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Friday, September 27 2013 | Vol. 32, No. 39

Indo American erican News

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Sixteen of the previous presidents came on stage to be honored for their work by current president Murthy Divakaruni (left).

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The Silver Jubilee was celebrated with a special commemorative Collector’s Edition book.



September 27, 2013



September 27, 2013


India House Hosts Nikki Haley to a Roomful of Proud Admirers BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: This was the weekend, as sure as any sign of the electioneering season, when political candidates and elected officials seem to have flocked to the Bayou City to meet with community leaders, raise funds and speak their minds at eager audiences. California Congressman Ami Bera was in town for the Hindu American Foundation Annual Dinner and then later at a private brunch fundraiser (see page 6 ); Mayor Annise Parker was at the IAPAC-SIMA fundraiser (see page 11 ) and Gov. Nikki Haley (R) of South Carolina made a whirlwind trip through the city for a fundraiser and a tour of India House followed by a speech. There were red, white and blue buntings decorating the reception hall and corridor of India House as the meeting with Haley on Saturday, September 21 coincided with the event later in the evening for the HAF which featured as its keynote speaker Dr. Ami Bera, the freshman Democratic Congressman from California. Just a couple of hours earlier, the India House Executive Council hosted a meet and greet event for S. Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, organized by Trustee Chowdary Yalamanchili. Haley’s visit first included a private meeting with an invited list of supporters, many of whom later met her that evening at the Hotel ZaZa in the Museum District and donated around $140,000, according to one source, for her reelection campaign next year, at a dinner that featured live entertainment by local Indian talent. The afternoon meeting with the public and members of the press in town, was arranged to show off the centerpiece of the community, India House, as well as to allow Haley to speak to them and take a few questions. Halley was suitably impressed by the facility, exclaiming that she had not seen a community center like it anywhere else in the country. Dr. Devinder Bhatia, a cardiovascular surgeon, introduced Haley to the about 100 people in the audience. Nikki Haley, at the age of 41, is the youngest Governor in the Union and also the first female Indo American Governor of a State – South Carolina - which has been the bastion of conservatism

Gov. Nikki Haley with the India House team of executives (from left) Trustee Chowdary Yalamanchili; President Jugal Malani; VP of Finance Brij Agrawal and Trustee Dr. Virendra K. Mathur after the event.

in the Deep South. Ever since Sen. Strom Thurmond switched parties from Democrat to Republican in 1964, the Republican Party has gained strength and become the dominant party in the state. It was to this state which required federal Civil Rights laws to end segregation that Nirmata Nikki Randhawa’s parents, Ajit and Raj Kaur emigrated from Amritsar over 50 years ago. Nikki and her siblings were born and raised in the small town on Bamberg. Haley related many examples of the kind of discrimination that she had to experience as a child, like when she played kickball and the kids were confused if she should be on the black side or the white. “I just took the ball and ran with it,” she recalled to the amusement of the audience, “and the kids ran with me. That showed me that all you needed to go for it and others will follow”. Haley’s parents were the rare Asian in the town of 2,500 and her dad was the only one who wore a turban. They began importing women’s fashions and Nikki started to help with the accounting at the age of 13. “And I learnt how hard it was to make a dollar and how easily government took it away,” she added with a Carolinian twang. The family business, Exotica International, grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise. Even though she has grown up in the US, married an Anglo and become a Methodist along the

way, Haley has never forgotten her roots and, in fact, proclaimed it in her first sentence. “I am the proud daughter of Indian parents who immigrated to the US,” she said after she was introduced by Indian Consul General Parvathaneni Harish who held her up as a beacon of what could be achieved in the US. He was enthusiastic about the Indo American community in Texas and said its activities ensured that it contributed to the growth of both the economies of India and the US. Haley said that her state and Texas had a lot in common and that S. Carolina was the second best state to do business in after Texas. It is now the largest manufacturer of tires in the nation and has passed tort reform. She recalled that when she first contemplated running for office, she told a friend she didn’t know if she was a Democrat or a Republican. “My friend asked me if I thought the government should spend my money, live my life and whether private companies of the government should create jobs,” she remembered, “and I said ‘No’, so she said, ‘Well then, you’re a Republican”. Haley did acknowledge that though the Indo American community had done well in most spheres of work and life in the US, it had not been so good in politics. “Now we need a stronger voice in the country,” she said, adding that she was proud of the community. “It is the least dependent, most

Gov. Nikki Haley (R) of S. Carolina addressed a room full of admirers at India House on Saturday, September 21 during a whirlwind tour of the city. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

solution was in the community and private enterprise giving back to help those in need. She gave an example of how her family started the “Original Six Foundation” (named for the six in her parent’s family) who raise money and give back by funding community programs. Indian Consul General Parvathaneni Harish spoke glowingly of Gov. Haley’s achievements.

charitable of any minorities in the country.” During a question and answer session, Haley was asked why she had turned down the Affordable Care Act’s provision to expand Medicare benefits, just like Texas, especially as the state had 500,000 people without insurance or 11 per cent of the state’s 4.7 million population. She responded that for every $9 the Federal government gave, South Carolina would have to come up with $1 and what would happen after the subsidy ended in Dr. Davinder Bhatia introduced Gov. two or three years? Her Haley at the gathering.



September 27, 2013



September 27, 2013


IACF Silver Jubilee Remembers its Past, Reaffirms Future Goals

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: The Indo American Charity Foundation celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a salute to the past and a reaffirmation to the goals that it was built on at a Gala held on Saturday, September 21 at the Hilton Americas Hotel. Almost 500 guests attended the event that featured a silent auction and was able to garner $220,000 for the Foundation’s coffers. The Gala was more upscale than the scaled down version that was held last year at the Texas Safari Ranch that had focused most of its attention and resources on the Foundation’s newly started Education Initiative, but not as opulent as those the IACF has held in years past. This year’s Gala was a throwback to the basic format that the Foundation had used many years ago, emphasizing local talent in entertainment and

The 2013 IACF Board poses before the Gala.

A fashion show featured members of previous Boards. Previous president Vijay Bhuchar walked the aisle with Sangeeta Pasrija.

IACF President Murthy Divakaruni spoke briefly about his term’s achievements.

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During the social hour, previous presidents Jagat Kamdar (left) and Kamna Sharma (2nd from right) with their spouses and guests Panna and Hiren Bhatia.

a fashion show for what was an old fashioned fundraiser, as IACF President Murthy Divakaruni called the event. The IACF is the oldest Indo American community organization that was built with the idea of philanthropy and to serve the needy in the areas of education, health,

senior care and general care. It has adhered to these core areas through contributions to many local charities and also the nurture of several nascent community organizations like the Youth Leadership Development Program, Daya, Friends Helping Friends and Indo American Cancer Awareness Network by channeling funds in their direction. The breadth and scope of the IACF’s work was captured in a special 52 page 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition book that had

two pages devoted to the term of each president, featuring their Boards, achievements, events and charities supported. It was compiled and created by this reporter, who is also a Board member, as a tribute to the work that has helped to grow the local community and was distributed out to all the guests. When sixteen of the past presidents appeared on stage to be applauded, they were presented with the first copies of this Collec-






September 27, 2013

Ami Bera Gets Upfront and Personal Over a Sunday Brunch BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: For someone who was elected to the US Congress just eight months ago, Dr. Ami Bera is surprisingly easy going and approachable. He put the over three dozen people who came to hear him at ease with his openness on issues, charming them with his easy delivery and smile. “I am a product of the public schools and community college,” he declared explaining how he managed to get through medical school with less than $10,000 in debt. “But the story now is that many people may now be costed out of college”, he added, “We need to get back to creating ladders of opportunity and have dreams”. Bera was speaking to a friendly crowd of mostly Democrats who had arrived for brunch with him on Sunday, September 21 at the Heights area home of local attorney Ashish Mahendru, who had previously run for public office but fell short. He had been in town for the Hindu American Foundation annual dinner the evening before, then made a brief stop at the Indo American Charity Foundation Gala later that Saturday night (see story on page 5 ) and was due to leave later in the afternoon. But everywhere he went, Amerish Babulal Bera, 48, spoke proudly of his Indian heritage and parents who immigrated to the US from Rajkot (just southwest

From left, Ashish Mahendra, Congressman Ami Bera, Sameera Mahendru and Mini Timmaraju, Bera’s Chief of Staff, after Bera had addressed the guests at the brunch. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

of Ahmedabad, Gujarat) in 1958. Bera was born and raised in California and presently lives in Elk Grove, just west of Sacramento. In 2010, he ran against a powerful incumbent Republican Dan Lungren and lost, only to win against him in 2012 after his district lines were redrawn and has become the only Indo-American in the US Congress. Bera is married to a physician, Janine and has one child, and though he speaks no Hindi or Gujarati, he knows enough words to understand either. Bera said that he ran on his Indo American heritage as well as the values that were imbibed in him. As he travels across the country, he loves talking to the next genera-

tion of Indo-Americans and sharing his experience. “My legacy will be in what the next generation of Indo-Americans do,” he said at each event he attended. “I would like to see more Indo Americans in Congress, and maybe even one run for President in my lifetime”. The roomful of people at the fundraiser brunch included former Congressman Chris Bell, Judge Ravi Sandill, political consultant Mustafa Tameez and other democratic leaders and supporters. Bera was accompanied by his new Chief of Staff, Mini Timmaraju who hails from Houston but left last year to take on a leadership role with Planned Parenthood in New York.

