Page 1

Friday, March 02, 2018 • Vol. 37, No. 9

Indo American News READ US ONLINE at www.indoamerican-news.com | Published weekly from Houston, Texas. USA

Like Indo-American News on Facebook

7457 Harwin Dr, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 • PH: 713 789 6397 • Fax: 713 789 6399 • indoamericannews@yahoo.com

Dasha Avatar temple and Bhagwan Maha Vishnu was set up at the entrance.

P5, 14 &15



7th Vedic Fair Kid’s Avatar Show


Legendry actor Sridevi cremated with state honors, fans bid tearful goodbye

MITRA / CAMDEN TRAVEL Consolidators for Turkish Airlines and Asiana Airlines

We have completed 25 successful years 12808 W Airport Blvd Suite 252 Sugar Land, TX 77478

We have special low fares on Emirates

WHOLESALER FOR S MAJOR AIR CARRIER • Emirates • Gulf Airways • Kingfisher • Singapore Airlines • Jet Airways • Sahara Airlines • Indian Airlines • Eva Airlines • Asiana Airlines • Qatar Airways • PIA • Air India • Royal Jordanian • China Airlines


281-530-3000, 1-888-811-LESS Emergency Contact 281-236-9475 Please call us to get these special fares

WHOLESALE CONSOLIDATOR OF QATAR & EMIRATES AIRLINES Call us for competitive and confirmed seats on all major cities in Texas to any city in India.Call us for Summer and December seats now

Last minute fares to Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore,

Calcutta and many more...

For Summer and December fares please call us now. www.faregurus.com/ camdentravel@aol.com



March 02, 2018



March 02, 2018


Educating the Community on Tax Issues at the IACCGH’s Annual Tax Seminar BY MANU SHAH


Tax Seminar, a Chamber outreach program designed to educate the community on tax issues, attracted over 130 members of the community on February 11, at India House. Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia described the event as part of the Chamber’s efforts “to empower the community with the right knowledge.” This year, with the support of Shell, IACCGH will focus on educating small businesses affected by Harvey on how and where to look for relief. The LiftFund, which provides low cost (even 0%) loans of up to $25000 to such businesses, was presented at the seminar and will continue to partner with the Chamber in this initiative. President Swapan Dhairyawan, a renowned CPA himself, thanked the distinguished panel of 4 CPAs’

From left: IACCGH President Swapan Dhairyawan, CPAs Mahesh Desai, Kershaw Khumbatta, Robert Brown, Rimple Mashruwala, Tupil Narasimhan, Moderator Ajit Thakur. Photo: Bijay Dixit

and Keynote Speaker Robert J. Brown, Senior Director of Audit Support Services, Harris County Appraisal District for volunteering their time on a Sunday afternoon. He emphasized the Chamber’s commitment of bringing “value to the community” through such events. CPA and Past IACCGH President Ajit Thakur moderated the presentations and drew attention to the revisions in the U.S. tax code for both individu-

als and corporations. Robert Brown, Audit Support Director, HCAD, highlighted the types of Real Property Exemptions and Business Personal Property exemptions. Owning a business requires reporting of personal property used in the business to your County appraisal district by filling a rendition form. Describing the new law provisions as “perhaps the biggest legislative topic” coming out of Washington D.C, CPA Rimple Mashruwala fo-

cused on the business tax changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act where starting 2018, business entities will be able to take advantage of a 20% deduction on “Qualified Business Income.” Pass through business will only be taxed on 80% of their pass through business and this is claimed on the taxpayer’s individual tax return. CPA Kershaw Khumbatta covered Entity planning after 2018 emphasizing the importance of choosing the right legal structure for a new business and outlined the provisions in Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief which has established the Safe Harbor method for calculating potential loss. CPA Mahesh Desai highlighted Forms 114 and 8938 that must be filed by taxpayers holding more than $10,000 in an overseas account. The OVPD and the SDOP are two other IRS schemes to voluntarily disclose foreign accounts. He stated that US Citizens/NRIs/ OCI card holders are not eligible

to obtain the Aadhaar card but can have a PAN card for Indian Income Tax reporting purposes. CPA Tupil Narasimhan reinforced the new tax cuts applicable to businesses such as a flat 21% tax cut for Corporations. This effectively amounts to a 40% reduction in tax expense. Non corporate taxpayers can avail a 20% deduction of qualified business income from certain pass through businesses. The seminar concluded with a Q & A session. President Dhairyawan gave the closing remarks and stated that the Chamber intends to conduct several such informative tax seminars at various community places during the year due to the New Tax & Jobs Cut Act 2017 which has prominent changes that will affect taxpayers significantly. Disclaimer: The IACCGH tax seminar is for advisory purposes only

Hindi Sonnets of Love for the Matrubhoomi (Motherland) BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: Sangeeta Pasrija, emcee for the event

Dr. K.D. Upadhya, President IHA

For those who have been brought up in the culture and shared in the traditions and festivals that shaped them, there is nothing short of love for the country that nurtured them. This is especially true of a culture that values its language and is known for the warmth of its legendary hospitality. The International Hindi Association’s Houston Chapter has promoted those values in four events held throughout the year since it was founded eight years ago, but the event “Veer Ras” held on Friday, February 2, was the first time it was ever held in the US, according to IHA (Houston) President Dr. K. D. Upad-

hyaya. Full of patriotic fervor in its poetry, the event “raised the passion for the Motherland in those who came,” he said. The “Mein aur meri matrubhoomi” (Me and my Motherland) poetry recital was held at the Keshav Smriti on the city’s Westside and about 125 people came to admire the talent of the local Hindi poets and share in the warm snacks and tea later. The event was jointly produced by the IHA and it’s partner organization, the India Culture Center. The almost four-hour long program was started off by the singing of Vande Matram by the children from the IHA Hindi class held at the VPSS off West Bellfort and the Southwest Freeway. The four poets who performed have been receiving quite a bit of

Fateh Ali Chatur

Dr. Harendra Chahar

popularity in Hindi circles: Dr. Upadhyaya, Dr. Nausha Asrar, Dr. Harendra Chahar and Fateh Ali Chatur. The emcee for the eveNausha Asrar




March 02, 2018



March 02, 2018


Vedic Fair 7 Brings Together the Rich Indian Heritage to Houston

Champion Sai Pardhu Aki for Sloka-Thon along with teachers

10 Vishnus | 10 Avatars, from left: Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Nara-Simha, Parashu Ram, Bala Ram, Ram, Krishna, Kalki.


KATY: India’s rich cultural heri-

tage encompasses the spectacular flavors of customs, traditions and rituals. The vibrancy, diversity and glory of India come alive each year at the Vedic Fair, and this year’s event was spectacular as ever. The 7th edition of this majestic event was held at the Cinco Ranch High School, Katy, on February 24. ‘Ashirwad= A Blessing’, the force behind this event strongly believes in their mission of preserving age-old spiritual knowledge and imparting the same to the next generation. With this noble belief and the tremendous support received from philanthropists and volunteers, Ashirwad has been successfully conducting remarkable events from the last 7 years. As the guests walked into the Cinco Ranch High School at 5 pm, they could not help but notice the splendid architecture of a Dasha Avatar temple. This iconic set-up of Bhagwan Maha Vishnu right at the entrance stunned the audiences, building curiosity for what’s inside the hall. The guests were welcomed with an invocation pooja by Hanuman Swamy, from Katy’s Rama Jaya Niketan Temple. Ashirwad conducts class-

Champion Arya Joshi, Presentation on Ayurveda

es under various genres and one of them is an Indian lifestyle class for kids. Some students from this batch recited Shanthi Mantras as a part of invocation pooja. Good vibrations set in the air as the ISKCON Houston group went around from the entrance to Bharat Bazaar Street sanctifying the whole area with the chants of Hari Nama Sankeertan. This was followed by a Celebrate India Exhibits contest, where the confident presenters showcased a significant variety

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


15 Years of Solid and Trusted Experience Book Keeping & Tax Services Income Statements & Balance Sheets Filing of all individual Business Returns 1040, 1120, 1120S, 1065 Free Consultation

Champion Studio Mudra School of Dance, Patriotic Dance Unity in Diversity

Brides of India Fusion Show, from left: Gujarat, Bengal, Kashmir, Goa, Maharashtra, Punjab, Odhisa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh.

of exhibits, leveraging the contest to a level never seen before. The breathtaking line-up of Celebrate India Exhibits included some extraordinary presentations, well researched on India’s fascinating heritage. The compelling subjects included, Ayurveda– Science of Life by Aaryaa Joshi, Sundar Kand– Power of Devotion by Sai

Pardhu Aki, Ashtanga– 8 Limbs of Yoga by Harshini Kaparaju, Incredible India– World’s Largest Secular Democracy by Sudhiti Marri, Voices of India by Annika Ahuja, Save Precious Indian Rivers by Laalasa Kella, Agnidev– The Undying Flame by Rishi Kadiam, Famous Indian Sages– Ancient Scientists by Ajay Rao,

Power of Sloka Chanting by Ishika Pandurangam, Angkor Wat- Heaven on Earth by Krish Varun, Mahatma Gandhi– Peace Warrior by

BOOK KEEPING | PAYROLL | INCOME TAX Incorporations: C and S Corporations, LLC’s Sales Tax and Franchise Tax Returns Income Tax and Sales Tax Representation Payroll and Payroll Tax Returns

Cell: 832-877-9625 | Fax: 713-977-2221 | Email: acct77036@yahoo.com | web: www.asu2020.com 6666 Harwin Dr, Suite 335, Houston, TX 77036 INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


For photo collage, see pages 14 - 15



March 02, 2018

Sri Ramakrishna’s 182nd Birth Anniversary Celebrated at VSGH

HOUSTON: On Saturday, Feb-

ruary 17, the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston (VSGH) celebrated the 182nd Birth Anniversary of Thakur Sri Ramakrishna at its temple premises on Lindita Drive. Though rains were predicted for the whole day, after a few early showers the day turned out to be perfect. It was cloudy, but that made the day cool and comfortable; and a slight breeze perfected the ambiance. The 16 – item worship (Shodasa – Upachara Puja) began at 10:00 a.m. It was performed by Revered Swami Atmarupanandaji Maharaj, the Minister of VSGH, and lasted for about two hours. While the puja was in progress, some devotees sang devotional songs on Thakur Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda. The whole atmosphere was so charged with spirituality and holiness that there was pin-drop silence in the shrine hall. The intermittent commingling of Swami’s soft puja mantras and the songs enhanced the prayerful mood of the devotees. The worship was followed by Ara-

ti (the waving of lights) and Pushpanjali (the offering of flowers by the devotees). Lunch prasad was served after the morning program. Some of the comments from the attendees were, “It was a beautiful worship”, “It was so peaceful”,

