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Friday, February 24, 2017 | Vol. 36, No. 08


Indo American erican News

www.indoamerican-news.com Published weekly from Houston, TX

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Ramesh Shah: Parvasi Bharatiya Samman P5

Community leaders gathered at India House on Saturday, February 18 to felicitate Ramesh Shah on receiving the Overseas Indian Honor/Award for Community Service from the President of India. In picture from Left: Arun Kakani, Subhash Gupta, Jugal Malani, Dr. Manish Rungta, Rupal Shah, Consul General of India Dr. Anupam Ray, Kokila Shah, Ramesh Shah, Col. Raj Bhalla, and Arun Sharma.



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February 24, 2017


February 24, 2017 3 COMMUNITY Red Attire, Red Roses and Bingo for a C24+ Valentine BY VANDANA PRAKASH

HOUSTON: “Kehte hein khuda

ne iss jahan mein, sabhi ke liye, kisi na kisi ko hai banaya, har kisi ke liye” This melody set the mood for Club 24’s first 2017 event – the Valentine’ Day lunch on Saturday, February 11 for which the Maggiano’s Little Italy Party Room on Post Oak had been transformed elegantly and subtly by the social committee to celebrate this festival of love and friendship. The guests were welcomed with mimosas and appetizers. As usual, Bijay Dixit did an excellent job of photographing the loving couples dressed in shades of red and pink. The bonhomie among the members was evident during the social hour, as they caught up with one another in animated conversations before they were asked to take their seats at the tables suitably bedecked. Pradeep Gupta, President, Club 24 Plus welcomed everyone warmly. He introduced Savita Rao, Chair, Social Events and then handed over the mic to Prabha Roopani to kick off the afternoon with Valentines Bingo. The game kept everyone focused and entertained with the compere providing a lively backdrop of anecdotes and jokes to provide continuous fun through the afternoon. After the games, lunch was served at the table. The social committee had done their usual pre-event tasting selection, so each item was better than the other, while adding to the overall menu. Tiramisu, chocolate cake and coffee made it a complete and delightful meal. The couples were also presented a very thoughtful gift. All in all, the afternoon was

Photos: Bijay Dixit

memorable with great company, ambience, fun and laughter - another successful and happy Club 24 event to kick off the year. Besides Rao, the event was organized by the Social Committee of Prabha Roopani, Seema Sanghi and Hansa Kothari. In concluding, Gupta announced that the next get together will be the Philanthropy Signature Event to be hosted by Hansa and Vimal Kothari at their home on April 29. He also recognized Dr. Asra Oberoi who was stepping down after several years of chairing the Signature Events Committee and welcomed Alpa Shah as the new Chair.



February 24, 2017



February 24, 2017


Honored by His Mother Land, Adored by His Adopted City

Ramesh & Kokila Shah


HOUSTON: After all the accolades from

ten speakers, after all the applause from a hall full to capacity of adoring people he has worked with through his 40 years in the city, his time came to acknowledge them. But Ramesh Shah has never been a man of many words or given to glorified speech making or using blustery metaphors to describe what he feels, the projects that he has taken on, his role in making things happen or correcting perceived wrongs. Instead, Ramesh Shah was understated as he spoke simply. “For me, the example of service is Swami Vivekananda,” he began. “My community is here. They give me a lot of encouragement, provide me support. I see many others here who have provided community service, I am just one of them. I want to serve the community till my last breath.” And, a little overcome with all the adulation over the past 90 minutes, Shah simply folded his hands towards his bowed head in

Photos: Vijay Pallod

obeisance. The room erupted in standing applause. Only on major occasions do the parking lots of India House on West Bellfort fill to capacity as it did this past Saturday, February 18 in the late afternoon. Two rows of tables were set up in the small plaza outside the entrance to the building for lights snacks catered by Bhojan Restaurant as its owner Hiren Mathuria and head assistant Eduardo managed the arrangements. Inside the main hall was likewise full to capacity, mainly with supporters of the Ekal Vidalaya Foundation USA which supports the efforts of the main NGO in India. Set up in 1999 to help fund the work of the Indian parent NGO, Shah has been one of its founding members but certainly has been, and continues to be, its main guiding force and chief proponent. In the past 18 years, he has devoted all his energies into the Ekal movement that aims to eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India and spur village development. After he retired from his career as a financial investment broker, Shah

dove headlong into what has become his passion, as his wife Kokila followed and supported him, and the two now spend almost half a year in India in pursuit of it. One of the other main principals in the EVF USA, Subhash Gupta, later in the program noted in a slide presentation to the audience, the American branch went from no funds collected in 2000 to $7 million in 2016, most of it through annual galas and programs throughout the US, which helps to support 17,000 of 54,000 rural schools in India. This year, the EV Gala tagged “Ek Sur, Ek Taal” is slated for Sunday, May 7 at the Cullen Auditorium at the University of Houston. The Indian tribal musical concert will be on a multi-city bus tour in the US from February 24 through June 23 and Shah will be accompanying them for the next five months. This past Saturday’s program was to felicitate Shah on receiving the coveted Parvasi Bahrati Samman (Overseas Indian Honor/ Award) for Community Service from the President of India on January 9 in Bangalore, India. The Award which was constituted in 2003 and is given to Non-Resident Indians,

Persons of Indian Origin or an organization or institution established and run by the Non-Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin in recognition of their outstanding achievements both in India and abroad. This year there were 30 recipients, of which six were from the US, including four in the Community Service category alone. Shah joins three past PBSA winners from Houston: Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, a pulmonologist, (2012), Dr. Renu Khator, President of the University of Houston (2014) and Dr, Kamlesh Lulla, a NASA scientist (2015). The program started with singing of the Indian patriotic song Vande Mataram by Hasita Kartick, followed up with another uplifting number Manushya tu bada mahaan hai. Achalesh Amar emceed the program as he welcomed the audience and introduced each of the ten speakers, starting with Dr Manish Rungta, President of India House who felicitated Shah on his achievements. Others at the program who spoke briefly but glowingly of Shah’s dedication, selflessness and passion for helping the downtrodden were Jugal Malani; Kulbhushan Uppal and Anu Mahendra for the India Culture Center; Dr. Harshad Patel for the Gujarati Samaj of Houston; Abeezar Tyebji for the Dawoodi Bohra community; Arun Sharma of the Hindu Swayam Sewak and Dr. Anupam Ray, the Consul General of India. Bouquets and plaques were presented by Satish Parikh, Krishan Gupta, and Arun Mundra and Amit Misra closed out the event. There was a short video clip of Shah receiving the award, which was displayed in a frame at the end of the stage. Both Ramesh and Kokila Shah have engendered their spirit of service to others in their three children Sonal, Roopal and Anand who have chosen the field as their career paths, in one form or the other. Roopal attended the program, and read a letter from her siblings who could not be there. She thanked everyone on being there and made it a point to solicit spontaneous testimonials and comments from several women in the audience “as we have heard from the Uncles, now we need to hear from the Aunties,” she quipped.