US Congressman Ami Bera (D, CA) visited Houston this past weekend and attended a brunch at the house of attorney Ashish Mahendru (right) who introduced him to the invited guests.

Bera is on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which includes the first Hindu-American in Congress, Tulsi Gabbrad (Bera is a Unitarian) as well as the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He is working with the Texas delegation on the future of the Space Program, which employs many Indo Americans nationally as well as at NASA in Clear Lake and encouraged the local community to articulate their thoughts on this issue with their Congress members.

In an interactive question and answer session, Bera responded that, as a son of a public school teacher (his mother), he realized that the salaries of educators needed to better reflect the responsibility they had in raising the younger generation. He believed that education is focused on testing in subjects that are easily verifiable and de-emphasized the humanities which are just as crucial in developing reasoning skills.


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September 27, 2013

IACF Silver Jubilee Remembers its Past, Reaffirms Future Goals CONTINUED FROM PAGE


Previous president Leela Krishnamurthy (right) poses with her husband Nat and guests.

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tor’s Edition. Divakaruni spoke about the IACF’s commitment to its ideals and goals in a brief speech. His wife Chitra, who is a renowned author and had worked extremely hard alongside him to pull together the donors for the event, came on stage to make an appeal for pledges and called out the names of many of those who turned in their pledge cards. Past President Anu Bala gave tribute to the immediate past President David Raj who has end-stage terminal cancer and had been so passionate about the Education Imitative. She also invited all the sixteen previous presidents on stage. The emcee for the evening was Channel 11 KHOU-TV news anchor Rekha Maddaraju. The event featured a fashion show en-

titled Silver Oasis of elegant Indian sarees and salwar kameezes from designer Simran Rihal which several previous presidents and Board members took part in it along with the young models, as well as two Indo American military reservists, Col. George Eapen, MD and Col. Kulvinder Bajwa, MD in their uniforms who escorted some of the models to great applause. Freshman US Congressman Dr. Ami Bera of California who was in town even dropped by at the end to say a few words. Incoming IACF President Ramesh Cherivirala closed the program out with thanks to all. The entertainment was by local artists Deep Bhattacharya and Mahalakshmi Krishnan as well as the runner up to last year’s IACF Indian Idol contest Apurva Batra of Dallas who showed off the remarkable range of voice that took him up that contest. After the dinner catered by Mahesh Shah and his Dawat Catering (also responsible for the appetizers during the social hour), DJ Impact lit up the dance floor for the late night stragglers who closed the event down. The AV production for the entire event was by the very talented and versatile Darshak Thacker and IACF Founder Vinod Bhuchar (center) who spoke about his wife Mona of Krishna how he had the idea to start the group, poses with guests Sounds. (from left) Usha and Tej Ganju, Chandrika Sharma and Shobana Muratee (right).

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September 27, 2013

Vedanta Society of Greater Houston Celebrates Durga Puja

BY SANCHALI BASU HOUSTON: The autumn season is here. The weather will soon start to cool down, the children before long will begin to prepare for the Halloween costumes and families will plan the Thanksgiving Dinner. In India, the autumn season heralds the season of festivities. Not only the nature puts on new fresh garb after the incessant rains of the Monsoon, even the sun under goes a change to a wonderful orange hue, and the air has the distinctive fragrance that announces to the people, “Durga Puja, Dushera, Navratri, Diwali is here” bringing joy to the hearts of every person. Although it is true that the Bengalis celebrate the Durga Puja the most, Gujaratis also have the Navratri celebration, where with the accompaniment of the Dholak and if possible live music, they dance the Dandiya Raas or the Garba. The nine days of celebration with the enacting of the epic Ramayana all over north India culminates in the “Ravana Dahan” where a larger-than-life size effigy of ten-headed Ravana is burnt with great aplomb and gaiety on Dushera. Then again, the South Indians decorate their houses with dolls and invite ladies for “Haldi Kumkum”. Growing up in the tradition of the Ramakrishna Mission, Durga Pujas held at Ramakrishna Missions have always held a special place in my heart in the way the puja is conducted. The pujas are performed by Swamis ordained by the Belur Math and the sanctity and devotion with which these Pujas are carried out is equaled by none.

This year Durga Puja will be celebrated at the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston (VSGH) located at 14809 Lindita Drive, Houston, TX - 77083 on Saturday, October 5. The puja will start at 9:30 AM and will culminate with the Arati and Pushpanjali. The worship will be performed by Swami Kripamayananda, Minister and Head of the Vedanta Society of Toronto. Lunch Prasad will be served to all the devotees. This year’s special highlight is the evening cultural program at 6 PM celebrating the 10th anniversary of Vedanta Society of Greater Houston; commemorating the centennial of Tagore’s Nobel Prize, and the sesquicentennial of Swami Vivekananda’s birthday. The program will include a special presentation, “Beyond Gitanjali” a multimedia presentation of Tagore’s songs, poems and prose by invited artistes Prabuddha Raha from Kolkata and Maitreyee Chakraborty

from Los Angeles. They will also sing devotional songs in Bengali and Hindi including some of Swamiji’s favorite songs. Also included in the program are dances by local artistes and songs by the VSGH choir. The Vedanta Society of Greater Houston’s members would like to invite all of you to participate in the morning pujas and enjoy a wonderful evening of cultural dance and music programs in the evening. For details of the program visit www.houstonvedanta. org See ad on page 12




September 27, 2013



September 27, 2013

IAPAC, SIMA Fundraiser for Parker Draws Out Many Motel Owners

Mayor Annise Parker accepts checks of support from the members of SIMA and IAPAC at the fundraiser last Sunday evening at the Hilton Southwest Hotel. SIMA President Hasu Patel (right) and IAPAC President-elect Karun Sreerama (second from left) helped organize the event. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra.

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: With election season coming into the final six-week stretch, the Indo American Political Action Committee and the Small Independent Motel Owner’s Association (which includes 175 motel owners, mostly Indian, across the city) held a fundraiser for Mayor Anisse Parker who is seeking reelection to her last term. Close to 100 people gathered at the Hilton Southwest last Sunday evening, September 22 to meet Parker and hear her speak on the issues of importance to Indo Americans and participate in a dialogue on items of concern. The event drew in elected officials like Judge Ravi Sandill and former Sugar Land Councilman Tom Abraham as well as City Council hopeful Rogene Calvert. Jagat Kamdar, a long time IAPAC member, opened the event, noting Parker as a friend of the community. He had Parker on his radio program, Open Forum, earlier in the day. SIMA Board members Jin Laxmidas encouraged people to counter voter apathy by registering to vote (some did so that evening) and voting early. SIMA President Hasu Patel introduced Parker noting that “thanks to her, Houston is the top city to live, work and raise a family”. Parker noted that her relationship with SIMA went back for years and appreciated what it did to engage the community as in giving away free rooms during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. She said that though most citizens in

Houston supported her, many may chose to stay home instead of coming out to vote. She thanked the Indo Americans in the audience who had volunteered to be on one of the 150 citywide Boards and Commissions, like Hasu Patel on the Houston First Corp. and Karun Sreerama on the Downtown Management District and encouraged others to volunteer by sending in their resumes. As she has done in many of her other campaign appearances, Parker spoke about her record in building the local economy, comparing her first term as being in a leaky boat that needed repair. She said she had been around the world to market Houston; used the Consular Corps help in bringing more investment here; promoted Houston First to hire more local firms and help small businesses; increased the police force and gave them more and better tools and started to rebuild the city’s infrastructure through the new Drainage Fee and other programs. She said that all this work needed to be done in a fiscally responsible manner. She thanked SIMA for its strong response after the recent firefighter’s deaths and their strong support for their families and those who came to attend the funerals by giving away 500 free room nights. Responding to a question about the proposed revisions to the fire code which would require retrofitting old buildings with fire suppression sprinklers, she said she would get input from the stakeholders before going forward with the final re-

quirements. She noted that more detailed inspections might have averted that deadly motel fire on Hwy 59. Other questions dealt with the incomprehensible prohibitions to left-turns at Gessner and Beechnut in either direction; HPD shrugging off control over a rash of breakins in Clear Lake; an accolade on Houston’s image as America’s “coolest city”; the city’s response to disseminating information of the impending Obama Care law; and the lack of legibility on the large Terminal signs at the Intercontinental Airport. Parker promised to have her staff look into these items. After the s p e e c h , IAPAC’s incoming President Karun Sreerama and SIMA’s President Hasu Patel handed over to Parker checks of support from their members, totaling over $7,500 from SIMA alone. The IAPAC members contributed another $13,861. The audience had a chance to meet Parker individually and have their picture taken with her. Snacks for the event were catered by Uddipi Café whose owner Satish Rao was also in attendance.

