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Friday, February 19 2016 | Vol. 35, No. 08


Indo American erican News

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One Step Closer! P16 P5

A Date with

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February 19, 2016



February 19, 2016


Gunateeta Sang: The Sangeet Martand Blesses his Grand-Disciples



When the inaugural event of the year, is an afternoon spent with the Sun of Indian Classical Music, Sangeet

Martand (Martand = Sun) Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj Ji – we know that Houston can expect a lot of great, exciting things this year from The Center for Indian Classical Music (CICMH). Gunateeta Sang, a signature event of CICMH where the Gurukul members have the opportunity to interact closely with one who is above and beyond the ‘gunas’ (Gunateeta) and spend an afternoon immersed in musical meditation, was held on Sunday, February 7. The event began with a heartfelt welcome to all the Gurus

– Pandit Jasraj Ji, Pandit Suman Ghosh Ji, Pandita Tripti Mukherjee Ji and Shashikala Ghosh Ji – with a traditional aarti and tika accompanied by the sounds of conch shells. The ambience of quiet spiritual introspection, with beautiful altars on either side of the stage and an audience that waited in pin-drop silence for the Gurus to take their seats, set the stage for the musical

tribute that Pandit Ghosh’s disciples offered to their Grand Guru – the repertoire spanned compositions in Raags Gunakali, Ramkali and Hindol and a few shloks and bhajans. The energy and emotion of the renderings touched the Grand Guru, making him emotional at several points. Impressed by the precise rendering of complex taans, he even asked for them to be repeated. Once all the Gurus were honored, “Bade Guruji”, as Pandit Jasraj Ji is fondly referred to by his grand disciples, was invited to share his thoughts and blessings with the

assembled audience. He made this an interactive session and opened the floor up to questions from all – and the questions poured in! From his musical journey (trust your instincts to guide you), to the process of composing (the meaning of the poetry attracts just the right music, I am merely a conduit) to what his disciple Pandit Ghosh was like as a student (the signs of greatness were visible early on). His ready wit, humor and accessibility created indelible memories for those present. He then formally taught his assembled grand-disciples a composition in Raag Gyankali. Both the raag and

the composition are the creations of his spiritual Guru Maharaja Jaiwant Singh Ji Waghela. His recently observed 86th birthday was celebrated with a large cake cutting and singing of the birthday song by all present, followed by a beautiful ‘Pushp Aarti’ a floral felicitation of the Grand Guru by all disciples – led, as always, by their Guruji Pandit Suman Ghosh and Guruma Shashikala Ghosh. The opportunity to personally offer their respects and the enduring vision of their smiling grand guru surrounded by rose petals, is something that will

remain in everyone’s hearts and minds. The evening concluded with dinner, where true to Indian hospitality norms, the dignitaries were served by the disciples before the disciples themselves enjoyed the sumptuous dinner. The organizational skills and sheer elegance of the décor, a signature of all CICMH events, was evident here as well.



February 19, 2016


HOUSTON: Thanks to Hous-

ton Marathi Mandal for arranging a screening of this wonderful movie “Natasamrat – Asa Nat hone nahi” for its Houston audience which was recently released in India. Nearly 550+ enthusiast Houstonians experienced the screening of this movie at AMC Dunvale on Sunday, January 31, at 1 PM. Everyone were amused and satisfied with the smooth

check-in and overall arrangement for the movie by Houston Marathi Mandal volunteers. Barricades were placed with the movie posters for the convenience of the attendees to form a queue to avoid the chaos during check-in process. Sankranti vaan was given to the HMM members at the front desk who could not make it to the Makar Sankranti event on January 16. Inspite of so many obstacles before this movie screening HMM team proved the saying “The Show must go on”. Event started sharp at 1 PM. HMM president Megha Ozarker welcomed everyone and introduced 2016 committee with a short video clip. The video clip of the Vastu progress and 2017 BMM convention invitation video clips were presented following that. Natsamrat (The Emperor of Theater) is a 2016 Marathi language film featuring Nana Patekar in the leading role. It is directed by Mahesh Manjrekar and produced by Nana Patekar and Vishwas Joshi under the banner of Great Maratha Entertainment, Gajanan Chitra and Fincraft Media & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. The film was officially released in India on Jan 1, to popular and critical acclaim while recording biggest opening in Marathi cinema. The film is a tragedy about a veteran theatre actor named Ganpat "Appa" Belwalkar (Nana Patekar) who has been an acclaimed theater actor during his day, garnering fame and fortune acting in plays based on various works, especially William Shakespeare's. He bequeaths all of his wealth to his children. Appa never keeps anything to himself & express his views very frankly. He doesn't mind adding expletives while expressing his views. Only his close friend Ram & his wife are able to understand his nature. His daughter-in-law Neha & son doesn't seem to appreciate his frank nature, which at times becomes embarrassing to them when they have guests or their daughter hurls expletives in school. The high point in their relationship comes when their granddaughter performs a folk dance taught by Appa, which is not appreciated by his daughter-in-law Neha. An argument follows between them when they return home & Neha slaps her daughter. Next day Neha proposes to part their ways by moving out, a ploy in which she anticipates Appa to grant them their space. Appa see's through her plan and decides to move out, while passing on a comment to his son "The whole world is a stage & unfortunately my son my part is a sad one." Chowpaty Chat and Kurrywala restaurant, were the HMM sponsors for the event, for providing the food items at a discounted rate before and after the event for the HMM members on showing their membership cards. Everyone enjoyed the movie and the hospitality by HMM volunteers. This was a sold out event and due to overwhelming response by the Marathi crowd in Houston, HMM decided to go with its 2nd screening on February 21, at 2 PM. The details and online ticketing will be available on the HMM website. For the photos and the videos of the event please visit: www.hmmhouston.org


February 19, 2016 5 COMMUNITY Valentines Date Night with Bollywood Moments!!



Valentine's Day for the family doesn't get any better than enjoying Bollywood dance and munching on special Valentine's Day-themed treats. It is a day to celebrate love and have fun with loved ones. Here is a roundup of the Valentine's Day benefit for the non-profit Kalakriti Performing Arts organized by Kusum Sharma’s Shri Natraj School of Dance. Hearts, romantic verses, wine, goodies, stories, music and dance made this day special for all. The show began with a spotlight image of Lord Ganesha on the screen of the stage. It started with chantings of Deva Shree Ganesha while dancers posed in different Ganesha styles which culminated in an energetic dance performance. There were four famous couples (jodi’s) themed performance, Romeo Juliet, Laila Majnu, Heer Ranjha and Sohni Mahiwal. The

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performers acted and danced on some classic songs with zest and glee. Their dance was often accompanied by lip-syncing and flashing eyes and had all of Bollywood’s engaging vivacity. Ude Jab jab zulfe tere” and “Ruth aa gaye re” were among few dances performed by students of Shri Natraj School of dance which kept

everyone’s foot tapping. The show progressed with Kusum Sharma’s solo dances mesmerizing the audience with her performances in classical songs like” jhumka gira re” and “aaj jaane ki zid na karo” which were sung by Veena Watwe. The melodious voice, beats of tabla and footbells were fascinating.

Kusum Sharma’s facial expressions and subtle movements were simply ravishing. “Chalte Chalte” was also one of her big hits. The array of costumes were so admirably vivid that it was appealing to everyones’s eyes. There was a lovely qawali performance which was followed by the song “Aa jawe Mahi” projecting the love and longing for the lovers to unite. The duet sections would often show them dancing or acting in different ways simultaneously. Breaking the monotony of romantic songs came the sound of Dhol beats. The entire atmosphere changed to a playful mood. It was the beginning of the bhangra contest. Lively beats with different bhangra moves by all the participants was an enjoyable moment. The show ended with the tunes of some energetic Indian Rock and roll. A group of well co-ordinated dancers presented it. The boys with red tie and girls with fluorescent green skirts and a headband of roses made a perfect end to the Valentines event. Kusum Sharma entered the stage adorned with glittery diamonds making a grand entry from within the couples. It was a fitting end to the entire show. The emcees, Shhyam Moorthy, Kavita Barua and Nikita Khambe were great in keeping the flow of the show. They kept the love meter high of everyone by doing few acts, throwing in a few trivia’s and also being part of few dances. It was an entertaining evening filled with love, comedy, fun trivia and jokes. Drinks and wine were served for adults, Photo shoot was set for the best couple contest, face painting was done for kids and photo booth was made to capture memories. It was a fantastic stage show for the entire family from toddlers to teens, from singles to couples and from young to old. From the Classical footsteps to the peppy beats of bhangra, classic love songs to some happy foot tapping Bollywood moves, the entire package of this Valentine’s day event to dine and wine with a musical evening was definitely an impressive experience for everyone present there. All proceeds went to 501 (c) (3) Kalakriti Performing Arts, a local charity dedicated to promoting India culture, values & heritage via visual and performing arts. For more details & past and upcoming events visit www.kalakritiusa.org




February 19, 2016

IACCGH Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Renu Khator

President Joya Shukla welcoming the gathering.

Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Dr. Renu Khator addressing the gathering

Photos: Bijay Dixit

From Left: President Joya Shukla, Dr. Renu Khator, Debra Stewart (Shell) and Alyssa Holmes Henderson (Shell)



Khator gave an illuminating talk to a packed room on "Chairing the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas" at the IACCGH Distinguished Lecture. The Event was hosted on February 10, at the Federal Reserve Bank building on Allen Parkway. Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering and acknowledged the presence and contribution of Founding President and UH Regent Dr. Durga Agrawal. Describing India as the fastest growing major economy, Head of the Houston Branch, Daron Peschel stated that the “Houston Fed deeply valued its relationship with the international community.” He also lauded Dr. Khator for taking the University of Houston to a new level in research, brain power and developing Houston’s workforce and revealed that of the employees at the Bank, “every sixth person was a UH graduate or a student.” Board Member Narayan Bhargava gave a brief presentation of the IACCGH Student Internship Program which will be launched this summer. The program will partner with

corporations to allow local business graduates intern in Houston and India to “gain a unique international internship experience of how the (business) system works.” Describing Dr. Khator as “inspirational” President Joya Shukla emphasized Dr. Khator’s tremendous contribution in not only making the University of Houston excellent in academics, sports and the arts but also impacting the city of Houston in a very positive manner. Past President Ashok Garg was presented a plaque for “moving mountains and making miracles happen” during his tenure as President in 2015 which culminated in executing the most successful Gala in the history of the Chamber. Dr. Khator has been a Board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas since 2011 and assumed the position of Chair in 2015. In her address, Dr. Khator set out by describing her initial reservations about joining the Bank due to the less than flattering charges against the Bank, namely, the Fed is under the control of Congress, it is not transparent, works for Wall Street and not Main Street and is a government agency supported by tax dollars. Dr. Khator through her association first as a Board member and then as Chair stated that she gained a “different appreciation for the bank and the work it does.” According to Dr. Khator, the charges were mythical as the Bank was audited by an independent agency, its balance sheet is published every week, it is a semi government entity that is not supported by tax dollars and it works to balance employment and inflation to maintain the financial stability of the system. She also outlined the history and structure of the Federal Reserve Bank and the crucial role it plays in formulating monetary policies, supervision of banks and being the “banker of the banks” which in turn maintains the economic stability of the market and nation. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas which covers Texas, and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico is very engaged and carries its “Texas size voice” at the Central and State levels. Dr. Khator also pointed out that research by economists at the Federal Bank of Dallas carried a lot of weight and is highly valued throughout the country. Debra Stewart from Shell presented a plaque to Dr. Khator and stated that Shell was a proud sponsor of inspiring events such as this. The event concluded with a tour of the facility. The Chamber’s next event to be held on February 28th at India House is a free tax seminar by the city’s renowned CPA’s and tax consultants. The seminar will cover IRS regulations with regard to overseas/foreign assets, retirement planning, contract labor issues and nonprofit organization compliance. To register, please visit www.iaccgh. com

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February 19, 2016


Please Join Us

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Sunday, Feb 21, 2016


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

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February 19, 2016

Club 65 Celebrates the Most Romantic Valentine’s Day

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love and looks forward to wearing festive red clothing, listening the romantic music and take delight in the warmth of sensual sways of dancing, but was unable to attend the Club 65 Valentine celebration, then you definitely missed an exceptionally delightful gala. Valentine’s Day has the power to inspire a variety of emotions in people. The organizing team of Club 65 really knows how to turn up the romance factor of Valentine’s Day into a successful joyous event. The Club 65 Valentine Party was held at the Savoy Party Hall, Houston on February 5. The entire banquet hall was beautifully decorated. It was well attended by the members. The program started with a warm welcome from Paru McGuire, President of the Club. Food was excellent and included Savoy’s signature dishes such as dal fry, kadai ghost, etc. Entertainment was provided by the Aarohan Group, which included Nick Ganatra, Tejas Mehta and Vijay Kalpathi. Love was in the air. The music was incredible. It was

a night of mirth and laughter. Every one was wearing festive red clothing. The seniors seemed to have left the cares of the world behind as they swayed along with music. There is something about Valentine’s Day that makes us conscious that we are most alive when we're in love. Social dancing is the best medicine for a couple looking to strengthen their relationship and heart. While embracing your partner, you can also lead a healthier life. Studies show that dancing continuously for 30 minutes has the same impact on weight loss as walking, swimming, or cycling. In addition to dancing to the Bollywood beats and Garba, several games had been planned and with full member participation, the evening rocked until 11:30 p.m. As usual the activity committee, which included Paru McGuire, Rozina Jafferali, Parvin Saiyed and Farida Bandali, had decorated the hall with Valentine embellishments. Red roses were handed out to each female member. Every seat had a little heart ceramic box with a Valentine Candy to take home. Club 65 is a non-profit organization under the umbrella of IMAGH (Indian Muslims of Greater Houston). To find out more about Club 65 or to become a member, please visit, www.imagh.org or call Paru Mcguire at 440-390-1763.



February 19, 2016


Colorado House Joint Resolution (HJR) 16-1008 Concerning Honoring the Life of Mahatma Gandhi


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From left: Representatie Janak Joshi, Consul General of India Mr. P. Harish, Senator Kent Lambert, and Professor Ved Nanda( Strum College of Law).

HOUSTON: A joint resolution to

honor the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi who dedicated his life to fighting injustice with nonviolence and peaceful resistance was adopted by the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado Senate on Friday, February 12 at the Colorado State Capitol, Denver, Colorado. State Representative Dr. Janak Joshi, House District 16, who is the first Indo American legislator in the Colorado General Assembly, prime sponsored the bill with backing and co-prime sponsorship of State Representative Dr. Joann Ginal, and most members of the Colorado House of Representatives, including the sponsorship of Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst. The resolution was unanimously passed with bipartisan support. The Colorado Senate also separately passed a similar resolution at the sponsorship of State Senator Kent Lambert. Harish Parvathaneni, Consul General of India in Houston joined sev-

eral members of the House of Representatives, Indo American members of the cabinet of Governor John Hickenlooper and prominent leaders of the Indian American community in reading the resolution. Consul General Harish said he was deeply humbled to see the numerous ways in which the life, writings and political approaches of Mahatma Gandhi fundamentally motivated and changed people around the world, including so many of the elected representatives of the State of Colorado. Consul General said that this is an important initiative to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi and his message that has far greater relevance today. Consul General thanked members of the Colorado House of Representatives, Senator Kent Lambert, Rep. Janak Joshi, Prof. Ved Nanda and the entire Indian American community for their

support and commitment to the Gandhi Resolution Day.


10 February 19, 2016


A Visionary Career in the Music Industry Recognized Along with Its Stars

Sujata Murthy accepting her award at the event. Photo: Kevin Graft



She comes from a creative and musically inclined family in the Bayou City and credits her parents with taking her along to concerts of some performers like Cheap Trick, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Elton John who have become icons of the Rock ‘N’ Roll era. And now, years after taking her first baby steps in the music industry, Sujata Murthy is tickled that she gets to work with these performers. Next month, for example, she’ll be on

