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Friday, March 16, 2018 | Vol. 37, No. 11

Indo American News


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

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Happy The GOD of MUSIC Rocks Gudi Padwa Houston! P5 & Ugadi


Char Dham Hindu Temple in The Woodlands

Padma Vibhushan Ilayaraja with Rajender Singh of Star Promotion

Sensational Showcase of Artistic Talent


Performers with their Guru, Pt. Shantilal Shah

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March 16, 2018



March 16, 2018


India, A Major World Power Now – 2nd Houston India Conference


‘India’s time has come’ was the general agreement at the 2nd Houston India Conference, held at Houston, Texas, on March 8. Vikram Singh Mehta, Chairman, Brookings India, David Mulford, Former US Ambassador to India, Nisha Biswal, President, US-India Business Council, Aparna Subramani, Executive Director, World Bank, Sandeep Sen, CEO, Aegis Ltd were amongst the speakers. The 2nd Houston India conference brought together thought leaders in industry, trade, diplomacy, economics and journalism from India, NY and TX to focus on investment opportunities in India, India Texas trade and the Make In India initiative. Ambassador David Mulford told the conference that India was already a major world power and had to be the US’s first geopolitical priority in the world. The US has to focus on building relations with India on its own and not clubbed with another country. He welcomed the measures against Pakistan. Executive Director, World Bank, Aparna Subramani, and Sandeep Sen, CEO Aegis made presentations on Investing in India, and

said that ‘big bang reforms’ were powering the surge in FDI to India. Vikram Mehta, President, Brookings India, spoke of the unifying national narrative in India of a growing middle class and economic aspirations that provided an investment opportunity for US businesses. He also responded to a question about corruption by saying that ‘ethical’ businesses had grown and are flourishing in India. Nisha Biswal, President, US-India Business Council said that the “long bet” that the US had taken on India was paying off. The future of India-US relations was in ‘Going Global and Going local’ – increasing convergence at international and sub-national levels. Zachary Dell, the scion of the Dell family,


Char Dham Hindu Temple Grand Opening Ceremony

were kind enough to bless us with great weather from March 8th thru 11th for the Grand Opening of Char Dham Hindu Temple in the Woodlands. Devotees, mostly from the Greater Houston area but quite a few from different parts of the country witnessed a once in a lifetime event of Prana Prathistha and Maha Kumbhabhisheka Mahotsav (ceremony). The four temples are 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, CONTINUED ON PAGE 8

and Sapphira Goradia, of the Goradia Foundation, spoke of their work in the social entrepreneurship and impact investing space in India. Dell said that a sanitation revolution was underway in India, which could be powered by cutting edge engineering and production techniques for the manufacture of hi-tech, low cost toilets. Joseph Emmett talked about using Vedanta as a management tool. Conference Chair, Jiten Agarwal, spoke about the recent shipments of petroleum and LNG from Texas, and beginning of strong US India Skills collaboration to develop skills ecosystem in India following the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the United States. The event was sponsored by

the Consulate General of India, Houston, Expedien, McDermott International, a Houston based company which is investing in India. The Conference was moderated by Sunanda Vashisth, noted political commentator. Consul General of India, Anupam Ray said that the conference was a

platform for people involved with writing the India story to help the next generation write the new chapters. Jagdip Ahluwalia, a cofounder of the IACCGH, reflected in how far the US-India trade equation has progressed in recent time and how it has been helping with jobs creation in Texas.

Prana Prathistha & Maha Kumbhabhisheka Mahotsav March 8 to March 11

Bird’s eye view of four temples (taken from a drone).

Kumbhabhisheka ceremony (Priests getting ready to give bath to the deities outside the temple)



March 16, 2018



March 16, 2018


Houstonians Experience the Spiritual Musical Journey of Ilayaraja! BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA

HOUSTON: How must we refer

to a 74-year Padma Vibhushan recipient who is an instrumentalist, a conductor, a singer, a songwriter, and a film composer who has worked across several regional genres, composed over 6500 songs and provided film scores for more than 1000 films. A living legend and God of music! And that is Ilayaraja! Across his career panning several decades the maestro Ilayaraja has enthralled his fans with seemingly unending sources of innovation, talent and inspiration, but that’s not only all makes him a legend and a genius. He has ‘invented the wheel’ of specific instruments like violins, flute, guitar and many more. His compositions, arrangements and orchestration are a magical blend of western symphonies coupled with the traditional and distinctive forms of vocals and choral effects. For the first time ever, Houstonians got a chance to experience Ilayaraja’s mesmerizing melodies at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, on Saturday, March 10. The mega-event was organized by Rajender Singh of Star Promotion, and was aptly titled, ‘Raaja, The OneMan’. Rajender, has successfully organized more than a hundred events across multiple cities. His shows have been the talk-of-town- well received and accepted amongst the public; hence his success stories are a long list. Houston was looking forward to the much-anticipated Raaja, The OneMan. Raaja Sir, as the God of music is fondly referred to, mesmerized the crowd with several musical flavors, which was an ecstasy for music listeners. This grand musical night had loads of magical moments in store for the enthusiastic audience. And it began with a traditional ritual of Ganesh Vandana, with Ilayaraja playing a harmonium. The mae-

Photos: ROY Photography

stro sang notes from the era of the 70’s, to the recent ones. The audience was wowed by the magnanimous size of his team that included over 85 musicians, of which a 60-member symphony orchestra had teamed up from Budapest, Hungary, with conductor Laslov Kovach and super talented Indian classical musicians from India. His composition is always a treat to experience and so was

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this grand event. He was accompanied by singers K.S. Chitra, Mano, Haricharan, Rahul Nambiar, Sharath and Santosh. Each one of the singers touched his feet to seek his blessings before they began singing. Their simple attire and a spectacular performance established the fact that outstanding talent shines with or without a mask of glamour. Ilayaraja has so many musical accolades to his credit that as soon as a song would take off it would be welcomed with a roaring applause from the audiences. And, in between his enthralling composition, Ilayaraja would have the audience in splits with his punch lines. His aura proved that he has all the strings of his troupe controlled thoroughly, and that is an honorable achievement by itself. The God of music, a gold medal-

ist from Trinity College of Music, London, has been accredited with setting a trend for film music in South India, by introducing Western musical nuances into songs. Apart from the regional Tamil compositions, he has also done some remarkable music direction work in Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films. Early last year, Ilayaraja had suffered a mild cardiac arrest at his residence in Chennai. Inspite of this, he sprung back into action and continued his passion and journey of music. The President of India honored him with the Padma Vibhushan, on the eve of India’s Republic Day this year. The soul touching concert included hit songs like Om Sivoham (written by Ilayaraja in Sanskrit), Ninnu Kori Varnam, Vidiyum Neram, the

popular Hindi track- Aay Zindagi Gale Lagale, Dhak Dhak- that was sung in Telugu & Hindi simultaneously, Priyathamaa (the Telugu hit that received loads of applause), Mate Man Trabhu. As a tribute to the screen legend, late Sridevi, Rahul sang Surmai Akhiyo se and mentioned that it was his dream come true to sing for Raaja Sir. His last song, an icing on the cake was from the hit solo from Kamala Hassan’s movie Nayakan. The evening took the audiences on an enchanting, spiritual and inspiring experience. The troupe will be performing at other cities including, Dallas, San Jose, Chicago, Connecticut, and Toronto. Delighted at this successful show, Rajender mentioned, “I am thankful to the legend Mr. Ilayaraja for giving me the opportunity to work with him. After watching his concert I truly believe he is not only a legend, but also the God of Indian music Industry. I found his singing to be very divine and soulful. We are blessed to have him in our industry. A special thanks to Consul General of India Dr. Anupam Ray, and Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana for coming and supporting the event. Finally, a big thanks to all sponsors, supporters, and to the Houston audience”. The concert proved that music has no language and boundaries and the diversity of India was so marvelously depicted through the event. The upcoming concerts from the house of Star Promotion include Mubarkan featuring Hans Raj Hans and Navraj Hans on May 4, Raju Raja Ram Aur Main (comedy play) featuring Sharman Joshi, on May 11, Shaan Live in concert on July 7. For further information, sponsorship and tickets call Rajender Singh at 281-222-4500 or visit starpromotioninc.com

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March 16, 2018 BY VAMSI AHOBILA

HOUSTON: On February 17,

2018 the Indian Music Society of Houston presented a sensational showcase of artistic talent from a multitude of disciples of Tabla Guru, Pandit Shantilal Shah. Laya Taal Saadhna, the largest Tabla performance in Texas, is a semi-annual event that has grown in prominence each year and is now a staple among lovers of Indian Classical Music in Houston. Held at the beautiful UC Theater at the University of Houston, this year’s event was extra special as it marked the 15th year of Pandit Shantilal Shah’s dedicated teaching in Houston. To celebrate this milestone, the Indian Music Society of Houston presented a daylong event featuring nearly 100 Tabla performers, Carnatic Violin, Hindustani Vocal, and Kathak dance! This unique event was the true testament to Pt. Shah’s ability to pass on his passion and extensive knowledge of Tabla and Indian Classical Music to the next generation. In the morning program students of Pt. Shah presented Tabla Ensembles that were rhythmically and musically superb. Student’s as young as 5 ably performed and even recited their compositions for the audience. It was a marvel to see how such young minds could grasp the nuances of the patterns much less, play them in front of a packed audience!

