumulating points for every correct answer. The eight winning teams from those early contents will move onto the semi-

finals until just two families remain. The winners of the semi-finals will make it to finals, for the ultimate faceoff, where one family will be named “America’s Smartest Family.” The show is part of the Zee Originals initiative and joins a stellar line up of upcoming shows that have been created for the evolving South Asian audience. “In its 20th year of network broadcast in North America, its time to produce relevant content for the audience which is locally sourced and features the local community. This is yet another commitment from Zee which prides itself as being the innovative leader for the market,” said Sameer Targe, Head of Americas for Asia TV. Tune in and watch the world premiere of “America’s Smartest Family” on ZEE TV at 9:00 p.m. EST; 9:30 p.m. PST; and 9:00 p.m. AST. To learn more visit https://www. zeeoriginals.com/americas-smartest-family/

Daksha Shah CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 includes plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, lentils, and grains. She’s 57 and says she’s never been to a doctor other than her routine checkups and doesn’t take any medications either. Her advice to people is to start yoga early. She emphasizes the importance of slow and deep breathing through the nose in yoga as it helps the body relax and an example that figures often in her classes is one of the turtle who breathes slowly and lives for 200-300 years while a dog lives for only 17-18 years. Speaking of starting young, once a week, the children at the DAV Montessori School enter their yoga room in single file with a cheery chorus of “Namaste Ms. Daksha.” The class begins with the chanting of OM and a prayer followed by Pranayama (breathing exercises), walking on toes, stretches and surya namaskars. When attention strays, Daksha gently brings the awareness of the room back to the breath. Principal Arathi Khanna notes how Daksha “takes the time to patiently go over to each child to help fix the pose until they get it right.” With the younger children, animal imagery is very popular and the children enjoy asanas such as the Cobra pose, Tiger breathing, Down Dog and Butterfly. Daksha makes a strong case of how Yoga helps children focus better and improves their attention span in school - a fact that clearly resonates with parents who have often lauded the school for instituting this class in

Yoga teacher Daksha Shah at the DAV Montessori School. Photo: Paresh Shah

their regimen. Even Daksha’s two and half year old granddaughter, Maren loves doing yoga with her “Ba” on Facetime. When she’s not teaching yoga, Daksha prefers to spend her time in prayer and the study of religious scriptures. She hosted a Yog Milan on her 50th birthday which was graced with her teacher’s presence Raghuramji who came from India, students and friends. Reflecting on the best part of her job, Daksha believes it is the satisfaction she gets when she sees her students improve their health. She still cherishes a card sent by a grateful mother whose son chanted OM as taught by Daksha to calm himself when he was agitated. Daksha’s goal in the coming years is to make the community healthy and help as many people as she can appreciate the power of yoga. For more information, visit her website Positive Life Yoga.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

21


22 February 16, 2018

SUDOKU

Place a Number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. Send us the correct answer before February 21, 2018. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).

PUZZLES / RECIPES

Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Bread Crust Nashta (Bread Crust Spicy Snack) 2. Take some dahin in a bowl and beat it till it is thin. 3. Pour the dahin over the crust so that they are covered and soak for 30 minutes. 4. Heat the oil in a small frying over medium heat and throw in the chopped onions, stirring till they are light brown. 5. Throw in the chopped tomatoes and peas. Stir till they are tender and brown. Stir in the namak and mirch. 6. Scoop in the dahin covered crusts and gently stir into the mixture, making sure not to smash the crusts too much. 7. Cook for 2 minutes and then serve hot. Add your own garnishes.

Solution Next Week

One of the favorite carbohydrates

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for most people is bread, especially if it has a crust and is crispy to bite into, not the soft white variety that many people use to make sandwiches with. Indians call bread double roti after the two pieces of bread stuffed with vegetables or meat to make a sandwich, and a term universally used in the Indian Subcontinent to refer to any loaf of bread. After the Europeans came to the Subcontinent, Indians became familiar with loaves of bread. From the Portuguese word “pao” (for bread) came the term Pav Bhaji, a Marathi dish made with leftover vegetables and lots and lots of spices, that was invented in the 1850’s for the textile workers coming off their midnight shift. In North India, where the staple food is wheat flour, bread became an instant hit. But Italian and French breads like pain de campagne, pain complet, duomo or pagnotta offer a special treat in that they have very hard crusts. And this crust can be used to make a unique type of snack, although cutting off the edges of toasted bread can be a good substitute also. For many older people who are unable to eat the crusty parts, this is a chance to make a savory dish that can be eaten later. The key is to keep the crust for a few days in a sealed container until enough pieces are collected. The rest of the recipe is very simple and easy to make and tastes almost like pav bhaji when it is ready. Try it and see for yourself!