Sujata Murthy (right) with her parents Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy and their grandkids; her daughter next to her and some friends at the She Rocks Awards in January. Photo: Anjani Lynn White

hand to watch Cheap Trick be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, along with the groups NWA, Chicago, Deep Purple and Steve Miller. Just this past month, Murthy was honored at the 4th Annual She Rocks Awards held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on January 22, as part of the program of events for the annual convention of the National Association of Music Merchants, better known as NAMM. This year the convention drew al-

most 100,000 people in the music industry, including performers eager to give themselves a plug, from across the globe. Murthy is currently the Senior Vice-President of Public Relations at Universal Music Enterprises in Los Angeles. She is one of very few minority women to hold a top executive position. The She Rocks Awards is run by the Women International Music Network and this year, along with Murthy, they honored international music icon Chaka Khan; acclaimed guitarist Jennifer Bat-

ten; Amy Heidemann of the chart-topping duo Karmin; Mindy Seegal Abovitzv, drummer and founder of Tom Tom Magazine; Cathy Carter Duncan, co-founder and CEO of Seymour Duncan; Becky Gebhardt and Mona Tavakoli, co-founders of the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls L.A. and members of Raining Jane; Leslie Ann Jones, Director of Recording and Scoring at Skywalker Sound; Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of the NAMM Foundation; Leigh Maples and Pamela Cole,

founders of Fanny’s House of Music; Crystal Morris, co-founder and President of Gator Cases and Chalise Zolezzi, Director of Brand Communications at Taylor Guitars. When Murthy got out of college with a Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of Texas in Austin, she had little inkling that her career would head in the direction that it did. She worked in short-term jobs in various entertainment companies and then got her break with CONTINUED ON PAGE

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February 19, 2016


Dr. Dronamraju Addresses the 103rd Indian Science Congress at the University of Mysore


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In his Plenary Address to the 103rd Indian Science Congress in Mysore, Dr. Dronamraju presented a discussion of the use of Genetic and Genomic Biomarkers in the early detection of various types of cancers and other diseases. Research in molecular biology, genetics and computational biology is being pursued to identify new risk factors which will improve our methods for identifying individuals who are at high risk for certain diseases. Various types of cancer, infectious diseases, respiratory diseases and others fall under this category. The completion of the human genome sequencing has led to much hope and search for biomarkers which can be useful

for recognizing disease progression and therapeutic intervention. Earliest known markers include the "Philadelphia chromosome" as a predictor of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, and the association of Trisomy 21 with Down's syndrome. A recent example is the association of GSTP1 Promoter Methylation with recurrence in early state Prostate Cancer. Somatic mutations, which are only present in tumor cell DNA, provide an extremely specific biomarker that can be detected and tracked. Various types of Biomarkers include "Screening Biomarkers", "Predisposition Biomarkers", "Prediction Biomarkers", and many others. But where do we stand today? The results are not consistent. Other

problems include bias in sampling, data collection and analysis. It is important to evaluate the present status of their clinical applications, indicating directions of future research, especially in pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine. Dr. Dronamraju is President of the Foundation for Genetic Research, Houston, and a Visiting Professor of the University of Paris. He is a former advisor to the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Wa s h i n g t o n , D.C.

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A Visionary Career in the Music Industry Recognized Along with Its Stars CONTINUED FROM PAGE


a job at Capital Records which was then run by Bhaskar Menon, a legendary figure in the music business and perhaps the only Indian in the management side of a large music multinational corporation. He was a great influence and inspiration in her career as she rose through the ranks in the industry. She remembered a remarkable twist of fate in her business dealings with an executive at EMI records who was transferred to Dubai some years ago. When UMG acquired EMI, they finally met in person in Dubai, and then she learned that he had also been brought into the business by Bhaskar Menon! Murthy made a change in 1999 by joining Universal Music Enterprises as a Senior Director, rising to Vice President and now Sr. VP of Public Relations and remains deeply involved in

promoting the musical groups that UME has under its wing. In the past decade, with the advent of digital technology, she spends less time travelling to check out group performances and concentrates on media strategy and maximizing awareness for albums, tours and big launches, often visiting New York, Nashville, Miami and Austin (for the South by Southwest Festival). It also gives her time to see her parents, Nat and Leela Krishnamurthy who still live in Sugar Land, and who go often to meet her in LA and catch some performances. This explains Leela’s frequent FB posts with many legends like Englebert Humperdinck, Lionel Richie, Tom Jones, and Paul McCartney! Over the years, Murthy has seen more Indian and Indo-Americans in the music business in the U.S. both as performers and in management. “There are more Indian artists collaborating with their counterparts in the U.S.,” she said in a telephone

interview, “and some are including various cities in India as part of their tour stops. Most recently, Megadeth, who I’ve been working with for many years at Capitol and now at UME, had multiple shows in India including Shillong, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Kokata. Another artist, the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden launched their one of their tours in Mumbai and documented that experience in their DVD Flight 666.”


Contact: Gopal Aggarwal


12 February 19, 2016 Cricket League Finals at India House


Team GCC

Brave Hearts team receiving HSCLT Winning Trophy from India House Executive Director Col. Vipin Kumar.



Houston Sunday Cricket League Tournament (HSCLT-2015) held their finals at India House grounds on February, 7. Brave Hearts Cricket Club (BHCC) won the tournament against mighty Grady Cricket Club (GCC) team by 10 runs, Pradeep of BHCC was declared Man of the Match for scoring a half century. It was a nerve-wracking match for both teams who had fought throughout this tournament to be

the toppers amongst six participating teams. India House Executive Director Colonel Vipin Kumar handed over the trophies to the winning team and the Man of the Match awards of the league. Organizers knew that BHCC would put a big fight against any team and as expected remained undefeated throughout the tournament. BHCC had scored 140 runs in 20 overs after losing only 4 wickets. Captain Ashok of BHCC commented that they enjoyed playing with GCC and thought at

one point that they were losing the game when Vipul from GCC was undefeated with his brilliant knock of 50 and was on the path of taking GCC to victory. The turning point was Rahul Boga’s 18th over which was almost a maiden over, and GCC lost the match by only 10 runs. GCC Captain Gopi Krishna and Vice-Captain Aditya Damera had nothing but extremely good words for BHCC which showed their sportsman spirit. They both jokingly said that they wish to defeat BHCC in the future and will

GCC batting against Brave Hearts team

do it one day. HSCLT was possible thanks to the generosity of India House and the cricketing passion of Sanjay Aggarwal. Hats off to the dedication of all the participating teams in this tournament being played since November 2015! Participating Teams and their captains ROARING LIONS Capt. Hetal Patel & Snehal Shah

ROLLINGWOODS Capt. Rajesh Dhanwade & Vijay Ahire NEXTGEN Capt. Amit Sahasrabudhe, Chalapthy, & Rakesh Naik BRAVE HEARTS Capt. Ashok, Rahul Bhoga, & Hirak Mehta GCC Capt. Gopi Krishna & Aditya Damera ALIANA – Capt. Vijai Venkata & Sriram Maddula.


February 19, 2016



14 February 19, 2016


February 19, 2016



16 February 19, 2016 Shobha Seth Wenger

Shobha Seth Wenger passed away on

Monday, February 15, 2016. Born and raised in India, she acquired a BA ( Hons) degree in English Literature and a Masters in Psychology. Shobha came to Houston in 1971 with her daughter, Sujata. In 1979, she married Alan Wenger, and they were married for 30 years until Alan

passed away in 2009. Shobha loved her adopted hometown, Houston, Texas. She worked every day to make the world around her a better place through her generous hand and heart. She taught for many years for the Houston Independent School District. She also actively supported Special Olympics, was a champion of people with special needs, and was a founding member of Friends Helping Friends, to name a few. Shobha is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Rayma Wenger, grandchildren Logan, Austin and Lauren, sisters Mira, Asha, Gita, and Suvita, and many other relatives and friends who will miss her dearly. A combined funeral and memorial service will be held at Bradshaw-Carter Memorial & Funeral Services at 1734 W Alabama, Houston, TX 77098 on Saturday, February 20, at 11am. The funeral and memorial service will be followed by lunch.

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A Community’s Devotion Slowly Comes to Focus, One Phase at a Time BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: Visible from the Sam Houston

Tollroad, right across from the Sam Houston Racepark, the site of the Sikh National Center has slowly taken shape over the past 15 years, as donated funds have been collected. In the past two years, the steel structure of the main gurdwara has risen from the ground and the exterior walls have taken shape. Now, according to the latest pictures taken by a drone, the exterior cladding of the building is almost complete and the white façade outlines the silhouette of the 38,000 sf, twostory building that will serve as a beacon to Sikhs in the greater Houston area. The façade work will be completed in another month and the cast stone, marble tile inlays and window glazing is expected to be done by mid-summer, as well as an expansion of the parking lot. When completed, the gurdwara will have a prayer hall for 900 people, a large commercial kitchen, langar hall, offices, a meeting room for 50 people, a 2-bedroom apartment for the resident priest and 2 hotel rooms for visiting guests and VIPs. “So far, we have built everything with donations from the sangat (congregation),” said Harjit Singh Galhotra who has been heavily involved with the building committee. “We haven’t taken out any loans and need to raise another $4 to 5 million to complete the entire project.” The committee also consists of Hardam Singh Azad, Gurcharan Singh and Manohar Singh Mann and is headed by Gur-

meet Singh Saini and Bhupinder Singh. Although the building is shelled in and the exterior work is complete, the interior fit out still remains to be started; including electrical and air conditioning work, waiting on more funds to be collected. A square metal lid covers the place where the main dome will sit and the landscape work will be completed in the last phase. The gurdwara is located on the Sikh National Center’s 20-acre site north of Beltway 8 between Gessner and FairbanksNorth Houston. It is to form the nucleus of an ambitious master-planned center that would include a boarding school, auditorium, museum, library, pavilion and residence for priests. The site already has a covered basketball pavilion and two other structures that function as the make-shift gurdwara and Sunday school. Large community events have been held over the years, like a Sports Day, anniversary functions of the Gurus and the annual Baisakhi mela in April to help in raising awareness of the project and raise funds.



