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Friday, September 13 2013 | Vol. 32, No. 37

Indo American erican News

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

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Gulam Ali The King of Ghazals

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Sunday, sept 15, 2013 at Hilton Americas For Tickets Call Rehan Siddiqi 713-545-4115

Vivekananda in Lasers P6

In photo: Manick Sorcar with his wife

IACF’S SILVER JUBILEE GALA

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Celebrating 25 years of Giving

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September 13, 2013

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COMMUNITY

Krishna’s Celestial Birth Celebrated with Swirling Dancers

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: You don’t often see Mayor Annise Parker dancing the dandia raas with hundreds of other people, but this past Saturday, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, you could see her trading taps of the sticks with Manisha Gandhi as they both went around the immense hall. It was an occasion to rejoice and Parker said she liked it. “I really enjoyed being at Lord Krishna’s birthday celebration”, she added. “There were thousands from Houston’s Hindu community. I have attended the same event previously too. I always receive so much warmth from this community when I attend its events.” The Janamashtami celebrations on July 7 were a huge crowd draw for the day-long event that featured workshops in the afternoon and then culminated in 38 colorful booths from area temples and service organizations and a few vendors, flanked by the huge framed pictures by Amarjit Singh of Unique Touch USA on one side and a food stall by Mahesh

Shah of Madras Pavilion restaurant that had two lines snaking to it on the other. Many men were dressed in Indian pajama-kurtas, but none as resplendent as Nik Nikam who only lacked a sera bandi to complete his bright outfit. Chief guest of the event was Saumitra Gokhale, an engineering graduate from Pune University who, in 2000 decided to devote himself completely to the service of Hinduism via the HSS and has since been a volunteer pracharak in the Caribbean and now in America. In 2011, he became a Vishwa Vibhag Samjoyak based in the US, meaning that his responsibility now included world-wide service. After an entertainment period featuring a competition among small children in costume, aarti had everyone standing to pay homage to the Holy Birth and then the hall was cleared for the much anticipated dandia raas garba that went on till way past midnight.

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Dharma and Yoga Fest reawakens spirit of Swami Vivekananda

From left: Madhav Kashinath - Assistant Coordinator, HSS Houston, Sharad Amin - President, Hindus of Greater Houston, Subhash Gupta - President, HSS Houston, Harish Parvathaneni - Hon. CGI, Houston, Saumitra Gokhale - Global Coordinator, HSS, Ramesh Bhutada - Vice President, HSS USA, Amit Misra - Chief of Public Relation, HSS USA, Parthasarathi Krishnaswami, HGH Vice President.

BY HAIDER KAZIM HOUSTON – On Saturday, September 7, Houston witnessed one glorious moment in the annals of Indian-American events history when close to 1000 representatives from 66 organizations joined hands in celebrating “Dharma and Yoga Fest” (DYF), a unique “once in a life time” event spreading the message of “Universal Peace Through Dharma and Yoga”. Spearheaded by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Dharma and

Yoga fest was held as the culmination of the yearlong festivities called Swami Vivekananda 150 (SV150), in commemoration of Swami ji’s 150th birth year and 120th year of the monumental speech he delivered in Chicago on Sep 11, 1893. Such events are getting organized in 30 different cities across USA under the aegis of HSS, spreading the awareness about Swamiji’s teachings and path of religious tolerance and brotherhood.

The local DYF event started at 1:00 pm with the arrival and registration of guests and concluded at 6:00 pm with the recital of Shanti Mantra (Prayer for Peace) by over 1000 people in the main hall of George Brown Convention Center. The guests were treated to a soul stirring, awe inspiring exhibition on Swamiji’s life and teachings before being directed to their respective tracks. Another highlight of the SV150

Above: Pictures from the Janamashtami, Dharma & yoga fest celebrations at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Saturday, September 7.

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Photos: Bijay Dixit


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COMMUNITY

September 13, 2013

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IACF will Celebrate 25 Years of Giving at Silver Jubilee Gala on September 21

BY MURTHY DIVAKARUNI HOUSTON: On Saturday, Sept 21, Indo American Charity Foundation, one of the primary philanthropic organizations of the Indian American society of Houston will celebrate 25 years of giving back to the Houston community with their Silver Jubilee gala fundraiser. The gala will be held at Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar Street, Houston, TX 77010. IACF has been the primary giving arm of the Indian community for 25 years and is one of the few Indian charities that support local nonprofit organizations and help people living here in Houston. IACF’s motto is “We Live Here and We Give Here.” IACF president, Murthy Divakaruni, states, “We feel it is very important for us to give to the community where we live and work and from which we benefit in so many ways. We support many non-profits such as the Houston Food Bank, SEARCH, Child Advocates of Fort Bend, Houston Area Women’s Center, Teach for America, Avance, Richmond State School, Meals on Wheels, Indian Doctors Clinic, etc. We give college scholarships to underprivileged students and have started a tutoring program for under-served grade school students in several schools. We

provided seed money for several organizations such as Daya (for domestic violence survivors) and IACAN (cancer patients support system) and we continue to help them. The money we raise this year will support charities in Greater Houston in four major areas: EEducation, F-Families, especially Women and Seniors, G- General Need such as Hunger and Poverty, H- Healthcare for the underprivileged. We are also planning to start a Volunteer Matching program, to put members of the Indian American community who would like to generously give their time and talent in touch with non-profits that are a good fit for their interests and abilities. More details about this program will be announced at the gala.” This fundraiser on September 21 will also provide an opportunity for IACF to recognize and honor the past presidents and founders of the organization. A booklet detailing IACF’s history and activities will be unveiled at this event. The four honorary chairs of the gala are Nandita Harish, Manmeet Likhari, Nidhika Pershant and Leena Shah. The evening will begin with a grand reception. Speeches by one

of the founders tracing the birth of this organization and by the president on new directions to be taken by IACF will be followed by entertainment, including the Silver Oasis fashion show designed by Simran Rihal, with clothing and accessories provided by Naureen. There will be dinner and dancing to live music afterwards. IACF urges the Houston community to come and support the good work they do in improving social conditions around them. President Murthy Divakaruni states, “Obviously none of what we do would be possible without strong support from the community. I thank you all for your past generosity and urge you to help us out this year, too. With your help I would like to raise $350,000-$500,000 this year to change the lives of the needy. Please join us on Sept 21 and say with us, IACF: I am Charity’s Friend.” More information about IACF is available at: http://iacfhouston. com/. Gala tickets are $250 each. Tables of ten are $2500. Higher levels of sponsorship are also available. Supporters can purchase their tickets by phoning the IACF committee as follows: Murthy Divakaruni (president) 832 233 7131. Anu Bala (past president)

832 865 6222. Ramesh Cherivirala (713) 875-4336. Or they can pay online at http://iacfhouston.

com/donations.html. People who cannot attend are requested to donate to IACF.

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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COMMUNITY

September 13, 2013

BY SANCHALI BASU HOUSTON: The sixth annual fundraiser of Sewa International held at the Stafford Center on Sept 8 was a resounding success being a totally sold out event thanks to the featured attraction, Manick Sorcar’s one of-a-kind unique laser documentary on the life of Swami Vivekananda. Sewa (pronouced ‘say wah’) is a word in Sanskrit language which translates to “service above self” - essentially “Selfless Efforts for Welfare of All”. Sewa International in the USA (started in 2003) was inspired by the international Sewa movement that began in India in 1989. Internationally, it is active in 17 countries. In the USA it has 38 chapters in 20 metros and 22 states. Sewa is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. The Houston Chapter which started by helping Katrina refugees has grown exponentially and now has many feathers in its cap as was highlighted by the present president Manju Gupta. These include the Jefferson Award and a federal grant to empower Bhutanese refugees. The torch is now being passed on to the next president Saroj Gupta who shares a larger vision and passion to serve. She talked about the support being provided by the Americorp Vista program which is enabling Sewa to conduct summer internship programs for high school and college students, family service programs, meal delivery services, spiritual counseling and moral support, cri-

Manick Sorcar at His Best – Laser Documentary on Swami Vivekananda sis management for the needy. The husband and wife duo of Amit and Sanghamitra Mishra provide legal counseling and immunization programs for Sewa. Amit pointed out that the volunteers and recipients of Sewa are not essentially Hindu and believe in the principles of Swami Vivekananda the Nara Seva is Narayan Seva (service to God can only be rendered by service to man). Prominent contributors were recognized on stage and mementos were awarded. Manick Sorcar was then eloquently introduced by emcee Rahul Pandit. Sorcar, although an electrical engineer by profession could not but give in to his passion for the arts whose seeds were planted at a very young age by his father the great magician P. C. Sorcar. He used to do backdrops, paintings for his dad as a child. His flair as a cartoonist has resulted in him making animation movies for children. He has received two ILDA awards which is the equivalent of receiving 2 Oscar awards from the laser display world. Manick Sorcar came on stage very unassuming and down to earth and gave a brief introduction of the laser show. He was approached by the Ramakrishna Institute of Culture in Gol Park, Kolkata to prepare this program as a part of the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Swami Viveka-

Few of the people behind the success of the sixth annual fundraiser of Sewa International held at the Stafford Center on Sept 8.

