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Friday, December 29, 2017 • Vol. 36, No. 51

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December 29, 2017

IACCGH Women Mean Business

Sri Ayyappa 35th Annual Mandala Pooja at Sri Meenakshi Temple

Photos: Bijay Dixit


HOUSTON: The Indo Ameri-

can Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston celebrated the fifth of ‘IACCGH Women Mean Business’ series at the Hess Club on Thursday, December 14. Event Chair Joya Shukla, Past President IACCGH, welcomed the guests and the night’s seven keynote speakers who gave a brief introduction about themselves. Juuhi Ahuja, CEO Wisemen Consulting, shared anecdotes from her mother, whom she credited for having instilled the desire to never give up working at all stages of life. Ingrid Robinson, President HMSDC, described how being a

huge football fan has helped her to be more passionate towards her work. Malish Patel, VP Memorial Hermann Southwest, chose curiosity as her best describing trait and went on to indicate how that ability led to her many successes. Speaking of successes, Omana Abraham, founder Abraham Rugs, told the crowd that her knowledge and networking skills propelled her to establish one of America’s most popular rugs/home decor chain. Sharing insights and lessons on how to balance a healthy dose of work and life in a woman’s life was Sonal Bhuchar, former president Fort Bend ISD. Marie Goradia, Past President Pratham

USA described how the poverty she saw in India overwhelmed her to instill and encourage the importance of education among Children. Lastly, Asha Dhume, Past President Club 24, credited her family and husband for their unconditional support through which she went on to establish a successful career of her own. Each speaker was then allotted a table where the guests received 5-6 minutes of close interactions with them before they moved to another table. This “speed networking” model helped bring forth more intimate conversations among the guests and speakers, which led to a joyful atmosphere in the room. Shell Representative Alyssya Holmes-Henderson also addressed the crowd, highlighting Shell’s support with the IACCGH in setting up such programs. The event concluded with a vote of thanks from Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia and a photography session with the speakers and IACCGH Board Members. For advertising contact:

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EARLAND: This year’s 35th Annual Mandala Pooja for Lord Ayyappa at Sri Meenakshi Temple was a very special event. During MTS Maha Kumbhabhishekam on November 23, 18 holy steps were consecrated at the Lord Ayyappa sannadhi. The ascending of 18 holy steps by the Ayyappa devotees is extremely sacred act after fasting for 41 days, by adorning tulasi mala with

austerity. On Saturday Dec 23, 2017, there were more than 75 devotees living within and outside Texas, who participated in this special event and ascended the 18 holy steps. It is believed this (18 holy steps) is the first of its kind among Hindu Temples in the Southwest region of the United States. While there are quite a few ways of interpreting the 18 holy steps, one of the most common understanding is that the first five steps indicate one should control five senses (vision, auditory, smell, taste and touch), next eight steps identify control of values or ashtaragas (love, anger, avarice, lust, pride, unhealthy competition, jealous and ego), next three steps signify gunas (such as Satvika, Rajasika, and Tamasika) and last two steps denote Vidya (Knowledge) and Avidya (Ignornace). After controlling all these 18 aspects of day to day life, one surrenders oneself to the Lord Ayyappa.



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December 29, 2017


Club 65 Participates in 17th Annual Asian Seniors Holiday Bash

Among the festivities at the luncheon, some ladies from the Ismaili Jamatkhana performed the Gujarati garba.

Members of the Club 65 Seniors group which attended the Annual Senior’s Holiday Luncheon at Ocean Palace Restaurant on Friday, December 1.


HOUSTON: Once again bring-

ing joy to the elderly during the hectic Holiday season, on Friday, December 1, Club 65 brought a together a large number of South Asian seniors to the 17th Annual Asian Senior’s Holiday Luncheon at the Ocean Palace restaurant on Bellaire and Boone in Chinatown.