For advertising in Indo-American News

contact: Vanshika Vipin

at 713.789.6397

“For the first time I really got what puja is about”…. The celebration of the Birth Anniversary continued from 3 p.m. with the program “An Evening of Classical Music”. It commenced with vocal music, presented by two of Pandit Suman Ghosh’s outstanding students, Apurva Ghosh (who is his daughter and who recently received the ‘Mewati Pradeept’ award from the Living Legend Pandit Jasraj-ji himself) and Prasun Kolhe, a young

singer of only 14 years. Though so young, their beautiful voices and their control over the notes of the songs enchanted the audience. Every song was followed by loud applause. VSGH is also sincerely grateful to them that, at the request of the devotees, they continued presenting several encores. The evening program then continued with the presentation of instrumental music on violin played by Houston’s very own violin virtuoso, Biplab Samadder, accompanied on the tabla by Raja Banga, another brilliant and magnificent performer. The raga was “Puria dhanashri” played on an 8.5 beat, then 12 beat, and finally 16 beat cycle. Samadder’s rendition of the “Alap” was so beautiful that it cre-

ated a natural meditative environment in the shrine hall. The continuation of the raga with Raja’s tabla accompaniment was superb. The whole audience was totally engrossed in the presentation, and during the “Jhala” (the fastest cycle) everybody’s head or fingers or feet moved with the rhythm of the music. It was an enthralling experience for everyone present. Revered Swami Atmarupanandaji Maharaj and the devotees of the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston are extremely grateful to all the musicians, especially to Raja Banga who performed even after undergoing a major surgery a few days ago. A great big thanks to all of them for making this important event so successful.


March 02, 2018





March 02, 2018

Vedic Fair 7 Brings Together the Rich Indian Heritage to Houston


Srinidhi Srikalyani, Agni, Human-Divine Channel by Anushka Sapru, Bhagwad Githa– Management Lessons by Roshan Kadiam, Concept of Re-Incarnation by Vidhyaa Murugan, Significance of Lighting a Diya by Reim Rao, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, and many more. The young Aryaa Joshi became the Celebrate INDIA Exhibits Presentations 2018 Champion for her topic ‘Ayurveda– The Science of Life’, while Sai Parthu Aki triumphed with the runner up spot for his topic ‘Sundar Kand– The Power of Devotion’. This year also witnessed an entertaining new addition, the Dance Talent Team Competition. Six teams competed with each other over an exceptional choreography, dazzling costumes, stunning props and foot-tapping dance sequences adhering to the ‘Bhakti and Indian Heritage’ themes. Vedic Fair 7’s Dance Talent Championship was awarded to Studio Mudra School of Dance for their Patriotic Unity in Diversity performance, and Rashmi Shashi did the outstanding choreography. The sporadic Sloka-thon contest showcased a unique talent of chanting slokas from Sri Vishnu Sahara Namam, where the contestants were supposed to recite slokas by any number, in increments and in the reverse order. Sai Pardhu Aki bagged the Enchanted Empress Sloka-thon rolling trophy by winning the Sloka-thon 2018 champion. The next act truly mesmerized the audiences leaving them totally perplexed. It was the prime time fast paced show, “10 Vishnus- 10 Avatars” and it was inspired by the 10 main avatars of Maha Vishnu, that showcased Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narsimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Balarama, Krishna and Kalki avatars of Vishnu that incarnate to protect the good, punish the evil and re-establish law and order. Re-affirming the old-age belief that Vishnu protects his ardent devotees, the story of Prahlad brought into light how a strong faith in God protects devotees from vicious evil and that faith is stronger than any power in this world. Another story on Vamana emphasized how the mighty crushed the ego and greed of Mahabhali and blessed him with a boon. The recital of Bharat’s love for Ram over his kingdom and power was a significant message for the people of today. The audiences were captivated with Krishna and Arjun’s dialogues from Bhagwad Gita. It was then time for the Super Finale, ‘Brides of India- Fusion Show’, a marvelous entertaining performance choreographed by the Vedic Fair Chair Geetha Ravula. The whole of India was bought to stage with this magnetizing rendition that included contemporary music, striking authentic bridal costumes with gorgeous bridal models from Kashmir, Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bengal, and Orissa.

As the magnanimous evening came to a halt, Geetha Ravula came up on stage and thanked the Ashirwad Team members for their continued commitment and dedication towards Indian Heritage. She also thanked Priya Muralidharan, Deepika Maharaj, Sailesh and Radhika Kaparaju, Ashutosh and Sonali Sapru, Uma Chidambaram, Srimathi Kumar, Mahima Bhat, Manisha and Mahesh Halapeti, Shagun Ahuja, Mahesh Harapanahalli, Sudhir Aki, Bharat Rao, Padmaja Vasantha, Vinod Conikee, Varun Rajan, Kedar Challa, Kavitha Kella, Pooja Misra, Srujana Dunnara, Rithika Ravishankar, Divena Donthi and Ashirwad Young Wingz Team comprising of 50+ high school volunteers who served passionately throughout the span. She mentioned, “Firstly, I would like to offer my credits to my Guruji, for having me initiate this and helping me share this age-old knowledge. This year, we estimate the count of the audience to be over 3000 people. I am so glad that kids from all the age groups enjoyed and celebrated our culture that was exhibited in a splendid mix of contemporary and traditional touch, without compromising on the values”. Ashirwad A Blessing Team thanked all the supporting organizations; ISKCON, Sanatan Hindu Center, Shri Sita Ram Foundation, Sri Rama Jayaniketan Temple, US Desi Gals, Hindus of Greater Houston, Daya Houston, apart from the organizations which participated in Celebrate India Inter-Faith exhibits, Buddhism by Universal Door Meditation Center, Islam by Islamic Society of Greater Houston, Jainism by JVB Preksha Meditation Center, and Vedic Bazaar Vendors. Ashirwad Team appreciated supporters of Vedic Fair Subhash and Sorojini Gupta, Umang Mehata, Judges Thara Namarasinhan and Indrani Parthasarathy. Ashirwad Team also thanked its media sponsors Indo-American News, Voice of Asia, India Herald, Voice of Sanatan Hinduism, Andhra Mirchi, Radio Hungama, Masala Radio and Geetanjali radio. At Vedic fair 7, the audience was truly startled with the India exhibit presentations by kids. The audiences were treated to high-energy performances that lasted for five hours. And the audiences didn’t stop there and went on requesting for more. This exceptional event was a perfect combination of showcasing Indian heritage and religion, blended admirably with learning and entertainment. One could actually feel the pulse of the enchanting land of India, and that is a mark of a successful event. Houston is looking forward to the 8th chapter of Vedic Fair that will be held in February 2019. For continued updates and to know more please visit facebook.com/VedicFair.

For photo collage, see pages 14 - 15

Hindi Sonnets of Love for the Matrubhoomi (Motherland) CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 ning was a well-regarded poet herself and IHA(H) co-founder Sangeeta Pasrija. Another co-founder, Swapan Dhairyawan opened up the evening, followed by a short invigorating speech by Ramesh Bhutada. Upadhyaya in his booming voice

started off the Veer Ras and others followed. “Aao pyar kare” (Come, let’s fall in love) by Dr. Asrar was so popular there was pindrop silence to appreciate it. Among those who attended was Dr. Gaurang Nanavati from the Chinmaya Mission.


March 02, 2018



10 March 02, 2018


Swades Milan 2018, Health & Happiness Radio’s 2nd Anniversary

HOUSTON: The annual celebra-

tion of Health & Happiness Radio (FM 105.3, live every Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 8am to noon) produced by Dr. Pooja Shivshankar and her husband Shivshankar Rai marks their gratitude to their listeners and sponsors

and the success the program has attained. HHR’s second anniversary Gala – Swades Milan 2018 - was held at the Bellagio Ballroom on Beechnut and attended by around 500 guests and 140 performers from 3 years-old to an 80 years-old. The

program had 41 performances of Indian regional cultures, featuring a blend of Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam Pushpanjali to Lord Ganesha from south India to the Oddishi bhakti dance of northeastern India, a breathtaking per-

formance of Rajasthani Ghoomer from northwestern India and the Konkani-Goan dance representing the ancient Portugal culture of southwestern India. The program started with a Lord Ganesha Sthapna, pooja and aarti

by Hindu Priest Pandit Rajendra K. Sharma, and his wife Asha followed by an Arabic prayer recited by Dr. Pooja Shivshankar’s student, Asmaa Alhendi, a Christian prayer by Pastor Lee, and recitation of Gurbani by Sardar Jagir Singh and his family. The event also featured a Best Food in Houston Contest, showcasing local Indian and Pakistani restaurants, such as Gayatri Bhawan, Chaupati Chat Company (Hillcroft), Biryani Pot, Pakwan House, and Gyro King. The audience voted Gyro King as the winner and the others received trophies of recognition. Pooja and Rai also honored the Houston-based Navroz Prasla Productions for their successful and



Same Day Filing Capability If You Qualify

Crisis & Challenge ? Guiding Families at Crossroads Since 2002

* Child Custody ( When the best parent is the only parent) * Protective / Temporary Restraining Order * Free Consultation with Attorney * Divorce complete in 61 days

Receipt of BBB Gold Star Certificate for Outstanding Performnce

Michael G. Busby. Jr. (U.S.M.C. Veteran) Early Evening and Saturday Appointments Available Visit us at :

713-974-1151 / 800-DIVORCE ( Phones are answered 7 days a week)


Principal Office: 2909 Hillcroft, Ste 350, Houston, Texas 77057 Harris and Surrounding Counties

New Location: 715 East Whitney Street, Houston, Texas 77022


Call: 713-974-8099


March 02, 2018

What’s New? Navya Grocers!


