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Friday, March 27 2015 | Vol. 34, No. 13

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Indo American erican News

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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India House Celebrates 12th Annual Gala BY VANSHIKA VIPIN SUGAR LAND: It was the evening of celebrations after a yearlong work of new ideas, engagement and development of stronger community ties amidst the cultural diversity in Houston. The 12th Annual Gala celebrations of India House, Houston was hosted at the Marriott, Sugar Land on March 21. An annual fundraising event hosted by India House to engage more people in the community to provide the wide array of cultural and social services available at India House for free of cost, to the ever expanding community. The Marriott hotel was flocked with around 350 socially and culturally conscious patrons who went out of their way to ensure that India House celebrated their largest fundraising evening with a bang. India House Houston had been working incessantly to bridge the gap between the Indian and the local community in Houston, thus becoming a melting pot of cultures and spreading the Indian values and integrity system amongst the three decade old Indo American community of more than 140,000 people. Besides providing immigration consultancy, India House provides Free Yoga and Meditation classes, and legal, medical and various cultural services to the

Photos: Bijay Dixit

India House Staff With Carl Lewis

The Theme ‘Unity in Diversity’ was reflected in the entertaining performances coordinated by Vanshika Vipin (center) at the end of the evening. Participating dance groups were Naach Houston, Infused Performing Arts, Shundoris and Shri Natraj School of Dance.

community. In order to provide a larger part of these services completely free, India House hosts a yearly fundraising event to ensure

that the funds keep flowing in for this mammoth mission. This year too, India House hosted a gala fundraising event

with a theme of ‘Unity in Diversity’. The event started with the American National Anthem, sung by Chloe Chowdhury followed by

Indian National Anthem by Malika Ghei. The Master (Mistress) of

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


March 27, 2015 5 COMMUNITY New Venue Rocks Ancient Festival of Colors HOUSTON: A new place always brings a sense of excitement, with a tinge of apprehension. A new university, new home, new workplace, a new city… or a new HOLI location. Success was soon evident as over ten thousand poured into the Houston Farm & Ranch, flooding the organizers Sunil and Sandhya Thakkar of Masala Radio with positive feedback. “This is the best Holi I have seen.” “Packed with young people and so many non-Indians” “This Park is more central.” “I love the barn - an escape from the craziness!” “Beautiful Park surrounding by trees.” Aapka Colors, MODIA Home Theatre and Tara Energy presented Houston Holi 2015 on Sunday March 22 featuring the Mercedes Benz Sugar Land sponsored concert with Sunny Brown and Lomaticc. A sea of fans rocked and swayed to their favorite songs “Bombay Bo” “Roses” and “Soniyea Ni”. 3 rocking DJ Parties with DJ Nish & DJ Rizz, DJ Zee and Hush Puppy DJs Geo / Dholi Tamim jamming with the latest Bollywood tunes unleashing pent up energy at the crowds swelled and color powder flew in the air. Opening for Lomaticc was Arjun of “K for Kishore” who won over the crowd with Kishore classics and Holi songs like “Rang Barse.” Three days of rain gave way to the most beautiful day for Holi, as the sun and cottony clouds competed to take in views of the colored revelers below. It seemed like a huge color and music festival merged with traditional Hindu festivities of the Holi Pooja and Pragitya (bonfire) by the Gujarati Samaj of Houston and Hindus of Greater Houston, SKAI Foundation Rath Yatra, and ISKCON Kirtan. ICC fueled the kid’s tenacity. Record crowds swelled around the Entertainment Stage with fast paced dances from Naach Houston, Infused Performing Arts,

Photos: Carlos Pena Photography and Meedu Photography

Shingari’s School of Rhythm, Rhythm India, Rice Chowl Bhangra, Rice Rasikas, Katy Kung Fu, Bollywood Shake, Houston Jannat, Bollywood Dancing Stars, Ek Do Teen Dance and H-Town Divas. Masala Radio Jockey Dilip Kanabar climbed to the top of a 15-man human pyramid to crack the matki in the Ramji Matki Phod. Moid Khan of Bollywood Shows for U presented awards to Ajay Chunchu, Malika Ghei and child singer Aryan of the Aapka Colors Houston’s Got Talent Challenge. Mihir Mody awarded prizes (at daughter Alisha’s onstage request) to all 3 DJs – Nish – Tamim – GEO in the Modia DJ Spinoff which sent the crowd into a dancing frenzy. As the finale revelers cooled off and washed off in the Alings Rain Dance with showers created by three 40-foot rain towers. The misinformed fashionablydressed struggled to stay clean,

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

hovering in the barn-shaded giant inflatable Kids Rides and Petting Zoo sponsored by Britannia and Keemat Grocers. For many, their happiness was complete at the tantalizing street foods stands: DGN Factory, Madhuram Mirch Masala, Hyderabad House, Vishala Restaurant, Spice Soda, Great American Cookies and Mayuri Resturant. New this year were Trifles – amazingly luxurious dessert layers of mousses, custards, and fruits, and Hot Breads gourmet cheese pizzas and baked goods. The only challenge with this otherwise perfect location was the parking. Had everyone been able to park, the event would have boasted over 20,000 people. However, 2000 parking spots were at full capacity at 1pm and there

were lines for up to an hour to get inside parking lots until 4PM. Yet faithful patrons arrived as late as 4:45 PM and insisted to go in even for 15 minutes of Holi play. This

year saw the most diverse crowd. Tara Energy had over 250 RSVPs from their diverse office attend the event, and guests from all corners of Houston flocked to play “HOLI”. Sunil Thakkar said, “At least 30% of the crowd were nonIndians. I believe it’s time to take the event to the next level, a bigger park with 4000-5000 parking spots and appeal to all of Houston.” Masala Radio thanks over 100 sponsors, 100 volunteers, and the dream team Masala Entertainment management crew Munira, Rinku, Devangi, Shah, Shameet, Nathan and 35 event managers, 20 Masala Radio Jockeys, and especially Eddie of Houston Farm & Ranch for yet another smashing HOLI! Bura Na Mano, Holi Hai!

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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COMMUNITY

March 27, 2015

IITAGH / MITEF Joint Social Networking Event

Attendants’ from IITAGH, MITEF and Houston Angel Network

HOUSTON:Some of the best science and engineering minds came together in Houston on Thursday, March 19, at Damian’s Cucina Italiana for networking social event hosted by the IIT Alumni of Greater Houston (IITAGH), the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) and the Houston Angel Network (HAN). Two separate banners from IITAGH and MITEF standing next to each other greeted the attendees. The event was hosted by MITEF under the leadership of Dr. David Hansen (Chairman MITEF) and in coordination with Pratish Kanani (President IITAGH). This event saw a turnout of 130+ attendees with a blend of engineers, bankers, consultants, entrepreneurs and University students.

