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Friday, April 13, 2018 • Vol. 37, No. 14

Indo American News READ US ONLINE at www.indoamerican-news.com | Published weekly from Houston, Texas. USA 7457 Harwin Dr, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 • PH: 713 789 6397 • Fax: 713 789 6399 • indoamericannews@yahoo.com

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Rhythm India’s Half Time Show at the Rockets Game

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HAF team with Raja Krishnamoorthi (center), Arvind Chandrakantan (left), Dr. Rahul Pandit, Shradha Bhutada, Dr. Lavannya Pandit, Dr. Mihir Meghani, Rishi Bhutada, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Priya Prasad, Aesha Mehta, Kavita Pallod, Krishna Parmar, Bharat Pallod, and Vinay Sarda.



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April 13, 2018


IACCGH Shell Distinguished Lecture, Keynote Speakers from the Pumps and Pipes Society BY MANU SHAH

offered a brief description of the International Space Station and described it as “a marvel of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a people.” NASA’s generic long term strategy, he stated, was to get “humans to Mars” but to do so, the agency was working to enhance commercial flights in the lower orbits. He reiterated the point that there is a great deal of “overlap and learning from each other.” Budget constraints make it even more imperative to partner with other industries to exchange ideas and best practices. Stephen Igo, director of the Entrepreneurial Institute at the MDHVC, described P & P as an “evolutionary program” and stated that it was looking for more mentors and participation to expand the scope and scale of the program. An informative Q & A session followed after which Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana did the honors of presenting plaques of appreciation to the distinguished panelists. The Chamber is co hosting a Business Investment Conference in League City on April 18th to provide assistance to small businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey. For more information, visit www.iaccgh.com


When Houston’s “centers of excellence” in medicine, energy and aerospace “looked into each other’s toolkit,” they hit upon breakthrough improvements to problems in artificial heart valves, unclogging oil pipelines and studying physiological changes in space travel. This was the focus of the IACCGH Shell Distinguished lec- From left: Swapan Dhairyawan, Micheal Hess, Alan Lumsden, Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana, Photos: Bijay Dixit ture held at Double Tree by Hilton. Rustom Mody, Stephen Igo, and Jagdip Ahluwalia. Keynote Speakers from the Pumps in which the collaboration has and Pipes Society – Co-founder seen broad success. The orgaDr. Alan Lumsden and Directors nization, he stated, was keen to Rustom Mody and Michael Hess work closely with the Chamber shared the dais on March 28, to exand expand the program in India. plain how education, collaboration Vice President of Technical and communication between HousExcellence/Enterprise Technolton’s top three industries offered “a ogy at Baker Hughes, Rustom fresh set of eyes” to identify soluMody also stressed the point that From left: Panelists Micheal Hess, Rustom Mody, and Alan engineers, doctors and space scitions and swap technologies. President Swapan Dhairyawan Lumsden. entists have “more in common welcomed the gathering and em- walia highlighted the Chamber’s plained how P & P, now in its 11th than one might think” and P & phasized the importance that diver- efforts in co-hosting a series of year, gets people together from P helps industries go “beyond sity and collaboration played in the events to help small businesses different backgrounds and coun- the familiar, connect dots that Chamber’s mission. This principle affected by Harvey’s devastation. tries to “approach a problem from are unrelated” and come up with of partnership with diverse eco- This will be done with the support a fundamentally different direc- a solution. This, he explained, is nomic agencies enabled the Cham- of Shell and Liftfund, a non-profit tion.” It is a conscious effort, he the reason Baker Hughes was the ber to leverage its relationship with organization. continued, to overcome a mindset first company to hire NASA sciits Resource partners to ensure In his opening address, Dr. that says “no, that’s not possible” entists because “diversity fuels events that are relevant and useful Lumsden, a cardiovascular sur- and instead focuses on looking at innovation.” to members. Michael Hess, Associate Center geon and medical director at the nontraditional sources for innovaExecutive Director Jagdip Ahlu- Houston Methodist Hospital ex- tive solutions. Imaging is an area Director Johnson Space Center

Arya Samaj of Greater Houston Celebrates 27th Sthapana Divas With 2nd Annual Health Fair


Over the Weekend of April 7 & 8, Arya Samaj of Greater Houston celebrated its 27th Sthapana Divas, with 2nd annual community wide Public Health Fair, consisting of Health Awareness Lecture, testing, Blood Donation and consultations with doctors. Arya Samaj, was founded by Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati on April 10, 1875 in Bombay (now ASGH Sthapana Divas DAV Schools Children Cultural Performance Mumbai). April 7, coincidentally is also WHO’s World Health Day The ASGH program began on around the lake in the next-door 2018, eat healthy and stay healthy. Saturday, April 7 with a 5K walk scenic McClendon Park. Despite

overnight rain showers and ominous signs of more rain early in the morning, 58 enthusiastic walkers and families who had registered online at aryasamajhouston.org/healthfair or just showed up on the morning, participated with gusto and mother nature was kind enough to keep rain showers away, to complete the outdoor event successfully. This was followed by Yoga for health and strength and breakfast for all who came. The health fair began with

blood & EKG testing at 8 AM at no cost, supported by ASGH dedicated volunteers & Arya Youth Mandal high school youth group and YourHealthLab.com. Almost 140 people took benefit of the health fair. Approximately, 76 patients had their blood drawn for testing over next 3 hours, and 49 patients had taken EKG exam with free consultation with onsite Cardiologist. Thanks to Dr. Suneja for providing E.K.G technical equipment. This




April 13, 2018



April 13, 2018


Thrilling Stretch Run Cools Off With Sways & Spins, Rhythm India Style! BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA

formance- Dipti Tripathi Wow that’s a superb performance- Minal Naik When we were walking to the car couple of ladies, walking on our side, came and told menita that till the last shot the half time show was the highlight of the evening- Neikhila Thakare Congratulations on another successful Rocking performance- Prerna Tatia


Having a super Half Time at a pressure-packed NBA game can be as thrilling as the stretched run itself. On Friday, March 30 Houston witnessed history at the Toyota Center, with the electrifying match of Rockets v/s Phoenix Suns. The remarkable game was complimented with the mesmerizing medley performed by Rhythm India. Rhythm India was the first ever Bollywood Dance Company to perform at Half Time at the Houston Rockets game in 2011. And since then, they have been adding up the spice during these intoxicating tournaments. Their 7th consecutive performance at the NBA game was noteworthy and coincided with the number one position of Rockets. The enthusiastic Houstonians were thrilled to cheer on Rockets, who were down by almost 17 points before Half Time. At Half-Time, the tension eased out thanks to the magnificent staging by Rhythm India. They opened up to an enthusiastic crowd with a remix of Bom Diggy by Zack Knight, set-up in a creatively superlative form with classical moves, showcasing two dancers swaying away to the classical Kathak and their other two colleagues captivating the audiences with their Bharata Natyam moves. They were joined in with their troupe; a center group performing to hiphop. In a flash, they seamlessly seeped into a magnetizing performance to ‘Badri Ki Dulhania’. The finale ‘Hawa Hawa’ was enthralling also for the reason that some of the dancers used Rockets’ flags as their props. If a troupe of supertalented 43 dancers, aged 10 years and above, doesn’t do that then what does? Of course, the credit also goes to the choreography par excellence, the breathtaking energy and stunning synchronization. The performance was precise and flawless, with an eye for detail on every aspect. The costumes were

Rhythm India has Bollywood Dance classes all across town (Stafford, Sugar Land, Katy & Bellaire) for all age groups and skill levels. Rhythm India’s annual program “Just Dance 2018” is scheduled on Saturday, May 5. There will be two shows 4:00pm & 8:00pm at the Old Stafford Civic Center and the tickets will go on sale on April 23, for the public at tututix.com. Rhythm India will hold auditions for their performing troupe for kids, juniors youth & adults in the month of May. They will be hosting different dance workshops during the summer. For those interested in signing up for any of these workshops, visit www.rhythm-india.com or call 281 968 9479. extraordinary- ranging from the color of Rockets- Red & Blue, to the shimmering Gold. The lightings helped accelerate the energy in the stadium. It is said that the dynamics of a game can change post Half Time and the velocity and intensity may alter. This is precisely what happened at this historic fixture, as Rockets hit it back in the 3rd & 4th quarter to tie the score a couple of times. The stimulating part was when Rockets had 1.4 seconds left on the clock and they scored a 3 pointer, which made them win at the last second by a point. Exhilarating moment for the fans! Arzan Gonda, the Artistic Director of Rhythm India stated, “This was one of the most memorable

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performances at Half time for me because all the dancers worked really hard for this routine. We experimented with new ideas in terms of song selection and interpretation. For a lot of the participants, it was their first time and we could feel each other’s energy down on that court. The feedback has been fantastic, we had several Rockets fans who went out of their way to compliment our performance after Half time”. The super-excited Arzan also mentioned that she would like to thank all the dancers, back stage crew, parents, families, friends and well-wishers for all their love and support. She did a special mention of thanks for their back-stage Manager, Rashna Oak, who is the backbone of all Rhythm India productions. The back-stage crew included Dilshad Patel, Zenia Sunavala & Sneha Dama. Arzan also thanked Murali Santhana and team for capturing the event. Post the high-energy performance of the stars of NBA and Rhythm India, we encapsulated some feedback from the exhilarated audience. Very well done and amazing per-

Photos: Murali Santhana

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For Photo Collage, see page 4


COMMUNITY A Fundraiser Short on Details, But Heavy on Fun!

