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Friday, June 07 2013 | Vol. 32, No. 23

Indo American erican News

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June 07, 2013


COMMUNITY BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: Overcome by a profound sense of grief and obligation by the heroic sacrifice of four Houston fire fighters in battling the flames that engulfed the Southwest Motel and attached Bhojan restaurant (see story on page 6) on the Southwest Freeway this past Friday, the Indian community came together to offer their prayers for their departed souls in a event that showed their solidarity at India House on Tuesday evening, June 4. Prayer meetings at moments of great distress have long been a hallmark of the India Culture Center, which, together with the India House organized this event which included the participation of the majority of the Indo-American religious and cultural organizations in the Greater Houston area. This was hurriedly put together and the 250 people who came to the event speak of the power and organization of the community to harness their members in times of great need. Their objective was to raise $50,000 to pass along to the families of the fire fighters who were killed in action, and India House President Jugal Malani declared that goal when he spoke at the end of the program. The Presidents or other designated representatives of each one of these organizations were present to say a few words of remembrance to express their sorrow and pray for the souls of the fallen fire fighters Capt. Matthew Renaud, 35; Engineer Operator Robert Bebee, 41; Firefighter Robert Garner, 29 and Anne Sullivan, 24, a probationary firefighter. Each took their turn say a few words, often referring to the firefighters by name and echoing sentiments of the heroic nature of their deeds. The program started an introduction by Hasu Patel, who heads the Small Motel Owners Association which has pledged to give 500 free room nights to the fire fighters who were to attend the memorial service in Reliant Stadium the

June 07, 2013


Community Shows Solidarity in Prayers for Dead Houston Fire Fighters Kashmira Naik singing an opening bhajan.

Hoshang Sethna represented the Zorastrian faith. The leaders of the different Indo American organizations with the Indian Consul General P. Harish (center in suit) next to Sugar Land Fire Chief Juan Adame (in black uniform). Photos: Jawahar Malhotra The other religious priests who came to offer their prayers, from left, Dr. Tahir Hussain of the Muslim faith; Saminiji Perimal Pragya and Vikas Pragya of the Jain faith; Pt. Dr. Surya Narayan Nanda of the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston; Pradeep Pandya, Pandit of the Shiv Shakti Mandir and Bhai Charanjit Singh and Bhai Paras Singh of the Sikh faith.

next day. It opened with a bhajan by Kashmira Naik, followed by a moment of silence and prayers and quotes from their respective religious scriptures by Pt. Dr. Surya Narayan Nanda of the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston; Rev. Roy Thomas of the Mar Thoma Church; Dr. Tahir Hussain of the Muslim faith; Saminiji Perimal

Pragya and Vikas Pragya of the Jain faith; Hoshang Sethna representing the Zorastrian faith; Bhai Paras Singh of the Sikh faith (accompanied by Bhai Charanjit Singh) and Pandit Pradeep Pandya of the Shiv Shakti Mandir. Also speaking were the Indian Consul General Parvathaneni Harish who suggested that the ICC and others use this episode to teach the

community about safety in homes and the workplace. He was followed by Sugar Land Fire Chief Juan Adame who said that Ann Sullivan was from Sugar Land and had trained there before joining HFD. “We fire fighters pledge to put ourselves between danger and the citizens we protect,” he said, explaining how his father and son are also fire fighters. Stafford

Re. Roy Thomas of the Mar Thoma Church.

Councilman Ken Mathews said “the ultimate sacrifice is your own life” and that Ann Sullivan was a member of the Stafford Fire Department till January. Danny Ngyuen, Missouri City Councilman, expressed his sadness. Houston Mayor Annise Parker sent a message. The ICC President Prakash V. Patel, better known as PV, said his organization will raise money for the families of the fire fighters. “We sleep peacefully because of them,” he said and then read a poignant poem by a 6-year-old son of a dead firefighter. Nisha Mirani of the Gujarati Samaj and Sharad Amin of the Hindus of Greater Houston spoke of their sorrow. “Serving a human being is to serve God,” noted Amin



June 07, 2013


COMMUNITY BY SESH BALA HOUSTON: Houston’s “Samskriti� Indian Performing Arts organization, in collaboration with Orissa Culture Center, presented a fabulous Odissi group dance as a part of its “Incredible India 2013� series on May 31 at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. A troupe of 10 artists, 4 women and 6 men, kept a packed audience spellbound through every one of its 5 dance numbers, together titled “Gatha Odissi: The Journey from Temple to Stage�. The lead dancer and choreographer was Guru Aruna Mohanty, the dynamic Director of the Orissa Dance Academy. The other dancers were Yudhistir Nayak, Pabitra Kumar Pradhan, Biswaji Das, Arupa Gayathri Panda, Prashant Kumar Behera, Rajesh Kumar Palai, Rudra Prasad Swain, Puja Jena and Shipra Avantica Mehrotra. All except Houston’s own Shipra Mehrotra are artists visiting from India. Jayadev Das from India was the lighting designer for the event. The five dance numbers consisted of Krupanidhana (an old traditional composition that celebrates Lord Jagannath), Khamaj Pallavi (a pure dance with lyrical movements of sensuous grace), Rasa in Ramayana (presenting nine universal emotions each conveyed through a different episode from the Hindu epic Ramayana), Krishna Saranam (depicting seven episodes from the life of Lord Krishna) and finally Swargaadapi Gariysai – Vande Mataram (a tribute to the motherland India). Extremely well choreographed and rehearsed, each dance was enhanced by related images, scenes and well-scripted explanatory supertitles projected on a screen mounted behind the dancers. The pre-recorded music for the dance was clear, melodious and pleasing. The introductory narratives enhanced the audience understanding of the storyline and lyrics of each

June 07, 2013


Fabulous Gatha Odissi Dance Performance

Nandita Harish felicitates, Director of Odissa Dance company Aruna Mohanty, as Rathna Kumar, Artistic Director of Samskriti looks on (far left). Photos: Amitava Sarkar

free admission, so a broad crosssection of the city’s population can witness such international cultural presentation. It was a diverse crowd that attended this fabulous Odissi group dance. Samskriti with its Artistic Director Rathna Kumar, her husband Anil Kumar and the Orissa Culture Center should be commended for bringing such high caliber events to Houston for the enjoyment and enrichment of the Houston population. dance. Though the entire program lasted about 2 and a half hours including a 10-mintue intermission, most of the audience stayed till the end and showed their appreciation with frequent applause, capped

finally with a long standing ovation! Miller Outdoor Theater and the City of Houston should be commended for enabling the presentation of such Indian programs, with

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June 07, 2013

Deadly Fire Guts Bhojan Restaurant, Southwest Inn Motel, Kills Four BY PARTH DWIVEDI HOUSTON: I had to head toward downtown last Friday afternoon, so I took the ramp onto the Southwest Freeway going North, and hit traffic as far South as Bissonnet. I figured someone must have gotten into an accident an exit up and sat tight, eventually getting lost in my thoughts. I had no idea traffic would not start clearing up until I got to the exit for Hillcroft, and when it did, that the entire building housing the Southwest Inn and Bhojan Restaurant would be completely gone. I would find out later that a fire was responsible for destroying them, along with much, much more. Houston Fire Department Chief Terry Garrison said, “We arrived on the scene and about 14 minutes after our arrival we had a mayday.” Over 150 firefighters from at least 60 units responded to control the five-alarm fire over the course of roughly two hours. Initially five firefighters were transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion and other critical injuries. On Saturday, HFD confirmed that 14 firefighters were transported to the hospital, one in critical condition and another needing to undergo surgery. The rest had stabilized, however, and several had already been released. Unfortunately, it was also clear that four firefighters had lost their lives while combing the burning building for civilians, when the roof collapsed, fatally trapping them. Killed in the fire from Station 51 were Capt. Matthew Renaud, 35, a serviceman of 11 years, and Engineer Operator Robert Bebee, 41, a 12-year veteran. Firefighter Robert Garner, 29, who had joined about two years ago, and Anne Sullivan, 24, a probationary firefighter who had just graduated from the Houston Fire Department Academy in April, both were from Station 68. Jack Sullivan told the

Photos: Parth Dwivedi

Associated Press that he tried to talk his daughter out of going into such a dangerous line of work, but “she had her heart set at [being a firefighter].” A public memorial service for the four victims was to be held Wednesday at the Reliant Stadium, expecting upwards of 40,000 people in solidarity from across the nation. The death toll from Friday’s conflagration was the worst ever recorded in HFD history, and both they and the heroes’ families are forced to cope with the mournful reality. HFD said taking the risk was a necessary protocol, due to the possibility of people being trapped inside the building-turned-furnace. “[The motel] was open to the public and it was normal business



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hours. That is enough to generate the need to go in and make a primary rapid search to ensure everybody is out,” Fire Captain, Ruy Lozano said. Having interviewed about 100 people, Deputy Fire Chief Ed Arthur said, “we’re exhausting almost every investigator in our division.” From 20 to 30 people are working at the fire scene at any given time, going through debris, and while he expects the search of the scene to take about 10 days, a report of the findings would not be coming for months down the line. HFD had already been keeping firefighter safety in mind, as per several top priority provisions to improve firefighter safety in its most recent Strategic Plan. In accordance with their stated goal to continuously evolve to meet society’s needs, Lozano assured that HFD will find out what happened to prevent it from ever happening again. According to Arthur, no conclusive cause has been delineated, but the source has been narrowed, “we’re trying to work ourselves in and trying to hone in on certain areas where there is the most fire damage. And right now, we’re focusing on an area in and around the area above the kitchen.” Presence

of heavy fire in the structure’s attic is of interest, as it is likely where the blaze initially accelerated. Engineers are also ascertaining if there was a sprinkler system, as well as the building’s roof-remodeling history. The Houston Fire Department Arson Division, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Bureau of

Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Houston Police Department are currently examining the building. No evidence of arson has come up, but the possibility is still being considered seriously, “we are treating this as a criminal investigation, so we can’t rule that out at this time,” Arthur said.