Pt. Shantilal Shah’s Dimensions of Tabla Leaves Lasting Impact

Vocalist Bhageshri Gulvady Karkal with Jason Zinn on Tabla and Sri. Mandar Phadke on Harmonium

Senior students of Pt. Shantilal Shah perform compositions in Drut Teentaal

mensions of Tabla. This program consisted of 4 items - Tabla Solo, Hindustani Vocal, Carnatic Violin, and Kathak Dance - each performance featuring young artists from around Texas accompanied by a senior student of Pt. Shah. True to its name, Dimensions of Tabla highlighted the versatility of the instrument as well as the capability of this Guru to train students to perform professionally with command in each format! The first item was a Tabla solo in Rupak Taal by Arun Sabapathy accompanied on harmonium by Sri Mandar Phadke. Following this was a Khyal presentation of Raag Puriya Dhanashree by Bhageshri Gulvady Karkal accompanied by Jason Zinn on Tabla. The third item featured violinist Abhishek Balakrishnan in a thrilling Carnatic music performance with Aditya Srivatsan on Tabla. The finale of the day featured a Kathak dance by Sunaina Rao, along with

command over 4 contrasting styles of Tabla served to illustrate just how successful Pt. Shah has been in imparting the art of Tabla to his disciples. Pt. Shantilal Shah’s A presentation of Carnatic music by violinist these Abhishek Balakrishnan with Aditya Srivatsan on journey past 15 years Tabla in Houston has Anuraag Shah on Tabla, Dr. Amie been remarkable, and his impact Maciszewski on Sitar, vocalist Ro- on the Houston music community hit Khanna, and Kathak Guru Smt. will undoubtedly be lasting. From his vision, Laya Taal Saadhna beAkhila Rao providing padhant. As if the morning show wasn’t gan with only a handful of students enough to satiate the palate of even performing basic Tabla composithe most ardent lover of Hindustani tions and has flourished into the music, the evening’s proceedings program we witnessed on Februleft them fulfilled beyond belief. ary 17th. We can only imagine It is clear just how far these stu- what ideas Pt. Shah has in store for dents have come, each showcasing future performances of what has their own unique skill sets and ar- become an annual Houston musitistic capabilities. The artistry and cal phenomenon.

As the program moved forward, junior students gave way to their seniors who presented ever more complex pieces. It was a real treat to see a group of adults, all full-time professionals in various other fields, perform a difficult and highly musical piece with ease. Halfway through the show, Pt. Shah left the stage, confident in his student’s ability to perform without him. Now on their own, the students were undaunted, performing beautiful pieces in Jhaptaal and Rupak Taal. Culminating the morning performances was an outstanding trio of senior students performing powerful compositions in Drut Teentaal. The audience was overjoyed as they presented various Tukdas, Gats, and Bandishes, playing each complex rhythm composition to perfection. The evening performances consisted of the more advanced students performing in Pt. Shah’s unique concept, aptly named Di-


March 16, 2018





March 16, 2018

Char Dham Hindu Temple Grand Opening Ceremony

Members of Char Dham Temple Seva Group

Kumbhabhisheka ceremony (priests getting ready for pouring of the sanctified water from the kalasas over the stupis (steeple) on the top of the temples)

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 Dwarkanath Dham in the West, Jagannath Dham in the East and Rameswaram Dham in the South. Prana Prathistha, literally meaning establishment of the life force in the idol, is the practice of energizing the idols (Vigraha). Kumbhabhisheka is the process of homogenizing, synergizing and uniting the mystique powers of the idol of the Lord in all four temples at the same time. The Prathistha ritual began with Karshana, ploughing done when the temple site is selected, followed by Vaastupooja and finally Kumbhabhisheka. The Kumbhabhisheka ceremony consisted of the erection of japas, chants of Vedas, sanctifying Kalasaas (pots of water), Homas and Yagnas. The finale was the pouring of the sanctified water from the kalasas over the stupis (steeple) on the top of the central Vimaana or the sanctum sanctorum, the gopurams and the main and other deities, by the priests. The Mahostav started on March 8th, Thursday at 9AM and concluded around noon time on March 11th, Sunday. More than twenty priests from all over the country came to perform the rituals needed for the ceremony under the supervision of head priest, Pandit Srikiran Narayanam. Jagannath Dham has Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Sri Sudarshana in the main sanctum, Lord Ganesh in the sanctum to the left and Mahalakshmi in the sanctum to the right. Rameswaram Dham has Sri Ramana-

tha Swamy in the main sanctum, Sri Venkateswara in the sanctum to the left and Sri Rama parivar in the sanctum to the right. Navagraha with their wives and symbolic 22 wells also are present in this Dham. Also present in this Dham are Sri Ayyappa and Sri Vikhanasa Maha Muni. Dwarkanath Dham has Sri Dwarakadheesh in the main sanctum, Sri RadhaKrishna in the sanctum to the left and Sri Satyanarayana and Laxmi in the sanctum to the right. Also present in this Dham is Sri Shirdi Saibaba. Badrinath Dham has Sri Badrinarayana in the main sanctum, Mata Saraswati in the sanctum to the left and Devi Durga in the sanctum to the right. Panchamukhi Hanuman sits in the courtyard just outside Jagannath Dham and Naga Devata is present in the pathway to the four temples. A lot of sweat and tear have gone into building these temples over the last few years. It was the culmination of the dream seen by Dr. Surya Sahoo and his wife Kabita Sahoo. This would not have been possible without the vision of Dr. Sahoo or without the efforts of Head Priest, Srikiran Narayam and the CharDham Temple Seva group, who worked tirelessly for months. 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.



March 16, 2018


Capturing the Vibrancy & Diversity of India Through Lens & Fabrics!

Photos: Navin Mediwala


SUGAR LAND: India is a mix of

several vibrant cultures and colors. The varied flavors, festivals, religions and traditions make India exotic and incredible to the rest of the world! On Wednesday, March 7, FotoFest exhibited the multifaceted culture of India through the camera lens. The Indo American Forum of Fort Bend (IAF) collaborated with City of Sugar Land as a part of the FotoFest 2018 Biennial Participating Space to kick off this exciting 6-week-long FotoFest exhibits around Houston. This year’s theme is ‘India’, and there was so much to experience and appreciate. IAF initiated this unique concept to serve on a platter an evening filled with the flares of the multifaceted culture of India, through camera lens and fabrics. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12


10 March 16, 2018


SIMA & SLPS of Dallas Fort Worth Donate $65,000 to Mayor Turner’s Harvey Relief Fund


OUSTON: SIMA and Surti Leuva Patidar Samaj (SLPS) of Dallas Fort Worth members presented Mayor Turner and City Council Members a check of $65,000 for Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. More than 6 months after the devastating tragedy of Hurricane Harvey, thousands of victims are still displaced and numerous recovery efforts continue and some of these efforts extend well beyond the Houston city limits. On February 27, Hasu Patel, President of the Small Independent Motel Association (SIMA) of Houston and SIMA Board of Directors, along with several local Indian-American community organizations, welcomed Jack Patel, President of the Surti Leuva Patidar Samaj of Dallas Fort Worth, and their delegation who raised $65,000, from their membership of more than 900 families, to donate to City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The Board of Directors and members of both associations, SIMA and SLPS, presented the donation to Mayor Sylvester Turner at City Hall where the Mayor and numerous City Council Members expressed their thanks and gratitude for the donation and for the partnership between the Indian-American community and the City of Houston. The Honorable Mayor Turner expressed his sincere gratitude towards the Patel and Bhakta communities and reaffirmed his commitment to continue working towards the advancement of the Indian-American community. Over the last several years, SIMA has created a healthy relationship with the City of Houston and Harris County and continues to work with them on numerous issues. To watch the video of the presentation, visit the following link and click on the subsection “Public Speakers.” - http://houstontx.swagit.com/play/02272018-2194

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March 16, 2018

Holi – Traditional Gala at Chinmaya Mission

The priest, Sri Ganesh Satyanarayana and Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty doing puja, as they light the sacred Holi bonfire.

