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Friday, May 18, 2018 | Vol. 37, No. 19


Indo American erican News

CRY, Benefiting Underprivileged Children

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

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Patrick Bocco, Fundraising Manager CRY (left) and CRY Houston coordinator Dharam Bali with Bollywood actor, Abhay Deol at the fundraiser gala on Friday, May 4 in Sweetwater Country Club in Sugar Land.



Save A Mother Houston Chapter Board at the 10th Annual Gala, held on Sunday, May 6 at Sugar Land Marriott.


IACF 2018 Scholarship Awards


2018 Scholarship Recipients with Himesh Gandhi - Mayor Pro-Tem Sugar Land and IACF Board members at the annual Scholarship Awards reception held on Monday, May 7, at the Rodgers Memorial Auditorium in Sugar Land.

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May 18, 2018


Up For A Cause, Up For Saving A Mother!

SUGAR LAND: Women die ev-

ery hour in India from complications developed during childbirth. The maternal mortality rate (MMR) in India is the highest in the world and most of these women succumb to heavy blood loss. The key to the progress of a country lies in reducing its maternal and child mortality and morbidity and over the years, Government of India and a few private institutions have taken initiatives. Save A Mother (SAM) founded by Dr. Shiban Ganju is one such institution that has dedicated the last 10 years to reducing maternal and infant mortality in rural India by implementing an Effective Social Behavior change program. SAM has operated in 1500 villages and reached more than 3 million people. Currently present in 1100 villages, SAM is driven by a mission to develop healthcare solutions for the poor. This year Save A Mother organized its 10th Annual Gala, on the theme of Mother of Pearl, which was held on Sunday, May 6 at Sugar Land Marriott. The theme set the essence of the fundraiser and the pearl embellished pretty ladies were dressed in their best to match the concept. Post the registration and the social hour the audience was welcomed with mouth-watering appetizers served by Madras Pavillion. Though it’s the era of digital photos, a printed photo can make a difference and add up to our smiles! And this is precisely what happened at the

Dr. Shiban Ganju, SAM Founder

Ashish Ganju, Vice-President SAM USA

unique photo booth set up by photographer Bijay Dixit. People who got their photos clicked were handed over the photocopies after the gala. After this brief fun-filled moment the audience walked into the main hall where melodious songs awaited them. Students of Shreekrithi School of Music by Maha Krishnan and Sandeep Kumrouth have amazing stars, few of which amazed the audience with their euphonious songs. These students who mesmerized the guests were, Rohini Kumrouth, Siya Nair, Ria Pawa, and Amritha Thuruvengadam. It was time for some other form of entertainment and the beautiful Emcee for the evening was called up on stage. Preity Bhagia, the multi-talented Emcee and SAM Board member had also done an excellent job at the last year’s gala. The show moved on to a presentation by Ashish Ganju, Vice Presi-

dent SAM USA. He is a results oriented leader and entrepreneur with an experience of leading the SAM Chicago team over 5 years. He shared his beautiful journey and the association with SAM, along with his experience in the villages of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. He demonstrated the impact that SAM has made in these villages and it was simply overwhelming to know that with the resources and direction of their organization, they could reduce maternal mortality by 90% and infant mortality by 60% there. The videos of women sharing their experiences with SAM were heart rendering. A proud fact that he stated was that in the 167 villages in the district of Gadag in Northern Karnataka, there was not a single maternal death in 2017. The audience was truly touched with this presentation, post which Veena Kaul, the President of Save A Mother

Veena Kaul, SAM President with the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker, Shabana Azmi.

came up on stage. She thanked everyone for their support before introducing the board. Amidst a thundering applause, she warmly welcomed and introduced the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker for the evening, Shabana Azmi. Shabana’s accomplishments have gone way beyond the cin-


Photos: Bijay Dixit

ematic, and using leverage her celebrity and political status, she ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

For photo collage, see pages 14-15


May 18, 2018



May 18, 2018


Bayou City Shows its Big Heart for Children’s Rights in India BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA


LAND: The evening was equal parts playful and highstakes finance, which was just appropriate for an event that was to benefit underprivileged and often abused or neglected kids in India. After all, the funds that would be gathered in the fundraiser gala in Houston on Friday, May 4, would join with those collected in five other fundraisers across the US and help thousands of kids back in India. Child Rights and You America, the fundraising arm of the Indian NGO, has earnestly been establishing its presence in the Metroplex with the dedicated work of a growing cadre of volunteers for whom this cause resonates with an urgency. Although it has been active with smaller events, CRY Houston has held two previous fundraisers, and the third on May 4 was held once again at the Sweetwater Country Club in Sugar Land. Previous fundraisers have featured Bollywood celebrities like Pooja Batra in 2016 and Arjun Rampal last year; and this year another Bollywood actor, Abhay Deol lent his name to the Houston gala, followed by two others in San Jose and San Diego. As with the other celebrities, Deol was charming and approachable, standing politely for pictures with a line of fans and then gamely having dinner with others who paid to sit at his table. “This whole experience has been an eye opener for me,” the star said in brief remarks, “and I have learnt a lot of the work

CRY Houston team with friends and Bollywood actor, Abhay Deol.

that CRY does.” The evening was opened up by emcee Rashi Vats, a news anchor at Channel 26, FOX TV and was followed by the poignant video clip “Dreams Don’t Discriminate”. CRY America President

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Shefali Sunderlal, described the scope of the work of CRY and projects it supports in India, reaching 695,077 kids. “Ours is a threelegged stool model - influencing government policy, education in schools and health and nutrition,” she said. “We provide children protection from abuse and make them more confident.” Over 73 projects are supported by funds collected in the US. Local supporters also made a pitch for funds. Ash Malhotra got everyone into a fun mood with a karaoke version of a Kishore Kumar song

Photos: Murali Santhana

form the 50s, followed by an appeal from Lalitha and Niddhi Trehan who run two private schools in Gurgaon, India. “Education is the key out of poverty,” they emphasized. Juhi Ahuja spoke about her own childhood and “how lucky it feels to have parents and family that support you.” Oliver Rajamani, an Austin-based flamenco guitarist in the genre of the Gipsy Kings played several pieces with a dancer performing on the floor. The fun started flowing when

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Subodh Bhuchar took to the mike and used his burgeoning auctioneering skills to raise thousands of dollars for collectibles like a guitar signed by Paul McCartney; a portrait photo signed by each of the Apollo 11 astronauts; a baseball signed by President Barack Obama and a black Darth Vader helmet signed by all of the Star Wars cast members, all of which were quickly and eagerly snapped up. Later, cajoling from CRY Houston coordinator Dharam Bali, brought in more pledges within 30 minutes for funds. Dr. Rolee Singh, the Director of the Dr. Shambhunath Singh Research Foundation in Varanasi travelled to the US for the CRY fundraisers and, in Hindi, shared glimpses of her work on child marriage and child trafficking giving examples which sent chills through the audience. She spoke about her own life, getting married at age 15 and then getting protection from CRY, getting an education and working in the slums of Benares. As the evening wrapped up with dinner prepared by the Country Club served at the table, people got onto the dance floor to dance to, among the first, the flamencoinspired song “Seniorita” from Abhay Deol’s movie “Zindagi Na Milagi Dubara”, and the star playfully joined in. Child Rights and You America Inc (CRY America) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that envisions a world in which all children have equal opportunities to develop to their full potential and realize their dreams. CRY America has impacted the lives of 695,077 children in 3,676 villages and slums through 73 Projects in India and USA.

For Photo Collage, see page 4



May 18, 2018

Up For A Cause, Up For Saving A Mother! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 has actively participated in several social causes aligned to the rights of women. With a standing ovation right as she stepped

onto the stage, Shabana shared her experience of working with non-profits over the last 3 decades and mentioned, “I have been familiar with Save A Mother’s work since its inception and I am very proud of their

work. Running a non profit comes with several challenges, and I am proud to see SAM excel”. She shared some real-life case studies and through her speech her passion for this movement was evident. Before taking

a bow, Shabana was generous enough to lend her voice to the audience and her melodious song wowed the guests. The impact of her speech was seen in the pledge drive, conducted by Preity Bhagia and Dr. Subodh Bhuchar that raised $30,000 and the gala overall raised $96,000. The entertaining evening was made livelier by the comedian, Raj Sharma. Raj is a professional comic, a trained actor and a seasoned host. He is the co-creator and co-producer of the sold-out comedy show, “Raj Sharma Presents…”, a exhibit that combines stand up and charity, and benefits various foundations across the USA. Raj was outrageous and he tickled the audience’s funny bones with his quirky punch lines and perfect comic timings. The Gala Chairs, Girija Bhargava Patel and Dr. Veena Mathur delivered a vote of thanks, post that the evening rolled back to a perfect socializing experience. The audience relished palatable dinner and deserts. Therese ColeHubbs with Electric Karma was the event coordinator, while Nalini Kannan with Décor One beautifully decorated the venue and Darshak Thacker with Krishna Sounds provided live sound and lights. All the wonderful ladies were presented with a return gift on their way out, sponsored by iHeart Nature. President Veena Kaul mentioned, “I am deeply honored and humbled by the amazing encouragement and support we have received from our donors to culminate in a successful gala. Congratulations to Shiban Ganju on making remarkable differences in women’s lives in India and kudos to my fantastic Save A Mother team for putting on such an elegant event to celebrate our 10th anniversary.” Natesan Krishnamurthy, SAM Treasurer and the only male member of the SAM Houston team, an inspirational volunteer of the organization said, “The success of our ten-year celebrations with record $ 96000 raised is due primarily to the energetic, dedicated and amazing board members led by Veena Kaul, and the generous Houston community has enabled Save a Mother to continually expand its program. The Houston Chapter Team includes: Veena Kaul, President; Natesan Krishnamurthy, Treasurer; Dr. Tyna Pariani, Secretary, Board members: Sakina Ali, Shalini Bhargava, Dr. Puneet Freibott, Dr. Rupa Iyer, Sangeeta Pasrija, Hema Prasad, Poonam Tulsiani, Dr. Veena Mathur, Girija Bhargava Patel, and Preity Bhagia. To learn more about Save A Mother visit www.SaveAMother.org