Statement from Hiren and Pratima Mathuria of Bhojan Restaurant

“We are in shock from what has transpired. The firefighters that lost their lives in quest to save others were truly heroic. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our prayers are with their families. The cause of the fire has not been determined at this time. The authorities are investigating the site thoroughly. Bhojan restaurant was not in any violation of the fire code laws. While we were in the restaurant, smoke was noticed from the ceiling. It seemed the fire started somewhere from the attic and spread on to the roof, from the back of the building . We were fortunate to get out safely. We appreciate the support that we have received from the community.”


June 07, 2013





June 07, 2013

Sugar Land Former Candidate Wins Award for Activism

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SUGAR LAND: The Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC) has named Sonal Bhuchar of Sugar Land as the 2013 recipient of its June Bratcher Award. TEXPAC presented her with the award during the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) annual conference, held this year in San Antonio. TEXPAC presents the June Bratcher Award for Political Action every two years to a physician’s spouse who was an outstanding volunteer in a federal or state political campaign. This year, however, Bhuchar herself was the political candidate. TEXPAC modeled the award in 1987 after a similar American Medical Association (AMA) Political Action Committee award, whose first recipient was June Bratcher of San Antonio. The honorees are members of the TMA Alliance, a volunteer organization of physicians and spouses. Bhuchar has been active in the alliance for 22 years. Sonal Bhuchar is a physical therapist, community volunteer, and health advocate. She is married to TMA member Subodh Kumar Bhuchar, MD, a Sugar Land pediatrician and family physician. Last year, Sonal Bhuchar campaigned for state representative in House District 26. Though she did not win the election, her grace and perseverance throughout her campaign proved she is a champion for the

family of medicine. “Sonal is known for working tirelessly and passionately for a number of groups, including the Fort Bend Independent School District and the TMA Alliance,” said Jerry Hunsaker, MD, chair of TEXPAC’s Board of Directors. Before launching her run for office, Bhuchar, a 10-year veteran of TEXPAC, served as vice president of membership and vice president of community health and well-being for the TMA Alliance. In her community, Bhuchar was president of the Fort Bend Independent School Board, and served on the Board of Directors of the Fort Bend Education Foundation, the Child Advocates Council, the Economic Development Council of Sugar Land, the Indo American Charity Foundation, the Mahatma Gandhi Library, and the Sugar Land Exchange Club Board. Bhuchar was instrumental in merging Project WATCH, a community health program originally sponsored by TMA, into the everyday health education efforts of Fort Bend schools. TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.


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June 07, 2013


An Indian Classical Music - Jazz Fusion Concert Musical Innovations

BY ANITA KULKARNI HOUSTON: There are musical presentations galore, but amid a mix of genres the ‘Musical Innovations’ Fusions featuring flute and guitar came out like a beautiful breath of fresh air to an enchanted audience in Houston’s Jones Hall (University of St. Thomas), on Saturday, May 25, jointly organized by Sonali Patil and Sucheta Karandikar, for the benefit of Ekal Vidyalaya and Houston Maharashtra Mandal. A distinctive display of musical genius and top notch flute by Lead artist Milind Date! Milind comes from the cultural city of Pune-India and is a disciple of flute Maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Milind’s style and fusion adaptations are a sheer audio delight. His musical reflections enhance his rich lineage as the Raag improvises through ascending sequences and phrases. The opening Raag Jog and ending Raag Charukeshi were most melodious and so were the theme songs “Cutting Through the Mist”, “Camel Walk”, Bengal dhun and Veda Chants in between. Wonderful accompaniment by Raja Banga on Tabla, James Metcalfe on percussions and Erich Evinger on guitar. Raja is the founder of Prana School of Music and teaches table in the Katy area. It is so refreshing to discover the beauty in simplicity and spontaneity through rare presentations like this. And what was equally remarkable was that with the exception of the Program-eve rehearsal, the four artists had never met or played together before! World Music and Theater enthusiasts would find an uncanny similarity with Japan’s Noh Theater here. In Noh, the actors-musicians rehearse together just once, practicing their movements independently. The mood of the performance is set not by any single performer but by the interactions of the performers. Noh is said to exemplify the

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832-423-2039 Japanese aesthetics of Transience, translating as “one chance, one meeting”. How beautiful! A western drum kit would ordinarily have a predictable presence in such fusions. But the absence of it in Musical Innovations worked like a welcome thought that spared the nuanced, delicate and spontaneous musical content of the overpowering heavy metal! The troupe however, could contemplate adding another set of Indian bass percussions, and possibly piano. This could augment the acoustical beauty and add more drama to the presentation. The concert ended with a flutetabla Jugalbandi and a hearty standing ovation that followed. So well deserved! Kudos and heartfelt thanks to Milind and his Musical Innovations artists, and all the very best wishes!



The Chariot Festival (Shree Jagannath Rath Yatra – 2013) HOUSTON: Orissa Culture Center (OCC) and Shri Sitaram Foundation cordially invite the people of Houston and surrounding cities to the sixth chariot festival of Houston. For the last six years the festival has been providing a ground for spreading the message of peace and universal brotherhood among the people of Houston. The venue for this year’s festival is 11715 Bellfort Village Drive, Houston, TX, 77031 and the date for the celebration is set for Sunday, July 14. The day’s events are planned to include aspects relating to Shree Jagannatha and Vedic Philosophy. The event will start with a “Maha Yagna” or the fire worship in the morning followed by different rituals of the three deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhdra. The major attractions of the festival are planned for the late afternoon hours and include the chariot pulling by thousands of devotees, devotional kirtans and bhajans, Kids activities and maha arati. The admission and parking are free. This year OCC is proud to present a live vocal devotional concert by world renowned vocalist/ Bhajan Samrat Shri Anup Jalota.

OCC is a fast growing non-profit institution with a dedicated mission to promote the cultural heritage and traditional art forms from India in general and state of Orissa, India in particular. The Rath Yatra will host a colorfully decorated 22foot high chariot carefully crafted by dedicated members of Orissa community. All devotees will be

allowed to offer worship to the Lord on the chariot. Celebration of this festival is possible by generous support of participating organizations and individuals. The event is partially funded by a grant from Houston City Arts Alliance. We cordially invite everyone from Houston and neighboring cities to participate in this year’s chariot festival and experience the oneness that binds all humanity. For information, please visit or call 832-225-2376 or e-mail at You may connect on

Anup Jalota


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June 07, 2013




June 07, 2013


Radio Masti Turns Four and Swings with Musical Performances

BY SANCHALI BASU HOUSTON: Radio Masti, Houston’s oldest Bengali radio station held its 4th annual event at the Houston Durgabari’s Sur auditorium on Saturday, June 1. The evening was packed with one good program after the other. Sutanuka Sinha and Jaya Ghosh, two of its radio jockeys very eloquently fulfilled the role of emcees. Jaya Ghosh who has been with the program almost since its inception, reminisced about how excited she was to hear Bengali on the radio for the first time 4 years back while surfing the radio dial. The evening started with a presentation of Ganesh Bandana in the Bharatanatyam style by the Piyal dance school. There was participation from the Kalaangan School of dance in the Odissi style. The senior students performed a pure Odissi number while the junior students performed to a rendition of the patriotic song Jai Bharati. There were also two beautifully choreographed dance presentations by the students of the Nritya Pallavi Academy of Dance. Their first dance was set to a Bengali folk song and the second was a medley of popular Hindi film songs, both equally loved by the audience. A semi classical dance was also presented by three young dancers of the Nupur Dance School. Deepayan Bhattacharya, the local Houston favorite entertained the audience with some Karaoke renditions of popular Bengali and Hindi film songs. The featured guest artist of the evening, Mandira Lahiri, a gifted classical vocalist kept the audience captivated with her fine woven laykaaris, taankaris and sargams. She sang a Meera and Durga Bhajan, a ghazal, a Nazrul Geeti, an Assamese song, etc and all of them with great depth and emotion. She was ably accompanied by Radio Masti producer, Shyamal Bhattacharya on the tabla and Khalid Zulfikar Khan on the percussion. The evening ended with a very colorful Bhangra presentation by Texas Bhangra the young energetic students from UT Austin. Miss Dee from Houston also joined them on stage with her dholki and got the crowd going. Members of the audience joined them on stage and danced along. There were raffle draws interspersed throughout the program and certificates with flowers were presented to the artistes. The event was well organized by Shyamal Bhattacharya and his group of 16 core volunteers which included his biggest supporter and better half Mita Bhattacharya.

