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Friday, July 12 2013 | Vol. 32, No. 28

Indo American erican News

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

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Volunteers pose at the 18th annual BSNA Convention, held at Double Tree Hotel from July 4 to July 6.

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The two visiting volunteers Raj Pushkar Singh and Onkar Lal Patidar (with beard) on stage at the Gayatri Maha Yagya held at the ISKCON events hall last Saturday, July 6.

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COMMUNITY

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24 Havans to Seek Gayatri Devi’s Blessings, Guidance for Flood Relief BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA southwest of San AnHOUSTON: After the tonio, where adults and devastating and massive youth of all ages from the floods that recently ocarea will learn the steps curred in the foothills of and techniques towards the Himalayas, especialthe Thought Revolution ly in the state of Uttarainspired by the AWGP. khand, many groups deThese venues will also alcided to help those who low the groups to gather had suffered from the donations that can be sent calamity. But one group towards the flood relief sprang into action immeefforts being undertaken diately as their headquarby the AWGP in Uttaraters is located almost in khand. the heart of the affected “There is a 24/7/365 diregion. saster relief management This group – the All team in Shantikunj,” said World Gayatri Pariwar Garima Doshi, the Joint - has a history of doSecretary for the local ing charitable work ever Houston Center, who has since it was founded in been involved along with 1946 by Pandit Shriram her husband Ketan with Sharma Acharya on a the group since 2006. “Of small piece of land in the over 1,500 people in Mathura and later esShantikunj Ashram, there tablished in Haridwar in is a team of 50 volunteers 1971. The spiritual and who work in seven departsocial organization has ment focused on the envisince spread out over ronment, social initiatives a large 150 acre area and so on.” Center Presinamed Gayatri Nagar, dent Bharat Tailor, Vice with the headquarters President Mahesh Patel, known as Shantikunj, sitTrustee Sangeeta Tailor, uated at the banks of the Treasurer Deepak KhaGanges, about 4 miles The two visiting Jivandani Karya Kartas or Lifelong Volunteers from the Gayatri Chetna Center in Shantikunj, India tri and their entire Board from Haridwar. Raj Pushkar Singh and Onkar Lal Patidar (with beard) in center with Directors of the Houston Chapter Gayatri Pariwar and volunteers are spearShantikunj is devoted Chapter, from left Sangeeta Tailor, Trustee; Garima Doshi, Joint Secretary; Ketan Doshi, Secretary; Mahesh Patel heading the local efforts to cultural, ethical, moral President, Bharat Tailor Vice President and Viral Patel, volunteer. The Tailor’s children are seated in front. Treasurer to expand the AWGP’s Photos: Jawahar Malhotra programs in the Houston and spiritual awakening Deepak Khatri was not available for the picture. and developing divinvision of building a living model of a futur- Piscataway as part of their North area. ity in mankind is its foremost and avowed istic model guided by principles of human American tour which includes Ausgoal. The AWGP aims to reach these goals unity and equality. There are about 40 cen- tin, Dallas and San Antonio, to spread by popularizing the Gayatri Mantra, Yagya ters in the US and Canada, with a large tem- the gospel of the organization through and Sanskaars (sacramental rites) which in- ple in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Houston the practice of yagyas, 24 of which voke celestial thoughts and deeds in a pro- Center for Gayatri Consciousness has been were simultaneously performed last cess the group calls the Thought Revolution for the past three years at 5645 Hillcroft, Saturday afternoon, July 6 at the perMovement. The Gayatri Mantra is highly Suite 307, across from the Sai Baba Mandir formance hall of the ISKCON Center revered and widely cited in Vedic literature in Little India, where a Shivaling satapna is on West 34th Street. During the event, and is uttered to invoke the Goddess Savitri. scheduled for on August 9 through 11. the two karya kartas (volunteers) sang Yagya is the ancient ritual of offering havan This past weekend, the Houston Center devotional bhajans and guided the desamigri (herbal preparations) in fire accom- was visited by two roving emissaries from vout through the steps of the havans. panied by chanting Vedic mantras. Shantikunj who have devoted their lives as Their stay in Texas will coincide The AWGP has evolved into a global or- volunteers for the cause. Onkar Lal Patidar and culminate in a seven-day long Those who participated in the 24 kundi Gayatri ganization with Centers worldwide, with the and Pushkar Singh came to Houston from Youth Camp in Hunt, near Kerrville, maha yaghya last Saturday, July 6.

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COMMUNITY

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18th Annual BSNA Convention Comes to Houston

BY PARTH DWIVEDI HOUSTON: Once every year Brahman Samaj of North America hosts its multinational convention and this year, Houston had the distinction of hosting the event. The event was held at the Double Tree Hotel from July 4 to 6. The theme for each convention varies annually, with this year’s convention examining “the Significance of Brahmanic Values in Modernity and Youth.” BSNA was founded to promote Brahmanic and Vedic Culture by imparting knowledge to youth and uplifting different sections of the community, according to its wesbite. It continues that its vision in doing so is to steadily unite and improve society (see more at http://bsna.org.). BSNA also contributes to the global Indian community, more recently putting its efforts into relief for the Uttarakhand Flood, to which donations can be made through their website via credit card or PayPal. The opening ceremony was conducted on Independence Day. Bhajans and introductions were notably accompanied with a speech given by Upendra Chivukula, Deputy Speaker for the New Jersey General Assembly. Also a former Mayor of Franklin, NJ, he noted the “value of knowledge,” continuing that many first generation Indians might have learned of their culture by “osmosis.” Chivukula, concluded that the perpetuation of culture in further generations across the pond requires an educational effort in the Information Age, echoing the convention’s theme. The convention served as a forum for opinions and ideas, with many speakers presenting many views. Notable presentation topics included health, Indian-American representation in politics, Hindu and Brahmanic identity, and the role of science in religion, with

presentations being followed by eager conversation. Meanwhile, workshops were also conducted to increase awareness of health care, law, and business, on the premise that many Indians might specialize in a field, while few might possess a working understand of the others. Highlights of the event included the Kavi Sammelan (an age-old tradition in BSNA), Yoga, and Bhajans. The most popular was the cultural program, however, which included impressions by Hardik Vyas, a play on the life of Meerabai by Shri Natraj School of Dance, as well as classical and Bollywood dance numbers by local artists and guests. The concurrently held BSNA Youth Convention, headed by Shailendra Shukla and Sonal Shukla, played an especially im-

portant role in the convention, as it most directly addressed this year’s stated theme. Shailendra Shukla wanted the youth convention to be driven by discourse and building personal connections between those old enough, and engaging cultural education for the younger. “We really wanted to communicate that the brahmanic lifestyle is a choice; not just something you are born into,” said Shukla, adding that most NRI families would fit the more progressive definition of a Brahman, in as much as adherence to brahmanic values is concerned, referencing Indians as the model minority. Abha Dwivedi, a prominent Houstonian, was charged with the responsibility of being the President of the organization’s Texas Chapter. Described by her colleagues as a “perfectionist,” the convention ran on a tight schedule under her watchful eye. The first-time chapter head

Highlights of the event included the Kavi Sammelan, Yoga, Bhajans, impressions by Hardik Vyas, a play on the life of Meerabai by Shri Natraj School of Dance, as well as classical and Bollywood dance numbers by local artists and guests. Photos: Bijay Dixit

credited all of the success to the work of Convention Director, Dr. Keshav Shukla, whose labors

helped create the three-day experience that brought Brahmans together from across the country.

Indo American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $40 per year) by IndoAmerican News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036., tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-789-6399, email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News,7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036

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July 12, 2013

Anti-Defamation League Meets with Hindu Leaders

Front row, from left (seated): Sanjay Jain, Ramesh Patel, P.C. Sharma, Jay Harberg, George Gibson, and Venugopal Menon; Standing, from left: Mark Levine, Jodi Bernstein, V.K. Dorai, Dev Mahajan, Eugene Tunitsky, Ramesh Parikh, Martin B. Cominsky, Vijay Pallod, Rishi Bhutada and Susan Shaw.