Members of the flash dance setting the celebratory mood

Kids participating in various games and fun activities

Hundreds playing with Holi colors spreading joy and cheer Photos: Rajesh Thatte & Nilesh Shah



Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH) celebrated the most colorful of all Hindu festivals, “Holi” on Sunday, March 4, to mark the commencement of spring. Phalguna Poornima of the Hindu calendar is the day of Holi. The day prior is celebrated as Holika Dahan or Chotti Holi, with the lighting of bonfires. Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashipu, schemed with her brother to get rid of her nephew, Prahalad, the role model of all devotees. Hiranyakashipu was annoyed at

his son for incessantly thinking about Vishnu as the Supreme Lord, instead of himself. After repeated attempts to kill him in vain, Holika decides to tie herself to Prahalad and set them on fire. She had a boon from Brahma that fire would not harm her. Yet due to tapascharya of Prahalad and due to the grace of Vishnu, it is Holika who burns to death and Prahalad remains unharmed. Holi, thus marks the victory of good over evil. It is also believed Holi has its

roots with Sri Krishna’s pastimes with Gopis of Brindavan, where he applied colors on them and the tradition lives on. Some associate the killing of Pootana by Krishna as the beginning of Holi. The theme of all the legends revolve on victory of good and the commencement of great times, coinciding with spring and colorful flowers. CMH participants in the hundreds echoed the same zeal and spirit to make the festivities and the mood very colorful. The threat of possible rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the volunteers who had made elaborate arrangements. The courtyard was festooned with colorful pennants all around the central holi fire. Gulal of many hues and other colors were provided to all the participants. As the weather cooperated to make it an awesome day, the celebrations and the fun competed to make it more memorable, the one punctuated with lots of singing and dancing besides the colors. Post noon, Acharya Pujya Gaurang Uncle lit the Holi fire and commenced the Holi Puja and celebrations. This was followed by a delicious, sumptuous lunch, cooked by the kitchen volunteers who had been at this seva, since morning. The lunch morphed into a picnic, with people enjoying it on the soft grass. The paan stall setup for the event, took the joy of lunch to a different level. The mood was instilled by flash mob dancing to melodious tunes. Kids could not curb their glee with many games to participate from lemon-spoon to water balloon tossing. The excitement was infectious as adults took part in a “tug of war”. This was followed by the traditional coloring of each other in the real spirit of Holi. Tradition steeped in wisdom, diffused with fun is the norm at Chinmaya Mission Houston, located at Chinmaya Prabha, 10353, Synott Road, Sugar Land, TX-77498. For more information, visit www.chinmayahouston. org or call Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059.


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12 March 16, 2018 Capturing the Vibrancy & Diversity of India Through Lens & Fabrics! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 They worked to make it a multidimensional project and showcase the fabrics of India together with a brief cultural presentation. This event marked the first-ever exhibit in Sugar Land of the enchanting fabrics of India entitled Fabrics of India. The stunning fabrics accompanied the ongoing exhibition of community photographs was aptly titled, ‘Faces, Places & Spaces of India’. The opening reception featured photography, fabrics and performance and all this and more were on display at the new Sugar Land Heritage Museum & Visitor Center (198 Kemper Street, Building B, 2nd Floor, Sugar Land, Texas 77498). The mega-show that started at 6.30pm also featured instrumental Indian classical music, dance and food, and display of some outstanding photographs by local community members. Some of the marvelous photographs were of Hardeepak Singh Munday, Sanjana Jhaveri, Sandhya Ayyar, and the winning entry by Salil Bhandari. The splendid and remarkable fabrics exhibited the diversification of India and the distinctiveness of each of its regions. The liveliness ranged from Paithani silks, Kanjeevaram silks, Handlooms from Kerala, to Chanderis, Tussar silks, Kantha work, Kalamkari painted fabrics, Bandhanis, Phulkaris from Punjab, Parsi Gara work, Zardosi

work and Ajrakh prints. It was such a visual treat to be experiencing all this and more. The Emcee for the evening was Sonal Bhuchar, the mastermind behind this event. One of the first performances was of the Instrumental Indian classical music that was conducted by the students of Pandit Shantilal Shah and the Indian Music Society. It was an inspiring performance to begin with and was soon followed by Dr. Rathna Kumar and the students of Anjali school of Performing Arts presenting an impressive Bharatnatyam dance Maha Ganapathim. It was a mesmerizing twist from this performance to an energetic Raas as The Wrecking Raas group of Texas A & M students performed with vigor and enthusiasm. The phenomenal backdrop of a peacock was creatively designed and executed by Shefali Jhaveri, along with the support of the IAF ladies group, who helped putting this event together. Photography was handled by Mary Favre, Liz Furman and Navin Mediwala. Some of the guests included Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman and City Council Members Mayor Pro Tem Steve Porter, Carol McCutcheon, Amy Mitchell, Mary Joyce, Bridget Yueng and former Council Member Harish Jajoo. It was truly an evening that unveiled the vibrancy of the rich nation of India.


Spoken Sanskrit Workshop Organized by Samskrita Bharati USA in Greater Houston Area

Clockwise from top left: Priyadarshini Subramanian, Priyanka Pramod, Pramod Bharadwaj, Raghu Chakravarthy, Karthik Kiran, Ganesh Ramanna, Sameer Kalaghatagi, Muralidhar Rao, Parameswaran, Harinarayanan, Gururaj Naik and Raghuram Manikkara.

SUGAR LAND: The weekend

of March 3, was special for spoken Sanskrit enthusiasts in the greater Houston area. Samskrita Bharati USA organized a two-day spoken Sanskrit workshop at Shri Krishna Vrindavana, Sugar Land, Texas. The air was reverberating with the sound of the classical language as the language of communication was Sanskrit only during the entire workshop duration. Participants speaking different languages at home came together to revive a classical Indian language and make it their common Indian language. Harinarayanan, a senior member of Samskrita Bharati with a teaching experience of over 14 years at Samskrita Bharati, San Francisco bay area flew to Hous-

ton to lead the workshop. While a wide range of topics ranging from speaking simple sentences to the details of grammar kept the brains busy, the songs in Sanskrit penned by famous contemporary poets in India moved the hearts. The workshop was part of the on-going zero-fee spoken Sanskrit classes held every weekend at Shri Krishna Vrindavana. More than fifteen participants have been attending these classes since last September on every Sunday between 4 pm and 5:30 pm and have been picking up speaking in Sanskrit. Apart from the day-to-day conversation topics, short stories, poems and songs have made up an interesting curriculum. The workshop was designed to draw attention of

these new Sanskrit speakers to the technical aspects of the language that would refine their communication skills and help them read and write well in Sanskrit. Cases, tenses, nouns and pronouns were the primary topics of discussion. The workshop is being followed by free weekend classes spanning over the rest of the year to teach those topics covered in workshop in greater detail. The immense support from Shri Krishna Virndavana – teaching space, resources, and delicious Indian food served to all the participants – made the workshop possible. For more information, contact Gururaj Naik (gururaj.v.naik@ gmail.com), Samskrita Bharati, Houston Kendram.

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March 16, 2018



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ers Cricket Club (HCCC) won their 6th consecutive match and their 1st TCC championship trophy by defeating Rattlers-Spartans by 18 runs in their maiden final to be crowned as Champions of TCC Taped Ball tournament Winter 2017 which comprised of 26 teams. For Rattlers-Spartans, this was their maiden final. Rattlers-Spartans won the toss and put HCCC in to bat first on an excellent day for cricket on 3rd March 2018. The opening duo of Shiva and Yuvi started off very well. The first 50 came in 6.2 overs. Shiva was the first one to fall with an individual score of 36 followed by Yuvi (16). Next on crease, Guru and Sriram continued the good start, ran positively and put pressure on the field. At the end of 10 overs HCCC were 70 at a loss of 2 wickets. Sriram (10) was eventually caught brilliantly by Rupesh in outfield. Guru scored a breezy 28. HCCC were 106 for 5 in 14.4 overs, Then on, Ravi (19) had two useful partnerships with Raghav (11) and Prashant (10). At the end of 20 overs, HCCC put a score of 144 for 6. Throughout the innings, pressure was maintained with lusty blows in between and positive running between the wickets. Karthik and Arun took 2 wickets each. Sriram and Hemant opened the bowling attack for HCCC. Rattlers-Spartans started off cautiously in the initial overs and wicket fall seemed inevitable. Sriram’ s double blows in his second over made the scoreboard read 13 for 3, but it was too early to celebrate because the team still had many good batsmen to follow. The match went slow but steady for next few overs. Raghav’s brilliant catch off Hemant’s ball in 10th over helped HCCC send Arun (14) back to the

Runners up Rattlers-Spartans with Chief Guest Tony

pavilion. At the break, the score was 49 for 4 in 9.2 overs. After the break, Guru picked up two quick wickets including that of Rupesh (25) to further tilt the game towards HCCC. Manne (30) and Ashwin (21) counter attacked brilliantly and added 43 quick runs and at the end of 15 overs, the score was 101 for 6. The game was in balance and just when the time was right, Zoheb produced a great breakthrough when Ashwin was caught behind by Shiva. A final few accurate overs by Sriram, Zoheb, Raghav and perfect fielding by team did the much required containing job leading to HCCC winning the TCC taped Ball Winter 2017 championship by 18 runs!! Sriram picked 3 while Hemanth, Zoheb and Guru picked 2 wickets each. The game was followed by a well-organized prize distribution ceremony arranged by TCC. TCC and teams were honored to have Mr. Tony Best from HCL as the chief guest. Tony is actively involved in HCL in various capacities over the last 10 years. He is also the single point of contact for umpiring across all forms of cricket in Houston. He was felicitated by TCC with a plaque for his contribution to cricket in Houston. He

spoke about how pleased he was with the growth of youth cricket in Houston and thanked TCC for its contribution. He stressed the need to play disciplined cricket and be a model to people in the parks watching the game to promote the game. Jagadish Biradar, the organizer for TCC Taped Ball tournament coordinated the presentation ceremony. Shiva Prasad, Captain of HCCC was presented with the championship trophy and Prashant Manne, the captain of Rattlers-Spartans was presented with the runners up trophy. The players of the Winners and Runners up teams up received individual trophies. Man of the match for the final was Shiva Prasad from HCCC for his brisk 36 runs and 3 crucial catches behind the wicket. Rakesh from HCCC won the best batsman trophy for scoring 370 runs. Omar Bangash from Champions CC won the best bowler for 20 wickets. The best all-rounder went to Sriram Arun from Rattlers-Spartans for 315 runs and 12 wickets. Shiva Prasad from HCCC won the best wicket keeper for 28 catches and special awards were given to Rakesh M Raja from HCCC and Rakesh Dusane from Big 12 for scoring a century.