Indo American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $40 per year) by IndoAmerican News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036., tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-789-6399, email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News,7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036


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February 24, 2017

The Roof on Fire with Masala Radio & DJ Zee

DJ Zee & Sunil Thakkar

SUGAR LAND: Masala Radio

and DJ Zee Music put together an amazing Bollywood Valentine’s Party at the brand new rooftop lounge called The Roof on Saturday, February 11. One of the party people Alpa Chokshi said “the third story venue was such an amazing venue and the dancing on the terrace under the full moon was like being in a Bollywood movie.” Sunil Thakkar of Masala Radio

Photos: G Photogrphy

has been known to host some of the biggest parties in Houston with many DJs but this party was special. It was DJ Zees first solo party and he rocked every single minute. At midnight all the 3 areas were packed – lounge, dance floor and the outdoor terrace and green glow bands for singles were out. The Roof is a very unique venue perched on the 3rd floor CONTINUED ON PAGE



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February 24, 2017

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February 24, 2017


The Roof on Fire with Masala Radio & DJ Zee



of a marble building; upon entering one is reminded of a space in Miami – trendy, upscale and ultra chic. 360 panoramic views with large windows and red hue lights blinking to the beats of DJ Zee. Valentines Traffic Light Party was magical. Party people danced to Bollywood music all night long and $3 pink love shots were a hit. Sunil Thakkar works with all local celebrity DJs but for the Valentines’ Party, Sunil chose to collaborate with Houston’s Party rocker DJ Zee who has spent 5 years pursuing his passion for music and mastering his Bollywood song selection and mixing skills. His performance at the party was surreal. At 1 am Zee got in a super mix mode mixing songs every 30 seconds. “It was a dance frenzy and everyone was high on Zee’s intoxicating music.” No one wanted to leave. It was 2:30 am and the manager turned on the lights but no one wanted to stop partying. The crowd was singing out loud to every song mixed in with the smoothness of a mango lassie! DJ Zee said, “I have been the main stage DJ at Masala Radio’s Holi, Diwali, even in the Ganesh Parade on Hillcroft for years, but it just touches my soul to be so appreciated by people dancing so close around me in an intimate

lounge setting.” If you missed the party you can stay plugged in to Zees beats via his website DJZEEmusic.com The Roof just opened its doors December with Masala Radio hosting its inaugural party for the Bollywood scene at the overcapacity Masala Xmas Eve party. The owner, a well-known Indian landlord, personally supervised The Roof’s re-design, terrace construction, decor, and menu’s codeveloped by award winning chef Darian Lance from Emeril’s New Orleans. The unexpected hit of the chef’s Valentine’s Dinner that night delayed the opening of the Valentine’s Party, as dinner guests lingered past closing time to enjoy designer desserts. The owner excitedly invited early Masala guests to sample scrumptious Gnocchi and Chocolate Soufflés. The Roof is open for dinner Thu – Sat from 5

pm – 10 pm, for brunch Sunday 11 am – 4 pm, and for Night Life, DJ, Dance and Lounge Fri – Sat 10 pm – 2 am. The owner was surprised with both parties’ turnout, despite being planned at the last minute with less than 2 weeks to promote. He said, “I have worked out many dates with Sunil for future Bollywood parties and looking forward to more dhamaal.” Masala Radio is a multi-faceted entertainment company, hosting 7-days-a-week Indian Radio, Festivals and Cruises. Next up is Houston Holi – Festival of Colors 2017 on Saturday, March 25 from 12-5 pm at the Houston Farm & Ranch featuring the mainstream crossover artist Jay Sean. It is the largest Holi festival in the USA attracting over 15,000 people. Tickets available online at HoustonHoli.com


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Serving people every weekend has always been a welcome opportunity for the managers and practitioners of the Indian Doctor’s Charity Clinic ever since it was formed in 1999. Providing the healthcare though wasn’t the only issue: they had creatively pieced together other services through collaborations with other providers. Their main challenge was the insistence by the founders and Board members – and indeed their promise to their supporters and sponsors - that all services would be totally free. Not one red cent would be taken, Nada! Though they give a variety of reasons for maintaining this policy, after 18 years the IDCC still stands out in the entire Houston Metroplex for not charging a

penny from those who come seeking some medical help. It’s a noble idea but has come with its own set of challenges and each supporter has played their own unique part through acts of altruism, from the landlords charging no rent to medical supply firms and diagnostic centers offering free services, often requiring a little arm twisting. This all comes out of a sense of dedication to the cause of helping those in need. It’s an ideal that may very well have been engendered from the days in India when MBBS students were sent out into the countryside to provide free medical care to the villagers where none was available, a utopian and noble cause that is still followed to this day. Sensing a need in Houston, in 1999 the husband and wife team of Drs. Suresh and Sunita Moonat decided to plunge into a likewise concept of care by setting up a

free clinic in the city’s southwest side. Never mind that they lived in The Woodlands and it took each Saturday out of their lives and countless more hours to coordinate and organize the activities. This past Saturday morning, February 18, the IDCC had its largest gathering at the building lobby of its office to herald another major milestone in its history: the opening of a free eye clinic in the only leftover room used as an office in the space. It also offered a chance for the volunteer caregivers to show their appreciation to all those who have advocated for them. The lobby held over 130 people who came for the dedication and ribbon cutting and then CONTINUED ON PAGE

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12 February 24, 2017


IACCGH Welcomes Former CG and Former Ambassador Rinzing Wangdi BY MANU SHAH


When India’s Consul General Rinzing Wangdi came to Houston eighteen years ago, one of his objectives was to bring about a deeper, long lasting and transformative change in the economic engagement between the US and India. This vision led to the creation of the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston or IACCGH as it is better known. The organization, started in 1999 with 40 Indo American business leaders has become in the words of its Founding Secretary and Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia “the force that it is today.” On February 13, Founding members, Past Presidents, community leaders, elected official representatives and IACCGH members turned out to meet and reconnect with “the founding father of the Chamber” Rinzing Wangdi. In a gracious move that has become his hallmark, CG Dr. Anupam Ray invited the Chamber to host former CG and former Ambassador Wangdi’s luncheon at the Consulate. IACCGH President Allen Richards welcomed the gathering. In his address, he described the Consulate as a “great location” and added that this venue “reinforces our vision as a Chamber and the commitment of the Consul General to foster the cultural and

From left: Past President Sanjay Ramabhadran, Shell Project Coordinator Alyssa Holmes-Henderson, President Allen Richards, Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Shell VP Fred Whipple, Former Ambassador Rinzing Wangdi, Past President Joya Shukla, Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia. Photo: Bijay Dixit

economic development we are trying to do within the community.” Consul General Dr. Ray also mirrored the thought that the venue to welcome the former Consul General is fitting because it is “institution builders” like Ambassador Wangdi, who pave the way for diplomats like himself. The CG also described the India US relationship as a “story which only has upsides” and reiterated the Consulate’s efforts to address

all calls, complaints and emails in the shortest time possible. The armchair conversation between Past President Sanjay Ramabhadran and former Ambassador Wangdi was rich in wit and wisdom and provided a glimpse into the fascinating life of a diplomat. The former Ambassador emphasized that the Foreign Services is more a “calling” than a service. His vision in creating an economic chamber, he elaborated,

was not only to enable people, business and our countries to connect but to show the US that Indo Americans are serious about “being a part of the community.” When asked what he thought was the game changer in the relationship between the two countries, the former Ambassador observed that public perception about India changed during President George Bush, Jr’s presidency and reached greater heights with

President Obama. He also alluded to the early successes of the Chamber’s efforts with BMC Software and United Airlines and admitted that Houston ranked as one of his favorite postings. Shell’s VP Fred Whipple, in his vote of thanks, noted that it was a privilege to sponsor the Series and added that he had been enriched by the lectures over the years. He also thanked the Chamber for their impact locally.



February 24, 2017

Stress Reduction through Yoga Workshop at Baker Ripley Neighborhood Center by Sewa


HOUSTON: Sewa team recently

conducted yoga workshop “Stress Reduction through Yoga” at Baker Ripley Neighborhood Center on February 4. Most of the members at Baker Ripley center come from low income families and encounter tremendous amount of stress in their daily life. This everyday stress takes a toll on their health and eventually affects the quality of life. Therefore, it is essential that the community members should have access to low cost health care options. To address this issue, Sewa started an initiative in 2016 by name of Yoga for Sewa. Under this initiative, the “Stress Reduction through Yoga” Workshop is designed for people who have to deal with difficult situations in daily life. The workshop started with warm up exercises, followed by sun salutations to bring up the heart rate, followed by yoga postures to help reduce stress, and breathing prac-

tice at the end to calm down the mind. The workshop was highly successful with attendance of 15+ participants and with interest to make this a regular session at the community center. Sewa team, that designed and implemented the workshop include, Yoga therapist Ms. Hasita Kartick, coordinator Ms. Anuja Deshpande, project coordinator Kavita Tewary, and volunteer/translator Ms. Camila Escobar.