Ingredients: • 1 small plate white bread crusts • Saadi dahin (plain yogurt) • 2 tbsp mutter (green peas) – thawed if frozen • 1 medium tamater (tomato) chopped • 1 small piyaaz (onion) – peeled and chopped • 1 tsp tael (vegetable oil) • Spices to taste: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper) Directions: 1. Cut off the crusts from the slices of bread and keep in a shallow bowl. Leave uncovered for two days to allow them to dry up.

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the oldfashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India (since renamed Faisalabad) before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share her delectable Punjabi vegetarian recipes for future generations.

MAMA’S TIP O F THE

WEEK

A SALT SUBSTIT UTE THAT IS A L ITTLE SPICY For those who

are on a salt restrict ed or salt-free diet, alternatives to usin there are other g lemon or vinega r to is a recipe for a sa lt substitute that ha add flavor to their food. This s been circulated in and is a bit spicy. I many places ha to satisfy the needs ve added amchoor (dried green man go powder) of Indian palettes. Mix together 5 tsp on io n po w de r; 1 tbsp garlic powder; 1 tbsp mustard seed 1 tbsp paprika; po store in an airtight co wder; ½ tsp white pepper and ½ tsp am ch ntainer in a cool plac e, but not in the fridg oor and over your food for a tastier and spicy e. Sprinkle meal.

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


ENTERTAINMENT:REVIEWS/NEWS ENTERTAINMENT:REVIEWS/NEWS

February 16, 2018

23

PadMan: The Akshay Kumar and Sonam Kapoor Starrer isn’t a Particularly Good Film for menstruating women). house. I liked both what it was try- ha-palla’ wearing Gayatri is the PadMan is based on the real-life ing his wife and the other women epithets Akshay Kumar is now consistent- ing to say and how it was doing so: it spokesperson for those who call

inspirational story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who famously invented a machine that led to the creation of a low-cost sanitary napkin, and created a real-life revolution. There is absolutely no doubt that the subject and the intention of the film is applause-worthy. In India, the ‘shame’ associated with ‘that time of the month’ is still so strong and so pervasive that anything that brings out into the open is cause to cheer, and a film starring a big star is sometimes the best way to break age-old taboos. But PadMan left me conflicted because I kept struggling to find the film buried under the heavyhanded messaging, especially in the repetitive first half. By the time Gayatri (Apte), Lakshmikant Chauhan’s ( Kumar) comely new bride utters the word ‘sharm’ the nth time, her beautiful big eyes swimming, it’s coming out of our ears. Because Lakshmikant, a resident of picturesque Maheshwar, a small town in MP, is hell-bent upon sav-

of his family from the use of unhygienic rags, and subsequent lethal infection. And nothing will deter him: not the bewildered Gayatri who can’t understand his obsession with this ‘auraton ki baat’, nor his horrified sisters, his mother, or the other enraged women around him. This is a country where girls and women with the ‘curse’are ex-communicated when they have their periods, not allowed to come into the kitchen, or touch ‘achaar’ because it will ‘go bad’, or any other human being because they will ‘become impure’. Not just having your periods is shameful, but even buying sanitary towels is a clandestine affair (the shopkeeper will wrap the packet in double layers so it can’t be seen). Women live in terror of the blood seeping through and staining their clothes: it is as natural as the monthly cycle but it can be the cause of deathly mortification.And young men make nasty, sexist remarks about ‘five day test matches’ (I hadn’t heard that one before, but I’m sure there are worse

ly green-lighting socially-relevant films, and that is fine and laudable (Pad Man is produced by his wife Twinkle Khanna, a witty commentator on social mores). His