February 19, 2016


Sri Vasavi Agni Pravesam and Thai Sukravara Deepa Puja Celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple



Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Sri Vasavi Agni Pravesam on Wednesday February 10, and Thai Sukravara Deepa puja on Friday, February 12, in a grand manner. Both pujas were celebrated with the participation of several ardent devotees and their families and friends. Vasavi Agni Pravesham: MTS is perhaps the only temple in North America where a deity of Sri Kanyaka Parameswari, an avatar of Goddess Parvathy has been consecrated for worship. The event is held to spread her message of the three core values, Dharmam, Seelam (Chastity) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). She was born into a royal family that ruled a kingdom including the city of Penugonda on the banks of the river Godavari and was named Vasavamba, but later became known as Sri Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari or Sri Vasavi in short. She decided to dedicate her life to Lord Siva by remaining unmarried as “Gowrabalika (Virgin)” and refused King Vishnu Vardhana’s marriage offer even under the threat of war and destruction. To prevent massive bloodshed and uphold the dignity and honor of the woman, she decided to end her Avatar and re-unite with Parvati by offering herself to the God of Fire, Agni. The puranas say that 102 gotra couples who were her staunchest devotees also plunged into the fire and ultimately gained Moksha along with her. This event was

celebrated at MTS beginning with Ganesha homam and ending with sanctifications of Sri Vasavi Devi as Adiparasakthi and Ashtothra Namavali. Worship of Goddess Kanyaka Parameswari instills the qualities of courage, strong adherence to Dharma, spirit of sacrifice and compassion to all. May we all join in the prayers and elevate ourselves spiritually. Thai Sukravara Deepa Puja: The last Friday of the month “Thai” during Utharayana (when the Sun moves to the Northern hemisphere), is considered very auspicious for Devi Sri Meenakshi. Three beautifully decorated traditional lamps symbolizing Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathy were lit by the priests invoking Sri Meenakshi in the three forms. This puja is very unique because it is performed by the individual sponsor family, who are given the opportunity to perform the puja themselves under the guidance of the priests. MTS provided the lamps and all the puja materials. The individual lighting of the lamps symbolizes the invoking of the Goddess in our hearts

and signifies that the Light of bhakti, peace, knowledge and prosperity engulfs us and destroys the darkness of ignorance and weakness. Ladies clad in colorful sarees were seated in neatly laid out rows in the newly renovated and expanded Main Temple, where they performed the puja with great devotion. The highlight of the puja was the kumkum archana with the chanting of Sri Lalitha Sahasranama Naamavali, followed by Devi Stuthi and the Meenakshi Pancharathna composed by Adi Shankara. The large gathering of devotees were absolutely enthralled to witness the grand finale event of Deepa Aradhana. The priests thrilled the audience by reciting melodious verses in both Sanskit and Tamil. Overall, it was a very well organized event, performed most authentically and was well attended and well appreciated. The wonderfully organized events were coordinated by Vinay Kumar, Sheila Sriram, Nachal Sethuraman and led by the MTS Chair, Narayanan and Vice Chair, Dr. Padmini Nathan.

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18 February 19, 2016


A New Health Insurance

Indian governments have an abysmal record in providing

healthcare. Among major economies, India has perhaps the most vulnerable population when it comes to dealing with health emergencies. Around 58% of total healthcare expenditure is borne by patients directly, without insurance or reimbursements. Since 2008, central governments have tried to address the problem through a cashless national health insurance scheme, RSBY, for economically vulnerable people. In a welcome move, health ministry plans improvements here by bundling RSBY with a few other schemes, and enhancing the extent of insurance cover. A well designed health insurance scheme is a key component of a social safety net. Some states have taken upon themselves the responsibility of providing health insurance. But given the growing extent of labour mobility in India, there is a strong need for a national portable health insurance policy such as RSBY. RSBY, a centrally sponsored scheme where the Centre and states jointly pay the insurance premium, has had a mixed record. According to the government, only about 37 million families of the target group of 73 million have been covered by the scheme. Moreover, only 19 states have signed up to partner the Centre to fund RSBY. It’s critical, therefore, to use the experience of the last few years to improve the scheme. There are two important points which should serve as guideposts for the new national health insurance plan. Existing plans cover hospitalisation, while a significant proportion of out of pocket expenses are on out-patient treatments and medicines. A redesign which seeks to cover these areas will provide benefits to everybody .For patients, it will ease the pressure of healthcare expenses. This will also help government as there is evidence to suggest that the insured opt for costlier hospitalisation in the absence of out-patient cover.Another key factor in the redesign should be inherent flexibility which will allow a national policy to dovetail existing state policies. A national health insurance policy has not been an expensive proposition. The Centre has spent Rs 4,853 crore in the last four years, which is around what it is reportedly willing to spend in a single year under the redesigned health insurance policy . In all likelihood, economies of scale will make a national insurance policy less expensive than initial estimates. The forthcoming budget should outline the contours of this policy as it is a critical component of India’s health. Times of India

The ‘Break’ in India Movement


For the sake of the youth, the poor and the marginalized, he contrast is becoming more and more obvious: On February don’t challenge the integrity 13, the prime minister spent an en- and the unity of the nation. tire day in Mumbai making a pitch This will neither help you in for the world to invest in India. Those in Mumbai were amazed at the short run nor the nation in how the PM visited every exhibi- the long run.


tion hall and each stall with rapt attention and energy that would put a 20 year old to shame. The picture in JNU was different. A group of political leaders, surrounded by a handful of students, was charting its own “Break in India” movement. Their addresses were not about investment, opportunity and aspiration but about who will put the strongest brakes on India’s development journey. Cut back to January 19. The PM was on a major Northeast visit, where agriculture ministers from across India had gathered for discussions. He visited Sikkim and Assam, announced pathbreaking development initiatives. At the same time, the Congress vice president touched down in Hyderabad to lend a political voice to an unfortunate suicide. What the campus needed was cooling of tempers. What it got, instead, was unfortunate politics. Go back further to the run-up to the Bihar elections. Awards were being returned and intolerance was alleged. But within a day of the result, the chorus stopped. In October, when the India-Africa Forum Summit brought the entire African leadership to New Delhi, the priority of the Congress was to seek political mileage out of the happenings in Kerala House. There are numerous such examples, prompting someone to remark on social media that while the PM is asking the world to “Make in India”, others are pursuing an agenda to “Break in India” or “Break India”. Unable to win hearts at the ballot, their design is clear: To instill a misplaced fear through petty politicking. For the last several days, the voices emerging from JNU are not about pioneering research, for which a university should be

known. Instead, small but shrill sections of the university have become the loudest cheerleaders for a man punished by the Indian judiciary for attacking no less than our Parliament. If this is not enough, clarion calls for India’s disintegration have filled the campus. Let us be clear that a handful of students belonging to political outfits and an ideology on oxygen support pose no threat to the nation. Their whims, fancies and selective outrage, if anything, will do more disservice to their cause than help them. What is, however, alarming is the glorification of the events in JNU. By what logic are slogans like “Afzal, we are ashamed, for your killers are alive”, or slogans for India’s disintegration, considered cool, intellectual and in the spirit of free speech? The freedom of expression has been given by the Constitution so that young minds can debate, discuss and deliberate on ideas that will enrich the individual, society and the nation. It is part of our culture to question. We have questioned the gods, our elders, each other, and ourselves. We have only emerged stronger after such an expansive churning of thoughts and ideas. Some of the greatest reforms in the Hindu faith were never imposed by stealth or slogans but through the guidance of saints, seers and people from within. What is happening in JNU is not freedom of expression. It is neither democracy nor a liberal democratic ethos on display. It is nothing but a cheap political and publicity stunt. Those protesting in JNU, and those supporting them, should answer how chants in support of Afzal Guru became a crusade for freedom of expres-