Mayor Parker with members of SIMA and Hasu Patel (to her left) after the event. INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM



September 27, 2013

Durga Puja VSGH Invites you to

Sri Durga Puja

Saturday, October 5th 2013 At VSGH Center 14809 Lindita Dr., Houston, TX – 77083

Worship: 9:30 a.m. Puja will be performed by Sw.Kripamayananda (Minister & Head of the Vedanta Society of Toronto) (Lunch prasad will be served)

To Celebrate

The 10th Anniversary of the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston The Centennial of Tagore's Nobel Prize The Sesquicentennial of Swami Vivekananda's Birthday

VSGH Presents

An evening of Cultural Programs: 6:00 p.m. Beyond Gitanjali - a multi media exposition of Tagore's songs, poems, and prose Devotional Songs in Bengali and in Hindi - Some of Swamiji's favorite songs will be presented

Artists: Mr. Prabuddha Raha (an eminent & well known singer from Kolkata) & Maitreyee Chakraborty, from LA

Chanting & hymns

Artists: Vedanta Society Choir Group

Dances by local artists

Mother Durga - by Supradipta Datta & her students of Kalaangan Dance School Shiva Dance - Arpita Mukhopadhyay, Piyal Sen Gupta & Keka Kar Devotees are humbly requested to donate non-perishable ffood items for the food drive inVSGH

For More Information Ashok Dasgupta: 979-285-2589 Swapna Chaudhuri: 281-584-0488

Vedanta Society of Greater Houston 14809 Lindita Dr., Houston, TX – 77083


September 27, 2013

1320_2_WF2013_Q2_Con2_TELL_AI_FP_Hou_IAN.indd 1 INDO AMERICAN NEWS



5/16/13 1:32 PM



September 27, 2013

BY PADMASHREE RAO HOUSTON: Auspiciousness marked the start of another Bala Vihar year in Chinmaya Prabha Houston when over 800 children, from toddlers to teenagers, performed a Ganesha puja with signature Chinmaya spirit on September 8, Sunday. The celebrations of Ganesha Chathurti continued through the week and culminated with a joyous Ganesha Visarjan on Sep.15, again with delightful Bala Vihar flair. It was a festive Sunday morning as happy parents brought their children into the Saraswati Nilayam where a colorful puja environment greeted them. Enthusiastic Bala Vihar teachers and affectionate parent-volunteers escorted the children to their places in gradewise rows. The children felt special as they sat eagerly in front of their own puja plate which had a beautiful glass cube inscribed with the image of Lord Ganesha, and a small cup of akshata (yellow-rice). Shobha Ravishankar, a lead BV teacher, welcomed all the children back to another wonderful year of Bala Vihar learning. As the entire hall reverberated with the voices of the children chanting Om and singing an invocation to Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, the sacred vibrations set the stage for a delightful and inspiring Ganesha puja. Every Bala Vihar child performed the traditional sixteen-step (Shodasopacara) puja with caring

Balavihar Reopens with Ganesha Puja

Amid loud chants of “Ganapati Bapa Morya, Puduchya Varshi lavkarya,” parents and children watched the beautiful big Ganesha idol submerge in the pool below the Sivalaya. Photo: Jayesh Mistry

involvement, guided by a childfriendly audio-visual presentation. As the children’s attention was drawn with the sacred bell ringing, their faces were sincere as they promised (sankalpam) to focus on the Lord. It was an exciting moment when children heard a doorbell ring, announcing the arrival of Lord Ganesha! From that first

step of inviting the God into their hearts and homes, the children were absorbed in offering Him a beautiful seat, washing His Feet and Hands, and offering Him water to drink and bathe. Reciting the slokas in Sanskrit and offering the yellow-rice symbolically at each step, the children could understand the progression in worship.


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When the children performed the next steps like giving God the most beautiful clothes, the sacred thread, the auspicious Kumkum, and the fragrant sandalwood, the puja became not just a ritual, but a logical, wondrous get-together with Lord Ganesha! The children chanted the eleven main names of Lord Ganesha after hearing their meaning, which added more clarity to their prayer. When they symbolically offered the incense, they understood the beauty of giving their best to God; their offering of sweet raisins as naivedyam, and a coin as dakshina, signaled gratitude of sharing. Finally after praying with the Mangala Dipam for the Divine light to shine in their hearts, the Vedic arati was sung in unison. It was profound to see how all the children, teachers and adults were immersed in the worship of Lord Ganesha that morning. After the meaningful puja, all the children carried their own glass idol of Ganesha with loving care to the Saumyakasi Sivalaya, following a beautiful big idol of Lord Ganesha. Thereon, the priest Shri Ganeshji sanctified the idols for the whole week with special prayers until the children came the next Sunday to Bala Vihar. When the children returned on Sep.15 to Bala Vihar, it was amazing to see how they looked forward to taking their adored

Ganesha idol home! With a special connection established after a personal puja, it was time for all children to come together again in the sunbathed courtyard of Saumyakasi Sivalaya, this time for a happy and noisy Ganapati Visarjan celebration. Amid loud chants of “Ganapati Bapa Morya, Puduchya Varshi lavkarya,” parents and children watched the beautiful big Ganesha idol submerge in the pool below the Sivalaya and prayed that Lord Ganesha should return to reside in all their hearts! The auspicious coincidence of Bala Vihar and Ganesha Chathurti celebrations in Houston truly energized the hearts of the entire Chinmaya Mission family. The dedicated efforts of many teams of volunteers under the guidance of the Acaryas Gaurangbhai and Darshanaben Nanavaty truly brought the festive spirit home. And, when the clouds opened up in showers just after the Ganesha Visarjan that morning, it was like Lord Ganesha’s Grace had blessed the sincere prayers of all the devotees. For further information on Chinmaya Mission Houston and Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and, its activities visit www. or Call Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233

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September 27, 2013

TAMPA, FL: Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) USA convened an annual convention in Tampa, during Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21, at local India Cultural Center (ICC). Smriti Irani, BJP national Vice President inaugurated the convention on Friday and presided over the women and youth forum along with copanelist Prodyut Bora, national executive member of the BJP. On September 21, a delegate session was convened and in the concluding session, Narendra Modi addressed the Indian Diaspora for the first time as NDA’s prime ministerial candidate via live satellite. The telecast was facilitated by TV Asia across USA, Canada, Europe and India. A huge gathering of over 1500 people assembled at ICC hall in a festive mood to listen to the most popular leader of India. Over 150 delegates representing OFBJP’s 22 chapters in USA including members of National Council and Executive Committee, and Advisory Council attended to brain storm and evolve an effective strategy to achieve the goal of Mission 2014: a clear majority for the BJP in the next Parliamentary elections. Over 500 people attended the inaugural session on Friday evening. The theme of the convention was Mission 2014. Addressing the Indian Diaspora, Narendra Modi paid condolences to the victims of terrorism at Nairobi Mall. Contrasting the great achievements of NDA Government headed by Vajpayee and Advani with Congress led UPA government that took the country in a downward spiral with its massive

Annual Convention in Tampa Concludes with Narendra Modi Reaching Out to Indian Diaspora

corruption and mis-governance. He said that growth rate was 8.4 per cent during NDA government and now it is 4.8 per cent under UPA government. He said “People are looking only towards BJP to save the country from the current crisis”. He urged all Indian passport holders abroad to register and vote to ensure the defeat of corrupt UPA government democratically. He said that the 2014 election would be people’s voice as in post emergency 1977 elections during which neither media nor pundits could influence the voters. During his entire speech placards reading “Jee-Jaan Laga Denge”, “BJP 272+”, “We Can We Will” were displayed accompanied by slogans. Earlier, the program started with classical dance performance on “Ganesh Vandana” and

“Vandemataram” and received a standing ovation to the Odissi dance performers. During the session on Saturday September 21, OFBJP-USA passed a political resolution introduced by Immediate Past President, Dr. Adapa Prasad on behalf of Indian Diaspora. He also presented a charge-sheet against UPA government. Past President, Prof. Dinesh Agrawal presented a critical analysis of past and 2014 parliament election. The convention chair and President Elect, Shri Chandrakant Patel acted as emcee and introduced the guests. President, Shri Jayesh Patel welcomed the audience and described the achievements of OFBJP over past few years. National Advisory Council Member, Ram Rakshpal Sood gave an account on the life

and message of Swami Vivekananda. Irani urged the delegates to develop talking points and motivate the Indian diaspora to call and write to their respective friends and families in India urging them to vote for BJP. Three different sessions of Socio-Economic conditions in India moderated by Adapa Prasad; How OFBJP volunteers could campaign for BJP moderated by Chandrakant Patel; and Role of Social Media on the society moderated by Tampa Coordinator, Lalji Goswami were conducted. Several delegates spoke during their respective sessions and made suggestions. Prodyut Bora elaborated on how an Indian Passport holder could enroll and vote in India’s elections and how volunteers could work in the campaign. Dr. Mahesh Mehta, the Na-

tional Coordinator said in his closing observations that the delegates should take inspiration from former NRI leaders such as Subhash Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar, Madam Kama, Sardar Patel, Shyamji Krishna Verma , Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi who fought against British Rule in India while in abroad. He said, “Gadar Movement started from California” and encouraged to identify 2000 plus volunteers to take the campaign to every village in India. During the inaugural session on Friday September 20, Irani highlighted the achievements of Gujarat government headed by its visionary leader, Narendra Modi through good governance. She said that Modi has brought the good governance on the electoral agenda through his growth oriented stellar performance. Earlier, while addressing the women and youth forum along with Prodyut Bora, Irani said that Modi has become a “youth magnet” of India towards whom the entire young generation is looking with great hope to solve India’s complex problems. Panelist Prodyut Bora urged the youth to reach out to colleges and universities to motivate them to register to vote. During the respective two days of public events, audience was enthralled by the noted poet Shri Gajendra Solanki with his wellrecognized patriotic songs and poetry preceded by light music. A sumptuous complementary dinner and lunch was provided on both the days. Chandrakant Patel and his associates helped in making the event very successful.