2017 To i l e t : E k Prem Katha started conversations around having toilets within the

was done with a degree of flair. PadMan is as worthy, but it isn’t a particularly good film. It has tonal problems, swinging between commonplace-ness and flat-out filmi-ness, because it is trying to appeal to many constituencies at the same time: a song to celebrate the onset of menstruation of a little girl uses the problematic word ‘nakel’, which means ‘to be led by the nose’. The song gives the perennially weepy Gayatri to swing her waist, but achieves little else. The arrival of perky city girl Pari (Kapoor) perks up the proceedings, even if she is used to invoke a clumsy, after-the-thought romantic angle. Pari’s character is a figment of the filmmakers’ imagination. She ‘helps’ Lakshmikant realize his dreams, speaking to the urban girls who call their periods ‘chums’; the ‘seed-

it ‘maahvaari’ or ‘mahina’. The solution of ‘have-pad-will-solvemenstrual-problems’ is simplistic, and yes, patriarchal. A little nuance (about how menstruation is not just a physically painful occurrence but an instrument to keep women firmly in their place) would have gone a long way in making PadMan deeper and more satisfyingly complex, but this is not that kind of film. It is the kind of film which has to focus on its big male star for obvious reasons. We are left with the man of the movie, and the reason why this film has been made. Akshay gets fully into the role while trying to get in touch with the ‘feminine’ side of him, with some nice strokes: he is the film, in a sense, and he is both earnest and likeable enough, even if he is in familiar do-good mode, and even if we wish his women looked his age. And, even more crucially, that PadMan paid as much attention to its medium as its message. -indianexpress.com

Jacqueline Fernandez on Recreating “Ek Do Teen”: You Cannot Replicate Someone like Madhuri Dixit

Jacqueline Fernandez’s chirpy self

is loved by her fans. She gained much appreciation for her pole dance stint in A Gentleman with Siddharth Malhotra. Now Jacky, as she is lovingly called, is going to be seen recreating Madhuri Dixit’s iconic dance number “Ek Do Teen”. Jacky was shooting for the song at YRF Studio in Mumbai and interacted with media late last night on how she prepared for the song and if she is feeling pressured for recreating the magic moments of Mohini, Madhuri Dixit’s character in Tezaab. Jacqueline expressed that it was stressful for her to even think of recreating a song as iconic as “Ek Do Teen”. She said, “That was my first stress, that how can we recreate something so iconic, like is it even possible? It made it lot easier for me when I understood that it is not possible. We’re not trying to match up

to what Madhuri Dixit did. We are not trying to match up to what Saroj (Khan) ji did. We are honestly fans, big big fans of their work. This is honestly, more than anything, a tribute to an amazing and iconic number that they gave to us, which is “Ek Do Teen Char”. And, for me as an actress this is such an honour, and I know a lot of actresses, a lot of my friends are like ‘we are so jealous that you’re doing

Ek Do Teen’ because it is so iconic. For any girl this would be a dream song to do. I feel really really blessed that I have been given this opportunity. I know I would never be able to match up to Madhuri Dixit, that’s not something that I’m even going to attempt. You cannot replicate someone like Madhuri Dixit, as there is only one Madhuri Dixit. I know that this is just my tribute to her.”

So how did the 32 year old actor get in the shoes of the evergreen Madhuri Dixit? Jacky says, she prepared a lot, along with Ganesh Acharya, the choreographer of the song for Baaghi 2. “First of all, I watched a lot of Madhuri ma’am’s music videos and all of her dancing and her expressions. I did that for about a good month. I have always been her fan, but when I dove deep into the work that she’s done, my respect has only multiplied. We have prepped a lot, a lot work has gone into making this song. Ganesh (Acharya) sir has really worked hard to do justice to it. I feel we both have a responsibility towards each other, I have to do justice to his choreography, and he has to do justice in helping me as well. We really went into the song so much. Ganesh Acharya has really worked on my expressions, and it is very new for me as I have not attempted something like this ever, which is why I was very shocked when Ahmed (Khan, Baaghi 2 director) came to me with