sion? Free speech doesn’t give the right to say things that are unsubstantiated, untrue, or go against the highest court of the land. Such blatant contempt for the Constitution is deplorable. Selective application of “I will disagree with you but I will defend your right to say it” does not serve any purpose. This is the right moment for the “disaster tourists” to sit back, introspect and course correct. Why extract political capital through those who glorify the killers of our soldiers, the attackers of Parliament? Why seek dividends from the death of a youngster? Why dash off to any tragedy just to get a few handful of votes? Is this the India you want to build? There are disturbing reports of a relative of a senior MP being a part of the protests. But do we elect MPs so that they can support ideologies that seek to damage the nation? In 2010, when Maoists mercilessly massacred 76 personnel of the CRPF, there were celebrations by some student bodies in JNU. Slogans against India reverberated on campus. That time, the unthinkable happened: The ABVP, NSUI and Youth for Equality came together and staged a march against such deplorable theatrics. There was a Congress government at the Centre but a student body affiliated with the BJP preferred to heed the call of the nation rather than engage in political stunts. Is this too much to expect now? The PM has embarked on a unique mission to invite the world to India. The results have been encouraging. FDI inflows are up, our road network is expanding, we are producing more power, and corruption is at its lowest ebb. My humble request to those who can’t digest this is: If you have constructive criticism, share it. But if you don’t, then for the sake of the youth, the poor and the marginalised, don’t challenge the integrity and the unity of the nation. This will neither help you in the short run nor the nation in the long run. IE The writer is spokesperson, BJP


HOUSTON: MALAY VYAS CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR INDIA: RAJ KANWAR, ASEEM KULKARNI ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-NEWS or 6397 Fax: 713-789-6399, email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: indoamerican-news.com



February 19, 2016


Kids Cricket Growing Up in Houston!

HOUSTON: In the last three years,

cricket coaching and leagues for kids under the age of 15 has really picked up in Houston. Cricket is more than just a sport, it is a passion for most parents who are native of cricket playing countries. Triggers Colts Cricket League (TCCL) has been at the forefront on developing kids’ cricket in the greater Houston area. March 2016 will see the beginning of the third year for TCCL’s cricket tournaments in Houston. This year is special as Houston will host its first

U10 and U14 National level Cricket Tournament. 24 Teams from around the USA will participate in NYCL’s Memorial Day Cricket Tournament from May 27 to May 30. Since 2014, TCCL has organized cricket tournaments with ‘taped’ tennis ball. This year, an extended 9 week cricket league will begin on March 26, with actual cricket ball. With involvement of ex USA Cricket Captain Sushil Nadkarni along with a team of current Houston professional cricketers, kids cricket in Houston is

about to take a big step forward. Cricket coaching for kids is now available in different parts of the city. Katy Youth Cricket (KYC) and Energy Corridor Cricket (ECC) operate out of the western suburb of Katy and West Houston. North West Cricket Club (NWCC) coaching is held at off Highway 249 in the Northwest Part of Houston. The southwest part of Houston including Sugarland, Missouri City, CONTINUED ON PAGE


An Indian in the US Supreme Court

HOUSTON: With the vacancy left

at the US Supreme Court after the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia, there are six frontrunners and long shots whom President Obama may nominate to fill the vacancy. They are Merrick B. Garland, Padmanabhan Srikanth Srinivasan, Patricia Ann Millet, Kamala Harris, Jacqueline Nguyen and Senator Cory Booker. Here is a look at the two Indian Americans being considered.

Padmanabhan Srinivasan, 48.


A judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was nominated by President Obama and confirmed to the federal bench by the Senate in May 2013 by a 97-0 vote. Before joining the bench, he was the principal deputy solicitor general of the United States, during which time he argued 25 cases before the Supreme Court. He was also a lecturer at Harvard Law

School.As a lawyer, one of his most high-profile cases was the defense of Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron executive, in his appearance before the Supreme Court in Skilling v. United States. Srinivasan was born in India and migrated with his family to the United States in the late 1960s when his parents took teaching jobs in Kansas — his father as a professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas and his mother as a teacher at the Kansas City Art Institute. Srinivasan is a graduate of Stanford University. He earned a law degree and a master’s degree in business administration in 1995 from Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. He clerked for Justice Sandra O'Connor and worked in the Office of the Solicitor General during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. Confirmed 97-0 in 2013. Srinivasan would be the first Indian-American justice. He is seen as a moderate and a well-qualified up-and-comer, giving Republicans less justification to block him. At the same time, he might disappoint the liberal wing of the Democratic Party; labor unions were unhappy with the Obama White House for putting him on the appeals court because of the corporate clients he had represented in private practice



25 Years in Public Accounting 11104 West Airport, Ste 114, Stafford, TX 77477

(281) 564-9500 Kamala D. Harris, 51

California attorney general, an elective post she has held since 2011. She is the first African-American, AsianAmerican and woman to hold the job. Before her election to statewide office, she worked as a deputy district attorney in California, and between 2000 and 2011, she was twice elected district attorney of San Francisco. Harris has declared her intention to run for the United States Senate to replace a fellow Democrat, Senator Barbara Boxer, who has announced her retirement at the end of her term in 2017. Harris is a graduate of Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. A longtime state prosecutor, Harris would diversify the Supreme Court. Because Harris has a good chance of being elected senator and there is a significant risk Republicans would block her confirmation to the Supreme Court, she might be unwilling to drop out of the Senate race to become Obama's nominee.


20 February 19, 2016



February 19, 2016


IACCGH Free Seminar to Ease the Stress in Tax Filing

HOUSTON: Why is it crucial for IndoAmeri-

cans to disclose their foreign assets? Is the 401(k) plan better than Roth IRA for a tension free retirement? What are the major changes in the tax laws in 2016? These questions and many more will be answered by six of the city’s renowned CPA’s and Tax consultants at India House on February 28, from 2 pm to 5 pm. They will also be available after the seminar to answer concerns and questions from the attendees. Organized by the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH), this free seminar is being held for the fifth year in a row to enable Houstonians who have overseas assets to learn and comply with IRS regulations. According to Event coordinator and well known CPA Swapan Dhairyawan, concerns about overseas assets have gotten more pressing in the last few years. This seminar aims to educate the Indo American community and other Houstonians about laws that affect them directly as well as protect their wealth during their working and retirement years. The Amnesty scheme on Overseas Assets still continues under a different framework and the same will be explained. The focus of last year’s seminar was the FBAR and its implications. US Laws impose an obligation on the US citizen or Green Card holder to file an FBAR FinCEN Form 114 (if you have controlling/ signatory interest for over aggregate $10,000 in an overseas bank) through the BSA efiling system and Form 8938 which is a Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets with the Personal tax returns. Foreign mutual funds and equity funds need to be reported on the above forms along with your tax returns. Noncompliance may result in criminal penalties. According to tax advisors, as of last year more than 60,000 people have availed the Amnesty OVDP scheme which generated over $6.5 billion to the Treasury. The implementation of FATCA treaty signed between the US and Indian government requires financial institutions to share information about their client’s accounts with the IRS. This also effectively answers the question “How will the IRS know I have a bank account or mutual funds in India.” Some of the other topics that will be delved

into are contract labor issues, retirement planning and non-profit organization compliance. The growth of nonprofit organizations and the issues related to responsibility and duties will be discussed as well. The seminar attracts a sizeable gathering and it’s a good idea to pre-register to ensure a seat. Registration can be done by logging on to www.iaccgh.com IACCGH, a not for profit established in 1999, has been actively working to foster Indo US bilateral trade, promote the economic interests of the Greater Houston region and educate the community on relevant matters. Members include corporations, professionals and small business owners.

Kids Cricket Growing Up in Houston! CONTINUED FROM PAGE


Stafford is served by Sugar Land Youth Cricket Club for the last three years. SLYCC, a nonprofit organization, offers coaching in Tape Ball as well as Leather Ball. SLYCC is hosting the spring registration day on Feb 20 and Feb 27 (1 PM to 3 PM) at India House (8888 West Belfort, Houston, Tx 77020). All boys and girls under the age of 15 are welcome. Once registered, kids will receive structured cricket coaching from experienced coaches leading to matches and league play. At SLYCC, the motto is “We either Win or We learn” with focus on equal participation for all kids. For more information, please call 713 884 6864 or email slycc1@ gmail.com


22 February 19, 2016


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 24 , 2016. 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).