nanda. He had felt humbled by this great honor and the production has taken India and the rest of the world by storm since its completion. The production is split in 3 parts – the first part is a Sanskrit prayer dance dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. The second part is an overture sung by Yesudas which is a composition of Swami Vivekananda in Bengali. The main show is a journey through the life of Swamiji from birth, to youth, meeting with his master Sri Ramakrishna, taking monastic vows,

traveling to the USA as the first Hindu monk to speak at the Parliament of World’s Religions in 1893, lecturing around the world, founding the Ramakrishna Mission and leaving behind a huge legacy. The audience was spellbound and proved to be very emotional for several and the Houston crowd honored him with a standing ovation. Sorcar in his own words admitted that he wakes up every day to one of Swamiji’s teachings, “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”. He also mentioned that Swamiji’s idea that all sects within

Hinduism (and all religions) are different paths to the same goal (universality of religions) is more relevant now than ever before. The evening ended with a vote of thanks from the vice president of Sewa, Vasudev Singh for all volunteers and tokens of appreciation were presented to all the participants. A special mention was made of Kriti Dogra, project coordinator. She encouraged everyone in the audience to get involved. It was very commendable that the organization was able to raise about $80,000 by the end of the evening and there was a promise from the incoming president to match dollar by dollar if the amount exceeded $100,000. Boxed dinners were provided to all ticket holders on their way out.

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September 13, 2013

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COMMUNITY BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: It is one of the most coveted invitations of the year in this city and this past Friday, September 6 was an especially significant one for the Southwest Regional Chapter of UNICEF at its Audrey Hepburn Society Ball at the Wortham Center. It was a sold out event that brought together the cream of Houston’s society, and with it came some of the lustrous people from our own Indian community. The occasion was to celebrate the dedication and contributions of Margaret Alkek Williams to the health and well-being of children in Houston and around the world. Williams is a Director of Theatre Under the Stars and the Alley Theatre and Trustee of the Houston Ballet Foundation and the Texas Heart Institute. Her father Albert was an oilman who gave $77 million to expand the nation’s largest hospital complex, the Texas Medical Center, while her mother was

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Large Indian Presence at UNICEF’s Society Ball

Nat and Leela Krishnamurthy with Margaret Alkek Williams during the red carpet photo shoot at the Wortham Center before the UNICEF Ball. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

an admired philanthropist and arts patron. Williams inherited her parents’ interests and passion for philanthropy and has a busy schedule fundraising, donating and charity work. She is the chair of her parent’s foundation and even at 77, enjoys going to multiple fundraising event during the high Spring and Fall seasons.

Nat and Leela Krishnamurthy with US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and her husband Dr. Elwyn C. Lee, VP for Community Relations at the University of Houston.

Recognizing her tireless efforts, UNICEF made her the First United States recipient of the Audrey Hepburn Philanthropist of the Year Award at the Ball. She was lauded on stage by Hepburn’s son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer who declared that “since 2005, Margaret Alkek Williams had pushed forward, just like Audrey Hepburn had, by giving millions to all, with style and

grace”. UNICEF’s goal is to bring to zero the number of children who die due to lack of vaccines. US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and her husband were also on hand to honor Williams. Among those whom the local UNICEF board can count on for support are none other than Lee-

Nidhika and Pershant Mehta pose with Board Director Kimberley DeLape.

The hot, young Italian group Il Volo posed with Williams and the emcee, TV actor Jesee Metcalfe.

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COMMUNITY

September 13, 2013

Dharma and Yoga Fest reawakens spirit of Swami Vivekananda 3

PLEASE JOIN A TEAM OF EXPERTS FOR AN INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION ON IMMIGRATION REFORM, RACE AND ITS IMPACT ON THE SOUTH ASIAN COMMUNITY. The Immigration panel will provide a policy-level overview, with national, state and local perspectives. The Race panel will deal with how racial stereotypes and proďŹ ling have affected the community, especially in the aftermath of 9/11.

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The parallel break-out sessions will provide audience members the opportunity to share their own personal experiences with respect to immigration and race, and start a conversation on how the community can safeguard its interests and provide support to those affected by these issues.

3. Karma Yoga – The track had participation from over a 150 people representing 26 organizations, active in Greater Houston Area, on the field serving the humanity with charity, social service, disaster response and rehabilitation work. 9 eminent panelists of the city spoke on various aspects of service (Sewa). 4. Raja Yoga - This track started with the attendees performing Pranayama (breathing exercises) and then heading into the lecture series. Attended by close to 100 representatives, seven types of unique techniques were presented and demonstrated by 7 organizations. Over 45 kids from all over Greater Houston put together a play showcasing the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. The kids beautifully enacted different phases of Swamiji’s life: the early childhood, life as a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and his representation of Hindu Dharma at the Parliament of World’s Religions in America. “An educational and enriching experience. I was not sure what to expect while coming, now when it is time to leave, I want more of the event,� a senior citizen, who attended the event, said.

Ramesh Bhutada, Vice President of HSS, USA, and Sharad Amin, President of Hindus of Greater Houston were among the luminaries at the DYF grand finale. In accordance with the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, the Dharma and Yoga Fest was divided into four sessions 1. Jnana Yoga - The Jnana Yoga track had close to 150 attendees from 12 different orgainizations in two parallel sessions: a Panel Discussion Session, which had 6 distinguished panelists from different walks of life; and Speech Contest for middle school and high school kids, which had over 30 participants, out of which 3 winners were chosen in each category after two rounds of speeches. 2. Bhakti Yoga - 23 different organizations were represented by close to 400 attendees in the four parallel sessions planned for this track: Bhajan & Kirtan recitals by groups from various organizations saw participation of over 200 people at its peak, Panel discussion on Nava Vidha Bhakti (Nine Forms of Bhakti) by 9 luminaries had an attendance of 150, Recital of the entire Srimad Bhagvad Gita by close to 100 devotees and an exhibition on Bhakti Yoga attended by another 60 people.

SEMINAR 2013

celebrations was the nationwide Dharma Bee contest on the life of Swami Vivekananda. After initial rounds in various regional centers, where over 3300 children went through the qualifying rounds, nearly 130 children took part in the final round in Chicago in June. “Swami Vivekananda is still young and his teachings have not grown old even after 150 years,â€? said Saumitra Gokhale, Global Coordinator of HSS, at the DYF concluding ceremony. “Swami Vivekananda lives within us ‌ and the celebrations are the beginning of arousing of SV spirit,â€? he said. India’s Consul General Harish Parvathaneni, who was the keynote speaker, highlighted the contributions of Swami Vivekananda and vividly described the origin of the Vedanta Society emblem, designed by Swami Vivekananda himself and told the audience what Swamiji had said: “The idea of the picture is that by union of Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Yoga, the vision of Paramatman is obtainedâ€?. Subhash Gupta, President of Houston HSS, thanked all those present and those who had contributed relentlessly for the past few months for making the occasion happen.

Wafa Abdin

Panelists include Cherry Gordon Steinwender Quan

Vice President Executive Director Immigration Legal Center for the Services Healing of Racism Catholic Charities

Co-Chair FosterQuan, Former Mayor pro-tem of City of Houston

Damaris Nicholson Disproportionality Specialist, Department of Family and Protective Services

Opening remarks by

Dr. Stephen L. Klineberg, Kinder Institute for Urban Reseach Event moderated by Mustafa Tameez Ŕ'SFFTFNJOBS Ŕ#SFBLGBTUBOEMVODIJODMVEFE Ŕ1SFSFHJTUSBUJPOSFRVJSFE For information & registration: http://dayahouston.org/Register.php contact@dayahouston.org 713-981-7645