For photo collage, see pages 14-15 WRITERS ... TAKE NOTICE Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 4pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information, Call 713-789- NEWS (6397) or email us at: indoamericannews@yahoo.com INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

May 18, 2018






STAFFORD: Comedy and play lovers in

Houston were in for a special treat on Friday, May 11 at the Stafford Civic Center for the famous play- Raju Raja Ram Aur Main. If playing a double-role on screen is perceived as a complex task, we can imagine how demanding it must be to juggle between four roles on stage. Sharman Joshi, in his confident style, did just that with enthusiasm and energy, swiftly fitting in and out of four challenging characters. The laugh-riot play, directed by Kedar Shinde has an underlying strain of black humor and has been well received in sever-

Sharman Joshi Charms Houston, Play Presented By Star Promotions al other parts of the world. This play is a Hindi adaptation of the Marathi play, Sahi Re Sahi. It is the story of an aged business tycoon Madan Sukhnandani (played by Sharman), who catches his young wife Meera having an affair with his personal assistant. In a heated scuffle, his wife accidentally murders Sukhnandani and his corpse is hidden. Sukhnandani has several undated wills in the possession of his daughter and relatives. The confusion escalates when three look-alikes of Sukhnandani appear, leading to a perfect blend of mystery, humor and excitement. The swift

change of Sharman’s character all through the play left the audience in awe. The other seven characters were also witty, exhilarating and inventive and did justice to their roles. A surprise was in store for the audience with the narrator’s voice-over of the legendary Prem Chopra. The emotionally engaging and witty drama portrayed the duality of relationships. This two-anda-half hour play was nothing short of a Bollywood movie, complete with emotional saga, drama, and melody in form of a dance number. Sharman Joshi has acted in cult Bollywood movies like 3 Idiots and Rang De Basanti, apart from Golmaal: Fun Unlimited. Sharman and theatre plays go a long way and he has directed and starred in various theatre performances. He appeared as a deaf character in Gujarati version of popular play All the Best, which did over 550 shows in three years. He has been known

Photos: Dr. Nik Nikam

for his tremendous acting performance and talent, and he enthralled the audience with a glimpse of his acting prowess in this play. Rajender Singh of Star Promotions, a known name in Houston, has brought to life several entertaining events for North America, in general, and he was the presenter for this show as well. Rajender has a success story in enthralling audiences with the spellbinding magic of Indian cinema. Rajender has won the respect of friends, fans, business associates and industry legends. Upcoming shows of Star Promotions include Shaan Live in Concert on Saturday, July 7 at Stafford Centre (Cash Road) and Indian Comedian Atul Khatri on August 17. To buy your tickets and for further information call Rajender Singh at 281-222-4500 or visit starpromotioninc.com


9 Mesmerizing Fir Le Aya Dil Musical Evening


STAFFORD: What a mesmeriz-

ing “Fir Le Aya Dil” event set by Hrishikesh Ranade, Prajakta Joshi, Nihira Joshi and their super talented team, Amit Soman (Sound), Kedar Paranjpe, Ajay Atre, Darshana Jog, and Vikram Bhatt at Stafford Civic Center on May 6, Hosted by Sanskar, LLC. No good words to describe this special Bollywood musical journey for Houstonians. The show started at 5:00 PM at Stafford Civic Center with “He Gajavadana” dance which is a song for Lord Ganesh. Dances were presented by Houston’s well known Kathak Beats dance school. Second song was also performed by Manjusha Jadhav and her students on the “Mohe Rang Do” song. Emcee of the show, Shekhar Phatak (also a Urdu/Hindi Gazal vocalist) welcomed all the artists of the “Fir Le Aya Dil” event with a big bang. All three artists started the show with “Aaj Ki Raat” song which setup a great tone and mood of the show. Attendees welcomed the artists will claps and whistles. Hrishikesh commented that the music lover Houstonians is the one of the best crowds that he had seen in terms of attentiveness and energy. The singers will be performing in many other states this month. Without revealing too much about the actual details of this show, all

May 18, 2018

ganizers Shilp Entertainment and Mohit Mumbai Masala for organizing this USA tour. Everyone enjoyed the event and wanted more music after 3 hours of beautiful journey from old to new songs. Megha also thanked “Fir Le Aya Dil” sponsors, Chelsea Gardens and Geriatric Home Care Physician company for their support for the Houston show. The “Fir Le Aya Dil Concert”

attendees commented that the singers were simply awesome. Hrishikesh Ranade is an Indian playback singer in the film industry. He has sung songs in Hindi, Marathi and in some other Indian languages. He has sung along with singer Shreya Ghoshal during her USA tours. Nihira Joshi has rendered her vocals for the films like ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ and ‘Salaam-E-

Ishq’ ‘Sajde’ and ‘Baaware’ from the film ‘Kill Dil’. Prajakta Joshi is a playback singer who has performed live along with Hrishikesh’s father Pramod Ranade who is a is an Indian playback singer, violinist and music arranger in Marathi industry. Kedar Paranjpe, Ajay Atre, Darshana Jog, and Vikram Bhatt played various musical instruments on stage and also sang

some songs. Nihira commented that some of the songs that she had sung in Houston would require a full-scale symphony with more than 50 people. All this work was done by only four people on the stage using two keyboards, tabla, and an octopad and yet it sounded the same. Hats off to the talent of these artists. Sanskar, LLC CEO Megha Ozarker thanked all super excited attendees including national or-


was supported by Pani Poori Productions, Kavadi Family of Houston, Gujarati Samaj of Houston, Kathak Beats, Hum Tum Desi, Masala Radio, Indo-American News, and Kathak Beats. This show was successful because of many volunteers also; Rashmee Joshi, Jaisingh Jadhav, Saurabh Joshi, Nilima Bembalkar, Harpreet Chawala, Anushka Ranade, and Aakash Ozarker.

10 May 18, 2018



May 18, 2018

IACF Supports Talented, Hardworking & Deserving Students


Pradeep Sulhan, P.C.

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

Over 25 years experience IACF Board members with Scholarship presenters.

Photos: Roy Photography


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

Emcees, IACF Board members Bela Thacker (right) and Dr. Purvi Parikh.


SUGAR LAND: For the past

three decades, Indo-American Charity Foundation (IACF) has appealed to the philanthropic spirit of the Indo American community in Houston. This foundation addresses needs in the areas of education, family, general needy and healthcare. True to their spirit of their motto, “We live here We give here”, the IACF presents scholarships to talented and deserving college-bound students, each year, after a vigorous selection process. This year’s Annual Scholarship Awards reception was held on Monday, May 7 from 6 to 8 pm, at the Rodgers Memorial Auditorium in Sugar Land. The two-hour event witnessed a large gathering of parents, teachers, administrators, and dignitaries. Over a hundred people attended this exciting event, where the IACF board dispersed $35,000 to 30 outstanding senior high school students, from Fort Bend ISD, Alief ISD and Stafford Municipal School District (MSD). The scholarships that ranged from $1000 to $2000 were awarded on grade point average (GPA), SAT/ACT scores, personal essay, recommendation letters and need, to students that had applied. The intensive process of selection by the scholarship committee was led by committee chair Venkat Iyer and the strict norms and set standards were adhered to. Sharing his views, Venkat Iyer mentioned, “This was a total team effort from the Board. The entire team contributed effectively to evaluate the 75 applications we received this year. Team members Bela Thacker, Nanda Vura, Rajesh Dikonda, Dr. Purvi Parikh, Shweta Arora, Mousumi Banerjee, Joseph Ellankil and Mahesh Wadhwa were deeply

involved through the entire process and they did an exceptional job on the lengthy and meticulous processes of selection, and in reviewing the applicants that seem to be growing in numbers each year.” Through their scholarship program the IACF supports talented, hardworking and deserving students, who aspire to become health care professionals, entrepreneurs or engineers. IACF hopes to foster the local community whose basic needs are met, supporting them to lead enriched lives. Enthusiasm and anticipation was filled in the air at this venue and after a brief networking session accompanied with scrumptious appetizers the event started. The Emcees for the evening were IACF Board members Bela Thacker and Dr. Purvi Parikh. The IACF President, Mahesh Wadhwa warmly welcomed everyone and recognized all committee members, along with the IACF past and present board members. He thanked them and everyone else for their hard work and continuous support. Sharing his background about IACF, he mentioned, “ For the past 30 years IACF has been tapping into the philanthropic spirit of the community to raise funds so we can serve the community. The scholarship program started 5 years ago for Fort Bend ISD and Alief ISD and since last year for the Stafford Municipal school district (SMSD). In the future we are looking forward to expand to more such institutions”. He also informed about the upcoming IACF 2018 gala on Saturday, October 6. His speech was soon followed by the ceremony, where prominent Houstonians that included the IACF Past Presidents, heads of IACF’s partnering organizations, supporters and donors,