Asia Society Gets an Insider’s View on Law and Politics from an Indian Icon

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: The Asia Society hosted an interview with the highly regarded Indian Defense Attorney and current Member of the Upper House of Parliament or Rajya Sabha Ram Jethmalani at an event held this past Tuesday evening, September 24 at the Society’s auditorium on Southmore. Jethmalani, who has just celebrated his 90th birthday on September 13, is on a short visit to the US and paused in the Bayou City to share his thoughts on the Indian political scene and issues that he has dealt with during his long and illustrious

career in the legal profession as well as in politics. A large number of people came to hear and see the venerable lawyer. Charles Foster, the Chairman of the Asia Society, chatted with Jethmalani in an informal setting with two comfortable chairs were placed on the stage, behind a low table. After introducing him, Foster asked prepared questions on various topics, including the recent increase in reported violence against women and the coming election. Jethmalani, in his inimitable style, answered them, and

when he desired he wandered from the topic to introduce other things he thought were important but that were not apparently related to the answer. For example, Foster asked about the conflict between Pakistan and India, and Jethmalani reported that Musharaf has proposed a plan that would work. The plan is still alive, slightly modified, in a proposal by Jethmalani that seeks solutions to that conflict. That was the good news. But then Jethmalani contextualized the problem in terms of the region, moving it from a

bilateral issue to a multilateral issue, at the core of which is the relationship of China and the US with Pakistan and India, neither of which in his opinion is helping bilateral relations between the two countries, which should be natural friends, not enemies. Foster asked him about his experience under the emergency declared by Indira Gandhi in the 70s and Jethmalani explained how an arrest warrant had been issued for his arrest but he managed to slip away before to a voluntary exile in the US for ten month.

One of the last things Jethmalani addressed is India’s experiment with the jury system. He explained that India had established it in a few jurisdictions, but after a case in which he was influential, the jury system as it was was abolished, and now issues of fact, traditionally the exclusive province of the jury in common law jurisdictions such as India, are determined by the trial judge. Rather than being unappealable as in the jury system, the judge’s fact determinations are appealable along with other issues of law.


September 27, 2013


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Hyderabad Shows the Way The city’s metro project demonstrates how private capital can be deployed in public projects in a transparent and efficient manner Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, located on the banks of the Musi river in the northern part of the Deccan Plateau, has again shown the way. In an earlier column, we reported on the Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad as one of the few examples of transit-oriented urban development in India, which has also unlocked land value to partially finance the new infrastructure needs of a growing city. Hyderabad has now come up with a metro rail project with multi-modal connectivity under publicprivate partnership (PPP). The project is being implemented not as a simple mass transit system, but as an urban redesign concept with emphasis on last-mile connectivity, room for cycling and other non-motorised transport, pedestrian facilities, green areas and public spaces with an eye for aesthetics. Spread over 650 square kilometres, Hyderabad is one of the largest metropolitan areas in India. With a city population of 6.8 million and a metropolitan population of 7.8 million as of 2011, it is the fourth most populous city and the sixth most populous urban agglomeration in India. The metro rail project that spans over 72 km is a significant response to the growing transport demand from this rapidly growing urban region. As investments in manufacturing, R&D, IT and biotech industries have flocked to the area, this has strained the existing infrastructure of the city. Given the long time it takes to put transport infrastructure in place, the metro rail project, which was launched in May 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in May 2017, is not a day too early. The project uses state-of-the-art technology with stringent technical specifications, performance criteria and safety standards. For example, a communication-based train control (CBTC) system is being introduced as a signalling system, which can accommodate much greater frequency of train traffic than the distance-to-go system that is in use at the Delhi Metro. The metro stations are being built with single-pier (pillar) supported cantilever structures rather than the three-tier supported portal structures that completely cover the road and create a tunnel effect. There has been some dissatisfaction from some quarters about not going underground at least in some places in order to preserve the beautiful view of the ancient monuments, which, in Hyderabad, are many. N.V.S. Reddy, managing director, Hyderabad Metro Rail project, maintains that the metro rail has kept a safe distance of at least 500 feet from monuments such as the Charminar, Salar Jung Museum and other structures of archaeological importance. Building a modern mass transit system in dense traffic corridors in Indian cities is an engineering feat. It is even more commendable when it uses an innovative financial design so as to require very little public funds. It offers new opportunities for developing urban infrastructure for cities when their urban local bodies are completely starved of financial resources. Indian Express

Watching Our Waistline BY DARRYL D’MONTE

Global attention has, understandably, focused on how the world does not consume a full third of the food that it produces, 1.3 billion tonnes, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) recent Food Wastage Footprint report. This wastage is nothing short of criminal, in a world where 870 million go to bed hungry. In his 2009 book, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, Tristram Stuart — who spent time in India before writing his exposé — cited how even in the most affluent countries, people go hungry. There were four million in Britain, 35 million in the US and 43 million in the European Union. However, less attention has been paid to the flipside of this waste: the astronomical environmental cost. As much as 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases are emitted on growing, harvesting, packaging and transporting this third of the food, which correspondingly occupies nearly a third of the world’s agricultural land. And, to complete this one-third analogy, if these emissions emanated from a country called Waste, it would be responsible for a third of the globe’s greenhouse gases, less only than China and the US. In fact, it would vie with India as the third biggest emitter. Most of the food that is wasted is grain, followed by fruit and vegetables, while meat and dairy products would figure last, being the most expensive items. Rice is the most consumed grain in the world and its cultivation releases methane, which damages the climate more than carbon dioxide. However, meat is the biggest culprit, so far as emissions are concerned. According to the Washington DCbased think-tank, Worldwatch, meat production has doubled since the 1970s. By 2007, 60% of the meat was consumed in developing countries, though the per capita figures tell a different story: 85 kg a year in industrial countries versus 31 kg in developing countries. In its 2006 report titled Livestock’s Long Shadow, the FAO estimated the global livestock industry alone

accounted for nearly a fifth of greenhouse gases, which obviously meant that the entire food industry would be contributing much more. It takes around 5 kg of feed to convert into a kilo of beef, which is the most unsustainable product. If one accounts for only the land used for meat and dairy products wasted in Britain and the US, it would amount to 8.3 million hectares. For the US in particular, Brazilian rainforests are being converted into cropland and ranches to feed that country’s infatuation with beef. While climate change policy-makers are trying to penalise passengers for destroying the environment when flying—the EU has been trying unsuccessfully to impose a carbon tax —the identical toll taken of the atmosphere by importing millions of tonnes of farm produce is ignored. Even within India, the ubiquity of apples, now a perennial, extracts an ecological price. No one has conducted a ‘waste food ecological audit’ for India. It has the biggest cattle population in the world, with some 300 million heads, and will produce 135 million tonnes of milk, again the most in the world, this year. The US is a poor second, with only 90 million tonnes. India is a major grain producer, with 95 million tonnes of wheat and 105 million tonnes of rice, as well as 7.5 million tonnes of oil. What is more, it has a

more ecologically sound system of recycling farm waste like rice husk, straw and oil cakes which are then fed to cattle and poultry. Meat consumption, mainly poultry, is very low, only some 5 kg per head annually, though rising in urban areas. The poultry industry is worth nearly `50,000 crore and growing at 20% per year. However, due to mismanagement, subsidies and worse, it is literally an open secret that millions of tonnes of grain are rotting due to poor storage. A year ago, officials said that as many as 6 million tonnes of grain, worth `8,100 crore, could go bad at a time when there were already 19 million tonnes lying exposed to sun and rain. High procurement prices have led to overflowing granaries, with some 82 million tonnes — a quarter more than storage capacity. Irrigation accounts for 80% of the water used in India, so many millions of litres are wasted if grain isn’t consumed. Experts like Rahul Kumar, managing director of the Amul dairy in Anand, point out that with 17% of the world’s cattle population on 2% of the world’s land, the country’s livestock faces the same problem as its people: feed insecurity and malnutrition. There is a 25% deficit in dry fodder, 65% in green fodder and 60% in feed concentrates. In spite of this, the country inexplicably exports about 2,00,000 tonnes of rice bran, after the oil is extracted, and oil cakes worth `8,500 crore every year. In 2010, the UN Human Development Report cited how, using a new ‘multi-dimensional poverty index’, eight Indian states had more poor people than the 26 poorest sub-Saharan African countries together. The food security law should help improve the abysmal nutrition profile of the population, particularly of children. Since two-thirds of the population will be entitled to subsidised grain, it will reduce the mountains of grain which are turning inedible even for cattle. It is high time that this most atrocious form of waste ended. HT Darryl D’Monte is chairperson, Forum of Environmental Journalists of India.