April 13, 2018


HOUSTON: If fundraisers are supposed

The jolly trio of Open Forum radio show (from left) Subodh Bhuchar, Jagat Kamdar and Dinkar Chedda ham it up outside the reception hall

The performers for the event were singer Salil Bhadekar (center) accompanied by his wife Aishwarya and table player Harman. Photos: Nik Nikam

to fit the personality of the group being benefited, then the one held for Open Forum radio show certainly did just that. Ever since the trio behind the show - Subodh Bhuchar, Jagat Kamdar and Dinkar Chedda – came up with the idea of a fundraiser to support their weekly two-hour Saturday program, they wanted it to reflect their “open” and purposely loosely knit approach to matters. Or at least it’s crafted to be that way! When they came onstage to take their opening bows, it was Bhuchar the rapid talking gregarious one who did much of the emceeing for the night, Kamdar the thinker gave a few insightful words and Chedda the quiet but organized one said it all with his mischievous smile . The rest of the night was as easy flowing as their approach has been over their 18 years on the radio to many of the issues that they get into on the program each week. “This is really more of a “fun”raiser,” said Bhuchar as he kicked of the event at the Zoroastrian Center on West Airport Blvd near Beltway 8 on Friday night, March 30. “We are the oldest, and longest running Indian talk show in the country,” he added. He showered the show’s supporters with praise and acknowledged Suresh of Kirti Jewelers, a music aficionado, for his handling the sound system. Entitled “Khaan Gaan & Pan” (Eat Sing & Chew Pan), the fundraiser was a mixer for many of the show’s supporter who mingled in the large lobby of the Center over drinks and appetizers. Tickets to a raffle were also sold at the entrance table and Bhuchar revealed that all the proceeds which totaled $500 would be given to the children’s rights charity CRY, which will hold its Houston gala Friday, May 4 at Sweetwater Country Club. Contrary to other such events where the guests are kept hostage for dinner until after the pleas for money have been made, Sonal Bhuchar, Subodh’s wife and main organizer, opened up the evening to dinner before the musical program was to start. That took care of the “Khaan” part of the evening. Sa Re Ga Ma Marathi winner in 2000 and then in Hindi in 2003, singer Salil Bhadekar (center) accompanied by his wife Aishwarya and table player Harman (a student of the late Dexter Raghunanan from Trinidad) serenaded the audience with a medley of songs from the past and present. Throughout the night, Bhuchar kept the audience and the performers engaged in a banter about the music and their personal tid bits. Midway, the third portion of the evening “Pan” were served at each table. Also in the audience, Bhuchar called out to Sri Preston Kulkarni who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the May 22 primary runoff for District 22 which comprises mostly of Ft Bend County. Also in the audience was Vilas Nayak, a young self-taught artist from the small town of Ujire east of Mangalore in Karnataka, who paints with both hands. His ability to rapid paint upside down and then flip the paining to reveal its true form has caught the eye of the TV show “India’s got Talent” and his painting of NBA star Tim Duncan in 4 minutes during the Spurs halftime in 2016 was auctioned for $25,000. Nayak is currently on a short tour of the US.


April 13, 2018





April 13, 2018

Arya Samaj of Greater Houston Celebrates 27th Sthapana Divas With 2nd Annual Health Fair CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 was followed by educational Health Awareness seminars from Dr. Rahul Prakash, Dr. Ramesh Patel and Dr. Ashok Jain on current healthy living and eating related topics. The doctors’ presentations emphasized Cardiac health, Diabetes and Power of Dietary discipline for a healthier, happier life, Life after 50, Mind & Body Relationship, the effects of stress on our overall health. The lectures were followed by informative live questions & answers session with the Doctors. Gayatri Kapoor gave a talk on emphasis of

Bone Marrow, Organ and blood donation. Urging south Asian community to register timely at a DPS office or at donatelifetexas. org for organ donation, as it takes very little time, and saves lives with a donation – there are thousands of patients worldwide fighting blood cancers/disorders – every 3 mins there is someone diagnosed with a blood cancer. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center Bus clinic was onsite and 11 donors (age 16 to 70 plus), amongst the many who had volunteered and donated their blood. Ask the Doctor session started at 11:30 AM, 100% free 1-on-1 consultation with ten doctors of

ASGH Health Awareness Seminars & Health fair 2018 Doctors & Volunteers

various specialties. ASGH health fair celebrations will be held annually at ASGH campus in the first weekend of April in the future. Doctor’s presentations, information is available on Facebook: www. facebook.com/AryaSamajGreaterHouston/ Health fair & Health Awareness Seminar – The Effects of Stress On Sunday, April 8, on our Health celebration continued with Sthapana divas program with Yoga for obesity in the morning, OM flag hoisting, Sthapana divas Yajnya, Yajnyaroop, Pravachan by Acharya Surya Nanda ji. Children from DAV Sunday Sanskriti School (www.aryasamajhouston.org, www.davss. org, davssgm@gmail. com), which started in ASGH Health fair 5K Walk, McClendon Park 1994, on imparting Vedic values for ages (pre kinder garden, 3 to 18), DAV Montessori & Elementary School (www.aryasamajhouston.org, www.davmschool.com davmontessori@gmail.com), a fully Accredited school by Texas Alliance of Accredited Private Schools (TAAPS), which started 5 years ago, gave an amazing, enthusiastic cultural program, followed by lunch. The ASGH Health fair Blood Donor mission of the Montessori School is to provide excellent Montessori and Traditional education youth have volunteered for Interfaith Minisalong with the Vedic values and Indian tries Meals-on-Wheels programs annually on culture. Enrollment in both schools is open Thanks-giving day for many years, and last for next semester. Please contact schools year had the largest contingent of over 70+ for more information. with parents to distribute meals. ASGH iniASGH principles emphasize importance tiated Jeevan Prabhat Pondicherry School, a of community service and leading by self home for children who were displaced and to set an example and make the world no- impacted when Hurricane Tsunami struck. ble. Last year 2017 was bad due to Hur- This school is now converted to DAV School ricane Harvey, ASGH collected $70,000, Puducherry in 2018, first of its kind in that and donated $50,000 to SEWA Interna- area. tional within couple of days to help local Arya Samaj of Greater Houston, would like relief efforts and $10,000 each to Mayor to thank, all the volunteer teams, including the of Houston funds and Governor relief managing and working committees, Sunday funds, prepared and delivered 500 to 900 DAV Sanskriti, Montessori School Teachhomemade vegetarian meals per week for ers and Arya Kishore Mandal High School 6 weeks to impacted community. Starting Youth volunteers, who have supported noble with cooking at home, to collective efforts efforts along the 27 years of an amazing jourto cook at ASGH and deliver. For the past ney, with the principle of Arya Samaj founder 10 years, Dr. Sushma Mahajan from ASGH Maharshi Dayanand, “Make the Whole Unihas been serving on the board of Interfaith verse Noble”. More information is available Ministries of Greater Houston for the past online at facebook.com/AryaSamajGreater10 years, to promote awareness of Vedic Houston and home page, www.aryasamajDharma to other religions. ASGH AKM houston.org



April 13, 2018


5K Walk-a-Thon: Houston Walks, Houston Cares!


SUGAR LAND: Over the last

three decades, Indo-American Charity Foundation (IACF) has appealed to the philanthropic spirit of the Indo American community in Houston. Addressing the needs in areas of education, family, general needy and healthcare in the metro Houston area, IACF has been staying true to their motto, “We live here, We give here”. As a part of their mission to foster the local community, IACF opened up its fundraising activities for the year with their signature event Walk-a-Thon: “I Walk- I Care”, on Saturday, April 7, at the Lost Creek Park in Sugar Land. The objective to organize this 5K Walk-a-Thon, in association with Indian Doctors Association (IDA) and Indian Doctors’ Club Charity Clinic (IDCC), was to raise health awareness and funds to support the IDCC, and also to benefit numerous other charities that are commonly supported by IACF. IDCC provides free medical services to the uninsured and underprivileged communities in Houston, located at 6550 Maple Ridge, Suite 229, the clinic is open to public on every Saturday (except major holidays). A noteworthy point is that this clinic is operated entirely by volunteering doctors and medical professionals, though the mone-

Photos: Roy Photography

Ribbon cutting ceremony

Health screening by the IDCC team.

tary support is well received from IDA and donors like the IACF. During hurricane Harvey, IACF members volunteered at various centers and raised sizeable funds at its annual gala, aiding them to make a donation of $200,000 for the Houston Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Their events are really something to look forward to and this year, despite overnight

rain showers and chilling weather, approximately 150 enthusiastic walkers and families showed up at 7:30 in the morning, committed and excited about participating in the free for all event. The day began with registration and breakfast, and the walkers had a chance to meet with IDCC team who offered free hypertension and diabetes screening prior to the event

start. Health professionals and technicians remarkably managed the medical booth. Mouth-watering refreshments were served, courtesy Vishala Restaurant and Deep Foods. Soonafter Mahesh Wadhwa, President of IACF welcomed everyone. While thanking the walkers and the heads of the partnering organization, he spoke about the event and IACF. He made a special mention of thanks for Dr. Prasun Jalal, IDA President and IDCC officers Dr. Kiran Gandhi, KC Mehta and Drs. Sunita and Suresh Moonat, and recognized the sponsors, specifically Fuel Maxx for their long-standing support. Nanda Vura, IACF, Past President and his dedicated team of IACF Directors and volunteers led the event. Indian Senior Citizens Association


(ISCA) Trustees, Raman Parekh, and Praful Gandhi participated in the event as a display of their support. Some of the Sugar Land and Fort Bend candidates running for offices; Farha Ahmed, Juli Mathew and Toni Wallace also attended. The emcee of this highly anticipated event was Shobana Muratee, President-Elect, IACF, who also spoke about the mission and vision of the organization. Finally, it was time for the Walka-Thon to kick off and a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorated it. The Presidents of the IACF, IDCC and IDA and the board members and participants did this honor. Complementing the team on the success of this event, Dr. Prasun Jalal, IDA President said, “It was a successful event, that was well organized. The team and the volunteers did a great job, I enjoyed walking and was happy to see the event-raised funds, which was for a good cause and achieved it goals. I encourage more people to join the next Walk-a-Thon”. The event helped collect $15,000, most of which will be donated to the charity clinic. IACF will hold its annual gala on October 6, 2018. To learn more about IACF and to become a volunteer, visit www.iacfhouston.com.