March 16, 2018

Masala Radio’s Houston Holi: Colors of Unity

HOUSTON: Masala Radio, with

Texans Energy and Karya Properties, celebrates its 11th annual HOLI on Saturday, March 24, 12-5PM, featuring the latest British-South Asian music sensation Zack Knight. Knight’s hit “Bom Diggy” is not only number 1 on the British and Indian pop music charts, but it is currently playing in AMC Theaters as the opening song for Sonu ki Titu ki Sweety. Bollywood Sensation Shilpi Paul will be rocking the stage with her gorgeous voice and vibrant personality. Join thousands of revelers of every race and religions at the new Crown Festival Park in Sugar Land in one kaleidoscopic unifying Festival of Colors. An undertaking of this magnitude - bringing over ten years to tens of thousands culture and joy in a familyfriendly environment - is not the work of one individual or company, but the culmination of positive energy from a dozen Masala Radio Jockeys, a 40-member Masala Entertainment management team, 100-strong volunteers, 300 dance school participants, 9 Food Vendors and countless sponsors and the unfaltering support and coordination of Houston’s oldest cultural organizations - the Gujarati Samaj of Houston (GSH), India Culture Center (ICC) and Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH). GSH will exclusively sell reasonably priced packet of 5 different colors right at the entrance, while ICC will be selling a

delightful variety of pichkaris (small waterguns to super-soakers). Texans Energy will give away free bottles of water, Britannia free cookies, the Ramji Law Group brings you the Color Rave and DJ Spinoff, while Prompt Reality brings free giant kids rides. There will be an assortment of Indian Street foods for sale, so guests are advised to bring cash, as the high concentration of people in one area has been known to bring cellular and data services to go down between 2-4PM, taking Square and ATM services down with it. Tickets for Masala Radio’s Houston Holi are available while supplies last at all locations of Keemat Grocers, Vishala Grocers, Patel Brothers, Spice Bazaar, Manpasand Grocers, India Spice and Snacks, Bombay Bazaar, as well as online at www.

HoustonHoli.com. Every ticket features nine different coupons to save money at local restaurants and businesses, which in itself will essentially end up paying for the price of the ticket! Free Parking at the Crown Festival Site at 18355 SW FWY opens at 10AM, and Entrance gates open at 11AM. Masala Radio warns that traffic will be heavy between 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM on HWY 59 & Feeder. If there is not enough Fair Weather parking onsite, look for shuttles between 11AM – 6PM from the nearby University of Houston at Sugar Land off University and 59. To maximize the impact from all the colors, suggested dress code for Holi is white and remember, Bura Na Mano, Holi Hai – Don’t Be Upset, It’s Holi! For complete details and gallery visit HoustonHoli.com.



18 March 16, 2018

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Debating the Partition -- Abroad

Trump’s Tariffs At a time of rebound in global economic growth, the

decision of US President Donald Trump to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminum, in line with his stance of anti-globalization, has the potential to trigger a trade war. An import tariff of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum has been justified by Trump — the US cannot have free trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others, he says, and that the US supports free trade, but it has to be fair and reciprocal. Trump’s move comes in the backdrop of a finding by the US Commerce Department that rising volumes of imports or shipments of steel and aluminum threatened US national security. There has been an immediate fallout — the exit of Trump’s top economic advisor, Gary Cohn. For India, the impact may be limited. According to the International Trade Administration, India, which is the 14th largest steel exporter in the world, exported just 5% of its exports of 228 thousand metric tons in FY 2017, with the bulk of the exports being to Belgium, Thailand and markets like Vietnam. But it will hurt firms which export pipes and tubes besides stainless steel, which account for 34% of the steel exports to the US. The punishing move comes also when anti-dumping duties are already in vogue. The timing of this action is unfortunate — not just because of the synchronized economic recovery in many parts of the world, but also just when Indian steel exports have starting rising. In FY 2017, India exported 4.9 million metric tons of steel — up from 1.8 million in 2016 with flat products accounting for a large share. Steel prices have also been on the rise. The US trade action could force Indian steel exporters to either scout for new markets or possibly counter flooding of products into the local market by other major steel exporters including from Europe. The stiff tariffs on shipments into the US are a fresh wake-up call for governments, including India’s. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his peers will have to keep in mind what Trump said a while ago: “I will always put America first. Just like the leaders of other countries should put their countries first”. For India, that would mean increased policy support and backing for industry to make it more competitive going beyond the government’s current stance of providing preference to locally manufactured iron and steel products besides aluminum. -Indian Express



aali Vadlamani, the young woman whose term as the Oxford Union president is just ending, is perhaps the first Telugu-origin person elected to that prestigious post. Other South Asians who have held that office include Benazir Bhutto and Tariq Ali from Pakistan, Lalith Athulathmudali from Sri Lanka, and India’s Girish Karnad and Montek Singh Ahluwalia. That the Oxford Union is primarily a debating society and holds debates on major issues, including controversial ones, is well known. A recent one, held on March 1, was on the motion, “This house regrets the Partition of India.” Invited to participate, I chose to speak for the proposition. Also slated to speak in favor, P Chidambaram, the former finance minister, was at the last minute unable to take part. The London-based commentator and author of a new book on Netaji’s death, Ashis Ray, spoke ably in Chidambaram’s place. Salman Khurshid, the former foreign minister, and Mridula Mukherjee, history professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, spoke against the motion. Evidently concerned about reactions at home to what they might say, the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis requested to take part had declined. Along with much of the UK, Oxford was hit on March 1 by a snowstorm, but despite the extreme chill, the late-night debate was attended by a full house. Two outstanding student speakers opened: Sabriyah Saeed, who is of Pakistani origin, and Eric Sukumaran, who hails from Kerala. Half a dozen other students raising their hands, most of them looking South Asian, were also invited by President Vadlamani to speak. Not surprisingly, the motion was comfortably carried. Speakers against it had argued persuasively that the future was of greater moment than the past. Though it can teach us, the past cannot be changed. It has to be accepted, not regretted. Speakers for the proposition said that regretting the Partition did not imply a wish to undo it. To think

Cyril Radcliffe is a favorite whipping boy. Though he had never been to India before 1947, he nonchalantly drew lines across Punjab and Bengal and returned home, allowing South Asians thereafter to butcher one another. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

that Independence was possible only through Partition was not correct. Also, following Partition, religious majorities in both halves became preponderant majorities, capable of turning into oppressive majorities. The possibility of a nuclear war was certainly one of Partition’s unfortunate gifts. When the debated ended, students of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin besieged the Indian speakers, said thanks for the debate’s civility and voiced longings for reconciliation in South Asia. It was obvious that free and frank dialogue among South Asians, currently almost unthinkable in Karachi or Mumbai, Delhi or Dhaka, is possible in the UK and elsewhere outside India. To underline this possibility is one reason for writing this piece. The other is to say that it is time for South Asians to move beyond lambasting the UK for India’s Partition. Most speakers in the Oxford debate referred to Britain’s divide-and-rule policy. Thus, I reminded the audience that in the summer of 1945, Winston Churchill had asked Viceroy Archibald Wavell — as the latter noted in his journal — to ensure India’s division into “Hindustan, Pakistan, Princestan, etc.” However, the chief responsibility for what happened in 1947 must rest on the shoulders of the people and leaders of the Subcontinent. Churchill, Mountbatten, Radcliffe and company could never have im-

posed Partition or the accompanying carnage on South Asia had the people living there in 1947 been determined either to stay together or to separate peacefully. Cyril Radcliffe is a favorite whipping boy. Though he had never been to India before 1947, he nonchalantly drew lines across Punjab and Bengal and returned home, allowing South Asians thereafter to butcher one another. Satirical poems and cartoons were inevitable. He was whipped afresh during the Oxford debate. But wait. Radcliffe drew his lines because his fellow judges, four in Punjab and four in Bengal, all of them Indian, half of them Hindu or Sikh and the other half Muslim, could not agree. They cancelled one another, and Radcliffe drew his lines. If Indian judges had found agreement then, Radcliffe or no Radcliffe, the Indian people would have been given an acceptable solution and acceptable borders, and Partition might have happened without carnage. Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis can lambast the British to their hearts’ content, but that will not change South Asian realities. The lambasting occurred in Oxford, and the British audience took it on the chin. No one objected, no one booed, and no one asked why the attackers had been given UK visas. – Indian Express The writer is a historian. His latest work is ‘Why Gandhi still matters’.