Sewa team is working tirelessly to arrange these free workshops for low income communities in order to serve people who cannot afford high end yoga studios or expensive health care options. If you or your community center is interested in conducting “Stress Reduction through Yoga” Workshop, please give us a call at (281)546 8202 or reach us at contact@sewausa. org. For more information, visit us at https://sewausa.org/chapter/ houston/houston-overview.

“A Curry on an American Plate” to be Screened to a Limited Audience

HOUSTON: Lake Camp Pro-

ductions and Next Actor Studio announced that A Curry on an American Plate, the latest film from multiple award-winning filmmaker San Banarje, will be screened on March 5 at the University of Houston Theatre. The film, starring Hollywood actors Rick Fox, Charlie O’Connell, Disney Spain’s Andrea Guasch and Houston-based actors of Indian descent Bud Patel, Meera Nandlal, Christian Bhalla and Prateek Karkal in lead and principal roles, will be screening in different film festivals before an official release. A Curry on an American Plate was conceived in 2007 by the film’s director San Banarje as a three-story feature about a section of the East Indian community in USA, that’s usually not shown in mainstream cinema. However, in the coming years, the auteur got busy with other productions, including the highly acclaimed thrillers Bodhisattva and The Nowhere Son, both starring the Dadasaheb Phalke winner Soumitra Chatterjee (the muse of Academy Award winner Satyajit Ray), the recently released The Shadow Behind You among others, and the idea of this comedy was pushed to the backburner.

In 2015, upon meeting Houston theatre actor and emcee Bud Patel, who expressed an interest in film production, the project was restarted, with Bud joining in the role of the Indian protagonist of the film as well as an executive producer of the film. A Curry on an American Plate is a bitter-sweet saga of a dying Indian restaurant whose owner K.G. Patel (Bud Patel) is in dire straits with his personal and financial choices. He is unable to pay his child support on time, he has several collection agencies after him, his restaurant is not profitable and his landlord Mark Berger (Mike Gassaway) has to chase him for rent every month. Exhausted by this monthly cat and mouse game, Mark gives KG 30 days to buy the property or leave the premise. To pick up their business and attract customers, a desperate KG and his restaurant staff add live performance to their menu along with other drastic changes, most of which backfire. The screenplay is written by San Banarje and Trisha Ray and the director of cinematographer is San Banarje. The production companies involved are Kavish Kruti Production, Lake Camp Productions and Next Actor Studio.

For more information about the film, follow the Twitter page https://www.twitter.com/curryfilm/ and Facebook page : https:// www.facebook.com/curryfilm/ For additional information about the film, go to the film’s IMDb or to http://www.lakecampproductions.com



14 February 24, 2017


February 24, 2017



16 February 24, 2017

Historical Drama about Sri Ramanujacharya on March 4

HOUSTON: “Sri Ramanuja”, a

historical stage play on the great Vaishnava Acharya commemorating 1000 years of his birth, will be presented by Houston’s Meenakshi Theaters on Saturday March 4th, in support of Global Organization for Divinity/Namadwaar. The play will be staged at Marie Spence Flickinger Fine Arts Center, Building 15, San Jacinto College South, 13735 Beamer Road, Houston TX 77089. Social hour, refreshments and seating will begin at 3:30 PM. India is a land that has given birth to great philosophers who have helped nurture rich spirituality, culture and better social awareness and upliftment of the human race. Sri Ramanuja was one such great saint, philosopher, theologian and leader. Born in 1017 AD in southern India, Sri Ramanuja struggled through many challenges and personal losses in his 120 years of life, and yet stayed firm in his desire to seek right knowledge and in his deep, unswerving faith and devotion to the Lord. The drama is directed by Dr. Kas Saranathan, a cardiologist and passionate veteran director and actor, whose Meenakshi Theaters has been producing theatrical plays in

Houston for the last 30 years. The script for this presentation has been researched and written by Mr. Chandramouli, a prolific writer who has written numerous plays of various genres for Meenakshi Theaters for over 8 years. The 35+ cast drama will feature several Meenakshi Theaters veteran actors as well as a few debut performers from the Houston community. The play will be in Tamil language, but as it depicts the life events of a great saint who has touched the lives of people all over India and the world, it can be appreciated by all devotees. A booklet with information on saint’s life will also be given to all attendees.

All are invited to come and watch “Sri Ramanuja” and obtain Sri Ramanuja’s blessings. There are different seating levels at $20, $50 and $100 per ticket. Donor/VIP passes with preferred seating are offered for donors $250, $500, $1000 and above. Proceeds will go towards the construction and remodeling of Global Organization for Divinity’s prayer house, Namadwaar. To buy tickets online visit www.godivinity.org or call 281-402-6585. This project is supported by a City of Pearland cultural arts grant through the Pearland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The weekend of Mar 4th and 5th will also mark the 7th anniversary celebrations of Houston Namadwaar Prayer House. Events at Namadwaar on Sunday Mar 5th include Mahamantra kirtan, commemorative address by HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji’s disciple from India, a Hari Katha on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by Smt. Uma Ranganathan and “Walk with a Doc” community 1K walk/run sponsored by Texas Medical Association. Contact 281-402-6585 for more info.


IDCC Outreach is Greater with New Eye Clinic CONTINUED FROM PAGE


partook of a light lunch catered by Bhojan Restaurant. Over the past few years, K.C. Mehta has been the tireless frontman for the IDCC, spending hours to support the effort with volunteers, collecting donations and, with his business acumen, developing strategies for growth and spreading the message. Mehta emceed the event which acknowledged all the long term supporters of the IDCC who sat in the front row: Dr. Snehal Mehta, Drs. Sunita and Suresh Moonat, Rachel Varghese and Gopal Rana. On the raised dais in front, current IDCC President Dr. Kiran Gandhi sat with philanthropists Swatantra and Bimala Jain, the benefactors who had donated $5,000 to the eye clinic and Dr. K.T. Shah, who has single-handedly provided medical care at the clinic for the past 10 years. Mehta gave a brief background of the clinic and Dr. Shah spoke about his passion for patient care which led him to volunteer as the physician in charge every Saturday despite his being confined to a wheelchair for the past two years. Shah noted how he has used the yearly $2,500 donation from the Spring Branch Memorial Rotary Club (through the efforts of Rotarian Ashok Garg and current President Dana Burke) to do mass mailings on his own that

have resulted in raising $40,000 a year. The physician who spearheaded the idea for the free eye exams, Dr. Ravi Chandru, a young ophthalmologist in private practice in Spring, introduced his reasoning for starting the clinic and his commitment to volunteering every Saturday morning for the past 3 months, when he sees up to 10 patients. He and his lovely wife Dr. Madhavi Patnana, a radiologist, have bought $20,000 of optical diagnostic equipment and allowed the clinic to use it free of charge. Chandru expressed his respect for the clinic and enthusiasm for providing care for the future Mehta called out acknowledgements for 5 years of support from Memorial Hermann; radiology diagnostics by Dr. Lucky Chopra; Dr. Jay Raman, Dr. Satish Jhingran, the Indian Doctor’s Association, and the Indo American Charity Foundation and Raju Patel who donates $5,000 every year. Also in attendance were supporters Ajay and Alka Gupta and Romil Shah representing the Southside Group of Companies. After the acknowledgements and handing out of awards to the Jains, the IDA, IACF and Dr. Chandru and Dr the Jains walked up to the second floor to cut the red ribbon across the door to the clinic.



February 24, 2017



Medieval Junagadh and Cultural Vadodara

The Uperkot fort near Junagadh was first built in 319 BC during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. Subsequent rulers included the Gupta and Chalukya dynasties and then the Chudasama Rajput clan. Girnar hills can be seen on the horizon.



N THE ROAD: This is the third episode describing my wife Jyoti and I’s visit to India during Dec.-January 2016. As outlined in the first episode, we undertook a 9-day trip to Gujarat. Adjacent Gir National Forest is what was the princely state of Junagadh. Located at the foothills of the Girnar mountains, Junagadh was first established by Chandragupta Maurya around 300 BC. Subsequent Hindu and Muslim dynasties added to the fort and its surroundings. The fort is guarded by a giant Turkish cannon. Adjacent to the fort are rock-cut caves that were inhabitated by Buddhist monks. What remains are marvelous pillars with intricately carved scenes from Buddha’s life.