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Several stalls brought their wares and did brisk business, the food stall being the most popular selling samosas, biryani, kababs, rasogollas, hot tea and bottled water. Well-wishers of Radio Masti came to the event to show their support and encouragement. Nirvana Indian Restaurant, Khalid Zulfikar Khan, Dilip and Sukti Dutta, Proshanta and Sharmila Mitra and Ajay and Daksha Nagar were co-sponsors of the event.

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Zulfi bhai, another radio jockey, spoke about his great experience with the radio station and the humanitarian efforts of producer Shyamal. A music lover through and through, Shyamal with his dedication to the radio station has thought not only about the Bengali community, but all music lovers. He has also promoted several new artistes, trained radio jockeys, and interviewed several celebrities without any remuneration.




June 07, 2013

Annual Graduation Ritual Brings Joy to Seniors who Bridge Generations BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA CLEAR LAKE: Whoever said that age slows you down didn’t have the sprightly Radha Golikeri in mind. A young 89-year-old, she has been the driving force behind the celebratory party for graduating high school seniors for the past fifteen years and this past Saturday, June 1, she held her 16th annual party at the Mogul Restaurant in Space City. Of the 45 graduates she found out and invited, 35 came to be honored, given a small token award and gift and a lot of affection at an afternoon event and luncheon. For Amma, as Golikeri is affectionately known by virtually everyone around her, the annual event brings out all the skills she had honed at Hindustan Levers in Bombay, from which she retired as a Manager of the Marketing Research Department. She starts by culling all the yearbooks she can lay her hands on of the Clear Lake School District and other neighboring ones and finding the young Indian kids who are graduating. She also relies on word-ofmouth and then starts calling the kid’s parents. In the 16 years, she has had feted 625 seniors, out of which 15 were Valedictorians. The annual event was actually an idea of Mogul restaurant’s late owner Sanjeeva Rao Allam and his son Ram has continued the tradition by subsidizing the luncheon and allowing the use of the restaurant, which moved 18 months ago to a new and spacious corner location just a few minutes south of its old location on Bay Area Blvd. The India Culture Center of Clear Lake and the Indian Seniors Association of Clear Lake co-sponsor the event each year, but Amma spearheads the ceremony. With her infectious warm nature and smiling countenance, Amma easily wins over those who come in contact with her. Though she counseled the young seniors on the future paths they were about

The graduating students posed with (seated from left) Sonal Bhatt, Pres. ICC Clear Lake; Shakuntla Malhotra, author of Mama’s Favorite Recipes; Radha Golikeri, organizer of the event and Pankaj Dhume, Pres. IACCGH and keynote speaker.

Shakuntla Malhotra (left) and Radha Golikeri pose with Adarsh Suresh, who sang the national anthems. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

Shakuntla Malhotra gives out the award to Gaurav Dhume as Radha Golikeri (center) looks on.

to take, they probably took it as grandmotherly words of advice, little knowing that Amma was herself only a high school graduate who had reached high in the corporate world by dint of her own perseverance, hard work and ability to adapt. Amma was born in Bombay (when it still wasn’t known as Mumbai) but grew up in the little village of Sanikatta in the north Kanara District of Karnataka State. As a young woman, she sought out work in Bombay and was hired by Hindustan Levers to do market research and collect data mainly because she knew several Indian

languages – Kannada, Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and English – and later learnt Gujarati. She traveled a lot, sometimes with other trainees (“two who became Chairmen of the company,” she chuckled) and retired after 30 years with the firm. In April 1984, after her husband Vasant passed away, she came to the US to be with her son Sudhir and his wife Ranjana to help with the first of their three children, Reema, Rohit and Rita. Sudhir retired as a Chemical Engineer with BP Amoco (and is now with Bechtel) but graduated from IIT Bombay and then came to the US in 1968 to get his Masters and PhD from the University of Houston. It was hard to keep the active Amma down, as she sought our avenues for pent up energy. Even today, she goes to the United Way Senior Center for a few hours to meet others, do exercises and other activities. For the graduation program this past Saturday, Amma had invited Sonal Bhatt, the President of the ICC-CL to speak; Pankaj Dhume, President of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (who also had a graduating son, Gaurav, at the party) and Shakuntla Malhotra, my mother, who writes the popular Mama’s Punjabi Recipes in this newspaper. After introductions by Amma, Adarsh Suresh, an 11-year-old, sang the American and Indian National Anthems. He memorized the Indian one just a day earlier, he confided. Bhatt said she threw out

The graduating seniors at the party held at Mogul Restaurant in Clear Lake.

her old speech and rewrote another that morning, relating the hardships she had to face in her own life as she struggled with English when she first came to the US, concentrated on education, raised two daughters as a single-mom and became a teacher. Don’t make excuses, take one day at a time, don’t lose focus on priorities was her advice. “Never say never,” she said, “and work hard for success.” Dhume then shared his thoughts for the future. An undergraduate of Bombay University who did graduate work in the US, Dhume is a VP of Global Corporate Sales at BMC Software, for whom he worked in Pune, India till he moved back to the US last year. He peppered his keynote speech with witticisms and advised the new graduates to keep five guiding principles in mind: to invest their time wisely, invest in their dreams and passion, invest in your friends, invest in mental and physical health and most of all, invest in having fun in life. “The end goal should be the pursuit of happiness,” he said, “and the money will follow.” Shakuntla Malhotra is also an octogenarian, soon to be 85-yearsold, and is affectionately known as Mama, by many people here. She moved to the US ten years ago from New Delhi after her husband Jagdish passed away. She spent most of her life traveling with him in the Indian Foreign Service. She has lived in the UK, Pakistan, Iran, Switzerland and Romania, as well as visited many other countries, but at heart she is still a devout

Rishi Suresh, a valedictorian, thanked the hosts on behalf of the graduating students.

Hindu and true Punjabi cook. She enjoys the company of people and is very active in the local community, and writes her recipes. Mama passed out the awards to the graduating seniors as Amma called their names out. As the awards were being given out to each senior, at first they were not sure how to appreciate the two elderly ladies. Then one bowed down to touch their feet and later the others followed this gesture of respect so common in India, though a few hugged them. Rishi Suresh, a valedictorian (the other, Sona Manjunath, was not present) gave the words of thanks on behalf of the students, saying he was glad of his identity in two cultures; that he wasn’t an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) in the conflicted manner, but an American Born Cultured Desi.


June 07, 2013



5/24/13 8:59 PM



June 07, 2013

AAPI Launches Childhood Obesity Awareness Program BY NAND KAPOOR CHICAGO: “With obesity proving to be a major epidemic affecting nearly one third of the nation’s population, we have a responsibility to save future generations by decreasing childhood obesity,” Dr. Jayesh Shah, president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), said. Dr. Shah, who assumed charge of AAPI during the 31st annual convention in Chicago last week, was referring to the Childhood Obesity Awareness program AAPI has launched. “We at AAPI are proud to undertake this national educational tour around the United States, impacting thousands of children and their families,” he added. AAPI has undertaken the challenge to bring about awareness of Childhood Obesity through a program called Adopt a School – Childhood Obesity Awareness Campaign by doing school walkathons and educating the students, teachers and parents on how to fight this national and global epidemic. This is the first time that national AAPI is working directly with the community and schools for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, with a goal to adopt at least 100 schools in 2013-2014 in as many States in USA as possible. Pointing to a recent program towards this objective in his home state, Texas, Dr. Shah, the youngest ever president of AAPI, the largest ethnic organization in the United States representing over 100,00 physicians of Indian origin and Fellows, Dr. Shah said, “In Dallas we had our first school program on May 16, this year at the Harrell Budd Elementary School to address the parents and children.” Having four Physicians and an AAPI advisor in addition to the Co-Chair, the

event evoked lots of interest from the school teachers and parents. “They were very appreciative of us taking interest in kids’ well being and guiding them to be healthier. We gave away pedometers, handouts in English and Spanish and 5-2-1-0 bookmark that we created. We have made a short video of the event and it will be available at www.tipsnec. org to everyone to view,” Drs. Anupkumar Shetty, Aradhana Asava and Srini Potluri, organizers of the event explained. As a follow up, the school has plans to organize a bigger meeting with parents and teachers in September 2013. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response from the school, they said, “We realized the real need of such programs all the more after doing one and we look forward to cover large number of schools in the next 12-18 months.” Dr. Uma Koduri, AAPI’s Childhood Obesity Awareness Campaign (COAC) Committee Chair, who has been in the forefront of the obesity awareness campaign in the state of Oklahoma for years now, explains: “Today, almost one in every three children is obese or overweight before reaching 5th birthday.” Consequences of childhood obesity include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes, which can shorten the lifespan of our children. American society has become characterized by environments that promote increased consumption of less healthy food and physical inactivity leading to this childhood obesity epidemic. One of the first such educational school walkathon took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 6, 2013. It was supported by the local Health Department, the Mayor’s office and the Governor’s office. We distrib-