10 April 13, 2018 COMMUNITY Hindu American Foundation’s Annual Gala 2018 BY MANU SHAH

HOUSTON: History textbooks in the US

depict obscure practices about Hindus and Hinduism but not its core philosophy. This was one of the cudgels the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a leading institution for Hindu advocacy, took up 10 years ago and the fight is finally paying off. An insight into more of their work was provided to a packed hall of community members at the HAF Annual Fundraising Gala on April 7, at India House. The Keynote speaker was Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi from the 8th District in Illinois and one of 4 Hindu American members of Congress. A melodious invocation by Dr. Mitra Misra set the tone for the evening. Emcee Bharat Pallod briskly got the event rolling by inviting HAF’s Houston Chapter Coordinator Rishi Bhutada to offer a primer on the work HAF does. The goal, Rishi Bhutada explained, is to enhance the understanding of Hinduism and help shape policies that affect Hindus every day. This is done by educating the public, speaking out on issues that affect Hindus and building bridges with individuals and organizations whose vision aligns with HAF. Citing an example, he explained that textbooks in California and Texas are filled with matter and pictures depicting Hinduism and Indians as “weird, exotic, dirty and poor and causing our children to feel ashamed of their identity.” After sustained years of work, HAF was successful in submitting over 100 changes to educational material in

Sri Preston Kulkarni Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi presents HAF’s Pride of the Community award to Sewa International Houston Chapter President Gitesh Desai.

Smriti Ahuja speaks about her experience as a HAF summer intern

Texas and getting a major publisher’s books rejected by the State Board as the publisher refused to make the changes. It was also proof of what civic engagement can accomplish. Thousands of Indian American children and parents across the State sent

Rishi Bhutada, HAF Board of Directors Photos: Paresh Shah

Padmini Chari (left) and performers from the Nritya School of Dance with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (center) at HAF Gala.

letters and took time off to travel to multiple hearings of State Education Boards where their message was simple: they wanted to be represented accurately and with dignity. Rishi Bhutada sourced some of HAF’s success to a professional approach, an office in Washington D.C and 12 full time staff members who’ve “given up lucrative careers to work for HAF because they believe in the importance of advocacy.” Aesha Mehta, Associate Director of Programs, pulled up a survey which showed 1 in 3 Indian American students were bullied because of their religious beliefs, a consequence of what’s depicted in textbooks. She reiterated the importance of raising awareness of Hinduism in mainstream America. HAF is currently working closely with the FBI and the Department of Justice on tracking hate crimes against Hindus and in a recent effort is meeting with elected officials to address the issue of the administration’s proposal of revoking H1B visas for green card holders. HAF presented an award to the Houston Chapter of Sewa International because the organization “stood out in their efforts to rescue and rebuild Houston in the wake of Harvey’s devastation and exemplified Hinduism in action.” Sewa President Gitesh Desai accepted the award and shared his pride at the huge number of volunteers who “exhibited character and courage.” Democratic candidate in the runoff for the 22nd Congressional District, Srinivas Preston Kulkarni notched a record of sorts in the recent primaries when polls showed that 12 times the number predicted turned out to vote for him. He urged people to vote because if you “don’t vote, you don’t count” and he was determined that the Indian American community’s voice counted. The opportunity to intern with HAF and explore the concept of Hinduism and politics was, according to Smriti Ahuja “an incredible experience.” Not only did the sum-

mer internship expose her to issues affecting Hindu Americans but provided her a direct insight on how Hindu Americans are being represented on the Hill and “how advocacy actually works.” Smriti Ahuja is a member of the Arya Samaj of Houston. Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s address was laced with lighthearted anecdotes and quips but behind the humor was a serious undertone of the necessity of upholding Dharma values “now more than ever.” He expressed his pride at being “a Hindu American” and his aspiration in representing all Hindu and Indian Americans and their values and principles in Congress. The Congressman who draws inspiration from the Gita and had taken his oath on the Gita, commended HAF on their outstanding work and stated that he was proud to stand with them in their efforts. He also emphasized the importance of voting and civic engagement to be able to formulate public policy in the country so that “every Indian American child is proud of their name.” HAF co-founder Dr. Mihir Meghani, who donates 25% of his income every year to HAF urged the gathering to invest in HAF and “donate until you feel the pinch.” The appeal seemed to have worked as HAF racked up a tally of $128,000 by the end of the evening. A classical dance by the students of Nritya Dance School was also appreciated. Rishi Bhutada wrapped up the event by thanking the gathering for their immense support and for believing in HAF’s ability to represent Hindu Americans across the country. This, he stated, was a testament to how important HAF’s work is. He also highlighted the support and the long term partnership with the Hindus of Greater Houston, an umbrella organization that works to support the Hindu community in Houston. For more information about HAF, please visit hafsite.org



April 13, 2018

Vedic Heritage Shlokathon 2018 at Sri Meenakshi Temple


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PEARLAND: The Shlokathon is

an annual event where students in the Sri Meenakshi Temple Vedic Heritage School program are able to display what they have learnt throughout the year in the form of a light-hearted competition. More than one hundred children participated in the 2018 VHS Shlokathon. Teachers, parents, and relatives filled the audience, eagerly watching students as they recite Sanskrit shlokas and narrate stories and speeches related to Hindu culture. The event started with a prayer from our priests and introductions by our coordinators. This was followed by group presentations; first was the Junior Assembly chanting the Ganesha Pancharatnam, followed by the Senior Assembly chanting the Vishnu and Lalitha Sahasranamams. After the group performances were the individual competitions. The toddlers who are in the beginner’s classes recited a number of shlokas and bhajans. Other children in the junior assembly recited the Nama Ramayanam and Gita Govindam. The senior assembly children chanted various portions of Lalitha and

Vishnu Sahasranamams. Hearing the children recite the shlokas in Sanskrit that is a completely new language to them was very remarkable and a culmination of the hard work by the students and assembly teachers, Nalini Sadagopan, Bhavani Iyer, Pankajam Ramachandran,Jyotismathi Swaminathan and Vijay Krishna throughout the year. Following the shloka competition was the speech competition. This year’s speech and story topics were centered on the Nayanmars, Alwars, and the Acharyas, in honor of the newly constructed parts of the temple. Students were allowed to present a story about their favorite Nayanmar, Acharya or Alwar and tell their life story as well as their contribution to the Bhakti movement. Achut Karunakaran spoke about his favorite Alwar, Nammalwar. The senior assembly children were asked to speak about the three Dharmic philosophies – Dvaita, Advaita, and Vishishtadvaita, championed by the Acharyas – Madhava, Shankara and Ramanuja. The speech gave me an excellent opportunity to learn more about these very important philosophies. Some Children also spoken about their favorite Hindu festival – Diwali, Pongal and Holi.

The event was followed by a delicious lunch, organized by our wonderful kitchen staff and Board Member for Food services, Rani Chilukuri and her wonderful team. The award ceremony for the students was part of the lunch, and first, second and third prizes were awarded to the most outstanding performances by students in all classes by the MTS board members and VHS coordinators. The 2018 Shlokathon was a blast, and overall a fun experience. Family members and friends were able to see all the hard work put into the program by the students and teachers. Students were able to present in front of an audience as well as learn more about their culture from other performances. Personally, I look forward to the Shlokathons each year, I’ve learned a lot from this year, and can’t wait for the next.

Panguni Uthiram, A Divine Day BY M.K.SRIRAM

PEARLAND: Panguni Uthiram

is an extra-ordinarily special day in the Hindu calendar. It occurs on the star Uthiram, on normally a full moon day in the Panguni month (the very last month) of the Tamil year. It is believed to be the day when the divine wedding of Lord Subramanya and Deivanai took place. This divine wedding event was celebrated with great

religious fervor at Sri Meenkakshi Temple on April 1st. This calendar day is so auspicious that it is believed it was the wedding day for Parvathy and Parameswara as well as for Aandal and Ranganatha and Rama and Seetha. Lord Ayyappan’s Jayanthi falls on this day too. We are most fortunate that Sri Meenakshi Temple (MTS) brings to our community a very vivid glimpse of the grand celestial spectacle, which is the wedding

of Lord Subramanya. This wedding festival was conducted with great detail and every step of the process as laid down in the shastras was followed. Starting with the Seer CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

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12 April 13, 2018


Panguni Uthiram, A Divine Day

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 Varisai procession, the wedding function includes Rakshabandanam, Pravaram, Kanyadhanam, Agni-pradakshinam, Mangalya Puja, the most important Mangalya Dharanam, Homam, Lajaa homam and finally Purnahuthi. The utsava murthis were then taken on a procession on the silver mayil vahanam (peacock vehicle) around the temple by ardent devotees singing bhajans and slokams. This joyful celebration elevated the devotees to ecstatic heights. A group of ladies led by Maha sang the Thiruppugazh, so beautifully. This is a famous Tamil composition by the saint-poet Arunagirinathar. It is a “musical mantra” in praise of Lord Muruga and is so powerful as to transform one’s life into one of enlightenment and bliss. More than 500 devotees were treated to a sumptuous lunch, after the function. The entire event was organized and executed under the leadership of Mrs Padmini Nathan, the Chairman and the very dedicated Board of Directors, temple artisans, priests and staff, as well as a host of devout volunteers. Sheila Sriram from RAC and Nach Vaduganathan and Meera Srikanth were the event coordinators. This day was indeed a day to celebrate the glory of grahasta dharma (or the married life of a householder). Married couples rededicate themselves to each other and their families, so that their own lives and homes are filled with peace, joy and bhakti to God. The aforementioned Thiruppughazh is so beautiful and rhythmic that every devotee is enthralled listening to it. It is really worth presenting a couple of lines from this great work.