BY DENA MARKS HOUSTON: Nine leaders of Houston’s Hindu community met with Anti-Defamation League (ADL) staff and lay leaders to talk about ADL resources and creating ongoing relationships. The meeting was prompted by the community’s interest in ADL’s resources on bullying and fighting hate both inside and outside of the schools. ADL was instrumental in working with Humble ISD, where they helped with the discrimination and atrocities against Hindu students. ADL staff and lay leaders presented information about antibullying programs, No Place for Hate, and various A WORLD OF

DIFFERENCE Institute trainings. This intensive program has been adopted by 35 Humble schools and we hope that the discrimination events of the past are not going to be repeated. Hindu participants at the meeting also heard about ADL’s relationship with law enforcement, security trainings and resources, hate crimes training and interfaith work. In turn, the Hindu leaders provided information about their organization and faith institutions, media outlets and interfaith relationships. Among those from the Hindu community at the meeting: Devinder Mahajan, Rishi Bhutada, Ramesh Patel, Ramesh

Parikh, Sanjay Jain, Vijay Pallod, P.C. Sharma, V.K. Dorai, and Venu Gopal Menon. ADL leaders who participated included George Gibson, Jay Harberg, Mark Levine and Eugene Tunitsky. The Mission of Hindus of Greater Houston is to promote and protect Hindu solidarity among all Hindu organizations and temples, www.Hindusofhouston.org. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) www.adl.org fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry in the U.S. and abroad through information, education, legislation, and advocacy. ADL serves as a resource for government, media, law enforcement, educators and the public.

COMMUNITY

Swami Mukundananda to Visit Houston HOUSTON: Swami Mukundananda, a world-renowned teacher of Spirituality, Yoga, and Meditation is set to visit Houston on July 26. Swami Mukundanda would be conducting two week-long programs from July 27 to August 3 at India House and from August 1521 at Houston Durgabari Temple. Each day’s program will include Yoga sessions & Spiritual discourse. The first part of the session focuses on Yoga & Meditation. The second session focuses on devotional chanting and spiritual discourses. The topic of the discourse is “Bhagavad Gita for Everyday Living”. Swami Mukundananda, received his degrees in Engineering and Management from two world famous institutes in India- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM). However, the call of God was so strong that a short while after landing a top corporate job, he renounced his professional career to take Sanyas, in the quest for God-realization. For the last two decades, Swamiji has been travelling far and wide in various states of India and also in Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, USA, and Europe, awakening thousands of seekers. He is the senior disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and founder of JKYog. JKYog is a non-profit organization dedicated to the spiritual, mental and physical wellness

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

of Humankind, through true Yoga and Spirituality. For children, he has established a special personality development program, called “Bal-Mukund Character Building Program.” It includes character building, yoga, meditation, devotional singing and religious training. Swami Mukundananda has been invited to speak at various Fortune 500 companies like Google, Oracle, etc. For the youth, he has conducted programs at prestigious universities such as Princeton, Stanford, Kellogg, MIT, and Duke University. In his programs, Swami Mukundananda chants the sweetest bhajans that inspire devotional love and transport human consciousness to subliminal heights. His warmth and humility touch all those who associate with him. For further details visit www.jkyog.org or call 281-6305982 / 713-412-3503.


July 12, 2013

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COMMUNITY

July 12, 2013

IACCGH Hosts Mentoring Circle

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IACCGH Secretary & Program Chair Joya Shukla and IACCGH Past President Madhukar Prasad present a momento to Francene Young. Photo: Bijay Dixit

HOUSTON: The IACCGH “Women in Leadership” events sponsored by Shell combine the effective tools of mentoring, dialogue and group support and communications. The use of these tools at the events are part of the Chamber’s initiative offering emerging women leaders a platform to share, learn and celebrate their success.. On June 28 IACCGH hosted a women in leadership series “Mentoring Circle” led by Francene Young, Vice President Shell US at the HESS Club. IACCGH President Elect Sanjay Ramabhadran welcomed the guests on behalf of the Chamber and program Chair and IACCGH Secretary Joya Shukla talked about the chamber and the program and invited Past President Madhukar Prasad to facilitate the dialogue with Francene Young. The Chamber presented Young a memento in appreciation of her years of support of the Chamber

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and her personal involvement in mentoring and the ‘women in leadership’series. Lunch was followed by the women in the group moving into the mentoring circle and Francene Young led the dialogue with her personal leadership journey and teachable points. This was followed by a strategic dialogue about leadership opportunities & challenges in which all the attendees particpated. Finally there will be breakout sessions to reflect and capture leanings. The next IACCGH women’s event “IACCGH Women Mean Business” - with Keynote by Dr. Marie Goradia & showcasing IACCGH member Juuhi Ahuja of Wise Men Consulting will be held on Thu July 25 2013 at Abrahams Rugs on Woodway. For information on IACCGH membership or to attend the event visit www.iaccgh.com or contact info@iaccgh.com.

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COMMUNITY

July 12, 2013

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Bhushans Still Blissful after 35 Years Together BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: After all those years, Sameet Bhushan recalled the moments before and after he got married to Indira and marveled how Time had gone by. “I was perfectly happy as a young man riding my motorbike,” he recalled, and then made it clear that his life had been just as happy afterwards too. Sam, as he is universally known, has never been one to be at a loss for words, and he used a lot, including the word “stupid” several times, to describe how he had gotten such a terrible scrape on his forehead, which was still heavily bandaged, that it required intensive treatment to get better and was still not healed. “I was doing yoga and had a stupid fall on my stupid Oriental rug and got a stupid allergic reaction,” he explained. But it was still not enough to dampen his spirits as he was buoy-

ant all night long, though Indira, the consummate organizer, made sure the arrangements went smoothly at the Milan Banquet Hall which the Bhushans have managed for many years. They were a doubly happy couple as their three children – Sonia (with husband Raj), Sanjay and Reena (with fiancé James) who have all moved to Phoenix, Arizona over the past 18 months – came back to the Bayou City to help celebrate the occasion over the Independence Day long weekend. Nearly a hundred of the Bhushan’s close friends came to celebrate with them. Three couples danced to Bollywood tunes and two gents did wonderful renditions of Oldies from the 60s and 70s. After a sumptuous buffet dinner, the happy couple cut their four tiered tres leches cake, with ras malai chaser, and then danced the night away under a balloon drop.

Sameet “Sam” and Indira “Ann” Bhushan flanked by their family at the 35th wedding anniversary celebration held last Saturday, July 6 at Milan Banquet Hall in Little India. From left, James Anderson with his fiancé Reena Bhushan; Sanjay Bhushan; Sonia Bhushan and her husband Raj Singhal.

Sameet “Sam” and Indira “Ann” Bhushan pose with their fourtiered wedding anniversary cake celebrating 35 years together. The bandages covered a severe allergic reaction Sam suffered after a recent fall. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

For advertising contact: Jawahar Malhotra / Vanshika Vipin

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COMMUNITY

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How to Defend Red Light Camera Tickets BY RAY PATEL SUGAR LAND: It is very important for the residents of Sugar Land and visitors from outside the City limit to know the locations where the Red Light Cameras have been installed by the camera company. When revenue goes down the camera company installs cameras at another location. At present the cameras are installed at the following four locations, Highway 6 and Lexington, Highway 6 and US59, West Airport and Eldridge and, Dairy Ashford and 90A. The first thing is not to get a citation; so make sure that you make a full stop before the white line, especially when making a right turn at the four intersections. Over 70% of citations are issued while making right turns. Between January 2013 and March 2013 a total of 6,918 citations were issued and the city has collected $374,586. Over 50% of those citations ( 3,528 ) were issued at West Airport and Eldridge alone. If citation is received, the language on the citation notice is worth understanding to make a decision either to pay or not to pay $75.00 fine. So let me point out what to understand. All citation notices are mailed by the camera company in Tempe, AZ in the name of Sugar Land Police De-

partment three weeks after each violation. Look carefully on the front side of your notice, it is high lighted, and it says: 1. This violation is a non-moving Infraction (a civil penalty and not a criminal) and 2. Points will not be assessed meaning it will not be recorded on your driving record. Further, look on the back side of your citation notice; it says: 1. Failure to pay may result in a hold placed on your vehicle registration. Here I suggest that you do not register your vehicle on line or at grocery stores. Do it in person because, as per our research, The Fort Bend County Tax Office does not have an agreement with the City of Sugar Land to deny vehicle registrations with scofflaws (the one who failed to pay fine) 2. The civil penalty may not be recorded on the owner’s driving record and 3. An arrest warrant may not be issued

Now based on this knowledge, let us say you do not pay your fine.... then what? In a few weeks you will receive: 1. Notice of unpaid ticket ($100.00) - now $25 added to your $75.00 fine; and then? 2. A Delinquent Notice of Violation - (a mere scare tactic to collect fine) notifying you that your ticket will be turned over to collection agency for collection), and then? 3. Final Notice of Unpaid Ticket - all printing in red ink... a mere scare tactic to collect the fine amount. It is not feasible, costwise, for the city attorney to file a lawsuit to collect $75.00. You are pretty much able to get away without paying your fine/s. About 40% of ticketed drivers got away without paying Red Light Camera (RLC) fines in Los Angeles, California, which is why they dumped the camera system altogether. Reduction in revenue makes RLC system unproductive because, by signed contract, Sugar Land is obligated to pay the camera company and to share revenue with the State of Texas. If you receive letters from the Collection Agency for collection of your fine amount, you may disregard or force them to stop. My sincere hope that you know your rights.