uted free T-shirts, pedometers, educational materials, healthy snacks, plants & seeds to start a kitchen garden and promoted “Let’s Move”, ChooseMyPlate and PALA (Presidential Active Lifestyle Award) programs. We are also promoting 5-2-1-0 concept. The sunshine yellow T-shirts are to promote “Wear Yellow” on AAPI childhood obesity awareness day which will be observed on December 12 every year. The need to organize the national level campaign is a way towards realizing one of AAPI’s main goals, Dr. Shah said. “Our primary goal is to educate the public on diseases and their impact on health, AAPI has physicians in almost every city and town of USA. With this extensive network we should be able to spread message on childhood obesity by following the template plan. We are also exploring the use of social media and phone ‘apps’ as healthy lifestyle tools.” In partnership with local governments, non-governmental agencies and schools around the nation, AAPI plans to embark on this campaign that will identify high prevalence – high risk schools and choosing 100 schools for the year 2013-14, with the objective of promoting awareness of Childhood Obesity and offering educational resources to promote healthy lifestyle. In addition, it will also work towards advocating policy changes to help build a healthier community. Our advocacy agenda is very simple, we believe families should get discounts in insurance premium if they exercise and join fitness clubs and all schools should have compulsory physical education class. Starting next month, AAPI will organize the campaign in nine cities with CME seminars and Music Concerts by the popular Bollywood playback singer Shankar Mahadevan. The tour will begin on Saturday, June 8, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio and will be followed by on Sunday, June 9, in Los Angeles, CA; Saturday, June 15, in Dallas, Texas; Sunday, June 16, in New York; Saturday, June 22, in New Jersey; Sunday, June 23, in Atlanta, GA; Saturday, June 29, in Tampa, FL; and on Sunday, June 30, in San Jose, CA. The COAC Committee of AAPI consists of 18 physicians whose goal is to spread awareness of childhood obesity in USA and educate the parents and teachers about simple, effective, practical and implementable ideas to tackle obesity in their children. “We want to empower our children/parents/ teachers by educating them to help themselves to lead healthy lives,” Dr. Koduri says. “Through its ADOPT-A-SCHOOL program AAPI plans to organize a 2-3 hour Childhood Obesity Walkathon event in every adopted school, inviting hundreds to thousands of school students, their parents and teachers. We will be inviting prominent health/school/government officials for motivational speeches, while AAPI physicians deliver talks about childhood obesity and how to tackle it. We will provide education material that promotes healthy meal and lifestyle choices; and distribute free T-shirts and pedometers.” In addition, AAPI wants to help promote First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program, emphasizing two specific items: “Choose My Plate” which replaces the more complicated Food Pyramid and is easier to use. It illustrates the 5 food groups- fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy. And, PALA- Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, that students can sign up for. PALA

consists of a six-week log-sheet that students can use to log in what they eat and how much activity they do daily in number of minutes or in pedometer steps. When a student does a good job on it, that student receives the President’s Award. It is very easy to use and will help motivate school students to improve their eating habits and their amount of exercise. Through distribution of T-shirts, pedometers and educational material during these walkathons and later on, AAPI plans to reach out to a large segment of the population in each town. In the years to come, AAPI will be known for its Childhood Obesity Walks just like the AHA is known for its Heart Walks. We believe that tackling the Childhood Obesity problem is like “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Medical costs for the obese are higher than those for the normal weight individuals. Dr. Shah believes that AAPI’s branding slogan for walkathon, “Be fit- Be cool” will go a long way in educating the public and in contributing to the prevention of childhood obesity now, and thus translating into lower health care costs in the future. AAPI is a forum to facilitate and enable Indian American Physicians to excel in patient care, teaching and research and to pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs. For more details on the Nine City Tour and the Childhood Obesity Awareness Campaign, please visit:


June 07, 2013




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Certification Examination in Carnatic Music BY THARA NARASIMHAN HOUSTON: The first of its kind a certification Examination in Carnatic Music was held on 27 May. It was organized and designed by Vidushi Rajarajeshwary Bhat under the auspices of Krishna Gana Sudha Music Academy - Houston. An overwhelming 60 participants took advantage of this exam all over the United States several in person and few taking exam online. CARNATIX Level I - Shadjam exam for the first time in the USA with the help of Tournametrix. Certification is a process that validates an individual’s qualifications for a specific field. It demonstrates that the individual knows and exhibits abilities and skill with level of assessed excellence and the standard of knowledge that has been acquired through learning. In addition, it increases visibility, builds credibility, provides a goal for personal professional achievement and validates expertise for the individual and to those outside the field. The Carnatix offers 7 levels certification Examination towards “Sapta Gana Rathna” degree and performance opportunities created by Vidwan Sri. Vittal Ramamurthy (Violin) and Vidhushi Smt. Rajarajeshwary Bhat (Vocal). With their extensive experience and knowledge in music, CARNATIX - Carnatic Music Examinations are designed to bring about standardization in Carnatic Music Assessment throughout the world with one standard system and encourage interested students to take these exams one level at a time and grow in this field. The exam consisted of both theory and practical examination personally administered by Vidushi RajaRajeswary Bhat at SAI Primary Care in Manvel. She is very well known to introduce innovative methods of teaching and making it fun to learn Carnatic music. She is instrumental to introduce

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“Gruha Sangeetham” and “Tender Voices” that provides incentive for students to master their lessons, inspiration to pursue the art to the next level and enthusiasm to share with family and friends in a traditional concert format presented by her students. With this innovative of idea beginning with certification in Carnatic music there is excellent scope for this idea develop and flourish into higher level of recognition with, approval and University Accreditations. Meena Aithala observes, “ Krishna Gana Sudha Music Academy (KGSMA) has established a milestone for all the music learners who will be now able to receive certification for their music education. The Director of KGSMA Vidushi Rajarajeshwary Bhat initiated this idea and with her dedication and selfless effort, this is a reality now. True to its name, KGSMA has made its mark as an Academy of formal musical

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studies. The exams will be held in 7 levels namely Shadjam, Rishabam, Gandharam, Madhyamam, Panchamam, Daivatam, Nishadam and it will be administered twice a year during Memorial Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend. Tournametrix is proud to bring “CARNATIX” Examination in Carnatic Music (South Indian Classical Music). CARNATIX will also establish practical performance opportunities as part of the syllabus and evaluation at certain milestone level examination. It also is an opportunity for many Music teachers all over the United States to conduct the exams and have their students certified in carnatic music. For further information on activities of Krishna Gana Sudha Music Academy email: krishnaganasudha@ or call 281-901-2345.

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June 07, 2013

Loss & Gain Did you know that in the late 19th century, a small number of Sikhs migrated from California lumber camps to the rice fields of Katy? At the time, it was illegal for immigrants from the Indian subcontinent to own property in the U.S. As such, the Sikhs married into Mexican families. The children of these marriages became assimilated into the Mexican culture. Now all traces of the Sikh immigration to Texas is virtually gone. Something similar is taking place as we progress to second and third generations of Indo-Americans. The first generation has worked hard to maintain their distinctive cultures in a new land, building temples and community centers. With each passing generation and greater assimilation into the mainstream community, our progeny is less Indian and more American. There is some loss, but also some gain. Just like the mainstream America now has Irish and Italian influences, there is also growing Indian influence through our cuisine and culture It is not as if the India of our memories is the India of today. The men and women of India’s middle and rich classes look and think no differently than many Indo-Americans as the American culture has a global reach. Just as we do, Indians learn about and emulate global cultural ambassadors such as Beyonce. All in all, we gain some and lose some, but change is the one constant. Pramod Kulkarni

Battleground of NaMo

Are you pro-Modi, or anti-Modi? That seems to be the central question of contemporary Indian politics. This question brooks no fence-sitters, no one who is undecided about NaMo: either you’re for him or you’re against him. In this sense, Modi is the country’s most controversial and divisive politician. He is what might be called a ‘crossover’ politician, in the sense that his admirers and his critics both transcend party lines. His growing number of fans includes top industrialists and many others who have no particular party affiliations or political leanings but who are impressed with the so-called ‘Gujarat model’ of development which he has projected as his creation. Similarly, his opponents are not restricted to anti-saffron secularists, like Bihar CM Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) or left-wing ideologues, but include elements of the RSS and, indeed, of the BJP itself. Today, more than ever, India needs to remain united of resolve in the face of daunting challenges, which include a faltering economy, persistent poverty, the Maoist insurgency and crossborder terrorism. These are the battles that the country has to fight, and it needs to fight them with closed ranks. Can it do this under the leadership of an individual who himself has become the personification of a battleground? That’s the question which NaMo’s champions no less than his detractors have to ask of themselves. Jug Suraiya in Times of India