For Photo Collage, see page 10

Mahesh Wadhwa, IACF President.

presented scholarship certifications to each student. Among the scholarships is the prestigious David Raj Scholarship that IACF presents each year to a student pursuing a career in medicine and this was announced and presented by Dr. Ramesh Cherivirala. The evening was lit up with excitement and emotions. Several selfie moments followed up for the scholarship winners, and their mixed emotions were complimented with inspirational messages from the dignitaries. The energized evening was truly a remarkable eve of upliftment and encouragement. For more informationvisit their website www.iacfhouston.com 2018 IACF Scholarship Recipients FBIDS Betsabe Mendez, Evelyn GomezRivera, Hasham Dhakwala, Sionna Brenn, Daniel Broussard, Bilal Rehman, Sainia Daniels, Tejas Medapalli, Jessica Shyi, Charity Kyei, Nicole Wang. SMSD Murad Shauzab. AISD Susan Momoh, Karla Alas, Christine Ejiofor, Decorey Davis, Yian Xilin,Vincent Than, Duy Vo, Samntha Alexis Martinez, Lesley Coreas, ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

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12 May 18, 2018 BY M.K.SRIRAM

PEARLAND: April 29, is a day

to remember forever in the Houston Hindu religious platform. The Thirukalyanam (Holy Wedding) of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareswara (Siva) was celebrated with extraordinary festivities, joy and grandeur at the Sri Meenakshi Temple. This wedding was the finale for the ten-day Mahotsavam (Great Festival). This festival follows the tradition set by the world famous Meenakshi temple at Madurai. Year by year, this signature event of the Meenakshi temple has been getting grander and grander. This year’s festival has been the Ultimate! The weather was just perfect for the occasion; with devotees attired in predominantly green (Meenakhsi’s favorite color) assembling at the Ganesh Temple in the morning. Many families had brought specially made Seer (savories and sweets), flower and fruits. The traditional live Nadaswaram and Thavil (South Indian musical pipe & drums) music filled the air created the perfect festive ambience throughout the ceremonies. After initial pujas to Lord Ganesha, the Seer Bakshanams were carried in a procession around the main temple and awaited the arrival of the Deities from the temple. A most beautifully decorated Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Siva, accompanied by Lord Vishnu

“Heaven On Earth” – Meenakshi-Sundareswara Wedding at MTS were brought in palanquins on the shoulders of ardent devotees and joined the procession to the Kalyana Mandapam. Priests performed the garland exchanges to the tune of the famous “Maalai Mattrinal” song played by the musicians. The Deities were then gently rocked on a swing decorated with flowers, while the ladies performed a ritual. The Deities were then carried to the main Mandapam. Oh, what a glorious sight it was to see the Deities seated in the most gorgeously decorated Mandapam! It instantly uplifted the hearts and minds of the devotees. Many dedicated volunteers worked on stringing beautiful flower garlands. The priests performed important rituals such as Rakshabandanam and Kanyadaanam, with participation by all the sponsor families. Many families availed of the opportunity to offer Vasthrams (saris & dhothis) and Mangalyam for the wedding. The most auspicious climactic moment was the Mangalya Dharanam (tying of Mangalyam), and it was a truly indescribably divine moment that will always remain in the memory of the attendees. The grandest of processions followed with Meenakshi in the brilliant silver Ratham (chariot) and all Deities in their respective Vahanas. Several ladies performed

Kummi Dance in front of the Ratham. The devotees thoroughly enjoyed and merrily celebrated this joyous wedding procession. The final rituals were completed and the temple flag that was hoisted ten days ago, was brought down to mark the completion of the grand Mahotsavam. A sumptuously delicious sitdown lunch with traditional wedding items was served on banana leaves to about 2000 devotees. Scores of volunteers worked on cutting vegetables, helping with the cooking in the temple kitchen and serving. This whole Mahotsavam, especially the Thirukalyanam was meticulously planned and so well organized by the Temple Board members led by the Chairman Mrs. Padmini Nathan. There was great teamwork and coordination among the various committees such as Religious Activities, Cultural, Food, Infrastructure (sound & video) etc. as well as the Temple administrators. The priests led by Sri Manicka Bhattar conceptualized and performed the pujas and homams so beautifully. The talented group of artisans led my Sri Ramanathan worked tirelessly day and night to put on the magnificent event. Special thanks to volunteer photographers Srini Sudarrajan, Lakshminarayana Setty


and Milind Patil. Many of the devotees expressed their great fortune to attend this function and felt they were really in the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. Indeed we are very fortunate to celebrate this Mahotsavam right here in Houston. This is the only temple in the entire western hemisphere where one can witness this.


Photos: Srini Sundarrajan

For those who somehow missed this year’s festival and Meenakshi-Sundareswara kalyanam, it is a must attend next year. The Cultural Program by High School graduating students was a treat to watch after the lunch. A brief video of the event can be found at: https:// youtu.be/BcQmOSyxzXo


May 18, 2018


Bharatnatyam & Kathak Dance Recital by Students of Kusum Sharma’s Shri Natraj School of Dance

HOUSTON: On Sunday May

13, two of India’s most popular classical dance forms — Bharatanatyam and Kathak — took center stage at University of Houston as students of Kusum Sharma’s Shri Natraj School of Dance presented a captivating afternoon of annual dance recital. The program was conceived and choreographed by school’s artistic director Kusum Sharma with the help of Shri Natraj volunteers and lead teachers Vishaka Kaushik, Deepa Kheskhani, Padma Ramchandani, Aparna Krishnan & Tanya Sharma. The students of Shri Natraj School of Dance performed several dance forms including Bharatnatyam, Kathak and Bollywood. The students varied in age from 4 years old to 40 years old. The audience was filled with friends and family as they watched the students perform. The show started at 3 pm with a sensitive portrayal of a tribute to Mother’s day by different student segment performing on various “Mom” themed Bollywood songs. The talented dancers looked fabulous in their pink, blue and yellow costumes and they blew the audience away with their talent and heartwarming display of their appreciation to Mom. Their performances touched the heart of all the mothers in the audiences. Next in the lineup was a

classical Bharatnatyam dance on Shlokas & Alarippu, performed by beginner and intermediate girls and boys. Bharatanatyam is one of the most popular and widely practiced classical dance styles of India, with sculptural evidence dating back nearly 3000 years. Following this dance was Kathak performance of first year students who showcased their talents and what they had learned in the past year. Kathak is a North Indian classical dance form. The term is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word Katha which means story. All the students were wearing traditional attire, which looked stunning. The 2nd year students then performed their piece on Bol bant & Tihai and displayed their footwork with precision leaving the audience wanting more. The performance was then followed by a kathak performance by the 3rd year students on Thaat , Aamad, & Tukre. The last Kathak performance was from senior 4th year student on Thaat , Aamad, Tukre, Tihai & Chalan. All Kathak students wore dazzling beautiful colored Kathak costumes with Ghungroos (foot bells). Kathak performances were accompanied by Videsh on tabla, Ram Sharma on Harmonium and enchanting vocal by Kusum Sharma & Jasoda Sharma. The next performance was performed by

the dance master Kusum Sharma herself who danced on popular Bollywood folk dance Ghoomar delicately balancing the pot on head and delicate footwork which was greeted by thunderous applause by the audience. The chief guest of the shows Ram Sharma, Virender Bansal & Kamla Goswami were then invited to handover the trophies to all the students of the school for successfully completing the school year. Kusum Sharma paid tribute to legendary artist Sridevi by performing on a piece from Bollywood movie Chandini titled “Dancing in the moonlight” in Bharatnatyam style. Last but not the least the students of Shri Natraj School of Dance performed to a Bollywood medley. The medley contained various songs strung together and performed by different classes of students. Kamlesh Narwani emceed the show and kept the audience entertained throughout the 90-minute performance. No programs can be successful without the tireless volunteers. Special thanks to Padma

Ramchandani, Rashmi Narwani , Deepa Kheskhani, Tanya Rashi Sharma , Gautam Narwani , Virendar, Neena & Meena Bansal, Naren Narwani , Vinod Ramchandani , Aashi Sharma , Mythili Ramchandani, Santoshi, Brij & Janaki Pathak, Radhika Iyer for making the recital a success and memorable program for everyone. Kusum Sharma is the artistic director of Shri Natraj School of Dance. Shri Natraj School has 6


Photos: Naren Narwani

locations all over Houston, more details on the classes and location is available at www.shrinatraj. com. Kusum is also director of the annual Ramleela that takes place in Houston in conjunction with the non-profit Kalakriti Performing Arts. This year Ramleela is scheduled for Saturday, October 7, at VPSS Haveli. More details are available at www.ramleelahouston.org