While the turnout was great; this was a first joint effort to provide a platform to MIT and IIT Alumni to get together and develop tangible connections. This event was the first step towards a budding relationship between IITAGH and MITEF. Witty Bindra (Past President IITAGH) had a long conversation with Dr. D. Hansen on how IITAGH and MITEF can work together in the near future and later shared anecdotes on how IIT Global Conference 2013 was made a success in Houston with the contribution of numerous hard working volunteers. They both agreed volunteers are central to success of any non-profit organization. Dr. D. Hansen was heard saying “I have heard so much about your successful conference in

From left: (second from left) Dr. David Hansen (President MIT Enterprise Forum) with Witty Bindra (Past President IITAGH) and Sundy Srinivasan (Trustee IITAGH) and Aaggrim Sabharwal (Secretary IITAGH)

2013 and it was a tremendous achievement by your team. IITAGH is much better organized than many Alumni organization out there” to Witty Bindra and Aaggrim Sabharwal (Secretary IITAGH). Going forward, both organizations plan to have another joint high-quality event this year in the space of education. There were several IITAGH Core members who were MIT Alumni as well – Sundy Srinivisan and Sunil Pangarkar, both Trustees of IITAGH and also Alumni of

MIT Sloan School of Management had a great time representing both elite Alumni organization. This event also turned out to be a great opportunity for student attendees from University of Houston to network with working professionals and learn about potential opportunities. The event lasted for two and a half hours and the attendance grew every minute. In a nutshell, this event was a perfect illustration of the kind of quality event that two esteemed Alumni organization can bring jointly.

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March 27, 2015

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March 27, 2015 9 COMMUNITY HMM’s Gudi Padwa: A Reflection on Love BY NEETA PATWARDHAN HOUSTON: As Texas waits for its hill country to be painted by wildflowers that mark spring, Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) celebrated Gudi Padwa on Saturday March 21st with its own vibrant bouquet, “Prem Dhara,” a musical concert strung together by the universal theme of love. Gudi Padwa signifies the first day of the bright phase of the moon, the New Year and the arrival of spring. Many civilizations have celebrated it. In ancient Egypt it was known as Nowruz (new day). It also symbolizes the day Lord Brahma created the world after the deluge. In Maharashtrian homes, a “Gudi” is raised high to represent victory and reminds us that we can all triumph over personal daemons. After Bhagyashree Dixit’s warm welcome, students from HMM’s Marathi School gave the event an invigorating start with their delightful rendition of prayers. The poetry of spring splashes gentle color onto the white canvas of winter. Its shades and sounds are subtle but hold within them, the

promise of new beginnings. “Prem Dhara” explored the nuanced palette of human love, from the rush of puppy love, to a mother’s unconditional love for her child, to the purity of spiritual love and ended with patriotic love. Hints of buds peeking through half frozen stems, the gurgle of streams from melting snow and the chirping of birds are not just renewed affirmations of life but also of enduring love. Seeds of an idea and countless nutrients, too many to list, come together in the flowers we enjoy briefly. The multimedia presentation took the audience on a stroll through the ages and included timeless favorites as well as an original composition. Stringing the songs together like a garland of blooms, the narrative script resonated with its own signature flourishes. Spring holds many secrets in a tight fist revealing them slowly. New voices, budding young artists and the sweet sounds of guitar and flute in the lineup further enhanced the show with a refreshing touch. Taking us back to the poet for

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“Artists of Prem Dhara, Left to Right, Tejas Kolhatkar, Amit Bhagwat, Varsha Halabe, Veena Watve (concept), Sujata Desai, Anjali Pandit, Sucheta Karandikar, Dipti Kanhere, Vivek Chitale, Ravi Kolhatkar, Viju Bhadkamkar, Rugwed Damle, Varad Gaikwad, Nitish Kulkarni, Mandar Phadke. Photos: Rajesh Thatte.

the first song, the program came full circle and ended on a high note with Arati Kolhatkar’s creative and insightful version of Marathi poet Padgaonkar’s poem on love. Dinner was served with a smile by enthusiastic audience members giving the evening a more personal feel and adding flavor to the food. An event of this nature cannot be successful without the tireless efforts of volunteers who weather the unexpected storms behind the scenes. HMM’s 2015 committee consists of Bhagyashree Dixit (President), Hemraj Gaidhani (VP), Arati Kolhatkar (Secretary), Swati Joshi (Treasurer), Savita Kale

HMM’s 2015 Committee Members

(Cultural, Food), Amit Godbole (Cultural, Audiovisual), Koushik Gumaste (Cultural, Audio), Pradnya Borikar (Food),Yogesh Kondaskar, Sanjay Gurav and Piyush Sawant (Web Admin) and Yogesh Patil (Marketing). Like many good things in life,

spring in Texas is all too momentary. HMM’s Gudi Padwa left its audience yearning for more while making us pause for a fleeting instance, to reflect and be thankful for all the different incarnations of love that make our lives complete.

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COMMUNITY

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

March 27, 2015

Foundation of Indian Studies (FIS) Interviews the First Assamese Couple in Houston, Hiren and Usha Sarma

Krishna Vavilala (left) , Chairman of FIS interviewed Hiren Sarma, Front End Development Manager from Shell Houston and wife Usha Sarma on February 27 in HCC Spring Branch studio. Sarma spoke about his published works in Assamese language.

HOUSTON: FIS reaches out to interview all language and ethnic groups of India for its Oral History project. It is estimated that there are about 50 immigrant Assamese families living in greater Metropolitan Houston area. Hiren Sarma and his wife Usha Sarma, residents of Katy, Texas are the very first couple hailing from Assam, to be interviewed for the Indo American Oral history project. Assam State is a north eastern picturesque state of India known for its scenic beauty and bestowed with Oil, Gas and mineral wealth and the world famous Assam tea... Born in 1947 in Johan Assam, Sarma holds B.Sc. Degree in Chemical Engineering from Banares Hindu University and M.Tech in Chemical Engineering from IIT, Kanpur. Sarma worked in Oil India Limited, Duliajan for few years before migrating to USA in 1976. Wife, Usha joined in 1977. They have one daughter married with 2 children and 2 yet to be married sons, all employed across USA. In USA, Sarma worked with several engineering companies and is currently engaged as a Front End Development Manager with Shell Oil Houston. Besides publishing several Technical articles related to Oil and Gas, Hiren Sarma has also moved into fictional writing in his mother tongue Assamese for last several years through an annual bi-lingual publication called “Luitor Pora Mississippi (from Luit – the Brahmaputra to Mississippi)”, published in North America. His efforts finally culminated in publication of a short story compilation called “The Great Italian Family Circus” in October 2014 at