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April 13, 2018



14 April 13, 2018 HOUSTON: Navratri is a major

festival celebrated by the Hindus in India with much pomp and gaiety. In this festival, people worship the nine different forms of the Goddess Durga who symbolizes purity, power and divinity. The word ‘Navratri ‘means ‘Nine nights’. It is the longest Hindu festival of the year, spanning over nine nights and ten days. In a year, Navratri comes four times-one each in the months of Chaitra, Aashadh, Ashwin and Magha. The Navratri that falls in Chaitra or Basant months in March or April is quite popular. In this Navratri, the ninth day is celebrated as Ram Navami, the birth of Shri Ram. On the first day of Navaratri,”Ghatsthaapna” is done in which an urn is filled with water and religiously placed for doing pooja. An ‘Akhand ‘diya is lit, which is burnt day and night. After this, fast is observed and prayers are offered to the Goddess for nine consecutive days. On the tenth day, 9 little girls are called home. They represent the Goddess. One pays obeisance to them and after serving them food, breaks the 9-day fast and eats. The Gauri Siddhivinayak temple celebrated Chaitri Navaratri on Sunday, March 25, which was attended by over 300 devotees. The navami pooja started around 4:00 pm, which was followed by pooja, havan, garba and aarti. Mahaprasad was served after aarti. During the Shani Maha pooja


Gauri Siddhivinayak Temple of Houston Celebrates Chaitri Navaratri and Performs Shani Pooja

and havan on Chaitra Sud Purnima (Hanuman Jayanti) on Saturday, March 31, homam was conducted to negate the malefic of planet Saturn. Over 200 devotees attended

it. The Shani Maha pooja started around 4:00 pm, which was followed by pooja, havan, and maha aarti, followed by Mahaprasad. Saturn is the son of Sun God

and Chaya (Sanvarna). It is said that when he opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Shani on astrological charts. Shani is considered to be the strongest malefic and a stern teacher who represents patience, effort, endeavor, and endurance; and who brings restrictions and misfortunes. However, a favorably placed Shani on the horoscope of a person stands for a strong career, healthy life and everything positive for that person. Yagna service includes: Pujan & Sthapana (installation) of Ganesh, Navgraha, Shiva, Invocation mantras, Shani mantra chanting, Shani shanti donation in temple, and havan. Once the mantra chanting concludes then the yagna starts.

Pandit Pradip Pandya would like to thank all devotees for their support and for attending the pooja. The temple is open daily from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and everyday aarti is performed at 7:30pm. The Gauri Siddhivinayak temple is a non-profit 501(C) 3 organization and all donations are tax deductible. Gauri Siddhivinayak Temple of Houston is located at 5645 Hillcroft Ave Suite: 701 Houston, TX 77036 For further information or to participate in pooja, sponsorship or volunteering call Pandit Pradip Pandya at 832-466-9868. Website: www.siddhivinayakhouston.org, Email: siddhivinayakhouston@gmail.Com

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COMMUNITY HOUSTON: Introduction: Environmen-

tal pollution has existed for centuries but only started to be significant following the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Pollution occurs when the natural environment cannot destroy an element without creating harm or damages to itself. Environmental Pollution occurs when pollutants contaminate the surroundings; which brings about changes that affect our normal lifestyles adversely. Pollution disturbs our ecosystem and the balance in the environment. With modernization and development in our lives pollution has reached its peak; giving rise to global warming and human illness. Effects of Environmental Pollution: Environmental Pollution occurs in different forms; air, water, soil, radioactive, noise, heat/ thermal and light. Toxic environmental pollution affects more than 200 million people worldwide, according to Pure Earth, a non-profit environmental organization. In some of the world’s worst polluted places, babies are born with birth defects, children have lost 30 to 40 IQ points, and life expectancy may be as low as 45 years because of cancers and other diseases. 1.Humans: The effects of environmental pollution on humans are mainly physical but can also turn into neuro-affections in the long term. The decrease in quality of air leads to several respiratory problems including asthma or lung cancer. Chest pain, congestion, throat inflammation, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease is some of diseases that can be causes by air pollution. Water pollution occurs due to contamination of water and may pose skin related problems including skin irritations and rashes. 2.Animals: Environmental pollution mainly affects animals by causing harm to their living environment, making it toxic for them to live in. Acid rains can change the composition of rivers and seas, making them toxic for fishes; an important quantity of ozone in the lower parts of the atmospheres can cause lung problems to all animals. Eventually, soil pollution will cause harm and sometimes even the destruction of microorganisms, which can have dramatic effect of killing the first layers of the primary food chain. 3.Plants: As for animals, plants and especially trees, can be destroyed by acid rains, ozone in the lower atmosphere block the plant respiration, and harmful pollutants can absorbed form the water or soil. Constant use of pesticides, insecticides & other chemicals causes the soil to become infertile. 4. Ecosystem: Almost all our gains in the fields of industrial progress, science and technology had so far been realized at the cost of our health. Even our flora and fauna were found to be threatened with extinction. Conclusion: Everything on our planet is

April 13, 2018


Environment Pollution and Impacts interconnected, we all depend on each other’s actions and the way we treat natural resources and we should care for it in the most appropriate manner. It is impossible that all the existing pollution problems in the environmental can completely be resolved in the next decade. It is the responsibility of everyone to protect our environment and fulfill our responsibilities in environmental protection, creating a quality ecological environment and sharing wonderful green living together. By Dr. Ramamohana Reddy, Environmental Ecologist/Supervisor, CHEMTEX Environment Laboratories, Texas USA

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16 April 13, 2018


Kalakriti Performing Arts & Raas All Stars Presents the 10th Year of Raas Competition

DALLAS, TX : Finally the much

awaited date of March 31, arrived when the top 8 national Garba RAAS team met in Dallas, TX to complete under the Kalakriti Performing Arts & RAS All Stars banner. Kalakriti Performing Arts a well known non-profit in Houston for brining Ramleela and other Indian epic on stage. RaaS All Stars (RAS) established in 2008, has become a leading dance organization across the country that not only brings together collegiate raas dancers to compete for the championship title, but also helps to spread awareness and appreciation for our rich Indian culture. This year, Raas All-Stars celebrated its 10th anniversary by hosting the RAS X National Championship in Richardson, Texas on March 31st 2018, and by officially becoming recognized as a nonprofit organization that is in part funded by the Richardson Cultural Arts Commission. Ten years ago, members of the Gujarati community started

this competition as a way to harvest an appreciation for the art form of garba/raas in younger generations and, through the years, RAS has grown into an umbrella organization that helps to overlook the development of individual university level raas competitions and also provide guidance and support to both new and veteran dance teams. Teams qualify for the RAS stage by competing at RAS bid competitions that are hosted by universities across the country during the seven months leading up to RAS weekend. These RAS Bid Competitions are expected to not only follow certain judging and logistical guidelines, but also award RAS bid points to the teams who place at these competitions. Teams who place first, second, and third are awarded 4, 2, and 1 bid point respectively. Ultimately, these points are accumulated, and at the end of the dance season, the eight teams with the highest number of

points are invited to compete at the final Raas All-Stars stage for a chance to earn the championship title. This year, with fifteen official bid competitions at schools such as UT Austin, University of Florida, and University of Maryland, teams were provided with more opportunities to compete and earn a place at the final stage. The 2018 Raas All-Stars competitors that emerged at the end of this past season were CMU Raasta, UT Austin Dirty South Dandiya, UMD EntouRaas, RU Raga, UH Roarin’ Raas, UTD TaRaas, UVA HooRaas, and UConn Thunderaas. The planning process to welcome the elite eight to Dallas on March 31, began in the summer of 2017 when the RAS X board comprised of 34 members from across the country came together with the single vision to celebrate the decade of dance that Raas AllStars has been able to cultivate for the past ten years. Some of these

members included former raas dancers, Bollywood fusion dancers, competition directors, or passionate leaders within the dance community. In addition to the Executive Board, RAS X greatly appreciated the guidance and support from beneficiaries, Kalakrti Performing Arts and Ekal Vidyalaya, who were instrumental in helping with the logistical planning and ticket sales for this year’s event. From the Friday night Mela and Mixer filled with games, food stalls, gifts, and show order reveal, to the personalized team banners and decorated hotel rooms, RAS was determined to welcome these talented teams to a championship weekend they would never forget. Each team brought a mesmerizing and impressive performance that left the audience in awe, but in the end the National Championship and Runner Up titles were awarded to UT Austin’s Dirty South Dandiya and UTD TaRaas, respectively.


Photos: Preet Mandavia & Praneeth Gogineni

Into the next decade, Raas AllStars hopes to continue being a leader in the dance community, inspiring younger generations to appreciate the Indian heritage through dance and creating a welcoming community that individuals from all backgrounds feel comfortable joining. Kalakriti Performing Arts is nonprofit organization with mission to support Indian culture and heritage through artistic and visual dance forms. Over the years Kalakriti has worked with several other Houston non-profit organizations to support their fundraiser, Ramleela a signature event of Kalakriti held annually at VPSS Haveli. Ramleela 2018 will be held on October 7, 2018. For more information and for future event details please visit www.kalakritiusa.org or www.facebook.com/ kalakritiusa

April 13, 2018



18 April 13, 2018


First, Middle, Surname ... Real Name?