14 May 18, 2018


May 18, 2018



16 May 18, 2018 IACF

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 Nicole Okon, Ikayani Soemampauw, Ufomadu Chukwuebuka, Kevin Duong, Gia-Luat Vo, Isaac Aurora, PraiseGod Atori, Kevin Casas, La-Meria Seriale. 2018 Presenters & Dignitaries Himesh Gandhi - Mayor ProTem Sugar Land; Xavier Herrera - Board Secretary Stafford Municipal District; Ken Mathew - Mayor Pro-Tem Stafford; Neeta Sane - Trustee HCC District VII; Hasu Patel, Tariq Mohammad - Hanmi Bank President; Sheela Rao – Daya President; Sidney EvansSenior Advisor NRG Energy; Dr. Jay Raman; Rajiv Bhavsar - Wallis State Bank; Vijay Jha - President of Quadret Consultants and Geotech engineering co; Prasun Jalal - President IDA; KC Mehta - President IDCC; Amrik Nijjar Principal Engineer ( retd. ) FMC; Dr. Nik Nikam - Owner of NNN; Mani Subramaniam -Past presi-


dent IACF; Juuhi Ahuja -CEO of Wiseman consulting; Dr. Swati Naik- Physician at Texas Children Center; Suri Pulemla- President of Rohit Systems inc; Ajit ParalkerSecretory iEducate, Jeremy Gilbert -Alif Kerr School Counselor; Vipin Kumar Executive Director India House; Prem Cholia- IACF BOD; Venkat Iyer- IACF BOD; Shobana Muratee President-Elect IACF; Ngan Nguyen from the office of Councilman Steven Le - City of Houston; Nanda Vura – IACF BOD; Joseph EllankilIACF BOD; Shweta Arora- IACF BOD; K R Satish- Professor Rice University; Rajesh Dikonda- IACF BOD; Dr. Ramesh Cherivirala Eagle Strategies, Past President IACF, Dr. Terry Sheneman (Director FBISD, Career and College Readiness Program), Dr. Crystal Collins (Alief ISD, Coordinator of Counseling)

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Honor Student Chloe Choudhury Nominated for The Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, MA

SUGAR LAND: Chloe Choud-

hury, a freshman at Dulles High School of Sugar Land will be a Delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Lowell, MA on June 25-27, 2018.The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical scientists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal. Chloe Choudhury was nominated by Dr. Mario Capecchi, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and the Science Director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists to represent Dulles, High School, Sugar Land, Texas based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine. During the three-day Congress, Chloe Choudhury will join students from across the country and hear Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science Winners talk about leading medical research; be given advice from Ivy League and top medical school deans on

Chloe Choudhury

what to expect in medical school; witness stories told by patients who are living medical miracles; be inspired by fellow teen medical science prodigies; and learn about cutting-edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology. “This is a crucial time in America when we need more doctors and medical scientists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,” said Richard Rossi, Executive Director, National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. “Focused, bright and determined students like Chloe Choudhury are our future and she deserves all the mentoring and


guidance we can give her.” The Academy offers free services and programs to students who want to be physicians or go into medical science. Some of the services and programs the Academy offers are online social networks through which future doctors and medical scientists can communicate; opportunities for students to be guided and mentored by physicians and medical students; and communications for parents and students on college acceptance and finances, skills acquisition, internships, career guidance and much more. The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists was founded on the belief that we must identify prospective medical talent at the earliest possible age and help these students acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of this vital career. Based in Washington, D.C. and with offices in Boston, MA, the Academy was chartered as a nonpartisan, taxpaying institution to help address this crisis by working to identify, encourage and mentor students who wish to devote their lives to the service of humanity as physicians, medical scientists. For more information visit www.FutureDocs.com or call 617-307-7425.


May 18, 2018


Unsung Hero Award for iEducate’s Arun Gir at IM Tapestry Ball



OUSTON: This year’s Interfaith Ministries Tapestry Ball held a few surprises as many individuals were noted for their valiant efforts to help those who were affected by the floods after Hurricane Harvey last August. The Ball was once again held on Thursday, May 10 at the Hilton Americas with over 400 guests in attendance and brought together live performances, prayers and tributes from the many faiths that coexist in the environs of the Bayou City. The gala raised over $500,000 for IM’s ongoing work. Three of the notables were Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture who opened up his stores full of mattresses and furniture to those who suddenly became homeless. But in addition to them, four other individuals were celebrated and received medals for their dedication and bravery in helping the less fortunate, their efforts going beyond the norm, by helping Meals on Wheels, Refugee Services, Interfaith Relations & Community Partnerships, and Volunteer Houston. These were MOW volunteers Lauren and Chad Walters, owners of Electrical Tech Services, who offered their company’s large trucks to help

Arun Gir, an Executive Director at iEducate, a 5-year old mentoring non-profit, received the Unsung Heroes Award at the Interfaith Ministries Tapestry Gala on Thursday, May 10.

rescue senior clients; Tehmina Masud, an RS volunteer who raises money and helps refugee families acclimate to their new city; Jeff Nuckols, senior vice president of Frost Bank, which donated $50,000 to help congregations and their members affected by Harvey; andArun Gir, executive director of iEducate and a VH client who relied on VH’s college-aged volunteers to help tutor children who were displaced from their schools during Harvey. “We were totally surprised when they informed us that Arun was being honored,’ said his mother Roopa Gir who is president of the five year-old organization which specializes in mentoring young kids in their school settings. iEducate now operates in 27 schools in Houston ISD, Spring ISD and Kipp Charter Schools. Arun, 30, received two bachelors degrees in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 2012. He is also a partner in a start-up called Wilsa Technologies. After Harvey, he volunteered in floodlogged 5th Ward, ferrying people to the GRBC, delivering food and supplies to HISD schools and developed an app to allow parents and students to be tracked.

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18 May 18, 2018


May 18, 2018



20 May 18, 2018


Cast Your Crucial Vote in Runoffs

US citizens of South

Asian origin in District 22 have a rare opportunity to help elect one of their own to the U.S. Congress Sri Preston Kulkarni received the highest number of votes in the District 22 Democratic Primary.

He’s now in a runoff . Kulkarni (not a relation, but a friend) is the best candidate because of his temperament of tolerance and his experience in the U.S. State Department. He has been endorsed by The Houston Chronicle and the New York Times. Our vote is crucial because runoff elections do not generate a high level of interest. As such, every vote for Kulkarni from the South Asian community has significant weightage. Early voting is currently underway between May 14 and May 18 and the election date is May 22. Your vote can make a crucial difference in this runoff. -Pramod Kulkarni

Protect the Taj

The Supreme Court’s observation that the Archaeological

Survey of India (ASI), and by implication, the Government of India and Uttar Pradesh, have failed in their duty to protect and preserve the Taj Mahal is a major embarrassment for the two governments. An ASI report blaming algae and stagnating water in the Yamuna River, and the consequent breeding of insects during summer months which it concludes is responsible for the discolouration of the Taj, irked the judges. Unwilling to accept these arguments, the Supreme Court said: “ This situation would not have arisen if ASI had done its job.” The court has now sought the government’s view on removing ASI from the scene and engaging private national and international conservation experts. The judges have given voice to citizens concerns about the deterioration of the marble that gives Taj its timeless beauty. “We must protect our history. We owe it to our history,” they said. -Times of India

Resenting Rahul Gandhi


As far back as the ascension of

Sanjay Gandhi, much before the coming of the (more likeable) Rajiv Gandhi, I felt that the Nehru-Gandhi family ought to graciously retire from politics and let the Congress proceed on its own. I was very young then, probably not even in my teens, and I belonged to a family of staunch Congress supporters, but I recall feeling distinctly uncomfortable with the notion of Sanjay taking over from his mother. I have not changed my basic position on this matter, and yet I have to say that much of the current ‘opposition’to Rahul Gandhi has a disturbing and dark side to it. While opposition to ‘dynasty raj’ is offered as an explanation, what really exists, more often than not, is a mix of envy, resentment, neo-casteist sentiment and a disturbing kind of racism, most of it indirectly supported by major BJP politicians. This is barely camouflaged in many online cartoons and ‘jokes’ about Rahul Gandhi, which often refer derisively to the Italian side of his family. Frequently, he is dismissed — unfairly — because he has a parent who came to India from elsewhere. This dismissal is in tandem with the dismissal of Muslims and Christians by the same elements. Not only does this present a destructive kind of nationalism, it often verges on racist prejudice. The perpetrators of such jokes — and I use the word ‘perpetrator’ on purpose — seem to relish degrading Rahul Gandhi. Very often this is done literally, for instance in cartoons of doubtful humour that place Rahul Gandhi in an abject ‘Baba-like’ position against a ‘towering’BJP politician. Hence also, the ‘language’ jokes about him by people who speak fewer languages than him. This drain of resentment runs a long way. Jawaharlal Nehru encountered it too, but in more restrained ways. And for similar reasons: in his writing and lifestyle, Nehru repudiated the entire structure of upper-caste prejudices. He also repudiated the strong structure of endogamy that still sustains the caste system, and

not just within Hinduism. Elements of these prejudices are visited upon Rahul Gandhi too. But there are other elements too, of which one was probably less of an issue with Nehru: Nehru appears to have faced far less envy for his personal, educational and class advantages. This might seem surprising; after all, Nehru was a more cultivated and talented person than Rahul Gandhi or, for that matter, any other major national leader today. And yet, Nehru’s difference was largely respected by the voters then. Some of it had to do with the person: Nehru had spent years in jail and organising for independence among ordinary people. Some of it had to do with the age: Nehru lived in a less envious age, perhaps because the discourse of easy riches and the magnifying glasses of TV and such media — which take us into houses we cannot enter in reality — was not prevalent in the period. And yet, some of it probably has to do with character — or lack of character. No, I am not talking of Rahul Gandhi. I have no reason to suppose that he has less character than any other national leader. Actually, he seems to have more than most. I am talking of people who obviously envy him, his exposure to the world, his space of living, even (subconsciously) his lifestyle. This is the taluk middle and lower middle class to which I belong. These are people with education and at times professional careers whose formative years were spent in small towns of India, or who are still based there. It is among these people that you find the greatest resentment of Rahul Gandhi,


CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR INDIA: ASEEM KULKARNI ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-6397 email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: www.indoamerican-news.com


not among farmers or workers or born metropolitans. I have spoken to such people. I am convinced that what they unconsciously resent in Rahul Gandhi is the structural lack that keeps them where they are. A taluk town has never been cut off from the rest of India, but it is now wired not just to India but to the entire world. On the other hand, the mores and social skills that prevail in taluk towns are not those that enable its denizens much space in the world. To take just one example: English. Every time I visit my home (taluk) town, I am asked not about my books, but about how to become fluent in English. This is the genuine concern of people who have English, but not sufficient fluency in it to capitalise on their other talents and skills in the world. For people like this, the easy access that Rahul Gandhi has to the world — perhaps without even the kind of hard work they have put into their own education — is deeply galling. The best among them overcome it, but the worst simmer with envy against all the Rahul Gandhis of India. Given the sharp educational and social stratification of India, and the vast chasm between not just the rich and the poor but between metropolitan/ international education and taluk education, I suspect that Rahul Gandhi has a far steeper mountain of resentment to overcome than Nehru ever had. I can understand the resentment, but I cannot accept it, for it brings out the worst in us. Politicians who capitalise on this are doing us — and India — a disfavor. -- The Hindu Tabish Khair is an Indian novelist and academic who teaches in Denmark.


May 18, 2018


Yet Another BBB Distinction Award for Galson Auto

Harjit Galhotra, President and founder of Galson Auto & Body proudly holds the Winners of Distinction Award presented at the BBB Awards ceremony held on Wednesday, May 9 at the Bayou City Event Center. With him, from left are Kayla Fisher, son Balraj, wife Seema, son Ravi, Denise Roca and Tobi Gourley.



OUSTON: Building a good reputation for your business was paramount in the minds of the many owners, if you count the hundreds of people who came to the BBB awards event proud of the services and products they offer. This was a point of pride for Dan parsons, the President of the Better Business Bureau, as he briefly welcomed the over 1,000 people who came to the BBB’s annual awards luncheon last Wednesday, May 9 at the Bayou City Event Center on Knight Road just south of the NRG Center. With over 31 categories and hundreds of companies who submitted

their qualifications, the event went by swiftly as the emcee this year again, KHOU TV personality host of “Great Day Houston” Deborah Duncan, went through the list and declared the Pinnacle Winners from among the Winners of Distinction even as a sit down lunch was being served. Harjit Galhotra, founder of Galson Auto & Body Repair, a 24-year old Cypress-based company, waited anxiously for the results along with his wife Seema, sons Ravi and Balraj and others from his firm. Galson’s first won the Pinnacle in 2005, and then picked up two others in 2007 and 2014, but has won the Distinction Award all the other years since 2005, or 13 awards in total.

Galhotra is proud of the company which he has built on “Excellent service at reasonable rates” and the care towards each customer, many of whom write glowing reviews of the business. Once again this year, for the 14th year in a row, Galson Auto & Body Repair was nominated in its Auto Repair category and Galhotra and his team waited excitedly to see what award they would receive. This year, they once again received the Winners of Distinction award but were disappointed that they did not get the highest prize. Nevertheless, Galhotra promised to excel even more and be back next year, with the Pinnacle Award in his sights!

Dr. Manu K. Vora’s 2018 US Fulbright Specialist Project in India


Dr. Manu Vora

NAPERVILLE, IL: In 2016, The

US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs appointed Dr. Manu K. Vora as a Fulbright Specialist for a Five-Year term. Dr. Vora completed his first Fulbright Specialist (FSP) Project at his Alma Mater, IIT (BHU), Varanasi, India in March 2018. Dr. Vora accomplished Five Key Initiatives as a part of his FSP Project at IIT (BHU), Varanasi as follows: 1) Conducted “Risk Management for Organizational Excellence” Workshop for 21 attendees and received 100% Overall Satisfaction. 2) Delivered five sessions on “Recipe for Success at an University and in Professional Careers”, a Career Development Talk to 195 Students. 3) Delivered five sessions on “Create Magic in the Classrooms for Students’ Engagement”, an Innovative Educational Practice with 54 Faculties and Research Scholars. 4) Provided expert advice in advancing state-of-the-art curriculum for the establishment of a new School of Management Science and Engineering Program at IIT (BHU),

Varanasi. 5) Provided Relevant Feedback to Two Ph.D. Research Scholars in the Industrial Management area of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT (BHU), Varanasi. During his India visit, he delivered his Career Development Talk at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Vile Parle, Mumbai, Shri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Rajkot, and Ramakrishna Mission Home of Service, Varanasi. He attended a meeting with the IIT Bombay Director’s Team regarding their World University Ranking project. Also delivered Two Talks at SIES Graduate School of Technology, Nerul, Mumbai on ‘Education, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship for Nation Building’to undergraduate students and on ‘Create Magic in the Classrooms for Students’ Engagement’ to faculties. Overall, during the visit he delivered 11 sessions on Career Development with an outreach to 1,200 students and professionals and shared five sessions on innovative practices for students’ engagement in the classrooms with 130 faculties and research scholars. Dr. Manu Vora is the Chairman and President of Business Excellence, Inc., USA since June 2000. He has over 43 years of leadership

experience guiding Fortune 500 companies in US Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework. For the last 25 years as an Adjunct Faculty he teaches Operations Management course globally. He is connected with over 80 educational institutes globally. He holds Ph.D., M.S. (both from IIT, Chicago), and B. Tech. (Honors) in chemical engineering from IIT (BHU), and MBA with marketing management. He has delivered 770 presentations world-wide and published over 70 scholarly articles. As the Founder Director and President of Blind Foundation for India (BFI), his team has raised over $4 million to help over one million visually impaired people in India. ASQ has bestowed on him five Medals. He received “2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from Association of IIT-BHU Alumni, Delhi”, “2015 BHU Distinguished Alumnus Award”, 2015 & 2000 Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Medal”, “2013 Top 40 Alumni for the First 40th Anniversary of Keller Graduate School of Management”, “2012 IIT Chicago Alumni Medal”, “2011 Ellis Island Medal of Honor”, and “2010 U. S. President’s Volunteer Service Award”. In 1968, he received J. N. Tata Scholarship to pursue his graduate studies in the U.S.

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22 May 18, 2018


American Leadership Forum, Beneficial for Indo American Leaders

From left: Ashok Garg, Prabha Garg, Whitney Crane, Jim Crane and Jagdip Ahluwalia at the Joseph Jaworski Leadership Award Dinner



President Ashok Garg completed the American Leadership Forum (ALF) program recently, the first thought that crossed his mind was how beneficial this program would be for Indo American leaders. Summarizing his “unique and enriching” experience, he says he learned many things about himself, gained a clearer sense of who he is and how he fits in the larger picture of Houston and the surrounding community. He also believes that “we all have something to offer” and ALF helped him find and define what that was. Sanjay Ramabhadran, an alumni of the Program and IACCGH Past President also concurs. Indo American community leaders, he says, would benefit tremendously from connecting with the diverse leadership from across the Houston region. Two traits, according to him, are important in a leader: the ability to listen with “the explicit intent to understand rather than the itch to respond” and the consciousness of being a servant leader to serve others around you.

His experience at ALF also gave him an insight into different leadership styles. ALF, he adds, does a great job of deliberately engineering the class makeup so that the diverse leadership of Houston “gets to interact, work and learn from each other.” The takeaways from ALF are different for each member, emphasizes ALF Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter President Dan Snare. For some, the lessons are deeply personal with opportunities for introspection while others define the legacy they’d like to leave. Some glean invaluable lessons on listening, asking powerful questions, engaging with others around difficult conversations and across differences. ALF Vice President of Development Manisha Gandhi says her ALF experience “came at a career cross roads” and the experience helped bring clarity on what she wanted to contribute to the local community, made her a better listener and enhanced her leadership skills. ALF was started in 1980 by Joseph Jaworski, a lawyer who left a successful law practice to address a crisis of leadership in the country. The organization, which started in Houston,

soon spread across the country and presently has 8 active Chapters. The Houston Gulf Coast Chapter boasts of alumni such as Former Mayor Annise Parker, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and heads of diverse organizations. According to an independent study, after participating in ALF, Senior Fellows say they have greater confidence in their capacity as leaders, have a better understanding of the needs of the community, and how to gather resources to meet those needs. Its twenty day program includes a six-day wilderness experience in the mountains. Monthly sessions are held on topics such as dialogue, group emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, consensus building, core values and moral courage. Alumni and IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia and Dan Snare’s advice for those interested in joining the Program is to check out the website at www.alfhouston. org and look through the membership directory to see who they know among Senior Fellows. They suggest meeting with the Senior Fellow(s) and express an interest in submitting their nomination.