The fort grounds include the Adi-Kadi step well. There are 182 steps, which lead to the well that was cut entirely out of rock. A myth associated with the well suggests that the name comes from two virgin sisters, who were sacrificed in order to discover a water-bearing reservoir within the rocks. Prior to India’s independence, Junagadh was ruled by a series of Muslim dynasties. In 1947, the prince had tried to secede to Pakistan, but police action by Sardar Vallabhai Patel kept the landlocked state within India. Our Gujerat journey took us then to another princely state of Baroda, once ruled by the Gaekwad family since the 1700s. The most wellknown member of the dynasty was Sayajirao II, who established MS University, built Laxmi

Near the Uperkot Fort are rock-cut Buddhist caves featuring intricate carvings on pillars.

The Adi Kadi vav (well) is a step well named after two sisters who were sacrificed in order to discover water.

Vilas Palace, Sayajirao Park and was patron of the numerous artists, including Ravi Varma. According to Wikipedia, the palace is reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. At the time of construction, the palace boasted the most modern amenities such as elevators and the interior is reminiscent of a large European country house. It remains the residence of the Royal Family, but large portions of the palace are open to the public. The palace grounds include a museum, which includes an extensive collection of Gaekwad art treasures. There is a golf course and even

a cricket field. Many of the early cricket stars of India, including Vijay Hazare and Chandu Borde, played for Baroda. The palace museum includes a priceless collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, who brought to life many scenes from the Hindu epics of Ramayan and Mahabharat. One of the recent Gaekwad princes undertook a PhD in the various phetas and headgear of princes and sardars of the Royal darbar. The next episode of this travelogue will cover cultural and medieval sights in Pune, the capital of the Marathi kingdom of the Peshwa family.

Laxmi Vilas Palace is cultural hallmark of Gujarat. Built by Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the palace was completed 1890. The royal family still lives in a portion of the palace.

The Laxmi Vilas Palace grounds include a mueum, which displays many of the priceless paintings of Raja Ravi Varma (left). The Gaekwad family also developed the Sayaji Park, which includes a horticultural garden with numerous sculptures (right) and a city museum. INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

18 February 24, 2017 The Foul Air Across India


False Sense of Privacy Abets Domestic Violence BY SHIVANI SINGH

A plumber beats up his wife for 12

A new international report has drawn attention to the deadly

pollutants that pervade the air that people breathe in India, causing terrible illness and premature death. The State of Global Air 2017 study, conducted jointly by the Health Effects Institute and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, quantifies further what has been reported for some time now: that the concentration of the most significant inhalable pollutant, fine particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less (PM2.5), has been growing in India. The rise in average annual population-weighted PM2.5 levels indicates that the Centre’s initiatives to help States reduce the burning of agricultural biomass and coal in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi have failed. The directions of the National Green Tribunal to Delhi, which were reviewed last year, could not end open burning of garbage and straw, or curb the urban use of diesel-powered vehicles. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the weighted national PM2.5 level estimated in the international report rose from 60 micrograms per cubic metre in 1990 (the acceptable limit) to 74 in 2015, with a steady rise since 2011. Weak policy on pollution is leading to the premature death of an estimated 1.1 million Indians annually, and the number is growing, in contrast to China’s record of reducing such mortality. Several studies show long-term evidence of a steady deterioration in air quality in many countries, and South Asia, dominated by India, is today among the worst places to live. Although the central role played by burning of crop residues in causing pollution is well-known, and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute proposed steps to convert the waste into useful products such as enriched fodder, biogas, biofuel, compost and so on, little progress has been made. In a country producing about 500 million tonnes of crop residues annually, the issue needs to be addressed in mission mode. On the health front, in the most polluted cities, even moderate physical activity could prove harmful, rather than be beneficial. India’s clean-up priorities need to shift gear urgently, covering both farm and city. -The Hindu

hours before beheading her with a saw. A gory crime of this nature is not reported every day, but it could have happened anywhere in India. In a village, where communities are close knit, such an ordeal would require a degree of passive complicity. In a metro such as Delhi, the prolonged torture culminated into beheading because nobody bothered to intervene. The scene of the crime, Madhu Vihar, is an informal settlement in east Delhi where houses are so tightly packed it is difficult to maintain privacy. So, on February 10, when Subodh Kumar beat up his wife all night long, her repeated calls for help reached many. Describing the fights as an everyday affair, a neighbour told HT that he knocked on their door and asked them to “keep it low”. Kumar told him not to interfere in his “private matter”. The neighbour called up his landlord and that was that. Confident that nobody was watching, Kumar diabolically planned to cut his wife’s body into pieces over the next two days. His crime came to light only when he confessed to a friend. Not all cases of domestic violence have a murderous end. But the perpetrators are always confident about being in total control behind the closed doors of their home. Our insular urban life, where many don’t even know their neighbours, fuels that confidence. Historically, wife beating was a private matter until different countries criminalised it. Since 1983, under section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, domestic violence is defined as any act of cruelty by a husband, or his family, towards his wife. Ten years ago, India also brought in the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, a separate civil law to protect married women, mothers, daughters and sisters within their homes. According to the last detailed study by the government in 2005-06, 40% of married women between 15-49 years said they had faced some form of domestic violence. Though, only

The threshold for intervention in domestic abuse is usually very high. Family, friends and neighbours — those closest to the victim — should be the first to pick up signs of abuse and intervene.

According to the last detailed study by the government in 2005-06, 40% of married women between 15-49 years said they had faced some form of domestic violence. Though, only one in four victims ever sought help. one in four victims ever sought help. Education or wealth did not change the help seeking behaviour. Some women turned to their families, mostly their husbands’. Few went to police, medical personnel, or social service organisations. An analysis of the National Crime Records by the BBC in 2014 found that from 50,703 in 2003, the number of reported cases had gone up to 118,866 in 2013 — an increase of 134% over 10 years, far outstripping the rise in population over the same period. It is not that homes suddenly became a more violent place. With adequate laws, the reporting improved. But experts say that domestic violence is still the most under recorded crime in India. It takes remarkable courage to report abuse because the victims are often emotionally and financially dependent on their abusers. Also, the threshold for intervention in domestic abuse is usually very high. Many do not consider it a crime. Others think it is too private a matter to interfere. Family, friends and neighbours — those closest to

the victim — should be the first to pick up signs of abuse and intervene. Gender groups prescribe ringing the doorbell, letting victims know that they can take refuge in your home and calling police if the situation is out of hand. Detecting and reporting domestic violence, however, are not enough. Women who show the courage to walk out of an abusive relationship need support to get on with their lives. First, they need a safe, comforting place to stay. In Delhi, there are only 13 shelters and short-stay homes for women. Most are shabby and overcrowded — used mainly by the destitute. Together, these can accommodate just 238 women, The Mint reported last November. Once victims find a place to stay, they need help to file reports and fight cases. The law mandates the government provides such help. But Delhi has only one protection officer in each district to do this, the Mint report said. While the state must do a lot more to back the victims, it cannot, and should not, enter our homes. It is really up to each of us to step in every time a domestic quarrel leads to abuse at home and in the neighbourhood. HT Shivani Singh leads the Delhi Metro team for Hindustan Times. A journalist for two decades, she writes about cities and urban concerns. She has reported extensively on issues of governance, administrative and social reforms, and education.