Pradeep Sulhan, P.C.

Certified Public Accountant 14340 Torrey Chase Blvd. | Suite 110 | Houston, Texas 77014 (281) 583-2993 | (281) 580-8700 | Fax(281) 580-7550 www.sulhancpa.com | pradeep@sulhancpa.com

Over 25 years experience


For Any Ceremony Contact Pradip Pandya 832 466 9868 Email: pradippandya2000@yahoo.com


SUGAR LAND: Raghu and Jaya

Kavarthapu welcomed hundreds of guests to their quaint grocery store Navya Grocers at the corner of Hwy 6 and Old Richmond on Saturday, February 24. Masala Radio organized and promoted the grand opening that boasted silver coins and generous Deep gift bags

to the line of first customers. The Kavarthapus added a different promotional twist – attractive gifts with purchase. From 50-piece container sets to the trendy Instapot knockoffs, customers meeting minimum purchases during the grand opening were well rewarded! DJ AJ mixed popular Bollywood songs which made the event feel like a social get together. “Many neighboring residents

came by for the delicious savory samosas and chai by Chai Shai, and enjoyed meeting the owners,” said Rekha Gajjar. “Couldn’t pass up the Masala Hummer, balloons and wind dancers outside, and the weather was beautiful!” Navya Grocers appeals to the area residents who need to get in and out quickly with staple Indian Groceries, 7 days a week. Complementing the stocked grocery aisles were some eye-catching kurtis, bangles, and Indian decorations. Navya Grocers is located at 10128 F Hwy 6, Sugar Land 77498 and is open Monday through Sunday from 10:00am to 8:30 PM. Please call (832) 7765128 for further information.

vShri Lakshmi Puja vHindu Wedding vMarkand Puja vEngagement vShri Ganpati Puja vSimant vLaghu Rudra vVastu Shanti vMundan Sanskar vNavchandi Puja vShanti Havan vShri Gayatri Havan vShri Satyanarayan Puja 5645 Hillcroft Ave. Suite 701 Houston, TX 77036 | TIMINGS 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Have you planned for your future? People don’t plan to Fail, They Fail to Plan

Swades Milan 2018, Health & Happiness Radio’s 2nd Anniversary CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10 award-winning Marathi movie, “Kshitij - A Horizon”, with Soni Prasla, CEO of NPP and the newly launched NTV Houston picking up the trophy. The entire function was recorded and will be telecasted globally via NTV Houston. Navroz Prasla always aspired to be a film producer with a social cause and found the story of Kshitij - A Horizon very significant and heart touching for the education and empowerment of girls. The movie has received national applause and was awarded the UNESCO Gandhi Medal for Best Marathi Film at the ICFT International Film Festival of India, besides several other accolades. More information about “Kshitij-A Horizon”, visit https://www.facebook. com/388309128226048/photos/p cb.642459176144374/642458492 811109/?type=3&theater

Others who attended the event were Salim Maredia, owner, Chaupati Chat Company (Hillcroft); Shahid Usmani, General Sales Manager, Sterling McCall Toyota; Shaukat Ali, founder, Shah BabaJan International Foundation; Chandrakantha and David Courtney, founders, Courtney School of Music; Sardar Jagir Singh of Singh Parivar of Hosuton; Shahzad Rahmtullah, Sales Director, Shabana Motors; and Ajay Kumar Jain, owner Holiday Inn Express, Pearland. Two “people’s-choice” honors were awarded to Anju Fernandes, founder, Goan Dance Group of Houston and Ganesh Mohanrao, an IT specialist, and founder of the Whatsapp group Desi-stuff. Pooja Shivshankar and Shivshankar Rai were thrilled that in two years, their Health & Happiness Radio show has had remarkable success with the South Asian community. “It’s our vision to inspire life…

Saturdays and Sundays… when moms and dads are home with their kids,” Pooja said. “As an instructor and a researcher, I strive to serve our community and make everyone’s life a healthier and happier experience. Through Health & Happiness Radio, I commit to make everyone believe in themselves and the strength we possess to lead a happy and health life.”

To plan your future, contact:

Jesal Patel ARPC, CLTC, LUTCF Financial Adviser*: Eagle Strategies LLC Life Member MDRT Ph: 281-221-5061/713-499-7670 Fax: 832-201-5394 Website: www.jesalzpatel.com *Financial Adviser offering investment advisory services though Eagle Strategies LLC, A Registered Investment Adviser. Registered Representative offering securities through NYLIFE Securities LLC-Member FINRA/SIPC, A Licensed insurance Agency. Agent with New York Life Insurance Company. 3200 Southwest Freeway, Suite 1900, Houston, TX 77027 (713) 9614545 California Insurance License # 0F53803



12 March 02, 2018 Has India’s Time Come for the World Podium? Author Ayres Says “Yes”


AAA Texas Journey Magazine Features Meenakshi Temple in Current Issue

Alyssa Ayres (far right) discusses her book “Our Time Has Come” with Sunanda Vashisht serving as the moderator.



OUSTON: In 1700, India’s contribution to the world economy was 25%. In his book Inglorious Empire and a debate at the Oxford Union, Shashi Tharoor has eloquently documented how deindustrialization under the British rule led to India’s economic contribution decline to a mere 4.2% in 1950. With doubledigit GDP growth in recent years, there is increasing optimism that India will regain its status as a world’s leader in economic, political and soft power. In fact, both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi have proclaimed, “Our time has come.” Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the US Council on Foreign Relations, has claimed the phrase, Our Time Has Come, for the title of her book, published in January 2018 by the Oxford University Press. Before her current role at the CFR, Dr. Ayres served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia during the Obama administration. She is married to Sadanand Dhume, the Washington DC-based journalist, who writes on Asian affairs. Dr. Ayres was the guest of the first book discussion at the the Consulate General of India offices on Wednesday, February 21 evening. About 40 people were in attendance, includ-

ing students from Rice University and the University of Houston. CG Dr. Anupam Ray introduced the book discussion and Sunanda Vashisht served as a moderator for the book discussion. Vashisht is one of the founders of MyIndMakers, a website devoted to optinions, interviews and news about Indian affairs. Dr. Ray was full of praise for Ayers’ expertise in South Asian affairs. “I would be very hesitant to be negotiating across the table with Alyssa Ayres,” he said. In her introduction, Vashisht reeled off a series of statistics about India’s recent economic achievements. “India is currently the seventh largest economy in the world, but is expected to overtake the UK and Japan to become the fifth largest in the near future. It is the world’s largest democracy with 1.3 billion people, expected to overtake China by 2024. India has the world’s largest youth population and the third largest military. And now India is taking a leadership role in global issues such as climate change, energy and terrorism.” Speaking about the title of the book, Dr. Ayres said, “The quote captures the ambition of India’s political leaders as to where they would like to see India on the world stage.” “This is not a new ambition,” Dr. Ayres explained. “I’ve charted this ambition in my book since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s writings about


the unique role India could play between the two politically aligned blocks durng the Cold War. I agree that today we’re at an inflection point regarding India’s global role.” “My book looks at India’s role in the economic sphere, and in global governance, where I make a strong argument that the United States should be doing much more to help India gain entrance into various international institutions, particularly on the economic side and also the UN Security Council,” Dr. Ayres continued. “Part of the book looks at my Indian experience, beginning with a semester abroad in the 1990s. Back then, India was very chaotic with events such as the balance of payments crisis. This was a formative period for where India is today. Since then, we’ve had the unleashing of India’s private sector and the resulting change in India’s foreign policy posture,” Ayres stated. “As a result, there has been an opening between India and the US, going from a difficult and challenging relationship, to working together on common goals, and where US has now as its declared foreign policy goal of supporting India’s rise on the world stage.” An energetic Q&A discussion followed Dr. Ayres’ statement. Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana gave the vote of thanks with the promise of holding more such book discussions in the future.

The latest edition of AAA’s Texas Journey magazine features a short travel feature on the Meenakshi Temple in Pearland.


HOUSTON: You know that the

Indian community in Texas has arrived when a popular statewide travel magazine features one of its iconic landmarks in its pages. The March/April issue of the bimonthly Texas Journey magazine published by the AAA of Texas features a full-page pictorial and brief write up by Cynthia J. Drake entitled “A Passage to India”. Although the temple has been noted before in other travel brochures from the Greater Houston Visitors and Tourist Board, this statewide exposure is sure to bring more visits to the institution in Pearland. Drake suggests visiting dur-

ing the 10-day Chitirai festival in April so the temple should gear up for tourists curious to learn more about India.

• Located in KATY • 1535 square feet

More Info Call: 1-855-647-6226



March 02, 2018


Traditional Chinese New Year Celebration at the Southwestern National Bank

HOUSTON: Southwestern National Bank

recently celebrated the coming of the “Year of the Dog” on Friday, February 16 at the Bank’s main office in Houston, Texas. Chairman C.K. Lee, CEO Gary Owens, The Board of Directors, employees and customers gathered together for the traditional Chinese New Year celebration. The celebration was oriented towards the public, as Southwestern National Bank provided traditional Chinese New Year snacks for customers. Entertainment came in the form of Lion and Dragon dances. Lucky red envelopes were passed out to Bank employees and customers to feed the dancing lions for good luck and good health. Southwestern National Bank’s Main Location is located in the heart of Chinatown in Houston. Bank employees are fluent in many languages including Chinese, Taiwanese and Cantonese as well as English. The Bank strives to say in touch with the local Asian community by participating in charity events and events that celebrate the cultural heritage of the area. Southwestern National Bank also provides monthly seminars to the community, free of charge, on a variety of valuable information. For information, contact Ling Chuang (713) 272-5045. (Member FDIC)

WRITERS ... TAKE NOTICE Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information: Call 713-789- 6397 or email us at: indoamericannews@yahoo.com INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 02, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

14 March 02, 2018


March 02, 2018



16 March 02, 2018


FIS Lecture Series on India-Israel Relations Features CGs of Both Countries BY NISH BHAN