Guwahati Assam, both in original Assamese as well as an English translation. Usha Sarma narrated how they were married at Jorhat in 1973, and then migrated to US in 1976, travelled to Mexico, Malaysia, and Oman over the years in connection with her husband’s business assignments. Sarmas finally returned to Houston following settlement of all the three children with their studies and work and decided to make a permanent home in Katy, Texas. On the question of a typical Assamese woman’s dress, Mrs. Sarma explained that Assamese Sari comprises of two pieces made out of special white Assam silk called “pat” which she wore for the interview. She also explained about another exotic Assam silk called “Muga”. On the question of facing any racial and social prejudices after coming to America, Mr. & Mrs. Sarma said, they had not faced any. However, Sarma explained that as first generation immigrants, it is expected to be always difficult to assimilate, although the assimilation gets better as the generations pass by. Asked about the present situation in Assam, Sarma passionately described the alarming situation in Assam due to massive illegal immigration primarily from Bangladesh changing the complete demographic situation in Assam due to continued apathy from both the State and the Central governments. Sarma’s extra-curricular Activities included serving as Civil coordinator for US Embassy in Muscat Oman for 3 years, Vice-Chair and Board Member of American British Academy International School at Muscat Oman. Sarmas support 4 village schools in Assam coordinating the work between ASHA, an American charity organization and Shanti Sadhana Ashram, a non-profit orga-

nization in Guwahati Assam, Ekal Vidyalaya activities in India. Here at home, Sarmas provide “Seva” to homeless center at Houston Downtown with a group of likeminded people. In the near future, Sarma plans to take active part in in the 2016 Presidential elections. The interview concluded with Mr. & Mrs. Sarma expressing their interest to support FIS and Vavilala in the future endeavors. The IndoAmerican Oral History project is an undertaking of the Foundation for India Studies (FIS), a 501(c3) a nonprofit organization registered in 2005 in Houston, Texas. Recorded video interviews of the first generation Indian immigrants will be archived in the Indo-American Oral History collection of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center administered by the Houston Public Library. For information and participation in the project, please contact Ms. Veena Ponnaganti @281-323-9515 or Mr. Krishna Vavilala @ 713795-5169.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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12 March 27, 2015

COMMUNITY

Ugadhi Celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple

Devotees listen to the reading of Panchanga Sravanam at MTS

BY PADMA GOLLA PEARLAND: Manmatha Nama Samvatsaram had a great start at Sri Meenakshi Temple. Despite the inclement weather, Ugadhi was celebrated by over 2000 people throughout the day. The day started with Sri Venkateswara Abhishekam attended by

over 300 people. During the Alankaram Panchangam for the New Year was read by Priest Pavan Kumar in Telugu and Executive Officer Vatsa Kumar in Kannada. After the Puja ended, Ugadhi Pachchadi prepared by the Mutyala family was served. A nice buffet lunch was served by the temple to the attendees of the puja. Devotees who brought

Sri Venkateswara Abhishekam started the New year’s day in an enchantingly auspicious mood

Prasadam distributed it during lunch. Devotees kept coming throughout the day until the temple closed. There was second big Pooja at 6.30 PM followed by a second Panchanga Sravanam in Telugu for those who could not make the morning event. Ugadhi follows the lunisolar calendar and marks the beginning of the new astronomi-

cal cycle or the new year in several States in India. Each State follows a slightly different astronomical cycle and this date signifies the beginning of the year for Telugu, Kannada and Marathi communities. Sri Meenakshi Temple serves the religious needs of a diverse group of people from India and will be celebrating the New Year for Tamil and Malayalam communities on 14th of April.

Ram Charit Manthan: A Symposium on Lord Rama on Ramanavami! HOUSTON: Shri Govindaji Gaudiya Math temple will celebrate Ramanavami in a unique way by organizing a scholarly symposium on Lord Rama and his Lila on Saturday, March 28. The seminar will feature ten local scholars who will speak on various aspects of life and deeds of Lord Rama. This seminar (Ram Charit Manthan) is 4th such in its annual series in Houston. This year’s

seminar has the theme- Ram Ek, Charit Anek – that is, One Ram, Many deeds. The topics that speakers will speak on are: Bhaktvatsal Ram, Guru Ram, Bridegroom Ram, Ram as a Husband, Ram as a son, Ram as a warrior, Ram as a

king, Ram in exile, Ram as a friend, and Ram as a speaker. Houston community is invited to attend the seminar without any fee. For proper planning, you are requested to register for the seminar by sending an e-mail

to om@ramacharit.org. The seminar will be from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and it will follow by temple Arti and dinner Prasad. For more information, please write to om@ramacharit.org and/or call Om Gupta 713 471 7822. You may also visit www.ramacharit.org/manthan2015 for more information.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


March 27, 2015

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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16 March 27, 2015

COMMUNITY/OBITUARY

India House Celebrates 12th Annual Gala CONTINUED FROM PAGE

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Ceremony was none other than the vivacious bundle of energy, ABC Channel 13 reporter Pooja Lodhia. She brought in her infectious energy in the moment of pauses for this charitable cause. Dr. Manish Rungta, started the introductory welcome note on behalf of Jugal Malani, President of India House. He welcomed all the patrons, sponsors, guests and the well wishers of the community who had shown solidarity for one cause – betterment of the Houston community at large. The introductory note was followed by a small speech by Vipin Kumar, General Manager, India House. He took the audience down the memory lane by sharing his association and journey with this cause. His passion for the community centre was reflected in his careful selection of words. A short informative video on the history, values and events of the India House was presented to the audience. Carl Lewis, the legendary American athlete, 10 times Olympic winner, 9 out of which were gold, was the Keynote speaker for the evening. Having studied at the University of Houston in his formative years and having being coached in the city, Carl Lewis had

a particular affinity for this place. It was the coaching at this place that got him qualified for his first Olympics entry in 1980. Passion for the sport and the discipline to excel is a quality that is inherent in all award winning sportsmen. Carl Lewis, an example of this burning passion and dedication, addressed the India House with an inspiring speech. Various elected officials and the Socialites of the city were present, giving their bit to the society to make a difference. The guests were seen hobnobbing over the cocktails in the splendid ambience of the foyer of the Marriott hotel. Few of them were Consul General of India Parvathaneni Harish along with his wife Nandita Parvathaneni, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, Council member Mike Laster, Council member and Mayor Pro-term City of Sugar Land Harish Jajoo accompanied with his wife Shashi Jajoo, Council member Richard Nguyen, Dr. John Mendelsohn, former President, MD Anderson Cancer Center. The evening then proceeded by recognizing the patrons and the sponsors who facilitated the success of the gala. Pioneers, contributors and volunteers form a triad of any successful community. The award ceremony was

but a small way to encourage and thank the supporters for their contribution. The award winners for ‘Community Service Awards’ were – Dr. Manish Rungta, Darshan Wadhwa, CPA and Prabhat C. Sharma. Pankaj Malani received the ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award while Amit Bhandari was felicitated with ‘The Philanthropist of the year’ award. Devi Prasad Rungta, the chair of the evening, concluded the award ceremony with a vote of thanks to the sponsors, patrons, guests and the dignitaries who had graced the occasion and were a part of the success story of India House. The Theme ‘Unity in Diversity’ was reflected in the entertaining performances coordinated by Vanshika Vipin at the end of the evening. Dance groups like Naach Houston, Infused Performing Arts, Shundoris and Shri Natraj School of Dance were the ones who incorporated the theme in their enchanting dance performances. This was followed by an entartaining performnace by Ajay Chunchu from Masti Entertainment who entertained the audience with his singing and shayaris. Excellent sound system and music was provided by DJ AV (Arshad Virani). The guests indeed had an entertaining time dancing and socialising with each other over the scrumptious dinner

by Bombay Brasserie. A&A Video provided live video feed and projection system as their complimentary contribution to India House. India House’s Gala was one night to remember, indeed.