designed by ashita murgai

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COMMUNITY

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Radio Hungama’s Ganesha Mahotsav a Grand Success HOUSTON: The Houston Indian community witnessed an event that showcased the rich heritage of the Hindu population while providing wholesome Texas style hospitality and entertainment. To organize a religious event of grand stage and to invite the who’s who of the Indian community of the Houston area is not an easy task. To call Ganesha Mahotsav organized by Radio Hungama and Sridhar Dadi on September 8, at the Durgabari Temple, a grand success would be an understatement. An event of such grand stature needs meticulous planning and lot of professional help. It was a culmination of hundreds of hours of planning, dedication and hard work of the, committee members and volunteers. The event was a grand success with over 2500 in attendance. Inspired by the idea of similar religious events that are done across India, Sridhar Dadi wanted to bring an event to Houston and make Houston Indians not to miss home. Planning for the event started as early as April and lot of resources were organized from places like Hyderabad India and various places with in United States. Several priests have offered their help from Atlanta GA, Los Angeles CA and lot of volunteers from Houston were also involved. The 5 feet Ganesha Idol that was brought all the way from Hyderabad, India was the biggest highlight of the event. Event started with Lamp lighting by Dr. Rathna Kumar and Anil Kumar from Anjali Performing Center, Altaf and Neelofer Ali from Kohinoor Diamonds, Neeta Sane from HCC, Prakash Patel, President of ICC and Sridhar and Asha Dadi, followed by the opening statement by priest Narasimhacharya Cherukupalli, who came from Panchamukha Anjaneya Temple, California. “Dadi and his team’s commitment and dedication to serve the community would make this event bigger and bigger every year; senior Hindu priests in the United States added. VIPs of Houston Indian Community participated in the Pradhana Pooja. Hundreds of families who registered for the Samuhika pooja started coming in from 10 AM onwards and stayed till 8 PM. Passing thunderstorms during the Samuhika Pooja is a sign of God’s blessing – Priest Sheshavataram, from Atlanta, GA elaborated. Free lunch was provided for all the devotees and free pooja kit for all who attended the event. Pooja kit included all the items needed to perform Ganesh pooja, from leaves, flowers and fruits to a beautiful Ganesh idol. The devotees appreciated the gesture of free pooja kit and donated generously for such future events. An ethnic giveaway by Kohinoor diamonds was also presented for the first hundred families. Thousands visited throughout the day (9 AM to 8 PM) and took blessings of Lord Ganesha. After completion of the pooja a special cultural event was organized in the evening with performances ranging from Indian classical dance, classical instruments and vocal. Singer Hanishka who was specially flown from Toronto, Canada, certainly lived up to the challenge of keeping it religious with her husky voice. As always, Sarada Akunuri’s melodious and devotional vocals had the evening more memorable. The event was a testimony to Radio Hungama’s intent to play a significant role in promoting cultural and religious heritage of Indian community, under the leadership of Sridhar Dadi and his able team. As the say-

Sridhar Dadi (right), at the Radio Hungama’s Ganesha Mahotsav which was held at the Durgabari Temple on September 8.

ing goes, “Everything is Big in Texas,” and the outstanding attendance certainly appreciated the efforts and dedication of the event committee. Sridhar took the opportunity to congratulate his elite team that includes Sasi Lingineni, Ranga Tirumalasetti, Sanket Kulkarni, Amitha Kulkarni, Srinivas Gummadi, Priyanka Pendyala, Upendra Malla, Ravi Surisetty, Vijai Kumar, Jagapathi Reddy, Narayana Swamy, Vahini Narayana, Satya Narendrula, Hema Nalini, Pallavi Chilappagari, and supporters and volunteers on the success of the event. A special thanks to Madhupal Reddy Paila and his team for offering their help in coordinating and distributing mouthwatering Prasadam to all the devotees. Hungama Team would like to convey sincere thanks to all the Sponsors (GarudaVega, ZEE Telugu, Emirates Airlines, Don McGill Toyota of Katy, Kohinoor Diamonds, MediNet Clinic, Biryani Pot, Bawarchi Biryani, Mayuri Indian Cuisine, Mass Mutual, Metlife, Prudential Insurance, Camelot Integrated Solutions, Vonage, Remit2India, Udipi Cafe, Vishala Grocery Store, Raj Anandhesi) who made this grand event, free and memorable to the devotees. A special thanks to Darshak Thacker of Krishna Sounds for providing crystal clear sound and admirable lighting effects that made the event more colorful. Needless to mention the talents and creativity of Mandap Creations, that made the venue memorable and adorable with their unique and ethnic decorative ideas. The devotees definitely enjoyed the finger licking food by Pavani Indian Cuisine that was prepared fresh outdoors. Sridhar also thanked the media partners Vanshika Vipin of Indo-American News, and Sulekha for their support. He also thanks HDBS for their support and the associations and groups that supported the event such as Hindus of Greater Houston, BKM, TCA and TELICA.

Ganesh Visarjan is scheduled for Satuday, September-14. For further information on this event and

any future events contact Sridhar Dadi @ 281-217-9736. See photo collage on Page 14.

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COMMUNITY

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la and Nat Krishnamurthy, local Houstonians for many decades who have also made a mark on the Indian scene in the Bayou City. “They have been part of the organization since 1988 “when UNICEF was going through a tough time locally”, recalled Nat as he and his wife waited to have their photograph taken with Williams at the red carpet session before the start of the event. As a result of their involvement, many other Indians have joined in as sponsors of UNICEF and many, perhaps

The third floor foyer of the Wortham Center was opulently decorated for the dinner and dancing that followed the entertainment.

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two dozen of them, were present at the Ball, among them Nidhika and Pershant Mehta and Devinder and Gina Bhatia. The entertainment was quick, crisp and to the point, with TV actor Jesse Metcalfe as the emcee. Dr. Monica G. Williams, the Managing Director of the SW Region of UNICEF introduced her Board, followed by a brief discussion of the important work done at the Texas Children’s Hospital by Dr. Mark W. Kline, Chairman of Pediatrics. There were performances by the Houston Ballet and the Houston Symphony, followed by

remarks by Barron Segar, Sr. VP with the US Fund for UNICEF. The Houston Grand Opera Chorus sang “Moon River” and finally Il Volo, the hot young opera trio with a modern hip touch saluted Williams with three songs in Italian and English. Dinner and dancing followed in the third floor foyer which was opulently decorated. After dinner which was catered by Tony’s, the band and close friends sang Happy Birthday to Williams and later participated in a rousting live auction as well as a splendid but short silent auction.

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

September 13, 2013

Join HAF and Congressman Ami Bera in Houston on September 21

HOUSTON: The only Indian-American currently serving Congress, Rep. Ami Bera (CA-7) will be the keynote speaker at HAF’s Annual Houston Awareness & Fundraising Dinner on Saturday, September 21. In addition to sharing his personal journey to Congress, Rep. Bera will also be highlighting key developments from his recent eight-day visit to India, where he met with business leaders, government officials, policy advocates and innovators in the non-profit sector. Rep. Bera will be joined by Board member, Rishi Bhutada, a Houston native, as well as two of HAF’s fulltime staff members, Sheetal Shah and Murali Balaji, Ph.D. As HAF’s new Director of Education & Curriculum Reform, Balaji will be highlighting his extensive efforts to improve the manner in which public schools teach students about Hinduism. From working to reform textbooks to providing national teacher trainings, Balaji has breathed new life into HAF’s advocacy efforts within the realm of academia. Join HAF for this free and exciting event on Saturday, September 21 from 6:00 to 9:30 pm at India House Houston, 8888 West Bellfort, Houston, TX 77031. Dinner will be served afterwards. Contact Kavita Pallod at kavita@hafsite.

Congressman Ami Bera

org 281-565-0001 for additional information.

JOIN THE HINDU AMERICAN FOUNDATION ON SEPTEMBER 21 FOR ITS

ANNUAL HOUSTON AWARENESS DINNER From public school textbook reform to the Take Back Yoga campaign to serving Hindu refugees, HAF is the preeminent Hindu American advocacy organization. What is advocacy? Why does our community need an advocacy group? What does it all mean for you?

HAF

HINDU AMERICAN FOUNDATION

PROMOTING HUMAN DIGNITY, MUTUAL RESPECT, AND PLURALISM

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA)

HAF SPEAKERS Murali Balaji, Ph.D. HAF Director of Education & Curriculum Reform Rishi Bhutada Member, Board of Directors Sheetal Shah Senior Director

All are welcome. There is no cost to attend. We look forward to seeing you on September 21.

DATE Saturday, September 21, 2013 TIME 6:00 - 9:00pm (Dinner will be served) LOCATION India House Houston 8888 West Bellfort Houston, TX 77031 RSVP Kavita Pallod kavita@hafsite.org

www.HAFsite.org

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

17


18 September 13, 2013 Upside-Down India The operation was successful but the patient died. In order to liberate the village, we had to destroy the village. These two quotes - one from the field of surgery, and the other from the Vietnam war - are well-known examples of what might be called ulta-pulta logic, or reasoning that has been turned upside down. Appropriately enough for a land which invented yoga, the various branches of the Indian sarkar are well-versed in making logical thought stand on its head and perform what is known as a shirshasan. Thus, a Madhya Pradesh government statement recently reassured the local populace that, despite all those alarmist reports in the media, the rupee had not lost any value relative to the US dollar. In fact, said the official statement, the rupee’s value, vis-a-vis itself, was exactly the same. All that had happened was that the value of the US dollar had gone up in relation to itself. This had nothing whatsoever to do with the value of the rupee, which remained the same. So don’t worry, be happy. Another instance of logic being made to perform an acrobatic headstand was the suggestion mooted by oil and petroleum minister Veerappa Moily that in order to restrict the use of petroleum products - the import of crude oil being the single biggest drain on India’s foreign exchange - petrol pumps all over the country should be kept shut between the hours of 8 pm in the evening and 8 am in the morning. When there was a general outcry pointing out the fallacy of such a scheme - besides causing a public panic that petrol pumps were in danger of running dry, the proposal would only lead to people filling up on fuel during the daylight hours - the minister said that the suggestion had not emanated from him but had come from an unspecified public source and he had merely passed it along for what it was worth. If a suggestion came from the public that 2+2=5 would the minister also pass that along for what it was worth? Over the years, Indian officialdom in its many avatars has devised a number of ways to make logic turn somersaults. For instance, in what came to be called the JMM bribery case - in which some MPs were given money in exchange for their votes - the ruling was that the legislators who had accepted the bribe to cast their votes in a particular manner were not guilty, because the casting of votes - in whatever manner - was their legitimate function as elected representatives of the people. The only guilty parties were the ones paying the bribe. By this logic - that the bribe-taker is innocent and that it is the bribegiver who is guilty - the hue and cry that the general public has been making about rampant corruption in the country has all along been seen from the wrong perspective altogether. The problem of corruption in India is not that there are corrupt politicians, and bureaucrats and other officials who take bribes. The problem of corruption is that people - businessmen, industrialists, members of the aam janata like you and me - give bribes. We are the guilty party, not the scamsters who’ve defrauded the country. Find it difficult to accept such a point of view? That’s only because you’re seeing it while standing on your feet. Turn yourself upside down and stand on your head and ulta-pulta India will make perfect sense to you. Jug Suraiya in Times of India.