HOUSTON: India House was the venue

From left: Pradip Brahmbhatt, Harshith Marepalli, Parul Fernandes, Krishna Vavilala, Founder Chairman of FIS; Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India; Gilad Katz, Consul General of Israel; Vishal Merchant, Raghavender Nednur, Nischal Bhan, Event Chair.

for a recent discussion of India-Israeli relations in the current geopolitical climate. Held on Sunday, February 18, the event was arranged by the Foundation for India Studies (FIS) under its Distinguished Lecture Series. The distinguished speakers were Gilad Katz, Consul General of Israel in Houston, who was a former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Dr. Anupam Ray, the Consul General of India in Houston. In his welcoming address, FIS Chairman Krishna Vavilala spoke of FIS’ accomplishments in the past 12 years and said since not many details of the recently signed agreements between India and Israel were not adequately reported in the media, FIS has invited both the CGs to come and speak on the subject. CG Katz spoke first, tracing the ancient connections between India and Israel. In particular, he highlighted a shared mutual respect, and genuine friendship between PM Netanyahu and PM Modi. Katz stated that the relationship between India and Israel is one that focuses on the future, especially on technology and trade. CG Dr. Ray echoed a number of Mr. Katz’s sentiments, and focused especially on the connections of security, technology and culture between the two nations. Ray highlighted the fact that India is one of the few nations that has never had engaged in violence against Jews, and that both nations have deep historical connections. Ray referred to his own close, personal friendship with Mr. Katz that was similar to the close relationship between PM Netanyahu and PM Modi. He also noted that both Israelis and Indians, especially Indo-Americans, have a strong focus on education. Both CGs focused on the fact that the nations are spiritually, technologically and culturally aligned. In particular, both highlighted the fact that India and Israel are homes to ancient civilizations, that are thousands of years old, but as nations have only existed for about 70 years. This was a central theme of the relationship working together to tackle similar problems, while always favoring democracy, growth and education. After the speeches, the floor was opened to a Q&A session. Questions posed ranged from India’s management of its relationship with both Israel and Palestine, to how both nations would tackle food-security and agrarian distress in the future. Both CGs gave insightful answers to the questions. In response to a question about security in Kashmir, both diplomats focused on the importance of coming to the table with a willingness to negotiate, using education and outreach to overcome obstacles, and making sure that security and diplomacy can be taken together. At the conclusion of the event, mementos were presented to both the speakers in appreciation of their informative and thought provoking lectures. FIS thanked the volunteers from the Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP) for providing help at the event.



Dig The Well Before You Get Thirsty



March 02, 2018

OUSTON: A Chinese proverb says “dig the well before you get thirsty.” We are not following this adage when it comes to arming our SouthAsian community with enough bone marrow donor registrants so that when the need arises there is some one in the large pool who will be a match. The present dearth of registrants - possible donors - have caused our families to look for a donor at a time when their loved one is already stricken with Leukemia (or other type of cancers needing a bone marrow transplant) and in urgent need of a donor to stay alive. Every 3 minutes someone gets diagnosed with blood cancer and every ten minutes someone dies from it.As a retired physician who has conducted bone marrow donor drives for many years, I am convinced that the only way to save the lives of our South Asian children and adults with Leukemia who fail to respond to chemotherapy and waiting for a bone marrow transplant is to get 100% of our healthy adults to register and commit to donate when matched with a patient. Is this just a wishful thinking or will our community wake up and do what has to be done? At any time, an average of 6000 patients with Leukemia are awaiting marrow transplant every day in the USA. About 75% of Caucasians have registered with the National “Be The Match Registry” while the

Parveez recently donated PBSC to save the life of a Leukemia patient. He is the first marrow donor of 2018 from Houston.

number of registrants from the South Asian community are, at present, very dismal. The fact that the chances of matching within family members is about 15% to 25% and with a non-relative is anywhere from one in 10,000-100,000, the patient and their families will most likely be disappointed even after conducting several such drives. The best and the only way to avoid heartbreaks and give the patients a fighting chance is for our community to encourage

healthy adults to register on their own and conduct ongoing drives. What are the reasons for this and can something be done to correct this sad situation? One or more of the following reasons may cause you not to register or to donate. 1. Feeling confidant that you or your family member is unlikely to suffer from leukemia. 2. If you register you will have to donate marrow to a stranger. 3. Fear of the consequences of los-

ing one’s bone marrow. The amount of marrow that one has to donate is an extremely small percentage of the 92 ounces of marrow that is present in the long and flat bones of a healthy adult. Donating this small amount of marrow is safe and will have no ill effect. The marrow is restored in about 2 weeks time. 4. Fear of not knowing what to expect and risks associated with the procedure. Prior to the donation process, the donor undergoes a medical examination to confirm he or she is in good health. Depending on the patient’s needs the doctor might decide to obtain the marrow cells by one of two methods, either using the traditional technique of inserting the needle in the hipbone under local or general anesthesia under sterile conditions in the operating room. (There could be some pain at the site where the needle is inserted in the hip for a couple of days which is easily relieved with pain pills) or obtain stem cells from the peripheral blood (PBSC). The same blood forming cells that are found in the bone marrow are also found in the circulating peripheral blood. One of our community members, Parveez recently donated PBSC to save the life of a Leukemia patient. He is the first marrow donor of 2018 from Houston. He donated PBSC to save the life of the person who was in urgent need of the transplant.


Without this transplant the patient could die. Fifty-five year old Parveez said, “After several years of being listed on the registry, when I received the call that I was a match, I received full support from my wife, children, brothers, sisters and rest of the family. My family was so supportive that my 17-year-old son gave me a ride on the donation day and my aunt came with us to give us company. The support did not end at home; it continued at my work place as well. Although I had some soreness after the donation for two days, it was very humbling experience. I have recovered completely and resumed my life at work and home and am now desperately waiting to hear about the recovery news of my recipient.” To register in the “Be The Match” directory please contact any one of the following. After you register encourage friends and family to register as well -- the only way to “dig the well before you get thirsty” Gaytri Kapoor, Donor Contact Representative, Phone: 281 780 1379, Toll free : 1888 482 5663 or visit https://bethematch.org/ for more information. Contact the Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) which conducts bone marrow donor registration drives regularly at 713 370 3489 to find out the date and location of the next drive or visit www.iacannetwork.org The author is grateful to Gayatri Kapoor for her assistance in providing the statistics and donor information.


18 March 02, 2018

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY The Art of Scam Management

The Trudeau Reset

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s extended sojourn in India that

seemed to be unfolding as a diplomatic disaster concluded by raising hopes for a positive reset of bilateral relations. The credit for this entirely unexpected political turn goes to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s determination to stay engaged and the Canadian PM’s delayed but welcome acknowledgement of the threat that Sikh extremism has come to pose for bilateral relations. The concentrated location of the large Sikh diaspora, numbering nearly half a million, had long given the community considerable salience in Canada’s electoral politics. Since the mid-1980s, a small minority of extremists and anti-India elements have been relentless in their efforts to deploy the political weight of the Sikh community against Delhi. Much of the Canadian political class was eager to acquiesce. But Trudeau, who became PM in 2015, took the pandering to extremists to a whole new level. Delhi, however, did not let its anger come in the way of reason that underlined the importance of building a strategic partnership with Ottawa, one of the world’s important political and economic actors. When Trudeau landed in India, few were willing to bet that Delhi could make him see, let alone appreciate, its concerns about Khalistani separatism and terrorism being nurtured on Canadian soil. After all, Trudeau was initially unwilling to meet Amarinder Singh, the elected Chief Minister of Punjab, in order to please the Khalistanis at home. His eventual decision to meet the Chief Minister was overshadowed by the fact that a convicted Sikh terrorist was present at the receptions for the visiting PM in Mumbai and Delhi. As a huge backlash in India and Canada compelled him to rethink, Trudeau made amends when he met Modi. The bilateral “framework for cooperation” on “countering terrorism and violent extremism”, unveiled after the talks between the two PMs, seemed to bury the careful ambiguities on Khalistani separatism and Indian sovereignty that Trudeau had cultivated. Besides a ringing endorsement of India’s territorial integrity, the Canadian side expressed its commitment to “neutralise” various terrorist organisations, including Babbar Khalsa International and International Sikh Youth Federation. In confronting the Khalistan question squarely, Trudeau has promised to remove the big bone stuck in the throat of India’s relations with Canada. Sceptics would want to keep their fingers crossed on Trudeau’s ability to implement that promise when he gets home. But India must stay patient and persistent, while cheering Trudeau’s declared intentions. Delhi must continue to offer a good mix of incentives and disincentives for Trudeau — and Ottawa’s political class as a whole — to do the right thing on Sikh extremism and realise the full potential of the India-Canada partnership -Indian Express



orruption and plutocracy were major issues in the 2014 election. Those issues helped delegitimise the UPA government. It is now worth asking how they are going to play out in the near future in the wake of the so-called Nirav Modi scam, and what ramifications they might have for India’s political and institutional life. One of the ironical consequences of the scam may be to subtly take corruption off the political agenda. The Narendra Modi government is taking a political hit on this scam. It has deeply punctured its bombast and claims to providing a corruption-free India. The image of the wealthy allegedly scooting off to foreign lands with their loot while the poor were made to stand in line for their own money, is a damaging one. The UPA was accused of direct looting of state assets, with many ministers running individual fiefdoms. In this case, the charge is more weakness, incompetence and inability to eradicate scams. It will take more to translate this into an allegation of corruption. The charges of looting by government have yet to stick. In the case of the UPA, the political charge was more potent because it was, at least at that time, made by new actors on the scene — an anti-corruption movement, an institution like the CAG, both of which at that time were not associated with political baggage The anti-corruption movement has fizzled out and the AAP is now too caught up in its own complications to be a credible new face of anticorruption. The former CAG, Vinod Rai, by so closely working with the BJP government, has retrospectively damaged the credibility of independent institutions. Prime Minister Modi so far has managed to insulate himself from being drawn in as a target. Demonetisation did little to dent corruption. But for a while, it signalled a willingness to act with bold intent. So far, the government has also been able to live off the fact that they inherited a deeply corrupt and scam-ridden system. But four years in power makes blaming previous governments a strategy with diminishing marginal returns. The