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 16, 2018


Neeta Bhasin Receives South Asian Women Empowerment Award 2018

Neeta Bhasin receiving the South Asian Women Neeta Bhasin receiving Proclamation by New York Empowerment Award 2018 from Miss World 2017 State Senator Jose Peralta. Manushi Chillar.

NEW YORK: On the eve of In-

ternational Women’s Day, March 7, Neeta Bhasin, the CEO and President of ASB Communications and EVENTGURU Inc. received the South Asian Empowerment Awards from Miss World 2017 Manushi Chillar in a glittering ceremony that was held at Leonards in Great Neck, New York. The event was organized by Bindu

Kohli of Bindu Kohli Entertainment, who wanted to honor 12 women who have achieved tremendous success against all odds and are strong and powerful mentors and role models for other South Asian women. Neeta Bhasin was recognized for her exceptional contribution in diversity marketing and for being the visionary behind biggest South Asian celebration in New York – Diwali at

Times Square, that is held every year to showcase, engage and educate all, about India’s arts, culture and colorful diversity. Neeta’s passion for community works related to women’s empowerment also earned her a Proclamation from New York State Senator Hon. Jose Peralta, which was presented to her by Mr. Dilip Chauhan, the former Deputy of Nassau County in New York, on the same day.

Turning National Nutrition Month into a Teachable Moment


is National Nutrition Month, and according to the CDC, nearly 1 in 5American children is suffering from obesity. Now is the time for parents to make sure their kids are living healthier, more active lifestyles. In addition, this is a great time to start teaching children about what goes into a healthy lifestyle and how it is beneficial for the future. Best in Class Education Center, which helps K-12 students succeed academically through customized educational programs, shared a few tips for parents to make sure their children are staying healthy during National Nutrition Month, including ways to avoid weight gain and other health complications that can affect them later in life. Meal Preparation: Many parents are busy juggling work and family life, so packing a healthy lunch for your child can be a struggle. Set out healthy meals for your child for the entire week on Sunday night, making sure each lunch is filled with nutritional value and items full of healthy protein to get your child through a full day at school. Easy, healthy lunch items include tasty options like a cucumber and turkey sandwich, an egg salad lettuce wrap, and a pita pizza with tomatoes, lowfat cheese, and veggies. Healthy Snacks: To satisfy your growing, hungry children, make sure to stack the kitchen with plenty of healthy and tasty snacks for them to enjoy. Replace fatty chips or cheddar crackers


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with granola bars and whole grain crackers. Getting Kids to Help in the Kitchen: Depending on their age and skill level, getting your child involved in cooking family dinners is a great way to spend time with them as well as teach them about food safety in the kitchen. Stress the importance of washing vegetables and fruits, using whole-grain pasta or bread over other options, and more healthy dieting and food safety tips. Utilizing Portion Plates: Many children, especially at young ages, are visual learners. A great way to start teaching them what portions of different food groups to incorporate into their diets is to use a portion plate that physically divides the food groups. Utilize dinnertime as an opportunity to teach your child about what the different food groups do for

them, such as how carrots are good for their eyesight. To help your students exceed their academics goals, Best in Class Education Center offers a variety of customized, supplemental enrichment courses and tutoring options to ensure your students are equipped with the tools they need this school year. Best in Class Education is targeting the addition of 20 more units in 2018. The state of Texas has been identified as a key state for growth. The current team behind Best in Class is looking for passionate and dedicated individuals to join this premier franchise family and ensure our youth will excel academically. For more information about Best in Class services for your student, or about current franchising opportunities, visit www.bestinclasseducation.com or call toll free at 1-888683-8108.


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20 March 16, 2018


FotoFest 2018’s Topic is INDIA

SUGAR LAND: “I’ve been waiting

years for this FotoFest,” said fine art photographer, Michele Wambaugh. Since 2000, she has taken annual trips to India with her husband, Dr. Krishna Dronamraju. “India is my second home,” she says. Wambaugh’s FotoFest 2018 exhibition, “Faces of India” opened March 10 – April 22 at University of Houston, Sugar Land inside Brazos Hall. There will be a Gala Reception on Thursday, March 22, 6 – 9pm with poetry, dancing and catered food. This is a free FotoFest / City of Sugar Land sponsored event, open to the public. Wambaugh has specialized in capturing portraits of women and children in India since 2003. This includes many tribal groups in their home villages in the Araku Valley, Nilgiris Mountains and Rajasthan. In addition, she has photographed many Indian celebrations in Houston. Her favorite holiday to photograph is Janmashtami. Previous exhibits of “Faces of India” include: a Retrospective Exhibition in Beijing, China, which was opened by Nirupama Rao, then Ambassador from India; Texas Museum of Asian Cultures, Corpus Christi, TX and The Los Angeles Center for Digi-

tal Arts. Parts of this portfolio were featured in several issues of Asian Photography Magazine, Mumbai; Indian newspapers and Peterson’s Photographic Magazine, USA. Long before these exhibits, Wambaugh’s other series, backstage with performers, were exhibited in many museums and art centers on both East and West Coasts of USA and in New Delhi. Her early work was featured in almost all photo magazines in North America and Europe, various books and newspapers. Due to difficult techniques used, three of her art portfolios were published in Canon Camera’s Technical Magazine. During her many trips to various centers of India, Wambaugh has sought out art departments of universities, where she has given many lectures and helped students. Her female students were especially interested in what it is like to be a woman photographer. Wambaugh has been honored with Visiting Professorships at Osmania University, Hyderabad and Utkal Culture University, Bhubaneswar. She is a lifetime member of Marquis Who’s Who in American Art. Michele Wambaugh’s website is: www.michelephoto.com

Bhopa Tribal Girl, Pushkar, Rajasthan

Michele Wambaugh, photographer


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10 Facts You Need to Know About Gudi Padwa

he festival of Gudi Padwa is right around the weekend, and we observe why the festival is celebrated and shed light on its significance. 1. Gudi Padwa is the first day of Chaitra month that marks the beginning of the New Year according to lunisolar Hindu calendar. 2. It has many names such as Samvatsar Padvo, Yugadi, Ugadi, Cheti Chand or and Navreh. It is also celebrated in the North East state of Manipur and is known as Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba. The people prepare a variety of cuisines on this day and later climb a nearby hillock in the evening. 3. India is a predominantly agrarian society where agriculture is the main occupation. Gudi Padwa is one of the most famous harvesting festivals of India that marks end of one season and beginning of a new one. 4. On this day the position of the Sun is above the point of intersection of the equator, which

according to the Hindu calendar marks the commencement of the Spring Season. 5. Mythologically, this day too celebrates the defeat of Ravana in the hands of Lord Rama and his eventual happy return to Ayodhya. 6. Maharashtra’s Great Warrior, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was the person who started the Gudi Padwa celebrations after his victory. The tradition of raising the Gudi was initiated by Shivaji and from then on has been followed by every Marathi household to welcome the New Year. 7. The Gudi is observed at the entrance of Maharashtrain households. So what is it? A Gudi is a stick covered in a bright cloth adorned with brocade or zari that has been topped with sugar crystals, neem leaves, twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers. This is covered by a silver or copper pot in an inverted position. 8. The festivity is observed by people engag-

ing in spring cleaning and wearing new clothes. Families are supposed to begin this day by eating bittersweet leaves of neem tree or a paste which i s prepared with neem leaves, jaggery and tamarind. The paste is believed to purify blood and strengthen the body’s immune system. 9. The traditional Maharashtrain food fare on this day consists of Shrikhand and Puri and Puran Poli. The Konkanis make Kanangachi Kheer which is a sweet dish made of sweet

March 16, 2018


potato, coconut milk, jaggery and rice. 10. Buying gold, new vehicle or anything new is considered to bring prosperity if done on this day. -freepressjournal.in

Happy Ugadi Ugadi orYugadi is celebrated as the first day of

the year by people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. On this day new Samvatsara, which is cycle of sixty years, starts. All sixty Samvatsara are identified by unique name. Ugadi is celebrated as Gudi Padwa by the people of Maharashtra. Both Ugadi and Gudi Padwa are celebrated on the same day. Ugadi is New Year according to Luni-Solar calendar. Luni-Solar calendars consider the position of the Moon and the position of the Sun to divide the year into months and days. The counter-part of Luni-Solar calendar is Solar calendar which considers only position of the Sun to divide the year into months and days. Because of that Hindu New Year is celebrated twice in the year with different names and at two different times of the year. The Hindu New Year based on Solar calendar is known as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Bihu inAssam, Vaisakhi in Punjab, Pana Sankranti in Orissa and Naba Barsha in West Bengal. The day begins with ritual oil-bath followed by prayers. Oil bath and eating Neem leaves are must rituals suggested by scriptures. North Indians don’t celebrate Ugadi but start nine days Chaitra Navratri Puja on the same day and also eat Neem with Mishri on the very first day of Navratri. -drikpanchang.com


22 March 16, 2018


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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Choliya te Wadiyan (Fresh Green Chickpeas & Dumplings)