For more information on India House and its various programs visit at www.indiahouse.org or contact vipin@indiahouseinc.org or call at 713-929-1900.

In Loving Memory of

Vishwanath “Vish” Kelkar 9/6/1934 to 3/14/2015

BY VASUDHA KELKAR My husband passed away in India peacefully, while being surrounded by many of his Kelkar family members. Born in Shriwardhan, Maharashtra, he grew up in Thane and attended M.H. High School. He graduated from VJTI, Mumbai in 1958 with BE, Civil Engineer-

ing. Subsequently he worked for BEST until 1965 when he ventured out west to England. Earlier we had married in 1961 in Mumbai and then lived in England for many years. Later, both of us migrated to Houston in 1979 where he worked for Bechtel, Kellogg, etc. for many years. During our stay in England and Houston, he actively supported many social groups to promote Indian cultural activities and particularly Classical music. Out of this love and dedication, he was instrumental in forming the India Music Circle of Houston and later was an active member of the ‘India Music Society of Houston’ (IMS) for many years. A memorial service was held in Houston on Sat., March 21, in remembrance of ‘Vishubhau’.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

March 27, 2015

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Ekal’s “Parinam Kumbh” – Huge Success

In the first week of March, ‘Parinam Kumbh’ (meaning ‘assessment’) of “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation”, was convened at Dhanbad, Jharkhand, the birth place of ‘Ekal’, 25 yrs ago. More than 2,200 delegates from dozen countries came for this 3-day unique event to witness the transformation “Ekal” had brought to the overall development of rural masses in India. The goal, in the words of convener Shri Yogendra Tulsyan, was not only to bring in active supporters and partner-organizations of “Ekal” under one roof, but also to celebrate and, retrospectively, to take stock of Ekal’s success. It was also an occasion to pay tribute to Ekal’s late founder Shri Madanlalji Agarwala who established first ‘Ekal Vidyalaya’ in November 1988 in Laidvari tribal village near Dhanbad. As a dedicated ‘Pracharak’ of “Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh” (RSS), when he asked the poor farmers how he can be of help to them, they requested him to make at least their children literate, so that they can avoid economic and social subjugation. The seedling that the visionary Madanlalji sowed, quarter century back has now prospered into the largest Literacy, Healthcare and rural development movement in India with supporting chapters in more than a dozen countries. Ekal has now 55,000 schools spread throughout India, including in Jammu-Kashmir and Nepal. Through ‘Ekal,’ almost 1.5 Million children are receiving basic education and healthcare training, each year. The prominent dignitaries who presided over this mega convention were Ekal Chief Shri Shyamji Gupta, Chief Minister Shri Raghuvar Das, VHP Chief Shri Ashokji Singhal,

Ekal Chief - Shyamji Gupta

Sadhvi Ritambaraji, and ZEE-TV Chairman Shri Subhashchandraji. At the mammoth public meeting, attended by over 50,000 people, Shri Ashokji, in his address emphasized that India needs to restore its lost identity and true character on the basis of self-respect and self-reliance. He further added that Ekal was started with this objective by late Shri Madanlalji. Shri Shyamji Gupta, who paid an eloquent tribute to Shri Madanlalji Agarwala for his pioneering efforts to spread literacy, gave an overview of the ecliptic progress Ekal had made to uplift forgotten masses in the villages. Di Di Ma Sadhvi Ritambaraji touched on the difficulties faced by the Volunteers and compared them with ever-loyal ‘Hanuman Sena’. The Chief Guest for this occasion was RSS Chief, Shri Mohanji Bhagwat. In his address to the delegates, Shri Mohanji challenged them to explore possibilities where, ‘Ekal’ as a rural support-vehicle, could be taken further with changing times and in favorable political climate. There were several presentations by various Ekal

alumni groups whose main theme was the empowerment that Ekal had brought to their lives. According to them, this was facilitated, not only by education, and infrastructure of self-reliance that Ekal had provided, but also, by its awareness campaign for one’s ‘right to information’ in the face of bureaucratic hurdle. Some of these people are now even playing leadership roles at the district level. ‘Pinki Karmakar’ who carried the Olympic torch at London Olympiad and became a national inspiration for the youths few years back, was an Ekal alumnus. There were several testimonials by rural-folks which portrait their success at tackling social ills like bonded labor, mass drunkenness, spread of epidemics, migration of youths to urban areas, and blatant corruption in their community. “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA”, has played a very significant role in the expansion, progress and success of ‘Ekal Abhiyan’ (EkalIndia) for more than two decades. ‘Ekal’ as it is known today had started out as ‘One-Teacher School Project’ in India as well as in USA. For last few years, Ekal-USAhas been raising $4 to 5 Million U.S. Dollars through its fund-raising concerts, all over USA. This year’s concerts artists are Bollywood Melody Makers “Rana Chaterjee and Sangeeta Melekar” and they will be performing at more than 50 places. Their sold-out concerts are already under way since February. For more information on Ekal concert in your vicinity and to get involved please kindly visit www.ekal.org. Your generous support for this worthy cause shall be appreciated.

Dr. Dronamraju Advises the New Science Center at Bhubaneswar

Dr. Krishna Dronamraju and Michele Wambaugh with the Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik.

HOUSTON: Dr. Krishna Dronamraju, President of the Foundation for Genetic Research at Houston, has been invited to help in establihing a new Science Center at Bhubaneswar. In a recent visit to Odisha, he met with the Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik to promote the project. The Center was first discussed by the former Chief Minister Shri Biju Patnaik with Dr. Dronamraju sev-

eral years ago. Its main focus will be Biotechnology and related sciences initially but other sciences such as Nanotechnology will be added later. Prof. P.P. Mathur, Vice-Chancellor of KIIT University has invited Dr. Dronamraju to be actively involved in planning and leading the project. Former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik had plans to develop a Science

City in Bhubaneswar. He invited the famous British scientist J.B.S. Haldane to Bhubaneswar to build a Science Institute but because of Haldane’s untimely death that project was put on hold. Dr. Dronamraju, who was a disciple of Prof. Haldane, is now continuing the project with the support of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Once the Center starts functioning, it will become an active center for teaching and research in sciences in India. Dr. Krishna Dronamraju is President of the Foundation for Genetic Research since 1980, is the author of 20 books and 200 research papers in Genetics & Biotechnology. He is a Visiting Professor of the University of Paris and was awarded the Nayudamma Prize in Science. He was a Member of the U.S. Presidential delegation to India in 2000 and has been actively promoting U.S.- India Cooperation in Science and Technology for many years. He served as a Member of the National Advisory Boards for Health and Agriculture, U.S. Government, Washington D.C.