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Take a Cinematic Ride Around the Globe! ASIA SOCIETY TEXAS CENTER PRESENTS CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL SEATTLE

Colombia, India, China, and more featured in Film Festival Saturdays and Sundays, July 13 – 28 Films in Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and more. All with English subtitles. 8SWRÀOPVVFUHHQHGSHUSURJUDP Show times are 11:30 AM and 2 PM. (7/13, 7/14, 7/20, 7/21, 7/27, and 7/28)

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COMMUNITY

July 12, 2013

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Arya Samaj of Greater Houston Hosts Fifth Annual HAVAN Conference Organized by VHPA

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VHPA Houston Chapter, volunteers and HAVAN team at Arya Samaj

HOUSTON: World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) conducts fifth annual HAVAN Conference in Houston. The event was hosted by Arya Samaj of Greater Houston. Around 200 plus Hindus participated along with an eminent panel of speakers and many active Hindu community leaders. The Hindu American Vanaprasthi Network (HAVAN) is launched to serve the self-development and identification of service fields need for retired and to be retired members of Hindu community living in America. The acronym HAVAN is chosen to reflect the transformative lifestyle stage of Vanaprasthi. The goal is to engage them locally in meaningful community service activities, develop network, and opportunities to use their skills, specialties, and wisdom for the benefit of the society. Conference Topics included Vedic Vision and Modern day Vanaprasthi lifestyle, Vanaprasthi lifestyle in American context, Experience - History of Hindus in America, Women and Hindu lifestyle, Engaging with Houston’s Diverse Communities, Building Bridges – Youth perspective, Vanaprathis - Medical Science perspective, Social Mingling The daylong conference inauguration session started with Yogesh Naik (VHPA Houston chapter) informing audience about objectives and vision about HAVAN conference and how it positively impacts seniors of Hindu community in terms of networking, resource sharing and collaboration. Acharya Surya Nandaji from Arya Samaj of Greater Houston performed the invocation ceremony and educated audience about four ashrams (phases) of life, their meaning and roles one play in each phase as per Hindu Vedic scriptures. Devinder Mahajan (President of Arya Samaj of Greater Houston) welcomed audience and thanked VHPA for organizing such enlightening conference and spoke about programs of Arya Samaj focused towards imbibing Hindu values and culture in children, youth and adults. Pravin Vyas (President, VHPA Houston) gave an overview of HAVAN and what expectations Hindu seniors can have from it. He also thanked Arya Samaj. The session on Engaging Vanpr-

asthis—Discussion included key community leaders with Acharaya Surya Nandaji educating participants on Vedic vision and modern day lifestyle and how Vanprasthis giving real life examples of challenges Vanprasthis encounter in America. Gaurangbhai Nanavaty spoke on Vanaprasthi lifestyle in American contact, challenges they face in old age and communications with children and grandchildren and their important role in social transformation. Dr. Mahesh Dave spoke on current state of Vanaprasthis from Medical science perspective and what medical approach they should adopt what treatments they should avoid for healthy physical and mental well being. Atul Kothari spoke on best retirement planning for Vanaprasthi lifestyle in terms of Social Security, Medicare, investments and other retirement packages. Abha Dwivedi from American General Life & Accident company educated audience on insurance need for senior citizen lifestyle and companies that offer such insurance programs , selection criteria and enrollments. Padamakant Khambhati spoke on ‘What can Hindus accomplish collectively that we cannot as individual Hindus?’ followed by question and answer session. Post lunch in Session –3 which themed ’Engaging Vanaprasthis— Health & Seva’ Sanjay Mehta (Jt. General Secretary of VHPA) involved audience in Memorary lane game—Jeopardy. Ramesh Bhai Shah (President, Ekal Vidyalaya Global) spoke on Seva (social service) opportunities for youth, adults and Vanprasthis at local and national level, continuing that Sarojni Gupta also educated audience on SEWA International activities and helpline phone number for community social service and help need (SEWA helpline number: (832) 900 9394). Dr. Renu Thapar educated audience on tips for keeping healthy mental health and day to day activities which fosters good mental health with emphasis on getting involved in some activity as a volunteer, office bearer, donation fundraising or editorials for social organizations. The final session scoped ‘Engaging Vanaprasthis—Networking and Planning’ in which Sushma Pallod (an active community lead-

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

er) conducted a light Yoga session involving participants. Lauren Santerre spoke on Interfaith service and Dialogue: Engaging with Houston Diverse Communities. Neeraj Salhotra spoke on building bridges with youth and how senior community members can apply active role in educating school students in getting high SAT and other academic scores by volunteering in academic education at various community colleges. Sudhir Mathuria spoke on healthcare, Medicare and long term care program with innovative and informational video presentation. At the concluding session Sanjay Mehta (Jt. General Secretary of VHPA) thanked audience, volunteers and Arya Samaj of Greater Houston for organizing such insightful and purposeful conference for Hindu seniors and retired community members. He emphasized the foundation objectives of VHPA which envision Hindu unity irrespective of caste, creed, faith based sampraday or country of origin as VHPA is for everybody. He educated audience on programs of VHPA such as Hindu Mandir Executive Conference (HMEC) which has united Hindu temples across USA/ CA and allowed sharing of knowledge, resources and helped priests develop contemporary skills for Hindu requirement in North America. HAVAN is a by product of HMEC. Some other excellent publications of VHPA like Vivah Sanskara, Hindu Prayer Book. Aim of HAVAN is threefold: First— Seniors to feel good about self, second—Smooth shift from current lifestyle, third—connection with children and grandchildren. Finally suggestions and comments were discussed for dynamic working model that help. Some take away points for conference were developing seniors home in USA/ CA for parents and grandparents, expanding HAVAN network, databases, phone calls and regular monthly meetings. Create library of useful material for Vanapasthi in the area of health, estate, spiritual and culture. To join HAVAN movement in greater Houston area please contact Yogesh Naik at yogeshnaik@ att.net or Pravin Vyas atprvyas@ yahoo.com


July 12, 2013

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COMMUNITY

July 12, 2013

MTS Celebrates 35th Anniversary as “Founders’ Day”

Past and present board members of MTS attend the Founder’s Day luncheon.

PEARLAND: Thirty five years ago Sri Meenakshi Temple Society was formed and its humble beginning was marked by the installation of its first deity, Prasanna Vinayakar, at the northwest corner of the current temple complex. The founders could not have imagined that only three years later, a huge main temple with three presiding deities came to be inaugurated – Goddess Meenakshi at the center, Her consort Sundareshwarar to her right and Her brother Venkateshwarar to her left. It is befitting that each year, in the month of July, the board of directors celebrated the temple anniversary. This year the anniversary was celebrated on Sunday, July 8. This year, the Chairman Tupil Narasiman and the board of directors deemed this day “Founders’ Day” and took this celebration up a notch by inviting the founders and the past board of directors in honor of their dedicated service to the temple society. Close to a hundred members of the temple board, past and present, attended the celebration. The event started with “Na-

vakalasa Sthapanam” wherein a navakalasam (9 pots of water) for each of the three presiding deities was set up and mantras chanted along with homams to electrify the waters in the kalasams which were eventually poured over the main deities; the bathed deities were decorated with new vastrams and flowers and ornaments and a maha arathi and archanai were performed. The main temple wore a festive look with ladies making flower garlands for the deities and the fire of the homams creating a meditative ambience. The atmosphere was charged with energy from the Rudram chanting during the homam. The pooja events were organized by MTS board directors M. Sriram and C. Karunaker. The Honorable Mayor of Pearland, Tom Reid, who has been associated with the temple almost from its inception and seen the phenomenal growth of the temple, was one of the invited guests for the event. The Mayor issued a proclamation from the City of Pearland marking this day, July 8, as the Sri Meenak-

shi Temple Anniversary Day. The Mayor acknowledged the services of the past board of directors and congratulated the past and present board for their dedicated service to the temple. The congregation witnessed the special puja until 12.30 pm and after receiving the prasadam moved to the Youth center for a special “Founders’ Day Luncheon. One of the dignitaries present was one of the founders of MTS, Dr. Sudarshan, a well-known physicist from the University of Texas, and, in 2007, a recipient of Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award from the Government of India. The past board of directors were greeted by the current board and were served lunch – sit down style organized by director Malar Narayanan – a nice way to thank the past board of directors for their contributions to the growth of this great institution – Sri Meenakshi Temple Society. It is hoped that the Founders’ Day tradition will continue to bring together all those who worked hard to grow this temple.