Bees Saal Baad



Some journalists who began their careers covering the Sal-

man Khan blackbuck poaching case have ended it covering the Salman Khan blackbuck poaching case. After twenty long years of passing the buck, the judiciary has shown that it’s in no mood to buck the trend of endlessly long court cases. In the desi legal system filing a case can cost you deer. Citizens are singing the famous Beatles song to law courts: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?” But then bees saal baad is only Indian Standard Time. More than bees saal baad we still don’t know if former PM Rajiv Gandhi was the “real” beneficiary in the Bofors transaction. More than bees saal baad, victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy still claim they haven’t got justice, more than bees saal baad the victims of the 1984 riots too still await closure from the courts. Bees saal baad, Lalu Prasad’s chaara ghotala continues to provide fodder for his political rivals, even if the case dates back to the mid-1990s. When there are celebrities involved, the system clearly gets star stuck. Actor Sanjay Dutt first accused in the 1993 bomb blast case was convicted only bees saal bad in 2013. In the 1995 tandoor murder case, the politician who decided that he didn’t want to be a kebab mein haddi and instead attempted to create a tandoori wife was sentenced nearly bees saal baad in 2013. The only clock ticking in Indian courts is the grandfather clock. The long line of pending cases means justice is always hanging in the balance. File a case in an Indian court and the magistrate is likely to quote the words of poet Robert Browning: “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.” In the case of film star versus animal, the media becomes a pack of wildebeest. Salman is a deer hunter but paparazzi are celebrity hunters. Quipped the internet wag, although poached salmon is good to eat, a poaching Salman is a notso-palatable media circus. After twenty years and a sentence of five years, the court even fined Salman a royal sum of Rs 10,000. Now bees saal baad, that really sounds like small change in the judicial system. Kanoon zinda hai but like the tiger, speedy justice is an endangered species. -Sagarika Ghose in Times of India

“ hat’s in a name” written by Kalpana Sharma ( The Hindu, March 7, 2010) highlights the problems faced by women when their names change after marriage. Men too experience difficulties when they go abroad. She says in south India the issue of surnames does not arise as people use initials. The expansion of initials given in the passport in place of surnames poses problems outside India. In the passport, there are only two parts to furnish the name of the passport holder. The “surname” appears first. The actual name comes next under “Given name”. Different systems are followed in India in giving a name to a person. Confusions and complications arise when we are asked to fill in various official forms in our country – first name, middle name, last name, surname, given name are some examples. I was asked to furnish my “pet name” in one of our private banks. My son who is abroad went to the department concerned to collect his driving licence. The traffic police officer was issuing the licence one by one. Then he started calling Sekhaari, Sekhaari and Sekhaari and gave up. As no one turned up, my son surmised that the name called might be the shortened version of Sekharipuram, our native village. He was right and got his driving licence! He says he is unable to get anything done in the first attempt due to the misspelling of his expanded initials by the officials concerned and he has to go to the same department two or three times to get it rectified. I can understand his predicament but I am helpless. My brother’s son who is staying in U.K. is Ramesh Subramanian as given in the passport. I asked him how the natives call him. He simply said with a smile they just call him “Ramesh Submarine man”. My cousin in Germany was called Mr. Kalpathy. Kalpathy is a name of a town! In south India, normally the first letter of the initials indicates the native place of the person and the second letter the name of the person’s father and the person’s real name is pushed

My brother’s son, who is staying in U.K., is Ramesh Subramanian as given in the passport. I asked him how the natives call him. He simply said, with a smile, that they just call him “Ramesh Submarine man”. to the end. The culprit behind this system is the person’s school leaving certificate. In some other forms, for want of space the name of the person or a part of it is mercilessly cut. The expansion of the initials of a person leads to hilarious situations on some occasions. When I was in the U.S., a friend of mine was booked for some small violation of traffic rules and was asked to report to the traffic offence court to pay the required fine. As per the passport, his name was too long and it was Thirunindravur Srinivasachari Thothadhri. When the judge fumbled to pronounce his name, the entire court started laugh-


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ing. His name was a blessing in disguise. The judge pronounced his verdict saying that he need not pay the fine as he could not read his name properly. However, he asked him to see a short documentary film on traffic rules and then go home! I would request the passport authorities to slightly alter the all-important first page of the passport. The name of the passport holder should appear first and the surname should appear next. This is the minimum change required. As written by Ms Sharma, I also ask why so much importance is given to the surname? I know it will be difficult even to make a small change in the passport which is an international document and we have to inform all the countries in the world about the change. The given name first and the surname next will also help people living in other parts of India. “Maiden name” for women and the “given name” for men would be simpler in the long run. However at the age of 76, I feel I have to join the LKG class again to answer the question “What is your name”? -The Hindu


April 13, 2018


Club 65 Seniors Learn to Cure Their Illnesses and Stay Safe

The Club 65 members with the speakers after the luncheon


HOUSTON: The members of Club

65 got a few good tips at their monthly meeting this past Saturday at the Bayland Community Center on Beechnut and these weren’t the usual everyday tips either. They heard from two law enforcement officers on how to stay safe and from an acupressure specialist on how to remain healthy. The meeting was arranged by C65 President Paru McGuire and Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston Board Director Rahat Kale. One of the officers, Deputy Sheriff Nasir Abbas had previously been honored by the IMAGH at last year’s Eid Milind Gala. The Acupressurist, Neeta Sheth, who was visiting from a trip to be with her daughter in New York, was a late entry speaker brought in by local Houstonian Dr. Indu Jain. The meeting began with the other police officer, Harris County Constable Pct. 5 Corporal Waqas Farahshah, 32, speaking about his background, Born in Karachi, Pakistan he arrived in Houston in 2000 and went to the Police Academy, graduating in 2009. He is one of two South Asian officers in Precinct 5, with two more in Precinct 6 and another three in Precinct 3. Asked a lot of questions about traffic tickets and safety, Farahshah (speaking in Urdu) gave some good

Deputy Sheriff Nasir Abbas (left) and Harris County Constable Pct. 5 Corporal Waqas Farahshah spoke to the Club 65 members at their meeting on Saturday, April 7.

advice about being stopped by an officer, especially at night. He suggested turning the dome light inside the car on, rolling down all the windows to cut down on reflections and glare and keeping your hands where visible so that the officer felt safe in approaching the car. NasirAbbas also added to the safety theme and both officers said they were available to render assistance to the community and gave out their cell numbers. Abbas has been with the Sheriff’s office since 2009 and is the first South Asian Deputy Sheriff. He has formed the International Police Officers Association in December 2017, of which he is the president. He estimates there are 40 South Asian

Acupressure specialist Neeta Shah gave a short talk and demonstration

officers in Harris County. Neeta Sheth has been involved with acupressure since 1978 and has been in practice in Ahmedabad, Gujarat for 20 years. She estimates that she has trained 9,000 students and gives many seminars in India, Australia, Canada and the US, with the last one in California. (The next day she gave a seminar at the Keshav Smriti on the city’s west side). Sheth gave a brief description of what acupressure was and how the whole body’s function could be distilled down to the hands. She showed techniques for easing pain and discomfort as well as lingering problems and also sold some massaging kits. Lunch was prepared by IMAGH volunteer Shaheen Vora and her mother and served after the vent.

Bollywood and Beyond! HOUSTON: A mesmerizing musi-

cal experience presented by Symphonys Unlimited featuring Padmabhushan Dr L Subramaniam on violin, Padmashri Kavitha Krishnamurthy Subramaniam on vocal and two time Grammy winner Ernie Watts on Saxaphone. Under the banner of Lakshminarayan global music festival the Subramaniams have been performing with other world renown Western musical


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instrumentalists to massive audiences throughout the world. Here is an opportunity to welcome them to H town and enjoy the show. Venue: Stafford Civic Center (old) Date: Friday, April 28 Time: 8pm For tickets and other information contact Rajesh at 832-287-1970 or Mythili at 713-725-7365 INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

20 April 13, 2018 COMMUNITY Houston’s Got Bollywood… and How! BY MOKSH ARTS


OUSTON: Moksh Community Arts & Naach Houston spring into the outdoor season with a brand new production, celebrating the global spirit of Bollywood Dance Theater in this spectacular presentation of “Houston’s Got Bollywood – titled “ The Great Indian Wedding” conceived and directed by dance maestro Mahesh Mahbubani. The show starts at sharp 8.15 pm on April 14 at the one & only Miller Outdoor Theater. The Indian wedding has forever been a matter of fascination to the world – the fact that the event takes place over five days and involves extended family members and neighbors never ceases to amaze the onlookers. Houston’s Got Bollywood creatively brings this magic to the Miller Outdoor theater stage – we invite you to come and share the celebration of the human spirit. Dressed in extravagant costumes, innovative choreography, dynamic dancers and breath taking visuals, the show is woven together in a true Bollywood theatrical style. There are four acts to this fast paced and peppy dance show Act 1, On The Radio – a showcase of dances from different eras of Bollywood films. Act 2 ‘Around the World- dedicated to an international audience passionate about Bollywood –includes diverse genres in music and dance. Act 3, unique in its own sense is titled ‘Sufianna’ inspired by Sufi poems of love, a fundamental ingredient for any relationship. The finale, Act 4 is The Grand Indian

wedding itself – a creative interpretation of the various ceremonies in an Indian wedding, celebrating the union of two souls. For over a decade Naach Houston has been presenting some of the best Bollywood Theater production Houston has seen. These shows have been proudly conceived and executed by the local talent of Bayou City. Houston has Naach and thus Houston’s Got Bollywood. Moksh Community Arts is a non profit organization created with a vision to make dance an integral part of life for all individuals within the context of community inclusive of all social and cultural backgrounds, providing performance platforms through cross cultural collaborations with Dance, Theatre and music. Moksh Community Arts believes in the phi-

losophy of the transformative power of dance, to integrate the body and mind for total wellness. Through dance we intend to create a holistic experience in every participant and thereby impact the larger community. This performance funded in part by the city of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board.



April 13, 2018

Erotic Dancer Group, Priya Verma, Awarded $4.6M in Class Action Suit

PHILADELPHIA: A federal judge has award-

ed $4.6 million to a group of erotic dancers after a jury agreed the women were cheated out of their wages and tips at the Penthouse Club Dancer Priya Verma filed a class-action suit in 2013 against the strip club at Castor and Delaware Avenues. The suit alleged management had improperly classified the dancers as independent contractors instead of employees. The Penthouse Club tried to have the case dismissed by claiming it did not pay the dancers but only rented stage time to them. In an unusual memorandum following a 2014 hearing, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody disagreed, stating the club had acted as an employer because it could fine dancers for any number of offenses and fire the women at any time. The suit culminated in a three-day trial in mid-March. According to court records, at least 353 women danced at the Penthouse Club from 2009 through 2012, the time covered by the suit. The club, which is locally owned, licenses the “Penthouse” name and is not part of a national chain. Verma, who often worked seven-day weeks, said dancers were required to show up for a minimum of four shifts per week and shell out house fees ranging from $25 to $75 a shift regardless of whether or not they made money paid directly by customers. In her complaint, Verma contended that she and the other dancers were not paid minimum wage, that Penthouse Club management routinely took part of the tips they received from patrons, and that they were not paid overtime when they were required to work additional hours, which she said happened frequently.