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y popular demand from many readers, below is a reprint of Mama’s Choliya te Wadiyan recipe. Most people are familiar with chole or chickpeas (or garbanzos as they also often called) and realize that they come as the large, light cream colored and small dark brown varieties. Most people know about the larger ones and that these are often cooked in soups and stews and also to make the popular Arabic side dish “hummus”. South Asians know chole as a savory curry or snack which is eaten with roti or puris all over the Indian subcontinent. But few people are aware of the fresh version of chole known as choliya – a green chickpea that does not require cooking and can be eaten raw. Their taste is sweeter than a chickpea but less mushy than a green pea and they have a fresh sweet aroma. When we built our house in Rajouri Garden in New Delhi, my son, my mother Biji and I would walk through field of shoulder high choliya stalks and pick them to munch on while we walked to the construction site. Choliya are seasonal and fresh ones are usually available only for a few days in the winter, but these days you can find them in the frozen vegetable section of most Indian grocery stores. They are rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamin A and C, iron and are a good source of dietary fiber, just like regular chickpeas are, and do not contain any fat. Punjabi wadiyan (lentil dumplings) are dry, rough, 1 to 2 inch round nuggets made of skinless manh or urad daal (black lentils) with dhania (coriander), garam masala, lal mirch (red pepper), adrak (ginger) and hing (astafoetida powder). They should be roasted till slightly brown in a toaster oven or in a little oil in a skillet. There

is an art to knowing how to prepare Punjabi wadiyan and then how to cook them so that they enhance the food but do not crumble into tiny pieces. When choliya are cooked in a curry with Punjabi wadiyan, the taste and flavor will reach the heart of any Punjabi. The spiciness and aroma of the wadiyan permeate through the dish and add to the sweet woody flavor of the choliya with added tanginess that makes the dish irresistible. Wadiyan can be used with many types of vegetables, beans or even with rice as an ingredient which adds a burst of flavor and a slightly pungent smell. Ingredients:

slightly brown. 3. Prepare the masala in a medium saucepan. Chop the onions, ginger, coriander and garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat, add the puree till it is slightly brown, and then add the 1 cup water and the tomato. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the mixture is reddish brown, add the salt, pepper and haldi and stir well. 4. Throw in the choliya in the masala and stir for a few minutes till it is slightly brown. 5. Add the water and the wadiyan and bring to a boil for 10 minutes to let the wadiyan fluff up which means they are cooked on the inside. 6. For best taste, serve with rice, hot rotis or crispy paranthas.

• 250 gm choliya (green chickpeas) – frozen or fresh • 1 Punjabi wadi (lentil dumpling) • 1 medium piyaaz (onion) • 1 medium adrak (ginger) • 1 medium kernel of lasan (garlic) • 1 tablespoon of oil • Tomato paste to taste • 4 cups of pani (water) • Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), garam masala • Garnishes (to taste): dhania (coriander) – chopped leaves Directions: 1. If the choliya is frozen, take it out and let it thaw before using. 2. In a kadai, heat the oil and throw in the wadiyan and stir till they are

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.




These days there ar e masala fried peanut many ready-made snacks available in s, channa chor and bags, like methi matthis at ev people are usually ery store and munching on them . When they are fi them, there is usua nish lly bottom of the bags a large amount of the masala residue ed with . left in the Rather than toss th is and the bag away the masala to make in the garbage, you a di can reuse salt, mirch (pepper) sh that needs spices. The snacks are loaded with and loads of other spices which are of as those used in man ten the same y and can save you so dishes. The residue can be used for se veral dishes me money too!

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March 16, 2018



he film weaves together three stories set in a Mumbai chawl. While the first narrative involves a businessman looking for accommodation in Mumbai who eventually zeroes in on a house that’s overpriced, the second one revolves around a wife dealing with an abusive and alcoholic husband.The third story narrates the tale of forbidden love --- where a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy fall for each other. Debutant director Arjun Mukerjee’s 3 Storeys attempts to shatter the perception that the inhabitants of a regular Mumbai chawl live seemingly staid lives. Each story ends with a delicious twist, throwing light on human frailties and also lays bare the circumstances, which often go against human wishes and desires. In fact, the screenplay doesn’t shy away from making the point that life can’t be viewed through rosetinted glasses and reality is often a bitter pill to swallow. Renuka Shahane as an elderly Christian lady living alone and quoting an exorbitant price for

Dil Juunglee

Koroli aka Koro (Taapsee Pannu),

a rich girl from London falls for an aspiring Bollywood actor from Delhi, Sumit (Saqib Saleem). The two are about to elope but fate has other plans. Koro, who harboured dreams of becoming a romantic novelist some day, reunites with Sumit seven years


3 Storeys

her house manages to slip into her character with ease. Her unassuming demeanor acts as the perfect foil for what follows in the story. Pulkit Samrat as a businessman who comes to purchase her house is competent. Meanwhile, Masumeh Makhija as a housewife who faces abuse at the hands of her husband and also nurses a broken heart for her ex-lover, uses her eyes to convey her feelings. Sharman Joshi delivers a measured performance as a man who is overwhelmed with mixed feelings when he faces his ex-lover. Debutants Aisha Ahmed

later in London. We soon discover that the girl has had a glam makeover and is now engaged to business tycoon Jai Singh Rathore. Sumit continues to be a struggling actor and roams around with a loud ‘Lajpat wali’ Ayesha, who claims to be his love interest. What transpires when Koro and Sumit’s paths collide, forms the story. Taapsee Pannu and Saqib Saleem are fine actors and have the ability to keep you engaged, even when their film is perhaps the most cliched romantic drama of the century. Not only is this love story unconvincing; ironically, this hackneyed tale ends up reinstating the gender, class and cultural stereotypes, much against its intent

and Ankit Rathi are well cast as young lovers who believe that they can overcome the odds stacked against them. Richa Chadha, despite limited screen time, leaves a mark as a seductress who is also the film’s sutradhar. 3 Storeys cleverly demonstrates the art of skillfully telling a story wherein all the loose ends of a plot are tied together into a neat whole. Watch it because fact is stranger than fiction, but fiction when narrated well, can make movie watching an immersive experience. -TOI of breaking them. For instance, rich people from London must address common people from Delhi as ‘you Lajpat walas’. Successful businessmen must talk ‘numbers’ and spout pretentious lines like, “Mere papa business manager ke saath travel karte the, kab kahan kaunsi deal crack karni pad jaaye.” The girl’s best friend from London tells her, “Tu apney diamonds se bhi zyada glow karrr rahi hai.” A boy must jump in the sea to save his girl even if he has a phobia of water and does not know how to swim! But why should the girl be worried about that? He is a man and men ought to be the saviours. The list of such perceptive instances are endless. Barring the earnest performances of the lead actors and the supporting cast, there’s absolutely nothing wild or memorable about Dil Juunglee. However, you can still watch it for how unintentionally dumb and hilarious the rich guys sound in this one. That’s the most successful and entertaining ‘deal’ here that leaves you in splits. Taapsee, Saqib and your Dil, deserve better. -TOI




wo brothers compete against each other to win the affection of a girl. But the girl has her own ulterior motives to manipulate the brothers. Revenge stories always make for good thrills. The Hate Story franchise is built on that fact. In its fourth instalment, the franchise serves up another tale of murder, deceit and thrills. This is a story that tries to add a vindictive sense of justice to the scenario of crime against women. This seemingly pro-feminist revenge drama plays out with the cheap thrills of an erotic thriller and that just doesn’t add up. Had director Vishal Pandya not used the usual clichés and stereotypical sex elements, Hate Story IV could’ve been a story to root for. Sadly, that just doesn’t happen. There’s a distinct difference in the tone of the two halves of the film. The first half of Hate Story IV plays out with unabashed erotic thrills. There’s loads of cheesy dialogue alluding to the fact that men have the right to objectify women and bed them. The two brothers, Aryan (Vivan Bhatena) and Rajveer (Karan Wahi) spike drinks, lie and cheat and do everything despicable to seduce women. Tasha (Urvashi Rautela) plays the prim and propah girl looking for a way to realise her starry dreams in London. Her beauty and appeal catches the eye of both brothers and that’s how the competition between the two kicks in. The second half changes gears and condemns the behaviour of the men, turning them from cocky

jocks into being vile antagonists. It’s easy to hate them, because well, they are so bad. Urvashi Rautela has the main role and her character has plenty to offer. She starts off as a girl dancing in a strip club, but as the story unfolds, her character gets plenty of twists, turns and reveals. There’s a lot on her table and the pretty actress handles the myriad emotions and shades with ease. Karan Wahi also gets a character that has scope to perform and the actor does make a positive impression. Vivan Bhatena, Ihana Dhillon and Gulshan Grover also chip in with their respective performances. Hate Story 4 serves up a lot of twists and turns but it’s all too predictable. Most of the clever story reveals are let down by the fact that there’s just too much erotica on offer. Director Pandya presents the movie in a slick package replete with the swanky London setting. The music though doesn’t work out at all. The cheap thrills really let down the punch of the story and the womenfriendly climax. -TOI Happy Birthday


Rani Mukherjee March 21, 1978

24 March 16, 2018


Indian Women’s Hockey Team Wins S. Korea Series 3-1

Nidahas Trophy: Thakur, Pandey Fashion India’s Emphatic Win BY MOHAMMAD ISAM

COLOMBO: (ESPN Cricinfo):

India 153 for 4 (Pandey 42*, Karthik 39*, Dananjaya 2-19) beat Sri Lanka 152 for 9 (Kusal Mendis 55, Thakur 4-27) by six wickets Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik calmly negotiated a tricky middle period to get India their second win in a truncated 19-overs a side Nidahas Trophy fixture in Colombo. They beat Sri Lanka by six wickets, with 10 balls to spare, and go atop of the points table with one game to play. The win was earlier fashioned by Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur, who bowled tight spells on the face of a proper Sri Lanka counterattack that could’ve so easily left India chasing close to 200. Sundar bowled four tight overs with his offspin and gave away just 21 runs, while Thakur finished with careerbest T20I figures: 4 for 27 off four overs, during the course of which he showed tremendous variations, particularly the knuckleball.