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


18 March 27, 2015 Excellence Abroad, Crisis at Home Students from India and of Indian origin are coveted by academic systems worldwide. They are seen as diligent and disciplined. Schools, colleges and universities across the world go to great lengths, including embarking on expeditions to India, to attract the best and the brightest from this stock. Indian immigrants have burnished this reputation by typically moving to the best school districts wherever they emigrate to, striving to give their children the opportunity they may have struggled to get at home. They burden themselves with long commutes, deny themselves simple pleasures like vacations and cruises, and burn up potential retirement savings to invest everything into educating their children. Indian children repay for the most part their parents’ sacrifices, acing classes, courses and competitions with predictable regularity. It is now commonplace to see students of Indian origin win events such as spelling bee and geography bee, science fests and technology demos, and attain honours at an even higher level. Such upbeat reviews of Indian excellence rub off back home too. Last year, several high-schoolers from India travelled to Los Angeles to display their flair at the annual Intel science talent search. They came not just from big cities and privileged families but from small towns too. They represent the bright-eyed future of India, and their work – of which kind more should be encouraged – was a far cry from the fiasco in Bihar where recently parents and sibling were filmed helping their wards cheat in exams that tested learning by rote. Images of this spectacle have spread across the world, from the Pacific Northwest (where this writer saw it on the front page of a Canadian newspaper) to the antipodes, where India is currently the flavor at the World Cup. Those who argue that this Bihar spectacle is an opportunistic one-off incident are oblivious to the damage such images can cause. Social media accentuates such episodes and every academic shenanigan from hereon will be conflated with this singularly striking visual. That Bihar, once the crucible of scholastic excellence, should highlight this abject failure of the system, is painful despite the state’s reputation in modern times as a lawless frontier of mediocrity. Centuries before the California university system with its 10 campuses and great many schools came into being, Nalanda and Vikramshila, along with Somapura, Odantapura and Jagaddala, formed the Bihar educational grid, a network of outstanding interlinked institutions that attracted scholars from far and wide. Ironically, one of the high-schoolers President Obama called out for excellence on Monday was named Nikhil Behari. There is little point though in moping about hoary glory. India has failed Bihar, while failing itself. Modern Bihar might have provided the most egregious visual of this failure, but the rot is nationwide, which is why parents are scrambling to get their kids out of India at a young age even as some are clambering tall buildings to pass out cheat sheets to their children. Chidanand Rajghatta in Times of India

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY A Sad Day for the Pompous

BY ABHINAV KUMAR The arc of intolerance is long, but it bends towards liberty. That, in a nutshell, with due apologies to Martin Luther King Jr, is the message sent out by the Supreme Court in its landmark ruling on Section 66 A of the IT Act. It gives a nod to the slow but steady march of freedom and civil liberties in our society. It is ironic that a nation that won freedom through non-violent dissent and civil disobedience should be debating freedom of expression in the 68th year of its independence. This judgment is a slap on the face for all those who continue to see the state as the master of the destiny of Indian citizens and not as their servant or a provider and facilitator of essential services. Take a look at the kind of cases in which Section 66A has been invoked: cartoonistAseem Trivedi was booked by Mumbai Police for mocking corruption in high places. Two young girls from Palghar, Maharashtra, were booked for questioning the bandh in Mumbai after Bal Thackeray’s death. A professor of Jadavpur University was booked for forwarding a cartoon mocking Mamata Banerjee. A Class XI student in Bareilly was booked for posting an “objectionable” comment about Azam Khan. A CPM worker in Kerala was arrested for posting abusive comments about the prime minister. In none of these cases was anyone inciting others to commit violence or treason. Cases such as these couldn’t be further from what our lawmakers had in mind when they passed the IT Act. Or perhaps, given the pattern of its use and abuse, this was the real intention behind Section 66A? The section is tailor-made for prickly politicians and prostrating policemen anxious to prove their loyalty to the powers that be. Even in today’s India, once elected, politicians prefer to behave neither like representatives nor like delegates of the people. They prefer to see themselves as rulers and masters, and must be treated as such, especially by pliant, supine law-enforcement agencies. Our politicians may disagree about most things but they are strangely united in their propensity to use the police

to crack down on all those who dare to mock them or dissent. And there are plenty of sadistic, intolerant and unscrupulous elements in our police forces willing to oblige them. It is astonishing that a nation which, over 24 years of economic liberalization, has derived so much vigor and cultural self-confidence from the IT sector should have enacted such a draconian IT Act in the first place. It is a symbol of the deep disconnect between our lawmakers, law enforcement and criminal justice system on one hand and the most vibrant, aspirational and creative elements of our society on the other. People often talk of the rural-urban and the English-vernacular divides, but to my mind, the most significant faultline that will shape the destiny of India in the 21st century is the divide between the digitally connected India that values openness, tolerance and even irreverence and the India that values deference, conformity and restrictions in the name of national unity and tradition. Since the time of the Emergency, national security and social harmony have been repeatedly invoked to curb civil liberties. The police, of course, have been more than willing and enthusiastic to go along with this strident interpretation of nationalism and culture. Who in our Kafkaesque bureaucracy doesn’t want more power? One hopes that the striking down of Section 66A is simply one step towards the recognition that the fundamental rights of our citizens are non-negotiable. No idea of the nation, no formulation of national security and cultural identity can override due process. That is the promise enshrined in our Constitution, a promise

that has been redeemed in part by our Supreme Court with this judgment. There exist other provisions on our statute books that are equally inconsistent with the fundamental values of our Constitution and civilisation. The provisions dealing with sedition, obscenity and hurting religious sentiment are equally prone to subjective interpretation and abuse by law-enforcement agencies. Their continuation on our statute books is a declaration by our supposedly democratic state that citizens are still its subjects. To hope to be the state’s master is to hope in vain when citizens are a long way from being treated even as clients or consumers worthy of dignity and respect. The prevailing balance of power between the state and the citizen is unacceptable and not commensurate with our self-image as an important democracy. Bad laws do more damage to our social fabric and collective wellbeing than no laws. My personal experience of the last two decades or so as a police officer suggests that the immense trust and confidence reposed in the lawenforcement machinery and criminal justice system by lawmakers and the public when such laws are enacted is rather misplaced. It is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse. Till our police attain the requisite levels of professional competence, functional autonomy and cultural sensitivity, the grant of additional punitive powers that have wide scope for discretion and subjective interpretation must be staunchly resisted. It is, of course, a sad day for the pompous, the powerful, the wellconnected and the innumerable holy cows in our country. It may be a while before their liberty to subvert the public interest for private ends is seriously and significantly curtailed. But for now, the freedom of the Indian citizen to at least cry out in anguish as well as mock and ridicule them has thankfully been restored. I am a proud police officer, but a prouder citizen today. IE The writer is a serving IPS officer and a regular contributor to the Indian Express.