Hindu Temple of The Woodlands Honors Flood Victims

For advertising Call: Vanshika Vipin /Jawahar Malhotra 713.789.NEWS (6397)

THE WOODLANDS: Atma Shanti Puja and Bhajan program was held at the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands on Sunday, July 7, honoring the victims of the recent North Indian flood victims. The opening prayer was by recent high school graduate,Yarlini Vipulananda. Bhajans were by UH sophomore Srikar Vedula. Additional bhajan singers included a number of temple devotees:

Sonie Mohanty, Manju Guglani, Jitu and Hema Chudasama, Jagan Allam, Ravi Bayas, Mamta and Madhukar Prasad and others. Donations to the temple on Sunday will be used for relief and development work in the flooded areas. Hriday Shukla, a senior business major at University of Texas, currently doing a summer internship, made the first donation, encouraging others to also

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

donate. Over $3000 was collected from appeals. Hindu Temple of The Woodlands is located at 7601 S Forestgate in The Woodlands. It encourages service, education and devotion among the Hindu Americans of the north Houston and Montgomery County area. Visit www.woodlandshindutemple.org for more information on the temple and its activities.


July 12, 2013

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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16

COMMUNITY

July 12, 2013

Riyaaz Qawwali’s ‘Kashti’ Sails through Mystical Waters BY HAIDER KAZIM HOUSTON: Riyaaz Qawwali, a group of young music lovers, has sailed into mystical waters exploring new boundaries with the recent launch of their first album’ Kashti’ or sailboat. Riyaaz Qawwali, founded by Sonny Mehta in 2006, has practiced hard - as the name suggests - to breathe new life into a genre that is not attracting many dedicated singers in South Asia, the

birthplace of qawwali. Qawwali, a musical tradition dating back to nearly 700 years, was performed mainly at Sufi shrines or Dargahs as an expression of universal love and spiritual ecstasy in the mystical journey for union with the Divine. Sufi saint Amir Khusro is said to have fused the Persian and Indian musical traditions to create the qawwali genre in the late 13th century. In this genre, the lines or words are

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sung again and again to explore new spiritual dimensions that at times evoke a spiritual trance or ‘haal’ in a listener. The genre was reintroduced and made popular by singers like Sabri Brothers, Runa Laila, Aziz Mian and others. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, often called ‘Shaheshah of Qawwali’, made it popular among international audiences. Qawwali, even at its most popular form, has mostly remained as an spiritual expression of universal love as preached by Sufi saints. Similar expressions of the love of Divine in other faiths followed different musical styles such as ‘bhajans’ in the Hindu faith and ‘Shabad-kirtan’ in the Sikh faith. ‘Kashti’ picks up these two musical styles and successfully integrates it into the qawwali genre. A selected audience sat in rapture to hear the rendition of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” in Qawwali form at the launch of ‘Kashti’ last month at Asia Society’s gleaming headquarters in downtown Houston. The performance was mesmerizing as the group moved from one Qawwali to another. A few people danced in ecstasy toward the climax. “Qawwali is a devotional type of music, helping people connect with the Divine. We certainly want to use new poets into this genre and bring a new universal level of spirituality into the qawwali mix,” says Sonny Mehta.

“There is a lot the world can learn from this love that the Sufi saints from the South Asian subcontinent shared through their music. And I can make that claim, because I myself have learned so much,” he said in an interview. Sonny Mehta belongs to a family of musicians and started singing at the age of six or seven. He has been supported in his love of music by his father and grandfather. His grandfather flew in from India to be there at the launch of ‘Kashti’ CD. “Qawwali is very special to me. It speaks about spirituality in terms of human love. What sets qawwali apart from other genres, like the repeating phrases, concentration on deep poetry and its upbeat cycles, were instantly things that drew me towards this musical style,” Mehta says. “Since my first recordings of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Wadali Brothers, all I knew was that I loved this type of music.” He says that the group, composed mainly of engineering students at University of Texas at Austin, was moved by Qawwali and the genre picked them. “We picked it because it moved us. The rhythmic cycles are gripping, the poetry is powerful and the melodies are ever-green. And at the same time, the genre picked us. From our early days when we started performing Qawwali, the group would be spiritually moved when singing these poems.”

Mehta said the six tracks of ‘Kashti’ tracks try “to use qawwali as a vessel to explore this love and devotion in the many other pockets of spirituality.” The CD’s two tracks are Shabads from the holy scriptures of Sikhism (“Awwal Allah Noor Upaya” and “Tohi Mohi Mohi Tohi”); two tracks are ‘Bhajans’ “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” and Vaishnava Jan To”in qawwali style ; and two tracks are traditional Sufi qawwalis “Duma Dum Mast Qalandar” and “Zehal-e-Miskeen.” The group has had initial success with the fusion of musical styles. Three years ago, they released a video on YouTube for the famous piece Vaishnav Janto. It was picked up by a director in India and was used in a documentary on Gandhi released recently. “Our group is not changing the genre for the sake of change. We really believe that the oneness and devotion that Qawwali helps people attain is universal and should be shared with others! With bringing the newness (of poetry), we are still quite conservative and respectful of the old traditions, not to forget or disrespect them either,” he said. The group started its “riyaaz” or practice in the winter of 2006 with just three members. Their commitment to the genre attracted more music lovers and the group now has eight members with Sonny Mehta as the lead vocalist. “Honestly, it was thanks to that God-Almighty. We started our journey in 2006 and each few months He handed us another music lover, who just like all of us was addicted to Qawwali. The challenge we face is more - external - about continuing to respectfully evolve Qawwali and bring it to new audiences,” he said. “We are lucky as a group because we love to practice. Praciting (riyaaz karna) is hobby and we have the boon of many wonderful Ustads and Gurus behind our success. Our concentration on classical music has probably been integral to the growth and maturity in our sound,” Mehta said.

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July 12, 2013

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18

EDITORIAL

July 12, 2013

Officially Traveling One of the first things you notice when you come into India from abroad is a sign over one of the immigration and passport control counters at the airport which says ‘Diplomat/Official’. This particular counter gets precedence over all the others. The ‘Diplomat’ part of the sign is easy enough to understand. Diplomats have diplomatic passports which exempt them from visa and other regulations that apply to ordinary passports. But ‘Official’? ‘Official’ obviously does not refer to a member of the foreign diplomatic corps. So who — or what — is this mysterious ‘Official’ being given special treatment at passport control? One can only assume that ‘Official’ refers to the holder of some Indian public office. But who could such a public office-bearer be to merit such special privilege at the entry point, a privilege that by inference extends to other areas of life in India? Does ‘Official’ refer to people holding political office, like MPs and MLAs? Does it mean bureaucrats, and other public sector employees, like the chairman of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), or a ticket checker on the Rajdhani, or a street sweeper on the payroll of the Mumbai municipal corporation? Does ‘Official’ refer to members of the judiciary, or security services, like the police, and CBI, and RAW, or the defence forces? Though in terms of role, function and hierarchy of pecking order, all these categories of people are very different from each other, they have one thing in common, at a higher or a lower level, they have an ‘Official’ sarkari identity; in some measure, smaller or larger, they can claim to be ‘Official’ representatives of the state, and as such to be accorded distinction from non-sarkari citizens. In reality, of course, neither the chairman of BHEL nor the Rajdhani ticket checker, or indeed most of the others mentioned, would be given preferential treatment at the airport passport control counters; most of them would have to queue up at the counters meant for ‘ordinary’ aam janata, which includes you, me and the guy next door. But what that ‘Official’ sign reveals is a sarkari mindset, that differentiates between those who can claim some association with the sarkar, no matter how tenuous or modest, and those, the rest of the population, who are relegated to the non-sarkari, non-’Official’ status of ‘ordinary’ citizens. The sarkar looks after its own. Barring elected politicians, no sarkari employee, from the highest to the lowest, can be sacked, even if they don’t work. They are assured of dearness allowance, and pensions, and other benefits, including subsidised housing, which are not available to ‘ordinary’ citizens. No wonder that a sarkari job — or even a connection with someone who has a sarkari job — is a coveted acquisition to boast about. But hold on a minute. In a democracy — in a government of the people, for the people and by the people — aren’t all government officials supposed to be public servants? So how come these ‘servants’ of the people become the ‘masters’ and lord it over us? That’s the open secret of our ‘Official’dom: there’s nothing ‘Official’ about it. Jug Suraiya in Times of India