Their participation was organized by C65 President Paru McGuire and her volunteers who brought together 60 people, mostly seniors, of Indian descent to the annual event, which is was coordinated this year by the VN Teamwork non-profit organization. Among the more than 800 seniors at the event were members of the Indian Senior Citizen’s Associa-

tion and the Ismaili Golden Club singing group who performed their unique style of music singing holiday songs, much to the delight of everyone. This year, in addition to the Golden Club, the Ismaili community came forward with a yoga instructor who introduced the gathering to Laughter Yoga which had them all in stiches in no time. He explained the importance of

laughter in curing ailments, apart from depression and anxiety, and the beneficial side effects that the act of laughing can bring. Members of other Asian groups also performed their cultural music and dances and this immediately broke down the barriers of communication among the seniors from all nationalities who mingled at the large round tables spread across the second floor banquet hall. A photo booth at which they could take their pictures in different guises was a big hit too. Each year, the Chinese Community Center has supported the event which offered cultural dances in colorful costumes, a photo booth

for taking pictures and a sumptuous lunch to the seniors. A variety of hors d’oeuvres and fresh fruits were served before lunch at the table by volunteers, followed by entrées and desserts. Members of the various Asian senior communities volunteer and participate in the event, with the Chinese, Filipino, Indian and Vietnamese attending every year. The evening before, volunteers from each organization fill “goody bags” with articles that seniors use in their daily lives. These were given to each senior as they left, and the centerpiece gift basket was then given to the senior-most member at their respective tables.

Every 3 minutes someone gets diagnosed with a blood cancer. For many of these patients a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Four out of five Caucasians find a match in 6 months, but in our South Asian community, four out of five lose this battle without finding a match. If you are committed to give this gift of life you should register with the Be The Match Registry. If registered, and you match with a patient you should be committed to donate a small amount of marrow to save the patient’s life. If you match and decide not to donate, it amounts to a death sentence for the patient since there is unlikely

to be another match. One or two percent of the 92 oz of bone marrow that is distributed in all your long bones, can save someone who has Leukemia, any other blood cancer, or aplastic anemia. Donating this small amount of marrow will have no ill effects on you and your body will replenish it in about two weeks’ time. TO REGISTER TO BE A DONOR visit https://bethematch. org/ for more information. In Houston, call the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center at 713 790 1200 or 1 888 482 5663 or contact Gaytri Kapoor, Donor Contact Representative in the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center at 281 780 1379. Contact the Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) which conducts bone marrow donor registration drives regularly, at 713 370 3489 to find out the date and location of the next drive or visit www.iacannetwork.org You will be glad you registered to be a donor and helped others to register as well. The author wishes to thank Gaytri Kapoor for her help in providing the statistics and the case report for this article.

The Best Gift You can give this Season



During the holidays, when everyone is focused on giving gifts to family and friends, I would like to propose that you consider giving a free but important gift that will be cherished lifelong: the gift of life. Several of our brothers and sisters suffering from Leukemia or other cancers and have stopped responding to chemotherapy and will surely die if they do not receive a bone marrow transplant quickly enough. I am appealing to you, the adult members of your family and friends to register to be bone marrow donors in the Be The Match Registry. The chances of a family member matching is only

15% to 20%. Since only a person of the same ethnicity as the patient can be a match and the patient’s human leucocyte antigen (HLA) has to match with that of the donor, there has to be a large number of South Asians registered in the national Be The Match Registry as potential donors. But the sad fact is that there are only a meager and negligible number of South Asians in the Registry. In addition, if you have an uncommon tissue type you may never be a match. Imagine for a moment that either you or a family member has stopped responding to chemotherapy, and is waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Your life would depend on matching with one of the few South Asians who have

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registered in the National Bone Marrow Registry. Next, imagine the unimaginable: beating the odds, you do find a match…but your match decides not to donate. Unfortunately, this is a far too common occurrence. This is what happened to 15year-old Manjot Singh (in picture). He has two sisters and lives with his parents and they were not a match. In 2012, he was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia is a condition in which the bone marrow (the sponge like substance that fills the hollow of long bones and makes all the blood cells) stops producing enough red blood cells, white cells and platelets. This leads to fatigue, recurrent infections and uncontrolled bleeding, needing repeated blood transfusions. Severe aplastic anemia requires a bone marrow transplantation. He was lucky to find a perfect match but unfortunately the matched person decided not to donate. We do not know when Manjot Singh will find another match.