government had managed to create a buzz that at a transactional level, ministerial corruption is down. This does not necessarily mean that this government is any less plutocratic. All it means is that the plutocracy and corruption are managed more centrally and tightly, so that a large number of actors cannot create the kind of free-for-all that was associated with the UPA. It also means that corruption has probably become more insidious, and uses different instruments. But the perception that transactional corruption is down has, to a certain degree, protected the Prime Minister. The UPA could not, when faced with charges of corruption, exercise control over a range of institutions from the media to courts. Courts, civil society mobilisations, media interventions, all could work in unison to delegitimise government. This government has consistently been able to control and deflect all these institutions to make any discussion of corruption in government nearly impossible. The courts, which on mere suspicion, would order investigations, now seem to have discovered a higher standard of proof for taking on those in power; much of the media is practically unable to run or follow through on corruption investigations. The media that could run campaigns on innuendo, now cannot even report facts. Civil society is too fragmented and still weathering the blows of its past failures to provide a focal point. Indeed, India should worry that its plutocracy now runs deeper: It is no longer just about making money, but ensuring that all independent institutions are subject to so much control that the issue of corruption and plutocracy cannot even be openly discussed. It is in this context that the PNB scam has cracked open a door. It has exploded the idea that somehow India had qualitatively changed since 2014 on governance parameters. The government has used corruption as an argument to create the elements of a vast surveillance state. But the core institutions required to combat corruption — the CBI, CVC, prosecutors’ office, regulatory agencies and the judiciary — remain hit and

miss affairs, to put it politely. The mechanisms of electoral financing being put in place through electoral bonds reduce, rather than increase, transparency. What the PNB scam underscores is that combating scams and corruption requires the slow boring of hard boards across of a range of institutions, not dramatic gestures that are more about seeing to be doing things than actually achieving the objective. There are two likely outcomes from this scam. Institutional responses to crises are always to tighten controls, increase verification, and generally increase transaction costs, rather than being smart. The second is that having let the rich off the hook the government will be even more pressured to be populist. The perceptions that a government is veering back to plutocracy inevitably breeds more government control and populism. The chances of both increasing are greater. In the short run, there will be institutionally a lot of pressure on government to strengthen its anti-corruption credentials. But the problem is that even after four years it does not have too many instruments to do so. It cannot now easily pull off another stunt like demonetisation without invoking incredulity. Its other option would be to secure high-profile prosecutions as a statement of its intent; find someone who can satiate the public appetite by signalling that the guilty are indeed being punished. But this is easier said than done in our system where so many of the background systems are broken. So, politically, what this means is this: The BJP thought it had a huge rhetorical advantage on corruption but it now increasingly looks like this issue will be a draw. The draw will be a kind of victory for the Congress because it takes away the BJP’s trump card, even if it does not lead to an anti-BJP crescendo. But a political draw on the corruption issue will mean the issue will get taken off the institutional agenda. There will be no pressure point for the regeneration of institutions, even as the eternal political pantomime on corruption gets played out. -- IE The author is vice-chancellor, Ashoka University.


CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR INDIA: 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: 713-789-6397 email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: www.indoamerican-news.com



March 02, 2018


Char Dham Hindu Temple Grand Opening Ceremony Prana Pratistha & Maha Kumbhabhisheka Mahotsav, March 8 - 11

Dwarkanth Dham

Badrinath Dham


is finally over. Devotees around the Greater Houston area will get to see and visit the Char Dham Hindu Temple in the Woodlands during its Grand Opening Ceremony from March 8-11. This will be the culmination of the dream, seen by Dr. Surya Sahoo and Kabita Sahoo, to have a place in the USA, which will be a symbolic representation of the Holy Char Dhams in India. Char Dham are the names of four pilgrimage sites in India that are widely revered by Hindus. It comprises of Badrinath Dham in the North, Dwarkanath Dham in the West, Jagannath Dham in the East and Rameswaram Dham in the South. It’s believed in Hindu religion that if you visit all four Dhams in your lifetime, you will achieve Moksha. We, Greater Houston residents are fortunate that we have a chance to visit all four Dhams (in the form of four separate temples) at the same place, right here in our backyards. A lot of sweat and tear have gone into building these temples over the last few years. Bhoomi Puja for the temples was first conducted in 2011. At first six years seem like a long time, but the results are amazing. The entrance to the temple, lined with Tuscan order columns and two huge lion statues in the front and tall trees all around is nothing short of magical. The first thing you see after you reach the parking lot is the silhouette of the four temples among the tall trees. As

you enter the beautifully manicured landscape, you will see the kitchen and dining hall to your left. The magic begins when you reach the temples. The first temple you will see is Lord Jagannath temple, complete with 22 steps to reach the inside of the temple (as in Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri). Rameswaram Dham temple stands to the left of Lord Jagannath Temple. Go to the north of both these temple and you will find the Dwarkanath temple and to the right of the Dwarkanath temple, you will find the Badrinath Temple. All around the temples, you will beautifully manicured landscape with hundreds of flower trees. This experience is something that needs to be seen firsthand rather than described in words. Deities have all been installed in the four temples, waiting for Prana Prathistha, which will happen during the four day ceremony, headed by Pandit Srikiran Narayam, Head Priest of Char Dham Hindu Temple and with assistance from more than twenty priests coming from the Greater Houston area and all over USA. The deities already installed include: Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra , Devi Subhadra and Sudarshana, Lord Ganesh, Mahalakshmi, Radha Krishna, Dwarakadheesh, Lakshmi Narayana, Shirdi Sai Baba, Durga Mata, Badrinarayan, Saraswati Mata, Vaikhanasa Acharya, Ram Parivar, Ramanataha Swamy, Sri Venkataswara(Balaji), Ayyappa Swamy, Navagraha and Panchamukhi Hanuman.

Rameshwaram Dham

Jagannath Dham

Schedule is as follows: March 8, Thursday 6 PM - 9 PM All Puja Vidhis followed by Dinner Prasadam (8 PM). March 9, Friday 9 AM - 9 PM Puja Vidhis all day long. Lunch Prasadam will be served at 12 PM and Dinner Prasadam at 8 PM. March 10, Saturday 9 AM - 10 PM Puja Vidhis all day long. Lunch Prasadam will be served at 12 PM. Shoba Yatra will be from 4PM to 5PM, followed by Cultural Program from 6PM to 8PM. Dinner Prasadam will be served at 8PM. March 11, Sunday 6 AM - 12 PM Puja Vidhis from 6AM to 12PM. Lunch Prasadam will be served at 12 PM. Volunteer and Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Pandit Srikiran Narayam by dialing 832-299-5172 or 832-663-8799 or sending an e-mail to srikiran@ chardhamhindutemple.org or by visiting the website www.skaifoundation.org.

Exhibition on Photographs and Fabrics of India, Wednesday, March 7

SUGAR LAND: Indo American

Forum of Fort Bend collaborates with City of Sugar Land as a part of FotoFest 2018 Biennial Participating Space to kick off the 6-week-long FotoFest exhibits around Houston, whose theme this year is INDIA. To kick off the FotoFest exhibits highlighting India, the Indo American Forum has come together to curate an evening to experience the multifaceted culture of India— through the camera lens—as well as a first-ever exhibit in Sugar Land of the enchanting fabrics of India entitled Fabrics of India. The glorious fabrics, which will accompany the ongoing exhibition of community photographs is entitled Faces, Spaces and Places of India. The opening reception featuring photography, fabrics and perfor-


Stay tuned every Sunday,


to from 2.30pm to 3.30pm





Geetanjali Radio AM 1320 Sat & Sun 2-6 PM For your business ads

Cell: 832-878-4338 Tel: 713-545-4749 shobajoshi999@gmail.com

mance will be on Wednesday, March 7, at 6:30pm, at the new Sugar Land Heritage Museum & Visitor Center (198 Kemper Street, Building B, 2nd Floor, Sugar Land, Texas 77498). In addition to the Fabrics of

India exhibit, the event will feature instrumental Indian classical music, dance and food, and photographs by local community members. The free event is open to the community.


20 March 02, 2018

Holi: Significance and Celebration

Holi is not just about playing with colours

and indulging in sweets but also has a profound history behind it. The festival celebrated by Hindus every year is observed on the day of Purnima, the full moon, in the month of Falgun over two consecutive days — the first day known as Chhoti Holi or Holika Dahan and the second as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan. Significance of Holi: Holi is a symbol of the triumph of good over evil. It marks the onset of

spring and is also celebrated to give thanks for a good harvest. The festival revolves around smearing colour on each others’faces, splashing people with water by throwing water balloons at them and heartily indulging in sweet delicacies that are made this day. The word ‘Holi’ itself has a deep significance and it translates into the word “hola”, which means offering prayers to gods for a good harvest. The festival has many myths and legends attached to it. One of these is the story of Hiranyakashyap, who was a demon king and wanted to be immortal. While he wanted everyone to worship him as god, his son Prahlada was a devotee of Vishnu. Offended by his son’s disobedience, he asked his sister, Holika, to kill his son by sitting down

in a burning furnace with Prahlada. Holika had a divine gift that fire could not burn her and so she did as her brother told her to. However, Prahlada’s devotion evoked Vishnu’s compassion and he saved the boy from the fire while Holika was burned to death. Vishnu, thereafter defeated and killed Hiranyakashyap as well, marking the victory of good over evil. Holi is most prominently associated with the colours used on that day and it is rightly called the “Festival of Colours”. However, the colours used on this day also have an interesting tale behind them. It was believed that Krishna used to celebrate the festival with colours at Vrindavan and Gokul. How is Holi celebrated?

On the first day of the celebrations known as Holika Dahan puja, a bonfire is lit. People gather around the fire known as Chhoti Holi and perform ‘pingpuja’ while praying for the longevity and prosperity of their loved ones. On the second day of celebrations known as Rangpanchami, people play with colours. Another popular legend of Holi celebrations that is extremely popular in southern India is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. It is believed Kaamadeva, the god of passion, awoke Shiva from his deep meditation so he could save the world. The celebrations also include people forming a human pyramid and breaking a pot full of buttermilk hung up on a considerable height. -indinaexpress.com

9 Ways to Prepare for Holi Festival!

As a matter of fact, people forget not only

the social restrictions but any restrictions and simply go bonkers! To prepare for that, here’s my short list of 9 things to do, to survive Holi and enjoy it at its fullest! 1. Put on your worst clothes. That goes without saying! Not only paint, but also eggs, tomatoes and many other things will be flying at you and there’s no way you’ll be able to wash your clothes! Put on some white clothes and keep it as a colourful souvenir for the future. 2. Cover your eyes and hair (and your beard, too).