this,” said the actor. -indianexpress.com

Happy Birthday

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

Sajid Nadiadwala February 18, 1966

Annu Kapoor

February 20, 1956


24 February 16, 2018 Rohit, Spinners Fetch India First ODI Series Win in SA P

BY FIRDOSE MOONDA

ORT ELIZABETH: (ESPN Cricinfo): India 274 for 7 (Rohit 115, Ngidi 4-51) beat South Africa 201 (Amla 71, Kuldeep 4-57) by 73 runs India have won their first bilateral series in South Africa across any format bar a one-off T20, with victory in the fifth ODI in Port Elizabeth. Their success in the series has been fashioned by their wristspinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who have taken 30 out of the 43 South African wickets to fall in five matches, at an average of 13.63. Chahal and Kuldeep shared six wickets between them at St George’s Park, where India defended a belowpar total in a messy effort in the field that still managed to force a South African collapse. The hosts lost 6 for 31 to crash from 166 for 4 in the 35th over to being bowled out inside 43 overs and only have a win in a rain-shortened match in Johannesburg to show for their efforts. India, on the other hand, have plenty to celebrate including the form of Rohit Sharma. After Virat Kohli in the first and third ODIs and Shikhar Dhawan in the fourth, finally Rohit, who did not manage a half-century in eight innings on this tour or over 20 in the ODIs, raised his bat to a hundred. But his innings was not without its drama. Rohit witnessed two run-outs at the other end, including that of Kohli, survived a review, was dropped on 96 and then his dismissal sparked a mini-collapse in which India lost four wickets for 29 to finish with 274 for 7. India only scored 78 runs in the last 15 overs and South Africa would have fancied their chances, The early battle lines were drawn between Kagiso Rabada and Shikhar Dhawan with the former ramping up his pace to 150 kph and the latter dealing in boundaries. Dhawan scored all but two of his 34 runs in fours and took five of them off Rabada, who gave him an animated send-off. At the other end, Rohit could have just been content with keeping Rabada at bay, given that Rabada had dismissed him in six out of eight innings on this tour. But Rohit was not merely content.

Rohit Sharma tucks one into the leg side, South Africa v India, 5th ODI, Port Elizabeth, February 13, 2018.

He launched Rabada over long-on to show early intent and went on to take on the short balls, which Lungi Ngidi offered generously in his opening spell. JP Duminy and Tabraiz Shamsi bowled in tandem for eight overs but

P

their attempts to create pressure were stymied by the penchant for boundary balls. They conceded 49 runs in that time and it was only some quick work in the field that slowed India down. Ultimately, Duminy removed Koh-

li but not in the way he would have imagined. Rohit tapped a Morkel delivery off the back foot and refused a run but Kohli was already on his way. Duminy had enough time to collect the ball from point and underarm it directly onto the stumps. Kohli’s dismissal quietened Rohit and India only scored 23 runs off the next 38 balls before Ajinkya Rahane was run-out. He was left stranded after tapping the ball to Morkel at mid-on; Rohit once again was not keen on the quick single. If India were aiming for 300, Rohit needed to rebuild with the middle and lower order but getting his own milestone appeared to be the first mission and South Africa seemed determined to deny him. They appealed for caught behind when Rohit pulled Andile Phehlukwayo on 90 and reviewed the umpire’s call of not out but replays showed the ball had hit the thigh pad. Rohit’s hundred eventually came up off 107 balls at the end of the 36th over, giving him enough time to make it really count. It was only when Amla was runout, by the smallest of margins when he failed to get any part of his bat over the line after setting off for a hasty single off Bhuvneshwar, that the task began to look too tough. The next five wickets fell in 47 balls, all to wristspin and three in four balls in Kuldeep’s last over.

Mithali Raj Leads India to 1-0 T20 Win Over SA

OTCHEFSTROOM: India women 168 for 3 (Raj 54*, Krishnamurthy 37*, Rodriques 37) beat South Africa women 164 for 4 (van Niekerk 38, Patil 2-23) by seven wickets Mithali Raj made an unbeaten 54 her third successive fifty in T20Is - to marshal India’s chase of 165 and put them 1-0 up in the five-match series. This after T20 specialist offspinner Anuja Patil claimed 2 for 23 in her four overs to pin down South Africa’s batting line-up. After South Africa were sent in, Lizelle Lee launched the innings with three boundaries in five balls across the the second and third overs. Shikha Pandey, however, recovered from an 11-run first over to have Lee caught at mid-off in the fifth over.