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HOUSTON: As dawn breaks,

Swami Vigyanandji hops on to his bicycle and pedals to a park close by. He meditates and practices his asanas in the midst of nature, then laces up his shoes to alternately jog and walk for a good number of miles. After a simple sattvic meal, this IIT Kharagpur graduate and renowned scholar of Indian scriptures is ready to put in a full day’s work. As Joint General Secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and founder of the World Hindu Congress, the World Hindu Economic Forum and the Hindu Emergency Aid and Relief Team (HEART), he needs all the focus and energy his morning routine gives him. Currently, Swamiji is busy campaigning for the Second World Hindu Congress to be held in Chicago from 7-9 September, 2018. The conference, which attracts prominent Hindus across the world, is the largest global platform for Hindus to connect, share ideas, introspect towards improvement and seek solutions to challenges facing the community. It coincides with the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s iconic address in Chicago’s Parliament of Religions in 1893 – a speech that prompted many Americans to explore Hindu spirituality. The conference will discuss 7 key issues: economics, education, media, politics, youth involvement, women participation and collaboration of

May 18, 2018


2018 World Hindu Congress @ Chicago

Swami Vigyanandji

Hindu organizations. Confirmed Keynote Speakers include Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, the Dalai Lama, Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Chinmaya Mission Worldwide Head Swami Swaroopananda. Why is this conference so important? Swamiji, who switches between chaste Hindi and English easily, explains that to “graduate to collective success”, we must encourage wealth creation, affordable quality education, promote a robust Hindu presence in mass media, cultivate future Hindu leaders, tap the unique strengths of Hindu women and encourage all Hindu organizations to work together. This, he states, is the only way to increase our sphere of influence and have a positive societal impact. We are “unlike any other immigrant community”, he adds, we are

highly educated, professionally and financially successful but we don’t highlight our achievements enough. We need to become more than a “dandiya, garba and bhangra society,” we need to create awareness about our sizeable contributions, be visible and exercise our influence at the global level. Conferences such as this, he hopes, will remove the apathy that currently exists among a vast majority of Hindus, promote unity and dispel misconceptions about Hindu philosophy. Born in a small village near Banaras, Swamiji’s sharp mind took him to IIT Kharagpur – India’s premier technology Institute. After his B. Tech, he didn’t take the predictable route of a lucrative job but dived into a 12 year study of Indian history, heritage, Vedanta, Panini’s Grammar

and the Shastras. This proved to be a turning point in his life. The sheer richness of Hindu writings that were “compiled, protected, and transmitted through the most difficult times” by our ancestors motivated him to work at preserving this knowledge for successive generations. Swamiji reads a portion of the Gita every day and his favorite teaching from the scripture is aptly enough “never lose your focus.” The global pracharak, as he is also known, works with Hindu youth from Fiji to Finland and is impressed with their diligence and dedication. They are capable, talented and educated, he says, but need to be introduced to their rich heritage. His singular goal, he emphasizes, is to ignite this awareness among Hindus across the globe and conferences such as these are “only the beginning.”


Urging Houstonians to attend, Houston Sampark Coordinator HSS Swapan Dhairyawan stated that “It is important for every proud Hindu to attend the WHC 2018 in September. The conference will reinforce the importance of maintaining our Hindu identity in North America while assimilating in mainstream America.” CEO of Star Pipes Products Ramesh Bhutada also added that it will give Hindus an opportunity to meet Hindu leaders from all over the world in different fields with relevance to Hindu Dharma while Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) President Partha Krishnaswamy stated ““Such a congregation with exemplary Hindu leaders and speakers from worldwide is an occasion not to be missed. HGH sincerely requests Houston Hindus to represent in large numbers so that our presence is well recognized.” To learn about or participate in the 2018 World Hindu Congress, visit whc2018.worldhinducongress.org

24 May 18, 2018


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HICAGO: This past weekend, Chicago’s very own Dash Family won the coveted title of champions on the first season of Zee TV’s America’s Smartest Family and took home the cash prize of $10,000. “We are super excited to be the winners of America’s Smartest Family. It was our first national TV experience and we enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a great platform for Anmol to showcase his talent. Many thanks to Zee and Touchdown Media for a great experience” said Bibhudatta Dash The Somani Family from Monroe, New Jersey was the Runner-Up of the show and took home a cash prize of $5000. “It was a great experience to participate in America’s Smartest Family. We had a lot of fun going through various rounds. It made us realize the importance of keeping your eyes and ears open. There is so much to learn in this world. It also gave our son Rishi a great exposure to the world of quizzing. Hopefully, this experience will help him read and learn a lot about the world rather than just US and India. Definitely, the most enriching experience in our lives. The crew and host were awesome. They took good care of us and I would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity” said Rashmi Somani Zee TV’s original production Americas’ Smartest Family, has become a popular reality TV show amongst the South Asian community which attracted a huge audience

The Somani family on the set of America’s Smartest Family

throughout the season. The show initially began with 16 families dwindling down as the families battled it out until there were only two of the smartest families remaining. They both had to compete against each other in the finale for 10,000 cash prize and the title of America’s Smartest Family. In the previous episodes, round one and two consisted of four questions, with a dice roll deciding which family goes first. Participants could choose from one of five topics - science, math, arts & entertainment, history, and geography. But there was a small twist in the grand finale; once a category is chosen at the end, the participants were forced to answer from the last remaining category. There were no deductions for the wrong answer. As the game progressed, questions become tougher and lot more

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challenging. By rounds three and four - each correct answer was worth 200 points. During the fifth and final round, the game took a turn and host Zaid Ali made the round stimulating by offering clues. If the team answered correctly without a clue, a maximum of 1000 points was awarded. If the family chose to get clues, each clue cost them 200 points. For the grand finale, the category for the final round was math and in the end, the Dash family won by 300 points. America’s Smartest Family was conceptualized as a Zee Originals property and produced by Touchdown Productions. To stay updated with the latest announcements and news about “America’s Smartest Family,” visit https://www.zeeoriginals.com/ americas-smartest-family/




May 18, 2018


hat is Ramadan? For Muslims, Ramadan is a holy month dedicated to prayer, Quran recitation, introspection and fasting during the sunlight hours. But the Arabic word for fasting—sawm—doesn’t only refer to abstaining from food or drink. It translates literally to “refrain,” and encompasses abstinence from food, drink, having sex, and all evil thoughts and deeds in the interest of self-purification. Muslims observing the holy month break the daily fast with an evening meal called Iftar, often beginning with a few sips of water or something sweet, like an odd number of dates. What’s the religious significance of Ramadan? Ramadan is believed to be the holiest

month of the year within Islam, and the month in which the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. In this month, the gates to heaven are believed to be open and the gates to hell closed. Muslims are instructed to fast in the Surat Al-Baqarah, the second and longest chapter of the Quran. Does everyone fast? Technically, all “healthy” Muslims are expected to fast, but there are a number of exceptions. Children, elderly people and pregnant, postnatal, breastfeeding or menstruating women are exempt, as are travelers or people who are physically or mentally ill. Non-fasters can compensate b y fasting at a later date or feeding a person in need. Wasn’t Ramadan later last year? The date of Ramadan is determined by the lunar calendar, so it falls about 11 days earlier each year than it did the year prior. The task

of fasting is considerably more demanding when Ramadan falls in the summer months, as there are many more hours of daylight and warmer temperatures can be taxing on the body. This year, Ramadan will coincide with the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21, the longest day of the year in that part of the world. There will be 15 hours of daylight. Why is Wednesday evening the “expected” beginning of Ramadan? The precise beginning of the lunar

month—and thus, Ramadan—can only be confirmed by the sighting of a slender crescent moon in the sky. Prominent mosques or committees of Muslim scholars often hold meetings to deliberate the sightings, sometimes leading to rival dates for the beginning and end of Ramadan. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on the evening of June 17 or 18 and last 29 or 30 days, depending on the length of the lunar month and on Wednesday night’s sightings. -time.com


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26 May 18, 2018


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May 18, 2018 BOLLYWOOD Bollywood Celebrities at Cannes 2018

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

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Deepika Padukone

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28 May 18, 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

Bharre Karela (Stuffed Karela) with or without salt

Send us the correct answer before May 23, 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).

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his crinkly green vegetable with ridges is one that is deeply admired and loved in the Punjab for its taste and the way it can be made that both highlights its bitterness while bringing out the aroma and flavor of its fleshy shell. Stuffing karele (bitter melons or bitter gourds) is the most authentic Punjabi way to prepare them and is the method which I learnt from my mother Biji, and her mother Bhabhi before her. It is a two-step process, first slicing and stuffing the karele with masala (spices) and then stir-frying them with small wholeonions, cross-sliced and similarly stuffed. To hold the masala together, often the vegetables can be wrapped and tied with thin cotton string which you may have to cut and discard while eating. Karele originated in India and were carried into China in the 14th century though the Chinese variety is much bigger and not as bitter or tasty as the Indian one. Karele and the bitter juice extracted from the vegetable have many medicinal uses like treating stomach complaints, preventing malaria, reducing blood glucose and fighting cancer due to the antioxidants mostly in the green exterior skin. Some companies even sell gel capsules made of the karela extract. Karele can be cooked many ways in the Punjab, each depending on the amount of time you want to spend and also the amount of bitterness that is to your taste. You can scrape the outer skin and make a burji (mash) of it or stuff it into a parantha (stuffed bread) or slice the karele and eat it like chips or stuff them with masala. Each method tastes good but you should them for yourself to judge.