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Til Bhuga Pinni (Jaggery Sesame Seed Balls)

Solution Next Week

It’s a fact that Indians like dried

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fruits, especially nuts of all kinds, and any time they have a chance, they will munch on them, especially cashews, almonds and pistachios. And far from being eaten alone, dried fruits can be found in cooking both sweet and salty dishes. Raisins and cashew nuts are often used in spicy biryanis (mixed rice) or equally well when making sweet kheer (rice pudding), mitthi seviyaan (sweet vermicelli), gajjar da halva (carrot pudding), burfi (congealed milk squares) or many other sweet dishes. It’s not just the big nuts that are popular, but also the smaller seeds, like kharbuja giri (cantaloupe seeds), tarbuj giri (watermelon seed), til (sesame seeds) or a host of other seeds. These are used in ladoos (sweet balls) made of fried or regular besan (chickpea flour) and other delicately flavored dishes. Til (sesame seeds) have a special place in the Punjab and the North as they are considered a “warm” seed – give you lots of energy and keep you warm - and are harvested during the winter months. Sesame seeds have one of the highest oil contents and are rich in calories, protein, dietary fiber and total fat. After oil extraction from sesame seeds, the flour that remains contains 35-50% protein and is used to feed poultry and livestock. Myanmar is the largest producer of sesame seeds; India the largest exporter and Japan the largest importer. When coupled with gur (jaggery, a distilled concentrate of brown molasses of sugar cane juice or date palm), many types of sweets are made during the cold winter months. Growing up in rural India in Lyallpur, my family made the til bhuga and also other til items at home from fresh ingredients. These days, by late November and December, teams of young men come into the cities from their villages with the gur and sesame to make the long flatcakes

of golden gajak (brittle of gur and til). Bazaars and hawkers quickly sell packets of gajak puffs and sesame coated over gur or chinni (sugar) gajak in almond-size and shaped pieces. Til bhuga is another variation of this in a pinni (ball) size with a different texture and taste. Ingredients: 150gm til (sesame seeds) 150gm gur (brown Indian jaggery) Directions: 1. Place the sesame seeds on a tava (flatplate) or frying pan and warm it up over medium heat for a minute, stirring continuously. Be careful not to burn them. 2. Take the til off and place them on a plate to cool off. 3. Break the gur into small pieces. Pour the til in a mortar and pestle or in a small mixee and crush them into a coarse powder. The til will shed some oil.

crush the two together. The gur will start to clump together with the til. 5. Take a small amount of the mixture and knead into a 1 inch ball. Coat your hands with some vegetable oil so that the ball will not stick. 6. Make all the pinnis and place on a tray and serve. Because no water is used in the preparation, you can store the pinnis for long durations by storing in a tightly sealed jar. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.

4. Now add the gur and continue to


GULAB JAMUN , ALWAYS START WITH W A R M INGREDIENTS Many people enjo y gulab jamun (ro

se colored syrup ba is a sweet dish very lls) and it often served in resta urants and at private They are best serv parties. ed a little warm, in slightly warm syru they can also be se p, th ough rved in small cups at room temperatu re. What makes them delicious is their so ft texture, but ther simple trick to that. e is a Take all the ingred ients – cream, wate etc. – out of the fri r, milk dge and let them sta y at room tempera at least an hour be ture for fore using them to knead the dough. these straight out of If yo u use the fridge, the gulab jamun will turn ou once you fry them t hard and will not fluff up in the syrup.


February 19, 2016


Sanam Re





DELHI: Thankfully, Pulkit Samrat understands the value of subdued acting and steps away from being a part of the trademark Bollywood hamming.

NEW DELHI: ‘Except for a few

scenes, Katrina Kaif-Aditya Roy Kapur-starrer Fitoor comes across as a rather superficial affair and a disappointing adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. For one, there is over-dramatisation of situations. The screenplay flags and fails to engage the audience despite heart-breaking performances by Aditya and Tabu. Noor (Aditya Roy Kapur) loves Firdaus (Katrina Kaif) but has never been able to quite express himself. He meets the lady after years and discovers that the intensity of his feelings have not reduced and she plays along. What would you expect a Bollywood hero to do? Confess love and deliver some high-octane dramatic dialogues? That’s not what you get in Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor. Our protagonist Noor, looks at his ladylove with such intensity, is nervous around her in a cute way and acts much like a teenager around his crush. Relatable much? Aditya plays Pip’s character from the novel, an aspiring artist Noor, while Tabu plays the Indian version of Miss Havisham - Begum Hazrat. Katrina Kaif steps in as the frosty Estella, called Firdaus in the Bollywood adaptation. Since Fitoor is set in Kashmir, the state provides a beautiful canvas

on which the story can be painted. Cinematographer Anay Goswami deserves credit for capturing Kashmir’s gorgeous exquisiteness in all its details -- the white snow-covered mountains, red chinar leaves and the grey of winters. Amit Trivedi’s soulful music enamours us, surrounded as we are with so much surreal beauty. However, Fitoor falls short of fulfilling any other great expectations we had beyond showcasing the wonderful beauty of the Valley. Aditya and Tabu are undoubtedly the best bets in Fitoor. While you are likely to fall in love with Noor (Aditya), pity and hate is what Tabu’s Begum Hazrat evokes. You detest Noor for his stupidity but his haunting looks and hopeless-yet-passionate love makes your heart melt. He does not express his love for Firdaus, except for one scene where he is drunk. However, each frame involving the

lead pair is laden with romance and his intense, lovelorn facial expressions lend much weight. The romantic scenes remain so till the time the focus is on Aditya but you lose interest the moment the camera shifts to Katrina. Not just because her character is least interested in Aditya, but because her dialogues sound fake and Katrina’s one-dimensional acting fails to bring across the passion even in the most intimate of scenes. -HindustanTimes


After a long time, we get a glimpse of the actor we first appreciated in 2012 film Bittoo Boss. But, he is not the only one in the film. The director has given clear pointers to her actors. Pulkit needs to look a confused guy, Yami should be the innocent mountain beauty. But then, what’ll Urvashi Rautela do in this set-up? Ok, let’s make her gyrate on beaches and bathrooms. Who will enhance the hotness quotient otherwise? Nothing wrong in executing all this, but haven’t we lost that beautiful story we started with in this chaos? Superbly backed up by its music, Sanam Re shows potential in patches. Pulkit has been given a clichéd yet nuanced role, but you can’t sus-

tain the momentum unless other characters too pitch in. The actors have been made to do some really silly things. For instance, Pulkit and Yami are supposed to look like senior secondary kids who talk in weird lingo. You simply fail to realize the ‘aww’ factor in it. Ironically, the background score keeps reminding you of Tum Bin and that puts even more spotlight on the lack of intensity in Sanam Re. This one has ingredients, but they’re not mixed in the right amount. Too much fascination with ‘glamour’ restricts it from becoming a satisfactory cinematic version of Nicholas Sparks’ novels. -HindustanTimes