EDITORIAL

Get Away with Murder INDRAJIT HAZRA Do you have sudden urges to wrap your hands around a neck and throttle its owner to death? Or perhaps if you’re more of the thrust-and-parrying sort, a desire to knife someone, not repeatedly like a crazed maniac with no sense of decorum, but to plunge the blade once into the heart and turn it like a bathroom doorknob? No? Good. Because as you probably know already if you live anywhere outside western Uttar Pradesh, killing someone is wrong and can get you into trouble. If you do, however, intend to kill someone despite my active discouragement, I’d advise you to take the following steps. They should help you to literally get away with murder. Turn It ‘Communal’: The trick is to turn an individual crime into a sociological phenomenon. On Tuesday, for instance, Ahsan, a 26-year-old sanitation worker, was reportedly shot dead in Timarsa, Shamli district, in western UP, after a “verbal dispute” broke out between him and a house owner over the dumping of garbage. Ten more people were injured in the clash that broke out “between two communities”, mediaspeak not for Jains and Arya Samajis but for Hindus and Muslims. On Thursday, one national newspaper carried the small item with the headline, ‘One killed in clash over dumping garbage.’ Another newspaper (with a far higher circulation) carried the small item with a headline, ‘Yet another riot in UP.’ Both the headlines were right, considering that what had started as a murder of a “sanitary” (sic) worker was successfully turned into a ‘communal riot’ with its mandatory “arson and firing” along with a full-blown ‘communal’ addendum: the circulation of a mobile phone video clip — apparently originating from Pakistan — of two boys being viciously beaten up. The police filed FIRs against 230 people including a BJP MLA who allegedly shared and ‘liked’ the video on Facebook. That near-

by Muzaffarnagar was already “communally tense” since three men were killed earlier “amid eveteasing and molestation charges” must have helped to turn the murder of a sweeper into a ‘communal killing’. So if you have to kill someone, kill a member of a community with a history of hostility towards yours — a Protestant if you’re Catholic, a Shia if you’re a Sunni, a Salman fan if you’re a Shah Rukh devotee. You will find support, and certainly in the runup to an election year. Be The Right Age: Much spittle has been hurled at no one in particular over the recent court judgement that sentenced one of the rapist-murderers of the Decemeber 16, 2012 case in Delhi as a ‘juvenile’. The guilty was under18 and as according to law, being a minor, he will serve a far lighter sentence in a ‘correctional centre’ than the other rapist-murderers. So if you do murder someone, do it before you turn 18. Being 17 would be helpful, but just in case the law is changed after the considerable public pressure to make 16 the age of legal adulthood, it’s best to be 15. Or even five. In case you’re no longer the mid-teen sensation you once were, hold on to your homicidal urges until at least a decade after you attain senior citizenship (60). While murder won’t get you to undergo a potency test like the rape-accused 72-year-old Asaram Bapu — who miserably passed the test — if you

manage to come across as being vaguely infirm, with early signs of dementia and travel around in a wheelchair mumbling about your grandkids and god, you should manage to be let off. If Chilean president General Pinochet could be let off the hook for being too old after he was first arrested in London on charges of killing some 3,000 people, jailing 80,000 and torturing about 30,000 people that included women and children, I have a feeling that as a 70-plus murderer, you’ll be fine. Know The Secrets of Powerful People: Being beholden to a powerful public figure alone won’t help you to dodge murder charges. If the suspended Gujarat Deputy Inspector General of Police DG Vanzara was Narendra Modi’s chauffeur and had, in a murderous rage, killed Narendra Modi’s cook, the BJP wouldn’t have gone into an existential huddle. Some bright Vanzara-like spark would have then been sent to bump off the real Vanzara. But seemingly in possession of some embarrassing information about Modi’s administration — till now, he’s just hinted at carrying out ‘encounter killings’ according to orders from the government — Vanzara’s alleged murders will now become ‘political’ and his willingness to squeal on his bosses who have left him in the lurch of prime importance. To ‘know too much’ is, as people like Sajjan Kumar, Kamal Nath and Jagdish Tytler know, still the best way to be insured against any kind of charges. So if you have to kill someone and you’re not in the Indian Armed Forces or Police or live in western UP where this column will make no sense at all, my advice to you, my homicidal friend, would be to murder a member of some community rather than an individual, be 15 or 75 years old, and let the fact that you know some embarrassing secrets of some VIP be vaguely known to the VIP. Trust me, you’ll be fine.

Indo American News FOUNDER: DR. K.L. SINDWANI PUBLISHER: JAWAHAR MALHOTRA EDITOR: PRAMOD KULKARNI BUSINESS & PRODUCTION MANAGER: VANSHIKA VIPIN

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HOUSTON: MALAY VYAS CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR, INDIA: RAJ KANWAR ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-NEWS or 6397 Fax: 713-789-6399, email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: indoamerican-news.com

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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COMMUNITY

September 13, 2013

19

California Democrat Sunil Kulkarni Appointed a Superior Court Judge

SACRAMENTO: Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has announced the appointment of prominent IndoAmerican lawyer, Sunil R. Kulkarni, to a judgeship in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. According to the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, Kulkarni will be the first South Asian American judge appointed to a state judgeship in northern California. In 2010, Paul Singh Grewal was appointed a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court in Northern District of California. A resident of Palo Alto, Kulkarni, 41, has been senior counsel University of California, Office of the General Counsel’s litigation group since 2011. Earlier, he held multiple positions at Morrison and Foerster LLP from

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


20 September 13, 2013

Daya’s 2013 Free Seminar: White House to Hillcroft Explores Issues of Immigration, Race relations and the South Asian Community

HOUSTON -- Daya’s 2013

Ganesh Anand

PLEASE JOIN A TEAM OF on Saturannual free seminar day,FORSeptember 28, explores EXPERTS AN INTERACTIVE the issues of immigration, race DISCUSSION ON IMMIGRATION relations and their impact on REFORM, RACE AND the South AsianITScommunity. speakerASIAN is Deepa IMPACT Featured ON THE SOUTH Iyer, Executive Director of South COMMUNITY. Asian American Leading Together

The Immigration panel will provide a (SAALT). SAALT is a national, non-profit organization based in policy-level overview, with national, the Washington DC area that adstate and local perspectives. The dresses issues affecting South Race panel will through deal witha social how racial Asians justice lens. Opening remarkshave by Dr. Stestereotypes and proďŹ ling Pure Vegetarian South & phen Klineberg, Co-Director at affectedRice the community, especially North Indian Dishes. University’s Kinder Institute in for the Urban aftermath of 9/11. Panelists inResearch. Chaat & Snacks clude Wafa Abdin, Vice President SATURDAY, SEPTEMBERLegal 28, 2013 for Immigration Services at Contact Babulbhai: 832-891-1421 Catholic Charities , Cherry Steinwender, Executive Director at 13180 West Park Dr. @ Synott Center for the Healing of Racism, Houston, TX 77082 HILTONGordon SOUTHWEST, 6780 at J. Quan, Co-Chairman ForsterQuan, LLP(Board SOUTHWEST FREEWAY, HOUSTON, TX 77074 Certified-Immigration and Nationality Law, Texas Board of Legal SpeThe parallel break-out sessions cialization) and Damaris Nicholwill provide audience membersSpecialist son, Disproportionality the opportunity to share ownand Proat Department oftheir Family tective Services. The event will be personal experiences with respect moderated by Mustafa Tameez. to immigration and race,will and start The seminar include two a conversation on how the community can safeguard its interests and provide support to those affected by these issues.