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Ingredients: • 6 karele (bitter melons) choose green ones, not too yellow or too fat • 2 tbsp tael (vegetable or olive oil) • 1/2 cup saddi dahin (plain yogurt) • 2 tbsp pani (water) • 5 piyaaz (onions) – small ones • Spices: 1tsp namak (salt), ¼ tsp mirch (red pepper), ½ tsp haldi (turmeric), 1 tsp amchoor (green mango powder) and 2 tsp sukha dhania powder (dried coriander seed powder) Directions: 1. Wash the karela well then dry lightly with a towel. 2. Peel the karela and keep the peels aside for another day to use for other karela recipes. 3. Rinse the peeled karela and then make a deep slit lengthwise down the middle, but do not cut all the way through. 4.Peel the piyaaz and then cut them in a cross, but not all the way through. 5. In a cup mix the spices to taste and set aside. 6. Fry the karela open and with a small teaspoon, stuff the masala mixture in the slit. Tie the karelas with a short string to keep the masala in. (Another variation is to brown

the karelas first without the masala, then slit then and fill them with the masala and tie them with a string too, if necessary.) 7. Pry open the slit onions and stuff them likewise with the masala mixture. 8. Heat the oil in a karahi (wok) over high and place the stuffed karelas in one by one. Brown one side then the other, careful not to spill the masala. Now remove the string if you had used to tie them. 9. Pour in the yogurt in a glass, add the water and mix well, stir and cover the wok for ten minutes. 10. When the yogurt-water has dried, add the onions, stir and cover again for 5 minutes. 11. Remove the cover and let the ingredients cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the dish cool down. 12. For best results, the karele should be a little crispy on the outside, but be careful not to burn them. 13. Enjoy with roti and some plain yogurt. This dish can keep in the fridge for a few days. 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 recipes for future generations.




ough karele are a tasty dish, they make. One way to cut down on the pr are often time consuming to eparation time is to onion, peeled and sli use one large ce slices spread out an d instead of using small stuffed onions d make for an appeali . The onion ng the small onions fi rst then place the stu dish. Another trip is to brown ffed karele on top then cover the wok of th un karele do not get to til everything is tender. This makes su em and o brown or crispy. re that the For of karele, but are on a salt restricted diet, those who want the benefits use amchoor and da as these can substit ute for the salt flav hin instead or.

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May 18, 2018



Raazi: A Film Like This Needs to be Made


ring in Karan Johar, an India-Pakistan war, a Kashmiri family, and a novel springing from the pen of a retired defence officer, and you can almost hear the drumroll. That Raazi never becomes a chest-thumping spectacle of jingoism, despite all that is tempting in the preceding sentence, is presumably the work of the refiner sensibilities of writer-director Meghna Gulzar, with father Gulzar around as lyricist. Raazi is an adaptation of Lt Commander (retd) Harinder S Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat, on a Kashmiri girl of mixed Sikh-Muslim parentage who gets married into a high-ranking Pakistani military family, so as to spy for India. It was promoted as an ‘unknown true story’ of the 1971 war, and was given a willing platform by the Indian Navy — some said, for highlighting the Navy, that poorer cousin of the defence forces, in a pivotal role. Raazi hangs on to that ‘true story’ claim, adding ‘incredible’ to it. That means it has almost all ground covered, apart from the fact that you should know by now that ‘a true story’doesn’t

have to be ‘the true story’. But never mind, for Raazi is as true as mainstream Bollywood can get in dealing with two countries now joined only by rancour and wars. For at the heart of it are two normal families, separated by a border not yet as delineated by hate, and joined in their individual love for own motherland. When they look at the ‘other’, they don’t see an enemy, but people similar to them acting out of that same patriotic instinct. There is a lot of reference to

“watan”, “mulk” etc, and how “it is above everything else”, but we are spared speeches about one country being better than the other. Sehmat, played by Alia, is welcomed with open arms by the large, elite Pakistani family she gets married into. And only some of it has to do with the fact that her father was friends with her father-in-law in college, before Partition. Rajit Kapur as Sehmat’s father Hidayat is inconsequential; the mother played by real-life mom Soni Razdan remains in grief about this arrange-

ment regarding her daughter, but almost completely silent. No one brings up Sehmat being an Indian in Islamabad, at home among family, or in parties among guests. Her husband Iqbal, played by a very, very understated Kaushal, in fact, apologises when his father bursts out against India once, in the build-up to the 1971 war. Meghna paces the film well, fleshing out the characters who make up the Sayed family, into which Sehmat is married, and then

Hope Aur Hum: Naseeruddin Shah Deserves Better Old age, old machine, old times,

old haveli, old gramophone, old jazz record, and one really old box. Hope Aur Hum doesn’t believe in subtlety when it comes to drumming home its message of old giving way to the new, saddling Naseeruddin Shah with the burden of making audiences hope that, surely, there is something better around the corner. But being much too obvious and doing injustice to Shah as well as Bashir, another great actor gone to waste here, isn’t even the worst of Hope Aur Hum’s crimes. That would be its insistence on straying off on tangents to yawn-worthy non-plots, one of which involves a Dubai-returned rich man looking for his phone for nearly 15 minutes of screen time.

The talented child actor Kabir (Secret Superstar) has another plot that adds nothing to the central premise, but he at least is more delightful while at it. In the Srivastava household around which Hope Aur Hum revolves,

Kabir’s Anu and Shah’s Dadu form the two most interesting bookends. A finer film could have churned an entire story out of them, and some of their scenes will remind you of the endearing awardwinning animation Up!. Anu’s Naani’s home, in a sprawling, decrepit haveli in the countryside, also has a charm about it and the hint of a mystery that yet another fine film could have spun into a tale of growing up during one lazy summer.

But, first-time director Bandyopadhyay doesn’t know when he has a nice thing going. So we have Anu and Dadu, Anu and Naani (played by the much-missed Beena Banerjee), Anu and cricket, Anu’s chacha’s missing phone, and even Anu’s chacha’s missing girlfriend. She, thankfully, remains largely missing. In its burnished-wood splendour, its big and scratched lens, its giant plates, its bellows that hang out at the back, and in the faded prints it belches out with much effort, ‘Mr Soennecken’, as Dadu calls it, is the character with the most heft and history in Hope Aur Hum. Don’t ask what happens to it. -indianexpress.com


gradually turning up the tension as the bride’s cover wears thin. While the ease with which Sehmat sends messages across the border, duping so many people at so many levels, in one of the most high-security houses in the country, is a little dubious, the film is at least professional and thorough about it. It covers most details economically, and doesn’t spare Sehmat the dirt. Where Raazi fails is in rousing any kind of emotions about its many likeable actors, who are all reasonably good, especially Ahlawat as Sehmat’s trainer and handler. The sense of what is at stake is lost in the minutiae of Sehmat’s operations, and the little details of her life in a family she is about to destroy are lost in staging the bigger plan. In fact, the nice moments in the film as strangers Sehmat and Iqbal inch towards each other make us wonder if therein lay a better story. Besides, Alia strains to convey the range expected of her, and there is just one too many scenes of her wailing loudly at every emotional crisis. -indianexpress.com


Vir Das May 19, 1979

Nawazuddin Siddiqui May 19, 1974

30 May 18, 2018


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32 May 18, 2018 IPL 2018: Kuldeep, Russell Push KKR Close to Playoffs BY KARTHIK KRISHNASWAMY

KOLKATA (ESPN Crickinfo):

Kolkata Knight Riders 145 for 4 (Lynn 45, Karthik 41*, Stokes 3-15) beat Rajasthan Royals 142 (Buttler 39, Kuldeep 4-20, Russell 2-13) by six wickets. Kolkata Knight Riders strengthened their position in the playoffs race after a spectacular collapse from their opponents, Rajasthan Royals, left them a relatively straightforward 143 to chase at the Eden Gardens. Sent in to bat, Royals rocketed to 59 for 0 in just four overs before losing their way completely, losing all their wickets in the next 15 overs for the addition of only 83 runs. Kuldeep Yadav, teasing the batsmen with his variations and changes of pace, finished with figures of 4 for 20, the best of his IPL career. Unlike Royals, KKR’s top order hasn’t been reliant on one or two individuals this season, and once again they had contributions from a number of batsmen in their chase, the most sizable of them being forties from Chris Lynn and Dinesh Karthik. They got home with two overs to spare, ensuring they gave their net run rate a handy fillip ahead of their final league game. The game began with Royals looking like a side that had won its last three games, and Jos Buttler looking like he had scored fifties in his last five innings. Sent in to bat, Royals opened with a new combination, and they made one of the most frenzied starts ever seen in the IPL: from the third ball of the second over, bowled by Prasidh Krishna, to the last ball of the third, bowled by Shivam Mavi, Rahul Tripathi and Buttler hit ten successive boundaries: 6, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6, 4, 4, 6, 4. KKR came into the game as the worst fast-bowling team of the season, and their record was only getting worse. Even the introduction of spin didn’t help too much, Sunil Narine going for 10 in his first over and Royals moving to 59 for 0 by the end of the fourth. Teams this season have often pushed power-hitters up the order when their openers have given them

Kuldeep Yadav shapes to take a catch, Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2018, Kolkata, May 15, 2018.

