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Friday, November 28 2014 | Vol. 33, No. 48


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Bedi’s Fashionistas!

Mandira Bedi (center); to her right: Ruchika Dias from Bollywood Shake, along with the Aalponaa Event Designers team, from left: Piyal Sengupta, Sailaja Bandhopdhyay, and Mumu Choudhury.

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November 28, 2014



November 28, 2014


First Spanish Translation of Ramayana Seeks to Reach the Hearts of Latin Americans

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: The wisdom of the Sage Valmiki in his rendition of the deeds and life of the Hindu God Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, has been read and deciphered by generations of devoted Hindus who have been imbibed by his verses full of kernels of knowledge and lessons that lie waiting those who grasp them. For centuries, these verses complied in the Ramacharitasmanas and played out as the Rama Leela during the Diwali season have framed the mindsets and code of conduct for millions of Hindus the world over. Translations have been available in many Indian languages and a few other foreign ones, most notably English. If language frames the context and meaning of an idea or thought that elicits the reaction of a person, then abstract ideas require a more indepth understanding of the type that suggests that they speaker has experienced that journey and can share the lessons effortlessly and simply. It is as if they can shed valuable bits of knowledge with every breath they exhale. Such was the feeling that Rangapuri Das exuded as he sat down for a thali dinner at Maharaja Bhog with reporters during his short visit to the Bayou City in mid-October. As the guest of Dr. Arun Verma, the head of the Sri Sita Ram Foundation which has brought the Ram Leela and the Dusserah and Diwali Mela to Houston for the past several years, he had been given a chance to briefly speak onstage at the Cullen Auditorium before the play (see IAN dated Oct. 17, 2014) and closed with a shlok in Sanskrit. Das was on a tour of the US to bring attention to the culmina-

With Ranagapuri Das, the translator of the Ramayana into Spanish, is Dr. Arun Verma, a devotee of Lord Rama, who has created the Dusserah and Diwali Mela spectacle in Houston. Rangapuri Das visited Houston in late October and spoke at the Sita Ram Foundation’s Ram Leela program.

tion of his 21 year labor of love and devotion to translate Valmiki’s Ramayana into second most common language in the world, Spanish. He would travel onwards to San Francisco and then to the UK to make presentations there of his work, but while in Houston, he presented the first private printing of 50 copies sponsored by Verma and his wife, giving one copy to University of Houston President Renu Khator at the Ram Leela play. To keep the costs down, Das intends to get the over 900 pages, color, illustrated translation, done in the style of illuminated books, published in India. Born Reynaldo Cuadros Anaya 56 years ago in Bolivia, Das became an ISKCON devotee of

Swami Prabhupada and first read the Bhagwad Gita 35 years ago, around the same time that he was initiated as Rangapuri Das, a turning point in his spiritual journey. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from Columbia University and then a doctorate in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the International School in Brussels, Belgium. Anaya has been a professor of science at the Andres Bello University in Santiago, Chile and at an Institute is La Paz, Bolivia. He was appointed Bolivia’s Ambassador to the Permanent Representative to the Organization of American states from 2006 to 2009, and later served as Bolivia’s Liaison

to the White House for six months and later as an Ambassador to several other countries for two years. His son, 35, has a degree from Berkley, California and teaches Indian Studies there; Das’ second wife is also a Bolivian Vaishnav and devotee and his daughter studies environmental engineering. But Das’ pursuit of bringing the words and wisdom of the Ramayana to the Spanish speaking world has led him on a quest learn Sanskrit and visit India where he took guidance from his guru who passed away some years ago. He has been a brahmachari for nine years, a member of the World Vaishnava Association and finished the translation in 2008 in the holy city of Vrindavan, near Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, a work that he thought would take him only six months but consumed 21 years of his life. “The Ramayana is an important text for the world to recognize right and wrong, evil and good,” said Das in the slow, calm, deliberate manner of someone at peace with himself. “Nowadays, people create new ways to interact, but Nature has already set these ways for society and the modern world should learn from it.” Das has visited many countries neighboring India, like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and he says they all acknowledge India as the Motherland of their cultures. His hope is that the Spanish translation will allow people in Latin America to read the Ramayana much as they read the Iliad and Odyssey by the ancient Greek author Homer and believes that everything Greek come from India, that Aristotle told Alexander the Great to go to India, learn about the Aryans and bring back ancient texts, 146,000 of which are stored in an English University. Das has

The opening page of the Spanish language Ramayana, which is only currently available in limited release.

spoken with the Minister of Education in Bolivia about making the Spanish translation of the Ramayana available in high schools as a book that teaches the basic principles of life and not just as a religious book. “The Ramayana is not mythology,” he insists, “It has many scientific connections.” The Spanish translation is indeed marvelous to behold with its appealing lithography and colorful panels and 25 page Appendix of explanations. Arun Verma was introduced to Das in Washington, DC in 2000, as someone who was writing about the Ramayana and since then the two men have stayed in touch and Verma wanted to do a book launch in Houston this year. Now, with the work done, they two men want to penetrate the Latin American market and spread the knowledge in the ancient text for future generations to learn from. To see the Spanish Ramayana, visit spanishr/ramayana10/ramayana10a.pdf



November 28, 2014



STAFFORD: The colors of fall rolled over into an evening of glamour, fashion and entertainment for Jhalak, organized by Bollywood Shake and Aalponaa event designers in collaboration with Studio S on November 23, at the New Stafford Convention Center. After organizing Bollywood pageants featuring Preity Zinta, Neha Dhupia and Ravina Tandon, Ruchika Dias, Founder & CEO of Bollywood shake played host to the popular actor, anchor, sports presenter and now designer Mandira Bedi for the event. Sailaja Bandhopdhyay, Mumu Choudhury and Piyal Sengupta were part of the Aalponaa team that designed the event with meticulous perfection, creativity and dedication. Jhalak was a full day event featuring a fashion bazaar that was bustling and busy and carried a wonderful collection of local clothing, jewelry and accessory vendors. Featuring more than forty booths, the fashion bazaar was organized by Shama Irfan of Studio S. There was also a karaoke session held around noon along with the bazaar. The main feature of Jhalak was the fashion show that featured three distinct designers and their collections; Radhika Puri jewelry from Austin, Studio S Pakistani designer fashions and the featured attraction – Mandira Bedi’s “Joie de Vivre” collection. Pooja Lodhia from ABC13 was the emcee for the night, she conducted the show very smoothly and kept it entertaining. Aslam and Abdul from Deco Art event planners decorated the stage and venue, sound and lights were well put together by BJ & DJ Asim from Dholi Beat International. Raza Hasan who choreographs all of Bollywood Shake’s fashion and pageant events very creatively choreographed Mandira Bedi and Radhika Puri fashion shows. Even Mandira Bedi was very im-

November 28, 2014


Elegance Personified at Jhalak pressed with the choreography for her show and complimented Raza herself. Jasmeeta Singh choreographed the Studio S fashion show. She has organized, choreographed and performed Indian classical and semi-classical, Punjabi and Bollywood dances for various events. At the end of the fashion show, the much-awaited moment arrived as Mandira Bedi appeared with her 3-year-old son Vir and it was a treat to watch. Ruchika asked him to say a few words and he said he was glad to be here. On being asked about her choice to be designer, Mandira answered, “I would wear a saree designed by myself and people asked me whom are you wearing, so I said me and that’s how this clicked”. Mandira thanked everyone for coming out to the show and added that she was very impressed by the shows choreography and the models that presented her saree collection. A portion of the event proceeds will benefit Daya Houston, a local organization that provides services to women and children affected by domestic violence. Abhilasha Raj from Daya Houston made a small presentation to the audience. Gopaal Seyn was challenged to paint LIVE during the Mandira Bedi fashion show. The talented artist completed the painting in 22 minutes. It was auctioned for $5500, which was very generously bid by Anand Kumar Chauhan and his wife Dr. Ashima Chauhan, who are involved with various charities. 100% of the proceeds from the auction will go to Daya Houston. The organizers would like to thank Gayathri Kumar from Just Chic Events, Murali Santhana and Jasleen Kaur for photography, all the Bollywood Shake dancers (Mashal, Shaila, Gauri, Esha, Deepali, Anusha, Kasturi, and Nikita). Photos: Murali Santhana

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November 28, 2014


IACCGH Hosts Supplier Diversity and Certification Seminar

From left: IACCGH President Sanjay Ramabhadran, Rogelio Anasagasti (HCC), Richard Huebner (HMSDC), Annie Lidge (FLUOR), Kimberly Williams, (METRO) April Day,(WBEA) Carlecia Wright,City of Houston, Steve Dukes, (CenterPoint Energy) Donavan Casanave (Shell) and Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia. Photo: Bijay Dixit