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December 29, 2017


December 29, 2017





December 29, 2017

Solve Word Search & the Names of the Winners will be published in Our Next Issue

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R���� �� W��: • Like us on Facebook, Indo-American News • Solve the Word Search puzzle • Email us the screenshot of our liked Facebook Page, and the solved puzzle at indoamericannews@yahoo.com • Email by Wednesday, January 3, 2018 • For first 3 entrees only, 1 submission per month, 1 per Household

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1) Rajiv Agarwal 2) Gauri Bhatt 3) Kirit Patel




DISON, NJ: On December 17th, the Miss India USA Texas team rose up as stars at the 36th Miss India USA pageant held at Royal Alberts Palace in Edison, New Jersey. It’s organized by Dharmatma and Neelam Saran of IFC who also organize Miss India Worldwide and Sage Productions holds the franchise for Texas. The show was filled with talented women who feel empowered to utilize the platform to raise their voices about various causes. The show also featured the 4th Mrs. India USA and Teen India USA pageant. Prerana Chitlangia is the current reigning Mrs. India USA Texas and she was crowned as the first runner up for Mrs. India USA. Madhulika Prakash was titled Mrs. Popular and Preethy Sajeev was applauded for her grace and poise. In the Miss Category, Priyanka Sharma was selected as the top 10 Miss India USA contestants and was applauded for her amazing dance as her talent. Hinna Akhter was titled Miss Photogenic. In the teen category Aabha Singh was selected as the top 5 contestant and applauded for her mesmerizing voice as she sang Fire to the rain by Adele as her talent and Celina Rahim was titled Miss Beautiful Smile. Team Texas was supported by Sage Productions and powered

December 29, 2017


The 36th Miss India USA Pageant by Texans Energy and the DGN Factory. The representatives from Texas were invited to Manyavar Mohey USA NJ and were celebrated for being strong, talented and humble women. DJ Sage’s beats rocked the Royal Alberts Palace with upbeat music. Shree Saini was crowned Miss India USA. Shree endured the physical and emotional pain of getting a pacemaker at the age of 12 and then dealt with bullies since she was unable to dance or play sports with other children. Shree learnt at an early age to stand up for herself and others and today, she is an anti bullying activist and is a beautiful ballet dancer. She wants to utilize the platform and her title to spread awareness about the effects of bullying and hopes to bring about a positive change. She is an inspiration and motivation to everyone and her strength is evident in her positive attitude towards life. Shree will be visiting Houston, Texas in 2018 and she looks forward to meeting some community leaders along with her friends from Miss India USA Texas.


10 December 29, 2017


COMMUNITY Shampa Mukerji Running for Judge in Harris County

December 29, 2017


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erji, who founded the firm. Their work is dedicated to plaintiffs’ personal injury litigation. Shampa currently manages over 500 personal injury cases at the Mukerji Law Firm. Shampa and Sam have three children and are proud to be raising their family in Houston. Dr. Ragini and Dr. Radheshaym Miryala recently held a fundraiser for Shampa at their Seabrook home.


HOUSTON: Shampa Mukerji,

a Houston lawyer, is running for Judge of the 269th Civil District Court in Harris County. This court is located in Houston, TX and serves all of Harris County. Shampa Mukerji is running as a Democrat and is involved in a primary with one other opponent. Her primary election is March 6, 2018. If she wins the primary race, she will earn a spot on the general election ballot in November 2018. “I would be the first elected South Asian female judge in Harris County,” Mukerjee said. As the daughter of immigrants, Mukerjee has a unique perspective to bring to the local judiciary and the community. Her focus is equal access to the courts for all. She promised to “take every action available to her to ensure that all litigants have their voices heard in her court, regardless of their income level, race, background, or education.” Shampa Mukerji is a native Houstonian. Her parents, Satya R. and Puspa Chatterjee, immigrated to the United States in the late 1960s. Shampa’s father was an engineer who spent his career in the oil and gas industry. Her mother, a college graduate, dedicated her time to raising their three children. Shampa attended Northwestern University, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Communications in three years. She then returned home to Houston to attend the University of Houston Law Center. In law school, Shampa served on the Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy

as an Editor and as Chief Justice of the Honor Court. These endeavors ignited a desire in Shampa to serve her community by running for judge. As judge, Shampa will focus on judicial efficiency, saying, “It will be important to run the court docket as efficiently as possible, while also being flexible due to the changes that have resulted in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.” For more than a decade, Shampa has successfully practiced in multiple areas of civil litigation representing individuals, corporations, small business owners, and other civil litigants. Shampa currently practices at the Mukerji Law Firm alongside her husband, Sam Muk-

The last day to register to vote for the March 2018 Primary is Monday, February 5. Early voting will take place from Tuesday, February 20 – Friday, March 2. The Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 6. For more information, visit www.mukerjiforjudge.com.