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September 27, 2013

IMS Presents a Classical Concert to Celebrate 10 Years in Houston for Pandit Ghosh, Shah

BY VIVEK & NAMRATA SINHA HOUSTON: The Indian Music Society of Houston (IMS) has brought classical music to Houstonians for the last 21 years. It was only natural then that IMS celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Pandit Suman Ghosh and Pandit Shantilal Shah making Houston their home, with a solo concert by Pandit Ghosh, the Mewati Gharana torch-bearer and a household name for Indian classical music lovers in Houston; aptly supported on Tabla by Pandit Shah, the maestro who has enriched Houston with a truly advanced level of this art, and on Harmonium by Shri Sameer Kotasthane from Austin. In his welcome address Govind Shetty, the President of IMS, spoke of how the maestros had established a strong base for Hindustani Classical Music in Houston, having brought the necessary ingredients with them –

sur (tune), laya (cadence) and taal (rhythm). The intimate ambience of the concert venue – The Jones Hall of the University of St Thomas –was ideal for an interactive concert. Pandit Ghosh began the concert with a Vilambit Ektaal bandish in Raag Shyam Kalyan. The aalaap of a raag is the start of musical meditation and establishes the mood of the raag – and the very first aalaap of the evening, quickly established a contemplative and meditative mood, which had the audience enthralled. Pandit Ghosh and his ensemble took the raag to a divine level with a seamless transition to another bandish in Drut Teentaal. The entire presentation spanned the spectrum of emotions from the pensive and contemplative to sheer epicurean indulgence, with both the “bhaav” (tone or sentiment) of the lyrics and the pure technical musicality being emphasized equally.

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This was followed by a Bhajan in Raag Charukeshi, Pandit Ghosh’s own composition. The audience and performers were clearly both equally enraptured, because Pandit Ghosh delayed the intermission as he rendered another bandish in Raag Kedar before taking a break. The second half of the concert started with a Khayal in Raag Gunji Kanada, a relatively rare Raag. Pandit Ghosh prefaced the presentation with characteristic humility, saying it was his attempt to reach where others had gone before him. The first composition was in Vilambit Ektaal, followed by one in Drut Teental – once the mood of the Raag had been established. It appeared as if the three artistes were in perfect sync and truly enjoying the music they created as much as the audience did. This was followed by a Taraana in Raag Chandrakauns and another Bhajan in Raag Bhairavi. Pandit Ghosh reminded Houstonians that they had heard this Tarana in Raag Malkauns from his Guruji Sangeet Martand Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj only recently, adding that his Guruji had “approved” his version of the Tarana. As Pandit Ghosh interacted with the audience throughout the concert, he frequently spoke of his Gurus and their contributions to music in general and his life and musical journey in particular. The easy camaraderie between the artistes, and their mutual appreciation of each other’s talents, was another commendable aspect of the concert. The entire evening was nothing short of sublime, yet another step forward in Houston’s growth as a center for Indian classical music, and a most befitting program to end the 10th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of Pandit Ghosh’s Saadhana Pariwar in Houston. Kudos to IMS for their focused, relentless & successful efforts in this direction!



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Pakistani Art by Imran Qureshi Takes on NYC in MOMA’s Roof Garden Commission BY ASEEM KULKARNI

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NEW YORK: Pakistan, one of the largest Islamic republics in the world, is continually characterized by extreme violence and poverty, religious fanaticism, conflicts with neighboring countries, and no faith in government rule. However, Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi has found a visual outlet to provide hope out of the ever present bloodshed and turmoil. Imran Qureshi is one of the most important figures on the Pakistani art scene. The artist, who was born in 1972, lives in Lahore where he teaches at the National College of Art. In his paintings and installations, he combines the centuriesold Islamic art form of miniature painting with conceptual approaches and elements of contemporary abstract painting. The Metropolitan Museum in New York’s Roof Garden project represents the artist’s emotional response to violence occurring across the globe in recent decades and his earnest hope for regeneration and lasting peace in the aftermath of man-made disasters. Three years ago Qureshi began to use red acrylic in his installations in response to brutal bombings in Lahore. While many of the world’s citizens have become accustomed to almost daily attacks on their streets, such cruelty striking so close to home provoked a deep response in his work. Using the nearly 8,000-squarefoot open-air space as his canvas, Qureshi has worked areas of his spilled and splattered red acrylic paint into patterns of lush ornamental leaves that evoke the luxuriant walled gardens that are ubiquitous in miniatures of the Mughal court; they also echo the spectacular verdant foliage of Central Park surrounding the Roof Garden today. Qureshi is the first artist to create a work that will be painted directly

The painting installation set against Central Park and the Manhattan skyline provides a stark contrast and sets a morose but hopeful atmosphere.

Qureshi takes a “paint dripping” approach similar to Jackson Pollock to depict an emotional response to the blood spattering in the bombings throughout Lahore.

onto the Roof’s surface, and visitors will be encouraged to walk on it as they view it. “These forms stem from the effects of violence,” he explains in a statement posted by the museum. “They are mingled with the color of blood, but, at the same time, this is where a dialogue with life, with new beginnings and fresh hope starts.” Qureshi states. The installation has met with mixed reviews and sentiments. Many view Qureshi’s painting as T:6” obvious and lackluster pointing to the question, does the work trans-

late to a Western audience? Even though the most recent Boston Marathon Massacre has evoked many feelings similar to the effect of September 11, to the South Asian community, whether you are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc., violence and terrorism are sadly, common occurences. The exhibit is on view on the rooftop garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (weather permitting) until November 3.

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September 27, 2013


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Asia Society Texas Center is proud to present the tale of Budhia Singh, an East Indian slum boy, who at the age of four captured the attention of a nation as he began training for an Olympic future.

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September 27, 2013

Ovarcome Impresses yet again with their 2nd Annual OvarRock Benefit Concert to Raise Cancer Awareness

President and founder Runsi Sen (second from left)

BY SANCHALI BASU HOUSTON: What started out as a vision in the mind of Runsi Sen, Ovarcome formed in memory of her mother who lost her battle with ovarian cancer has taken wings and flown off to a great start. This organization provides treatment support and options to underprivileged women suffering from ovarian cancer. Their goal this year is to reach across the globe and raise awareness about ovarian cancer. They have been fortunate so far in working towards this goal with the immense support and encouragement from several organizations,

universities, hospitals, physicians in the US, Africa and India. Per president and founder Runsi Sen, this year they were able to successfully host luncheons and seminars highlighting the latest developments in the diagnosis, treatment and lifestyle changes in the overcoming women’s cancers by bringing together researchers, clinicians, survivors, families and caregivers. In an effort to expand their work internationally, the first phase is being done in Kolkata, India and the next phase is going to be in other developing regions like Africa, south Asia, Latin America etc. In 2014, Jack

Andraka, young inventor and ovarian and pancreatic cancer researcher will be working with Ovarcome. The concert was held in the Stafford Civic Center on September 21. The entertainment program of the fundraiser event started with a few Bollywood dances by Rhythm India under the able guidance of Arzan Goda which turned out to be quite a hit with the audience. Paintings, holiday cards and gift coupons were auctioned during the intermission. The second half of the concert belonged to Horizon Fusion Band. The interesting feature of this band is that it has singers and musicians are of all age groups from high school seniors to veterans and all walks of life from neurosurgeons to students all gelling in perfect harmony. The band of 7 led by Dr. Subrata Ghosh, who also serves on the advisory board, performed a wide variety of classic rock from Pink Floyd to Dire Straits, Beatles to Bon Jovi, Clapton to Santana and even Indian compositions by Pritam/Gautam Chatterjee to the delight of the audience. Food, sari and jewelry stalls outside the auditorium provided able support to the cause of the event.

Monthly Hindi Kavi Manch Launched by Hindi Lovers Club in Chicago




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Stay tuned every Sunday, Hindi Diwas Celebrations in Downers Grove. From left: Acharya Rohit Joshi, Dr Virendra Bisla, incoming President Vinita Gulbani, Indian Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed and Mrs Sayeed , CEO MedStar Naren Patel and Gurbahan Kaur.