New Delhi’s Biodiversity BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA Delhi is famed for its biodiversity. It boasts of an astonishing array of animal and bird life. Like Galapagos, it is an ecosystem of its own. So the marvels of evolution, with an extraordinary range of mutations, can be seen in its full glory. More than any other city, Delhi requires ornithologists, evolutionary biologists and zoologists to understand its rhythms. Political scientists and economists are useless. Delhi’s biological riches have not been catalogued in their full glory. The evolutionary trends are not fully understood. Delhi awaits its Darwin. But here are some preliminary results. They will shake up the fields of behavioural zoology and ornithology alike. Member of Parliament: No law against cruelty to animals has been able to ameliorate the fate of this animal. It is always under a whip. And to make the fate even crueller, it is always found in the well of a House. But it is not allowed to drink. How this species will adapt is the biggest question in evolutionary biology. Homo Lutyens: This is a very Delhi species. All its life it fights to make Lutyens its Habitat. It likes the white nest. And then, come hell or high water, will not leave it. No matter what the cost. No matter what the compromise. The only species known that governs its entire life around a particular habitat. Econocrat: (This species named by Kaushik Basu). This is an economist who turns bureaucrat. A unique species. Like those species that are happy in all kinds of weather, this one also thinks all news is good news. If the rupee falls, it says, good for exports. If it rises, it says, good for imports. Have unusual powers of prognostication. No matter what happens to inflation, this species will repeat: inflation will come down next quarter. No matter what happens to IIP, it will repeat, IIP will go up next quarter. Precise role in ecosystem not clear, except that like a rooster will always be heard. Homo Commiticus: Christened in this column in 2004, this is another very Delhi species. A perfect committee person. Prefers the small group gregariousness of committees. Only raison d’etre is to be member of more

Delhi’s biological riches have not been cataloged in their full glory. The evolutionary trends are not fully understood. Delhi awaits its Darwin. But here are some preliminary results. They will shake up the fields of behavioral zoology and ornithology alike. such groups. Is never confrontational, always tilts with the wind and thus ensures its own longevity. Known to sign on command. Bureaucrat: Evidence for the selflimiting nature of the evolutionary process. Nature has designed it to stop all adaptation; so powerful that it can interfere in the growth of all other species. Often upsets the balance of this ecosystem. Retired Bureaucrat: This is a marvel of evolution. Turns on its own kind. After retirement, it tries to devour its own species with an unprecedented ferocity. But alas, by the time it attacks its own, it has no teeth left. Monkeys: Delhi has a lot of them. Beat at the windows of North and South Block. The only species capable of existential questions. Erratic behaviour conditioned by existential resentment: we are smarter than anyone inside North or South Block. Why are they inside and we outside? Industry Chambers: Very fidgety animals. Delhi’s over-friendly dogs. Will lick Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi or Nitish Kumar. Always in the expectation that some crumbs will come their way. Party Spokespersons: These are like crickets. They are constantly chirping. Like crickets have different sounds. Some are loud and aggressive to repel other males. Some are courting songs to attract allies. There is an occasional copulatory sound after successful mating. But like crickets their sound is so incessant and part

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of the background that no one, other than other crickets, take the sound seriously. Central Bureau of Investigation: This is an amazing species. On the one hand, it passes off as a caged parrot. But unleashed, it is also a bird of prey, devouring what is in its path. Ornithologists bent on its preservation are divided over how to treat it: is it a parrot to be released or a bird of prey to be tamed? Auditors: A truly gifted species whose raison d’etre is counting. It is so gifted that it can allegedly count even irrational numbers. NGOs: They are Delhi’s own version of bats. They are ubiquitous. Like bats, may constitute more than 20 per cent of known mammal population. They are the only mammals capable of sustained flight. They are usually known to have an upside-down view of the world. They exist in every dark corner. Mostly they are easily shooed away. But sheer numbers mean they keep on coming. Intelligence Bureau: Rarely seen. Never heard. But their presence always felt. Standing confirmation that evolution will produce a species that is in a constant state of vigilance. Even a conference is a potential threat. Independent Regulator: A peculiar twist in evolution. Will never use its strengths. But still survives. It is the species that always asks for, and acquires, more powers after it fails to exercise the ones it has. Contractors: The centre of Delhi’s ecosystem. It is the species that connects all species in Delhi. The ecosystem would collapse without them. They are the earthworm that turns the earth, the bee that pollinates the flowers, the chameleon that blends. Indispensable. Reliance: A colossus in this jungle. Allegedly, the only species of which even the game wardens are truly scared. Can live off anything, but prefers a diet of hydrocarbons. Has recently acquired an insatiable appetite for gas. Is being fed so that it does not get annoyed. The process accompanied by a lot of burping, and hot air. The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi and a contributing editor for ‘The Indian Express’


COMMENTARY

July 12, 2013

19

Bhutan is No Shangri-La

BY VIDHYAPATI MISHRA DAMAK (NYT): Before my family was expelled from Bhutan, in 1992, I lived with my parents and seven siblings in the south of the country. This region is the most fertile part of that tiny kingdom perched between Tibet and India, a tapestry of mountains, plains and alpine meadows. Our house sat in a small village, on terraced land flourishing with maize, millet and buckwheat, a cardamom garden, beehives and enough pasture for cows, oxen, sheep and buffaloes. That was the only home we had known. After tightening its citizenship laws in the mid-1980s, Bhutan conducted a special census in the south and then proceeded to cast out nearly 100,000 people — about one-sixth of its population, nearly all of them of Nepalese origin, including my family. It declared us illegal immigrants, even though many of us went back several generations in Bhutan. It hasn’t let any of us move back. The enormity of this exodus, one of the world’s largest by proportion, given the country’s small population, has been overlooked by an international community that is either indifferent or beguiled by the government-sponsored images of Bhutan as a serene Buddhist Shangri-La, an image advanced by the policy of “gross national happiness,” coined by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s. Bhutan even helped inspire the United Nations last year to declare March 20 the International Day of Happiness — a cruel irony to those of us who were made stateless by the king, who was an absolute monarch when we were expelled. Many of our ancestors were recruited from Nepal in the mid-19th century to cultivate the arable land of southern Bhutan. We are known as Lhotshampa — literally, people of the south. The Drukpas, the Buddhist elite, and the Hindu Lhotshampa had coexisted, largely in peace, until 1989, when the king introduced a “One Nation, One People” policy imposing Drukpa social norms on everyone. The edict controlled the smallest details of our public lives: how we ate, dressed and talked. The Nepali language was banned in schools, and Hindu pathshalas, or seminaries, which teach the Sanskrit scriptures, were closed. Protests demanding an end to the absolute monarchy and persecution of the Lhotshampa beginning in summer 1990 were quashed, and repression — including torture, sexual assault, evictions and discriminatory fir-

Jane lee

ing — intensified. As part of the government’s campaign of intimidation in the south, my school was suddenly closed. That day, the headmaster summoned us to an assembly, announced that we were to collect our belongings and told us to go home at once. I passed my final months in Bhutan not completing the fourth grade, but helping to rear our animals. One winter day in 1991, my mother was in the kitchen, my father was shaving and my siblings and I were gathered for snacks. It must have been noon — I remember the buzzing of bees leaving for their routine forage — when uniformed officers burst into the house and seized our citizenship documents, birth certificates and other papers. They accused my father of waging war against the government. They ordered him to put on his bakkhu, the Drukpa national outfit, which was still wet from the wash that morning, and then dragged him out, kicking him and slapping his face. He was taken with dozens of our neighbors to a high school that had been converted to a military camp. My father was held for 91 days in a small, dank cell. They pressed him down with heavy logs, pierced his fingers with needles, served him urine instead of water, forced him to chop firewood all day with no food. Sometimes, they burned dried chilies in his cell just to make breathing unbearable. He agreed eventually to sign what were called voluntary migration forms and was given a week to leave the country our family had inhabited for four generations. Not knowing when we’d be back, we set our animals free and left open the doors and windows of the house. We walked in spring showers to the border with India, through forest and valleys. At the border, the Indians, who wanted nothing to do with us, piled us into trucks and dumped us at the doorstep of Nepal.