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12 December 29, 2017


The Four Fundamental Aspects of Leadership

YLDP Houston students with Judge Edward Emmett, Director of Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management


HOUSTON: One’s journey into

the world of leadership, particularly politics, is often an unexpected one. A transition into leadership is directly correlated with one’s characteristics and ideologies, however one’s connections into the political world are able to precipitate and foster the advancement of one’s political career, as exemplified by Harris County Judge, Edward M. Emmett. Ed Emmett is an extremely accomplished individual as he graduated from Rice University with a Bachelors degree

in Economics and received his Masters degree in Public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. After receiving his education, Emmett went on to serve as a delegate of the Texas House of Representatives and was chairman of the Committee on Energy, a member of the Transportation Committee, and represented the state on numerous national committees relating to energy and transportation policy. After his time serving as a Texas representative, Emmett was able to become Interstate Commerce Commissioner because his close connection with President Bush and his family. After serv-


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ing in the national government, Ed Emmett returned to Texas and eventually became the Harris County Judge, and serves as the Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Ed Emmett recently held a conference at the Houston Transtar conference center on December 16, where he was able to provide enlightening information to a group of young, ambitious students attending a YLDP conference. Emmett discussed his experiences as a chief executive officer of Harris County and provided astounding insights into the qualities of leadership. To elaborate, Emmett was able to provide the students four simple characteristics that all leaders must possess in order to exhibit leadership in the real world. He was able to break down the concept of leadership into the four basic concepts of Education, Experience, Demeanor, and Followers and expounded upon each of them. Emmett argued that education is the basis of social merit and allows one to establish credibility in the professional world. He exclaimed that

education is an extremely powerful weapon which one can use to change the world. Emmett then argued that followers are extremely important in the world of leadership because one is unable to accomplish anything without having a large follower base to support them. One’s innovative ideas and amazing leadership qualities are rendered useless if a leader does not have followers to support them and spread their ideas. In addition, Emmett argued that experience in the field of leaderships establishes a degree of credibility and merit, which allows for the proliferation of even more followers. Lastly, Emmett argued that a leader’s demeanor, or composure, was a critical aspect of leadership because a leader’s demeanor influences the mindset of the people he is leading. If a leader exhibits signs of weakness, people will think he is a weak leader. Through his four fundamental aspects of leadership, Emmett was able to simplify an otherwise complicated subject, Emmett’s teachings on the fundamental aspects of leadership opened the eyes of those in my

group and brought to light the important qualities and characteristics that any leader must have. We learned, in part through Emmett’s teachings and in part through group discussion, that the single most important aspect of leadership is that leadership is not about you, it is about the people you serve. The reason that one should take upon a leadership role is so that one can improve the community and serve the people, and not so that one can attain a position of high power or wealth. This revelation provoked thoughtful debates and discussions within my group as we discussed this idea in the context of the world that we presently live in. We realized that the most effective leaders are those whose sole purpose is to create reform and change to better the world, and not their own position. In addition, we discovered that no matter how difficult it may be, it is always worthwhile to tell the truth in every circumstance. Lying often leads to a slippery slope of lies that compile on top of each other, and eventually tangle a leader in a web of dishonesty. Furthermore, Emmett helped our group come to the conclusion that an effective leader must always be open to change in order to be successful. In his own words, “the world will keep progressing no matter what… so whether you decide to stick with the trend or get left behind is up to you.” These wise words were engrained deeply in the heads of the students in my group as we realized the meaning and application of these words in real life. The guidance that Ed Emmett was able to offer the students at the YLDP conference was truly astonishing as he was able simplify leadership into four fundamental characteristics that any effective leader must have. Along with his simple explanation of leadership, Emmett’s powerful lessons into the morals and ideologies of effective leaders opened the eyes of all the students at the leadership conference. Emmett’s teachings on the qualities of effective leaders provided a refreshing and unique perspective that will definitely be utilized and heeded by all that attended the conference.