flying starts, but when Andre Russell dismissed Tripathi with a well-directed bouncer in the fifth over, Royals sent in Ajinkya Rahane. With Rahane playing himself in, ODI-style, Royals only scored 13 in the 15 balls he spent in the middle. Rahane himself faced 12 of those 15 balls, which may have helped disrupt some of Buttler’s rhythm. Both fell to reverse-sweeps off Kuldeep Yadav - Rahane attempting that shot a sign of the pressure those quiet overs had built up - and Royals were 85 for 2 in 9.2 overs. It wasn’t a bad situation, on the surface, but all the momentum had been sucked out of their innings, and they didn’t have too many in-form batsmen left. The two they had fallen to good balls, Sanju Samson playing around a skidder from Sunil Narine, and K Gowtham fending at a fast and accurate bouncer from Mavi - this was his fifth dismissal against the short ball this season. There wasn’t much resistance from the rest, barring an 18-ball 26 from Jaydev Unadkat, and Royals set KKR a decidedly sub-par target. Sunil Narine doesn’t believe in playing himself in. Accordingly, he heaved the first ball he faced, the first ball of KKR’s innings, over midwicket for six. The next ball, which K Gowtham bowled a little shorter, disappeared in the same direction,

and the next two went over long-on and extra-cover for six and four. Twenty-one came off that over. That and the smallness of KKR’s target meant they were never under real pressure even as they only scored 59 off their next nine overs, for the loss of three wickets. There was some help available to the bowlers, which Ben Stokes and Unadkat exploited with changes of pace, Jofra Archer with his skiddy pace, and Ish Sodhi with a few ripping legbreaks. Thanks to Narine’s early assault, Chris Lynn could play

all these bowlers with a degree of care, and anchor the innings while scoring at roughly a run a ball. When Dinesh Karthik joined Lynn at 69 for 3 in the ninth over, KKR needed 74 from 70 balls. They added 48 at just under seven an over before Lynn miscued Stokes to deep point. By this point the required rate was less than a run a ball and Karthik and Russell finished it off in a hurry, clattering Unadkat and Archer for four fours and a six in the 17th and 18th overs.

Canada’s T20 League Starts in June


ORONTO: Global T20 Canada, the new six-team franchise league organized by Cricket Canada and Mercuri Group based out of Chennai, will take place between June 28 and July 15. Each team will play six games in the league phase: an initial round-robin followed by a single-match second round in which the teams will play one other opponent. The top four teams after the league phase advance to the playoffs beginning on July 12. Similar to the IPL, the top two teams will play in the first playoff, with the winner going into the tournament final while the loser gets a second chance by playing the winner of the first elimination playoff between the third and fourth-placed teams. The

final will take place on July 15 at 2pm local time, the same day as the FIFA World Cup Final in Moscow. Though Cricket Canada president Ranjit Saini told ESPNcricinfo in February that the tournament would be spread across three venues in the greater Toronto area, the schedule unveiled this week lists all games to be held at Maple Leaf Cricket Club, 25 miles north of downtown Toronto in King City. Saini had indicated that there may be difficulty getting permits for access to certain venues such as the centrally-located Toronto Cricket, Skating & Curling Club, which hosted the Sahara Cup ODI series between India and Pakistan in the late 1990s.



India Women Hockey Team Wins vs. China 3-1

DONGHAE CITY (South Korea):

Continuing its fine show at the Asian Champions Trophy Indian women’s hockey team stunned higher-ranked China 3-1 to register their second consecutive win in the tournament on Wednesday. Vandana Katariya (4th, 11th minutes) scored a brace while Gurjit Kaur struck the other goal from a penalty corner to ensure India’s comfortable win over eighth-ranked China. China’s lone goal came from the stck of Wen Dan in the 15th minute. By virtue of this win, Indian team is sitting pretty atop the standings with two victories from as many games. India, ranked 10th in the world, will next play Malaysia on Thursday. The Malaysians beat Japan 3-2 in another encounter. India had earlier defeated Japan 4-1 in their tournament-opener. The tournament also marks the comeback of Sjoerd Marijne as the chief coach of the women’s side after being at the helm of the men’s team for little over seven months. Navneet Kaur scored a hat-trick as India got off to a rollicking start with a 4-1 win over Japan in their opening match of the 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament on Monday. Young forward Navneet scored in the 7th, 25th and 55th minute while Anupa Barla (53rd) got the other goal for India at the Sunrise Stadium. The Indian team was dominant right from the start as it displayed well-strategised attack to break the a strong Japanese defence. An early chance came by when forward Vandana Katariya and Lilima Minz worked in tandem to create space in the striking circle. Navneet picked up an assist from Vandana to send the ball past Korean goalkeeper to give defending champions India 1-0 lead in the 7th minute.

May 18, 2018


Fraud-hit PNB Posts After Flipkart Deal, Walmart to Open 50 New Stores in 4-5 Years Loss of Rs 13.4 Crore are continuing in same geographies NEW DELHI: A day after anbut primarily focus is on Punjab, nouncing $16 billion investment in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, NEW DELHI: Scam-hit Punjab India’s largest online retailer Flipkart, Walmart Inc on Thursday said it will continue to grow its wholesale cashand-carry business, adding 50 new stores in the next four-five years. “We currently have 21 stores and plan to open 50 stores in 4 to 5 years. Plans are on track,” Walmart India president and CEO Krish Iyer said at a select media roundtable called to explain the Flipkart deal. Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon said Flipkart, in which the US retailer is acquiring 77% stake, would continue to operate as a separate board-managed company with cofounder Binny Bansal as the CEO. Flipkart gives Walmart an online presence. So far it had been handicapped by India’s retail policy that does not allow overseas companies to sell directly to consumers (except in wholesale cash-and-carry segment).

Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal. McMillon said Flipkart would continue to operate as a separate board-managed company with Bansal as the CEO. Photo: AFP

Companies like Flipkart and Amazon operate as e-commerce marketplaces—a segment where 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) is allowed. “As we speak, we have a pipeline of 20 stores and we expect to open 5 stores in the current year and then pick

up pace and eventually start opening 12-15 stores a year,” Iyer said. For the cash-and-carry business, Walmart currently operates in 9 states and 19 cities and the future expansion is focused on more or less the same geographies. “We are not spreading thin. We

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” he said. It could potentially use these Best Price stores as pickup and delivery points to service online sales made on Flipkart. Analysts believe that Walmart’s investment in Flipkart, whose 34% market share in India’s online sales is ahead of rival Amazon’s 27%, will boost the Indian e-commerce company’s logistical operations and help it move into new areas such as online groceries. Walmart is buying 77% of Flipkart from existing shareholders, including Japan’s SoftBank, for $14 billion and investing $2 billion of fresh equity. Walmart India is a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart Stores Inc and offers close to 5,000 items through its cash-and-carry wholesale format. -- Live Mint

Hindustan Unilever Makes the Most of the GST Regime NEW DELHI: After clocking a

double-digit 11% volume growth in the December quarter, the Street was expecting Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s (HUL) volume growth for the March quarter to tone down to around 7%. After all, the base in the third quarter was low with a 4% degrowth in the year-ago period, while volumes had grown 4% in the year-ago March quarter. But despite the higher base effect, the company reported an 11% growth in volumes again. “Hindustan Unilever is clearly executing at a much higher level than peers. We believe this is partly because it was perhaps the best prepared for GST (goods and service tax) and hence has made the most of this tailwind for the organized sector players,” analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities said in a note to clients. GST is short for the goods and services tax.

Besides, its advertising expenses increased by a fourth for the March quarter, suggesting HUL’s confidence in the operating environment. The home care segment performed well, which helped the company’s overall profit growth as well. The segment recorded double-digit volume growth and a robust 31% growth in its earnings before interest and tax (Ebit). Ebit of the personal

care segment increased at a much slower pace of 8%. Overall, HUL’s Ebitda increased at a healthy 24% year-on-year to Rs2,048 crore, while Ebitda margin rose a smart 240 basis points to 22.5%. Ebitda is short for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. So far, so good. But the key thing to figure out is whether HUL’s results

indicate that underlying demand has improved. A look at the results of other fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms suggests that is not the case. According to Kotak, volume growth trends reported by sector peers for the March quarter have been mixed. Of course, even though HUL has done better than most peers, its valuations too are stretched. Most FMCG stocks have outperformed the benchmark Sensex in the past one year and the company’s shares are no exception to that trend. The HUL stock trades at a pricey valuation of almost 60 times estimated earnings for this fiscal year, based on Bloomberg data. But it is at least growing earnings at a decent pace, and the March quarter results could well offer some support to valuations from a near-term perspective. -- Live Mint


National Bank today posted loss of Rs 13,416.91 crore for the JanuaryMarch period, the biggest ever by any domestic lender, as bad loans surged. The state-owned bank had reported standalone profit of Rs 261.90 crore in the fourth quarter of the preceding fiscal, 2016-17. With regards to provision made for the loss incurred on account of Nirav Modi fraud, the bank said it provided for Rs 7,178 crore, 50 per cent of the total amount of Rs 14,356 crore in the fourth quarter of 2017-18. The remaining amount will be covered in the three quarters of the current fiscal year. PNB further said it has paid Rs 6,586.11 crore to other banks to discharge its liabilities towards Letter of Undertakings (LoUs) and Foreign Letter of Credits (FLCs) issued fraudulently and in unauthorised manner to certain overseas branches of Indian banks through the misuse of SWIFT system of the bank, which was then not integrated with CBS (core banking solutions). Modi and his associates in connivance with some officials of PNB defrauded the bank of over USD 2 billion dollar. Yesterday,thebankboard,following government diktat, had divested two executive directors -- K V Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan-- of all financial and executive powers. The action came after CBI named them in a chargesheet filed in the Nirav Modi fraud case. Since these two executive directors did not attend today’s board meeting to approve the 4Q financial result, their signatures are not on the annual financial results.

34 May 18, 2018

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May 18, 2018




May 18, 2018


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