We were among the 90,000 Bhutanese refugees who flooded shelters in eastern Nepal at that time. The population grew to more than 115,000, as people kept trickling in and children were born. My parents, a brother and I have called these shelters our home for 21 years. The original seven refugee camps have shrunk to two, but almost 36,000 people continue to live in misery here. More than 80,000 have been resettled in other countries; 68,000, including my wife, most of my siblings and extended family, have moved to the United States. I expect to be able to join them very soon. Helping us, though, is not the same as helping our cause: every refugee who is resettled eases the pressure on the Bhutanese government to take responsibility for, and eventually welcome back, the population it displaced. Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy in 2008, two years after King Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated the throne to his eldest son. To live up to its promises of democracy and its reputation as a purveyor of happiness, the government must extend full civil rights — including citizenship and the right to vote — to all of the Lhotshampa still in its borders. It also must allow those Lhotshampa it expelled to return. Instead, Bhutan has steadfastly ignored our demands; multiple rounds of talks between Bhutan and Nepal over the status of the Lhotshampa have yielded little progress. The international community can no longer turn a blind eye to this calamity. The United Nations must insist that Bhutan, a member state, honor its convention on refugees, including respecting our right to return. Other countries bear responsibility, too. Nepal, impoverished and internally divided, is already home to large numbers of Tibetan refugees and other stateless peoples, and has not welcomed the Lhotshampa, even though we share an ancestry. Nor has it adequately sought help from other countries to manage its refugee problem. India should use its influence to pressure Bhutan to do the right thing; it should then reopen the roads it created to accommodate the exodus of refugees — but this time to allow our safe return. But until the world looks behind the veil of the Shangri-La, I have no hope of retracing my path home. Vidhyapati Mishra is the managing editor of Bhutan News Service, a news service for Bhutanese refugees. He wrote this essay from the Beldangi II refugee camp.

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BY BUNMI LADITAN CNN: “Half of Parents Admit to Using Tech as Baby Sitters,” the headline shouted in bold, alarmist Helvetica. As I sat staring at the words, I knew I was supposed to feel some kind of outrage, but all I could muster was a “so what?” I kept reading: “New research from the leading money saving website in the U.S. has discovered that the majority of American parents have used their tech gadgets as a means of “baby-sitting” their children before, with the average occurrence being twice a week.” Twice a week? These kids are on Mom’s iPad or fumbling with Dad’s Android twice a week? Someone call Child Protective Services, stat! The best parents know that if their kids are awake, they must be engaged in a papier-mache craft, baking organic biscotti or locked hand in hand with their caregiver singing “If All Raindrops Were Lemondrops and Gumdrops.” The study, conducted by couponcodes4u.com, polled 2,403 American parents of children ages 2 to 13, most of whom said they have devices such as smartphones, tablets, PCs and game consoles at home: 27% of respondents said they allowed kids to access tech devices on a daily basis; 22% on a weekly basis; and 19% said they do it “occasionally”; 18% said they rarely did; and 15% said never. “Furthermore, when asked if they often used their tech gadgets to effectively ‘baby-sit’ their children (keep them occupied so the parents didn’t have to), the majority, 58%, said that they did, while 25% admitted that it ‘depended’ on the situation,” the study goes.

It’s one thing to have your kid play on your phone so much they develop juvenile carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s quite another thing to allow them to be -- I don’t know -- modern kids. I’d like to know why the term “baby-sitting” is being used. A baby sitter is someone you pay to fully care for your child so that you can peel out of the driveway. The Thomas the Tank Engine app can’t do that. In fact, any mom, dad or caregiver who has handed a child a device with the intention of getting a moment’s peace knows that it always backfires. “I can’t win the game -can you help me?” “This app is boring/not working/needs $4.99 and your iTunes password for the full version.” Do children younger than 5 even engage with devices for more than 14 seconds at a time before making you regret not buying that extended warranty? I grew up playing Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. on my Nintendo. As the second born, I always had to be dorky Luigi to my big brother’s Mario -- I found this far more damaging than being exposed to electronic entertainment. While we were upstairs using our Italian avatars to rescue the princess, our parents were nowhere to be seen. Could they have been (gasp!) having a moment to themselves? In an age of parenting extremism, studies such as these play to insecurities. We can’t go a full week without an organization dramatizing its findings into a sensationalized article. In an age of fear-fueled

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parenting, this “research” throws gasoline on an already raging bonfire of guilt and judgment. When The New York Times reported on a 100% tech-free private Waldorf school in northern California, some parents panicked. The article painted a picture of a utopia full of young geniuses. All of a sudden, the masses were asking themselves, “If those successful Silicon Valley parents had chosen a school where motherboards were banished, do they know something we don’t?” Many Waldorf schools also don’t allow children to wear black or color with black crayons because according to the pedagogy’s founder, Rudolf Steiner, it is the “absence of color” and somehow detrimental to the learning environment. Perhaps instead of chasing current parenting fads, we need to find a sense of balance that works for our particular family. We’re creating a perfect storm of parental neurosis fed by anecdotal data cleverly masked as universal truth. The best thing we can all do as we’re bombarded with seemingly urgent material for our consumption is to read it all with a grain of locally sourced Himalayan sea salt. What’s that? You don’t live in the Himalayan mountains? That’s sad because a recent study just named it the best place to raise kids. Bunmi Laditan is a parenting writer and the keeper of the Honest Toddler twitter feed and blog. Her book, “The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting,” is available now.

Call: 713.789.6397

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ENTERTAINMENT

July 12, 2013

Lootera : Movie Review

Cast: Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Adil Hussain, Vikrant Massey and Barun Chanda Director: Vikramditya Motwane

BY RACHIT GUPTA Lootera is like a Monet landscape. Picturesque and poignant at the same time. It takes a simple O Henry story – The Last Leaf, and adapts it to a period setting in Bengal and North East India. It’s a work of art. Slow, deliberate and introspective. It’s one of the best films you’ll watch this year. It’s a triumph of its director’s vision. And a win for the performances of its lead actors. The best literary works are essentially simple stories. What makes them great, memorable or unique is innovative wordplay. Great cinema is no different. Sometimes the way you tell the story makes all the difference and in case of Lootera, director Vikramaditya Motwane pulls all the right cinematic punches. Whether it’s his intentional hark back to Guru Dutt’s Baazi (1951) or the scene where Sonakshi Sinha plays with the bulb switch, this film looks like a perfect homage to the golden age of Indian cinema. Dutt would’ve been proud. A large part of the credit should also go to the cinematographer Mahendra Shetty and the art direction team. Not only have they got the period feel right, they’ve captured the mood of O

Henry’s imagery just the way it should’ve been. Full marks to Amit Trivedi’s lyrical music that adds a great old school charm to the film. The simple story deals with a thug named Varun (Ranveer Singh) who arrives on the estate of a ’50s zamindar with the intentions of ripping him off. He falls in love with the zamindar’s daughter and things snow ball from there into a bevy of emotions. The beauty of Lootera lies in the fact that it intertwines tragedy and irony with wit and humour. It’s has moments of genuine humour and it has moments that wrench your heart’s vessels. All of this happens because it explores its characters relationships with a new perspective. Hindi films have taught us that lovers can run around trees. But Lootera shows you their lives can be as grim and grey as snowy evenings. And that life itself can be as frail as autumn leaves. The alle-

gories working in Lootera are subliminal. Satyajit Ray would’ve been proud. There’s one minor rough edge though. The ending is a bit of a misfit. Revealing any details would be giving away spoilers but the final cut at the end leaves you with an unrequited set of emotions. The reality would be a lot more inconvenient. Having said that, everything about this dark love story seems right thanks to Sonakshi Sinha’s performance. If you know her as the 100-crore girl who shakes and swings at the drop of a hat you’re in for a surprise. Her nuanced act tugs at your tear glands. A good compliment to Sonakshi’s anchoring performance is Ranveer Singh’s underplay. He proves he’s an actor to reckon with. And he does so despite having a character in shadow of Sonakshi’s Pakhi. Supporting performances by Barun Chanda (playing Sonakshi’s Zamindar father), Vikrant Massey (Ranveer’s best friend) and Adil Hussain (the tough as nails cop) are all top notch too. Lootera is a must watch. It’s cinematic art. We should make more movies like this.

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21

Shah Rukh Khan Breaks His Silence on New-Born Baby

MUMBAI (TOI):Amidst all the noise that has been going around, the sweetest is the one made by our new-born baby, AbRam. He was born prematurely by several months but has finally come home. Gauri and our whole family have been dealing with his health issues for a long time now. As a family our silence on this subject has been because of the personal nature of emotional strife that we have been going through due to his health. We wish to make a special mention and thank Dr. Jatin Shah for his expertise and contribution. We also wish to thank all the other doctors, nurses and medical staff who have made his life possible. As trying were the times, we never lost hope that life always brings with it. Just to put the record straight there was no sex determina-

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tion for our child. The baby was born much before the speculations of ‘sex determination’ and other ‘issues’ pertaining to the same were being raised in the media by some organisations. Suffice to say his coming home puts to rest completely false and at times insensitive claims of sex determinationandallegedillegalities. We also apologise to all those other doctors and hospitals who had to face unwanted scrutiny and questioning by some parties. Our son is a surrogate baby and the entire process is bound by strict confidentiality. We would appeal to all, to allow us to cherish this private moment as a family. It seems unfortunate that I have to explain/clarify so many aspects for our new-born baby. Wish it were just a simple message of happiness on behalf of the family.