Bhagyashree Patwardhan February 23, 1969

Pooja Bhatt February 24, 1972


24 February 19, 2016 3rd T20 vs. SL: Ashwin’s 4 for 8 Gives India Series Win BY SIDHARTH MONGA

Dickwella, who left his crease early and walked V I S H A K H A PAT N A M past an offbreak that (ESPN Cricinfo): India 84 Ashwin bowled deliberfor 1 (Dhawan 46*) beat ately short. Sri Lanka 82 (Ashwin 4-8, In the same over, Raina 2-6) by 9 wickets. Dilshan was done in by In his first three overs, a sharp offbreak from bowled at the start of the round the wicket, turnmatch, R Ashwin bowled ing enough to beat the India to their first bilateral inside edge and hit his T20I series win at home. pad inside the line, but India bowled Sri Lanka not turning too much out for their lowest total, to be given out lbw. 82, to retain their No. 1 If Dickwella played a ranking, which was on the headless shot, Dilshan’s line in the series decider. was purely a bowler’s Ashwin’s 4 for 8 was the wicket: beaten on the best figures for an Indian forward defensive by the in T20Is, beating his own dip and the turn. Cap4 for 11. tain Dinesh Chandimal Ashwin’s immediate looked to counterattack, impact was crucial behit two fours off Ashish cause the pitch turned Nehra, but skied Ashsquare, and India might win in his second over. have unwittingly given Sri In his third over, AshLanka the second use of win enjoyed some luck such a track. You couldn’t as debutant Asela Guhave faulted MS Dhoni, naratne was given out though: the pitch looked caught at leg slip off his white, had zero moisture, pad. Ashwin had now and no big cracks. Given reduced Sri Lanka to 20 the dew expected later in for 4 in the fifth over. In the day, it seemed a prua format not as versatile dent decision to ask Sri as the traditional ones, Lanka to bat because the the damage had already pitch didn’t look like it been done. would help spin anyway. The problem with the Just like in Pune where rest of Sri Lanka inIndia were left thinking nings was twofold: the they would have been in ball was turning, and the the game had they scored batsmen kept trying the 130 or so as opposed to big hits as opposed to the 101 all out, Sri Lanka looking for a partnership. could have given India a This was quite similar fight with a half-decent toto what happened with tal because the ball turned India even as the ball square even for Ravindra seamed in Pune. Milinda Jadeja and Suresh Raina. Siriwardana faced only Ashwin left them in no two balls even though position to get a fighting he spent three overs in total, though. Ashwin, given the new R Ashwin is pumped after dismissing Tillakaratne the middle. The first one ball, was happy to give Dilshan in the first over, India v Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I, he pulled Jasprit Bumrah for four, but when he it a rip and some flight, Visakhapatnam, February 14, 2016. tried the pull second ball mixing in the seam-up he chose a Nehra delivdelivery that swings away the second ball of the match, got from the right-hand batsmen. Sri a single, and immediately signaled ery that was not short enough and Lanka, though, came out with a to his partner, Niroshan Dickwella also skidded through to bowl him. Only a high full toss from Yuvraj plan to try to hit Ashwin out of the that the ball was turning already. attack. Tillakaratne Dilshan faced It didn’t have any impact on that went for six, and the free hit

that was given repeat treatment by Dasun Shanaka gave Sri Lanka’s innings some momentum. Ashwin came awfully close to registering the first international five-for for India, but Jadeja and Raina kept the pressure up and the wickets kept falling. Jadeja’s brilliance showed in the field too, with a delicate back-hand flick to run Seekkuge Prasanna out and catch Thisara Perera in the deep. Under hardly any pressure, India walked away to their target with 37 balls remaining even though the turning pitch made stroke-play difficult. Shikhar Dhawan again displayed his improved leg-side play in his run-a-ball 46 whereas question marks over Ajinkya Rahane’s hitting ability on slower surfaces remained as he mis-hit a few attempted big hits in his unbeaten 22 off 24. Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo.

Indian Athletes Haul 308 Medals at SAG

SHILLONG: India’s regional su-

premacy went unchallenged as the hosts were crowned overall champions for the 12th consecutive time after notching up a record-breaking haul of 308 medals, dominating the final day of competitions as well in the South Asian Games here on Tuesday. With women boxers scooping all the three gold medals on offer and the judokas also bagging two gold and two silver on the last day of the Games, India’s final tally came to 188 gold, 99 silver and 30 bronze medals. It was a massive jump in medal count for the Indians, who had won 175, including 90 gold, in the previous edition of the Games in 2010. At the distant second spot were Sri Lanka with a haul of 186 medals (25 silver, 63 silver and 98 bronze). Pakistan held on to the third spot with a final count of 106 medals (12 gold, 37 silver and 57 bronze).


Pakistan Super League: Quetta Defeats Lahore

Quetta Gladiators 203 for 8 (Bis-

millah 55, Sangakkara 37, Nabi 30) beat Lahore Qalandars 201 for 2 (Azhar 61, Gayle 60, Akmal 55) by two wickets Over 400 runs were scored in Dubai, 58 boundaries were struck, and four batsmen raised fifties. In the end, Mohammad Nabi emerged the hero for his team, striking a last-ball four to guide Quetta Gladiators to a two-wicket win against Lahore Qalandars. After 39 overs of a high-scoring thriller that tilted one way and then another, the equation was simple - Quetta needed 15 off six balls; Lahore Qalandars needed two wickets or at the very least, some dot balls. Lahore got that plan off to a fine start, with Nabi unable to put away Zohaib Khan’s yorker in the first ball of the over. Fifteen needed off five, with the game surely in Lahore’s hands. Nabi, though, remained unfazed and drilled a four and a six off the next two deliveries. Nabi and Zulfiqar Babar then exchanged singles over the fourth and fifth deliveries, bringing an enthralling contest down to the last ball. Zohaib bowled full and wide, and Nabi lapped up the gift, scything the ball over point and sealing a memorable win; a victory for Karachi Kings tomorrow could end Lahore’s campaign. Even before Nabi’s 12-ball 30, there were other vital contributions with the bat that made Quetta’s daunting chase of 202 possible.

Chris Gayle smoked 60 off 34 balls to lead Lahore Qalandars to 201 for 2


February 19, 2016

Rupee Closes Up 0.26% Against US Dollar

Pakistan Default Risk Surges as $50 Billion Debt Bill Coming Due



MUMBAI: The rupee on Mon-

day strengthened against the US dollar after equity markets gained over 565 points.This was the fourth out of five sessions when the rupee closed higher. The currency closed at 68.06, up 0.26% from its previous close of 68.24. The rupee opened at 68.17 a dollar and touched a high and a low of 68 and 68.17 respectively during the day. The Sensex rose 568 points, or 2.47%, to close at 23,554.12 points. So far this year, the Sensex has fallen 9.8%. Wholesale prices fell 0.9% in January from a year earlier, the commerce ministry said in a statement on Monday, compared with a 0.73% decline the previous month. The median of 30 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey had predicted a 0.13% decrease. Consumer prices increased at the fastest pace since August 2014. India’s factory output contracted for the second month in a row in December, indicating that industrial recovery is still fragile, and retail inflation accelerated to a 17-month high in January, complicating life for policymakers in both the finance ministry and the central bank. The Index of Industrial Production shrank 1.3% in December and the Consumer Price Index accelerated to 5.69% in January, led by a

KARACHI/MUMBAI: Bets are 43% jump in the prices of pulses from 5.61% a month ago. The yield on India’s 10-year benchmark bond closed at 7.754% against Friday’s close of 7.724%. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions. Since the beginning of this year, the rupee has lost 2.79%, the worstperforming currency in Asia, while foreign institutional investors have sold $2.15 billion from local equity and bought $320.60 million in bond markets. The dollar index, which measures the US currency’s strength against major currencies, was trading at 96.373, up 0.45% from its previous close of 95.94. Most Asian currencies closed higher. China renminbi was up 1.24%, Indonesian rupiah 0.83%, Malaysian ringgit 0.8%, Philippines peso 0.33%, South Korean won 0.29%, China offshore 0.2% and Taiwan dollar were up 0.11%. However, Japanese yen was down 0.64% and Thai baht 0.11%. Japanese stocks surged 5% after preliminary data showed a weakerthan-expected 1.4% contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) numbers raised hopes of stimulus coming in by Japanese policymakers. Another data showed Chinese imports contracted 14.4%, while exports contracted 6.6% in January, Reuters reported. -Livemint.com


rising that Pakistan will default on its debt just as it starts to revive investor interest with a reduction in terrorist attacks. Credit default swaps protecting the nation’s debt against non-payment for five years surged 56 basis points over the past week amid the global market sell-off, the steepest jump after Greece, Venezuela and Portugal among more than 50 sovereigns tracked by Bloomberg. About 42% of Pakistan’s outstanding debt is due to mature in 2016—roughly $50 billion, equivalent to the size of Slovenia’s economy. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has worked to make Pakistan more investor-friendly since winning a $6.6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan in 2013 to avert an external payments crisis. The economy is forecast to grow 4.5%, an eight-year high, as a crackdown on militant strongholds helps reduce deaths from terrorist attacks. “Pakistan’s high level of public debt, with a large portion financed through short-term instruments, does make the sovereign’s ability to meet their financing needs more sensitive to market conditions,” Mervyn Tang, lead analyst for Pakistan at Fitch Ratings Ltd, said by e-mail. Since Sharif took the loan, Pakistan’s debt due by end-2016 has jumped about 79%. He’s also facing resistance in meeting IMF demands to privatize state-owned compa-

nies, leading to a strike this month at national carrier Pakistan International Airlines Corp.The bulk of this year’s debt, some $30 billion, is due between July and September, and repayments will get tougher if borrowing costs rise more. The spread between Pakistan’s 10-year sovereign bond and similar-maturity US Treasuries touched a one-year high on Thursday. If Pakistan’s debt servicing costs rise, Sharif doesn’t have much room to maneuver. Already about 77% of the country’s Rs.13 trillion budget for the year through 30 June is earmarked for interest and principal repayment on loans. Right now, there’s not much reason to panic. Fitch’s Tang says Pakistan’s external liabilities are “relatively modest,” foreign-currency reserves have risen, IMF is ready to help meet maturing loans and Chinese investment in an economic corridor is on its way. “Improving growth prospects, lower inflation and smaller budget deficit should help to underpin investor confidence, particularly the domestic investor base,” Tang said. S. Javed, a spokesman for Pakistan’s finance ministry, didn’t respond to emailed questions. Pakistan is committed to successfully implement its IMF macroeconomic stability programme, the finance ministry said in a statement on 1 February. Sharif’s administration has a “quite good” chance of completing the programme, IMF mission chief Harald Finger said last month. Only 17%—or $8.3 billion—of Pakistan’s 2016 bond and loan repayments will need to be in foreign currency. That accounts for 40% of the nation’s $21 billion in foreignexchange holdings. That stockpile, however, isn’t airtight. While it increased by more than