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serial panels on immigration and interests andFeatured provide Speaker support to race, followed by two parallel, those affected by Deepa these Iyer issues. interactive breakout sessions.Executive The Director, The seminar is scheduled from SAALT Immigration panel will provide a Leading 8:30 am to 1:30 pm at Hilton SW South Asian Americans Together policy-level overview, with non-proďŹ t na- in organization southwest Houston. The free SAALT is a national, tional, state and local perspectives. seminar breakfast and based in the Washington DC areaincludes that The Race panel will deal with how lunch. Pre-registration is required. addresses issues affecting South Asians racial stereotypes and profiling For further information and through a social justice lens. have affected the community, es- registration, visit: pecially in the aftermath of 9/11. Website: www.dayahouston.org The parallel break-out sessions Registration: http://dayahousPanelists include will provide audience members ton.org/Register.php Wafaopportunity Cherry Damaris the to share their Gordon E-mail: contact@dayahouston. Abdinpersonal experiences Steinwenderwith Quan Nicholson own org respect to immigration race, Co-Chair Vice President Executiveand Director FosterDisproportionality Phone: 713-981-7645 and start aLegal conversation Immigration Center foron the how Quan, Former SeeSpecialist, ad on page 11. the community can safeguard Services Healing of Racismits Mayor pro-tem of Department Catholic Charities

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Spectacular Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi Dr. Stephen L. Klineberg, at Shirdi Sai Jalaram Mandir Mustafa Tameez

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given a personalized idol during Ĺ”'SFFTFNJOBS the puja. Volunteers Ĺ”#SFBLGBTUBOEMVODIJODMVEFE at the temple made excellent arrangements to Ĺ”1SFSFHJTUSBUJPOSFRVJSFE provide the entire paraphernalia, required to conduct the puja. & registration: For information Some volunteers commented http://dayahouston.org/Register.php that “it cannot be any better than having such a special contact@dayahouston.org occasion at 713-981-7645 your own homeâ€?. The organizers were also pleased that the response was overwhelming, given that several other temples in the Greater Houston were celebrating Ganesh Chathurthi at the same time. Talking to some devotes againâ€?. Over 800 devotees took on this mentioned, “the loca- the blessings of the Lord Ganesh tion of the venue and the spirit throughout the day at the temple. with which the organizers perThe event finished was form events at Shirdi Sai Mandir a sumptuous lunch prasad. makes us come here again and

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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HOUSTON: A large group of families together celebrated what is called “Saamoohika Ganesh Chaturthi�, a community celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi last Sunday, September 8 at Shirdi Sai Jalaram Mandir, West Belfort location. The program had an auspicious start in the morning with Ganesh homam – an elaborate process invoking Lord Ganesh. Ganapathi homam is typically performed to beget happiness, prosperity and good health. The homam was performed to benefit all the devotees to remove any obstacles in any of their family, work and /or business situations. In a packed hall of people with families and children, the priest Suresh ji led very methodically an hour and half long ceremony. Ganesh Chathurthi puja is never complete without mention to the mythological stories behind Ganesh’s birth and how he continues to takes the role of removing the hurdles in devotee’s lives. One of the highlights of the event was the inspiration and drive from one long term devotee and volunteer, who continues to motivate several other volunteers each year to celebrate the Ganesh Chathurthi function in a grand manner. He developed a special module to create idols of Ganesha with clay. Using his procedure and with the help of several tireless volunteers, each family was

Opening remarks by Kinder Institute for Urban Reseach Event moderated by


September 13, 2013 21 COMMUNITY The Anatomy of a Show

BY MALAY VYAS HOUSTON: Long after the seats are dusted off, stage cleared of all clutter, green rooms stripped of all costumes and the excited chatter of the dancers has faded, the anatomy of the show usually points at the key technical and production aspects. Sponsors are the lifeline to any show and without the help of Bay Area Gastroenterology and the Allergy Clinic – the mains sponsors, Indo-American News, Masala Radio, Lights Camera and action/Fox news with Ruchi Mukherjee and George of Asianet TV the media partners, and supporting sponsors - Ruhrpumpen Inc, Dr. Vinod Bhuchar’s Office, Subodh & Sonal Bhuchar, Dr. Willam H Reading’s office and A Media Production played a crucial role in contributing to the success of “The Show Must Go On”. The performance of the Naach dance team who took stage on August 22 was there for everyone to see and will be played over and over again on video links but behind the curtains there’s a creative team that worked tirelessly and efficiently to help the performers of Naach, Make up Artiste Sharuba Ahmed and the team of volunteers from “DECA” – Austin High School . Dance, Light & Sound – three basic ingredients to a performance, need to work in perfect harmony to treat the audience with an enter-

taining show. As Naach Houston’s Artistic Director and ace choreographer, Mahesh Mahbubani points out “Trust is the key ingredient to an amazing collaboration, I trust my lighting director Arif Memon , we are both from Bombay and share the common ground of working in Bollywood. Arif agrees as well “we speak the same technical language”. As a team,

they have churned out some of the most entertaining and aesthetically appealing Bollywood dance shows in Houston. Arif attends all technical runs and costume rehearsals. “I look closely at costume colors to enhance and highlight the dances through creative lighting”, he says. Arif keeps his guru Alyque Padamsee’s mantra close at heart “any show you do has to be better than

the previous one”, a line that is well recognized at Naach Houston as well. Mahesh and Arif like experimenting with new ideas and hence every Naach show is different from the previous one. It’s a complete package of entertainment with a keen eye for every technical aspect , enhancing the collective creativity of the whole Naach Team. Both Arif and Mahesh find it

challenging and exciting , working with a very talented team of young, enthusiastic and innovative Naach choreographers -Star Gilani, Hasina Sadiwala, Shah Ahmed, Shailee Gandhi, Amita Batra, Malika Ghei and Nirju Tailor, adding a diversity and variety to the choreography repertoire of Naach. From the hustle and bustle of working with film stars in Mumbai to creating shows in Houston, there have been challenges for both Mahesh and Arif. As an Artistic Director of Houston’s first and only fulltime Bollywood dance and fitness studio, Mahesh is constantly envisioning newer ideas to bring a higher ‘entertainment quotient’. Mahesh has done pioneering work developing and creating a career option in dance, nonexistent 6 years ago when he came to USA, in the areas of teaching, choreography and performance Arif as a Technical Director for many a Bollywood show, and an Actor , uses his deep voice and excellent Urdu & Hindi diction, has worked with theatres of different calibers. Both Mahesh and Arif as Mahesh puts it “ Every challenge is simply an opportunity to grow and expand the creative repertoire, the bond that joins these technical geniuses is the same… both believe that “the show must go on”… and it will.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


22 September 13, 2013

COMMUNITY

India House Hosts Lecture by World-Renowned Yoga Author Dr. H.R. Nagendra HOUSTON: Keeping with the tradition of bringing internationally well-known figures to Houston, India House was proud to host a free yoga and jyotish lecture titled “Yoga for Positive Mind & Body” given by Dr. H.R. Nagendra on August 29. With over seventy-five people in attendance, the lecture was cosponsored by India House, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), and Asia Society Texas Center. Those in attendance included Dr. Nagendra’s colleague, Dr. Alexander Hankey (M.I.T. Theoretical Physics) and Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, Professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Hankey gave a scientific talk with statistical proof on “Astrology and Jyotish” and its influence, connection, and predictability of events and life. Dr. Cohen has done extensive studies on the positive effects of meditation, Tibetan yoga, Patanjali-based yoga, and Tai Chi, among others, on cancer treatment. After an introduction from Dr. Cohen, Dr. Nagendra began his lecture on the positive connection between mind and body from the practice of yoga. Dr. Nagendra is Chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga University (Anusandhana Samsthana or Research Foundation _SVYASA) in Bangalore. Once a researcher for NASA, he has published many papers on yoga and its applications. He established S-VYASA as a yoga research foundation in 1986, declared a Yoga University on 8/5/11 by Government of India and has been studying and teaching yoga since then.

Also, Christine Starkman, Curator of Asian Art at MFAH, and John Bradshaw, Acting Executive Director and Senior Director of Development at Asia Society Texas Center, were invaluable in helping to organize this event. Thanks also to Dr. Durga Agrawal, Trustee of India House, for his great help in bringing Dr. Nagendra to Houston. India House, Inc. (O.P. Jindal Center) is a 501 ( c ) 3 organization located in Houston, Texas. India House is a non-religious, non-regional, non-political and non profit organization. Its mission is to unite cultures, create bridges, and serve human needs by bringing resources, education, services and India’s culture to Houstonians. For further information, visit www.indiahouseinc.org or send email to britt@indiahouseinc.org.

Following the lecture on the morning of August 30, Dr. Nagendra treated many yoga and jyotish enthusiasts to a public yoga practice in the beautiful surroundings of the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Many in attendance expressed their interest in having more such events in the future. Special thanks go to Nalini Mathur for serving as Emcee for the evening, as well as Jugal Malani, President of India House, and Brij Agrawal, Executive Committee member, for introducing the guest lecturers.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

September 13, 2013

Kaun Banega Crorepati is Back Again with Amitabh Bachchan at the Helm!