Shardul Thakur wheels away after taking a wicket.

When the winning runs were hit, Pandey was unbeaten on 42 off 31 balls with three fours and a six with Karthik supporting him to make a sparkling 25-ball 39 not out. The pair added 68 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket, after India had slipped to 85 for four in the 10th over to help complete a challenging chase into a cruise. Suresh Raina injected momentum

into India’s innings with two fierce sixes in his 15-ball 27 after Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma fell early. KL Rahul, playing his first game of the tournament, was then out hit wicket to leave India reeling. The pressure was on, but Pandey batted with a sense of nonchalance that rubbed off on Karthik. With the ball too, India fought back from a difficult position. They took

three Sri Lanka wickets in the space of 13 balls after they had reached 113 for 3. The mini-collapse also coincided with a boundary draught that was broken after 30 deliveries when Dasun Shanaka edged Thakur to third-man for four. Shanaka struck the only six in the slog overs, before he, Akila Dananjaya and Suranga Lakmal fell in the last seven balls. Sri Lanka lost Danushka Gunathilaka to a fine catch by Suresh Raina at midwicket and Kusal Perera, undone by Sundar in the fourth over. The rampant Mendis then added 62 runs for the third wicket with a scratchy-looking Upul Tharanga. The pair ensured Sri Lanka finished the Powerplay overs. Mendis, who was audacious in his footwork and shot selection, often walking across to pull and whip, hit three fours in his 38-ball 55. Briefly, Perera and Shanaka threatened to take the game away from India, but were out looking to hit out. This stalled Sri Lanka’s momentum, thereby leaving them a good 20-25 runs short.

India Women to Host Australia, England for T20 Tri-series


Australia women 202 for 2 (Bolton 100*, Healy 38) beat India women 200 all out (Vastrakar 51, Verma 41, Jonassen 4-30, Wellington 3-24) by eight wickets Australia’s eight-wicket victory, with over 17 overs to spare, bore every mark of the intent they spoke about leading into the threematch series against India. Their spinners - Jess Jonassen and AmandaJade Welliington - led the charge to pick up seven wickets between them to dismantle India for 200. Debutant Nicola Carey too played a part in an economical 10-over spell that cost just 28. Then opener Nicole Bolton made an unbeaten century, her fifth in ODIs, to undo India’s lower-order fightback. Australia’s chase had an air of inevitability on about it right from the start. After seeing off a maiden over first up from Shikha Pandey, Bolton leaned into cover drives, rocked back for square cuts, and swept her way to forge three halfcentury stands. Even as she took a while to assess the Reliance Stadium surface, where pace had been on the

wane since the latter half of India’s innings, Bolton kept pinching singles through the seven-two off-side heavy field, while opening partner Alyssa Healy went on an rampage to make a 29-ball 38. In a manner similar to her WBBL blitzkriegs this season, Healy hammered the barrage of short balls from the opening pace duo of Pandey and Pooja Vastrakar, and also took on spinners Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Having hoisted Australia to 60 without loss in nine overs, Healy picked out Veda Krishnamurthy at point to hand Pandey her 50th ODI wicket. By then, Bolton had upped her strike rate and raced to 21 off 26, shaking off the scratchiness that had made her edge the first ball of the sixth over off Deepti past slip. Subsequently, she forged a 68-run stand with captain Meg Lanning brought up her 3000th ODI run upon her return to the batting crease since losing her offstump to that Jhulan Goswami peach from the World Cup semi-final. Lanning’s fluency shone through right from the outset. Bolton, on her

part, raced to her fifty off only 57 balls, but three deliveries later, had Lanning respond to her call and come a long way down the pitch only to send her captain back after tapping at a Pandey delivery. With Australia on 128 for 1, Lanning, on 33, met with a direct throw from Veda at cover-point and was caught short of her ground at the non-striker’s end. The dismissal, however, was to barely have a bearing on the outcome of the game. But Bolton enjoyed slices of luck. Reprieved on 65 when Rajeshwari Gayakwad put down a skier off Poonam Yadav at square leg, strung an unbeaten 74-run partnership with Ellyse Perry. In between, she also avoided dragging the legspinner on 72. Perry chipped in with a 26-ball 25, and hit the winning runs - a four of stand-in captain Harmanpreet Kaur - in the 33rd over, soon after Bolton got to her century off 101 balls. As dominant as Australia were with the bat, it was their bowlers that snotted the life out the Indian line-up. Mithali Raj’s unavailability because of an illness meant 17-year old Jemimah

Rodrigues was handed an ODI debut, which turned out to be forgettable for her. Among the top six, only Punam Rut managed to make some sort of impression to make 37. With the top order failing, the lower order stood up. Bowling allrounder Vastrakar partnered No. 7 wicketkeeper-batsman Sushma Verma to breathe animation into an tail that has time and again failed to wag under pressure. They added 76 for the eighth wicket, with Vastrakar bringing up her maiden half-century in just her third innings. Batting only for the third time in international cricket, Vastrakar’s 51-ball 50 featured seven fours and a six that lent credence to her established pinch-hitting prowess in the domestic circuit. Having come in at No. 9, she capitalized on the two reprieves - dropped on 14 by Lanning at mid-off and on 19 by Perry at midwicket - and lofted leftarm spinner Jonassen over the covers, drove Shutt and Perry straight down the track, and launched Gardner for six over the mid-wicket fence with a slog sweep.


EOUL: The Indian Women’s Hockey Team played out a 1-1 draw against hosts South Korea in the last match of their five-match series here at the Jinchun National Athletic Centre on Sunday. Both the teams scored a goal each in the final quarter of the match which saw them locked at a goal apiece at the full-time whistle. It was Vandana Katariya who found the net in the 48th minute for India but the visitors’ joy was cut short when South Korea’s Bomi Kim (50 ft) scored an equalizer two minutes later. The draw in the last match sees India end their impressive South Korea Tour with a 3-1 victory in the five-match series. It was a very well matched first quarter in the match as both the teams looked to be patient and attack at the right time. Players from both the teams defended well as a unit but failed to produce much going forward in the final third of the pitch. The lack of attacking intent from either side in the opening 15 minutes saw the scoreline remain 0-0 at the end of the quarter as South Korea focused on keeping their shape to not allow the Indians to find an opening. The second quarter saw the hosts create better chances going forward and the World No. 9 team made some attacking forays into the Indian striking circle. South Korea’s forwards earned themselves two Penalty Corners in the second quarter but Indian goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu was up to the task as she made two great reflex saves on both the occasions to deny the hosts of taking the lead in the match. The visitors were unable to produce the same attacking display that saw them take a 3-1 lead in the series as the match remained goalless at half-time.

Indian women rejoice after beating South Korea series 3-1.


March 16, 2018

Indian Oil Eyes $1.5 B Savings with Own Technology

Nirav Modi Fallout: RBI Discontinues LoUs with Pressure on Rupee NEW DELHI: A month after the avoid undue concentration of such Companies linked to Modi and since August 2016, advising them to Punjab National Bank (PNB) reported fraudulent transactions that are now estimated to be over Rs 12,700 crore, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Tuesday banned the use of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs), illegally used by companies of diamantaire Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to defraud the bank. This decision of the central bank could have repercussions for trade finance activities in the country. The RBI, in a notification to all banks, said it has decided to discontinue the practice of issuance of LoUs and letters of comforts (LoCs) for trade credits for imports into India by banks with immediate effect. It, however, said letters of credit and bank guarantees for trade credits for imports into India may continue to be issued subject to compliance with certain provisions — banks should avoid giving unsecured guarantees in large amounts and for medium and long-term periods, and they should

unsecured guarantee comChoksi obtained LoUs, mitments to particular which were used to groups of customget loans from ers or trades. overseas WhileChokbranches si’s Gitanjali of Indian Group debanks, fraudedRs withthe 7,080.86 help of crore, the conrest is atniving tributed e m to comploypanies ees of of Nirav the PNB Modi. Both branch. Modi and The RBI Choksi have had said it fled the country. confidentially The CBI, Enforcement cautioned and alertDirectorate and The RBI, in a notification to all banks, ed banks of Serious Fraud said it has decided to discontinue the such posInvestigation practice of issuance of LoUs and letters sible misOffice (SFIO) of comforts (LoCs) for trade credits for use, at least are investigat- imports into India by banks with the on three ing the fraud. provisions. occasions

implement safeguards and about the potential malicious use of the SWIFT infrastructure. The ban on LoUs and LoCs is likely to affect trade finance and the rupee. Importers, especially in the gem and jewellery sector, will have a tough time to finance their import business. Many importers were forced to buy dollars from the spot and forward market after banks tightened the rules for import finance in the wake of the Punjab National Bank fraud. “Now with the RBI banning LoUs, it’s to be seen how import finance can be done. Banks had tightened the rules for issuing LoUs and other guarantees. They were also asking for more documents. Most banks have tightened the scrutiny of LoUs and letters of comfort. As importers can’t delay payments, they are forced to buy dollars from the spot and forward market,” said a banking source. If importers go to the open market for dollars, the rupee is likely to come under pressure, dealers said.