December 29, 2017



MATA JI KI CHOWKI on January 1, 2018 from 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM Grand Patrons ($1100) Rita & Bal Sareen Family Diana & Narin Sehgal Family

Hindu Worship Society invites all HWS devotees and the community to join in singing Mata Behnts at the MATA JI KI CHOWKI on Monday, January 1st, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sheel & Balram Thakral will be joined by other devotees singing in glory of Mata Ji Please contact the following for sponsorship or participation information: Bal Sareen 337-540-6001 | Rajinder Soni 832-640-5952 Nisha Bhatia 713-306-9725 | Pandit Ji 832-278-0100 Diana & Narin Sehgal of Bombay Brasserie have very kindly agreed to provide the dinner prasad for all the attendees. For more information regarding food and prasad contributions please contact: Neena Kapoor 713-822-3632 Pramod Barnwal 281-415-3909 Madhu Tiwari 281- 758-5954

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14 December 29, 2017


December 29, 2017



16 December 29, 2017

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December 29, 2017


From Nepotism to Azaan Row: Controversies of 2017 that Shocked Bollywood


esides protest against filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati, in 2017, Bollywood witnessed enough of controversies. From Sonu Nigam facing a backlash for calling azaan “forced religiousness” to Kangana Ranaut tagging filmmaker Karan Johar as a “flagbearer of nepotism”, here’s a list of controversies that hit film fraternity. * Padmavati: This Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial raised controversy after the Karni Sena, an organisation of the Rajput community, urged a nationwide ban on the film claiming that it “distorts historical facts”. Bhansali also appeared before a Parliamentary committee and maintained that the row over the yet-to-be released movie was just based on rumours, strongly rejecting charges that he had distorted “historical” facts about the possibly mythological Rajput queen, played by Deepika Padukone in the film. Bhansali’s screening the film for a few mediapersons even before the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had cleared it, added fuel to the entire controversy. The film, which was scheduled for release on December 1, was deferred.The row took a turn for the worse when threats were issued against Bhansali and the film’s lead actress Deepika Padukone. * Kangana Ranaut vs Karan Johar: One of the most fearless and outspoken actresses in Bollywood, Kan-

gana called filmmaker Karan Johar a “flagbearer of nepotism” on his own chat show. It not just sparked a debate about the prevalence of nepotism, but snowballed into a bigger controversy when Karan and actors Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan poked fun at Kangana and chanted “Nepotism rocks” at the IIFA Awards event in the US. They later apologised for their act once it attracted widespread criticism. * Sonu Nigam and the azaan: Renowned singer Sonu Nigam lashed out at ‘forced religiousness’ in India after being woken up by the azaan (Islamic call to prayer) from a mosque. In a tweet, he said: “God bless everyone. I’m not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India?” After the brouhaha that ensued, he even shaved off his hair in reaction to a maulvi’s supposed call to have his head shaved for a Rs 10 lakh reward. * Ranbir and Mahira: The two grabbed attention when spotted together at the Global Teacher Prize gala in Dubai and then their pictures surfaced online in which they were seen smoking cigrettes together in New York. Mahira was shamed for her act, but Ranbir came to her rescue and issued a statement supporting the actress. Even Pakistani stars expressed support to Mahira, who made her Bollywood debut with Raees this year.

* Nawazuddin’s memoir: Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui had to apologise and withdraw his book “An Ordinary Life” after a complaint was reportedly filed against him for outraging the modesty of his Miss Lovely co-star Niharika Singh who slammed the actor for not taking her consent before sharing their personal equation with the world in his memoir. * IFFI’s non-screenings: S Durga, a Malayalam movie, was dropped from a jury-suggested shortlist of the Indian Panorama section of the IFFI along with another film Nude, triggering controversy. The director of S Durga got caught in a long-drawn

battle with IFFI organisers to screen his move, and even moved the court, but in vain. Some of the other controversies that made people think were when Fatima Sana Sheikh of Dangal fame was trolled for wearing a swimsuit at a beach and posting the photograph on her social media page during the month of Ramzan. Also, Akshay Kumar winning a National Award for Rustom raised eyebrows of those who felt the decision was “unfair”. The actor was caught in controversy again when he made a comment on comedian Mallika Dua on a comedy show, saying, “Mallika ji aap bell bajao, mai aapko

bajata hu.” Even actor Shahid Kapoor’s wife Mira landed in a soup when she said at an event: “I wouldn’t want to spend one hour a day with my child and rush off to work. Why did I have her (Misha)? She is not a puppy, you know. I want to be there for her as a mother.” Veteran actor, Rishi Kapoor who often engage in spat with media persons rounded off the year by rebuking invited journalists at the launch of a book on his late father and legendary actor Raj Kapoor, by muttering: “Muft ki daru...” -indiatvnews.com