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Premieres on 6 September at 8:30 pm on Sony Entertainment Television Asia

NEW YORK: After 6 stupendously successful seasons, Sony Entertainment Television launched India’s biggest and most anticipated game show Kaun Banega Crorepati 2013, in a brand new avatar. Geared with a faster and more innovative format, and helmed by the incomparable icon, Amitabh Bachchan, KBC 2013 will make Indians all over the world come alive once again and is all poised to set new benchmarks. Produced once again by Big Synergy Media Ltd, Kaun Banega Crorepati will launch on September 6, Friday to Sunday at 8.30 pm on Sony Entertainment Television. Keeping up the entertainment quotient of the show as always, will be the iconic host, Amitabh Bachchan with his stylish wardrobe designed by famous fashion designer Rohit Bal. This season is spread over 13 power packed weekends with special episodes and interesting themes. For the first time in the show’s history, KBC 2013 will have a brand new set and design elements, giving way to a magnificent 360 degree multimedia stage, and making India the first ever country to change the ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ set worldwide. Kaun Banega Crorepati is synonymous with big victories and bigger prizes and in a move that will thrill a million hot seat hopefuls, for the first time ever in the history of KBC a whopping jackpot prize of Rs. 7 Crores! The central theme of Kaun Banega Crorepati this year, ‘Seekhna Bandh Toh Jeetna Bandh’ will focus on creating a pan-India aspirational platform of opportunities that will appeal to Indians of all ages, gender and socio-economic groups. KBC 2013 will strengthen its relevance and formula of success by reinforcing the fundamental premise of the continuous process of learning in life. KBC enjoys phenomenal equity with Indians worldwide because it is not just a game show. It is a trustworthy and credible platform of knowledge, growth, opportunity and reward.

Apart from this, the following changes have been implemented: • The Money Tree will now consist of 15 questions • There will be four questions in the ‘Sapta Koti Sandook’ a brand new feature, that will give the contestants a chance to win from 1 crore to 3 crores, 5 crores and ulti-mately 7 crores • Yet another interesting innovation is the ‘Fastest Finger First’ round which now be-comes a ‘Best out of three’ and the winner at the end enters the Hot Seat • More choice of lifelines - ‘Flip the question’ (Alat Palat) returns in place of ‘Ask the expert’ and ‘50:50’ comes back in place of ‘Double Dip’ • A brand new lifeline called ‘Power Paplu’ has been introduced. This lifeline will aid those who seek to revive any already used lifeline • In the entire game-play however, a hot seat contestant may use only 4 of the 5 life-lines on offer • And another interesting feature is the ‘Play along’ for the ‘Fastest Finger First’ contestants who do not make it to the hot seat. These contestants can now play along with the hot seat contestant and the one who answers the maximum number of questions in the minimum amount of time gets to win Rs. 1 lakh at the end of the episode • Ghar Baithe Jeeto Jackpot The show was launched amidst much fanfare with the rendition of a fun-filled narrative on the ‘Importance of continued learning’ by none other than the one and only Amitabh Bachchan in his classic baritone. Jaideep Janakiram, SVP International Business-Head of North America said “Kaun Banega Crorepati is back once again with greater stakes, a brand new set and a thrilling lineup of over 35 episodes. Amitabh Bachchan and KBC season 7 will keep viewers on edge to see who will be the next winner. Eager contestants come from all over India giving

viewers in the US a taste of the myriad hues with each episode”. So get set to be glued to the edge of your seats and witness some brilliant winning moments on television as “Kaun Banega Crorepati” starts on September 6, Friday to Sunday at 8:30p.m only on Sony Entertainment Television! About Sony Entertainment Television Asia: Since its launch on the Indian subcontinent in 1995, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has enjoyed rapid success, leading to the establishment of European, North American and African feeds known as SET Asia. SET and SET Asia are now available in over 150 countries. The channels offer their viewers a distinctive blend of entertainment programs twenty four hours a day, including, soap operas, dramas, sitcoms, concerts, movies, and game shows. Besides SET Asia, SET also has three other leading channels.

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24 September 13, 2013

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ENTERTAINMENT

BY MALAY VYAS History repeats itself, they say but human-kind cant force it to repeat, specially the “Bollywood” human-kind. Remakes, alas, have been the flavor in the air since Ram Gopal Varma tried to light up some passion in “Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag” also known as the “Sholay” remake. In trying to recreate history, the latest flick from the remake ramp, “Zanjeer” fails to shackle the viewer to the seat. Imitation is the best form of flattery but a bad imitation can almost be analogous to an insult. Apoorva Lakhia, the director continues to try but still cant deliver. Papa Prakash Mehra, the director of the real “Zanjeer” needs to take the car keys away from sons Sumeet and Puneet Mehra, the producers of the fake. So where does Zanjeer falter? First off, a remake is always compared to its original, the story is known and everyone knows what happens in the end. The focus, then, is on the “surprise” element; something similar to what Farhan Akhtar did with Don. Don had Shah Rukh Khan, Zanjeer has Ram Charan Teja. Ram Charan Who? With all due apologies to the Telugu Audience, Teja is not a known face in Bollywood. Agreed, Teja is not just another guy from the “South”, he is Chiranjeevi’s son but Zanjeer shackles him in an unimaginative, Chulbul-Pandesque, too-oftenseen-in-recent-times cop role.

September 13, 2013

Movie Review: Zanjeer The Shackles and Shams of a Remake…

He is paired with a much bigger name in Bollywood, Priyanka Chopra who is no Jaya Bacchan. In an unexplained urge to involve technology in Bollywood, Chopra

arrives in India for a facebook friend’s wedding and showing no signs of jetlag, shakes a leg to a song that can almost be an item number. Love happens instanta-

neously and the rest of the story is as predictable as vanilla icecream. Sanjay Dutt’s Khalnayak days are behind him and in trying to portray the bad-guy-turned-toogood Sher Khan, looks out of place. There must be a massive discount sale from Prakash Raj’s office, he is a poor man’s villain and he may be better off playing a father-in-law character on a TV soap instead of trying to get into the legendary Ajeet’s role. I do not have words to compare Mahie Gill to Bindu. There can be no other “Mona Darling”. Three Reasons to see Zanjeer: You love popcorn so much that the movie does not matter. The AC at home is broken down and there’s no where else to go. Priyanka Chopra lights up your heart and life. Three Reasons NOT to see Zanjeer: There’s only one person who fits your definition of “Angry Young Man” You are scarred that they may make Zanjeer 2. You are proud of your sanity. Music: If you are high on Item Numbers… Pinky joins the ranks of Munni, Sheila, Jalebi and Chameli. Ratings? I am seeing too many stars at this point, head spinning… bound by a Zanjeer of words! * out of ****

25

‘The Lunchbox has no Competition from Phata Poster Nikla Hero’ BY ANIRBAN DAS MUMBAI: Although the Irrfan-starrer, The Lunchbox, and Shahid Kapoor’s upcoming film, Phata Poster Nikhla Hero, will hit theatres on the same day, the makers of the former film believe their project will face no competition from the latter. “I think both the films are very different. So, the audience will be open to go and watch both movies. The Lunchbox has no competition from Shahid’s film. We have got a great response at all the screenings so far. The promos have also been received well by the audience,” says producer Vivek Rangachari. He adds that since the film deals with the theme of love and belonging, it will attract a mass audience. “People think that it is an unconventional, independent film and will just cater to a niche audience, but it will appeal to a larger segment of viewers,” feels Rangachari. He believes that actors Irfran and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are also big assets to the film. He says, “They have brought their own skills in enhancing the concept of the movie. They have taken it to a different level.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

-Hindustan times


26 September 13, 2013

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2013_PMA_Cricket Party_FP_AI_Print_Hou_IAN_Final.indd 1

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September 13, 2013

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IndoAmerican News

Business IndoAmerican News

STOCKS • FINANCE • SOUTH ASIAN MARKETS • TECHNOLOGY

Historically, Pakistan has been the world’s leading supplier of Basmati rice. But in recent years, its competitive edge has been eroded because of decline in productivity and international prices. The per acre yield of Basmati rice has declined to 32 from 48 maunds per acre over the past five years, while India has developed seeds that produce over 50 maunds per acre. The Asian Development Bank proposes to spend $1 million on technical assistance needed to add value to ongoing activities of public and private sector stakeholders, that would lead to a significant increase in the yields of Basmati rice. The strategy is to develop Basmati value chain in Punjab and raise productivity per acre by developing new high yielding varieties. By 2017, the project is expected to cover over two million hectares. One of the major bottlenecks in the Basmati value chain is farm production. Other issues are high production costs and declining yield of current Basmati varieties which are making its cultivation a less profitable for farmers, resulting in shifting of some farmers to nonBasmati varieties for better yields. Pakistan is considered far less de-

Falling Basmati Productivity and Exports

veloped in agriculture as compared to other regional countries such as China, Thailand and Malaysia. According to Economic Survey 2012-13, rice accounts for 2.7 per cent of the value added in agriculture and 0.6 per cent of GDP. Rice sowing area is estimated at 2.31 million hectares, 10.1 per cent less than previous year’s area of 2.57 million hectares. Production of the crop is estimated at 5.54 million tonnes, against the target of 6.9 million tonnes which shows a weak performance of 19.7 per cent, and its comparison with previous year’s production which was 6.16 million tonnes shows a decrease of 10 per cent. The production declined due to a decrease in area and effects of monsoon rains; the late receding of water in rice fields prolonged the sowing. In 2012-2013 Pakistan produced six million tonnes of rice while

usually it produces around 6.5 million tonnes per annum, which includes 1.5 million tonnes of highly aromatic, premium quality super Basmati and rest consists of varieties of long grain rice such as Irri-6. Of this, a modest quantity is locally consumed, since rice comes second after wheat as a staple food grain. In the fiscal year 2012-13, exports of rice stood at about 3.5 million tonnes, five per cent less than the previous year’s 3.7 million tonnes. The decline was mainly due to 35 per cent reduction in the export of Basmati rice which stood at about 630,035 tonnes compared to 968,942 tonnes exported in the previous fiscal year. Exports to major traditional buyers of Basmati rice such as the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran declined sharply in the year, while they considerably increased to the UK, the US, Malaysia and Spain. The long grain rice goes to countries like Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malaysia and China which is a recently developed market. The traditional importers of Pakistan’s Basmati are now moving towards India because of competitive price and quality. The price of