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

March 27, 2015

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Violin Prodigy Enthralls Houston Audience

BY DR. RITU RAJU HOUSTON: Carnatic music lovers in Houston braved the rains to welcome the newest entrant to Houston’s vibrant cultural landscape—the musical prodigy Aishwarya Venkataraman, disciple of the famed violinist T.N. Krishnan and respected musicologist S.R. Janakiraman. The artiste, along with her father, Vinod Venkataraman (on the mridangam) and violin maestro Dr. Narmadha Gopalakrishnan (daughter of legendary violinist M S Gopalakrishnan), performed a benefit concert in aid of Baylor College of Medicine’s Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) on 21 March at the Cullen Auditorium. They were accompanied on the tanpura by Houston’s own Kruthi Bhat. Aishu, as she is fondly called, tied in the theme of the concert beautifully into her musical selections; she began the evening with a 5-speed varnam in the raga Keeravani to reflect the five stages of progression of AIDS. She and Dr. Narmadha took the audience on a delightful cruise through an ocean of ragas. The classic Vatapi in Hamsadhwani culminated in a rhapsody of kalpana swarams that showed exquisite fingering and bowing techniques. The Ragam Thanam Pallavi (an improvisation segment where the artistes show their mastery over the raga and delineate the raga with spontaneous ornamentation) was an engaging odyssey through a number of ragas—Mohanam (Bhoopali), Subha Pantuvarali, Ananda Bhairavi, Kapi, Behag, Kanada, Sahana, and

Nalinakanti. The purity of notes and clarity of expression of both performers resulted in an intricate exposition of these ragas. Under Narmadha and Aishu’s superb handling, the raga Nalinakanthi assumed an added splendor and vibrancy. Vinod Venkataraman’s spirited Thaniavarthanam (solo percussion performance) brought the item to a memorable end. A feisty rendition of English Note (made famous by the legendary Madurai Mani Iyer) and a soulful version of Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram left the audience in ecstasy. Dr. Narmadha’s sheer fluidity and ease was perfectly complemented by the crisp notes of Aishu’s creativity. Indeed, it was a true jugalbandhi (duet of two solo musicians)—not just a confluence of north and south, of Hindustani and Carnatic, but also of maturity and youth. It was heartwarming

to see Dr. Narmadha’s hearty appreciation and encouragement of Aishu; the younger musician held her own in technique and execution. It was the ultimate jugalbandhi of dexterity, erudition, and above all, of an unconditional love for music. After completing a Bachelor ofArts in performance from Berklee College of Music and a Bachelor of Science in biophysics from Stanford University, Aishu has made the move to Houston to continue her education at Baylor College of Medicine, where she is pursuing a medical degree. With an unbeatable combination of beauty, brains, talent, and a passion for giving back to the community, Aishwarya Venkataraman is a welcome addition to the classical arts scene in Houston. We look forward to many more engaging performances from this talented musician.

Hindu Youth Awards Gala

“IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA”

Stay tuned every Sunday,

HIREN JOSHI

From left: Nupur Shah, Suriya Sharma , Dr Lata Ramchand, Elliot Gershenson, Ramesh Bhutada, Hejal Soni, Kavia Gupta, Shivang Shah and Advaith Ram.

HOUSTON: The Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) is proud to announce the ‘Hindu Youth Awards Gala’ on Saturday, April 11 at Chinmaya Mission, 10353 Synott Road, Sugar Land, TX 77498. The objective of the Youth Gala is to identify and recognize the future Hindu leaders, to encourage them to preserve and persevere its proud legacy, and to groom them with the needed understanding, tools and resources to achieve that goal. The highlights of the evening would include listening to the inspiring stories

of the winning youth and recognizing the donors and organizations for their commitment and support of the important cause and enjoy a cultural program. “To unite we must have a common goal. There is no higher goal than our quest for spiritual SELF. Let us unite as Hindu organizations in quest of this SELF through understanding of our scriptures”, said Acharya Gaurangbhai Nanavati Chinmaya Mission Houston, and member of HGH advisory board. The keynote speaker for the eve-

ning is Asit Shah, an exemplary youth and member of the Board of Regents, University of Houston, who is appointed by Hon. Governor of Texas. Our own young Attorney, Mr. Amit Misra is going to be special guest, encouraging our youth with his mesmerizing speech. They will also meet in a youth only session from 5:15-5:45 pm. Hindus of Greater Houston organizes this event every year. It was hosted last year by Arya Samaj, and CONTINUED ON PAGE

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COMMUNITY/FESTIVALS

Hindu Youth Awards Gala CONTINUED FROM PAGE

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in 2016 Sri Meenakshi Temple, Pearland is scheduled to have the privilege of hosting it. Sanjay Jain, co-chair of the event last year, had this to say: ‘While reducing the cost and efforts by HGH, it also brought the best from Arya Samaj and we will have a great program this year as well as years to come. Working with Arya Samaj and Chinmaya Mission this year, I feel each of these organizations is hosting the event with pride.’ He added, ‘As Hindu leaders, it is our responsibility to encourage youth and recognize them for their service. This is an excellent event supporting that purpose.’

To quote Neeraj Salhotra, a recipient of the award ‘The HGH Youth awards program is an excellent way to recognize youth engaged in service. It was truly a humbling experience to be selected as a winner, and I know that this experience further inspired me to continue serving my community.’ Chairman of the Board of Advisors, Dev Mahajan commented: ‘In 2013, the Board of Advisors made the decision to host the Hindu Youth Awards at the venue of a different Hindu Temple or organization each year, to inspire solidarity.’ ‘We celebrate them as torch-bearers of tradition in upholding our Dharma and being proud of their heritage. We dedicate the evening to their celebra-

tion. This year we will recognize six youth who have provided outstanding service to community in education and development of youth’, said Gala co-chair Richa Dixit. Please save the date, September 12, 2015 for Janmashtami, a signature event that Hindus of Greater Houston has been celebrating for the past twenty-five years. They also host and support a variety of events on an ongoing basis, with the generous help of patrons in the community. We are always looking forward to more sponsors and support. For more information visit Hinudusofhouston.org or call Richa Dixit at 832.451.7206 or Sanjay Jain at 281.565.5246.

Ram Navami The birth of a hero

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Ram Navami is a festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, the son of King Dasharath. It was a joyous occasion in Ayodhya all those centuries ago when King Dasharath's heir was finally born. It was like a dream come true for the king as the lack of an heir had troubled him sorely for many years. Lord Rama is an avatar of Lord Vishnu who came down to earth to battle the invincible Ravana in human form. Lord Brahma had been receiving complaints from all the gods about the havoc that Ravana was wreaking on earth, but because Lord Brahma had granted Ravana so many boons, he could not be killed by a god. But Ravana had become so overconfident that he would never expect an attack from a human being. So Lord Vishnu agreed to go to earth in the guise of Prince Ram, the son of King

Dasharath and Queen Kaushalya. The story of Lord Rama as told in the great epic Ramayana is one that most Indians know irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Lord Rama is a legendary figure, the epitome of all that is good and true, the man who vanquished the demon king Ravana. Lord Rama is not just a hero, but has been given the status of a god by the Hindus. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that his birth is celebrated year after year with great pomp and enjoyment on the ninth day after the new moon in Sukul Paksh (the waxing moon), which falls sometime in the month of April.