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February 24, 2017


UK Needs to do More on Students’ Visa Issue: Indian Envoy


ONDON --The UK needs to do more on the students visa issue despite the “pluses” British Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement about special categories of visas, the new Indian envoy here has said. Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha, who presented his credentials to Queen Elizabeth II last week, told the Daily Express in his first interview to a British newspaper that, “We are in exciting times. Our (Indo-UK) partnership has gone to a different level.” “I’m confident it will be a win-win situation for us both,” Sinha said. Confirming that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be holding talks with the UK Chancellor Philip Hammond when he arrives in the UK for the official launch of the UK-India Year of Culture hosted by the Queen later this month, Sinha indicated that visas and free movement for Indian professionals is likely to be on the agenda. “On our services sector, we have been arguing in favour of freedom of movement of professionals. It is a very important part of the negotiations on free trade. Prime Minister (Theresa) May has made it clear that her vision is of a global British economy and that is something we welcome. We see an important role for India in this,” he said. Sinha also flagged the fall in the number of Indian students studying at UK universities as a worrying trend for the Indian government. “The UK has always been the preferred destination for higher stud-

ies. Our political leadership, even those who led our independence, all studied in the UK. Britain has some of the finest institutions in the world,” he said. “It is unfortunate that in the last six years we have seen a steep drop, from 30,000 to about 16,000. What should be troubling universities here is that Indian students are now going in much greater numbers to the US, Australia- even France and Germany. There were pluses when Mrs May announced special categories of visas. More needs to be done,” Sinha said. May, during her India visit last November, had announced two visa programmes. Sinha also said India’s pace of economic development had meant that British financial assistance was not as crucial as a “win-win” trade deal. “While I don’t want to prejudge

British aid that has been given, or will be given, easier access to British markets, easier movement of people and the transfer of technology are more important,” he said. “We are grateful for any assistance we received in the past or will get in the future. But if it suddenly stopped would it make a huge difference? No. Did anyone in the Government of India ask for assistance? No,” he said. “India has developed over the last 70 years in ways unimaginable to my parents’ generation. In the 1960s and 1970s we required a lot of assistance. We were importing food grains. Now we’re exporting,” the envoy told the daily. In reference to the UK’s referendum to leave the European Union, Sinha expressed confidence that Indian firms would continue to be attracted to the UK post-Brexit. -thehansindia.com


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NRI and Team Break Guinness World Record for Longest Underwater Human Chain

Mechanical engineer Suneet

Jain joined Chrysalis Entrepreneur Forum from India to smash the Guinness world record for the longest human chain underwater with an astounding 182 scuba divers in Koh Tao, Thailand. The record was earlier held by 173 Italian divers. The record attempt was planned with Absolute Scuba (India) and

took place at Coral Grand Resort, Sairee Beach, Koh Tao. The total length of the human chain was 140 metres. The team included more than 30 non-swimmers, several first-time scuba divers and all age groups from 8-year-olds to 58-year-olds. They collectively overcame several challeng-

es including recruiting and training over 200 participants, scouting for a suitable location internationally and organising a large-scale scuba diving event in a foreign country. Unfamiliar with saltwater, the team failed their practice attempt the previous day after six months of planning. Overnight, they dropped and replaced several divers and created a winning dive plan to set this spectacular record, demonstrating their belief that ‘impossible is nothing!’ The overarching goal of this event was to inspire ordinary people to extraordinary accomplishments. 24-year-old Suneet plans to use his engineering skills for his next Guinness world record. He has a few ideas and is already working out their feasibility. -timesofindia.com


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8 Lifestyle Practices That Can Help Prevent Cancer BY S. D. WELLS


here’s no magic wand a surgeon can wave to fix cancer. No dermatologist in the world can just cut off a cancer spot and cure you for life. No organ can be removed that ends cancer if you eat, drink, breathe and inject toxins day after day after day. Cancer curing lives and breathes in cancer prevention. Don’t eat cancer and it won’t eat you. Apply broad sweeping strokes to paint your new healthy life picture. These are not one stop shopping cures – rather they are lifestyle changes that almost ensure you won’t get what every third American gets in their life – and that’s the dreaded “c” word. The following 8 lifestyle practices are simple, practical, and can prevent cancer, so do them! 1. Try to always avoid eating GMOs and processed foods whenever possible. Most “American” conventional food contains artificial ingredients, pesticides, preservatives, additives, bleach, nitrates, toxic gluten, and hydrogenated oils that cause cancer.

2. Never put personal care products on your skin, hair, lips, or nails that contain chemicals. Look for organic products that tell you specifically, on the label, they DO NOT contain parabens, coal tar dyes, talc, PEGs (polyethylene glycols), petroleum-based chemicals, phthalates, or Triclosan. 3. Never burn or spray products in your home that contain chemicals, like cheap candles and most popular air fresheners. Buy organic candles and make your own air freshener with filtered water, rubbing alcohol (as carrier), and natural essential oils for wonderful fragrances. It’s an easy formula! Now go buy a spray bottle. 4. Avoid all vaccines and flu shots, as most contain mer- cury, aluminum, MSG, and

formaldehyde. This is no joke. Just check the CDC website. It’s scary and getting worse. So many hoax diseases out there and you can build natural immunity by eating organic food and taking herbal tinctures. Check out turmeric, oil of oregano, and garlic! 5. Never drink water from the tap, as it usually contains sodium fluoride and other people’s medications. Chemicals like bleach cause bladder cancer and pancreatic cancer. Buy a good water filter and never look back! 6. Avoid almost all white foods because they are bleached: including white bread, white pasta, white flour, white sugar, white rice except basmati) 7. Avoid artificial sweeteners mainly aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), and sorbitol. These are known to cause irritable bowels and migraines, which are just first signs your body is rejecting them. Later comes cancer. Quit them all NOW! 8. If possible, avoid prescription medications, as most are chemical based and turn the blood acidic, enabling cancer to develop and spread easily. Big surprise, huh? Nearly every medication out there simply relieves the symptoms of toxicity temporarily. Don’t fall for the tricks MDs shell out. -naturalnews.com


FESTIVAL devotion and religious fervor on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun. Devotees observe fast all through the day and night of Shivaratri in honor of Lord Shiva and pay a visit to Shiva temples. Ritual bath of Shiva Lingam with milk, water, honey etc is also performed by the devotees as a part of the tradition. Many believe that Shivaratri Festival marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. However, according to some legends, it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Mahashivaratri Festival Mahashivaratri Festival or the ‘The Night of Shiva’ is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity. Shivaratri falls on the

moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun, which corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. Celebrating the festival of Shivaratri devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of Shiva Lingam to appease Lord Shiva. Legends of Mahashivratri There are various interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it as Mahashivaratri - the grand night of Shiva.

Mahashivratri Special Recipe: Thandai Ingredients (makes 8 glasses): • 1 cup: Milk • 1½ cups: Sugar • 1/4 cup: Dried or fresh Rose petals (gulkand variety) • 1½ litres: Water • 1 tbsp: Almonds • 1 tbsp: Kharbooj/Tarbooj seeds skinned (commercially available) (these are skinned dried seeds of watermelon and cantaloupes) • 1 tsp: Peppercorns (whole) • ½ tbsp: Khuskhus (poppy seeds) • ½ tbsp: Saunf (aniseed) • ½ tsp: Cardamom powder or 15 whole pods • ½ tsp: Rose Water (optional) Method: 1. Soak sugar in ½ litre of the water used. Keep aside. 2. Wash clean all other dry ingredients, except cardamom if using powder. 3. Soak in 2 cups of remaining water. Keep aside. 4. Allow each soaked item to stand for at least 2 hours. 5. Grind all soaked ingredient (not sugar) to a very fine paste. 6. Use a stone grinder (manual or electric) if possible. 7. When the paste is very fine, mix remain-

Shivaratri Rituals As a tradition devotees wake up early in the morning of the Mahashivratri day and take a ritual sunrise bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. They also offer prayers to the Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva as a part of a purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva Temple to give the customary bath to the Shivalinga. On a Shivratri day, Shiva temples are thronged by devotees, mainly women, who come to perform the traditional Shivalinga pooja and seek blessings from the god. At times there is so much rush in the temples that devotees have to wait for their turn to observe pooja. At their turn for worship, devotees circumambulate the Shivalinga, three or seven times, and then pour water over it. Some also pour milk. Sounds of bell and shouts of ‘Shankarji ki Jai’ or (Hail Shiva) reverberate in the temple premises. Shivaratri Pooja Shivaratri Pooja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. It is said that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri day pleases Lord Shiva the most. Devotees further believe that by pleasing Lord Shankara on the auspicious Shivaratri day, a person is absolved of past sins and is blessed with Moksha or MADRAS N PAVILIO T & DAAWA CATERING