Or don’t – it will take a few months to wash the paint from your hair anyway. But it surely sucks having some dry paint thrown straight into your eyes. 3. Use ear plugs/ear muffs/wool. One girl discovered some paint in her ears after four months after the Holi festival! And that’s exactly why you might need a pair of ear plugs as well… 4. Cover your entire body in oil. When I say ‘your entire body’, I do mean, your entire body. Your hair, face, arms, legs… If you do, you’ll have a better chance of washing the paint after the festival had

finished. 5. Have some chewing gum. I was told that people will come and put their fingers into your mouth to colour your teeth! I don’t know if chewing gum would help in such situation, but hey, it’s worth a shot! 6. Leave expensive things at home. There’s a lot of touching involved during Holi so it’s a heaven for pickpockets. If your wallet or mobile phone gets stolen, it will definitely ruin your day! Water/paint might likely destroy your things, so think of a good way to hide them. 7. Don’t count on the police too much. There will be a lot of police officers on the streets but you shouldn’t count on them too much… as the majority of them might/will be drunk or high from marijuana – hey, they’re only humans as well! 8. If you cannot beat them, join them! Ingredients: • 1 1/2 litres water • 1 1/2 cups sugar • 1 cup milk • 1 tbsp. almonds • 1 tbsp. kharbooj/tarbooj seeds skinned (commercially available) (these are skinned dried seeds of watermelon and cantaloupes) • 1/2 tbsp. khuskhus (poppy seeds) • 1/2 tbsp. saunf (aniseed) • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder or 15 whole pods • 1/2 tsp. rose water (optional) • 1 tsp. peppercorns whole • 1/4 cup dried or fresh rose petals (gulkand variety)

Paint, water balloons, water guns with paint, water canons… use your imagination! You might feel strange or even scared but you have to play along and fight in this battle of colours. 9. Have fun! Thinking about staying at home and watching it from your balcony? – NO WAY! Go out there, enjoy yourself, be crazy, be childish, have fun and experience the real Holi! That’s what it’s all about. -adomasbaltagalvis.com

Holi Recipe: Thandai

Directions: • Soak sugar in 1/2 litre of the water used. Keep aside. • Wash clean all other dry ingredients, except cardamom if using powder. • Soak in 2 cups of remaining water. Keep aside. Allow all soaked items to stand for at least 2 hours.

• Grind all soaked ingredients to a very fine paste. (not sugar) • Use a stone grinder (manual or electric) if possible. • When the paste is very fine, mix remaining water. • Place a strong muslin strainer over a large deep vessel. • Press through muslin with back of palms, extracting the liquid into vessel. • Add remaining water, a little at a time to extract more. Pour back some of the extract and press, repress. • Repeat this process till the residue becomes dry and husk like. Add milk, sugar and rosewater to the extracted liquid. • If using cardamom powder mix it in with the milk. • Mix well. Chill for a hour of two before serving. -holifestival.org



March 02, 2018


Thousands Thronged the Streets of Mumbai to Pay their Last Respects to Bollywood Actor

MUMBAI: The actor was draped

in a Tricolour on her last journey ’s and her flower-covered cortege was followed by thousands of mourners who walked all the way from prayer hall in Lokhandwala to the crematorium in Vile Parle, a distance of about 7 km. Her Bollywood colleagues, including Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Vidya Balan, also reached the cremation ground to pay their last respects. The Dubai government said in a tweet that the police have transferred the case to the “Dubai Public Prosecution” which will carry out regular legal procedures followed in such cases. “Following the completion of post mortem analysis, Dubai police headquarters today stated that the death of the Indian actress Sridevi occurred due to drowning in her hotel apartment’s bath tub following loss of consciousness,” the Dubai government’s media office said on Twitter. It is not clear what caused Sridevi, 54, to lose consciousness, and whether the initial report of her death due to cardiac arrest still holds. The latest report of accidental drowning only deepens the mystery surrounding her death. Her family has not commented beyond their initial statement yesterday to announce the death, and has requested the media to not contact them as they deal with the tragedy. Born as Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan, Sridevi worked in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films before entering Hindi films. She started acting in the late 1960s, but her performance in Malayalam film Poombata (1971) won her the state award for best child artist. Sridevi made her Bollywood debut as a child artist in Julie (1975). Her first adult role was at the age of 13 in Tamil film Moondru Mudichu (1976). Sridevi went on to become one of the biggest female stars India

Thousands of grieving fans gathered in Mumbai on Wednesday to pay respects to Sridevi, the iconic Bollywood actress who drowned accidentally in a Dubai hotel bathtub over the weekend.

ever had. The government of India awarded her Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, in 2013. Her most remarkable films include Sadma, Chandni, Himmatwala, ChaalBaaz, Mr India, Nagina, Mawali, Tohfa and Gumrah among others. After working in Judaai, she took a 15-year break from movies only to be back to winning hearts in her second innings with English Vinglish in 2012. She was last seen in 2017 film MOM. Sridevi’s most memorable onscreen pairing was with her real-life brother-

in-law Anil Kapoor, while her most successful films were produced by husband Boney Kapoor. Sridevi passing has left a gaping hole in Indian cinema. The actor’s last film appearance will be in Shah Rukh Khan starrer Zero that releases in December this year. Celebrities have started dropping in at Anil Kapoor’s residence to offer their condolences. The last rites took place on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to share his condolences. He tweeted, “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi. She was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances. My thoughts are with her family and admirers in this hour of grief. May her soul rest in peace.” Sridevi is survived by Boney Kapoor and two daughters – Janhvi and Khushi. She was Boney’s second wife. Her elder daughter Janhvi is set to make her Bollywood debut this year with Karan Johar’s directorial Dhadak. -hindustantimes, timesofindia & indianexpress.com

For advertising in Indo-American News

call 713-789-6397


22 March 02, 2018


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 March 07, 2018. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Dosa Aur Nariyal Chutney (South Indian Crepes & Coconut Chutney)

Solution Next Week

Although dosas (crepes) are not

L��� W���’� SUDOKU S�������

L��� W���’� SUDOKU W������ 1) Kumud Athavale 2) Srikanth Bitra 3) Gouthami Merugumala

Job Opportunity

Capricorn Travel Requires Full Time Experienced Travel Agent. For Appointment: Please Call: 713-339-2222

a Punjabi dish, over the past few decades they have been so popular in North India that they could be considered a local dish, found in many restaurants and even at street vendor stalls. Dosa is a traditional Tamil dish, with references in the Sangam literature of the 1st century AD. The origin of the soft and thick version is associated with the restaurants from the Udipi district. The thinner and crispier variety which has become widely popular was first made in present-day Karnataka. The main ingredients of dosas are rice and skinless urad lentils and are usually served with a stuffing of potatoes, sambar and chutney, though the softer, thicker ones go well with chutney alone. After Independence, South Indian cuisine drifted across the country and in New Delhi it was first served at the Madras Hotel in Connaught Place where it became wildly popular. Udipi restaurants started to flourish in Bombay in the 1930’s. Dosas are high in carbohydrates but are also a good source of protein. The rice and lentils are allowed to ferment in order to make a batter, and this increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content. Instant dosa mixes usually contain higher amounts of rice. In this recipe, a small amount of methi (fenugreek) seeds are added to enhance the flavor. Dosas can be served with chutney and sambar (a thin, lentil-based spicy vegetable soup) or stuffed with cooked spicy potatoes or pickles. Another version called the Rava dosa uses suji (semolina) and others re-

place the rice with refined wheat. Dosas are popular because they are so quick and simple to make and the flavor and texture is very appealing to most palettes. Rather than run for some instant mixes, I hope that younger people will see how simple the ingredients are and try to enjoy making dosas at home themselves. This recipe does not use any dahin (yogurt). The chutney recipe is also quite simple, but other pickles and chutnies can be substituted. Ingredients: For Dosa: • 4 cups chawal ka atta (rice flour) • 1 cup dhuli urad ki daal ka atta (skinless urad lentil flour) • 2 tsp methi danna powder (fenugreek powder) • 4 cup pani (water) • Some tael (vegetable oil) – for cooking dosas • Spices to taste: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper

2. Mix all the chawal atta, urad atta and methi danna powder together in a bowl. 3. Pour in the water and mix well making sure there are no clumps in the mixture. 4. Cover the bowl and leave it inside the oven overnight. Do NOT turn the oven on but leave the oven light on. This will help the mixture to ferment overnight. 5. In the morning, take the bowl out of the oven and stir to check consistency. The batter should be thick enough to spread. 6. Heat up a large skillet or flat tava over medium high heat and use the oil to coat the surface. Put a drop of the batter on it to test: if it easily sizzles and bubbles, then the skillet is ready to use. 7. Pour some batter on the skillet and spread it around to make a 6 to 8 inch pancake disk. When it is full of little holes, turn it over with a spatula. Add a dab of oil around the edges to make the dosa crisper. 8. The dosa is ready when both sides are golden brown. 9. Serve hot from the skillet onto a plate with the coconut chutney. For Chutney: 1. Wash the green chilies and then cut into small pieces. 2. In a small bowl, mix the chopped chilies and grated coconut together. 3. Add the imbli paste and pour in the water slowly, stirring continuously to mix well. 4. Leave in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before serving.

For Chutney: • 1 cup kutra hua nariyal (grated coconut) • 1/4 cup hari mirch (green chillies) • 2 tbsp imbli paste (tamarind paste) • 2 cups pani (water) Directions: For Dosa: 1. If you are unable to find the urad daal flour or methi danna powder, you can take the same amounts and grind them finely.