BY MANU SHAH HOUSTON: Four major certification agencies and four high level Fortune 500 Supplier Diversity Managers shared a wealth of information about the advantages of certification and the Procurement process with

IACCGH members and guests on November 17 at the HESS Club. In a competitive global business landscape, having a unique value proposition may not always be enough for business growth. Visibility, credibility and access to decision making company representatives at expos and trade

fairs as well as keeping abreast of the latest opportunities in the field may sometimes clinch a contract and helps business grow. One of the first and best steps to bring visibility to a business and promote growth is to be certified by nationally recognized certification companies. One of the premier certification agencies – HMSDC’s President Richard Huebner – aptly described by IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia as “the father of diversity in Houston” outlined the process and benefits of certification describing it as “an entry point to business.” Certification with HMSDC is a 5 step process and offers the primary advantage of credibility. Corporations primarily look for a company that has been certified to do business with as “it validates who you are and what you do” by an independent certification agency. Certification also offers exposure to market one’s business and access to corporations looking for suppliers. Director, City of Houston, Office of Business Opportunity, Carlecia Wright also stressed the fact that certification is key to the growth and success of smaller businesses and offers an opportunity to “educate oneself, connect and grow.” The Office offers a variety of certifications for Minority, woman owned and small businesses and the aim is to “get the company to be that Fortune 500 Company.” A new initiative – Hire Houston First – offers a competitive edge to those certified businesses located in the city of Houston or the surrounding 8 counties over those located elsewhere, when making a bid for business. “If you are a bold innovative business, then you must get certified,” was President, Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, April Day’s advice to the gathering. Being certified with WBEA makes one a part of 12,000 network of woman owned businesses and expands your company’s visibility to decision makers in supplier diversity and procurement offices. It also provides scholarships in professional de-

velopment opportunities for team members of a growing business. Deputy Chief Procurement Officer, METRO, Kimberly Williams believed that the biggest benefit of certification is the sharing of information and “getting your name and your brand out there.” Being a METRO certified Small Business allows a company to be listed in the METRO directory as a Small Business Program participant, offers technical assistance services and is accepted by the Houston Community College, Houston First Corp. and the Port of Houston for their business development programs. Shell’s Manager of Supplier Diversity, Donovan Casanave stressed the fact that certified businesses must be able to “articulate where they fit in” in a Company’s supply chain. He also encouraged the gathering to attend expos, seek out supplier diversity representatives, ask about subcontracting opportunities, be visible and in touch with the representatives. Describing CenterPoint Energy as the company “one thinks of on hot days and the cold days,” Steve Dukes, Senior Coordinator, Supplier Diversity offered examples of two certified businesses who worked with CenterPoint Energy in Field Data Management and IT consultancy. Annie Lidge, Program Manager, Supplier Diversity of FLUOR, explained how the Company uses diverse local businesses for their contracting jobs and how certification helps. It is also important for businesses to ask themselves what makes them “unique and different” to be able to get a foothold in business contracts. “Get as many certifications as possible,” was the advice by Rogelio Anasagasti, Executive Director, Procurement Operations, HCC, as it “opens doors”, visit expos and build a relation of trust with supplier diversity managers. The day’s takeaways was that a business can be successful and grow if it can get certified, have a unique value proposition, build relationships with decision makers, be visible, outperform competition and as Steve Dukes put it – “hang in there.”.



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November 28, 2014


Executive Action Brings Relief to Millions of Immigrants Immigration Update from Willy, Nanayakkara, Rivera and Goins

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The President’s Executive Action announcement has finally come. While the specifics of how the programs will be instituted have yet to be determined, the overview of each program has been announced. The changes provided affect both undocumented immigrants and immigrants lawfully present, and the highlights of the action are as follows: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be expanded, now having no age restriction. Continuous presence must have begun no later than January 1, 2010 (not June 15, 2007). This will take effect 90 days from the President’s announcement. Deferred Action will be offered to parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present since January 1, 2010, and should be up and running within 180 days. As with DACA for children, certain criminal convictions will bar application. Parents will have to register, pay a fee, be fingerprinted, and pay taxes. Parole-in-Place will be expanded to include families of individuals trying to enlist in the armed services. Certain investors will be eligible for parole into the U.S. or for parole-in-place. National interest waivers could become available for entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors, and founders. Details will be released on the application process in 2015. I-601A provisional waiver will be expanded to include spouses and children of lawful permanent residents. The grounds of showing extreme hardship to the qualifying relative have not changed. Secure Communities will be discontinued and replaced with the Priority Enforcement Program. Under Secure Communities, ICE

worked in cooperation with local law enforcement to identify certain immigrants with criminal records to effect apprehension and removal, even of immigrants having minor criminal records. The Department of Labor will certify more crimes under T and U visas, helping immigrants who were exploited by employers who failed to pay them lawful wages or took advantage of them due to their immigration status. While already scheduled to become law, EAD work authorizations will be granted to certain H-4 dependents. Details regarding changes in visa allocation, including the possible release of unused visas from years before, will be released in January. Individuals with approved I-140’s who are stuck in visa backlogs awaiting priority dates will now be able to pre-register for adjustment of status. This will allow people to enjoy some of the benefits of filing for adjustment of status before their visa numbers are available. A coming interpretation will clarify what jobs qualify for AC21 porting of I-140’s to a same or similar position. Finally, the government will release detailed memos and explanations as to how L-1B specialized knowledge is determined. Information on each program’s implementation will come out in January of 2015. This is a great day for millions of people that have been awaiting immigration reform. While this is not a new law, it is the first substantial change to immigration policy and processes in many years. For further updates, visit www.grwpc. com or call 281-265-2522.

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November 28, 2014

US Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard fundraising took place at Jugal and Raj Malani’s residence on November 15. Atman Shukla introduced Tulsi Gabbard. It was hosted by Jugal and Raj Malani, Ramesh Bhutada, Vijay Pallod, Pankaj Malani, and Rishi Bhutada

Atman Shukla introducing Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard.

Nikita and Atman Sukla with Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard (center).




10 November 28, 2014


Maheshwari Southwest Chapter Celebrated “Rajasthani-Roots Diwali” HOUSTON:Maheshwari (MMNA) southwest chapter celebrated Diwali on November 8. This year the group marked a new tradition by inviting all Rajasthani families of Houston to celebrate Diwali together. More than 150 members gathered for this event. The celebration was held at Taj Hall in the Mahatama Gandhi District. It was a great turnout and the team hopes to continue to have a Diwali gathering for all Rajasthani families of Houston in years to come. The theme of the event was kept to tradition and focused on the state of Rajasthan. Sharad Mantri, the president of the group, kicked off the event in marwari, a language native to Rajasthan. Gyanesh Dadhich sang a beautiful rendition of “Kesariyaa Balamaa, Padhaaro Mhare Desh” to set the tone of the evening. The décor included traditional rangoli, bandhani cloths and katputlis. Rangoli was done by famous rangoli artist Sangeeta Bhutada, who hails from Rajasthan. Some of the others decorations were generously given by Raj Malani. All of the decorations added a festive touch and took you back to Rajasthan. There was plenty of entertainment provided for all attendees. The group organized a “Maharaja

& Maharani” photo session. All attendees could take family portraits as Maharajas & Maharanis. There was a face painting and balloon artist who kept the younger attendees busy during the event. There was a “Beend & Beendani” competition for couples. There were six couple competing for this prize. Anand and Aarti Bhattad were the best Beend & Beendani. There were several performances done by various members of the group. The children sang “Ramji ki nikli sawari” and had the entire audience hanging off their every note. Quite a few dances and song performances of the evening had everyone tapping their feet to the classical musical beats of Rajasthan. This was the end of the two year tenure of the current committee which included Sharad Mantri as president, Arun Mundra as vice president, Nand Kella as Dallas vice president and Shradha Bhutada as secretary. Sharad Mantri welcomed the new committee for the next two year term. Arun Mundra took over as president going forward. His team includes Shrikant Sarda, Sanjay Biyani, Sangeeta Bhutada and Deepali Laddha. Every year a member of the community is recognized for their

outstanding contributions. This year the award was given to Manoj Rathi. He is actively involved in SEWA, HSS, Ekal, Hindi Association, BrahmKumaris, Yoga, and Hindus of Greater Houston. Sushma Pallod and Narendra Zanwar briefed national updates. Arun Mundra updated critical activities at international level. The food was provided by Maharaja Bhog who specializes in Rajasthani cuisine. This year they had a special treat for the attendees, gulab jamun sabji. It was a wonderful evening enjoyed by everyone.