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salvation. According to Shiva Purana, sincere worship of Lord Shiva yields merits including spiritual growth for the devotees. It also provides extensive details on the right way to perform Shivratri Puja. Shiva Purana further says that performing abhisheka of ShivaLinga with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water while chanting Sri Rudram, Chamakam and Dasa Shanthi pleases Lord Shiva the most. According to the mythology, each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality: Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness. Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny. Honey is for sweet speech. Ghee is for victory. Sugar is for happiness. Water is for purity. Besides, worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri is also considered to be extremely beneficial for women. While, married women pray to Shiva for the well being of their husbands and sons, unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband. Shivaratri Fast Shivaratri Fast is considered to be the most important fast for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Shiva Purana goes on to say that if a devotee observes Shivaratri Vrata with sincerity, pure devotion and love he is blessed with the divine grace of Lord Shiva. Every year devotees observe Maha Shivaratri fast with devotion and sincerity. Though many go on a diet of fruits and milk, some do not consume even a drop of water all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival. -mahashivratri.org r 28 2011 Octobe Friday,





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ing water. 8. Place a strong muslin strainer over a large deep vessel. Or tie a strong muslin cloth over rim of vessel and use to strain. 9. Press through muslin with back o f palms, extracting the liquid into vessel. 10. Add remaining water, a little at a time to extract more. 11. Pour - back some of the extract and press, repress. 12. Repeat this process till the residue becomes dry and husk-like. 13. Add milk, sugar and rosewater to the extracted liquid. 14. If using cardamom powder mix it in with the milk. 15. Mix well. Chill for an hour or two before serving. -mahashivratri.org

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Khanne de Baytreen Rang (The Colors of Good Eating)

ooking delicious food requires an interest in improving your skills and the desire to eat well, regardless of the type of cuisine you like. But, if you enjoy Indian cooking, then it helps to understand the traditions that are behind the food you will make and serve. Perhaps no other cuisine is steeped in appreciation of the history, religion and culture as all the types of food available across the Indian subcontinent. And this includes understanding the reasons for the vast amount of vegetarianism in the country. This is rooted in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religious practices that stretch back thousands of years to the Rigveda. Many of the ingredients have added significance, like yogurt which is associated with the baby Krishna and milk which is used in religious purification practices. Ancient Hindu texts do not explicitly prohibit eating meat, but they advocate ahimsa – non-violence against all forms of life including animals. Through the centuries, ahimsa has been ingrained in every form of daily life and it has led to the development of a lacto-vegetarian lifestyle and methods of growing food that are in sync with nature. With the ancient understanding of the power, aroma and flavors of spices, the variety and refinement of Indian vegetarian cuisine has achieved an elevated status not found in other cuisines. Though not related to cooking, I believe that it is important to start the morning with a refreshing bath to cleanse the body and then take the time to softly recite the gayathri mantra and other prayers to yourself to cleanse your mind and keep it calm. It is important to remember that vegetables, fruits and spices have both nutritious as well as healing qualities and for me these can be summed up by either heating or cooling properties. If you are attuned to your body, you can understand how it will react to the use of these items and whether they will be beneficial for you. When I was a young girl growing up in my ancestral homes in LyallpurJhang-Maghiana (in what has now become Pakistan), I learnt the values of foods and when to eat them. For example, whole massar daal (flat brown kernel lentils) is not only quick to make, but has higher calories and protein than other daals and so is eaten mostly in the winter months to keep a person warm. In the hot summer months, when the farm workers

needed to cool off, they would drink kanji (a beetroot drink) or dahin di lassi (a yogurt drink) to hydrate and get refreshed. There are many spices that act of the body likewise, and it is important to know there significance as well as medicinal values, which have only recently been acknowledged through western scientific methods. For example, haldi (turmeric) has long been as a local antiseptic and antibiotic and now has been found to have antioxidant properties too. A little haldi thrown into a teaspoon of warm mustard seed oil can be used to dab skin puncture woods. Fennel seeds are routinely eaten after meals to take mouth odors away, freshen the breath and aid in digestion. Ajwain (carom seeds) is considered hot and when swallowed with a pinch of salt can help an upset stomach. Here is a partial list of foods, spices and items that are hot or cold and are used by those who understand their properties to keep healthy.

Hot foods: 1. Herbs & Spices: Methi seeds, ajawain, adrak, cinnamon twig, clove, garlic, nutmeg, pepper, coriander, spearmint, sweet basil, cardamom 2. Vegetables: Chives, leeks, mustard greens, onions, pumpkin, spring onions, squash, karela (bitter gourd) 3. Fruits: Cherry, coconut, guava, peach, raspberry, apricot, blackberry, black currant, mangoes, peaches, mandarin orange, grape 4. Sugars: Honey, gur (jaggery), brown sugar Cold Foods: 1. Herbs & Spices: Haldi (turmeric), pudina (mint), aamla (gooseberry), hing (asafoetida) 2. Vegetables: Alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, khira (cucumber), baingan (eggplant), lettuce, (bhaen) lotus root, khumb (mushroom), spinach, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, zuccini, corn, padval (snake gourd). 3. Fruits: Banana, grapefruit, persimmon, sugar cane, watermelon, strawberry, tangerine, tomato, pineapple 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 (since renamed Faisalabad), India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition. 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 some of her delectable recipes.


TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF FRESH G INGER In Indian cuisine, gin ger or ad

rak is one of the mo either fresh or in po st frequently used wder form, and it co herbs, ntributes not only to but also the proper the aroma and taste digestion of the fo od . Fresh ginger is sold stores and is often pe in heaps at the eled and turned into a pickle by itself or and lemon. with green chillies If you have fresh gin ger and it looks lik e it make start to wi way to extend its lif lt, here’s a simple e. Peel the ginger, then chop it into sm up a small pan and all pieces. Now he stir fry the ginger till at it is only slightly br heat and scoop int own. Take off the o a plate to cool off . Once cool, put the container, close the ginger in a small lid and place in the fridge. You can reu several more week se the ginger now fo s. r

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Taapsee Pannu film huffs and puffs to finishing line

She is open to sex, drinking and

buying condoms (an information the film sprinkles, for no reason at all). And yet when it comes to love, she would run away rather than tell her parents. Running Shaadi clearly has some very strange ideas about love and modernity. And stranger still when it comes to modern-day Patna, though at least that lends itself to the film’s few moments of genuine humour. As yet another film centred around the great Indian wedding, Nimmi (Taapsee Pannu, in an accent that will make any self-respecting Punjabi cringe) is the daughter of a bridal-wear store owner in Amritsar. Bharose (Amit Sadh, genuine if nothing else) is a Bihari employee at the shop. At first, Amit Roy, a cinematographer making a directing debut, appears to have a kernel of an idea about budding love between a Sikh girl and a Bihari boy in a setup that perhaps encourages little, if any interaction between two such people. However, that idea is quickly ditched, as is the suggestion of a class difference, before Bharose and Net junkie friend Cyber (Arsh Bajwa) move on to another – a website, to help couples in distress, flee and get married. Again, on the face of

it, perhaps not an idea to be taken lightly in a society obsessed with marriage and at least with the idea of love. But don’t get your hopes up. Running Shaadi goes about the website idea earnestly, before taking another bizarre tour, to Patna. If it is to introduce us to some delightful characters who could belong in a Dibakar Banerjee, we are not complaining. But how can you have a gem of a setting such as a girl being told to sing in front of her prospective inlaws, “anything”, because “kalakaar ko freedom chahiye,” and then let it all go to waste? That leaves only one reason to watch Running Shaadi – to see how filmmakers dealt with being told at the last minute to drop dotcom from its title because a certain website complained. Everytime the original title figures in the film, the lips are blurred out. It’s unsettling. Roy couldn’t have sent out a stronger message, even if unintended. -indianexpress.com



here has been very little good news coming out of Punjab, films wise. And Irada is no exception, but rather than drugs, it deals with the cancerous contamination of Punjab’s groundwater and fields. That is a film crying to be made, but instead of the characters, Irada gives us caricatures: a strict disciplinarian Armyman father played by Naseeruddin Shah, who has fought in every war from 1971 to Kargil; his young daughter aspiring to be him and falling to cancer; an overzealous RTI activist; his raging journalist girlfriend who deploys drones to do her investigative stories (Sagarika Ghatge); a gum-chewing, cynical NIA officer (Arshad Warsi) with a young son who admires him; the corrupt chief minister who doesn’t hide her capriciousness (Divya Dutta, with the film’s only crackerjack scene); the greedy tycoon who once drowned a kid at Doon School and now bumps off RTI activists for pleasure (Sharad Kelkar); and finally a nobody called Bhagat Singh

willing to be a martyr. The scam really plunges deeper than one imagines, with the possibility of even labs fudging results. The train that runs between Bathinda and Bikaner, actually called cancer train because of the number of patients it carries looking for treatment in Rajasthan, swarms with agents peddling blood and insurance agents looking for clients. Yes, that too happens.