India’s Socialist Residue BY TAVLEEN SINGH In the drawing rooms of Lahore last week I met old friends who told me that I had become a hate object in the eyes of the ‘liberals’ they knew in India. I took this as a compliment since I know that many of these liberals are crypto-communists in disguise and I despise communists. Just as I despise Nehruvian socialism because I believe that it is entirely because of it that India remains mired in poverty, illiteracy and squalour to this day. Having grown up in those socialist times I was witness to how, in faithful imitation of the Soviet Union, we allowed high officials to live in splendour while ordinary citizens barely eked out an existence. I remember with horror the endless shortages of everything. Sometimes it would be sugar that disappeared, sometimes milk and sometimes bread. As for things like domestic gas and telephones, you could only get a connection if you knew an MP or an official ‘above the rank of joint secretary’. What made India an even more wretched place than the Soviet Union or China was that our homegrown socialism did not even provide for the building of decent schools, healthcare and basic public services for ordinary citizens. It is my conviction that India would have been way ahead of China if we had not clung to our socialist ways for 20 years longer than the Chinese clung to Marxist economics. So, like an alert watchdog I keep my beady eye open for all signs of socialist residue and write about it as often as I can. In recent days many things have caught my eye. While crossing the Wagah border and crossing back I noticed that there was less red tape and meaningless form-filling on the Pakistani side than on ours. Why do Indian citizens need to fill arrival and departure forms at all? Why do we need another set of forms for Customs? When are we going to realise that these are useless procedures and a criminal waste of paper? And, speaking of Wagah, may I add that it is about time that we stopped the evening pantomime of belligerent hostility that is now only a tourist attraction. It makes both India and Pakistan look silly and immature.

The day after I returned to the homeland I opened my newspapers to see more socialist residue in the form of the Bharat Nirman campaign. More than 80 per cent of Indians are forced to use private health services because public services are so appalling and we are to believe that someone called ASHA is the ‘unsung hero of our health system’. And, that ‘at the national level, there are 8.8 lakh ASHAs, supported by the National Rural Health Mission. There is thus one ASHA for every 1,000 rural inhabitants in almost every part of the country’. What I find even more distasteful than this shameless whitewash of non-existent health services is that you and I are paying for the Sonia-Manmohan government’s election campaign. To use taxpayers’ money to promote the leader and the leader’s supposed achievements is a practice we copied from the Soviet Union, Maoist China and North Korea. It reached its apogee during the Emergency when Indira Gandhi was projected (Kim Il Sung style) as the ‘great leader’ and her son Sanjay as the little great leader. Unfortunately, when state governments noticed how public money could be used for political propaganda, they followed slavishly. And so you would have seen last week that your newspapers came enveloped in full page pictures of Jayalalithaa in a dark blue sari along with these words from Selvi J Jayalalithaa, ‘I am for the people and of the people.’ In addition, there were two full centre pages in my newspapers that gave me a detailed account of the ‘historical


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achievements’ of the Tamil Nadu government in the past two years under the ‘dynamic’ leadership of Puratchi Thalaivi. In more mature democracies this kind of thing would simply not happen. In more mature democracies the elected representatives of the people would not be living in luxurious bungalows in Lutyens Delhi either and if they do in our dear Bharat Mata it is entirely because of the residue of those awful socialist decades. And, while I am in this mood to take on my leftist-liberal critics, may I conclude with the observation that they are the most illiberal people alive. Anyone who dares to disagree with their dogmas and their rigid political opinions is instantly condemned as a renegade and a betrayer of the faith. I have met men of religion who have allowed apostates more leeway and many, many ex-communists who remember the former Soviet Union and Maoist China with more horror than I remember those decades of Nehruvian socialism. So I am quite proud to be seen as a scourge of socialists. Indian Express

Reader Feedback Ms Tavleen Singh, many things that happen in India will not happen in any democracy. Here our politicians and officials do not stand in queue, they zip through crowded roads whereas common people have to wait. So called VIPs send their kids to schools aborad, they try to benefit their extended families when in power, sell natural resource with impunity for a very high price, they buld infrastructure that breakdown after one monsoon and so on. Yet they do not get punished by law of the land. These people proclaim they are accountable only to people, because people have chosen them. These people have learnt the art of giving dole before election, read food security bill championed by well meaning private people, to by votes. There is no plan to build road, hospital, schools, bring in teachers etc. Why spend on these, when you can get by much easily by giving free rice before election. Abhijeet Ray


June 07, 2013


Friendswood Speller Falls on Italian Marble

Sriram Hathwar, 13 of Painted Post, N.Y., left, reaches out to shake hands with Syamantak Payra, 12, of Friendswood, Texas, right, as he high-fives Vismaya Kharkar, 14, of Bountiful, Utah, as Chetan Reddy, 13 of Plano, Texas, yellow shirt, and Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., center, watch after they learned that they will advance to the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Thursday, May 30. Photo:Cliff Owen

BY NICOLE NAREA AND CHARLES J. LEWIS NATIONAL HARBOR (Chron. com): Syamantak Payra, a 12-yearold spelling whiz from Westbrook Intermediate School in Friendswood, advanced to the finals of the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night but narrowly missed the championship title after misspelling “cipollino” (a kind of Roman marble) in the 10th round. Arvind Mahankali, a 13-year-old

eighth-grader from Bayside Hills, N.Y., emerged as the champion in the 16th round after correctly spelling “knaidel,’’ a German dumpling. Syamantak’s fellow Houstonarea speller, 12-year-old Shobha Dasari, a sixth-grader at Leon Sablatura Middle School in Pearland, made it to the semifinals Thursday afternoon, acing the spelling of “spasmolytic,’’ relief of muscle contractions. But she was eliminat-

ed after misspelling “bourrée,” a kind of ballet step. This left Syamantak the only Texan among the 11 finalists selected from 42 semifinalists in the bee on the basis of their onstage oral tests and on two computerbased exams. Though the seventhgrader was the only finalist who had never competed on the national level before, he was calm and controlled as he correctly enunciated the spelling of “panjandrum” (a powerful personage), “sansculottic” (extreme republican principles) and “catawba” (a species of grape) during the finals. “I try not to think about the other spellers,” Syamantak said as he clasped the finalist medal around his neck, grinning. “It’s just me and my words.” Shobha said she hopes to return to next year’s national competition. Syamantak has been competing on the spelling bee circuit for four years. “I was kind of disappointed,” Shobha said of Thursday’s semifinals results. “I had kind of expected it. There are a lot of good people up here.’’ Some 11 million spellers started in the national spelling competition last autumn and, through the process of elimination at regional bees, reduced their numT:10” ber to 281 spellers who began this week at the national bee.

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June 07, 2013


Tech Boom Turns Bangalore Weddings into Worldly Feasts

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Ravi Sinha preparing grilled vegetables to be served with saffron rice and romesco sauce, at a wedding banquet in Bangalore, Karnataka.

BY SARITHA RAI BANGALORE (NYT): Ravi Sinha, an entrepreneur in Bangalore, innovates constantly, tracking all the latest trends and occasionally outsourcing to outside specialists. Research and development are critical to his profits, and globalization has helped shape his business. Sinha isn’t working at a tech startup, although the wealth from the IT industry has certainly affected his business. He runs a wedding catering company in India’s technology hub, where new money and global travel are changing the way weddings are celebrated by South Indians, who were once known for their traditional restraint. The Bangalore rich are still hesitant to splurge on chartered jets and destination weddings as their Mumbai and Delhi peers do, but over the past few years, Bangalorean wedding guest lists of 5,000 to 6,000 people became customary, and menus can stretch to 700 individual items. Guests think nothing of gorging on Mumbai chaat, Mongolian grilled vegetables and Lebanese falafel and then rounding it off with South Indian curd rice, Italian gelato and a Benarasi paan, a mish-mash that could make food purists queasy. “Everybody wants an international wedding menu these days, whether they are South Indians or North Indians,” said Sinha, referring to the broadest geographic division – and some say the widest cultural one too — within India. At a recent wedding, Sinha’s culinary creativity made for a mouthwatering display. The Mexican counter stood next to a dosa/utthapam stall dishing up the south Indian pancakes with a dozen exotic toppings. The Lebanese and Thai food booths faced the chaat station serving morsels

of Mumbai street food. The subtler aromas of basil and oregano from the Italian counter mingled with the heady smells of the masalas at the Amritsari stall beside it. The dessert buffet featured 40 assorted Indian and international desserts and platters of fresh-cut fruit outsourced from a supplier in Thailand. To round it all off, a famed Benaras paanwala customized the betel leaf chews with saffron. At another wedding, this one hosted by a marble dealer for his daughter, 28 counters featured a variety of cuisines, including Arabic and teppanyaki, and offered 500 individual dishes. “It was a food mela (fair), not a buffet,” said Sinha. Some families are stretching the “global” theme to its elastic limits, bringing in blond Russian hostesses to hand menu cards to guests entering the buffet marquee. One recent nuptial featured Roman arches in its decor and greeters dressed in gladiator costumes who, however, were heard conversing with each other in a rustic version of Kannada, the local tongue. In the old days, a typical Bangalore wedding feast consisted of holige, a sweetened flatbread, and bisibelebath, or hot lentil rice, recalled M.P. Shyam, who owns a string of car dealerships in the city, including for MercedesBenz. These days, the traditional “plantain leaf” fare is seen only at the daytime rituals, if at all, and not at the evening banquet buffet. “The influx of people from all parts of India and overseas is making Bangalore shed its self-restraint,” said Shyam. “Wedding guests have to be fed so hearty a meal that they talk about it for months.” Mahesh Bhandari, a furniture importer who crafts menus for the numerous weddings in his large family, said, “People are travel-