When a dancer provided a “lap dance” for a customer, the patron paid $30, of which the Penthouse Club got $10, says the suit. A 30minute $300 private dance? Verma claimed that the Penthouse Club took half. The dancers were also required to pay a wide range of fines, according to the suit: $25 every time they were more than 30 seconds late to the stage; $50 if they used a cell phone while on the floor; $35 for wearing their hair “up” while on the job; and $100 for leaving work early without management approval. The jury on March 22 found the club did not pay dancers the required minimum hourly wage of $7.50. They were inappropriately ordered to pay “tip outs” to a host of other club employees. On a Friday evening, for instance, the fees could include $25 to management, $15 to the DJ, $10 to the “house mom,” $5 to the emcee, $5 to security workers, and $6 to valets. Dancers had to pay the valet even if they did not have a car.



22 April 13, 2018


Edinburgh is Laid Out with an Artist’s Eye, Even in Names of Shops BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA


DINBURGH, SCOTLAND: If you are a tourist trying to take in all the sights in this picturesque city, you can surely build up a strong appetite walking around in Edinburgh, not to mention some strong leg muscles too. From the entrance plaza at Edinburgh Castle on the west to Calton Hill on the east is just slightly over a mile, as the crow flies, not counting going up and down the hills. And if you tack on the walk through the New Calton Burial Ground, slight diversion to the Holyroodhouse Palace and visit to the modern Scottish Parliament, you can easily tack on another mile or two. But all that walking makes you hungry ... for food and other diversions. There are such a slew of shops that catch your eye and their signages are

A colorful double-decker hop on-hop off tourist bus

The Scottish Arms has some quaint sayings painted on its façade

often the most amusing part. A very European feature is to make the shop names as unusual as possible that you have to remember them, regardless of what is being sold. Take for example “Omar Khayyam”, an Indian ResAn eye catching bicycle parked in the traffic island

Deacon Brodie’s is a landmark in itself

Red Fort is a favorite for its late dinners

The Oink serves delicious pulled pork


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taurant. Khayyam was neither Indian nor visited India, he was Persian. The Mosque Kitchen, located next to the Edinburgh Central Mosque, close to Maqbool’s Supermarket, served a variety of halal food. Or Black Medicine Coffee, which does not sell herbs or witches brews but has a nice atmosphere for sipping coffee. Taco Mazama is one of two Mexican restaurants and Oink serves delicious pulled pork and is located just two blocks from the Holyroodhouse Palace and the Queen’s Gallery gift shop (which has richly decorated interiors). Ataxi driver (who was Bangladeshi with a long beard) told that that of the 15,000 Indian restaurants in the UK, 75% are owned and run by Bangladeshis. At the Red Fort (which actually has Chinese vases as decoration pieces), the manager (who gave me a good deal for dinner at $13) was Nepali, and he barked orders to through the dumbwaiter to the cook in the basement who was Bangladeshi. The Lamb Rogan Josh was anything but authentic - it was more like previously boiled lamb simmered in a sauce of onions and tomatoes - but man, the hot naan was huge!!

Edinburgh, a city of just over 500,000 people, is not a city of many cars, yet it is well connected by bus and a five-year-old single tram line that runs from the airport to the center and ends at York Place, almost at the base of Calton Hill. There is also the 20-year-old bus service - the 100 Airlink - 24/7 from the airport that has been retrofitted with 6-month old sparkling new double-deckers that have pre-programmed stop messages and even a video monitor showing information in sign language. The Airlink stops outside the entrance to the Waverly Train station from which passenger trains run to the surrounding towns and villages and even further afield to Dundee, Glasgow and other parts of Scotland. Waverly Station (next to the Balmoral Hotel) is the main train station like New York’s Penn Station. It is submerged below the street level and is covered with a large glasscovered roof supported by exposed steel trusses spanning at least 200 feet across the tracks. Walking around in the city, even late at night, one doesn’t get nervous and the city remains approachable and safe.


Maqbool’s Supermarket, next to the mosque.

The Queen’s Gallery at Holyroodhouse Palace


April 13, 2018

Narasimha Chaturdasi, Lord Narasimha’s Appearance Day Festival at Iskcon of Houston

HOUSTON: Mark your calendars for the

sever the head of his son, and with great anger struck his fist against the column in his assembly hall at the palace. From within the pillar came a fearful sound, which appeared to crack the covering of the universe and thus Lord Narasimha appeared in His wonderful form from the pillar. There ensued a fight between the Lord and Hiranyakasipu where Hiranyakasipu was killed. Thereafter, along with Shukracharya and other great saints, Lord Brahma, made Prahlada the king of all the demons and giants in the universe. The Bhagavata purana establishes that one who hears and chants this narration concerning the activities of Prahlada Maharaja, the killing of Hiranyakasipu, and the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narasimha Dev surely reaches the spiritual world, where there is no anxiety. Iskcon of Houston invites you, your family and friends to come take the blessings of the Lord on this auspicious occasion. Please visit www.iskconhouston. org or call 713-684- 4482 for more details. Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ ISKCONofHouston/Iskcon of Houston | 1320 West 34 th Street | 77018

upcoming event at ISKCON of Houston; Narasimha Jayanti, a major Vaisnava festival commemorating the appearance of the “half man-half lion” incarnation of Lord Krishna on Saturday, April 28. An impressive festive lineup is in the works including yajna, kirtan, drama and sumptuous vegetarian feast. There lived in Satya Yuga, a demoniac king Hiranyakasipu who performed severe austerities and received special benediction from Lord Brahma that he could not be killed by any human being, demigod or animal or any other entities; he could not be killed by any kind of weapons, neither during day nor night. His son Prahlada was a staunch devotee of the Lord since birth and preached the glories of Lord Vishnu even as a child of five years. However, he did this much to the displeasure of his father who in turn tried to kill his own son by cruel means. But his son, Prahlada remained steadfast in his devotion to Lord Visnu and continued to preach the Lord’s message to his demoniac father. Being obsessed with anger, Hiranyakasipu, took up his sword to MADRAS N PAVILIO T & DAAWA CATERING

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24 April 13, 2018 Vaisakhi Festival falls on April

14th and marks the beginning of the solar year. People of North India, particularly Punjab thank God for good harvest. Visit to Gurudwaras, Vaisakhi processions and traditional performances are the highlights of the day. Vaisakhi has special significance for Sikhs as on this day in 1699, their tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji organized the order of the Khalsa. Vaisakhi Celebrations Festival of Vaisakhi is celebrated with lot of joy and enthusiasm in the northern state of Punjab and Haryana. Farmers are jubilant over the festival as for them Vaisakhi marks the time for harvest of rabi crops. Prosperous with the bountiful produce they look forward to celebrating Vaisakhi with all eagerness. For the predominant Sikh population of Punjab Vaisakhi is one the big-

Vaisakhi Festival gest festival as it marks the foundation day of Khalsa Panth by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Sikh community located anywhere in the world celebrate Vaisakhi by participating in the special prayer meets and Baisakhi processions. Vaisakhi Celebrations by Farmers In the villages of Punjab and Haryana, the day of Vaisakhi is full of colors and vibrancy. Cries of “Jatta aayi Vaisakhi” reverberate in the skies as gaily-dressed men and women move towards the fields to celebrate the occasion. High point of Vaisakhi celebrations in villages is the performance of traditional folk dance bhangra and gidda by men and women respectively. The dance is simple in movement but is extremely energetic and is performed in-groups on the beat of dhol. Farmers also celebrate Vaisakhi as a Thanksgiving Day. Af-

ter taking an early bath in ponds or rivers people visit temples or gurdwaras to express gratitude to the Almighty for the bountiful harvest and pray for prosperity and good times in future. At several places in Punjab colourful Baisakhi Fairs are also organized to celebrate the day. People participate in these fairs with lots of enthusiasm and charm. Major attractions of Vaisakhi Fairs are the bhangra and gidda performances besides wrestling bouts, singing and acrobatics. Performance of folk instruments - vanjli and algoza is also quite popular. Food stalls and shops selling trinkets make Vaiskhi Melas even more joyful. Vaisakhi Celebrations by Sikhs Sikhs celebrate this very important day of their religion with joy and devotion. They take an early bath, wear new clothes and visit the neighborhood gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) to participate in

the special prayer meet marked for the day. After a special ardas of kirtans (religious songs) and discourses kada prasad (sweetened semolina) is distributed amongst all present. Later, people sit in rows to relish the langar or community lunch prepared and served by kar sevaks or volunteers. Major celebrations of Vaisakhi are organized at Golden Temple, Amritsar. Most Sikhs strive to visit Golden Temple on the occasion. The Khalsa Panth was founded in Anandpur Sahib in the year 1699. Another high point of Vaisakhi celebrations by Sikhs is the Vaisakhi procession or nagar kirtan carried though the city under the leadership of Panj Piaras or the Five Beloved Ones. Men, women and children alike participate in the Vaisakhi processions with enthusiasm. Mock duels, bands playing religious tunes and performance of bhangra and gidda dance make Vai-

Festival Recipe: Til Gajak Ingredients: • 1 cup Sesame • 3/4-cup Jaggery • 2 tbsp Ghee • 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder Method: 1. Roast sesame on low flame

stirring continuously to avoid it from spluttering out of the pan. 2. Boil jaggery in 1/2 cup water to form thick syrup. 3. When done, check its consistency by putting a drop of the syrup in a dish of cold water. If the drop stays firm the consistency is right. 4. Add the roasted sesame to the syrup. On a rolling board, spread a


sakhi processions quite colourful and enchanting.Later in the evening, people exchange greetings with friends and relatives usually with a box of sweets or other traditional gifts. Vaisakhi Celebration in India The auspicious day of Vaisakhi is celebrated all over India though under different names and with different set of rituals. People of Assam celebrate April 13 as Rongali Bihu, while those in West Bengal celebrate it as Naba Barsha. Bihar celebrates Vaisakhi as Vaishakha in honour of the Sun God, Surya while Kerala celebrates it as Vishu and Tamil Nadu as Puthandu. In Kashmir, a ceremonial bath and general festivity mark Vaisakhi while in Himachal Pradesh devotees flock to the temple of Jwalamukhi and take a holy dip in the Hot Springs. -aisakhifestival.com

film of oil and spread the sesamejaggery mixture. 5. Flatten it to 1-cm thickness. When the mixture is sufficiently cooled, cut into square pieces. Store in an airtight container. -baisakhifestival.com

April 13, 2018



26 April 13, 2018

SUDOKU Place a Number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine.