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18 December 29, 2017 The Virushka Virus When it comes to name blending, it does not work more often than it does. Take India’s first celebrity portmanteau couple for instance. Virushka sounds like a baby virus of Russian or Slavic origin. Viranus would have sounded worse. Why not leave them with the lovely names their parents gave them? Whence the urge to purge individuality and merge? America is on a name blending binge, with none spared. Take Javanka, America’s second or third couple compounded from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump – that sounds like a little island off Indonesia. When Virushka meet Javanka, will we get Vijanka? Or Javinka? Or Javinkaka, who sounds like a Gujarati uncle? And why Javanka? Why didn’t Trumpner make the cut? Or even better Trumpkush, which would have made the President very happy. Name blending is all the rage now, so rules governing it are only just being devised. First up, it appears to work only with, or at least work best with supercouples, who are popular celebrity pairings constantly in the news. Blame it on social media, because tabloids have been around for a long time and blending names didn’t seem to have occurred to headline writers forced to compact names. How else would they miss RhettLett or the storied RichBeth? That’s Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind, and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, arguably the greatest “love” couple of modern times. In India too, headline writers failed to come up with Amjaya or Jaytabh, settling instead for a hyphenated Amit-Jaya only because their names were short enough. Dharmendra-Hema Malini posed tougher challenge. Dharmalini wouldn’t have worked. And Harmendra – no way. In fact, even in more recent times, i doubt if Abhiwarya or Bachrai or Aishek will work. Saifeena sounds like a cleaning detergent. Still, compacting first name appears to work better than mashing last names. Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma may sneeze at Virushka, but Korma, derived from Kohli+Sharma, would certainly have put its originator in soup. Ditto if the person who compounded Bennifer, arguable the most famous name blend alongside with Brangelina, had come up with Pitson or Piston after combining Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. You don’t even want to go near Anispitt. Just as well name blending came about in the Age of Social Media. I’m not sure the Roman Chronicles would have headlined Romju or Cleotony. Nearer home Shahmum, Heeran, Sohmah would all have flopped. Give up to Bennifer and Brangelina, folks. They still top the list. -- Chidanand

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY What Gujarat Elections Mean

BY ASHUTOSH VARSHNEY As the dust starts to settle, political reactions become clearer, and statistical details recede into the background, it is time to concentrate on the big picture that the recent Gujarat elections present. Something of substantial significance has happened, with likely national ramifications. It is important, first, to put Gujarat in a larger perspective. In modern times, Gujarat’s political significance has always exceeded its demographic weight. It is the land that gave birth to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It is the only state outside the Hindi heartland which has produced two prime ministers, Morarji Desai and Narendra Modi. It is also the state where the JP movement acquired considerable punch in the 1970s, where the Ayodhya movement formally began in the 1980s, and where Hindu nationalists first established their hegemony, starting in the late 1990s. Gujarat tends to emanate national significance. The journey from a Gandhian hegemony to a Hindu nationalist one, of course, has been tortuous. It is a radical inversion of meanings. If Gandhi believed that “the Hindus, the Muslims, the Parsis and the Christians who have made India their country are fellow countrymen”, Hindu nationalists never abandoned the idea of a Hindu ownership of the nation, Where do we stand now? Do these elections signify something new? In, and of themselves, data alone cannot fully answer this question. The key issue is how to interpret the data. Consider the various ways in which BJP’s performance in Gujarat can be presented. If we go by vote percentages, what should be the yardstick — a comparison with the 2012 elections or the 2014 parliamentary elections? If 2012, is it more pertinent to say the BJP increased its vote share by 1.25 per cent this time, or that the opposition Congress party gained 2.5 per cent? If 2014, have commentators emphasised enough that the BJP’s vote share plummeted by a whopping 10 per cent? One can, of course, say that parliamentary elections are very different from state elections, and