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ing the world and know exactly what they want. It is a chance to show how sophisticated they are.” Even the less-moneyed are taking the worldwide integration of the wedding feast very seriously. “Italian and Mexican has become standard fare, though we Indian-ize them with local spices,” said Guman Singh, another wedding caterer whose factory in south Bangalore is a test lab for dishes incorporating the Indian and international. Singh, who has been in business for two decades, started out cooking with only his brother but employs 800 people today. In that period, the per-plate charge for a wedding buffet has shot up from less than a 100 rupees (not even $2) to several thousands of rupees. A lavish banquet could easily set the host back by the equivalent of $500,000, he said. “It is all a terrible waste of money — who can eat so much?” asked Shyam, even as he was gearing up for the November wedding festivities of his daughter, currently studying at Stanford University. He declined to say how many dishes were on the menu, adding that his daughter would help with the final preparations. Though not a wedding banquet norm, the crowning detail in Sinha’s and Singh’s offerings is that they are “pure vegetarian,” a phrase that connotes a strict ban on meat and eggs. That raises the bar, said Sinha, who recently re-created a classic French seven-course menu with vegetarian ingredients for a sit-down wedding dinner. There is also an element of one-upmanship in these everexpanding feasts, he said: “Families demand, ‘So-and-so had 400 dishes and 20 counters; mine should be bigger and better.’ ” Sinha said research and development are key to his competitiveness. He has taken to fusing the Indian and the Western tastes to great success, describing fusion as the “cutting edge” of wedding cuisine. His inventions include a paneer (cottage cheese) panna cotta and a sitaphal (custard apple) caramel pudding. Another hot trend is counters where curries, salads and desserts are all created to order, said Sinha, who threw around words like “mise-en-place.” Amid the trend of ever-expanding menus and extravagant displays of worldly tastes at banquets, Shyam brought up a relevant question: “People certainly talk about the food and the decor at weddings these days. But where do the bride and the groom figure in all this?”

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June 07, 2013

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani : Movie Review


Jennifer Lopez Spotted Wearing a Falguni & Shane Peacock Creation

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika padukone, Aditya Roy Kapur, Kalki Koechlin Direction: Ayan Mukerji Genre: Romance Duration: 2 hours 41 minutes

MUMBAI (TOI): Four friends take off for adventure sport and discover little-known personal aspects of one another. Years later they reunite and this time the equation is even more combustible. Youth is a many splendoured thing. An alive, fresh vibe dominates Ayan Mukerji’s Yeh Jaawani Hai Deewani invigorating you through it’s entire run. The story is not novel, but the treatment is A-grade. Ranbir Kapoor(Kabir Thapa aka Bunny), Deepika Padukone (Naina), Kalki Koechlin (Aditi) and Aditya Roy Kapur (Avi) go on a trek. While Bunny, Aditi and Avi have always been close, Naina, the staid, studious girl is a last minute addition to the group. The group just wants to live life king-size. Early enough in the film, Bunny announces—marriage at 25, children at 30, retirement at 50 and then waiting for death—is not how he sees his life playing out. He wants to travel the world, he wants to be free. Aditi and Avi share his thinking to a degree. But Naina is differ-

ent. She is studying to be a doctor, believes in family and is a rooted young lady with traditional values. The first half of the film is a fun-ride. Watching Madhuri Dixit do a ghagra number with Ranbir is a ceeti-moment. At intermission point, the film rightly leaves you yearning for more. The first twenty minutes of the second half is mundane. But

the action comes together again at Aditi’s wedding. Against the backdrop of the big, fat Indian wedding in picturesque Udaipur, the friends unite for the festivities. But the chinks in the armour show by way of their mixed ideologies and changed priorities. Of course there’s no battle big enough that friendship cannot surmount. So, between tears and cheers, Bunny,

Naina, Aditi and Avi forge equations that are more real with one another and with the audience. Ranbir is delectable and a trueblue superstar. This pedigreed actor dances like a dream, looks terrific and emotes effortlessly. Watch out for the scenes with his father Farooque Shaikh. Deepika is firstrate as is Kalki. Evelyn Sharma and Kunal Roy Kapur provide humour.


LONDON (HT): American singer Jennifer Lopez was recently seen in a custom made outfit by Falguni and Shane Peacock during a performance at Chime for Change: The Sound of Change Live Concert, London. Lopez is seen wearing a customized black bodysuit. The designer duo said, “JLO’s team had approached us to design something for her concert in London. We were very excited to work with her again. We have dressed her previously also and she loves our designs. It’s a great honour that she once again chose us.’’ They have constanly been in news as various stars have been spotted in their outfits of late. They are favorites to many international pop stars such as Paris Hilton, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Fergie, Nicole Scherzinger, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian.



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June 07, 2013

Kamal Arora

Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Palak or Saag Paneer (Spinach & Indian Cheese)

There is probably no other Punjabi dish more popular worldwide than palak paneer also known as saag paneer. It can be found in any restaurant that serves North Indian food just about anywhere you go and what’s both pleasantly surprising and pleasing is how kids of all ages eagerly go straight to this vegetarian dish. But many restaurants, especially outside of India, make it with lots of white cream, which gives the dish a sweet taste and bloats the stomach. A true saag paneer has very little cream, isn’t stringy, has a slight taste of sauteed onions and has to be served hot. The dish is made of leafy green spinach, which is rich in vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E, K, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium and potassium. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper as well as selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids. It is really a healthy dish if made without the cream. The paneer is an unaged, acidset, non-melting farmer cheese made by curdling hot milk with lemon juice or vinegar to separate the whey. Many people buy the ready made paneer, even in India, although it is quite simple but time consuming to make. I have found that here, in the South, the Central American round wheel of cottage cheese made the El Salvador style is very similar to Indian paneer, only it has salt in it. The dish made with fresh spinach leaves is tastiest, but many people also make it with cut frozen spinach, avoiding the frozen whole leaf type as the dish comes out very stringy. Ingredients: • 500 gm palak (spinach) • 250 gm paneer (Indian cheese) • 1 tablespoon atta (bleached or wheat flour) • 1 small pyaaz (onion) – peeled and finely chopped • ½ teaspoon of lasan (garlic) powder (if desired) • 1 small piece of adrak (ginger) peeled and finely chopped

• 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil • Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper) Directions: 1. Carefully wash the spinach leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt, drip to dry then cut the leaves into half inch pieces. 2. Cut the paneer into 1 inch cubes. In the old days people used to stir-fry the paneer, but I have found that this only makes the paneer hard. If you

Ghar ka Paneer (Homemade Indian Cheese)

Making homemade paneer is quite simple, but many young people outside of India don’t know how to make it, so this ageold recipe may be interesting for them. If you make the paneer, you can use it in the saag paneer dish, or any of a number of other dishes. Ingredients: • 1 liter doodh (whole milk) • 2 tablespoons sirka (white vinegar)

Directions: 1. Bring the milk to a boil, then add the vinegar and stir well. The milk will at once separate – the water to one side and the paneer to the other. 2. If you prefer, you can use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice instead of vinegar or even a cup of sour yogurt. If you use yogurt, you will get more paneer from the milk. 3. Carefully drain the water by pouring it over a thin cheese cotton or muslin cloth to catch the paneer. It is best to place the cloth over another bowl and tie or hold down as it will become heavy with the paneer that flows out.

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like, you can slightly brown the paneer on a skillet or tava. 3. Throw the spinach into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Drain the water and then mash the spinach well, but do not liquefy it. Throw in the flour and mix well so that the spinach and liquid are not separated. 4. Heat the oil in a saucepan and when hot, throw in the onions, ginger and garlic and stir-fry till slightly brown. 5. Add the spinach puree and stir-fry for a few minutes, then add the cubes of paneer and cook for 3 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and let the dish simmer for 10 minutes on very low heat. 6. When the dish is ready, the paneer will turn slightly green. Stir carefully so as not to break the paneer. The dish is ready to eat, usually with roti or any variety of bread.