Basmati rice has increased by 15 per cent due to increase in tariffs of electricity and gas. Besides, the running of mills on diesel-generators also led to an increase in operational cost. Pakistan is expected to produce about 6.2 million tonnes of rice in 2013-14, nearly 20 per cent lower than the official target of 6.9 million tonnes. The rice industry representatives have opposed lobbying by India to get support for subsidies on rice exports ahead of the next World Trade Organisation meeting later this year as it could harm the rice sector in Pakistan and several other smaller countries in the region. India earned about $6.2 billion from rice exports in the fiscal year 2012-13, up by about 26 per cent from around $4.9 billion in the previous fiscal year. Iran and Saudi Arabia accounted for around 19 per cent and 12 per cent respectively of India’s rice exports in the last year. It has made significant increases in rice exports to Africa, Middle East, Nepal, Singapore and the UK. In value terms, Saudi Arabia was the largest destination for Indian rice, which accounted for about $678.5 million, up by about

10 per cent from the previous fiscal year, followed by UAE ($343 million) and Nigeria ($307 million). India is likely to be the top rice exporter once again in 2013-14, with around 28 per cent of the global rice trade share. Since 2011, when it lifted its ban on non-Basmati rice exports, its rice export pace has been intensifying. It is expected to export about 11 million tonnes of rice in 201314 which may include about 3.5 million tonnes of Basmati rice, higher by about five per cent from around 10.4 million tonnes exported in the previous year. According to the US Department of Agriculture, India’s rice production is expected to reach a record 108 million tonnes in 2013-14. Vietnam remains the cheapest rice destination. The Vietnamese dong declined by about one per cent in July, making its quotes more competitive globally. The country is expected to export about 7.5 million tonnes of rice in 2013, down from a previous projection of eight million tonnes. It exported about 4.28 million tonnes rice during Jan-July 2013, almost 10 per cent less from the exports in the same period last year. Ashfak Bokhari

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-Dawn.com


28 September 13, 2013

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September 13, 2013

You are Invited to a Reception Honoring The Honorable Governor Nikki Haley (R) of South Carolina Saturday, September 21, 2013 By Host Committee at

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Donors will receive reserved seating at community reception. $2,500 and above will be invited to join the private dinner reception. Business Attire Requested R.S.V.P. by September 15, 2013 Jennifer.Beecher@adaracommunities.com (281)-444-1585 ext.482 Please make checks payable to, Haley For Governor and mail directly to PO Box 1773 Columbia, SC 29202

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30 September 13, 2013

INDIA

Political ‘Sons’ Fail to Rise as Muzaffarnagar Riots Escalated gers and become a looser eventually. The district administration had been inapt, to say the least, and did not raise even its finger since the trouble first started on 27 August; the tension was allowed to simmer and the young chief minister found himself out of depth in its first ever political job. His inability to tackle the difficult situation, made much more difficult by the equally insolent administration, once again proved that pedigreed political lineage is no guarantee for administrative wisdom and sagacity. Let this be a lesson to those who proclaim from housetops their dynastic credentials. These ‘SONS’ consider accession to high office as their divine right solely based

BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT

Job Posting:

Akhilesh Yadav

ther of one of the murdered boys. However, unfortunately the situation has now degenerated into a tricky mess, assuming alarming communal and political overtones. Already there is polarization of sorts on religious grounds as Narendra Modi struts on the national political stage as the wannabe prime minister. The ‘secularist’ parties were happily projecting Modi’s advent as ominous in order to polarize Muslim votes on their side; unfortunately, even there is much competition amongst these so-called ‘secular’ parties for a bigger share in the Muslim vote cake. The BJP and its parivaar are delighted at this development since polarization is a game that two can play. If the Muslim votes go to anti-BJP parties, conversely it implies that the Hindu votes would fall in BJP’s lap. This is really a dangerous political brinkmanship and could burn the fingers of those indulging in this. The Samajwadi Party since its return to power last year in Uttar Pradesh has not fared well, belying the high expectations of all

Raj Kanwar is a Dehra Dunbased author and freelance journalist.

those who had voted for it. In fact, o do nd IIn an Amersic New it was the party supporters who Diwigahtlis IA IIN by their high handed acts of hoo- CONGRATULTEATIONS Del AM IND NTOPDOF THIA RA. One E WORLD Breaks ON liganism brought much infamy Barriers to it. Ostensibly, the ruling party 2011 tried its best to project itself as the avowed saviors of the minority Subscribe to community, and in its zeal to establish its credentials as such even took some overzealous steps such Today like suspending an IAS woman We cover your world! officer in Noida. Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state and its Name: ____________________________________ importance rests in the fact that it sends 80 members to the Lok SabPhone: ____________________________________ ha. Thus it is going to be a major Address:___________________________________ battle ground amongst the various contenders, with each trying __________________________________________ to consolidate and /or expand its Number of Years: 1 3 religious or caste vote bank. Such (Circle One) $40 $100 are the skewed political equations in this caste-ridden state again Credit Card: Master Card / Visa (Circle One) divided on religious basis. This Your Signature: _________________________________________ is indeed a tragedy but then each and every party is too greedy to Exp Date: ___/___ 3 digit code:______ _______________ eschew such sectarian approach. Do cut and mail to: 7457 Harwin Dr, Ste 262, For some other parties, these riHouston, TX 77036 (OR) Scan and E-mail to: Indoamericannews@yahoo.com • Call us at 713-789-6397 ots have come with a ‘silver lining’ • Call us to sign up for E-mail Blast but that is a self-delusion. A party Indo-American News is community oriented. We thank you for your subscription & support. may get some short term gains but in the long run, it will burn its finMADRAS N PAVILIO & DAAWAT G CATERIN

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The spark that caused the recent riots in the densely-populated Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh was merely a case of eve teasing that is not an unusual event in these parts. However, it grew into a larger conflagration since the teaser and the girl belonged to two different communities. It all began rather innocuously when a Muslim youth passed some lewd remarks against a Jat Hindu girl who was being accompanied by two of her cousins. Enraged, the cousins killed the eve teaser. On August 27, the two cousins in turn were virtually lynched by the relatives of the Muslim youth as a revenge killing of sorts. And that started what is one of the worst riots in Uttar Pradesh in recent years at which the services of the army has had to be requisitioned. The toll, at the time of writing on Tuesday, was 32 and many more injured. Muzaffarnagar is a rich sugarcane belt, lying almost half way on the Delhi-Dehra Dun National Highway. It has a fairly good history of mutual understanding and bonhomie. Even though provocative, the issue could have been sorted out by the elders of the two communities and even an initiative in this regard was taken. But some belligerent ‘elements’ seemed to have had other plans and happily added ‘fuel to the simmering fire’. The small fire flared into a big inferno that in no time spread to the villages. The resultant communal flare up has caused much anguish to the families of the cousins; they did not want their sons’ murders to be converted into a political battle. “We only want the police to arrest the culprits who killed our sons,” says the fa-

on their family lineage and naively believe that they will fulfill the unfinished legacy, whatever it may mean, of their fathers or even grandparent. They all live in a fools’ paradise and sooner they realized the truth of their ‘incapacity and limited ability’, the better it will be for them and the people of the state or the country whom they so passionately claim to serve.

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32 September 13, 2013 Late Wickets Allow Pakistan a Way Back

Junaid Khan picked up two crucial wickets after tea to rob Zimbabwe of the upper hand.

BY DEVASHISH FULORIA Zimbabwe 237 for 8 (Masakadza 75, Taylor 51, Junaid 3-55) v Pakistan Zimbabwe allowed Pakistan to claw back into the match in the third session of the second Test in Harare after keeping the bowlers at bay for two-thirds of the day. The hosts had survived a treacherous morning session with only the loss of their openers before halfcenturies from their senior batsmen, Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor, took them to 165 for 3 at tea. However, five wickets in the final session undermined the earlier good work. Junaid Khan provided the first of the five breakthroughs when he had Malcolm Waller caught behind soon after tea, but it was Abdur Rehman who made the crucial dismissal when he trapped Taylor lbw while on the sweep. Taylor, who had been dropped at mid-off by Rahat Ali in Rehman’s previous over, was a touch unlucky though as the ball hit him marginally outside the line of off stump.