India’s White Rhino Craft Beer Sets Sights on UK Market

NEW DELHI: About 18 months

after Ishaan Puri founded White Rhino Brewing Co., the New Delhibased company is set to take its craft beer White Rhino to the UK—one of world’s most mature beer markets. “UK is a mature market for good quality craft beers. We have undergone a massive market study, testing before deciding to enter the UK market. We will have limited presence across selected pubs in London, Manchester and Leeds,” said Puri, founder and director, White Rhino Brewing Co. Although promotion and advertising of alcoholic beverages is permitted in the UK, Puri said he would primarily bank on wordof-mouth—a strategy that worked in favour for the brand in India—to crack the UK market. The UK market offers around 11,000 beer choices including one-off specials and seasonal beers, and houses more than 53,000 pubs of which more than 37,000 sells

ale variant of beer. The company will initially export Lager and India Pale Ale to the UK. For distribution, White Rhino has partnered with West Yorkshire-based James Clay, an independent importer and distributor of specialist beers, that has been in the business for more than 30 years and has a strong network of restaurants, pubs and bars in the UK market. For the UK market, White Rhino will be produced in India and exported, said Puri. “We don’t have any plans to produce there. We’ll stick to exports. It may increase the cost a bit. But we’ll have complete control over quality,” he added. The company produces beer at its own brewery at Malanpur, a city in Madhya Pradesh’s Chambal region. However, White Rhino has got a different packaging for the UK market. “We changed it based on market response. The branding and packaging is more vibrant and colorful

Ishaan Puri, founder of White Rhino Brewing Co. In the UK market, White Rhino is priced at par with American craft beers that are available in the region.

compared to what we have in India. We may look at launching limited editions with the UK packaging in India as well,” Puri said. In the UK market, White Rhino is priced at par with American craft beers that are available in the region. While White Rhino may be the first craft beer from India to enter the

UK market, other India beer brands that have a sizeable presence are Bengaluru-based United Breweries Group’s Kingfisher and Karan Bilimoria’s Cobra. After UK, White Rhino is eyeing New York and other south East Asian markets although not immediately. Currently the beer is available in New Delhi and the National Capital Region, as well as Chandigarh. “We are planning to enter the Bengaluru market next month, and may be Maharashtra later in the year,” Puri said. This summer, the company is looking at sales of around 10,000 cases a month—almost double of what it does at present. “We have grown by around 200% since we started. Our target is to turn profitable in 2019. We are not looking at any external funding right now. If we go for faster expansion, we may look at raising funds, as long the investor agrees with our philosophy,” said Puri.


Indian Oil can now supply more than 75% of the technology needed for its plants.

NEW DELHI: India’s biggest oil

refiner has developed refining processes that may help it save at least $1.5 billion in costs as well as challenge global giants in the technology leasing business. State-run Indian Oil Corp., which controls nearly half of the country’s refineries, has created its own processes using catalysts and hydro-cracking to convert crude oil into fuels such as gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas, according to the company’s head of R&D. That means it won’t have to license technology anymore from the likes of major manufacturing companies such as Honeywell International Inc. “We were at the mercy of a few multinational suppliers,” S.S.V. Ramakumar, director of research and development at Indian Oil, known as IOC, said in an interview in Faridabad, 20 miles away from the nation’s capital city. “Now we have become a technology developer and going forward, we will become a technology provider.” Building refining technologies squares with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to turn the country into a global manufacturing hub. It may also allow the refiner to have more control over its plants and enable it to adapt quicker to changes in domestic fuel demand, which is growing at the fastest pace in the world. IOC can now supply more than 75% of the technology needed for its plants, Ramakumar said. The licensing fees it typically pays out to refining-technology providers is about 5 percent of the project cost, he said. -Live Mint


26 March 16, 2018


haitra Navratri is an important Hindu festival that is celebrated over a period of nine days. The festivities begin from the ‘pratipada’ (1st day) till the ‘navami’ (9th day) of the Shukla Paksha (the bright fortnight of moon) during the Hindu month of ‘Chaitra’, which is also the first month of the Hindu calendar and hence the name, Chaitra Navratri. According to the English calendar it falls during the months between March-April. Chaitra Navratri is also known as ‘Vasanta Navratri’ or ‘Rama Navratri’ as the ninth day of the Navratri festivity is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Rama. During the Chaitra Navratri the nine days are dedicated to worshipping the nine forms of Goddess Shakti and most of the rituals and customs are same as followed during the ‘Shardiya Navratri’. According to the Hindu Puranas and scriptures, Chaitra Navratri was the most important Navratri in which Goddess Shakti was worshipped, until Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in the ‘Ashwin’ month

Happy Navratri during the Ramayana war. Chaitra Navratri is celebrated with immense pomp and show in whole of India, especially the northern states. This Hindu festival is very popular in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to name a few. In most of these states, a huge fair is organised in the Shakti temples. In the state of Maharashtra it begins with ‘Gudi Padwa’ whereas in southern states like Andhra Pradesh, the celebrations kick start with ‘Ugadi’. Rituals during Chaitra Navratri: Praying and fasting marks the Chaitra Navratri celebrations. Before the start of the celebrations, the house is cleaned for welcome the Goddess in their home. The devotees performing the puja observe a fast for all nine days. While fasting only ‘satvik’food like potatoes, ‘kuttu ka aata’, curd and fruits are allowed. Consumption of non-vegetarian food and also use of onion and garlic should be strictly avoided. During the Navratri period, while maintaining strict discipline in food, a person should also monitor their behaviour. The devotees spend their day worshipping the Goddess and chanting the Navratri mantras. The fast is broken on the ninth day after the ‘havan’ and the Prasad, after offering to the Goddess, is eaten

along with other members of the family. As during the Navratri time, Goddess Shakti manifests herself in three forms, namely, Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, the puja rituals of Navratri are also categorised in set of three days, with each set dedicated to a particular Goddess. The first three days of Chaitra Navratri is dedicated to Maa Durga, the Goddess of energy, on the next three days, Maa Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, is worshipped and the last three days are devotes to Maa Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge. The puja rituals of each of the nine days of Chaitra Navratri are given below: Day 1 – Pratipada – on this day the rituals performed are ‘Ghatasthapana’, ‘Chandra Darshan’ and ‘Shilputri Puja. Day 2 – Dwitiya – the rituals of the day are ‘Sindhara Dooj’ and ‘Brahmacharini Puja’. Day 3 – Teej – This day is celebrated as ‘Gauri Teej’ or ‘Sauhagya Teej’ and the main ritual of the day is ‘Chandraghanta Puja’. Day 4 – Chaturthi – Also known as ‘Varad Vinayaka Chauth’, on this day the devotees observe the ‘Kushmanda Puja’. Day 5 – Panchami – This day is also referred as ‘Lakshmi Panchami’ and main puja observed on this day are ‘Naag Puja’ and ‘Skandamata

Puja’. Day 6 – Shashthi – It is known as ‘Yamuna Chath’ or ‘Skanda Sasthi’ and puja observed is ‘Katyayani Puja’. Day 7 – Saptami – This day is celebrated as ‘Maha Saptami’and the ‘Kalratri Puja’ is performed to invoke the blessings of the Goddess. Day 8 – Ashtami – It is the main day of ‘Durga Ashtami’ and is also called as ‘Annapurna Ashtami’. On this day ‘Mahagauri Puja’ and ‘Sandhi Puja’ are performed. Day 9 – Navami – The last day of the Navratri festivity is observed as ‘Rama Navami’ and on this day the ‘Siddhidatri Maha Puja’ is performed. Even though Chaitra Navratri is a 9-day festival, the celebrations come to an end on the day of ‘dashami’ (10th day). This day is known as

‘Navratri Parana’ and devotees bid farewell to the Goddess Durga, and pray for Her return soon, next year. Significance of Chaitra Navratri: Chaitra Navratri is the most significant festival of Hindus. During this time, devotees worship Maa Durga, the Goddess of cosmic powers, to be blessed by Her divine benediction. It is believed that if devotees worship Goddess Durga without any desires to be fulfilled, they will attain salvation. Chaitra Navratri also marks the onset of the summer season and is observed when the Mother Nature undergoes a major climatic change. It is popular belief that by observing a vrat (fast) during the Chaitra Navratri the body is prepared for ensuing summer season. -prokerala.com

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