55% last year—the steepest rise in Asia—more than half consists of debt and grants that could leave the country quickly if global risk appetite worsens. Outflows would weaken the rupee, a currency that is estimated by IMF to be as much as 20% overvalued even though it’s proved remarkably stable amid the recent market turmoil. Investors should expect volatility in bonds and pressure on the rupee this year, according to Mustafa Pasha, head of investments at Lakson Investments Ltd, which manages $200 million of Pakistani stocks and bonds. While the plunge in oil prices helped the government last year, predicting the outlook would be like “reading the tea leaves,” he said by phone from Karachi. Another worry, as ever in Pakistan, is political stability. The military has ruled the country for most of the time since independence in 1947, and General Raheel Sharif—no relation to the prime minister—has boosted the army’s image with a campaign to root out terrorists who massacred 134 children in 2014. While Raheel Sharif has said he plans to retire when his term ends in November, the risk of political upheaval is ever present. Pakistan has the 10th highest political risk score among more than 120 countries in the Economist Intelligence Unit ranking, worse than Egypt and Iran. -Livemint.com


26 February 19, 2016

‘Modi-Versus-All’: Political Stakes Run High as State Elections Near

Gone to Waste: How India is Drowning in Garbage



EW DELHI: The political sweepstakes in the April-May assembly polls in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry could be encapsulated in two words: survival and redemption. Hitting a low in 2015 after a dream run the previous year, the BJP is looking to redeem itself. The Congress, ousted from power at the Centre and in four major states in 2014, can ill afford to lose two more and lend steam to the BJP’s “Congress-mukt Bharat” slogan. For the Left, a failure to wrest power in Kolkata or Thiruvananthapuram would raise questions on their political relevance. There is much at stake for these national parties as also for regional ones such as the DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. The poll outcome would have national ramifications. It would have a bearing on the degree and pace of coalescence of anti-BJP forces, a phenomenon BJP president Amit Shah recently described as “BJP-versus-all or Narendra Modiversus-all”. Already hobbled by a lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha, the NDA government would be confronted with a more belligerent Opposition in case of adverse results in these polls. The BJP’s stakes The party has never been in power in any of the four states and one Union territory. It is said to have a realistic chance in Assam and a significant increase in its voteshare and seats in the other states would not only take the steam out of the Opposition’s onslaught but also bolster the party’s claim for a pan-India status. Conversely, questions about the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the policies of the NDA government would surface again. After the party’s best-ever show in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the victory march continued

ravelling from central Delhi towards Ghazipur in the city’s east, the first warning that you get of the approaching landfill is the sight of circling birds of prey. The mound of waste itself becomes visible much before one is assaulted by its stench. Smoke rises steadily from the pile, as the decomposing waste generates highly combustible methane gas. None of this bothers 10-year-old Jeevan and 12-year-old Devender as they make their way to the top. For years, the two have spent much of their time at the Ghazipur landfill — picking, sorting and selling waste. Without the protection of gloves or masks, the boys, like most ragpickers working at dumping sites across India, are vulnerable to infections and illnesses. “Often we cut ourselves on bits of discarded glass or metal,” says Jeevan. But they show no animosity towards the waste that helps them earn a living. Not just the ragpickers, most of those living and working in the neighbourhood have made peace with the trash. Two girls take a shortcut through the landfill on their way to the neighbouring dairy. A couple walks hand-in-hand through the dump. Markets, houses and places of worship dot the land just outside the 32-year-old landfill — in blatant disregard of the specifications introduced in the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, which requires landfills to be “away from habitation clusters”. An officer at the Central Pollution Control Board says existing landfills are facing problems because of encroachment. “The old dump sites had no buffer zone,” he says. When it comes to waste management in India, little is the way it’s meant to be. Mumbai literally raised a stink recently when a fire broke out at the Deonar landfill, severely compromising air quality in the city. The national capital too is fast becoming one huge garbage dump with civic body sanitation workers on a strike



in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Then it hit a trough in 2015, losing Delhi and Bihar assembly elections. Results of civic polls in five different states showed a slide in fortune. In Madhya Pradesh, after losing the Ratlam Lok Sabha bypoll, the BJP lost five of eight urban civic bodies. In Gujarat, the Congress managed to win 21 of 31 district panchayats; the BJP had won 30 of them in 2010. There was little to cheer in the Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and West Bengal civil polls either. The BJP is anxious to break the spell and return to the winning streak before assembly polls in seven states next year, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat. “They (BJP) don’t have to worry about these elections. Whatever they achieve, they can project as their gains,” says political scientist Suhas Palshikar. Opposition’s stakes Besides Assam and Kerala, the Congress is in power in six states that account for 42 Lok Sabha MPs. The party rode piggyback on the RJDJDU combine in Bihar and opted for a similar arrangement with the DMKled alliance in Tamil Nadu. Whether it would play the lead or tertiary role in any national “mahagathbandhan” in the future would depend on its performance in the 2016 and 2017 assembly polls. Until 2008, the Left parties dictated the UPA government’s economic and foreign policies. Today, their writ runs in Tripura only. In West Bengal, they are fighting a marauding TMC. Left

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sources say they are only hoping for a “miracle” this election. Political observers are not surprised to see the CPI(M) state committee proposing an alliance with the Congress last week. The CPI(M) central leadership may not be inclined to barter away the party’s chance to form the government in Kerala, where it is pitted against the Congress-led coalition, for marginal gains in West Bengal. Their individual gains and losses apart, these parties are likely to make renewed efforts to stitch non-BJP alliances. These polls could provide the contours for this. NDA government’s stakes The NDA’s debacle in Bihar prompted an emboldened Opposition to close ranks and disrupt Parliament in the winter session. If it harbours any hope of outsmarting the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha to push reforms, the BJP has to do extremely well in the upcoming polls. The BJP has 48 MPs in the 242-member Upper House. There will be 11 vacancies from Assam, Kerala and Tamil Nadu by June this year, six and five from West Bengal in 2017 and 2018 respectively. None of these seats is held by NDA. They may not give the BJP the requisite numbers to push any legislation through but if it does extremely well in the coming elections, the government may get some elbow room. If it doesn’t, parliamentary logjams and political slugfests may continue to dominate public discourse. -HindustanTimes

to protest against non-payment of salaries. “We need to learn from Sweden, which is a zero waste country. We need to learn from countries like Sri Lanka, which is segregating its waste, or Bhutan where everybody is conscious to not pollute their land,” says Swati Singh Sambyal, programme officer, sustainable industrialisation, Centre for Science and Environment. While a landfill fire or a strike by workers is not an everyday issue, activists insist we are following a flawed system of waste disposal and management. The metro cities and major economic hubs generate the maximum volume of waste, but a survey of 20 smaller cities selected to be developed as smart cities show that most are struggling to manage waste. And activists feel The Smart City planhas not given as much weightage to management of waste as it has to infrastructure and development. The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 gives detailed specifications for collection, segregation, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of MSW. This includes directives to municipal authorities to organise awareness programmes for citizens to encourage segregation and recycling. Most activists too push for segregation at source and feel a strict framework of laws and the fear of penalty is needed to make people comply. “Our policy has to mandate segregation and penalise all households and institutions that do not segregate at source,” says Sambyal. “Plastic and metals are the major source of the calorific value of the waste. The combustion of plastics gives rise to highly toxic pollutants,” says Sambyal. The CPCB officer, however, feels such plants can be operated without causing environmental pollution if proper measures are installed. While that may or may not be true, Sambyal believes the very model is not correct for India. -HindustanTimes

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