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes Arbi di Chaat (Eddoe Root Spicy Salad) Directions:

Send us the correct answer before April 18, 2018. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).

Solution Next Week

With summer just around the cor-

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ner, there is a huge demand for quick, spicy light snacks. So, by popular demand, here is a reprint of Mama’s Arbi di Chaat recipe, which is just the kind of tasty, snack you need on hot afternoons. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions. In the heat of the summer, when Punjabis want to snack, but not necessarily eat fried foods or potatoes, they reach out for arbi ki chaat which has a cool, spicy and tangy taste and is low in calories as it is not made with any oil. It is a simple and quick dish to make and is very satisfying. In India, many road food vendors make it for the people who go out for evening strolls. Arbi (eddoe root) is closely related to the taro root but is smaller and has an acrid taste that requires careful cooking. It grows best in rich soil with good drainage but can also be grown in poorer soils and drier climates than the taro root. Eddoe originated in India and Malaysia, and from China and Japan it migrated to the West Indies and the New World. All arbi dishes should be made with ajwain (bishop’s weed, carom seeds or ajowan caraway) as the spice coats the arbi to give it a unique taste and also is easy to digest. Among the benefits of arbi are that It reduces fatigue, aids in digestion, controls hypertension, has a low glycemic index making it good for diabetics, has amino acid and Omega-3 oils, builds immunity and slows the aging process. Arbi is high in carbohydrates, the vitamins E and pyridoxine, potassium and copper. Ajwain is often taken with a pinch of salt (to cut the spice’s bitterness) and swallowed with a glass of water for stomach ache or indigestion. Ajwain is a seed that smells almost exactly like thyme but is more aromatic, slightly

bitter and pungent and stronger in taste. A favorite in many Punjabi households is a crispy, hot, namakmirch-ajwain parontha (flaky bread) eaten with a small wad of homemade white makhan (butter). Ingredients: • 2 lbs arbi (small to medium eddoe root) • 2 large nimbu (lemons) – cut in halves • 1 large piyaaz (onion) – peeled and chopped into small pieces • 1 medium adrak (ginger root) – peeled and chopped into small pieces • 2 large hari mirch (green chillies) - chopped into small pieces • 1 tsp ajwain (bishop’s weed or carom seeds) • 1 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder) • Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), garam masala

1. Wash the arbi then place it in a pot and boil. Remove when still hard and not too tender. 2. Peel the arbi and cut into small pieces. 3. Place the cut arbi in a large bowl, then add the onions, ginger, chillies and all the spices. Squeeze the juice out of the lemons over the mixture. You can also use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons. 4. Stir the mixture thoroughly and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. 5. Some people enjoy this dish with some imbli (tamarind) chutney. 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.




es of having silver (or silver-plated) cu ments or decoratio n pieces is that, ov er time, when expo tlery, ornaair, they will oxidize sed to and become coated awhile, the pretty sil with a brownish tin humid ver items start to lo ok ugly and need to ge. After If you use and wash be polished. them daily, then the items do not tarnish ing still makes them , but polishshine. There are a variety of silver polishes an using toothpaste, bu d some people even t these always requ suggest ire lots of scrubbin tedious task. Also, g, which is a you can’t get to the little It’s much easier if yo u use a product like creases and carved spaces. pour a small amou Tarn-X, which is a nt in liqui to drip the liquid ov to a wide open flat bowl, then use a sm d. Just er the silver surface all . The tarnish will im spoon disappear and the sil ver luster will show mediately . Just wash with so and then dry with a ap and water soft cloth.

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April 13, 2018


Dev (Irrfan) is a toilet paper salesman. One evening he decides to spice up his otherwise mundane life and passionless marriage, by going home early from work with a bunch of roses for his wife. It turns out, that his wife is in bed with another man. This shocking revelation leads to a series of events which are both funny and outrageous. The middle-class man is a victim of his own circumstances. He lives a life of submission, so much so, that when presented with a situation of conflict, like Dev, he struggles to commit a crime of passion. He resigns to his fate, or so it would seem. Blackmail takes this concept and gives it an uproariously good twist. It takes the common man’s daily dilemmas and puts an intrigu-

ing spin on things like EMIs, loans and failing relationships. On learning about his wife’s adultery, Dev starts blackmailing her lover Ranjit (Arunoday Singh), who in turn blackmails Dev’s wife. More drama unfolds once other characters from Dev’s life get to know of his blackmailing plans. It sparks a series of

sorts, where everyone starts blackmailing someone else for motive. The situational humour that arises from this madcap premise is hilarious. Parveez Sheikh (who’s written Queen and Bajrangi Bhaijaan) has his finger on the right note, and pitches the comedy in the sequences skilfully. The pace of the first half

is a bit slow. It takes time to setup all the plots, but even then, the humour stays crisp and entertaining. The second half is a laughter riot. As each plot unfolds, the situations get bizarrely funny. Abhinay Deo’s direction is on the money. After his black comedy Delhi Belly, he has cracked another one in this genre with Blackmail. The sublime toilet humour in this story reminds you of Delhi Belly. The music in the film (Amit Trivedi) beautifully accentuates the right scenes. Badla, the rap featuring Trivedi and Divine has been used effectively, and it adds great energy to the narrative. In the film, Omi Vaidya who’s back with his crazy American twang keeps encouraging Dev by saying, “shake it up” (pun intended!). Add to that, there’s a zany song called Sataasat with lyrics alluding to literally shaking it off! Blackmail’s quirky humour and presentation makes it a delight ride. Irrfan gives a solid performance as the average office guy who can’t stand up to his boss, nor to his un-

‘Raazi’: Alia Bhatt Portrays Three Distinct but Powerful Facets of Her Character in the Film


faithful wife. He brings an air of helplessness to his character and keeps a straight face even when he’s plotting and planning the blackmail. There’s a degree of uncertainty in his actions which comes from his goodness – and that’s what adds to the hilarity of it all. Arunoday Singh, as the wacky track-suit wearing bad boy, is a rage. It’s one of the best performances of his career. Divya Dutta as Ranjit’s drunken and dominating wife adds to the amusement. Her scenes with Arunoday are engaging. Also Kriti Kulhari, is decent in her part as the philandering wife. The plot of Blackmail is its hero and it manages to strike a good balance between dark and funny. Characters are bumped off, sometimes in most gory detail and strange events unfold, but the film never loses its vein of easy, black humour. This is one of the most wickedly funny films that we’ve seen in a long time. -timesofindia.com

Happy Birthday

She is young but one of the most

powerful actors in Bollywood. After giving some noteworthy feats in films like ‘Highway’, ‘Udta Punjab’ and others, Alia is back with yet another cutting-edge performance in Junglee Pictures and Dharma productions’ ‘ Raazi’. The team has been giving the audience glimpses of the films here and there on the social media. The recently released pre-trailer video clip gave us a peek into Alia’s character. Now, they have released three posters showing three different facets of the actress’ character in the film. While in one posterAlia is a beloved daughter of his doting father. She can be seen wearing a traditional wedding dress, engaged in an emotional moment with her dad, in the second poster, Alia is a dedicated and loyal wife. Dressed in an ethnic attire, she is seen standing tall with her husband, played by Vicky Kaushal. In the third

Lara Dutta

April 16, 1978

Poonam Dhillon April 18, 1962

and last poster, Alia, who is touted to be playing a spy in the film, can be seen in a fearless avatar, the one who is with a purpose to fulfil. With a star performer like Alia and an intriguing

storyline, ‘Raazi’ is going to be one gripping tale. Directed by Meghna Gulzar, the film is produced by Vineet Jain, Karan Johar, Hiroo Johar and Apoor-

va Mehta and co-produced by Priti Shahani. ‘Raazi’ is slated to release on May 11, 2018. -timesofindia.com


Arshad Warsi April 19, 1968

28 April 13, 2018 IPL 2018: Sunrisers Bowlers Prove Too Much for Royals BY SHASHANK KISHORE


fo): Sunrisers Hyderabad 127 for 1 (Dhawan 78*, Williamson 36*) beat Rajasthan Royals 125 for 9 (Samson 49, Kaul 2-17, Shakib 2-23) by nine wickets The highest successful chase in Hyderabad over the last three seasons has been 147. Without David Warner, their highest run-getter in each of the previous three seasons, it was a brave call from new Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson to field first and his bowlers justified that call in style. Rajasthan Royals huffed and puffed to 125 for 9 and then saw Sunrisers canter home by nine wickets on the same Uppal surface where the ball appeared to be doing all sorts of tricks when they batted. Shikhar Dhawan slammed a half-century, Williamson warmed up with an attractive knock and the home fans returned home a happy lot. In his first game for the new franchise who acquired him for a steal at INR 50 lakhs (US$ 78,000 approx), Australia fast bowler Billy Stanlake used his 6’’7 height to generate zip and awkward bounce to bowl four impressive overs that also fetched him the big scalp of Ben Stokes for 5. Then spin twins Shakib Al Hasan and Rashid Khan applied the brakes in the middle overs, finishing with combined figures of 3 for 46 off eight overs to derail Royals. Barring Sanju Samson’s 42-ball 49, there was little of note from the top order. In reply, Sunrisers completely took the surface out of the equation as Dhawan and Williamson’s 121-run second-wicket stand snuffed out any inkling of hope Royals may have had of salvaging the match. In pushing Rahul Tripathi, who enjoyed phenomenal success as an opener in 2017, to No. 5, they may have erred right at the outset. Tripathi’s attacking instincts and the ability to find boundaries at will in the Powerplay - reflected in his Smart Strike Rate of 201.82 - made him vital to Rising Pune Supergiant’s plans last season. When he walked in to bat on Monday night, Royals were struggling at 63 for 3 in the ninth over. D’Arcy Short, BBL 2017-18’s