Manoj Rathi recieiving the community service award from Govind Zamwar, an 82 year old Retired Principal, who was honored by the President of India for best teacher. District Executive Member of Eduction Society President - Maheshwari Eduction Support Trust.

New and past MMNA committee. From left: Rishi & Shradha Bhutada, Sharad & Triveni Mantri, Deepali Ladda, Sangeeta Bhutada, Sushma Pallod, Narendra Zamwar, Shrikant Sharda, Arun & Meeta Mundra



November 28, 2014


Anoop Shah Marries Pooja Verma

The newlyweds Anoop and Pooja Shah with their parents, on the left, Ajay and Angela Shah and Dr. Lalit and Aruna Verma on the right.

behind the lobby, where a white tent over a metal frame had been erected. But, alas, it was not to be as a furious rainstorm that started Friday night and lasted all day Saturday drove the ceremonies inside to the Grand Ballroom, “which was the backup option that the resort offered us,” said Ajay Shah, Anoop’s father. But it turned out to be just as well as the baraat danced in the wide hallways and inched its way

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The groom poses on a Texas Longhorn in front of his family and close friends before the baraat started.

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA AUSTIN: It was a baraat like no other as the puzzled guests assembled in the foyer of the large ballroom, with the wedding planners “shush-ing” them to keep quiet so that they wouldn’t startle the groom’s steed. “A quiet Indian wedding,” muttered a few. “Unheard of!!” Many impatient minutes later, after the immediate family and close friends had taken pictures inside, the doors opened and the groom, Anoop Shah came out, seated on an embroidered saddle on a massive, white Texas Longhorn, with a 4 foot spread, led by its handler; hence the “shush-ing” lest the critter be spooked by the noise. A gasp went through the crowd and then Anoop gingerly got off the saddle and the Longhorn was led out the backdoor. The bull, rather than the traditional steed, was Anoop Shah’s desire to make his wedding to Pooja Verma a Texas affair, harkening back to the roots of the Bayou City he was born and raised in. He insisted on having the wedding at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, between Austin and Bastrop on Highway 71, where

The couple after the wedding ceremony.

guests could play a round of golf, hike wilderness trails, play a game of horse shoes, work out at the Spa or play a set of tennis. The wedding was planned for the great outdoors, in the Amphitheater by the banks of the Colorado River and the reception to follow on the large, grassy Riversong Lawn

to around the side, the dholuk player and the DJ keeping the baraatis inCONTINUED ON PAGE



12 November 28, 2014


Sewa & VYASA Concluded 4th Camp to Manage Diabetes Through Yoga Therapy

Dawn centers Melanie Gilmore gives Sewa a certificate of Participants and volunteers at the conclusion of SDM camp at the Dawn Center city of Houston. Appreciation.

HOUSTON: “This was by far the best program in this center with highest rate of retention”, said William Rees ‘Billy’, Senior Consultant with DAWN (Diabetes Awareness & Wellness Network) facility in the 3rd ward area of downtown Houston. The 20 hour program to manage Diabetes through Yoga therapy was conducted in partnership with City of Houston Health department. This was 4th such camps offered by Sewa International and VYASA in Houston. 15 residents of third ward area participated in this camp which was spread over 3 weekends. Melanie Gilmore, (Health Planning Chief with Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS), Division of Aging, Chronic Disease and

Injury Prevention (ACDIP), expressed great joy and shared her happiness that so many participants were could participate and benefit from this program . She and her family prepared delicious vegetarian Soup and sandwiches for all participants and encouraged all to continue the practices which they found beneficial. She also presented the certificate of appreciation from DAWN center to Sewa International and Stop Diabetes Movement for bringing this program to DAWN center. The participants were deeply appreciative of Venita Ray who helped in bringing this program to DAWN. Venita also expressed great satisfaction and pleasure to see the camp went so well and that it touched so many people in a positive way . The program was run by volunteer Yoga

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therapists and Doctors and the participants were deeply appreciative and expressed their gratitude to them for making this program possible. One participant said, “Since beginning of the program, I am feeling that my blood pressure is normal. I can’t wait to go to my doctor and share the good news.” Others also expressed how much they enjoyed and have found useful this ‘pill-less’ therapy which empowers them. The program which would have otherwise costed the participants at least a $1000 was offered completely free to all participants and supported by all volunteer Yoga Therapists and medical doctors who came from all parts of the city from Katy to Pearland to Woodlands. Stop Diabetes Movement (SDM) origi-

nated at SVYASA, Yoga University in Bangalore, India. Through systematic research of 30 years, comprehensive yoga modules have been established that have shown measurable improvement in the various complications associated with Diabetes. The program has been proven to reduce cholesterol and reduce dependence on medicines as well as reduce anxiety and depression associated with the disease. VYASA centers in Houston with help of Sewa International has conducted SDM camps in different part of the city with help of local organizations since beginning of the year. Next SDM at Sugarland is scheduled for Late January 2015. Contact for further information and pre-registration.



November 28, 2014

4th Annual Life and Soul Health Fair Serves with Free Screenings and Vaccines

LTSFA volunteers with the Mayors

Blood test

Vision testing

MANVEL: Love to Share Foundation America (LTSFA) and Global Organization for Divinity’s (GOD) fourth annual health fair – Life and Soul 2014 – was kicked off by the Honorable Mayors Delores Martin of Manvel and Tom Reid of Pearland on Nov 15. Both Mayors had wonderful words of appreciation to the organizations for their selfless service to the community, and praised them for all their community initiatives. They also spent time visiting all the vendors and testing stations, and encouraging the volunteers. About 150 people from Brazoria and neighboring counties braved cold, wintry conditions and were served with best in class medical examinations for free. The completely free health fair drew tremendous support from sponsors, vendors and volunteers, who were all constantly on their feet, tending to the needs of all the attendees. There were over 40 volunteers at the fair this year. The sponsors of this years’ event were Frost Bank, Gale Compounding Pharmacy, Proactive Physical Therapy, Pearland MRI, Bay Area Printing, Best Coupons, Janis Schneider, Sanofi Aventis and Astrazeneca, in addition to Texas Medical Association’s grant. The vendors who offered services

were HEB – Plus, Walgreens, Alvin Community College and Texas Eye Institute. Physicians who served during the fair included Dr. Deepa Vasudevan- Family Medicine, Dr. Radha Arunkumar - Anesthesiology, Dr. Jyoti Rao - Gastroenterology, Dr. Hema Salvady – Rheumatology, Dr. Ashima Chauhan – Family Medicine, Dr. Nisheeth Goel – Cardiology, Dr. Rajan Kadakia – Cardiology and Dr. Seema Nanda – Eye Specialist. Dr. Lakshmi Seshadri conducted a Diabetes Workshop. The free testing offered included Body Mass Index, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1C, Complete Lipid Panel, Bone Density, Lung Function test, Electrocardiogram, Glaucoma, Vision and Retina Screens. Flu and pneumonia vaccines were also offered on a first come first served basis free of cost. The screenings and the vaccines offered had a value of $600 per patient. LTSFA and GOD, both organizations inspired by HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, look forward to reaching out to more and more community members with similar such future events. Apart from this annual free health fair, LTSFA’s social initiatives across the United States include blood and bone marrow drives, food and clothing drives for the homeless, environmental drives, educational supply drives/donations for specialneed schools, medical supply donations to deserving nonprofit organizations in the field and Leadership workshops for youth as well as for employees of professional organizations and businesses. For further information about the nonprofit organizations and its events, contact 281-402-6585 or



14 November 28, 2014



November 28, 2014


HCC Partners with FIS on the Oral History Project

From left: Aric Nitzberg, Film making Divsion Chair, Krishna Vavilala (FIS) and Dr. Edmund Butch Herod, Acting President HCC NW.

From left: Krishna Vavilala (FIS Chair.), Dr. Edmund Butch Herod (HCC NW Acting President) on November 18.

MOU signing on November 18, at HCC Katy Campus. From left: Tejal Patel (HCC NW-PR), Aric Nitzberg (HCC Film Division Chair), Sita Mutyala (FIS), Rose Sarzoza Pena (HCC Spr. Br. campus Manager), Krishna Vavilala (FIS), and Dr.Edmund B.