22

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RECIPES/PUZZLES

July 12, 2013

Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Kuterre Huye Shalgam (Shredded Sauted Turnips) Turnips are one of the least loved vegetables, along with some other root plants, but if made in a few typically Punjabi ways, they lose their pungency and slight radish like taste. Cooked in a variety of ways in the Punjab, turnips are a winter vegetable and are perhaps best known for their use in the popular Punjabi gajjar, gobi te shalgam da achaar (carrot, cauliflower and turnip pickle), a sweet and sour achaar, which adds a nice flavor to the turnips soft texture. In Punjab, turnips can be cooked shredded, sometimes with peas and wadian (dry dumplings), cubed with masala in the kadai (wok) or as a curry and sometimes also with cubed, marinated meats. Turnips cook very easily and quickly and the leaves are also cooked for their slight mustard greens flavor. Turnips are high in vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and calcium. Some people make shredded turnips in a short cut: they cut them into little pieces, cook them in a pan, then they mash them and call the dish a shalgam saag (pureed turnips). You can make this dish either that way, or shredded as described below, the taste is about the same, but the consistency and texture is quite different. I think the shredded turnips cook faster, are more pleasing to look at, are more chewable and can easily be combined with other vegetables. Either way, this is a fast dish to prepare and it is great for the digestive system. Ingredients: • 5 medium shalgam (turnips) • 2 medium pyaaz (onion) – peeled and finely chopped • 1 tablespoon adrak (ginger) – peeled and finely chopped • 6 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil • Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), haldi (turmeric) • 1 teaspoon gur (crystallized molasses) or sugar

Directions: 1. Wash and dry the turnips, then peel them and rinse them again. Using a coarse setting, shred the turnips: you can also do this with a hand shredder. 2. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a kadai (wok) or skillet, then add the onions and ginger which are very important ingredients for this dish to be really tasty. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the mixture is slightly brown, add the spices and stir well. 3. Now add the shredded turnips, stir thoroughly and cover. After a few minutes when the turnips begin to shed water, check to see if they are tender, then turn the heat to high and dry all the water, stirring constantly to make sure they do not stick to the pan. 4. Add the gur or sugar to cut the bitterness in the turnips.

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You never add any tomatoes or sour condiment to this dish. 5. Let the turnips cook uncovered for 10 or 15 minutes. You can make this same dish with chopped turnips: if so, then at this point mash the turnips in the kadai. Shakuntla Malhotra 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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Business IndoAmerican News

STOCKS • FINANCE • SOUTH ASIAN MARKETS • TECHNOLOGY

Maruti Looks to Job, Production Cuts as Sales Decline As many as 450 contract workers have been asked to go on long leave as inventory builds up with dealers

Maruti Suzuki’s local sales fell 7.8% to 77,002 units in June from a year earlier, with the decline cutting across categories including small cars, mid-size sedans and utility vehicles. Photo: Bloomberg

BY AMRIT RAJ NEW DELHI (Live Mint): India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has asked as many as 450 contract workers to go on “long leave”, or leave without pay, as it looks to cut production and clear inventory that has piled up at its dealerships. The move could be the first sign of job cuts in the Indian automobile industry as slower economic growth and higher loan rates take their toll on auto sales. According to three people familiar with the development, at least 300 workers at Maruti Suzuki’s powertrain and transmission unit in Manesar and as many as 150 workers at its assembly plant in Gurgaon were asked to go on leave last month, when production fell to 30-40% of capacity. On peak production days, Maruti

Suzuki works in three shifts—A, B and C. While the first two shifts run for 8 hours and 45 minutes each, the third one works between 12 midnight and 6.30am. Maruti Suzuki’s local sales fell 7.8% to 77,002 units in June from a year earlier, with the decline cutting across categories including small cars, mid-size sedans and utility vehicles, the company said earlier this month. After growing 4.44% in the fiscal ended March, domestic sales at Maruti Suzuki have fallen 6.8% to 263,264 units in the first quarter of the current year. In May, overall car sales in India fell by an annual 12.3%, dropping for the seventh straight month. Economic growth that slowed to a decade’s low of 5% in the year ended March and interest rates that

have remained high despite three cuts of 25 basis points each by the Reserve Bank of India since January have hurt consumer sentiment. Maruti Suzuki is targeting a production cut of 30-40% in July as well, said a spokes person. The same person said Maruti Suzuki had at least six-eight weeks of inventory with dealers. According to a third person familiar with the development, the company has cut production of its petrol models such as the Alto and the Wagon R by as much as 40% while production of models that also have diesel versions has been reduced by 10-15%. Other automakers are also taking measures to save on costs as the sales slowdown pinches. Honda Cars India Ltd said cost-cutting was an ongoing process that had start-

ed during the recession of 2008. “Since then, we are heavily focused on reducing our electricity bills by increasing the temperature of air conditioners or using one light instead of three. Maruti Suzuki was hit by labour unrest in 2011 and 2012 over labour-related issues including demands that contract workers be made permanent, wages be increased and working conditions improved. Mob violence at its car assembly plant in Manesar led to the death of a senior executive in July last year. To be sure, the number of contract workers asked to proceed on leave is a small portion of the Maruti Suzuki contract labour force. The company employed 4,500 contract workers at its plants in Manesar and Guragon besides 4,200 permanent employees, according to figures made available by the car maker last year. Responding to a Mint questionnaire sent on Sunday, a Maruti Suzuki spokesperson said: “We regularly modify the strength of outsourced people (contract workers), based on market demand and the production plan. It is difficult to confirm any figure across factories.” The Maruti Suzuki spokesperson said the firm had not reduced production by 30% in June. “We are not able to share month production targets in advance,” he said. On inventory levels, the spokesperson said: “Owing to our focus on retail sales, our inventory is at acceptable levels. Our efforts to reach out to customers and boost retail sales continue”. Maruti Suzuki is looking at ways to cut discretionary costs, including marketing, promotions and travel expenses, Mint report-

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ed on 12 March, citing managing director and chief executive Shinzo Nakanishi. Despite the negative sentiment, Maruti Suzuki still expects sales to grow 5% in the current fiscal, Mint reported on 12 December, 2012 citing chairman R.C. Bhargava. Earlier, Bhargava said he expects some recovery in the market in the current quarter. Reacting to job cuts and production cuts, Bhargava said such practices were an industry-wide phenomena and the company has been striving to reduce the inventory levels with its dealers. “Keeping temporary labour force serves the purpose of having flexibility in production. You don’t want to keep producing to your capacity but you need to work as per market condition,” Bhargava said. “Even in June, wholesale is down 7.8% but retail sales were higher by 3%. That reflects our focus on reducing inventory.” IDFC Securities Ltd, a Mumbaibased brokerage firm, said that barring Maruti Suzuki, Eicher Motors Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd all the companies in its coverage universe expected to record earnings declines in the first quarter of this fiscal. It expects Maruti Suzuki to have seen a 10% drop in sales volume but a 32% growth in profit after tax in the last quarter. Favourable foreign exchange rates and the amalgamation of Suzuki Powertrain with Maruti Suzuki India are expected push up margins by 370 basis points to 11.3% and aid 32% growth in profit after tax to Rs.610 crore in the June quarter despite a 10% drop in sales volumes, IDFC said in an earnings preview.