there is some truth in that position. But the fact that Modi has tended to become the principal campaigner for his party even in state elections, addressing not one or two but tens of rallies, substantially dilutes the meaning of this distinction. Even state elections, in part, become a referendum on Modi. Vote shares are important for scholars. But in the end, it is the artifact of vote shares — namely, seat shares — that shapes the public imagination and often constitutes the real meaning of an election. That is where the BJP has badly faltered, providing a moment of possible revival to the Congress. The BJP has won a majority of seats, but it has put in its worst performance, and the Congress its best since 1985. A difference between the formal and real has emerged. Two historical parallels come to mind, not exact but meaningful. In 1967, the Congress won the national election, but its seats came down so much that the non-Congress parties began to feel invigorated, even though they lost. Similarly, in 1991, the Congress formed the government in Delhi, but the BJP, that finished second, increased its tally to an unprecedented 120. Leading the BJP then, L. K. Advani argued that those finishing second had actually triumphed. It is in this Advani sense, premised on the distinction between the formal and the real, that the Congress would derive greater strength from this election. Modi might have saved the party from the utter ignominy of loss, but he could not repeat glory. What else can we say? First, if development does not work as a campaign theme, Modi would openly embrace anti-Muslim tropes in pursuit of victory. Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech kism ka aadmi” (a lowly person) remark was amenable to multiple interpretations: As a customary form of Brahminical condescension towards the lower castes (Aiyar, after all, is a Brahmin name and Modi comes from an OBC caste); as tasteless Stephens-Oxbridge arrogance towards the vernacular masses. Instead, Modi spun it as an expression of a Mughal mindset, and also linked Aiyar (and Manmohan Singh) to a Pakistani conspiracy. Aiyar’s repug-

nant and self-defeating elitism hurts the Congress and injures the liberal cause, but he is no Pakistani stooge. Nor is Manmohan Singh. Modi also compared Rahul Gandhi’s ascension to his party’s presidency with Aurangzeb’s inheritance of throne, ignoring that even Hindu princes rose to kingship by ancestry, not by election. In pre-modern times, lineagebased inheritance of power was not a peculiar Muslim perversion. Second, the BJP won cities but lost the countryside. If Congress needs to worry about its urban popularity, the BJP has to work on a rural message. Its rural victory in UP earlier this year may not be typical; its rural setback in Gujarat might well turn out to be. We can’t be sure. The next four assembly elections are all in states more rural than Gujarat. But in the longer run, this is a bigger problem for the Congress. India is rapidly urbanising. Electorally insignificant since independence, cities will play an increasingly bigger role in politics. The BJP is better placed for the likely urban challenge of Indian politics. Finally, as widely noted, the image of Rahul Gandhi as a reluctant and incompetent politician went through a significant change. Political parties need effective campaigners. If Rahul Gandhi can repeat this performance in the next few state elections, India’s democracy will benefit from the emergence of a solid Opposition, taking on the BJP in 2019. Equally important was Rahul Gandhi’s message. Election campaigns often degenerate into a vituperative tit-for-tat. By repeatedly arguing that bhaichara aur pyaar (warmth and affection for all) would be his party’s answer to the BJP’s divisive bitterness, and concentrating on economic policy and governance, Rahul Gandhi avoided a race to the bottom. Restrained rhetoric nearly worked this time, but will it next year and after? Surprises have never eluded Indian politics. -- Indian Express The writer is director, Centre for Contemporary South Asia, Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University.