Dane van Niekerk then gave her side direction with 38 off 31 balls. She found support from Sune Luus (18) and Mignon du Preez (31) to haul the hosts close to 100. Chloe Tryon then provided a blazing finish with 32 off seven balls, by smacking three sixes and a four off Pandey in the last over that went for 23 runs. Eighteen-yearold medium-pacer Pooja Vastrakar - one of India’s four debutants - returned 1 for 34. India’s chase also started with a flurry of boundaries when Raj and Smriti Mandhana collected three fours and a six off Marizanne Kapp in the opening over. On 47 in the fifth over, India faced a bit of a stutter when Mandhana fell for a quick 15-ball 28 and captain Harmanpreet Kaur was

run out on her first ball. However, 17year-old Jemimah Rodrigues, also on debut, came out all guns blazing by clobbering three fours and a six in her first seven balls of international cricket. She and Raj scored 69 runs together in under nine overs, including Rodrigues’ 37 off 27 balls, studded with four fours and a six. The platform had been set by Raj’s fifty that included six fours and a six. She was particularly severe on Shabnim Ismail, hitting 22 off 11 balls. She stayed unbeaten along with Veda Krishnamurthy (37*) to steer India home with seven wickets and seven balls to spare. Five of South Africa’s seven bowlers conceded more than eight runs an over, and three of them more than 11 an over.

SPORTS

PV Sindhu Leads Indian Shuttlers to Asia Q-finals

A

LOR SETAR: Indian women shuttlers advanced to the Badminton Asia Team Championship quarter-finals despite a 1-4 loss to Japan in which PV Sindhu notched the country’s only win on Thursday. Sindhu extended her domination over world No.2 Akane Yamaguchi with a straight-game win. Despite the loss, India qualified for the quarterfinals in both the women’s and men’s competition. The Indian women finished second in Group W with one win and one loss ahead of Hong Kong China but behind Japan. The Sindhu-led squad had defeated Hong Kong China 3-2 in its opening group tie. With a rampaging 5-0 wins over lower-ranked Philippines and Maldives, the Indian men’s team too has qualified for the quarter-finals from Group D. The Indian men will now be up against mighty Indonesia in their last Group D tie later in the day. Taking the court first, Olympic silver-medallist Sindhu dished out a fine attacking performance to beat Yamaguchi 21-19, 21-15 in 36 minutes. By virtue of this win, world No.4 Sindhu now enjoys a 5-3 head-tohead record against Yamaguchi. However, Sindhu did not get enough support from her teammates as Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli was no match for world No.13 Sayaka Sato, losing the second singles 12-21, 10-21 to help Japan draw level. It was then left to the doubles specialists to bring India back into the tie but both the Indian pairs went down after a good fight. The script turned out to be the same for India in the last inconsequential match of the tie as Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 18-21, 18-21 to Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.

Sindhu now enjoys a 5-3 head-tohead record against Yamaguchi.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


February 16, 2018

N

Billionaire Jewellers Accused of Rs. 11,300 Crore Fraud vs PNB

EW DELHI : In one of the biggest fraud cases to hit Indian banking, Punjab National Bank (PNB) informed stock exchanges on Wednesday that it has been hit by embezzlement amounting to Rs 11,300 crore at one of its branches in Mumbai. Although the bank did not name any person or company, it had lodged a complaint with CBI on January 31 naming billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi and a few others in a Rs 280-crore fraud. The complaint also mentioned his wife Ami Modi, his brother Nishal Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, MD of Gitanjali Gems — a listed company. Two PNB officials, Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Kharat, were also named. The Modis and Choksi are partners in three businesses — Diamonds R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds. The Enforcement Directorate has also initiated a money laundering

case against the Modis, agencies had reported on Wednesday. The news sent PNB stocks tumbling nearly 10% lower on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The fraud is worth almost eight times the bank’s 2016-17 profit and nearly a third of its market cap on Wednesday’s closing price. In a matter of a few days, the scale of the fraud has grown from Rs 280 crore to over Rs 11,300 crore. The alleged irregularities are ex-

pected to impact not just PNB, which had shown signs of recovery in recent months after grappling with a pile of bad debt, but several

other banks. The irregularities started sometime in 2011 but went undetected until a few weeks ago. People in PNB said the fraud came to light after an executive, named by CBI, retired last summer ending the unsanctioned rollover of letters of undertaking, based on which the companies were raising funds overseas. “The bank has detected some fraud-

ulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branches in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance. Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad,” the country’s third largest public sector bank said in its filing. A senior bank official acknowledged that the fraud was a “systemic failure” and should not have lingered for so long without detection. The revelations have prompted the finance ministry to seek inputs from other banks. Financial services secretary Rajiv Kumar said it appeared to be an isolated case and was not going to impact other lenders. “The finance ministry has taken proactive steps by asking the lender to report the matter to CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) so that action can be taken quickly,” he told a news agency.. -- ToI