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SPORTS

July 12, 2013

Bhuvneshwar, Rohit Lead India to Final

Ashes Preview: Honor at Stake

India 119 for 3 Despite West In(Rohit 48*) beat dies losing both their Sri Lanka 96 (Bhugames on the same vneshwar 4-8) ground after choosby 81 runs (D/L ing to bowl, Angelo method) Mathews had no BY A. PUROHIT hesitation in doing P O RT- O F the same. And his SPAIN (ESPN attack bowled far Cric-info): After better than West Ina four-and-a-half dies had, which was hour rain interhighly commendruption, Sri Lanka able, considering had ten wickets they had sent down available over a 41 overs a day ago truncated 26 overs against the hosts. to chase 178. India There was swing, needed to restrict seam, sharp lift, and Sri Lanka to 167 the occasional low or below to make bounce. the final ahead of Rohit was beaten West Indies. several times by the In an ideal movement initially, Twenty20 world, but to his credit, he this was a situation played the original loaded in favour of line close to his body. the chasing side. For some time, Virat The Queen’s Park Kohli looked even Oval pitch, with more uncomfortable Kumar wins an lbw appeal against Kumar Sangakkara, patches of green Bhuvneshwar than Rohit had and India v Sri Lanka, West Indies tri-series, Port-of-Spain, July 9. spiced up by all the even played out a rain, was an ideal maiden to Malinga it was the asking rate that made Test bowler’s paradise, though. the batsmen play all those strokes, for the first time. And Bhuvneshwar Kumar used but against the combination of Kohli slowly started to come it to perfection, ending the chase Bhuvneshwar and the pitch, the to terms against the fast bowlers early and taking India to the final attempts were doomed to fail. and put away the rare wide delivwith a spell of 6-1-8-4, his best in- The spinners found generous help ery. Perhaps the pitch made Kohli ternational figures. from the pitch as well, and made hesitant to get forward against Bhuvneshwar got the ball to do sure there was no fightback from spin as well, and led to his downso much, even survival became the Sri Lanka lower middle order. fall, when he went back and was a lottery, leave alone a chase that The margin of the win showed caught in front by a flighted Ranbegan at an asking rate of close just how futile a T20-style chase gana Herath slider, cutting short a to seven an over. Some moved can be on a difficult pitch. second-wicket stand of 49 in 14.1 in, some moved away, some hit This pitch was so difficult it overs. a green patch and bounced extra, forced even the usually flashy Rohit, meanwhile, continued to with Bhuvneshwar’s impeccable Rohit Sharma to play the survival find it hard, inside-edging onto control forcing the batsmen to game. A battered and struggling the box, and taking blows on the play at almost everything. It was Rohit fought the conditions, his glove. He did slog-sweep Herath only his 16th ODI, but Bhuvnesh- own lack of touch, and a disci- for six but the left-arm spinner hit war has already built up a reputa- plined Sri Lanka attack but still back in his next over, when antion for striking early in his spell. hung in to build a base for India. other India batsman played back Again, he did not disappoint. But we will never know what could to him. This time, Dinesh Karthik Upul Tharanga flashed to the have been in this Rohit knock as got a turner that spun away to hit slips in Bhuvneshwar’s second the rain terminated India’s innings his off stump. India were three over, Kumar Sangakkara got a at 119 for 3 in 29 overs. down now, making it even more first-ball shocker of a leg-before Though the normally free-flow- important for Rohit to not give decision, Mahela Jayawardene ing Rohit’s grind wasn’t easy on it away. As it turned out, though, could not keep a cut down, and the eye, it was far more refreshing he had already done enough, after Lahiru Thirimanne hit an airy to see him unwilling to fall to a which Bhuvneshwar took over. drive. In no time, Sri Lanka were soft dismissal, though he benefit31 for 4, and India already had the ed from a dropped catch off Lasith Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor final within their sights. Of course, Malinga when on 11. at ESPNcricinfo.

BY DAVID HOPPS TRENT BRIDGE: The length of the build-up to an Ashes series is unparalleled in cricket. It begins the day after the last Ashes series is completed and it grows into an obsession for several months before the off, a period in which former England or Australia cricketers are invited to offer up a prediction on a daily basis Alastair Cook (left) and Michael Clark hold the tiny, but and past series are lovingly coveted Ashes trophy. dwelt upon for the umper had more favourable conditions teenth time. on his home ground. The forecast This time, it is different; this is for sunshine galore, Australia time England and Australia have are packed with left-handers - and not five, but ten Tests to contest have a left-armer to create footas they are faced by back-to-back marks - so he will never have a Ashes series which will end in better chance of attending to a palSydney in early January. By the try return at Trent Bridge of three time it is all over, heroes will have wickets at 65 runs apiece. emerged, careers been forever tarAfter the cut-throat decision nished and the pantomime baiting to drop Nick Compton, the one between England and Australia space still to be decided is that of fans will have been exhausted. the third quick behind James AnFor the most casual cricket fol- derson and Stuart Broad. Steven lowers in England and Australia, Finn is the man in possession, but the Ashes remains their only con- with reverse swing likely to be a nection with the sport. Cricket key weapon Tim Bresnan, who becomes a topic of conversation has 15 wickets in two Tests on the in the unlikeliest of places. But by ground, is firmly in the picture. the eve of the first Test, real cricket Graham Onions is the outsider but lovers are beside themselves with bowls very well to left handers. impatience for the talking to stop Michael Clarke was coy about and the series to get underway. his final XI, but continued to sugFinally, in the bright-white gen- gest that Australia would be comtility of Trent Bridge, it will, amid fortable selecting David Warner confident forecasts of hot, sunny despite his lack of recent cricket. days. It is true that England and His place will have to come in the Australia are only ranked three middle order with Shane Watson and four in the world, but it will and Chris Rogers, whose previous be captivating nonetheless. Are Test came in 2008, confirmed as England now so well analysed and the opening pair. The fast-bowling programmed that it could affect attack could comprise various their ability to think on their feet if trios, but Ryan Harris and Jackson things go wrong? Can Darren Le- Bird appear likely to miss out. hmann’s arrival as Australia coach Both attacks are bracing thembe anything more than a temporary selves for a demanding bowling uplift that will dissipate once the experience on a benign surface quality of the sides is tested? We in what for England are comparare about to discover the answer. atively warm conditions. Chris Graeme Swann is an ebullient Read, the Nottinghamshire captain sort of fellow and he could be for- and former England keeper, has given ahead of the Trent Bridge warned that traditional swing and Test if he burst into song, one of seam has been less prominent this his favourites perhaps when he summer. Expect big first-innings fronts the Nottingham-based band scores, bags of reverse swing and Dr Comfort and the Lurid Revela- spin and Broad turning red in the tions. Swann, fully recovered from heat faster than most. a second elbow operation, has nev-

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Osama bin Laden Killing: ISI Statement Missing from ‘Leaked Report’

ISLAMABAD (HT): Pakistani incompetence and negligence allowed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to live in the country undetected for more than nine years, a leaked report has revealed. CIA spies tracked down bin Laden to the northwestern town of Abbottabad, where he was shot dead by US Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011 during a dramatic raid near Pakistan’s military academy. It was one of the most humiliating episodes in Pakistan’s short history and exposed the country to allegations of incompetency or colluding with al Qaeda to hide the world’s most wanted man. The government set up a judicial commission shortly after the raid to investigate after parliament demanded an independent enquiry. It interviewed senior civilian and military officials and bin Laden’s three widows before they were deported to Saudi Arabia. But its findings were kept secret until Al Jazeera published them on

Monday and the stinging criticism will deeply embarrass the intelligence and military authorities. Page 197 of the report, which contains part of the testimony of Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, then director of the ISI, was missing from all copies of the report that Al Jazeera obtained from multiple sources. It is unclear what was contained on that page, but the contextual implication is that, among other things, it contains a list of seven demands made by the United States of Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. “Culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government can more or less be conclusively established by the testimonies of witnesses,” the report said. The commission said it had found nothing to support allegations of complicity but neither could it rule out the possibility of “’plausibly deniable’ support”

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from current or former officials. “For an institution such as the ISI (intelligence agency), negligence and incompetence are far more serious charges than possible connivance by rogue elements,” it said. The 336-page report also included some fresh details about bin Laden’s day to day life after he fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, arriving in Pakistan in the spring or summer of 2002. He stayed in Afghan border areas, the northwestern districts Swat and Haripur, and possibly other places before settling in Abbottabad in August 2005. The widow of one of two Pakistanis who provided his core support network said they -- including bin Laden -- were once all stopped for speeding in Swat. Her husband “very quickly settled the matter with the policeman and they drove on,” the report said without going into detail. But in 2005, the same year that bin Laden moved to Abbotta-

bad, the ISI closed the file on the hunt for the al Qaeda supremo. Foreign accusations that bin Laden was probably in Pakistan, were not taken seriously by the government and nor were possible military implications ever considered, it said. In Abbottabad, testimony from his wives said bin Laden wore a cowboy hat when he moved about the compound to avoid detection. If he felt ill, he treated himself with traditional Arab medicine and “whenever he felt sluggish he would take some chocolate with an apple,” the report said. But for nearly six years, unusual security arrangements at his villa, a lack of Internet and other abnormalities failed to attract Pakistani attention. “How the entire neighbourhood, local officials, police and security and intelligence officials all missed the size, the

strange shape, the barbed wire, the lack of cars and visitors etc over a period of nearly six years beggars belief,” the report said. Had leads or abnormalities been followed up professionally the report cautioned, it might have led to a different outcome than the US raid that violated Pakistan sovereignty, it said. While there were never fewer than 25 people living in the compound, it was listed on a housing survey as uninhabited, a level of incompetence the report described as “astounding”. It also reserved strong language for the US raid and said the Pakistani military should have responded much more quickly to a three-hour operation, 100 miles inside its territory. It called the raid an “American act of war” and Pakistan’s “greatest humiliation” since East Pakistan seceded in 1971.

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