HOUSTON: Foundation for India Studies ( FIS) and Houston Community College System (HCC) have both signed a MOU at the Katy campus on November 18, to partner in FIS’s Indo-American Oral History Project. The MOU will facilitate HCC and FIS to collaboratively produce video recordings of oral history interviews of the first generation immigrants from India who came and settled in greater Houston area in the early 60’s,70’s and 80’s and have contributed to Houston’s economy and cultural diversity. The video

interviews will be transcribed and permanently stored in the digital archives of the Houston Public Library (HPL) under a separate agreement reached with HPL earlier. The video recordings will not only benefit academia like the historians,researchers, sociologists and students, but also will enable future generations of Indo-American children to trace back to their roots in India. Under this MOU, HCC will make available their studios located at NW College Spring Branch campus and will ensure that the re-

corded interviews meet appropriate standards of quality. The MOU has no expiry date, and is signed by Dr. Edmund “Butch” Herod, Acting President of HCC Northwest College and FIS Chairman, Krishna Vavilala. Thirty(30) interviews have been recorded so far,and the current MOU with HCC will certainly expedite the progress of the project. Interviews are done on first come first served basis, To schedule an interview and for further details, the number to call is :713-7955169.

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Elegance Personified at Jhalak CONTINUED FROM PAGE


Special Mention was made for Arif Memon from DMMS who helped them with the last minute technical arrangements. In addition, they would like to thank Mahreen Khan of Bella Services and MakeupArt by Mariam for the models makeup. Nikki Lea Beauty for the hairstyles. They would also

like to thank all vendors including Akshaya Caterers, Vishala Restaurant, Metlife, TapSnap and all the clothing and jewelry vendors, and the volunteers who helped whole heartedly in making the event successful including all the backstage helpers, ushers, reception team and saree tying team.

Following the fashion show was an exclusive ‘meet the press’ with the event organizers and Madira Bedi. The press included Tv-asia Channel, Indo-American News, Masala Radio Houston, Sangeet Radio Houston and Radio-Fuzion Houston. In a question and answer session with Mandira bedi, when asked by IAN about her experience and what she would like to advice as she has been successful in everything she has done, she said “ hard work always pays, so just keep working hard, and the most important thing is to believe in what you do and just love your work.” Bollywood Shake gave Houston another day of fun and glamour, in collaboration with Aalponaa Event Designers and Studio S. Bollywood Shake has a grand New Years Eve Dhamaka planned at Safari Texas and several more glamorous events for 2015.

Anoop Shah Marries Pooja Verma CONTINUED FROM PAGE


vigorated, with the groom joining in, all the way to the Baron’s Ballroom which was tastefully decorated, with long, tall flowering branches forming a backdrop to the mandap. Pandit Padmakar Gangathirkar of Austin, who has become widely acclaimed for his refreshingly straight-forward delivery in Hindi and witty descriptions English of the ceremony, officiated the ceremony which kept everyone’s attention, a rarity in Hindu weddings. The sangeet dinner was by Bombay Bistro of Austin and the reception dinner came from Bombay Brasserie of Houston. The groom, Anoop Shah, 30, completed his undergraduate de-

gree in Business and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and after a brief stint working in Madison, Wisconsin, finished his MBA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He is presently an Associate in Corporate finance with Next Era Energy, in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is the son of Ajay Shah, a mechanical engineer who is the co-founder of Shah Smith Associates, a consulting engineering firm in Houston. His mother, Angela is a dietician who formerly worked in several area hospitals. The bride, Pooja Verma, 31, was born and brought up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and got her

undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, eventually getting an MBA from Cornell University. She works as a Project Director at TNTP, an NGO consulting firm from Brooklyn, New York. Her father, Dr. Lalit Verma has been the head of the Biology and Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville for the past 14 years. Her mother, Aruna, retired as a kindergarten teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After a “minimoon” in Sedona, Arizona, the couple will make their home in West Palm Beach, Florida. They plan a longer honeymoon next year in New Zealand.

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November 28, 2014

“Festival of Lights” Celebration by Indo American Forum

Photo: Navin Mediwala

SUGAR LAND: The picturesque locale of the Safari Texas Ball room provided the setting for the celebration of Diwali- Festival of Lights in “Maharaja and Maharani Style” by the Indo American Forum (IAF) of Fort Bend. The evening was busting with gorgeous women clad in their exquisitely beautiful saris and lahengas, and men in their shervanis and other ethnic outfits. Evening began with delectable appetizers provided by Bombay Brasserie and Décor by Prashe Designs reminded of Maharaja’s Royal Court. Mistress of Ceremony, Rekha Muddaraja, news anchor KHOU Channel 11 invited the guests in. The evening started with traditional lighting of the lamp by Judge Bob Herbert and his wife Pat Herbert and IAF Chairwoman Jasmin Patel and her husband Dr. Nilesh Patel. Rekha explained the significance of Diwali-dispelling darkness with light, removing ignorance by understanding, and above all “Caring and Giving”. The Indo American Forum elevated its status as non-profit organization in county by contributing ten thousand dollars to the future Children’s Discovery Center in Fort Bend this year. Rekha announced the charities for next year as well. Each of five local charities

of Fort Bend will receive a donation of $2000 each. They are: Meals on Wheels, Literacy Council of Fort Bend, Behind the Badge, Fort Bend Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and Texana Center. IAF Chairwoman Jasmin Patel, introduced the Executive Board and thanked all the board members for giving their time and effort in organizing and volunteering in many civic and social events through out this year. She thanked all the sponsors for their generous contribution and special “Thank You” to Altus Hospice- title sponsor for this evening and presented plaque as an appreciation for their partnership. Former Mayor David Wallace and Chairman of Altus Foundation, explained the IAF’s involvement as a leading organization for many years in providing generous donations and volunteer services. Dr. Dominic Sreshta, Corporate Medical Director elaborated Altus Hospice services and opening of their facility in Sugar Land. Diwali Gala Chair and Sugar Land’s Councilman Harish Jajoo thanked the Diwali Planning Committee for their hard work in making the Gala a success. He recognized the elected officials who were present. The guests included Judge Bob

Herbert and his wife Pat Herbert; State Representative Rick Miller; District Attorney John Healey; Commissioner Richard Morrison and his wife; Commissioner Andy Meyers; Rosenberg Mayor Vincent Morales and Sugar Land CouncilwomanAmy Mitchell. Entertainment started with energetic dance performance by Naach Houston group on song Dhol Nagada, followed by the classical Kathak performance by Megna Murali of Dallas. She won the audience heart by her intricate foot work on fast pace instrumental music. Tera Tali- a lively performance of Rajasthani Folk dance by the Sunanda’s Performing Art Center group was next, followed by the patriotic finale dance performance by Naach Houston group with artist director Mahesh Mahbobani. An elaborated feast “Royal Style” of several vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes was served to the guests followed by the casino night and D.J. B J Joshan inviting the guests to dance the night away! Indeed it was a celebration “Maharaja and Maharani Style!” For further information about IAF visit www.indoamericanforum. com



18 November 28, 2014 A Tryst with Nehru History gives people the privilege of hindsight. Hindsight is often overly generous or unfairly dismissive. The ‘curious’case of Jawaharlal Nehru’s legacy on his 125th birth anniversary, which some wish to celebrate and others don’t, is a case in point. BJP’s attempt to selectively appropriate or denigrate leaders who Congress has always believed are part of its exclusive and proprietary pantheon, is at the heart of this controversy. For decades, Congress privileged Nehru and his biological primeministerial descendants over any other personality, both within their party and outside. However, Narendra Modi’s counter attempt to create a parallel iconography by appropriating Sardar Patel and downplaying Nehru is equally suspect. The consequence is that Congress did not attend the official genuflections at the site of the future Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat, while BJP did not think it necessary to join Congress in making Nehru’s 125th commemoration a national celebration. Citizens are mute spectators to this bizarre battle between political ‘owners’ and ‘trespassers’. I believe Nehru’s legacy can be objectively discussed. True he had his faults. But nobody can deny that he laid the ideological foundations of our young Republic in its formative years through his passionate commitment to democracy, secularism, socialism, non-alignment and promotion of a scientific temper of mind. Many of these achievements are scoffed at today. Democracy is taken for granted, without most people understanding that it required unwavering faith in its relevance by our first prime minister to ensure its survival. In a society where hierarchy had almost religious sanction for millennia, the fact that we are proud today to be the world’s largest democracy is, undoubtedly, a tribute to Panditji. As a professed agnostic, Nehru was not a great believer in religions. He wrongfully associated all religions, and in particular Hinduism, with prejudice, superstition and mechanical ritual. This approach was at variance with Mahatma Gandhi who, even as a practicing Hindu, was devoutly pious to all religions. But whatever the differences in their personal attitudes, both Gandhiji and Nehru considered it an article of faith that all religions in India should be respected and the state should be above religious bias. Nehru’s obsession with modernity, including cultivation of a ‘scientific temper of mind’, can be faulted for being too influenced by western categories. This led him to dismiss large chunks of our history as ‘deadwood of the past’. He carried the so-called notion of westernised modernity to unacceptable levels of impatience with our own cultural idioms, leading to mimicry and hypocrisy. Future generations have the freedom to freely assess the worth of their national icons. But this must be an informed debate, not petty politics. Even if BJP’s intent is motivated and selective, Congress should show greater generosity in sharing (and acknowledging) Sardar Patel; and BJP does not have to be small-minded in duly recognizing Nehru’s legacy. Pavan K Varma in Times of India