BY RAMEHS SOPARAWALA CHICAGO: A burgeoning Indian American social organization, Hindi Lovers Club, has taken one more step in its bid to popularize the Indian national language- Hindi- in this part of the world by announcing to host once a month Hindi Kavi Manch. Vinita Gulbani, president of the Club said that the Manch will meet every third Tuesday of the month at different libraries in Chicago from 6-30 p.m. to 8-30 p.m. and will encourage hidden talents among Hindi lovers in the community to come forward and recite their poetry or poems of renowned Hindi poets at the Manch meet. She said that former president of the Club Gurbachan Kaur Neelam saw a

big love for Hindi poetry in Hindi Diwas celebration on September 15 in Ashyana Banquet and “ collectively we felt that why not have a monthly gathering to recite poetry to each other and enjoy the same along with facilitating social interaction.” “As being a poetess myself, I love to write and read Hindi poetry, and I thought that we need to provide a platform to many like me to express their inner thoughts and feelings through poems. Gurbachan Kaur and others instantly fell for the idea and hence, Manch and a meeting once a month,” she said Besides this is another way, she added, to promote the Hindi literature, one of the objectives for which the Club was tarted three years ago.

Hindi Lover’s Club, brain child of three Hindi enthusiasts: Gurbachan Shewakramani, Usha Kamaria and Manjit Gill – can easily claim the distinction of being the first of its type organization, was set up to showcase the potential and versatility of this age-old Indian language thru promoting it in simple ways, like day to day talking or writing down thoughts in Hindi, and bringing out Hindi literature, virtually non-existent in this part of the world. It is now three years old and has notched remarkable progress. For further information and to participate in the Kavi Manch call Vinita at 630 915 0658 or email at


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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes Makki di Roti (Corn Flour Bread)

Last week I gave the recipe for sarson ka saag (mashed mustard greens), a dish that is synonymous with home-cooked Punjab food and I mentioned that it is typically eaten with thick makki di roti (stone-ground, coarse corn flour bread). With some homemade mango pickles and finished off with some lassi (buttermilk), the meal has the right mix of deep country flavors and tangy spiciness! Makki di roti is yellow in color when it is ready and is more difficult to make than regular wheat flour bread as it has much less adhesive strength. Steel-ground yellow cornmeal is most commonly found in the US and has most of the husk and germ of the maize kernel almost completely removed. Stone-ground cornmeal, found in most Indian stores, retains some of the hull and germ, giving it more flavor and nutrition. Also, I mentioned that the two dishes are usually eaten during the cold harvesting months when whole fields are harvested in the Punjab for the corn and mustard greens. The meal gives that burst of energy to ward off the winter chills! If the whole meal is finished off with a gur (rock molasses) or chinni di (sugar) gajak (crackle), it makes for a great combination. When served hot, a spoonful of butter is placed on the bread to add to the rustic quality of the meal. But be careful, you can easily eat too much of the tasty meal! There are two secrets to making good makki di roti: first you cannot roll the dough into a pancake like wheat flour roti – you must use a lay-down cloth and second, you must use enough oil to coat your hands and the tava so that the dough does not stick. The oil also helps to make the dough crisp. The ajawain (bishop’s weed or carom seeds) is added to help in the digestion.


• 500 gm makki da atta (stoneground yellow cornmeal) • 4 cups pani (water) • ½ cup tael (olive oil or veg etable oil) • 1 tsp ajawain (bishop’s weed or carom seeds) • Spices (to taste): namak (salt)

Directions: 1. In a pot, warm the water over the stove. Warm water lets the cornmeal rise easily. 2. Place the cornmeal flour in a pan along with the salt and ajawain and add the warm water, a little at a time, to knead it into atta (dough). After it is made, dab the dough with a little bit of water so that it does not dry out. 3. Place a little oil on your hands and rub to grease your palms. Pinch off a small amount of dough and make it round between the palms, dabbing a little water on it to make it easier to roll. 4. Now place a 12 inch square piece of muslin cloth or soft tissue on the counter. Place the round dough on the cloth and press down gently with the rear portion of the palm so as to make the dough spread into a 5 inch disk. 5. Place the tava (flat or slightly spherical skillet) on the stove and heat well. Coat with a halfteaspoon of oil and then lift the cloth; placing the dough gently on the tava. Lift back the cloth and place it on the counter to make the next dough pancake and repeat the step over the tava. 6. When the roti starts to look a bit dry, flip it over with a spatula and add a little oil to the tava. Once it

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is dry, flip again, and add a tiny bit of oil. The roti is ready when some dark spots appear on each side and it becomes a little crisp. Unlike the wheat flour roti, the makki di roti will not puff up and rise. 7. Once you have enough practice with this, you can try adding some grated mooli (long white radishes) or methi (fenugreek) to the dough balls and then press them in the same way into a pancake and cook the roti the same way. The taste is very unique and delicious and these can even be eaten with some plain yogurt. 8. This dish is best served with makki di roti (corn flour chappatis) in a typical Punjabi fashion. I will write that recipe next week. 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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September 27, 2013

Movie Review: Phata Poster Nikhla Hero

BY MADHUREETA MUKHERJEE Story: In his tryst to be a hero, Vishwas Rao ends up becoming a fake filmi cop. But fate offers him funnier choices. Review: Star-struck (rather Salman-struck) small-towner, Vishwas (Shahid) lands in Mumbai with two sapnas. First, his own starry dreams (ruled by Rajnikanths and Khans) of being a Bollywood superstar. Second, his high-on-melodrama maa’s (Padmini) long cherished dream - “mera beta police afsar banega”. But fate takes a hilarious twist when he’s mistaken for a good cop (Thank Heavens, he has Chulbul Pandey for inspiration. With

tighties, googles, dabanggisms, and his own sizzling ‘Munni’). He falls in love with the over-zealous Kajal (Ileana), a social worker with many chaotic-causes. Soon he’s caught in chor-police crossfire between the dreadfully funny gangster Gundappa Das (Saurabh Shukla) and the asli good cop (Darshan Jariwala) - both put up rip-roaring acts. In a comedy of errors and events, through heartbreak and hilarity, emotion and eccentricity, Vishwas flips between fake herogiri and asli heroism. Shahid is ‘phaadu’, really! Whether he’s doing the dhating naach (outstanding); playing rowdy Romeo, a goofy goon, or maa

ka laadla; he’s back in form and packs in all with terrific chutzpah and comic flair. He makes the most of every ‘emoticon’ there is and leaves you ‘ROTFL’. This one belongs to Kapoor and he revels in it. Ileana is good at emotions, but not so tuned into comedy yet. Padmini, the melancholic maa with tons of mascara plays the part with ease, though we wish she induced more laughs over tear-jerking ‘maa-kasam’ dialogues. Sanjay Mishra, as Vishwas’ Bollywood advisor is uproariously funny. Santoshi shows flashes of his previous ‘Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani’, odes to his own classics (‘Andaz Apna Apna’, ‘Ghayal’) and of course the ultimate fanboy moment when Vishwas meets his screen idol Salman (the asli hero!). The first half offers loads of cackles, chuckles, witticisms and spoofy scenes. Post-interval the comedy collapses for a bit with forced OTT drama, khaalipeeli action, and too many songs breaks, but makes a comeback with delightfully funny moments. This one’s worth it for the ‘howlarity’ of it all. And Shahid in his element. ‘Vishwas’ nahin hota? ...Go watch! (LOL! Maa Kasam, it’s just the comedy hangover!) Note: You may not like this film if you don’t have a taste for silly humour & mindless gags! -Times of India


Deepika, Katrina Battle for Double Hat-trick with Ram Leela, Dhoom 3

BY JOGINDER TUTEJA (HT): Now this would be one engaging battle for sure. At the top of their game, the battle for supremacy between Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif is intensifying like never before. Being the ‘only’ leading ladies in Bollywood who are arriving with five straight successes each to their name, both Deepika and Katrina are on the verge of scoring a double hat-trick each. Interestingly, their respective sixth film would be separated by a mere one month. Deepika Padukone has made it five in a row already with Chennai Express, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Race 2 and Cocktail being solid hits and Desi Boyz too managing to sail through,” says a source, “Now her Ram Leela is looking ultra hot too. With Sanjay Leela Bhansali appearing to be in a terrific form, Eros is going all out to pitch it as a movie of the season. They have all the right reasons to do so; after all Deepika is on the top of the game and Ranveer Singh is said to be the big surprise element of the film with a complete image transformation.” If Ram Leela is a hit, Deepika would be the only leading lady from the current era to have scored six successes in a row. On the other hand, Katrina is pretty much assured that there won’t be any hassles as far as, scoring a double hat trick is con-

cerned. After all, many in the industry and trade believe that the Aamir Khan starrer would take the best opening of the year. That, coupled with multiple holidays from 20th December (when it releases) till New Year eve would be punctuated by at least five holidays. “Katrina should be ending the year with a bang too,” an insider adds, “Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Ek Tha Tiger, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara were four straight hits and Tees Maar Khan, contrary to (misplaced) beliefs, made money as well. Now it is time for Katrina’s presence to help Yash Raj Films mint some big time money as well. They have successfully managed to keep the film in news for last year or so. Now it is time to reap benefits out of it.” With both actresses in a continued successful run of their lifetime, it is time for the makers of Ram Leela and Dhoom 3 to rejoice. Meanwhile one looks forward to the kind of collections that these films reap. As of now it is Deepika who is leading the race when it comes to moolah brought in from her last five films. Whether Katrina’s action affair would bridge this gap with Deepika’s most volatile love story? We would know that by the end of 2013 but all said and done, a heads-on battle at the top was never fought as closely as this.