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

Award Winning Customer Service & Best Rates in Town Proudly Serving For Best Rates to: India, Europe, Cruises & Vacation Packages South Asian Community Toll Free: 1-866-956-0758 - Tel:713-339-2222 for Past 3939 Hillcroft Ave, Suite# 110, Houston, TX 77057 30 Years



March 02, 2018

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety Bromance vs Romance


and Titu are childhood besties. Sonu, the cynical millennial comes to Titu’s rescue every time he faces heartbreak and convinces him to stay single, too. ButTitu,ahopelessromantic,falls

Recovery agent Teji and fashion

designer Jinal dream of making it big in showbiz. Both win a ticket to a popular awards show in New York where they get a chance to showcase their talent. However, they soon realise that they are mere pawns in the hands of event manager Sophie, who wants to teach her boss a lesson. Director Chakri Toleti in his Hindi directorial debut takes viewers behind the scenes of a popular awards show and tries to elicit laughter by laying bare the drama that is an intrinsic aspect of showbiz. Teji (Diljith Dosanjh) and Jinal (Sonakshi Sinha) set out to live their dreams when they get an opportunity to be part of a Bollywood awards night and showcase their talent. But, little do they know that the awards show manager, Sophie (Lara Dutta), has chosen them from among millions of contest entrants, despite being terrible at what they do, only to embarrass her boss, Gary (Boman Irani), and wreak revenge on him for not giving her the due. Enter, the show’s anchors, Karan Johar and Riteish Deshmukh (playing themselves), who throw their weight around and drive Gary up the wall. That’s not all; Karan has an evil

for the quintessential good girl, Sweety. Is there more to her than meets the eye? ‘Pyaar Dosti hai’ — Shah Rukh Khan may have said that way back in 1998 but Luv Ranjan proves it with a twist in 2018. Unpredictable throughout, the film’s real love story is the friendship (platonic) between its two male characters

(Kartik Aaryan as Sonu and Sunny Singh as Titu), who are inseparable. Sweety’s (Nushrat Bharucha) arrival, messes their equation, leading Sonu to wonder if the girl is good enough for his brother from another mother. Who ends up as the third wheel in this unique and somewhat bizarre love triangle, forms the story. If you are familiar with Luv Ranjan’s brand of youthful romcoms, you must know that they often represent young lovelorn men, who find themselves dancing to the tunes of manipulative girlfriends. Sonu Ke Titu ki Sweety (SKTKS) too revolves around a hapless victim of calculative ‘affairs’ and if you liked the Pyaar Ka Punchnama movies, you are bound to enjoy this one. Despite its misogynistic nature,

Ranjan’s lighthearted approach to counter gender stereotypes in modern relationships makes his take fascinating. A girl can be a villain too! We wonder why Sweety must announce ‘Main chaalu hoon,’ to Sonu though? Nonetheless, various other situations seem relatable, which helps. The casting works well as all performances are in sync with the film’s cheeky demeanour. ‘Monologue man’ Kartik makes the most of his meatier part and steals the show. Alok Nath in a not so sanskari role is delightful. Sunny, Nushrat and Ishita Raj add to the entertainment quotient. However, what doesn’t work for the movie is its duration. Stretched for almost 2 hours, 20 minutes, the Sonu vs Sweety battle, several songs and

k r o Y w e N o T Welcome

twin, Arjun, who wants the former dead. Reason: Karan’s film, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’s success leading to Arjun being mistaken as Karan and nobody taking him seriously as a gangster. The in-jokes about the industry are plenty and Karan and Riteish bring their A-game to the film just like their acts at awards shows. In fact, Karan has some of the best lines and entertains with his double act. Sonakshi Sinha plays Jinal with earnestness and shares a warm camaraderie on screen with Diljit Dosanjh, but both

of them have very little to work with in terms of their characters. Boman Irani is wasted in the role of Sophie’s boss and Lara Dutta makes the most of what is on offer. The film also drags in some places despite cameos from Salman Khan, Rana Daggubati, Aditya Roy Kapur and Sushant Singh Rajput. The laughs are few and far between and most scenes and dialogues which manage to tickle the funny bone involve Karan and Riteish. The biggest let-down is the script and the various tracks in the narrative don’t always

come together as a whole and seem contrived. The visual effects in the film are also tacky, to say the least. Actual footage from the awards show doesn’t blend in seamlessly with the portions which were shot later. The film must have sounded clever on paper as it doesn’t take itself too seriously and attempts to recreate the irreverent tonality, characteristic of the banter at award shows. However, it doesn’t always manage to hit the bull’s eye. -timesofindia.com


dialogues (tu shaadi sirf sex ke liye kar raha hai kya) keep going in circles to the point of being uninteresting. Also, Sonu’s outright hatred for Sweety lacks a valid reason, which makes his motive to break Titu’s marriage seem more like a romantic obsession than possessiveness or protective behaviour as intended. Despite the odds, this bromance vs romance comedy works as an exciting guessing game to predict who’ll end up as the third wheel — best friend or girlfriend? This means war. -timesofindia.com

Happy Birthday



Tiger Shroff

March 02, 1990

Shraddha Kapoor March 03, 1987

Ankit Tiwari

March 06, 1986

Anupam Kher March 07, 1956

24 March 02, 2018 India Win T20 Series Despite SA’s Late Onslaught BYSIDHARTH MONGA

CAPE TOWN: (ESPN Cricinfo):

ndia sealed the T20 series against South Africa with a victory in the decider that was almost snatched away from them by a feisty South African lower-order effort. South Africa were asked to pull off the second-highest successful chase at Newlands and then fell so far behind the required run-rate that they needed 59 runs off 21 balls. Then, debutant Christiaan Jonker and oldhand Farhaan Behardien plundered 51 runs in the last three-and-a-half overs but could not get the hosts over the line. South Africa were 114 for 5 in the 17th when Behardien joined Jonker. If Jonker was nervous, he didn’t show it. He took 18 runs off Shardul Thakur’s final over to reconstruct his figures of 3-0-17-1 into 4-0-35-1 and leave South Africa with 35 to win off the final two overs. Together, Behardien and Jonker scored 16 runs off Jasprit Bumrah and needed 19 off the last over and 12 off the last three balls but the mistakes their team-mates had made earlier were too big to rectify. A slow start - South Africa were 25 for 1 after the Powerplay and 52 for 2 after 10 overs - on top of a clumsy fielding effort left South Africa so close, yet so far from the win that would answered some of the questions about their depth and their ability to handle pressure. Shikhar Dhawan was India’s top scorer but only fortuitously so because South Africa, in the form of Tabraiz Shamsi, let him off twice. Dhawan was on 9, and India 54 for 1 in the sixth over, when he cut a Chris Morris ball to short third man, where all Shamsi had to do was accept, but he was unstable as the ball popped out of his hands. Seven overs and 49 runs later, Dhawan, who was on 34, top-edged Aaron Phangiso to Shami at short fine leg. Shamsi ran back but reprieved Dhawan again. Between the two chances, Dhawan found the boundary for the first time, off the 29th ball he faced, delivered by none other than Shamsi. But, Shamsi also saw some success in that period. Suresh Raina, who

Shikhar Dhawan was India’s top scorer but only fortuitously so because South Africa, in the form of Tabraiz Shamsi, let him off twice.

had announced himself with a six off Junior Dala, tucked into Andile Phehlukwayo’s first two balls and taken boundaries off short balls from Morris and JP Duminy, eventually holed out off Shamsi for a feisty 43. It was not Raina’s dismissal, but Manish Pandey’s that allowed South Africa to pull India back. Pandey hit his one meaty six off Shamsi and then tried to do the same off Dala, who returned in the 14th over and immediately banged in a short ball. Pandey could not control the pull and was caught at long-on.


In addition to the wicket, Dala only conceded six runs in that over, none in boundaries, and Phehlukwayo followed up with an eight-run boundaryless over of his own. That was enough to create some pressure and Dhawan was run-out off the first ball of the over that followed. He hoicked a Shamsi delivery to deep midwicket, where Dala was stationed. A single was on, but Dhawan wanted a double and Dala effected a direct hit before Dhawan could complete his return to the striker’s end. At the end of 17 overs, India were

136 for 4, and had only scored 25 runs in the previous four overs. Instead of turning to Phangiso, who had kept things tight, Duminy opted for Morris, who conceded 21 runs in his last two overs, though he did also take two wickets. Still, India would have been satisfied especially with the way their attack started. South Africa were kept quiet early on and in-form Reeza Hendricks was dismissed by a Bhuvneshwar Kumar knuckle ball, a variation India’s seamers sprinkled liberally in their spells. David Miller started to find his touch with Duminy but before he could hit full flow, gifted a catch to Axar Patel at deep midwicket. The asking rate when Miller was dismissed was almost 12 runs an over, and Duminy had to accelerate. He found his first boundary off the 20th ball he faced, the delivery after Miller had fallen, and hit back-to-back sixes off Axar. He reached his fifty off 38 balls with a gorgeous cover drive but three balls later top-edged a Thakur slower ball to mid-off and South Africa’s hopes all but went with him. However, Jonker and Behardien mounted some fight but India had that little bit more.

Mithali Raj Sets Women’s Sights on World T20

APE TOWN: Mithali Raj does everything unhurried. When a wicket is taken, she is usually the last to reach the celebratory huddle. She doesn’t bustle with great urgency to her fielding position between overs. When she takes a catch, she doesn’t fist pump excitedly or sprint to highfive the bowler. She leads India in ODIs, but not in T20Is. And she seems to like it. She suggests the occasional field change to her captain Harmanpreet Kaur, and perhaps offers tactical advice to the bowler, but other than that Raj simply does her thing. Batting is her thing. On Saturday, she played another signature innings in Cape Town and set up India’s series win in the five-T20I series. Coming into the game with a 2-1 lead, after a washout in Centurion, India were asked to bat first. Soon enough, Raj had South Africa regretting that decision. Assured against pace and sure-

footed against spin, she constructed a sublime 62 off 50 balls. By the time she was dismissed in the 16th over, India had 130, and the impetus to launch an assault that carried them to 166 for 4. South Africa would finish well short. It was Raj’s third 50-plus score in four innings of the T20 series, after an underwhelming one-day series that produced scores of 45, 20 and 4. She finished the T20s with 192 runs at an average of 96, and was named Player of the Match as well as Player of the Series. “Honestly, I am not someone who is very fond of the T20 format,” Raj told ESPNcricinfo in Cape Town, not long after collecting her trophies. “But since I am preparing for the T20 World Cup, it was important for me to start scoring runs in this format to gain that momentum. I am very happy that this series has given me that confidence that I can be a T20 player. “It is a conscious effort to turn my

game so that I can get used to the T20 format because as an opener it is important that I have all-round shots and also see that aerial route, because the first six overs are crucial so you can give a start to the team.” Raj is 35. She is the talisman of this Indian women’s cricket team and is comfortable in that role. She chuckles with a “do I look old?” when reminded that she is the veteran in this group of effervescent, young women who captured the nation’s attention in their stirring run to the World Cup final last year. Now, with the World T20 in West Indies in October, Raj is conditioning her mind and style of play for that challenge. Around her a solid core has formed - Smriti Mandhana counters the new ball, Harmanpreet and Veda Krishnamurthy provide middle-order muscle, and in 17-year old Jemimah Rodrigues, who shared a 98-run stand with Raj in the series clincher, a star is being nurtured.