Trump Decries Import Duty on Harleys, Wants Reciprocal Tax product in. that’s very unfair. I think we should W DC: US Presi- I won’t menASHINGTON

dent Donald Trump on Tuesday slammed India for a high import tariff on Harley-Davidson motorcycle, calling it “unfair”, even as New Delhi slashed customs duty on imported motorcycles from high-end brands to 50 per cent. Trump, during a discussion with members of the Congress over steel industry, also threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian motorcycles to the US. He said the recent decision of the Indian government to reduce the tariff from 75 per cent to 50 per cent was not enough and asked that it should be reciprocal, as the US imposes “zero tax” on the import of motorcycles. “We have so many countries where we made a product, they make a product, ..We pay a tremendous tax to get into their countries — motorcycles, Harley Davidson — it goes into a certain country.

tion the fact that it happens to be India, in this case,” Trump said amidst laughter from the audience. In fact, he also indirectly referred to the recent conversation he had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard. “And a great gentleman called me from India and he said, we have just reduced the tariff on motorcycles, reduced it down to 50 per cent from 75, and even 100 per cent,” Trump said in an apparent reference to his last week’s conversation with Prime Minister Modi. “We have — if you are Harley Davidson, you have 50 to 75 per cent tax, tariff to get your motorcycle, your

And yet they sell thousands and thousands of motorcycles, which a lot of people don’t k n o w, from India into the United States. You know what our tax is? Nothing,” he told the lawmakers and his other Cabinet colleague. Trump once again pitched for a “reciprocal tax” on countries that he says abuse their trade relationships with the US. “So, I say, we should have reciprocal taxes for a case like that. I’m not blaming India. I think it’s great that they can get away with it. I don’t know why people allowed them to get away with it. But there’s an example

have a reciprocal tax,” he said. Trump has floated the idea of a reciprocal tax in the past, promising to slap it on countries, including allies, that take advantage of the United States. “That’s called fair trade. It’s called free trade. Because ultimately, what’s going to happen — either we’ll collect the same that they’re collecting, or, probably, what happens is they’ll end up not charging a tax and we won’t have a tax. And that becomes free trade,” Trump said. Imported motorcycles from high-end brands such as HarleyDavidson and Triumph are set to get cheaper in India with the reduction in the tariffs. Earlier, import of motorcycles with engine capacity of 800cc or less used to attract 60 per cent duty, while those with the capacity of above 800cc, attracted 75 per cent duty. ToI

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Nestle India’s Annual Sales Cross Rs10,000-Crore Mark

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EW DELHI: Swiss packaged food company Nestle SA has finally joined the Rs10,000 crore sales club in India—more than a century after it entered the burgeoning market to sell Swiss condensed milk as a trader. On Wednesday, its local entity Nestle India Ltd reported total sales at Rs10,135.11 crore for the year ended December 2017. The maker of Maggi noodles, Kit Kat chocolates and Nescafe instant coffee mixes follows a January-December accounting year. Nestle, which began trading in India in 1912, is the first listed “pure-play food company” to cross Rs10,000 crore in sales in India. While there are many packaged goods companies in India with more than Rs10,000 crore sales, Nestle India is among the very few to have crossed the mark with a pure-play food business. Among the listed firms, ITC Ltd’s food business was estimated at around Rs8,000 crore in fiscal year ended 31 March 2017 (FY17) and Britannia Industries Ltd reported sales at Rs8,684 crore in FY17. The country’s largest packaged goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd and New Delhi-based Dabur India Ltd have much smaller food businesses. Among unlisted firms, Amul brand marketer Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd’s revenue stood at Rs27,043 crore in FY17, accordingtoacompanystatementissued last year. Biscuit maker Parle Products Pvt. Ltd reported Rs9,331.42 crore revenue from operations in FY16, according to Registrar of Companies (RoC). -- Live Mint

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