But there wasn’t much resistance from Elton Chigumbura and Richmond Mutumbami, the last of the recognised batsmen, and Zimbabwe’s innings was caught in the downward spiral. Tinashe Panyangara and Prosper Utseya scored useful runs against the resurgent bowling and survived long enough to ensure the team will come out to bat on the second morning. The pitch, which was thought to be under-prepared, mostly stayed true on the first day. The final score could be much less than what seemed possible at one stage, but with the nature of the pitch still unknown, it could be a good firstinnings total. For Zimbabwe though, apart from Masakadza and Taylor, none of the batsmen were able to apply themselves against Pakistan’s tenacious bowling. Masakadza and Taylor had come together at the dismissal of Vusi Sibanda with the score on 31, but added 110 to settle the nerves after initial jitters. The century partnership between the two was a story of two halves:

the first dominated by Masakadza and the second by Taylor. In the initial phase, Masakadza looked to score freely while Taylor soaked up the deliveries. He stayed back against the spinners, but was quick to pounce on anything tossed up, preferring to hit over the infield. One such shot took him to his first half-century against Pakistan. Two overs later, he punched a quicker one to the cover boundary to bring up the fifty of the partnership, with Taylor scoring only 7. In the next half though, Taylor assumed the role of the aggressor, announcing his intentions with aerial boundaries off Saeed Ajmal and Rehman. The run-rate hovered around 2.5, but when the opportunities came, Taylor made sure he was ready. He reverse-swept an Ajmal doosra, then creamed a full delivery from Rahat Ali to the cover boundary. When the partnership reached 100, Taylor had taken over the scoring, with 32 runs in the second fifty. The free-scoring came after the batsmen had warded off the threat from Pakistan’s seamers in the first session when the ball was darting around. Zimbabwe lost their first wicket off the second delivery of the day and only two runs were scored in the first 40 minutes. The first over, bowled by Junaid, was almost unplayable and accounted for the wicket of Tino Mawoyo as the batsman was squared up by one that cut across him. The umpire was convinced the ball had taken the edge after the Pakistan team went up in a loud appeal. Replays showed that the ball might have hit the thigh pad along the way and not the bat, but Mawoyo, who has had a poor run of scores opening in Tests, had to go. Rahat started in the same vein from the other end and with plenty of movement on offer, kept the batsmen guessing, as ball after ball, the batsmen played and missed. He bowled a slightly fuller length and a wider line than Junaid, and induced as many errors, but earned the wicket of Sibanda with a short one. He came back to pick another wicket towards the end of the day with the new ball.

-ESPNcrickinfo

SPORTS

Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer to Play West Indies A Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan have been picked to represent India A in two four-day games against West Indies A later this month. Gambhir and Zaheer were dropped from the Test side late last year, and Sehwag last played a Test in March. All three were ignored for subsequent A squads, but this call-up - coming just before the start of a fresh season - will give them hope for a national comeback. Also back in the fold was the 32-year-old Mohammad Kaif, who last played a Test in 2006. These matches clash with the Champions League T20, which could have played a part in some or all of these selections. Missing from the India A four-day side that toured South Africa last month are M Vijay, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Shikhar Dhawan and Wriddhiman Saha, who will all be playing in the Champions League T20. Yuvraj Singh, who was dropped for the Champions Trophy and the tri-series in the West Indies, was chosen to lead the one-day side against West Indies A, and also India Blue in the Challenger Trophy, the domestic season opener. Irfan Pathan was picked to lead India Red. Delhi are the third side in the tournament by the virtue of being defending Ranji Trophy one-day champions, and are expected to pick their team and coach soon. Zaheer and Yuvraj have spent the time outside international cricket working on their fitness in France. Not picked for the A sides, Gambhir represented Essex in county cricket. India A squad for the first fourday game: Cheteshwar Pujara (capt), Jiwanjot Singh, KL Rahul, Manpreet Juneja, Rajat Paliwal, Harshad Khadiwale, Parvez Rasool, Bhargav Bhatt, Ishwar Pandey, Mohammed Shami, Ashok Dinda, Rohit Motwani (wk), Dhawal Kulkarni, Paras Dogra India A squad for the second and third four-day games: Cheteshwar Pujara (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sheldon Jackson, Abhishek Nayar, Paras Dogra, Uday Kaul

(wk), Parvez Rasool, Bhargav Bhatt, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zaheer Khan, Ishwar Pandey, Mohammed Shami, Mohammad Kaif India A squad for the three 50-over games and one T20: Yuvraj Singh (capt), Unmukt Chand, Robin Uthappa, B Aparajith, Kedar Jadhav, Naman Ojha (wk), Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Jaydev Unadkat, Praveen Kumar, Sumit Narwal, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mandeep Singh, Rahul Sharma India Red squad for the Challenger Trophy: Irfan Pathan (capt), Robin Uthappa, Abhinav Mukund, Saurabh Tiwary, Gurkeerat Mann, Kedar Jadhav, Smit Patel (wk), Yusuf Pathan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Abhimanyu Mithun, Umesh Yadav, Suraj Yadav India Blue squad for the Challenger Trophy: Yuvraj Singh (capt), Akshath Reddy, Naman Ojha (wk), Mandeep Singh, Ankit Bawne, Abhishek Nayar, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Ankit Rajpoot, Vinay Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Iresh Saxena

-ESPNcrickinfo

Paes, Stepanek Win Doubles Title NEW YORK: Leander Paes won his eighth Grand Slam men’s doubles title Sunday, teaming with Radek Stepanek to defeat Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 6-1, 6-3 in the final of the US Open. Paes, of India, and Stepanek, of the Czech Republic, knocked out the Bryan brothers in a three-set semifinal to deny the Americans the chance to become the first men’s doubles team in 62 years to win all four majors in the same year. This is the second title for the Paes-Stepanek pairing. They also won the 2012 Australian Open. Stepanek had neck surgery early in the year. Paes received calls from others wanting to play with him, but he turned them down to stay with his partner.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

-ESPN TENNIS


September 13, 2013

Stalker’s Death Triggered Sectarian Violence in Muzaffarnagar

Police in action as Congress workers protest against the Muzaffarnagar riots, burning an effigy of state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in Allahabad.

MUZAFFARNAGAR: Two brothers kill a man stalking their sister and the stalker’s family kills both of them. It was a revenge killing that triggered sectarian violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district that has left 28 people dead. On Aug 27, two brothers of a girl were beaten to death when they went to talk to the family of a stalker who was stabbed to death by them in Kawaal village. Sources said police registered the first information report (FIR) against the parents of the girl who were not present on the spot. The inclusion of parents’ names in the FIR did not go down well with the majority community of the area, following which the sympathisers of the girl’s family announced a panchayat in Kawaal Aug 31. The rival community opposed the plan. Opposing the Kawaal panchayat, a parallel panchayat was planned in Khalapar area of the city. At

this, the government representatives, including members of parliament and state legislature, and local leaders dared the Kawaal panchayat organisers to hold it at the appointed time on Aug 31. The authorities concerned then assured the angered locals the Khalapar panchayat would be put on hold, and the civil administration after deliberations with the Bhartiya Kisan Union leaders Rakesh and Naresh Tikait announced that the scheduled panchayat had been postponed. A huge gathering of about 40,000 people turned out but the Kawaal panchayat organisers called off the proceedings and announced the assembly again Sep 7. But when the participants of the - ‘Beti Bachao Bahoo Bachao panchayat’ - were returning to their homes they were attacked by swords at Basi village under Shahpur police station. The police booked under the

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National Security Act (NSA) eight people, of whom seven people were from the majority community and one person was from the minority community. The riot quickly spread to the neighbouring areas falling under Shamli and Meerut districts. On Sunday, 48 injured people were admitted at district hospital. The dead include 2 people – one of them a photo-journalist – who were killed in Khalapar, 4 killed in Bhopa, two killed in Mansurpur and 1 killed in Sikeda village. In addition, 3 people were killed in Kawaal and three people were also killed in Kutba village of the area. “The administration has put the adjoining districts of Meerut, Baghpat, Bulandshahr on high alert...,” IG (Meerut Zone) Brij Bhushan said.

-Hindustan times

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US to Open fast Immigration for Select Indians

NEW DELHI: The US has offered to extend its global traveller programme, which allows selected international passengers to bypass normal immigration and customs procedures, to Indian citizens. This is expected to be formalised when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama meet later in September in Washington. India will be only the second developing country — Mexican nationals are already eligible to apply — to be granted this privilege, say US officials. Initially, during a trial period, a small number of Indians numbering in the region of 150 will be brought under the programme. Under the US offer, the Indian immigration department, part of the country’s intelligence setup, will provide and clear the names of interested and eligible Indians, provide the necessary fingerprints scans to the US Customs and Border Protection agency. US sources say their own agencies will carry out further background checks after which the

names will be included in the Global Entry Trusted Traveller Network. An inter-ministerial meeting of senior officials will be held later this week to work out the operational details of this arrangement. At present, only the citizens of South Korea, the Netherlands, Canada and Mexico are eligible to be Global Travellers. About 1.5 million people have received the designation, almost all of whom are US citizens. Almost every major US airport has a Global Traveller kiosk, including New York City and Washington. Participants go to the kiosk, scan their passports and their fingertips, and make a customs declaration. The machine then issues a receipt that allows the traveller to head straight for the baggage claim area and the airport exit. A Global Traveller is also automatically cleared for PreCheck, another programme which gives passengers recommended by airlines a fast lane through US immigration.

-Hindustan times

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