Hermanpreet Singh, Savita Punia: Top Hockey Players

MUMBAI: Two pillars of the Indi-

an men’s and women’s hockey teams which were crowned Asian champions last year, Harmanpreet Singh and Savita Punia, were on Monday adjudged joint Hockey Player of the Year at the third Mahindra Scorpio Times of India Sports Awards. Harmanpreet was the men’s team’s leading scorer in 2017 with 18 goals, including starring roles in the Asia Cup title run and India’s bronze medal finish at the Hockey World League final in Bhubaneshwar. Savita, goalkeeper for the women’s team, was exceptional during the Women’s Asia Cup where she was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament. Harmanpreet, 22, was India’s top scorer at the Asia Cup with seven, a key force in the team clinching the trophy. During the HWL Final quarters, he scored India’s second goal doing regular time and then the winning shot during penalty shootouts as World No 3 Belgium were knocked out. In the bronze-medal game, he scored a goal as India beat Germany 2-1. Savita, 27, was a massive factor in the women’s team lifting the Asia Cup for the first time since 2004. She allowed just five goals all tournament - keeping clean sheets against Singapore and Malaysia - and in the final pulled off a brilliant save with the scores locked at 4-4 to help India beat China and secure passage to the 2018 World Cup.

Harmanpreet Singh and Savita Punia, were joint Hockey Player of the Year


March 02, 2018

PNB Fraud to Shrink India’s Gems & Jewellery Sector by 16%

MUMBAI: The sheer scale of op-

erations of Mehul Choksi group and Nirav Modi group would mean that their closure would have far reaching implications for the gems and jewellery industry. The absence of these two companies is expected to shrink turnover of the industry by 16% and reduce diamond and jewellery trade by 5-6%. Worst of all, defaults (nonperforming assets) in this segment would rise to 30%. According to a report by Care Ratings chief economist Madan Sabnavis, Firestar Diamonds reported a stand-alone revenue of Rs 1,581 crore and Rs 1,945 crore in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively. Gitanjali Gems reported Rs 7,157 crore and Rs 10,750 crore during the same period. “With these two companies now being closed, the 2015-16 sales would be lower at Rs 66,237 crore, thus reducing the size by 16%,” the report said.

The accused of PNB scam, diamond merchant Nirav Modi is said to have fled the country and gone to Switzerland.

There is also a human element to the loss. Being the largest jewellery retailers in the country, the two companies — Gitanjali and Nirav Modi — employed 648 and 2,200 employees respectively, according to filings in March 2017. A combined 3,000 persons would be rendered jobless and another 7,000-8,000 temporary workers and employees

at franchisees are expected to be affected. “The sector employed 22,000 people, according to data available for 22 companies of this sample of 34 companies. The two companies constitute 12-15% of the total industry workforce excluding craftsmen and temporary employees,” the report said. Bank loans to the gems and jewel-

lery sector as of December 2017 is Rs 69,000 crore. This constitutes about 1% of Rs 73 lakh crore — which is gross bank credit. These two companies have borrowings of around Rs 16,000-17,000 crore. This does not include the Rs 13,000 crore of loans taken against letters of undertaking (LoUs). Taken together, the overall gross NPA ratio for this sector and stressed assets according to RBI data for September 2017 would work out to around 30%. The gems and jewellery retail market in India is estimated to be at Rs 3,90,000 crore, out of which 30% are formal retailers. Firestar Diamonds (or “Nirav Modi” — the brand) derived most of its revenue from its diamond cutting and polishing business. studded jewellery. Their Gitanjali Gems and Firestar Diamonds together accounted for 5.8% of the diamond and jewellery trade in value terms in 2015-16. -ToI

BPCL to Sell 24% of Bina Refinery to Middle East Oil Companies pressed its reluctance to put more BHOPAL: National oil compamoney in the refinery to fund nies of Oman, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi are in talks to buy up to 24% stake in Madhya Pradesh’s Bina refinery, two people aware of the development said. Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd (BORL), which operates the refinery, is an equal joint venture between Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) of India and Oman Oil Co. S.A.O.C. of the Sultanate of Oman. It has a capacity of 6 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa). “Oman Oil Co., Kuwait National Petroleum Co. and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. have evinced interest in buying stake in Bina refinery. Oman Oil, which is an existing partner, has expressed interest in making further investments in the refinery. BPCL may be able to raise around Rs2,000 crore from the stake sale,” said a banker, one of the two people cited above, on the condition of anonymity.

“The Indian market is one of the fastest growing which explains the interest from international companies. As for Bina refinery, it is a good functional refinery. There is no gestation period involved which makes it an attractive bet for investors,” said K. Ravichandran, senior vice president and group head, corporate ratings, ICRA Ltd. BPCL and Oman Oil together hold 50% stake in BORL. In addition, BPCL has subscribed to share

warrants of Rs1,585.68 crore in the firm. “BPCL has made an investment in compulsorily convertible debentures and share warrants of BORL. This investment is equivalent to 24% additional equity stake in BORL. So, technically, BPCL holds 74% stake in BORL. The share warrants would be converted to equity when global companies buy stake in BORL,” the banker added. In 2015, Oman Oil Co. had ex-

its Rs3,000 crore expansion. So BPCL, in April 2016, sought government approval to put in more equity to fund the expansion by way of subscription of convertible warrants, giving it the right to convert it into equity shares. BORL meets BPCL’s product requirements in the northern and central regions in the country and receives crude supply by a crosscountry pipeline from Vadinar to Bina. In 2016-17, it recorded a crude throughput of 6.33 million tonnes at an average capacity utilization of 106%. Its gross refining margin for 2016-17 stood at $11.80 per barrel. Bina is a well performing refinery posting double-digit gross refining margins. BPCL is planning to expand it further which has got international companies interested. -Live Mint


Honda Motorcycles Crosses 35 Million Production Mark

NEW DELHI: Honda Motorcy-

cle and Scooter India (HMSI) has crossed 35 million units production mark in 17 years of operations in India, claiming to be the first one to do so in the two-wheeler industry. The company’s four manufacturing plants in India have together crossed the 35 million two-wheeler mark in total, HMSI said in a statement. HMSI, a 100% subsidiary of Honda Motor Company (Japan), started operations in 2001 and achieved the initial 10 million units cumulative production in 11 years. Honda is also the fastest growing company in country today. With a host of facilities under its wings, the first factory of HMSI is spread over 52 acres including a covered area of about 100,000 sq. meters in Manesar, District Gurgaon, Haryana with an annual capacity of 1.65 million units. To meet the ever increasing demands of the products, Honda has started operations of its second plant in Tapukara, District Alwar, Rajasthan. Expanding to full operations , Honda production capacity has jumped 30% year on year to 2.8 million per annum in FY 12- 13. Honda’s third plant at Narsapura Industrial Area near Bengaluru is equipped to manufacture 1.2 million units. On February 17 2016, Honda inaugurated the “World’s largest only scooter plant” at Vithalapur, Gujarat with annual capacity of 1.2 million units. The new plant will employ approximately 3,000 people within first 2 years of commercial production.

Honda’s four manufacturing plants in India have together crossed the 35 million two-wheeler mark in total.


26 March 02, 2018 Southwestern National Bank Scholarship 2018 $1,000 Scholarship Awards

HOUSTON: About The South-

western National Bank Scholarship Program Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Program is funded by Southwestern National Bank (Member FDIC) to recognize and assist outstanding high school graduates reduce the financial burden for college. Southwestern National Bank Scholars are selected on the basis of their financial need, academic achievement, and community involvement. Each year a total of $5,000.00 will be awarded to five selected scholars. Each scholar will be awarded $1,000.00. Eligibility 1. Demonstrates financial need for college tuition, book & supplies and expenses 2. U.S. high school graduating seniors 3. Has a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (un-weighted) 4. Will enroll in an accredited U.S. college full-time for the entire

academic year 2018/2019 Documents Required (To be considered, all of the following documents must be submitted) 1. A completed Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Application Form 2. An official high school transcript 3. Copies of the most recent document(s) demonstrating the financial need (Family’s 1040 Federal Income Tax Return Form, qualification for School Free/Reduced Lunch Program, etc.) 4. Two letters of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, and/or other advisors 5. A two-page typed essay stating why you should be awarded a scholarship. Please include: • Financial need for this scholarship for educational purposes • Personal and academic achievements. Give specific examples. • Academic plans and career goals. Give specific examples. • Past and current involvement,

For advertising

as well as future plans, towards making a difference in your community Application Process & Award Announcement 1. Please send your application package to Southwestern National Bank, Attention Scholarship Program-Ling Chuang, 6901 Corporate Drive, Houston, Texas 77036. 2. Applications and all supporting documents must be received by April 30, 2018 for application to be considered. 3. An interview may be part of the application process for all semi-finalists. 4. Scholarships for the 2018 Scholarship program will be announced by mail in May 2018. Please Contact Us For scholarship application and information, please contact the Scholarship Coordinator by e-mail at ling.chuang@swnbk. com. MEMBER FDIC

First Ever

24 Hour

Telugu Radio in Houston

Online at www.radiohungama.net & Every Sunday 12 PM to 3 PM CST On

KCHN AM 1050 Contact: Sridhar Dadi at






March 02, 2018




March 02, 2018