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Raj Abuses: Denial is No Cure

BY AMIT TRIPATHI One of the greatest gifts that children can receive from their parents is an emotionally stable childhood. Materialistic trappings cannot compensate for the bliss of growing up in a welladjusted, happy family; one where the child is not exposed to domestic violence, warring parents, physical or emotional abuse. Sadly, both research and anecdotal evidence indicate that many children are deprived of this blessing and grow up in dysfunctional families. They develop coping skills to handle traumatic experiences: Sometimes denial (convincing their conscious mind that no abuse happened) and at other times unfocused anger (allowing inner rage to poison their mind to the extent that they become hateful, even towards those unrelated to the abuse). One doesn’t need to be a psychologist to know that both approaches are unhealthy. As it is with children, so it is with countries. Few countries can rightfully claim that they have no ‘history’ to contend with. But it is easier to gaze charitably at the past with quiet confidence when the country is successful. During my recent travels across the United States on a fellowship program, it was apparent that the Anglo-Saxon American mind was unscathed by the oppression of British colonial rule (the African-American mind is another matter). My journey through the Arab world, however, told a different tale. They still cringe at the memory of the persecution and oppression they had suffered for centuries through Mongol, Turkish and later European conquests. The present-day outbursts of ‘unfocused anger’ in the Arab world could well be strongly associated with this historical abuse — besides other issues, I admit. The psychological strategy of ‘denial’ however — where the victim convinces himself that no (or minimal) abuse happened — finds almost matchless expression in India. One example of this is the attitude of many Indians towards the British Raj. Many believe that, while there may have been some injustices meted out during the British Raj, overall, colonial rule was beneficial. Some even claim

that the British created India, as, apparently, we weren’t a nation before their arrival. If one draws up a list of the excesses of the British Raj, the worst, we are told, was the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, where over 1,000 Indians were killed in cold blood. But is this the worst that they did? Not by a long shot. In the early 1940s, Winston Churchill consciously ordered a scorched earth policy in eastern India to halt the advancing Japanese army, which led to the death of 1.5 to 4 million Indians. That’s nearly as many as the number of Jews that Hitler ordered to their deaths. Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis gives troubling accounts of the vast numbers — in the millions — killed by British policies. A littleknown fact in India is that the edifice of the British Raj (and the white man’s ‘civilising mission’) was built on the biggest drug-running racket in the history of humanity. The British forced Indian farmers to grow opium, which was then smuggled into China. The Chinese economy — not to mention the lives of millions of Chinese — was destroyed through this trade. At the same time, millions of Indians died as food crops were forcibly replaced with opium (besides other crops for British trade), leading to recurring food shortages and famines. These events have been carefully airbrushed from Indian history books. Why? Some will say that those who have dominated the Indian imagination for most of its independent history — the Indian anglicised elite — have obscured these facts due to loyalty to the country of their cultural ancestors: Great Britain. But I think that would be too grave a charge. I have interacted with many members of the anglicised

elite. I admit that most of us would find it difficult to understand their strangely eccentric culture, but they are not traitors. They do love India in their own peculiar way; but many of them believe that Indians cannot handle the truth and ‘social peace’ can only be maintained by ‘airbrushing’ history to remove the ugly portions. Besides the British era, this also includes other painful historical episodes, like the brutal Turkic invasions of India in the medieval period, rated as one of history’s bloodiest conquests (read Tarikh-i-Ferishta to know more). But denial leads to the repressed truth finding expression in ugly forms, resulting in hatred and anger, as we see in some parts of India today. It’s healthier to accept the truth and learn to handle it. Forgive, but do not forget. We should have detailed sections in our history books on the famines caused by British policies; and also on the massive British drug-smuggling business. We should honestly teach Indian students the truth about the horrific brutality of medieval Turkic invaders. But we must also teach that history should not extend itself into the present and colour our evaluations of a people today. For example, we don’t need to settle scores with today’s British for the actions of their ancestors. And furthermore, if Indian Christians are not blamed for British excesses just because the British happened to be Christians, why should Indian Muslims be blamed for the vicious Turkic/Mongol/ Persian conquests, just because these foreigners happened to be Muslims? We were slaves under foreign rule for 800 years. Let’s not blame our fellow Indians for the crimes of those barbaric foreigners.Many civilisations have at some point of time been victims, and at other times, oppressors. Present conduct rather than past ills should determine the way a people are judged today. My suggestion: Examine honestly the troubling episodes of our history; accept the truth and learn from it. Forgive, but do not forget. This truth will kill the poison that is coursing through a few extremists in India. Denial is not a cure for historical abuse. Truth is. Satyamev Jayate. IE Amish Tripathi is the bestselling author of the Shiva Trilogy.



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November 28, 2014


Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 89th Birthday Celebrated with Grandeur

SUGAR LAND: The Sathya Sai Centers of Houston celebrated Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 89th Birthday at the Sugar Land Auditorium on Sunday November 23. Over 600 guests attended the celebration. The chief guest was the Honorable Consul General of India, Parvathaneni Harish and his wife Nandita. The program started with a contemporary Ganesha dance by young Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) Students. The highlights of the program were three inspirational plays, presented by the SSE Students. The first play; ‘Joy of Giving’ was about a 5 Star Chef, whose heartfelt decision ultimately transforms his life and that of his community. It inspired the audience to use their skills to serve their own

communities. In the second play, ‘The Power of God’s Name’, young actors inspired the audience to take God’s name at all times. The play was about a robber, Ratnakara’s transformation from cruelty to spirituality. God’s name transforms him and he goes on to write one of the greatest epics in the world, ‘Ramayana’. The third play ‘The Light Within ‘showed the life of Helen Keller, the recipient of Presidential medal of Freedom. The play depicted how she overcame her personal struggle with blindness and loss of speech at a very young age. She inspired millions of people throughout the world to get over their disabilities. Isha Desselle, Founder and Presi-

dent of ‘Turning Point’, a shelter where the Sai Centers of Houston volunteer regularly, inspired the au-

dience with her amazing journey of providing shelter to the homeless and elderly people.

A joyous cake cutting by the young children made the audience smile. The program came to a conclusion with a harmonious devotional singing session by the Young Adults of the Sathya Sai Centers of Houston. Udipi Restaurant served a sumptuous Mahaprasad/Dinner. Houston area Sai devotees meet at two locations in the North and South parts of town on Sundays from 3:00pm - 5:30pm. They engage in weekly activities that include Community Service, Sai Spiritual Education classes for children, meditation, study circle, and devotional group singing. For further information visit www.

HINDU TEMPLE/MANDIR FOR SALE OR LEASE A well settled Hindu Temple/Mandir currently in full operation is for sale in Houston ( Baytown), Texas. The temple is located 20 minutes from the Houston Hobby Airport and Clearlake, 35 minute to the Hillcroft Indian area, and 25 minute drive to downtown Houston. The temple is located on 5 acres unrestricted land with $11,000 sq temple place, paved parking for over a 100 cars. The adjacent 5 acres with a 5 bedroom home is presently used as priest quarters is also for sale. The temple has the biggest Shivalinga in the U.S, Vishnu/Balaji, Kal Bhairave, Ganesh Ji, 6’ Durga Ma, Lord Shanidev, Lord Gurudev, nandhi Ji, and it also has many panchaloka murthis-vigrahas such as Lord Muruga with Valli, Dhevanai, Ramseetha Lakshman Pariwar, Panchamukh Hamunan Ji, Sathyamarayana, Prapiyankara Soolini Ma, etc. Serious Inquiries only. Owner financing available For more details contact the temple at

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Khator: The Fed first named Khator to the Dallas Fed board in January 2011. She is the University of Houston System’s first female chancellor and the first Indian immigrant to lead a U.S. comprehensive research university. Since 2008, she has overseen the UH System’s more than 65,000 students and a budget of over $1.3 billion. Khator also is a noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy and has published numerous books and articles on the subject.