Shikhar Dhawan muscles a pull, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2018, Hyderabad, April 9, 2018.

highest run-scorer, ran himself out in the first over. Samson walked in at No. 3 and began with two pleasing back-to-back boundaries off Bhuvneshwar Kumar - first a punch on the up through cover and then a wristy flick to bisect midwicket and mid-on - but couldn’t quite maintain the tempo after the Powerplay that fetched 48. This, even as Ajinkya Rahane struggled at the other end. Where sides often decide to open with spin, Williamson held Rashid back for after the first six. His Smart Economy Rate of 4.89 between overs six and 15 was second-best to Sunrisers’ MVP of 2016, Mustafizur Rahman, whose economy rate was pegged at 4.66. Rashid made the ball talk immediately, beating Stokes twice and conceding just one off his first over. This pressure to hit out resulted in Stokes holing out to long-on in the next over. Shakib then did what he usually does - play the holding job to perfection by varying his lengths and pace cleverly. Since 2015, he averages 38 in the middle overs and rarely strikes in this period. On Tuesday, he picked up the wickets of Tripathi and Samson in the space of four deliveries in

the 14th over to leave Royals tottering at 95 for 5. This left Jos Buttler needing to repair some late damage to haul them close to 150. It proved to be a task too steep as Buttler would chop on to Rashid’s slider. That Royals eventually got to 125 was down to Shreyas Gopal’s run-a-ball 18 full of dinks and dabs. Their overseas bowling aside, Siddarth Kaul exhibited Sunrisers’ local fast-bowling depth. Preferred over his state team-mate Sandeep Sharma, Kaul impressed to pick 2 for 17 off his four overs to ensure they didn’t leak runs towards the death. Dhawan doesn’t figure on top of the Smart Strike Rate list, he goes at 114.57, but he has still managed to remain effective for Sunrisers, because they have had the belligerence of Warner to bank on. On Monday, Wriddhiman Saha was sent up to open, but fell in an attempt to loft over the infield. Dhawan then took over and played Warner’s role to perfection in slamming a 33-ball half-century. This came with some luck, however, as he was put down at first slip on 0 in the very first over. Looking to

flay a Dhawal Kulkarni lifter outside off, Dhawan found a thick edge that was put down by Rahane on the second attempt. Dhawan’s first scoring shot five deliveries later also flew over slip. Edgy, he may have been initially but he soon found his rhythm by slamming Kulkarni for a four and an upper cut for six off his next over to set Sunrisers on track. This meant Williamson didn’t need to flex his muscles, and relied on pure timing and hand-eye coordination to pick runs. Their half-century stand was raised off just 27 balls. It really was all too easy from there. Much of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s success in past seasons has been down to their potent bowling resources. At the 2018 IPL auction in January, the team management chose to further bolster that department with some smart acquisitions that included Shakib Al Hasan, who, with 45 wickets in 43 matches, is the among the five most successful left-arm spinners in the league. On his first day with the franchise, Shakib validated that belief with a superb performance against the returning Rajasthan Royals.



Shooters, Weightlifters Lift CWG Medal Tally

GOLD COAST: India’s overall

medal tally at the 2018 Commonwealth Games has increased to 21 with ace pistol shooter Heena Sidhu winning gold in the women’s 25m pistol (Precision/Rapid) finals and para-powerlifter Sachin Chaudhary claiming bronze in the men’s heavyweight final on Tuesday. At least five more medals have been assured for India later this week, with boxers Amit Phangal, Naman Tanwar, Mohammed Hussamuddin, Manoj Kumar and Satish Kumar having advanced into their respective semi-finals scheduled for April 13 and the men’s and women’s hockey teams also reaching the semis. At the Belmont Shooting Centre, Heena, 28, dominated her finals with a Games record total of 38. This was the second medal of the Gold Coast Games for Heena - recipient of the Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) Shooter of the Year award in February for her success in 2017 - after she claimed silver in the 10m air pistol event on Sunday. Overall, India’s shooting contingent have won eight medals in Australia. India’s second medal of the day, and first from the country’s para-athletic contingent at the Commonwealth Games, came from para-powerlifter Chaudhary at the Carrara Sports Arena 1. On a day where three other Indian para-powerlifters reached finals, Chaudhary went the distance in his 10-man final and finished with a combined effort of 181. In the men’s 46-49kg boxing quarter-finals, Amit defeated Scotland’s AqeelAhmed 4-1 to advance. Tanwar won his 91kg quarter-final against Samoa’s Fans Masoe 5-0 to progress as well, and later in the day Hussamuddin defeated his 56kg opponent 5-0 before Manoj won 4-1 in his 69kg quarter-final.

Shooter Heena Sidhu, 28, dominated her finals with a Games record total of 38.

April 13, 2018


Stop Tampering! Use Our Modi, Mallya, and 30 Other Indian Fugitives Owe Rs 40,000 Crore Balls, says UK Ball Maker NEW DELHI: Even as harsh legthe country; Surender Singh, Angad LONDON: The only way to make islation to punish fugitive economic Singh and Harsahib Singh for cheatoffenders takes shape in India, 31 individuals accused of fraud and economic offences are holed up abroad, the ministry of external affairs said. These people, pursued by the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 15 different cases, collectively owe Rs40,000 crore to banks and public institutions in India. The list of fugitives that the ministry of external affairs submitted in the Lok Sabha includes some wellknown names and some not-so-wellknown ones. Among the prominent names are Vijay Mallya, who owes Rs 9,000 crore to a group of banks; Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, brother Neeshal Modi and uncle Mehul Choksi, named in the Rs 12,636 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank; Jatin Mehta of Winsome Diamonds, who


Nirav Modi and 30 other fugitives from India, who owe their creditors more than Rs. 40,000 crore.

owes Rs7,000 crore; former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, accused of siphoning off Rs125 crore from the country’s cricket board; and Sterling Biotech Ltd directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara for alleged bank fraud of Rs5,000 crore.

The lesser-known names include Ashish Jobanputra, promoter of Mumbai-based textile export firm ABC Cotspin Pvt. Ltd, and his wife in a bill discounting scam of Rs770 crore and for causing losses to banks; diamond trader Ritesh Jain for illegally taking Rs1,500 crore out of

ing and criminal conspiracy; Sabhya Seth for a fraud of Rs 390 crore against Oriental Bank of Commerce; and Sanjay Bhandari for alleged tax evasion of Rs 150 crore. Nilesh Parekh of Shree Ganesh Jewellery House, accused of a Rs 2,223 crore bank fraud, was arrested by CBI last year. Experts say legislation to target fugitive economic offenders will act as a deterrent and could also be used retrospectively in some cases. “The legislation is not stated to be retrospective in effect. However, directors of enforcement agencies can make an application to declare any person as ‘fugitive economic offender’. Therefore, for offences committed even before the coming into effect of the bill as an Act, it will help,” said Sandeep Grover, partner at Indus Law. -- Live Mint

IGI Airport Breaks into World’s Top 20 Busiest Airports

EW DELHI: Indira Gandhi International Airport has jumped six notches to break into the league of the top 20 busiest airports in the world for 2017 in terms of traffic volumes. The GMR-group-run New Delhi airport jumped from 22nd rank in 2016 to 16th rank, solidifying its status as one of the fastest growing airports in the world for passenger traffic, as per the Airports Council International (ACI). The ranking is based on the preliminary passenger traffic results for the most-travelled airports in 2017, released by the ACI. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) was ranked the busiest airport in the world with 103 million passengers (both departing and arriving) despite a 0.3 per cent decline in traffic volumes over 2016. Founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and

New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport is ranked 16th in world in passenger traffic and first in airport service quality.

other partners in world aviation, ACI is the trade association of the world’s airports, currently serving 641 members operating from 1,953 airports across 176 countries. ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts also predicts that the country will represent the third largest aviation market, in terms of passenger throughput, after the US and China by 2020. “Delhi, the country’s busiest airport for passenger traffic, grew

by 14.1 per cent year-over-year at 63.45 million, pushing it up from 22nd to the 16th busiest airport in the world,” the ACI said in the release. Even with this rapid growth in throughput, Delhi was also ranked first in Airport Service Quality for airports above 40 million passengers per annum along with the Mumbai airport, it said. Besides, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai were also ranked among the fastest

growing airports in the world with an year-over-year growth of 26.9 per cent, 19.6 per cent, 12.9 per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively during 2017, the ACI said in the release. Growing rapidly in relatively short period of time, India is poised to be one of the largest aviation markets in the world in the years to come, the ACI said. “With an astounding population base of over 1.3 billion inhabitants, the move towards a more liberalised aviation market coupled with stronger economic fundamentals has helped to awaken the Bengal tiger to become one of the fastest growing markets in the world,” the ACI said. ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts predicts that the country will represent the third largest aviation market, in terms of passenger throughput, after the US and China by 2020, it added. -- Indian Express

cricket balls tamper-proof, if at all it is possible, is by toughening all facets of the ball, the surface of leather and the quarter seam, says the head of a leading ball brand. Dilip Jajodia, the owner of Morrant Group Ltd, and managing director of its wholly owned subsidiary British Cricket Balls Ltd, which produces Dukes balls, says that with any other ball, it’s easier to stick a thumbnail into the quarter seam to open it up for turbulence. “In our ball, the quarter seams are tight, and it’s not possible to open them,” he adds over the phone from the UK. Jajodia’s Dukes competes directly with theAustralian Kookaburra Sport Pty Ltd, whose balls were in use during the recent tampering episode. TV cameras spotted Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft trying to scrape the surface of the ball during their third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March. Dukes balls are used for international matches in England and the West Indies, while Kookaburra is used in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The UK company’s balls are usually smaller, have a higher seam, more lacquer, and are known to swing more. Jajodia says the advantage Dukes has is that it’s entirely hand stitched. “The difference between us is that Kookaburra is machine stitched. When it’s machine stitched the ball is not held together as tightly, and the shape is different. It tends to do nothing after 20 overs, and it doesn’t deviate.” -Live Mint


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