Shahid Kapoor February 25, 1981

But what might ultimately stay with you is that Dutta scene, hinting at what lies at the bottom of her malice. That, and the poetry the film is fond of spouting, often at times when it would do better talking. Shah does everything, from training his daughter in swimming and running, to writing a book, riding a bike, chomping a cigar and typing purposefully into a typewriter. And yet, does little at all. -indianexpress.com

Urvashi Rautela February 25, 1994


Tiger Shroff March 02,1990

24 February 24, 2017 Australia Brace for Tough Road Test on Pune Debut BY BRYON COVERDALE


Pak Star Shahid Afridi Ends Intl Cricket Career



UNE: (ESPN Cricinfo): In this era of facts and alternative facts, let’s consider one of each regarding the Test series that starts in Pune on Thursday. Australia can regain the No.1 Test ranking by the end of this tour. That is a fact. Australia have a good chance of doing so. That is an alternative fact. In other words, a falsehood. A statement that is backed up by no evidence whatsoever. To do so, Australia would need to win this series either 3-0 or 4-0, and not even Sean Spicer could claim with a straight face that such a scenario is feasible. A different sort of spin will be required to succeed in this series. Consider some more facts. India have not lost a Test - any Test, anywhere - since August 2015. That is a stretch of 19 consecutive Tests they have either been won or drawn. Admittedly, since they were last defeated, by Sri Lanka in Galle, they have played only one away series, against West Indies last year. At home they are utterly dominant. Of their past 20 home Tests, India have won 17 and drawn three. Last time they lost at home was to England in Kolkata in December 2012. It is so long ago that Yuvraj Singh was still a Test cricketer, but Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja were not. Australia, meanwhile, have lost their past nine Tests in Asia. If they were a cat, they’d be out of lives, and out of their misery. Until last year, Sri Lanka was the one Asian venue at which Australia always seemed to win. Then they encountered Rangana Herath and were crushed 0-3. Nine men who played in that series are part of the squad in India. What have they learnt from that experience? We are about to find out. What is certain is that R Ashwin, Jadeja and whichever other spinners India choose to play will test Australia’s batsmen every bit as sternly as Herath and Dilruwan Perera. Last time India hosted Australia for a Test series, Ashwin and Jadeja combined for a remarkable tally of 53 wickets. Only one Australian century was scored in the four Tests in 2013 - by Michael Clarke, on the opening day of the series. From then on,

Matt Renshaw and Glenn Maxwell try a variety of shots during practice, Mumbai, February 16, 2017

Australia’s tour was beset by poor techniques against spin, an inability to restrict India’s batsmen, internal angst within the squad, and detentions over neglected homework. India only gained momentum, not just winning but annihilating Australia in the process. Four years later, a very different Australia will try their luck. Peter Handscomb, Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh will all play Test cricket in India for the first time - Marsh, the selectors hope, could be Australia’s trump card on the spinning pitches, given his success in Sri Lanka - while Josh Hazlewood and Steve O’Keefe will have their first experience of bowling in Tests in India. The hosts, since 2013, have lost legends such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni, but appear no weaker for it. They are No.1 in the world, by a distance. Expect that chasm only to grow over the next few weeks. Form guide (last five completed matches, most recent first) India: WWWWW Australia: WWWWL

In the spotlight How will Australia’s batsmen combat the dual threats of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja? They are the top two Test bowlers in the world, according to the ICC’s rankings, and for Australia to have any hope of respectability in this series they will need to find some way to limit their impact. One turns the ball away from the right-handers, one away from the left-handers, and both will be threatening with every single delivery. Their figures are quite remarkable: no bowler in Test history has reached 250 wickets faster thanAshwin, while of Jadeja’s 117 Test wickets, 96 have come in India at the average of 20.22. Expect this pair to once again be at the top of the wicket tally. The oldest man inAustralia’s squad, Shaun Marsh gets his first chance to play Test cricket in India at the age of 33. The selectors view Marsh as a good player of spin, and is expected to slot in either at No.3 or No.4, effectively replacing Usman Khawaja, whose previous struggles in turning conditions in Asia appear to have cost him his spot.

Marsh was a calm presence in Colombo last August, when he was brought in for the third Test against Sri Lanka and made 130, which was Australia’s highest score of the tour. With hundreds in three of his past four first-class matches and two of his past three Tests, he should enter this Test with confidence. India appear likely to play three spinners, with Jayant Yadav set to join Ashwin and Jadeja. His inclusion looms as the only probable change from the side that beat Bangladesh in Hyderabad. Tean news India (probable): 1 KL Rahul, 2 M Vijay, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 R Ashwin, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Jayant Yadav, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Umesh Yadav. Australia (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Matt Renshaw, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Shaun Marsh, 5 Peter Handscomb, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Steve O’Keefe, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Josh Hazlewood. Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo.

AHORE (ESPN Cricinfo): Shahid Afridi has finally bowed to the inevitable and publicly bid adieu to international cricket, over 20 years after making his debut for Pakistan. Afridi said goodbye in fitting fashion as well, after a 28-ball 54 for Peshawar Zalmi that nearly pulled off a remarkable chase against Karachi Kings in the ongoing PSL. In a sense Afridi was only adding the full stop to what has become a reality over the last year: he led Pakistan to the World T20 in India last year, stepped down as captain after it and though he didn’t retire, he was omitted from the two T20 squads Pakistan have picked since, for a oneoff against England and a three-game series with West Indies. The issue of his not announcing his retirement, in fact, had become a prickly one. Last year, the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, said he had reached an agreement with Afridi that he would step down after the World T20. “He is also a Pathan and I am also a Pathan and once the agreement is done between two Pathans it can’t be changed.” However, before the tournament and during the inaugural PSL, Afridi revealed that he was reconsidering his retirement. So once he didn’t announce his retirement after the World T20, a new selection committee under Inzamam-ul-Haq simply stopped picking him. For a while Afridi hinted at wanting a farewell match, or series, so that he can leave the game “on a high” and “gracefully”. That, however, didn’t pan out and it would seem now that Afridi has put the matter to rest.