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The Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., named Renu Khator, chancellor and president of the University of Houston, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas for 2015. She will replace Mike Ullman, chief executive of J.C. Penney Co. The Fed also named Matthew K. Rose, executive chairman of BNSF Railway Co. in Fort Worth, deputy chairman of the Dallas Fed for

Rose: Rose joined the Dallas Fed’s board this year. He was CEO of BNSF from 2000 to January 2014, when he became executive chairman. BNSF is one of North America’s largest freight transportation companies, operating 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian proviences. Rose is a member of the Business Roundtable, a conservative public policy group of CEOs of major U.S. corporations. -bizbeatblog.

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November 28, 2014


Surangan School of Music Pays Tribute to Bangladesh’s National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam

ALEXANDER P. MATHEWS, CPA HOUSTON: Thanks to the efforts of founder director Rupa Ghosh, the Surangan School of Music held its annual student appreciation day at the Maharaja Banquet Hall on November 21. Hailing from Bangladesh, it was only befitting that she and her students picked their national poet to pay tribute to and honor. They paid respect to him by packing the evening with songs, dances to songs and recitations composed by him.

Rupa’s passion for music started at the tender age of five when she trained under Sri Nirmalendu Chowdhury who made Bengali folk songs mainstream in the sixties and seventies. She then trained in classical music and Rabindra Sangeet under renowned Gurus. She brought this passion along with her to Houston and to enable the next generation to continue the tradition and connect with their roots, she has been success-

ful in training students Bengali music with purity and authenticity for the last four years. This passion reflected in the entire night’s proceedings which included group songs, group dances, solo songs and recitations. It was very encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the young budding performers attacking their performance with great gusto. The older senior students also did justice and enhanced the mood of the evening. A series of solo song renditions were presented by Smita, Sedra, Tithi, Purnata, Puspita, Arita, Prionti, Naiza, Sharoni, Gronti, Shayon, Shawon, Banani, Fateema while solo recitations were presented by Sohan, Rameen, Rafid, Sriti, Jolly and Arun. Maqsud’s, “Aalgaa koro go khopar bandhon” received a huge round of applause. The young dancers carried their colorful saris so capably and thoroughly enjoyed themselves in their four group dances. Raja Banga, director of the Prana School of Music, an eminent music school of Katy along with his few disciples delighted the audience with a Tabla Concert. He and Bidyut Ghosh on the mandira also provided the accompaniment to all the vocal renditions be it song or recitation. The evening was compered very cheerfully with a lot of zest by PhD student at UH, Raju Ahmaad, who also got to screen his short documentary on Kazi Nazrul Islam. Maharaja reataurant provided boxed dinners for all present. Rupa finally took the stage and with her beautiful mellifluous voice charmed the audience with amongst others, “Aruno kanti”, a Nazrul kirtan, etc. At the end, on popular demand, she had to comply with the audience’s special request for “Anjali laha mor sangeete” although it was getting very late. She thanked the audience and handed over appreciation certificates to students and the night ended with a cake cutting. All credit goes to Rupa Ghosh for keeping the vision and commitment to continue the traditional genres of Bengali music alive in Houston for both adults and children alike.

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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes Sabziyan Da Soup (Vegetable Soup) Slow Cooker Recipe

Most working couples have very little time to cook elaborate dinners when they get home, and especially young people who prefer the convenience of eating out or ordering home delivery. It is even harder to try to cook tasty Indian food, since it requires patience and the right timing to make tasty and appealing desi dishes. So, for the days when there isn’t any time at all and yet you want to save money and have dinner when you get home, nothing could be simpler than using a slow cooker to prepare dishes. Slow cookers are fairly inexpensive and have one simple control to regulate the heat. Then, with all the ingredients in them, they can make wonderful dals, curries and soups overnight or while you are still at work. For peace of mind, you can even connect them through a timer which will turn off the power to the slow cooker. This recipe is an Indian style sabziyan da soup (vegetable soup) with some basic ingredients, though these can be changed as you want. It is a favorite for cold or rainy days or when you don’t want to get fancy. It is very filling and goes well with rice and desi pickles. Ingredients: • 1/4 cup masoor or dhuli moong dal (masoor or split moong lentils) • 1/4 cup basmati chawal (basmati rice) • 2 medium aaloo (potatoes) – white or red, not Russet • 2 small tamater (tomatoes) • 1 medium piyaaz (onion) • 4 cups pani (water). For thinner soup, use more water • 1 tbspn Olive oil • 1 tbspn fresh adrak (ginger) peeled and diced • 1 clove lasan (garlic) – peeled and diced fresh, add to your taste • Spices: lal mirch (red pepper); namak (salt); haldi (turmeric) – to your taste • If you prefer, you can use powdered ginger and garlic.

Directions: 1. Wash the dal and drain; repeat with the rice. Put both into the slow cooker 2. Peel the potatoes and onion and cut into large pieces. Also cut the tomatoes into large pieces. Place these in the slow cooker. 3. Add the water, olive oil, ginger, garlic and all the spices 4. Turn the slow cooker on high first and let the contents come to a boil. Then turn the heat down to slow and let the soup cook for a long time. When you get home, the food soup will be ready. After trying this for two or three

times, you will get the hang of the dish and be able to make it much faster and add your own other ingredients. 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.


It is quite easy to prepare a nice Indian curry, only to discover that it is too salty and there isn’t enough time to make a second batch. Some people may add more water, but this will only dilute all the spices and make the dish lose its flavor, besides which the curry will become much thinner. Some people add some bread or balls of atta dough to absorb the salt then taking them out, but I have found that these can distort the flavor and create lumpy balls in the curry, which are not easy to remove. A better solution is to peel a large potato, cut it in half and put it into the curry and let it cook for a few minutes till the potato is tender. The potato will absorb the salt faster and then can be taken out and thrown away.



November 28, 2014

Movie Review: Happy Ending

BY SRIJANA MITRA DAS Happy Ending stylishly remixes Saif Ali Khan’s trademark avatar as a brat who won’t grow up. Saif plays Yudi, author in LA, high on sex and success. Yudi avoids new work and commitment - which his ex (Preity Zinta in cameo, channeling the pair’s Salaam Namaste chemistry) underlines. His married

buddy Montu (Ranvir Shorey) is Yudi’s party partner while his inner voice is a chubby Yogi (Saif) warning him not to ring his ‘axe’. Suddenly, Yudi’s money runs out. His publishers switch to hot-shot novelist Aanchal (Ileana) who brushes off Yudi’s charms. Pushy Bollywood superstar Armaan (Govinda) demands Yudi write a DVD-inspired rom-com while dentist Vishakha (Kalki) pursues

him obsessively. How does Yudi complete this tale? Happy Ending has happy ingredients like sparkling dialogues, certain lines - “Tumhari reading pe kuch log so gaye - kuch mar bhi gaye the” - laugh-out-loud hilarious. Key performances stand out. Saif stylishly pulls off his charmer plus bummer inner voice, fat, hairy, spouting philosophy. Laughing at himself, Saif’s terrific when he mumbles at Aanchal, “Mageoudwivme?” The other scene-stealer is Govinda as Armaan-ji, a sharply written character, seeking tailor-made abs plus a story with “comedy, chumma-chaati and kick-aas”. Ranvir Shorey displays deadpan ease while Kalki’s uninhibited as sweetly suffocating Vishakha. Ileana’s breezy as Aanchal who isn’t seeking love - but loves the occasional romp. However, the film is about 30 minutes too long. A rom-com should stay feather-light but multiple cars and stars stretch this one. The editing sometimes flags, making the plot feel like a string of sit-com situations, while the lead pair’s chemistry eventually wanes, the ending a tad tame.

PK Very Gandhian in Spirit, Much Like Lage Raho…, Says Raj Kumar Hirani

PANAJI: Raj Kumar Hirani’s upcoming movie PK will have the Gandhian philosophy as its core much like his previous 2006 blockbuster Lage Raho Munnabhai. National-award winning filmmaker’s PK, which is expected to be a satire on Hindu gods and godmen, stars Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Sanjay Dutt in lead roles. When asked whether PK too will have a Gandhian touch like that of Lage Raho Munnabhai, the 51-yearold director, who addressed a session on Richard Attenborough and Gandhi said, “Of course, it will have.” The director continued to retain the suspense on the storyline of the film, scheduled to hit theatres on December 19 adding, “I can’t talk much about PK now and we all are pretty excited about it.” The session was also attended by his

producer-friend Vidhu Vinod Chopra on the sidelines of ongoing IFFI. Chopra claimed that he was scared and apprehensive about the reactions to PK. “I am scared before the release of every film and it is the case with PK too,” he said. “I was scared before the release of the film Lage Raho Munnabhai. We were not getting distributors to release the film as they felt the film is too boring without an item number in it. I told them there is item (referring to the role of Gandhi in the movie). That’s a fight we had to do. It was the most courageous attempt to present Gandhi as a friend,” he said. Lage Raho Munnabhai starred Marathi actor Dilip Prabhalkar besides actor-duo Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi as the famous Munna Circuit.