The festivities

So how is Ram Navami celebrated? Some people choose to fast on this day. The diet of such a person would include potatoes made in any form without haldi (turmeric), garlic, ginger or onion. He can also eat fruit and root vegetables of any kind. Curd, tea,

coffee, milk, and water are also permitted. Bhajans praising the exploits of Lord Rama, his loyal brother Lakshman and his devoted wife Sita are sung. The house is swept clean and pictures of Lord Rama, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman are put on a dais in preparation for the puja. Flowers and incense are kept before the deities. There are two thaalis kept ready in the puja area. One contains the prasad and the other the items necessary for the puja like roli, aipun, rice, water, flowers, a bell and a conch. First, the youngest female member of the family applies teeka to all the male members of the family. A red bindi is applied on the foreheads of all the female members. Everyone participates in the puja by first sprinkling the water, roli, and aipun on the gods and then showering handfuls of rice on the deities. Then everybody stands up to perform the arti at the end of which ganga jal or plain water is sprinkled over the gathering. The singing of bhajans goes on for the entire puja. Finally, the prasad is distributed among all the people who have gathered for worship. -indiaparenting.com

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March 27, 2015

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March 27, 2015

ENTERTAINMENT ENTERTAINMENT

Movie Review: Hunterrrr BY ANUPAMA CHOPRA

Watching Hunterrr expanded my vocabulary. I had never heard the term vaasugiri before. Vaasugiri means vaas lena or to sniff. Our hero, Mandar Ponkshe (Devaiah), is a vaasu, which means he’s an expert at sniffing out sex. He’s the hunter in the title. In interviews, debutant director Harshavardhan Kulkarni has strenuously objected to his film being called a sex comedy, but I was hoping that Hunterrr with the extra ‘r’s would redefine the genre. Hunterrr has layers and a depth that those films didn’t even aspire to. But ultimately Harshavardhan, fritters away the opportunity. The dialogue is crackling. The performances are solid. But the screenplay soon becomes repetitive and one-note — we see Mandar stalking and scoring again and again. In places, Hunterrr is just uncomfortable; it’s icky to see adolescent boys brushing against a middle-aged woman in a market. All women have experiences like this and there’s nothing funny about it. What I did enjoy were the performances by Gulshan and Radhika Apte, who plays Trupti, Mandar’s leading love interest. Mandar is a

Shahid Kapoor to Marry Delhi Based Mira Rajput in December

BY SONA GERA

class-A jerk and yet Gulshan makes him likeable and funny. There are moments here when you actually feel sorry for Mandar, which is no mean achievement. Radhika, who was so good in Badlapur, has a lovely, natural charm that lifts the film. But only up

to a point. Hunterrr runs for 141 minutes and feels even longer. That’s just way too much time to spend on the life and emotions of a lech. -HindustanTimes.com

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NEW DELHI: And the heartthrob gets hooked. After bitter break ups with Bollywood actresses Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor, a heartbroken Shahid Kapoor has said, time and again, that he is not going to marry a Bollywood actress for sure and would like to settle down with a homely girl with humble background. And looks like the talented actor has found his match. According to a report published in Times Of India, Shahid got engaged to Delhi-based Mira Rajput in January and the lovely couple is all set to get married in December. Mira Rajput is currently doing her English (Hons)

from Lady Sri Ram College for Women. The bride-to-be is currently studying in her third year. This picture of Mira Rajput has been taken from her facebook account. Reports say Shahid and Mira met through the religious group Radha Soami Satsang Beas. The couple has till now successfully managed to keep away from the prying eyes of media. It’s also said that Shahid, along with father Pankaj Kapur, visited Chhatarpur a few days ago, to meet Mira’s parents. A sad news, indeed, for all Shahid Kapoor fangirls. -IndianExpress.com

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SPORTS

Australia Win Big in Semis as India Runs Out of Gas BY BYRON COVERDALE SYDNEY (ESPN Cricinfo): Four months ago, India arrived in Australia as holders of both the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the World Cup. Then they ran into Steven Smith, who ensured they will fly home with neither. Smith tormented India with a century in every Test of the summer, and like the ghost of series past, returned to haunt them with another hundred in this World Cup semi-final. The summer of Steve just keeps rolling on. It will end at the MCG on Sunday in either World Cup triumph over New Zealand, or heartbreak at losing the trophy to the cohosts of this six-week event. Of course Smith was not alone in delivering Australia their seventh win from seven World Cup semi-finals - Aaron Finch gave batting support, Mitchell Johnson provided invaluable late runs and key wickets - but Smith was at the heart of it. His 105 was a class above most of the batting in this game, Can’t stop me: Mitchell Johnson sets off after bouncing out Virat Kohli, and set Australia on the path to a Australia v India, World Cup 2015, 2nd semi-final, Sydney, March 26, match-winning 328 for 7. In the 2015. field, he claimed wickets with his eyes and ears. Smith appeared to but Dhoni’s presence was always Maxwell. instigate a five-star review when The end came quickly. James a threat. He just had nobody to go there was virtually no appeal for a Faulkner bowled R Ashwin and with him for the big partnership caught-behind off Mitchell Starcs Mohit Sharma from consecutive required, the kind Australia had. bowling; snicko found the ball had balls, and Starc rattled Umesh Ya- The 182 that Smith and Finch addkissed Ajinkya Rahane’s edge on dav’s stumps in the next over to ed for the second wicket in Austhe way to Brad Haddin. secure the 95-run win and a place tralia’s innings was the key stand Rahane was on 44 at the time in the final. The result was a relief of the game. and had put together a 70-run for Australia. No other Australia partnership stand with MS Dhoni that had India needed the highest suc- reached fifty, or lasted five overs. Australia a fraction nervous. Dho- cessful chase of this tournament, India’s bowlers fought well in the ni’s calmness at the crease will but possess some of the finest later stages to keep Australia to always worry his opponents, but chasers in world cricket. And a sea 328 for 7, a challenging target but losing Rahane and then Ravindra of blue around the SCG created a gettable one, considering high Jadeja - Smith’s throw from back- the impression this was a home 300s were plausible while Smith ward point found Jadeja short of match for India. A 76-run open- and Finch were there with 197 for his crease - placed enormous pres- ing stand between Shikhar Dha- 1 after 34 overs. sure on Dhoni. Shami found early swing and wan and Rohit Sharma betrayed The required run-rate began to no nerves from them. But Dhawan Yadav neared 150kph, but only look like an accelerated adoles- picked out deep extra cover off one wicket fell early. Then came cence, every over representing a Josh Hazlewood for 45 and then that partnership in which Smith year: it’s 11, now it’s 12, now it’s came a key moment: Virat Kohli batted like a man who had never 13, now it’s 14, now it’s 15. Dhoni top-edged a hook off Johnson to been out, Finch like a man who thumped a couple of consecutive be caught by Haddin for 1. had never been in. Australia’s top sixes off Shane Watson but he The loss of Rohit, bowled by order has looked much sturdier could do only so much, and fell for Johnson for 34, and then Suresh since Smith moved up to No.3 and a run-a-ball 65 when he was the Raina, who edged behind off so it did again. In only one match victim of a direct hit from Glenn Faulkner for 7, boosted Australia, in any format against India this