4. Once the water is drain and the paneer is caught, tie the cloth in a bunch at top so that the paneer forms into a ball. Let the cloth drain on a peg, about 20 minutes. 5. Take the ball off the peg, then place a heavy cutting board on top to flatten it into a ½ inch pancake. You may need to place another heavy object on top. Leave for 2 hours or overnight. 6. Remove the cloth and then cut the paneer into cubes. It is now ready to use. ShakuntlaMalhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India 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 mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.

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June 07, 2013


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Can Narayana Murthy Change Infosys? In all these years, after intense focus on corporate governance, how could Infosys fail to develop a succession plan? BY SANDIPAN DEB BANGALORE (Live Mint): Much has been written about the venerable N.R. Narayana Murthy returning to take charge as executive chairman of Infosys Ltd. I need not go over what everyone knows already: that Infosys has not been doing so well in the last couple of years, so in what could be seen as a somewhat desperate move, it has brought back its founder-CEO at the helm. The return of Murthy, the company hopes, will enthuse customers once more, improve company morale, allay shareholder doubts, and ultimately set Infosys back on the blazing growth path it had been on for one and a half decades. Bringing back retired CEOs to head their companies once more is unusual but hardly new, and they often succeed, because they know the company better than anyone else, and they come with the hint of a halo. The most inspiring example of this is what happened to Hewlett-Packard Co. (H-P) in the early 1990s. The founders Bill Hewlett and David Packard had retired in the late 1970s and left the management of the company in the hands of professional executives. Then, in 1990, a low-level secretary, who had been working for decades in the company, wrote a note to Hewlett, saying that things were very bad inside the company. It was a cry for help from the bottom of the pyramid, but Hewlett and Packard acted immediately. They started meeting H-P executives at all levels, trying to figure out what had gone wrong, and planning how they could turn the company around. Within four months, they asked the two top executives to resign, and rolled up

Infosys running back to Narayana Murthy in times of trouble. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

their sleeves and hunkered down. Hewlett and Packard, both then in their 80s, stayed on only for a few months more, but those few months were enough. As the San Jose Mercury News reported (quoted in Michael S. Malone’s biography Bill and Dave): “Before they were done, HewlettPackard had been all but turned upside-down. Decision making had been streamlined, recalcitrant managers retired, customer services improved, relationships with suppliers revitalized and the company had been turned again into an aggressive force.” By the mid1990s, H-P was the fastest growing large corporation in the US, and had the highest profit margins in American industry. By then of course, Bill and Dave were back home, leading private lives again. Whether Murthy can do a Hewlett and Packard act on Infosys remains to be seen; he has given himself five years as executive chairman. When Infosys first captured the public imagination in the late 1990s, it was for several

reasons that made it seem different from all other Indian companies. It constantly spoke about honesty and business ethics, about sharing wealth with its employees, about meritocracies and giving everyone a fair chance. And it put its money where its mouth was. Its annual reports were much more transparent than required by the law of the time, it appointed credible independent directors, it gave stock options to its staff, and kept passing the CEO mantle from one founding member to another. In 2011, when Murthy stepped down as non-executive chairman at the age of 65, following the rules he had himself set for the company, Infosys became one of the very few Indian companies to have an independent director, K.V. Kamath as chairman. This, as opposed to the traditional Indian firm which, however much it pretended to be a joint stock company and a “professionally managed” one, essentially remained a family business, with sons inducted into the firm when they had earned their American

MBAs, to be groomed to take over as CEO one day. You could be a Jack Welch plus Eric Schmidt, but you would never make CEO in an Indian firm if you weren’t the promoter’s progeny. Even in the socalled New Age companies with global visions, the situation was the same, whether it was Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd or Wipro Ltd or HCL Technologies Ltd. In Indian businesses, genes have always mattered more than ability. And here was a company whose CEO, Narayana Murthy, made a public statement that when the founders retired, they would not hand over Infosys to their family members. But as Murthy returns to Infosys, he brings with him his son Rohan Murty as executive assistant; in fact, if media reports are to be believed, he made this a precondition to taking up his old job. This raises two important questions. One, what happened to the solemn avowals of keeping company and family separate? In fact, when Infosys was set up, it was on this principle that Narayana Murthy’s wife Sudha, an accomplished engineer herself, stayed out of the running of the firm. Is it that when it comes to the crunch, even the most progressive Indian businessmen fall back on family? Murthy has announced that this does not mean Rohan is going to be the next CEO of Infosys. But then, Murthy has already broken his own rule mandating that non-executive directors have to retire at 65. As executive assistant to the chairman, Rohan will be the face of the chairman inside the company; he would be the chief coordinator and the principal watchdog on execution, targets, new growth strategies. More importantly, this being



India, whatever Murthy’s intentions may be, Rohan will be seen as the proxy-chairman and heir apparent by most executives, which could make them less bold and free with their opinions. And, this again being India, in one stroke, Murthy has inserted a new level of corporate politicking in Infosys. Rohan has a stellar academic recordm Cornell, MIT, Harvard and has been overseeing the Murthy family’s venture capital fund, Catamaran. One is not questioning his intellect or ability in any way. But this brings us to our second question. In all these years, for all its intense and much-publicized focus on corporate governance, how could Infosys fail to develop a succession plan? Its running back to Murthy in times of trouble seems to indicate that it has not been able a strong second tier of managers, or at least a second tier that the founders have enough faith in. This is a signal failure. As any Infosys insider will tell you, in the five years he spent as non-executive chairman (between the ages of 60 and 65), Murthy was hardly non-executive. He remained as hands-on and top gun as ever, even while Kris Gopalakrishnan was CEO. So are we to believe that without Murthy, and with Nandan Nilekani gone, Infosys can’t be the great company that it once was? These questions should worry us. Because they lead to the final and vital question for all Infosys stakeholders: In the end, is Infosys just another Indian company? Hewlett and Packard had not one, but two chances to leave the corporation they had built to their children. But it is unlikely that the thought ever crossed their minds.



June 07, 2013

India Humbles Aussies in Champions Warm Up BY NAGRAJ to dominate either of the GOLLAPUDI batsmen was because CARDIFF (ESPN both ran fast between Cricinfo): India 308 for the wickets, and they 6 (Karthik 146*, Dhoni rotated strike constantly 91) beat Australia 65 without worrying about (Yadav 5-18, Ishant the run-rate. 3-11) by 243 runs At the start of the batAn aggressive allting Powerplay, which round display by InKarthik and Dhoni took dia, including another from the 34th over, match-winning century India were 137 for 5. from Dinesh Karthik They scored another 34 and a five-wicket haul runs during those five from Umesh Yadav, overs of field restricinflicted a stinging 243tions. While that began run defeat on Australia the charge, India comin the teams’ second pletely turned the game warm-up match. in the final ten overs, Karthik was the batas they smashed 100 ting star of the match, runs to muscle the total scoring his second past 300, a score which consecutive ton in looked remote when the warm-up fixtures, Karthik and Dhoni first strengthening his case came together. for a place in India’s Dhoni brought up his Dhoni sets off for a run after playing to the offside, Australia v starting XI in the tour- MS half-century with a six India, Champions Trophy warm-up, Cardiff, June 4. nament. “I think he has over long-off against earned his place in the Hughes went for an exuberant pull Marsh in the 40th over, side and we’ll just have to see who and played on. Mitchell Marsh and then slapped a flat one-bounce misses out when we play against was unlucky, given caught behind boundary, before a six over the South Africa,” MS Dhoni said af- to a delivery that seamed in and point boundary made it the most ter the game. “I’d like him to play flicked his trousers on its way to expensive over of the match with at the top of the order but we’ll MS Dhoni. Australia’s hopes were 22 runs. Under pressure, the Aus[have to wait and] see.” extinguished when Shane Watson, tralian bowlers failed to bowl The game was virtually over 54 who had scored a match-winning to their fields and erred in their minutes into the chase, when Aus- century against West Indies, at- lengths. tralia were reduced to 34 for 6 in tempted to cut Ishant Sharma and Dhoni even pulled out his patthe face of some fierce fast bowl- joined the club of Australian bats- ented helicopter stroke against ing from Yadav, who picked up a men who played on. James Faulkner for a one-bounce five-wicket haul in his first, and India had also found themselves four to midwicket. That took him only, spell of five overs. Yadav, in a similar trap at 55 for 5. That into the nineties but he was not who got married last Wednesday, they recovered from that precari- nervous as he went for a straight had joined the Indian squad three ous position was solely due to the hit a couple of deliveries later, but days later and had been rested in mature batting between Karthik failed to clear Mitchell Johnson at the first warm-up match against and Dhoni, whose 211-run part- long-off. Sri Lanka on Saturday. nership powered India’s fightHis departure did not slow Australia’s troubles started in the back. Karthik, who got to his second second over when Matthew Wade, Though only one wicket fell to century in as many matches with opening ahead of Phillip Hughes, a spinner, the pitch wasn’t exactly a mistimed pull against Mitchell played on while attempting a pull. a grassy, seamer-friendly one. Al- Starc, as the top edge flew over the David Warner’s horrific run con- though it had good bounce and wicketkeeper for a boundary. But tinued as he went for an expan- carry, there was not much lateral later he hit two spectacular fours: sive stroke against a full delivery movement. a flick past fine leg followed by that was moving away, only to be Karthik, who hit an unbeaten a chopped drive against yorkercaught brilliantly at first slip by R 106 in the victory against Sri Lan- length deliveries from Starc. Ashwin. This was Warner’s third ka at Edgbaston, was once again Karthik piled on 35 runs from 19 duck in his last four innings. at ease. As he had done with Virat deliveries in the final five overs In the fifth over, George Bailey Kohli, during their 185-run stand as India’s total swelled to winning misread the line of a Yadav de- against Sri Lanka, Karthik shared proportions. livery that seamed away and was the workload with Dhoni. One of Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant bowled for 1. Four overs later, the major reasons Australia failed editor at ESPNcricinfo