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Nawaz, Obama Discuss Bilateral Ties, Regional Situation BY ANWAR IQBAL ISLAMABAD: President of United Sates, Barak Obama on Friday night discussed bilateral relations and evolving situation in the region with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over telephone. During the conversation, Prime Minister Sharif recalled his warm and friendly meeting with the president in Washington last year and their subsequent interaction at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague in March this year, said a statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry. The prime minister expressed satisfaction at the direction of Pakistan-US bilateral ties, which he said were on an upward trajectory since his government came to power last year. President Obama noted that the two countries enjoy strong and robust relationship. He was pleased to see that the government of PM Sharif had determined the right economic priorities and was successfully overcoming the challenges. Obama informed the prime minister of his forthcoming visit to India. Recalling his invitation extended in Washington, Sharif conveyed the expectation of the people of Pakistan to welcome President Obama to

Pakistan sometime in the future. The president also assured him that he would undertake a visit to Pakistan at an early date, as soon as the situation normalises in the country. Discussing the regional situation, the prime minister referred to the improvement of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, as manifest in President Ashraf Ghani’s recent visit to Islamabad. The US president appreciated the Pakistani premier’s efforts in this regard and called it pivotal for the peace and stability in the region. Prime Minister Sharif referred to his visit to India earlier this year,

which was aimed at taking PakistanIndia relations forward. Subsequent unfortunate steps on India’s part, including cancellation of Foreign Secretary level talks and the unprovoked firing across the LoC and Working Boundary resulting in civilian casualties, indicated that India was averse to normalisation of relations with Pakistan, said the FO statement. “Thus, while we remain open to the resumption of bilateral dialogue, the onus is on India to create a conducive environment in this regard.” “President Obama expressed his understanding for our position,” it

added. The prime minister also urged President Obama to take up the cause of Kashmir with the Indian leadership, as its early resolution would bring enduring peace, stability and economic cooperation to the region. The two leaders agreed to stay engaged to further strengthen PakistanUS relations in their common desire to promote peace and prosperity in South Asia. White House confirms NawazObama phone call White House also confirmed that the President Barack Obama telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed with him the need for combating terrorism and bringing stability to the region. “The two leaders reiterated their commitment to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region,” said a statement issued by the White House. According to the statement, President Obama called the prime minister to “discuss efforts by the United States and Pakistan to advance shared interests in a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan and region.” President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif reaffirmed the valued

relationship between the two countries and the importance of the USPakistan Strategic Dialogue as a framework for guiding the bilateral relationship, the White House said. Commenting on the White House statement, diplomatic observers in Washington referred to unease felt in official US circles over National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz’s recent statement that the Pakistanis do not have to target those terrorists who are not threat to them. Washington reacted angrily to the statement, reminding Pakistan that all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani network, threatened the stability of the entire region. Mr Obama, who first visited India in 2010, is visiting India again in January. He will be the first president to attend Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on Jan. 26. The visit aims at strengthening a rapidly growing friendship with India, which has become the strongest US ally in the region during Mr Obama’s two tenures. India and the United States signed several agreements during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the White House in September.

Winter Session of Parliament Begins; Oppn Gears up to Take on Narendra Modi Govt

NEW DELHI: The Opposition is gearing up to take on the government over a variety of issues, including black money and FDI in insurance sector, in the Winter Session of Parliament beginning Monday. At a pre-session all-party meeting held on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoped that the House business would progress smoothly,

like in the Budget Session. “Unitedly, all important issues can be taken forward,” said the PM, who was at the meeting for some 15 minutes. The government has lined up as many as 37 Bills for the consideration of the two Houses during the monthlong session, including the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill. Speaking to the media after the all-

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party meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said, “The PM said the government is ready to take up all issues.” Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) were also present at the meeting, apart from representatives of over two dozen parties. They included Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena), Satish Misra (BSP), K C Tyagi (JD-U) Tariq Anwar (NCP), K Kanimozhi (DMK), P Rajeev (CPM), D Raja (CPI), E Ahamed (IUML), Dharamvir Gandhi (AAP), M Rajamohan Reddy (YSRCP), P Venugopal (AIADMK), T Narasimham (Telugu Desam), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (Akali Dal) and P A Sangma.

Two parties, the Trinamool and Samajwadi Party, gave the meeting a slip. Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee had announced a boycott of the meeting, with her party MPs scheduled to stage a dharna against “political vendetta” over the Saradha scam probe, at Parliament House on November 25. “I request Mamata Banerjee to please understand that the government has no role in the functioning of the CBI,” Naidu said Sunday. The Trinamool Congress, on the other hand, alleged that the BJP had used black money for its election expenses. “Where is the BJP getting its funding to continue the lavish spending in elections?” party Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien said. While the Left parties, Trinamool Congress, JD(U), RJD, SP and BSP

are planning a joint opposition to the Insurance Bill, they hope the Congress will come along. Kharge, however, said his party would first see the amendments the government planned. Naidu said he hoped the Opposition would understand “the mood of the nation” as well as “the spirit of the mandate of people” and cooperate with the government. He said the business planned by the government included promotion of investments, improving cooperatives, strengthening of Regional Rural Banks, imposing stiffer penalties on hijackers, replacing coal ordinance, promoting ethical practices in bio-medicine and research on human beings, and repealing of outdated laws. -Indian Express

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Net FII Inflows in India Set to Touch $40 billion

Investors bet Modi government will usher in structural reforms; robust inflows from FIIs seen continuing BY AMI SHAH ,ASHWIN RAMARATHINAM & JOEL REBELLO MUMBAI: Foreign portfolio managers have pumped in almost $40 billion in Indian stocks and debt this year on expectations that economic growth will quicken and interest rates will be cut as lower oil prices cool inflation, making India the most attractive destination among emerging markets and in Asia excluding Japan. Net foreign portfolio investments into debt and equities reached $39.38 billion, according to the latest official data available on Friday. National Securities Depository Ltd releases data with a one-day lag. The last time India saw such strong inflows was in 2010 when net investments had added up to $39.38 billion for the full year. Foreign portfolio inflows into India are the second highest in the Asian region after Japan. China does not release exact data of foreign inflows. “The entire environment has shifted towards improved policy environment, better decision-making, improving growth and declining inflation. The mix of growth inflation is getting better,” said Shubhada Rao, chief economist at Yes Bank Ltd. “This clearly puts India on the top as far as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are concerned, and amongst emerging markets as well.” Investors are betting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will usher in structural reforms such as

the introduction of the goods and services tax to boost economic growth to rival China’s scorching pace and cool inflation. The government expects gross domestic product (GDP) growth to accelerate to around 6-6.5% in the year starting 1 April. In addition, the recent slump in the price of crude oil, contributing to slower price gains, may also prompt central bank governor Raghuram Rajan to ease monetary policy earlier than expected, according to economists. A greater proportion of the foreign portfolio inflows this year has been into the debt markets. Of the total, $23.74 billion has been invested in debt while the remaining $15.4 billion has gone into the equity markets. The year-todate investment in debt is more than double the previous highest of $10.1 billion in 2010. Foreign institutional investors can invest a maximum of $30 billion in government securities with $5 billion of that reserved for long-term investors, according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules. Investments into debt picked up early in the year as global investors sought to take advantage of the higher yields in the Indian markets. In addition, measures taken to stabilize the rupee and an expectation that interest rates would start to decline attracted investors to the local debt market. Most of these factors are expected to continue to draw foreign investors to India, said experts. “Inflation is coming down, global commodity prices are soft-

er and the buoyant equity market means we could see higher government revenues through divestment and likely telecom auctions, which means that the fiscal deficit target of 4.1% will be achieved this year,” said Harihar Krishnamoorthy, treasurer at FirstRand Bank Ltd. Krishnamoorthy noted that other emerging markets that are commodity-linked are going through a tough time, which makes India more attractive. Asia’s third largest economy grew 5.7% in the quarter ended June, after posting a second straight year of sub-5% growth. The government expects the economy to grow at around 5.8% this fiscal year. At the same time inflation is expected to slow to near 6% by January, as targeted by the central bank. “Globally, China has announced fresh liquidity measures, following Japan and Europe, which means any action by the US Fed (Federal Reserve to tighten liquidity) will be futile as of now. FIIs (foreign institutional investors) will continue favouring India till global liquidity continues to be easy, which could be until June when the US Fed is likely to take action,” he added. While FIIs have almost reached their $25