February 24, 2017

Morgan Stanley: GDP to Reach $ 5 Trillion by 2025 N

EW DELHI: India’s millennial population is a massive disruptive force and driven by this supportive demographics alongwith government’s policy action, Indian economy is likely to reach $5 trillion by 2025, says a report from Morgan Stanley. India’s $2.2 trillion economy makes it the seventh largest in the world in terms of nominal GDP (and the third largest in PPP terms), but the country’s per capita income is less significant. With a per capita income of $1,700, India ranks well behind some of the key emerging markets, like China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, and Turkey. “We expect a confluence of supportive factors, led by demographics, government policy action, and globalisation, to lead to a sustained

period of productive growth in the medium term,” Morgan Stanley said in a research note adding “in our base case, we expect the Indian economy to reach $5 trillion by FY2025. By financial year 2024-25, Morgan Stanley expects per capita income to rise

125 per cent to $3,650. The report said India’s millennial population of 400 million is the largest in the world and is armed with around USD 180 billion in spending power and with high smartphone adoption and widespread availability

of mobile broadband infrastructure, it will become a disruptive force faster than most businesses expect. Population dynamics will therefore be a key force in shaping India’s overall growth trajectory and also in shaping how product markets will develop as preferences of the population evolve, Morgan Stanley said. The report, however, noted that the demographics factor alone is not sufficient for an acceleration in GDP growth. It is important that the working age population is adequately skilled to participate in a globalised competitive environment. “The next leg of harnessing this young and better skilled population would require creation of adequate employment opportunities, which is an opportunity and a challenge for India,” it said. -IE

Indian Rs 1,000 Notes to be Back in New Avatar Soon N

EW DELHI: The RBI and the government have firmed up plans to launch a new series of Rs 1,000 notes shortly to replace the earlier note of similar denomination that was withdrawn from circulation following the November 8 demonetisation announcement, a senior government official has told The Indian Express. The RBI, the official said, has already started production of the new Rs 1,000 note. According to the official, the initial plan was to introduce the new Rs 1,000 note in January but “it has been delayed due to the pressing need to supply Rs 500 notes”. It is not clear when the new note of Rs 1,000 will be officially introduced into the market. To replace old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 during demonetisation, the RBI had issued new notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 which carried new designs, better security features and the picture of Mangalyaan on the back of the notes. The new notes are being issued to replace Rs 15.44 lakh crore worth of

demonetised currency notes. As on January 27, notes in circulation, comprising all denominations including Rs 2,000 and Rs 500, were Rs 9.92 lakh crore, RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi said on February 8. The central bank has not shared information of the total value of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes that have been issued.

February 20 onward, the limit on cash withdrawals from savings bank accounts are being raised to Rs 50,000 per week from the earlier limit of Rs 24,000 per week. Effective March 13, all limits on cash withdrawal from savings bank accounts will be removed. Transactions in Rs 2,000 notes are expected to become easier with the

introduction of Rs 1,000 denomination notes. While a bulk of the currency that was demonetised has been deposited into banks, the RBI is yet to provide the exact data. The RBI has given Indians who were abroad between November 9 and December 30, a three-month grace period until March 31 to deposit the old notes. For NRIs, this deposit window is open until June 30. On February 11, when he was asked when would the RBI release data on the old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 deposited in banks, RBI Governor Urjit Patel said that the central bank will provide a number which is verifiable and not merely an estimate. “Given that the window is open until March 31 and then at a lower level until June 30, we need to be careful and try as hard as possible that this is a number that is not a mere estimate but a verifiable number, both physically and in accounting stance,” Patel said.


Renowned Geologist Donates 100-Year-Old Journals to OIL


ICHMOMND, TEXAS – Norman Kent, a renowned structural geologist, has donated 100-year-old AAPG (AmericanAssociation of Petroleum Geologists) Bulletins/Journals, along with numerous geology books to OIL’s (Oil India Limited) Library in India. Kent, of Kent Geoscience Associates, has had extensive international experience in projects with complex geological plays in various countries like India, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Newfoundland and Brazil, as well as several parts of the U.S. Mr. Kent has previously worked with Oil India Ltd., HOEC, UNOCAL (merged with Chevron}, Jubilant, Naftogas India, Premier Oil and Canoro. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) is one of the world’s largest professional geological societies with more than 36,000 members. Published since 1916, the monthly AAPG Bulletin is a repository of data and valuable information, but also are much sought after and referred by geoscientists from around the world. Kent started collecting these journals from 1920 onwards and some of these bulletins are extremely rare and are not available as online versions and are extremely rare documents. Mr. Kent was very happy to donate the journal collection to Oil India as he believes Oil India will do a good job in not only preserving these valuable journals, but will also use this repository of knowledge to further augment energy security of India by exploring and producing more hydrocarbons for the nation.


26 February 24, 2017


Pakistan Cancels Licenses of Weapons Issued to Hafiz Saeed and His Aides

akistan has cancelled the licenses of 44 weapons issued to JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and other members of his organisations, citing security reasons. An official of the Punjab Home Department said the step has been taken in line with the government’s action against Saeed and his organisations – the Jamaatud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falaha-eInsanyat (FIF). “The Punjab Home Department cancelled licenses of 44 weapons for security reasons,” the official told PTI on Tuesday. The government on January 30 had put Saeed and four other leaders of his organizations un-

der house arrest in Lahore for a period of 90 days. Saeed and 37 members of JuD and FIF have also been placed on the Exit Control List, barring them from leaving the country. According to the Punjab Home Department notification, “Both JuD and FIF are engaged in certain activities which could be prejudicial to peace and security and in violation of Pakistan’s obligations to the United Nations Security Council Resolution and both organisations have been placed in the Second Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.” “Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and

Kashif Niazi are engaged in certain activities which could be prejudicial to peace and security.” The federal government has also put JuD and FIF on the watch list for six months. Saeed, who is carrying a $10 million bounty on his head, was also put under house arrest after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack but he was freed by Lahore High Court in 2009. -indianexpress.com

Hafiz Saeed

UP Election: In Lucknow, Samajwadi Party Eyes a Clean Sweep, BJP a Comeback

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh after casting his vote at PWD in Lucknow, India, on Sunday, February 19, 2017.


UCKNOW: The third phase of voting in Uttar Pradesh is also the battle for the capital, where long queues were seen outside polling booths on Sunday. The Lucknow district accounts for nine assembly seats that will be fought over by the BJP, which has seen its influence wane over the years, and the ruling Samajwadi Party that has gained at its expense. There are other players in the mix as well but Lucknow essentially is an SP-BJP contest. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is eyeing Lucknow as an alternative to the Yadav pocket borough of Siafai, is taking the war to the BJP – publicising development works undertaken by his government in the last five years. Development has, so far, been the BJP’s sales pitch. The SP stormed the BJP bastion in 2012, winning seven of the nine Lucknow seats and wants to do even better this time. It is hoping voters will respond positively to projects such as the Metro rail, international cricket stadium, Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Gomti River Front. Union home minister Rajnath Singh, the Lucknow MP who cast his vote in the state capital on Sunday, has accused the SP government of taking credits for schemes funded by the Centre. “Don’t know if Lucknow voters will vote for development. Whichever

government comes in, it will continue to make the state capital better,” said Sharad Singhal, an engineer with a private firm. The SP has gone in with big guns. Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav is the candidate from Lucknow Cantonment, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s cousin Anurag Yadav is in the running from Sarojininagar and his close aide, Anurag Singh Bhadauria, is in the fray from Lucknow East on the Congress ticket. The SP and the Congress are contesting the elections as partners. “The SP government is the government of development. In my constituency alone so much work has been done. People will vote for development,” a confident Aparna said. Till the SP drove it out, the City of Nawabs, as Lucknow is popularly known, was a BJP bastion. Former prime minister and one of the party’s most popular leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee represented the city in the Lok Sabha for record five terms. Vajpayee as an MP -- from 1991-2004 -- ensured a smooth sailing for the party in five of the nine assembly seats that make up the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency. The other four in the district are part of the Mohanlalganj Lok Sabha segment. From 1993 to 2007, the BJP won at

least four seats in every state election before its worst showing, in 2012 when it could only bag one. Vajpayee had by then bowed out of politics. He addressed his last public meeting in Lucknow during the 2007 election. His absence was felt when two years later the BJP surrendered its Lucknow West citadel to the Congress in a bypoll. But, the party had started losing ground much earlier -winning margins had been narrowing over the years. For instance, Vidya Sagar Gupta, a three-time MLA from Lucknow East won the 1996 poll by 36,000 votes. The margin shrank to 600 in 2007 and in 2012 he lost from Lucknow Central. “That is why the BJP decided to field outsiders in Lucknow. Barring old party hands, Gopal Tandon (Lucknow East) and Suresh Srivastava (Lucknow West), for the rest of the seats there are either new faces or imported candidates,” political expert SK Dwivedi said. The party has repeated Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who switched over from Congress, from her Lucknow Cantonment seat. Swati Singh, wife of expelled BJP leader Dayashankar Singh, is its Sarojininagar candidate. Singh was expelled from the BJP for his derogatory remarks against Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati. -hindustantimes.com


February 24, 2017




February 24, 2017