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Kingfisher Airlines in Talks with a Foreign Investor: Vijay Mallya

BY MIHIR DALAL & P.R. SANJAI BANGALORE:Kingfisher Airlines Ltd is in talks with a “foreign” investor to get funds for a re-start and may conclude the discussions within 90 days, the airline’s embattled chairman Vijay Mallya said on Tuesday. Mallya declined to elaborate further on the talks. “All I can say is that it is a foreigner. I’m not at liberty to give further information because of strict confidentiality clauses. Given all that has been speculated, this investor is very, very sensitive to identities being revealed,” Mallya told reporters after the airline’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday. A person close to the development, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a Saudi Arabiabased investor with “strong Maharashtra links” is conducting

a due diligence of Kingfisher. As per the plan, Mallya and the investor will assume part of the debt of the grounded airline and invest nearly Rs.1,000 crore after settling part of the dues of lenders and vendors, this person said. “The idea is to opt for a limited re-start with five Airbus planes and three ATR planes. A joint revival plan will be submitted to aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and lenders shortly,” the person said. Higher fuel costs largely on account of increasing taxes, a failed acquisition of a low-cost carrier (Air Deccan) and poor management of operations led to thousands of crore of losses at Kingfisher. The airline’s operating licence was suspended in October by DGCA following a strike by its employees. Its permit expired on 31 December 2012, but it can

be renewed within two years. Mallya blamed the media for potential investors walking away from putting money into the airline and said at the AGM that Kingfisher’s employees caused the airline’s licence to be suspended. “Let’s try to get Kingfisher Airlines restarted and not have a situation where yet one more investor has been driven away because of statements made by somebody, actions taken by somebody, or speculation in the media,” he said. Despite the increasing losses in India’s airline industry, investor interest has been strong after the government allowed overseas carriers to invest in their counterparts here in September 2012. Indian airlines, excluding Kingfisher, are expected to lose a combined $400450 million in the second quarter of the current fiscal, according to a mid-August report by consulting

firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa). The airlines lost an estimated $1.95 billion last fiscal. Still, this year, Etihad Airways agreed to buy a 24% stake in Jet Airways (India) Ltd. The Tata Group signed a deal to runadiscount carrier with Malaysia’s AirAsia, and then last week also announced plans to launch a full-service airline with Singapore Airlines. Mallya said on Tuesday that Kingfisher has submitted three revival plans to DGCA but hasn’t yet received a response from the regulator. He also said the UB Group’s holding company, United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd, or UBHL, has agreed to pay Kingfisher employees a month’s salary and has approached the Karnataka high court for approval. Kingfisher hasn’t paid employee salaries since August 2012. The permission is required because Kingfisher Airlines’creditors have filed at least five winding-up petitions in the court to recover dues. UBHL has given corporate guarantees of nearly Rs.9,000 crore for Kingfisher’s debt. “The Kingfisher board has requested the UBHL board for funding. The UBHL board has considered the matter in the light of the prospective investor and has agreed to provide some funding to Kingfisher Airlines. UBHL itself cannot use its own funds or its assets because of a restraining order from the Karnataka high court. We have applied to court for permission to use part of these funds and now it’s in the hands of the honourable judge,” Mallya said. Several Kingfisher employees present at the AGM on Tuesday said that receiving just one month’s salary wasn’t enough and expressed scepticism about Mal-

lya’s ability to restart the airline. “He’s paying us a salary for one month out of 14 months… he’s doing a great job,” one of the employees said, declining to be named. “He’s been saying for months now that he’ll get investors and restart the airline. But who’ll want to invest in Kingfisher? At the AGM, he also said that we were to blame for (Kingfisher) losing the licence.” Slipping control Kingfisher is grounded, and Diageo Plc has management control at United Spirits Ltd. Now, Mallya is in danger of losing control of another of his companies. Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd and Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corp. Ltd are in contention to be the largest shareholders in the UB Group’s Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd (MCFL) after a sale of pledged MCFL shares by Kingfisher’s lenders significantly reduced Mallya’s stake. Mallya said on Tuesday that the UB Group intended to remain the controlling shareholder in MCFL and had offered to buy the shares back. “I have told Mr (Saroj) Poddar, as well as Shaileshbhai of Deepak Fertilizers, that I intend to keep MCFL within the UB Group fold and that we’re not sellers and if either of them wishes to sell their shares we would be happy to buy them,” he said, declining to say how he would fund any purchases. Mallya added that he had received assurances from both Zuari Fertilisers and Deepak Fertilisers that they would not attempt a hostile takeover of MCFL.Despite repeated attempts, Mint couldn’t reach both Zuari Fertilizers and Deepak Fertilizers for comment.




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32 September 27, 2013

Two to Thrill: Race between Jessy and Tintu BY STAN RAYAN

On the road to the Indian Badminton League, the Saina Nehwal versus P.V. Sindhu battle was the one everyone was looking forward to. There was a lot riding on the two, one 23 and an Olympic bronze medallist, the other a World Championship bronze medallist at 18. And both trained by the same coach. Even their coach Gopi Chand revealed recently that he would not be anywhere near the court when the two play each other. That makes the matches between the two all the more interesting. Well, there could be something similar cooking in Indian athletics. If not now, at least by the time the next Olympics comes around, in Rio in 2016. We’re talking about the 17-yearold Jessy Joseph who has some very impressive performances in the women’s 800m. Her rivalry with Olympian Tintu Luka, an Asian medallist and women’s national record holder, should set the tracks on fire in about a couple of years. Both are coached by P.T. Usha at her school of athletics in Kozhikode. The two were in action at the 53rd Open Nationals in Ranchi the other day. Railway’s 24-year-old Kerala-born Tintu, as expected, won the 800m with a fast run but it was Kerala’s Jessy who turned in the most impressive performance, despite finishing fourth. Jessy improved her personal best from 2:09.90 sec., which came at the Senior Inter-State Nationals in Chennai in June, by more than three seconds with a 2:06.82s run at Ranchi. That helped her easily better the under-18 national record of West Bengal’s Jhuma Khatum (2:08.96) by more than two seconds! “Since I was going with Tintu the last couple of years, I could never accompany Jessy for meets but this time, I went with her for the Open Nationals. We went by flight to Ranchi,” said Usha. “So, I was able to advise her well before the race and she ran accordingly. I advised her how to take each 200 and she ran well.”

“Jessy Joseph will run faster this year. I expect her to come down to something like 2:05.8 this year itself,” says her coach P.T. Usha. Jessy running fast should also push Tintu to faster timings in a country where she has been winning with ease.

Usha felt that Jessy could have run faster in Ranchi, which apart from Tintu had the seasoned Sinimol Markose (Paulose) and Sushma Devi in the fray. The track was wet and it was raining too. “She will run faster this year,” said Usha. “I expect her to come down to something like 2:05.8 this year itself. She got stuck in a ‘block’ in the Ranchi race so she couldn’t go for a complete open run.” Jessy is likely to come up with more stunning runs next season. “I am trying to bring her to the 2:02 range next season. She is capable of chopping off another three seconds to something like 2:02.5,” explained Usha. “But after that, bringing down each second will be a lot slower, tougher too. I’ve not given her any heavy load, so she is capable of doing 2:02 when I give her that sort of work.” Jessy, born on December 8, 1995 at hilly Kootukal near Nilambur in Malappuram District, has been a rather unlucky girl. She missed the recent Youth Worlds in Ukraine as she was born three weeks before the cut-off birth date for the championship. That has often been the case for her when it came to major junior and youth international meets. However, it also turned out to be a blessing. She took part in many senior national meets and this gave her the opportunity to taste tough top-class competitions at a young age and helped her to grow