billion limit on direct holdings of government debt, reports suggest that they have started to increase investments in debt-focused domestic mutual funds as a way to circumvent the limits. On Friday Reuters, citing an unidentified senior policymaker, reported that worried by potentially destabilizing hot money flows, RBI could take action if foreign investors pour excessive amounts into mutual funds to bypass limits on ownership of government debt. photo On the equity side, net inflows of $15.4 billion so far this year have helped push the benchmark Sensex up by 33.8%. BSE’s benchmark index closed nearly 1% higher on Friday at a record closing high of 28,334.63 points. “There has been a considerable amount of reallocation happening in favour of emerging markets from developed markets in the last few years, and India has been a substantial gainer. Given the overweight position of India, the allocation towards equities has been disproportionately large as compared to debt in the last few years,” said Dhananjay Sinha, head of research at Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd. “The ability of FIIs to increasingly allocate

their exposure is breaching limits, and that might be a bit of a constraint,” he said, adding that Indian markets have enough support currently from domestic institutional investors as retail investors are actively deploying their money into mutual funds. In the Asian region, Indian equities have attracted the highest interest compared with their regional peers so far in 2014. Japanese shares rank second, having attracted nearly $15 billion for the year to date. “The risks, though, are if the US tightens the monetary policy, and whether the emerging markets such as India deliver on economic growth as expected, and outshine the developed economies,” Sinha said. Indian shares have been major recipients of foreign inflows over the years. Since 1999, Indian equities have attracted a net of $152.93 billion. “We will continue to see robust inflows from FIIs,” said Vaibhav Sanghavi, managing director of Ambit Investment Advisors Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai-based brokerage. “The worst seems to be over for economic growth. We are going to look up on GDP, starting 2016-17 for four-five years at least. If that is the case, we are in for robust economic growth and earning expansion.” The strong foreign inflows are likely to help strengthen the country’s fundamentals on the external front by ensuring a balance of payments surplus and also helping to build reserves. In the first half of this fiscal year, RBI bought $16.68 billion from the spot currency market, while an additional $8.42 billion was bought through forward contracts. This has helped boost foreign exchange reserves to $315 billion as on 14 November.



26 November 28, 2014 Indians Confident at Start of Australia Test Series ADELAIDE (ESPN Cricinfo): Indians 1 for 55 trail Cricket Australia XI 219 (Carters 58, Aaron 3-72) by 164 runs The Indians made a promising beginning to their tour of Australia, with every bowler picking up a wicket and the batting making a steady start, albeit against a raw Cricket Australia XI that had only two players older than 22, at the Gilderol Stadium in Adelaide. Fast bowler Varun Aaron was the most successful of the attack, bowling with pace and bounce to pick up three top-order wicket Seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami, and uncapped legspinner Karn Sharma took two each, while R Ashwin returned figures of 12-3-22-1. CA XI were dismissed for 219 in 71.5 overs, and the Indians lost Shikhar Dhawan cheaply in the 16 overs they had to bat before stumps. After choosing to bat on a grassy pitch, CA XI recovered from losing Matthew Short to Bhuvneshwar in the first over through a half-century stand between Ashton Turner and Ryan Carters. Aaron then struck twice in three balls, drawing an edge from Turner before going between bat and body to hit the top of Nick Stevens’ middle stump. There was another half-century stand for the fourth wicket after lunch, between Carters and Kelvin Smith, before Bhuvneshwar had Smith caught in the slips. CA XI unravelled quickly after Carters was out for 58, caught down the leg side off Ashwin by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who ended the day with six dismissals. A speedy finish seemed likely as Shami, Aaron and Karn ran through the lower order to reduce CA XI to 9 for 167, but littleknown Harry Nielsen, son of former Australia coach Tim Nielsen, made 43 off 40 balls. He put on 52 for the last wicket with Harry Conway before Karn ended the innings. Dhawan lasted only 20 balls in the Indians’ innings, but M Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara steered the team through to stumps with the score on 1 for 55.

Clark: In or Out?

Varun Aaron struck early in India’s warm-up game, Cricket Australia XI v Indians, Gliderol Stadium, Adelaide, 1st day, November 24, 2014.

Kohli: “Equipped to Handle Johnson

Ahead of the Test series against Australia, stand-in India captain Virat Kohli has said that the team is in the right frame of mind and totally equipped to handle the dangerous Mitchell Johnson. “I think coming to Australia and playing, it’s more about the mindset rather than getting used to the conditions, because pace and bounce is something which you can get used to. But unless you’re mentally there, there’s no point of any sort of practice,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the first two-day warm-up match, against Cricket Australia XI. Kohli also said that the team is “absolutely” capable of withstanding the threat posed by fast bowler Johnson. “He’s been bowling really well - everyone knows that,” Kohli said. “We are equipped enough to tackle him on these pacy and bouncy wickets. “It’s all about mentally being there. If you can visualise being in that battle and being on top, I think you’re going to be able to go out there and execute it. I think the guys in our team have the ability to do it ... it’s all about being mentally present.” Given the responsibility of leading the side in the first Test in the absence of MS Dhoni, who is recovering from a hand injury, Koh-

li, who led India to the Under-19 World Cup triumph in 2008, said that he has always been comfortable as a leader. “I love leading the side, I love being captain, I love putting my first foot forward and putting in my [views] throughout the game. I don’t see any issues on why I can’t be up to the challenge. Responding to Australian fast bowler Peter Siddle’s comment that he might find a rowdy crowd and added responsibilities “a bit daunting”, Kohli, who will become India’s 32nd Test captain at the start of the four-Test series in Brisbane on December 4, said. “Well that’s for me to know and for me to experience. “I’ve played against him [Siddle], he’s quite a competitive guy, so I’m not surprised there’s already some banter starting from that end. I don’t mind all that.”

GABBA: Michael Clarke is out of the Gabba Test according to the parameters set by Australia’s selectors. But not according to Clarke. Hours after selectors had marked Friday’s two-day tour match against India in Adelaide as his pathway to prove his fitness for the first Test, Clarke bizarrely declared he had been ruled out of that game, yet still insisted he could be passed fit for Brisbane by playing grade cricket. The selectors Rod Marsh and Mark Waugh had both stated that Clarke had until Wednesday to resume running after his hamstring injury or be ruled out of contention for Brisbane. However a few hours later Clarke said he had already been scratched from the Adelaide match and was still going to try to play on the second Saturday of the grade game between Western Suburbs and Paramatta as a way of proving his fitness. ESPNcricinfo understands that Clarke spoke to the Australian team physio Alex Kountouris on Monday, being told that it was not realistic for him to expect to play in the tour match but more plausible that he could play the grade game. He then gave the following summary of his fitness at a promotional appearance. “My goal is to try and get myself fit to play whatever game’s available,” Clarke said. “The next game on the table that I am available for, if I can be fit, is grade cricket on Saturday. So ideally if I can tick all the boxes along the way and play on Saturday, get through that. Then it is completely up to the selectors to work out what to do.”


Praise for Pak Attack

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, credited his side’s bowlers following their 248-run victory against New Zealand in the first Test in Abu Dhabi. The victory was Pakistan’s third successive one in the UAE and came soon after they had thumped Australia 2-0. The most experienced bowler in Pakistan’s line-up was Mohammad Hafeez, and the most experienced specialist bowler was Rahat Ali, who was playing his ninth Test. Misbah said it was commendable that a largely inexperienced attack had thrived on surfaces where more experienced bowlers had struggled. “The kind of conditions we are getting, the world-class bowlers are struggling but these youngsters are living up to the expectations of the team, me and the whole nation,” Misbah said. “They are getting 20 wickets every match. So that’s a really big achievement for them. “You can’t say these are spinning tracks and that’s why we are getting wickets. The fast bowlers are really chipping in and they are doing a wonderful job.” Misbah praised left-arm fast bowler Rahat Ali, who finished with a six-wicket haul in the game. Rahat’s 4 for 22 in the first innings was vital to keeping New Zealand to 262 and came after he had taken only four wickets in the series against Australia. The win made Misbah Pakistan’s most successful Test captain. “It sounds great, because you could say the names - Imran Khan, Javed Miandad those are the greats of Pakistan. But if I am at the top, it’s something I could not really think of,” Misbah said. Despite the huge margin of victory, Misbah refused to call it an easy win and said he was mostly happy because the team had not squandered momentum from the 2-0 series win against Australia. “I think overall nothing is easy but it looked easy at the end. But you could say the team really played well, every individual held on to his responsibility and we stuck to our basics. We performed really well, like we performed against Australia, so we just kept that momentum.”


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