Champion Track Star in Making

GUNTUR (Sports Star): At 17, Dutee Chand is a hot property of Indian athletics. Unmindful of the scorching sun, the diminutive girl from Odisha won the gold in the 100m (11.80s) and 200m (24.53s) at the 10th Junior (under-18) National Athletics Championship in Andhra Pradesh recently. Dutee was the cynosure of the meet and the victory in the 100 m made her eligible to take part in the World Youth and Asian Youth Championships in Ukraine and China respectively. “Yes, she is a precocious talent and we are keen on nurturing her for the future challenges. She is being trained in 200m and 4x400m relay in Patiala,” said S. K. Valson, the General Secretary of the Athletics Federation of India. Dutee has taken the centre stage with her consistent performances in the youth and junior segments since 2007. As a teenager, she sounded her arrival on the big stage by winning two bronze medals (4x100 m and 200 m) in the Federation Cup in Patiala in April. She is now preparing to take on the seniors in the National Championship in Chennai from June 4. Dutee’s first impressive performance came at the National Youth Championship in Bangalore where she won a grand double (100 m and 200 m). She eclipsed the 100 m meet and National records by clocking 11.80s in the heats and 11.85s in the final. At the 58th National School Games in Etawah (Uttar Pradesh), Dutee won a treble (100 m, 200 m and 400 m) and emerged the individual champion at the meet for which she was awarded a Tata Nano by the UP Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav. Dutee is at the Indian camp in Patiala now, preparing for the Asian Championships and Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. “Dutee has an explosive start. We need to guide her on how to make use of the quick start to win a medal in international meets,” said N. Ramesh, the SAI coach in Patiala. However, he is of the view that Dutee’s height (she measures 5ft 4in) might prove to be detrimental, especially in close finishes. “In photo-finishes, athletes


Dutee Chand: Gifted with an explosive start.

with height will make use of their torso effectively to cross the finish line. In fact the winner is decided by the dip,” he said. Ramesh thinks that the 200 m will be the right event for Dutee as she will have enough time to recover and generate speed at the right time.

Spanish Connection

ANANTPUR: In this district known for its arid terrain in the southwestern part of Andhra Pradesh, the very mention of Spain brings smiles on the faces of the people. The soccer-crazy European country is doing its bit for the promotion of the game in the district. At the forefront of this endeavour is Moncho Ferrer, president of the Anantapur District Football Association (ADFA). The trust was formed in 1969 by Moncho’s father Vincent Ferrer. The first football camp was held in 2007 by a group of coaches from the Barcelona-based Club de Futbol Santvicenti. “Players from the club are coming for the past six years. They bring balls, nets, tshirts, shorts, football boots, socks and training cones for practice,” says the ADFA secretary, Venugopal. “The Spaniards share their knowledge wholeheartedly and they give more emphasis to offence,” says Venugopal. The regular visits by friends from Spain has paid off as Anantapur girls team won three State-level football tournaments and 10 players, from the under-19 and under-17 segments, were selected for the state team.


June 07, 2013

Aamir Khan Meets Bill Gates, Discusses India’s Development


Indian Cows Find Patrons in U.S.

An employee at the Mataji Gaushala in Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, Apr. 3.

NEW DELHI (HT): Of late, we have been seeing an increasing number of Bollywood stars rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of the western film industry. Taking things a bit differently is Bollywood’s perfectionist Aamir Khan, who recently met none other than tech giant Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates. The Microsoft co-founder Gates, who is currently on a tour to India, met with Bollywood superstar

Aamir Khan on May 30. Commenting on his blog Gates stated, “I’m looking forward to meeting Aamir Khan, the Bollywood star and activist. I want to hear about his work as a UNICEF ambassador for child nutrition. I also want to hear about his TV show, Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails), which is shining a light on some critical issues facing India. And maybe, if I’m lucky, he’ll show me a few dance moves.”

While commenting on their discussion Gates posted, “Talking toilets with Bollywood star Aamir Khan, discussing how satellites help fight disease. We were filming a question-and-answer segment in front of a studio audience for his show on New Delhi Television, one of India’s largest news networks. Prannoy was asking me and Bollywood star Aamir Khan about philanthropy, health, and India’s development...”

American Woman Gang-raped in Manali No Arrest Yet MANALI (HT): An American tourist was allegedly gangraped by a truck driver and two of his accomplices in Himachal Pradesh, police said Tuesday. “The 30-year-old was raped by men in a truck on Monday night. They offered her a lift and she accepted it,” police inspector Abhimanyu Kumar said. The incident took place in Manali, a tourist destination 500 kilometres (300 miles) from New Delhi. Kumar said the medical tests have confirmed that the tourist was raped and police were hunting for the accused men. “The woman cannot remember the number plate of the truck and she could not understand what the accused were talking about. They drove the truck to an isolated spot and raped her

for nearly one hour,” he said. Kumar said every truck driver in Manali had been ordered to report at the local police station as part of the investigation. On Monday, police in Kolkata arrested a local businessman for allegedly drugging and raping an Irish charity worker after her birthday party. A survey by a trade body released earlier this year found that the number of foreign women tour-

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ists visiting India had dropped by 35% following several sex attacks that have made global headlines. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India reported earlier this year that female tourist arrivals had fallen after the fatal gang-rape of a 23year-old student by six men on a bus in New Delhi in December. The gangrape brought simmering anger about endemic sex crimes in the country to the surface and led to sometimes violent protests in cities across the country. A Swiss cyclist was gang-raped in central state of Madhya Pradesh in March, while a South Korean tourist was allegedly drugged and raped in the same state in January by the son of the owner of a hotel where she was staying.

BY HARI KUMAR BARSANA (NYT): The cow’s status as a sacred being in Hinduism is increasingly being threatened as more wealthy Indians, even Hindus, are turning carnivorous, as Gardiner Harris of The New York Times recently reported. Meanwhile, the increasing demand for beef is driving gangs to steal cows that are wandering around Delhi so that the animals can be sold to slaughterhouses. Still, cows have plenty of protectors in India, and even beyond its borders. Thousands of miles away, Indian citizens living in the United States regularly send money to cow shelters in India like Mataji Gaushala, located in Barsana, near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. Mataji Gaushala is one of the biggest cow shelters in northern India, spread over 42 acres. It houses 20,000 cows, most of them old and no longer providing milk. Brijinder Sharma, manager of Mataji Gaushala, said the shelter’s objective is to let the animals live a natural life and die from natural causes. Subhash Puri, 69, a civil engineer who retired from the American government in 2011, lives in Laurel, Maryland, but sends money, after collecting it from other Indian patrons, and visits Mataji Gaushala often, spending four to six months out of the year. “The cow is our mother,” he said. “It is our duty to give them a dignified life. We try to save them from the slaughterhouses.” Puri said Indians in the United States who support the shelter include doctors, engineers and IT

professionals. “They give new ideas to run the place,” he said. Mataji Gaushala was created in 2007 by Ramesh Baba, a spiritual figure based in Barsana, the holy village near Mathura where Lord Krishna was said to be born. The shelter employs a staff of 200 and uses 48 tons of wheat straw every day. It costs the equivalent of $5.4 million annually to run the shelter, whose funding comes almost entirely from Indians living in the United States. The number of cows at the shelter is quickly increasing. “On many occasions, the police catch the cow-lifter gangs and send the cows to us,” said Sharma. “We are expanding our facilities and will not say no till we have 100,000 cows.” Six to eight cows die at the shelter every day. “We dig a pit and bury them. Because the cow is our mother, we do not want them to die on the road,” said Sharma. The shelter runs a small milking operation and has plans to expand its commercial enterprises to support its operations. “We are making efforts to make the Gaushala self-sufficient by using bio gas, selling the milk and making organic manure,” said Puri. The shelter also sells cow urine as medicine, which Sharma contends can cure 101 diseases and can be used to treat coughs, heart and liver problems, stomach pain and digestive discomfort. “I take two teaspoons morning and night,” Sharma said. “It keeps me healthy.”

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