In Indian athletics, the race between Jessy Joseph and Tintu Luka should set the track on fire. up faster. Tintu and Jessy have different styles and adopt different strategies in the two-lap event. Tintu is a front-runner while Jessy is comfortable at the back, tailing the leader and playing a patient waiting game before going for the ‘strike’. Playing with Saina almost every day has given the young badminton star Sindhu loads of confidence. Jessy too has gained immensely by training with Tintu. Jessy running fast should also push Tintu to faster timings in a country where she has been winning with ease. “Since she has been running with Tintu, she could pace her race accordingly as she had Tintu in front,” explained Usha. “She is also able to understand things better now and she is slowly getting the seriousness of the sport.” Jessy running fast should also push Tintu to faster timings in a country where she has been winning with

ease. “That should be the best part,” said Usha. “Tintu is very motivated now, she has already run 1:59.17 (which currently is the Indian record). She knows that she is coming close to that form. And she knows where things went wrong for her in recent meets. “At the recent Moscow World Championship, the bronze went for 1:57.91s. Earlier, medals used to go for timings like 1:55, 1:56 but now with WADA (World Antidoping Agency) making life tough for athletes on drugs, the timings have slowed down, 1:57.3, 1:57.5 will bring you medals at the World meets. It will not be tough for Tintu to cut down that one second from her best and aim for a big medal.” And next year, with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Scotland, in July-August) and the Asian Games in Incheon (Korea, Sept.-Oct.) lined up, the fare on track should be a thrilling one. So, who will finally emerge the better of the two? “Jessy has a good physique and she is a lot healthier than Tintu, so Jessy has a very good chance of doing well. But Tintu will break her own records and go faster still.” Clearly, Usha does not want to take sides. And when her two best athletes fight it out at their peak on the track, like Gopi Chand, she will watch the action from a corner far away. Sports Star


Champion League T20 Returns to India

The Champions League T20 2013 will be held in India from September 17 to October 6 and there will be no team from England in the tournament. The West Indian champions, who had to play Qualifiers in the last two editions, will feature in the main draw. The schedule, announced on Friday, has ten teams split in two groups, with the top two in each group making the semi-finals. Eight teams have been seeded directly into the main competition and will be joined by two of the four qualifiers. One of those qualifiers is the Pakistan side Faisalabad Wolves, who recently won the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup; their participation in the tournament will be interesting given the fragile diplomatic and sporting ties between India and Pakistan. Trinidad & Tobago find a place in the main draw, after sustained public pressure following strong performances in previous seasons. They had finished runners-up in the inaugural edition in 2009, but had to play the qualifying round in 2011 and 2012. The ECB’s announcement that no teams from England will take part in this year’s competition has opened up slots for other domestic teams. Group A: IPL 1st ranked team (India), Highveld Lions (South Africa), Perth Scorchers (Australia), IPL 3rd ranked team (India), Q1 (Qualifier) Group B: IPL 2nd ranked team (India), Titans (South Africa), Brisbane Heat (Australia), Trinidad & Tobago (West Indies), Q2 (Qualifier) Qualifier: IPL 4th ranked team (India), Otago Volts (New Zealand), Sri Lanka qualifier, Faisalabad Wolves (Pakistan)



September 27, 2013


Desi American Stephen Alter’s New Spy Book is a Thriller

BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT Next to Ruskin Bond, Stephen Alter is the most well known Mussoorie writer; he is equally comfortable writing both fiction and non-fiction. Stephen is Founding Director of the Mussoorie Writers’ Mountain Festival. Despite that busy job, his literary output has indeed been prodigious: 15 books, nine fiction and remaining non-fiction is no mean achievement. His latest “The Rataban Betrayal”, is a ‘literary thriller’ with Mussoorie as its backdrop. Stephen Alter doesn’t fit into a straitjacket ethnic profile. He is of American lineage, but was born and raised in Landour Cantonment in Mussoorie. Stephen’s wife of 35 years, Ameeta, is Punjabi. The Indian diaspora in the US is called ‘American Desis’; likewise, Stephen could easily be described as a ‘Desi American’. It was in 1916, that his missionary grandparents came to study at the Landour Language School. In the 1930s, his grandfather became the principal of Woodstock, Mussoorie’s famed American international school. Later, his parents too were respected staffers at Woodstock for more than thirty years. In a rare achievement, his father Rev. Bob Alter too was subsequently anointed as its principal in 1968 and remained in that top post for the following ten years. After completing schooling at Woodstock, Stephen went to the US and graduated in History from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. For ten years, Stephen was a Writer-in-Residence in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also taught courses in fiction and non-fiction writing. Before that he was director of the Writing Program at the American University in Cairo, Egypt for seven years. Read more about this fascinating writer and far more fascinating an individual. In an interview with RAJ KANWAR, Stephen speaks about his life and his literary work. SOME EXCERPTS Tell me something about “The Rataban Betrayal”, your latest book. What made you write a spy thriller when this genre was not exactly your cup of tea? Do you see any possibility of it being made into a movie?

Though I could have travelled by air, the experience gained in that train travel was far more valuable. It was a fascinating journey that enabled me to visit places where my family had lived and worked prior to 1947. My wife, Ameeta’s family are originally from Lahore and it was interesting to visit places that they once called their home. My book was about the unsettling presence of borders and frontiers. How much success has the Mussoorie Writers’ Mountain Festival achieved? It has been remarkably successful in many ways, bringing together 25 authors, mountaineers, artists, filmmakers and conservationists. It provides an ideal opportunity to celebrate Mussoorie’s literary heritage. Every participant, irrespective of whether he/she is from India or abroad, becomes a Stephen Alter

Yes, “The Rataban Betrayal” is a spy thriller. As a reader, such thrillers have been my staple diet, and John Le Carre and Graham Greene my favourite authors. It’s not easy to write a thriller because you have to keep the pace going and the characters can’t retreat into their heads very often. It is, of course, set in Mussoorie, but this isn’t the town most people would recognize. There’s a scent of danger in the air, along with the fragrance of pines. RAW and CIA agents chase each other across the Indo-Tibetan border; there are intrigues and covert action. I wanted to repudiate the general perception that spy thrillers are pulp fiction; there is a lot of good writing in this genre. I took writing this novel as a challenge and I hope that readers will find this book a literary thriller that combines fast action with psychological complexity. When it is made into a movie, I promise you that I will be the first person to buy a ticket. I believe you have earlier collaborated on two screenplays, would you consider writing the screenplay of this spy thriller, if a movie opportunity comes your way? I have written a script for The Rataban Betrayal and am in discussion with producers in Mumbai. What was your first publication as a writer? Was it “All the way to heaven”? What inspired you to take up a subject

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like that for your first attempt? No, “Neglected Lives” was my first novel, written in college and published in 1978. It was about a hill station like Mussoorie and I suppose I wrote it out of a sense of nostalgia for home, though it wasn’t a particularly cheerful book. “All the way to heaven” was published much later in October 2000. I often used to hesitate when asked a simple question, “Where are you from originally?” Although I looked an American with trace of British accent, my reply that I am from a hill station 7,000 feet above sea level, in the Himalayas in India would generally shock people. In “All the way to heaven”, a non-fiction memoir, I have written about my family, my Indian friends and my memories,both exotic and mundane. What exactly inspired you to write “Amritsar to Lahore” when you have never lived in Lahore or even for that matter Amritsar? What were your experiences? Growing up in India and later, as an adult, I wasn’t able to visit Pakistan for various reasons; however, in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of Independence and the Partition, I travelled by train in a third class compartment across the border. Though it was a distance of just about 40 kilometers, it took the officialdom at the border check posts almost 15 hours to check the travel documents of all the passengers.

Mussoorie writer after attending it. When the festival ends, they all carry some pleasant memories and a feeling of bonhomie and togetherness with fellow writers. The next festival, the sixth one, will begin on November 7 this year. What is your next project? I am just finishing a book about my recent treks in Himalaya, including a journey to Kailash and several approaches to Nanda Devi. As for fiction, I hope to write another thriller, maybe a detective story. Raj Kanwar is a Dehra Dunbased author and freelance journalist.

Jagan Reddy Set to Walk out of Jail; Supporters Gather to Welcome Him HYDERABAD: Supporters of YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy, along with scores of party workers, on Tuesday assembled outside the Chenchalguda Central prison in Hyderabad, waiting for their leader’s release after he was granted bail in the alleged quid pro quo investments case. Scores of Jagan supporters and YSRC workers raised slogans and danced in front of the jail, from where the 40-year-old leader is likely to walk out after nearly 16 months, on submission of necessary documents in the special CBI court. In view of this, security around the jail premises was tightened with deployment of huge police force besides paramilitary forces. CBI not opposing Jagan’s bail ‘mockery’ of law: BJP DA case: CBI completes probe, detects violations by 16 firms Don’t impute political motive to Jagan’s bail: Cong Jagan was on Monday granted conditional bail by a special CBI court which directed that he be enlarged on bail on submission of Rs. 2 lakh personal bond and two sureties of like amount. The Kadapa MP was arrested by CBI on corruption charges on May 27, 2012 and has been lodged in the central prison since then. The case relates to investments

made by various companies in Jagan’s firms in return for alleged undue favours extended to them, including land and water allotments, during the tenure of his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy as Andhra Pradesh chief minister between 2004 and 2009. Jagan had moved the court for bail on September 11 on the ground that the four-month deadline set by the Supreme Court for completion of investigation by the CBI had ended on September 9. Earlier, the Supreme Court had on October 5, 2012 and on May 9, 2013 rejected the bail petitions of Jagan. In May, the apex court had directed CBI to complete its investigation and file the charge sheet(s) within four months. Thereafter, the appellant could move the trial court, which would be “free to consider the prayer for bail independently on its merits without being influenced by dismissal of the present appeal,” the Supreme Court had said.


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