summer has Smith failed to score a hundred. His footwork was the equal of any great boxer; he used his crease to manufacture the length he required, including going back off Jadeja to pull one of his two sixes. Smith’s precise pulling was a feature of his innings. Of his 105 runs, 77 came through the leg side as he found the gaps without much trouble. His fifth hundred of the summer against India came from 89 balls with a pull for four off Shami. Smith was eventually out hooking to deep square leg off Yadav for 105 from 93 balls; India’s bouncer finally worked when they got it head high. Between them, Smith and Finch had generally been able to keep the runs ticking over even in periods where the boundaries did not flow so freely, although the spin of Jadeja and Ashwin proved harder to get away. Finch’s 81 was valuable to Australia but it was far from his bestlooking innings. His tournament began with a hundred against England but since then he has been scratchy, and was again here. Whereas Smith finessed, Finch forced. Australia hoped Finch would launch from the platform over which he had laboured; instead he was another victim of Yadav’s quick short ball when he pulled to midwicket. The dismissal of Maxwell was key in halting Australia’s push, and was a fitting reward for Ashwin, whose canniness kept Australia to 42 runs off his 10 overs. Maxwell’s departure came in a period of chaos in which India claimed 4 for 51 from 49 legal deliveries. Yadav and Mohit especially led India’s fightback with regular wickets: Clarke made 10, Faulkner 21 and Watson 28, but they all fell to the fast men. Johnson crunched a late 27 not out off 9 balls to add to the daunting nature of the chase. And as the cricket cliché goes, in big games it was all about runs on the board. Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Dhoni: Excitable Top, Feeble Tail

SYDNEY: Although he thought the total was “just over par,” MS Dhoni said failing to capitalise on their early momentum in the chase and the lack of depth in their batting order contributed to India’s semi-final exit at the World Cup. Australia had amassed 328 - the highest total made in a World Cup semi-final - in Sydney on the back of a century from Steven Smith. India’s reply had begun promisingly with the openers putting together 76 runs in 12.5 overs but when Australia found their first wicket Shikhar Dhawan crunching a lofted drive into deep cover’s hands for 45 - three more came their way in no time and India were 108 for 4 in the 23rd over. “I felt we got off to a very good start. Shikhar’s dismissal to some extent was slightly on the softer side because that was the time he could have milked the Australian bowling. He was scoring quite freely and with the open field, he should have just batted for a few more overs and he didn’t really need to play a big shot. “But overall, there is pressure when you’re chasing 320 runs and we have seen in cricket that pressure makes you do things you don’t really want to do” “Our lower order slightly needs to work harder on their batting because most of the good teams bat quite deep and we have seen, especially in the knockout stages, you need to bat deep”

‘There is pressure when you’re chasing 320 runs and we have seen in cricket that pressure makes you do things you don’t really want to do’ - MS Dhoni

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Business IndoAmerican News

STOCKS • FINANCE • SOUTH ASIAN MARKETS • TECHNOLOGY

How US Rate Hikes will Impact the Indian Market BY MANAS CHAKRAVARTY The spectre of a US rate hike looms large over emerging markets. Policymakers and global financial institutions have sounded dire warnings about the risks associated with the imminent rise in the US policy rate. International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde drove home the point when she was in India last week. Claudio Borio, head of the monetary and economic department of the Bank for International Settlements, a bank with an exemplary track record in predicting crises, is worried about a possible stampede for the exits. “Markets cannot remain liquid when the exit door has been narrowing for so long. There should be no illusion about this,” he said. But is the hand-wringing justified? At first sight, it would certainly seem so, judging from the effect the US Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would start tapering its bond purchase programme had on emerging markets in the second half of 2013. But then, the Indian stock market is now much higher than where it was in 2013. In fact, the stock indices of the economies dubbed the Fragile Five at the time—India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and Turkey— are all higher than the depths they plumbed in the second half of 2013. Brazil’s equity markets aren’t too much above it, but that’s due to a host of other reasons. The currencies, though, are another matter altogether as all the Fragile Five currencies are

now lower against the dollar than their lows in 2013, with the exception of the Indian rupee. Does this reflect the improvement in India’s current account with the huge fall in the price of oil? And will this insulate India from the fallout of a US rate hike? An IMF paper, part of the background papers on the consultations about the Indian economy, provides some insights into the subject. It says categorically that monetary policy in the advanced economies, particularly the US, has spillover effects on emerging markets. We saw the full effects of that during the tapering scare. The impact on different emerging markets varies according to the scale of the country’s trade and financial exposures to advanced markets, their individual cyclical positions, and

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their internal/external imbalances. Fair enough. But here’s the most significant part: “Strong fundamentals and sound policy frameworks per se are not enough to isolate countries from an increase in global financial market volatility. This is particularly the case where there is a sudden adjustment of expectations triggered by monetary policy normalization uncertainly in advanced economies.” So, no markets are exempt from the consequences of a rate hike, but the magnitude of the impact will vary. A 2013 paper by economists Barry Eichengreen and Poonam Gupta found that the largest impact of the taper scare was in countries that had allowed their current account deficits to widen too much during the earlier period of easy financing. This time

around, the markets have been skittish before the Federal Open Markets Committee meeting last week, with the dollar being especially strong and emerging markets seeing some profit taking. Will we have an encore to the taper scare? Much will depend on the likely pace of the US rate hikes. The latest Fed statement forecasts the Fed funds target rate at 0.625% by the end of this year and 1.875% by the end of 2016. This is a sloth-like, hesitant, dilatory pace, carefully calibrated so as not to upset anybody. Contrast that with 1994, which is, unfortunately, sometimes cited as a parallel. The US policy rate moved up that year, unsettling emerging markets and leading to the so-called tequila crisis in Mexico. But here’s the difference: in 1994, the Fed funds rate moved up from 3% at

the beginning of the year to 6% by February 1995. It’s no comparison at all. Here’s another example: when the economy recovered from the dotcom crash, the Fed started raising rates from 2004. In that year, the policy rate went up from 1% to 2.25%. By the end of 2005, it was at 4.25%. So it’s clear that, by post-dotcom standards, too, the pace of the rate hikes this time will be glacial. There are good reasons for that. Both US GDP (gross domestic product) growth and inflation were far higher in 1994 and in 2004 than is being forecast for 2015 and 2016. At the latest Fed meeting, GDP growth for the current year and for 2016 is assumed to be between 2.3% and 2.7%. This is higher than in 2001-02, after the dotcom bust, when the Fed funds rate was lowered from 6% to 1.25%. Currently, it’s 0-0.25%. The difference is, inflation is much lower now. Why then are the Indian markets jittery? The reasons for that are evident in the latest Bank of America-Merrill Lynch survey of global fund managers. India is easily the market where most of them are overweight on, relative to history. Some amount of profit-taking, therefore, is entirely to be expected. For the same reason, while liquidity will continue to support the Indian market, further gains will have to battle headwinds. Manas Chakravarty looks at trends and issues in the financial markets. Your comments and feedback are welcome at capitalaccount@livemint.com -livemint.com

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