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December 29, 2017


3 Reasons To Try Something New Forget failure and embrace change BY NIKKI BAYLEY


hat thing you’ve been meaning to try for ages? Here’s why you should ditch your excuses and do it. If you’ve ever wanted to try something new, whether it’s a sport, hobby, or recipe, you’ve probably questioned your decision: Will it be too difficult? Do you have the time? Will you make a fool of yourself? Here’s why you should quell those questions and act on the urge: Taking up a hobby is beneficial for your health. A study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that people who took part in leisure activities, no matter if it was cross-stitching or trail running, became 34 percent less stressed and 18 percent less sad while they did so, and the calming effect lasted for hours. For me, diving into a new interest came last year when I tried a Yin yoga class, a gloriously gentle form of practice that mostly revolves around long, slow, prop-supported stretches and deep breathing. After years of unshakeable conviction that being a Lululemon-wearing yogi definitely wasn’t for me, I’ve become hooked on this meditative form of yoga. Yin yoga found me at a point in my life when being calm and counting breaths was just what I needed. I’ve always drooled in envy over friends’ beautiful photos of preserves on Facebook, so I decided to give it a go recently and I loved it! I wished I’d done it years ago. But like so many things we miss out on in life, it looked a little too hard and a little too easy to mess up, so I gave up before I’d even begun. 1. It doesn’t have to terrify you. I asked Farzana Jaffer Jeraj, motivational speaker and author of I Cheat at Meditation, for her advice on fighting fear of failure: “I believe that failure can be beautiful. Excitement and anxiety create the same response in our bodies, but we perceive one as negative and one as positive. If you believe in a journey of growth and learning, there is no failure—just figuring it out as you go along.” There’s something wonderfully liberating about the thought that failure could just be learning. If you open yourself to that, the world shifts a little and becomes a little lighter. Letittia King agrees: She recently packed up her life and moved across Canada

from Calgary to Ontario to attend the Wine Business Management graduate program at Niagara College. “Working in Calgary is where I found a true passion for wine. My hospitality job was amazing; however, I wasn’t challenged.” After taking on the role of teacher’s assistant for the Wine Spirit Education Trust Program, King applied to grad school. “I was accepted six weeks out from the start date. I knew it would be a huge life adjustment, but I knew it was the best decision for me.” That doesn’t mean it’s been without challenges. “I’m still fighting off the homesickness, adjusting to being a student and being broke, but I already had a ‘dream come true’experience: spending a day harvesting with one of my favorite producers,” says King. 2. It doesn’t have to consume your life. Not all change has to be profound, and every hobby doesn’t have to redirect your life’s trajectory. If you’re lucky though, it will help you bloom in some new way. Not sure what sort of project or pastime will help you grow? Here are a few activities with proven benefits. Join a choir. It’s hard to feel sad and sing at the same time. Add in a social component and that happiness factor just increases. Research from Bath University shows that participating in a choir gives people a greater sense of togetherness than others experience in different social activities. Try crafting. Whether it’s quilting, crochet or cake decoration, the repetitive motions of crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, giving health benefits similar to meditation. Exercise with others. And no, go-

ing to a crowded gym with your headphones on doesn’t count. There’s plenty of research to suggest that social isolation can be incredibly debilitating. Try paddleboarding with some buddies this summer. Or find something a little more quirky, like a roller derby squad, circus skills school or disc golf league. 3. It doesn’t have to feel easy. We talked to holistic nutritionist Louise Racine, owner of Thirteen Moons Wellness retreat center, about how—and why—we can grow into our best selves when we try something new. Holistic health covers our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Each is equally important, and when we open ourselves to trying new things, we nurture ourselves on one or more of these levels. Stay open to possibility. The whole point of our lives is to live to our potential fuelled by our passion. The best way to connect to that is to be continually open to learning and doing new things, even if they initially make us uncomfortable. Push through fear. Fear is often behind a resistance to trying something new. When we push through that, we build courage, self-belief and confidence. Challenge self-imposed limits. When it comes to physical activity, sometimes we think we’re not capable because we don’t like a certain activity, so we may resist trying it. Being open to thinking beyond our beliefs about ourselves can lead to a strong, flexible body. Balance your brain. Trying something that challenges your intellect and engages both sides of your brain results in whole brain thinking. This improves physical coordination, creativity and intuition. Take care of spiritual health. Spiritual health is often overlooked. Commit to a summer of growth by increasing your connection to yourself, to others and to the universe. Someone once wisely (and anonymously) said, “Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape and one to be creative.” Do that, and you’re bound to grow in ways you never imagined possible. -alive.com


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Bahubali, Bollywood, and Bitcoin: What Indians Googled in 2017 Bigg Boss 11?

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Bahubali 2 Sunny Leone

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play their love for cinema and cricket on Google Search in 2017, but with a twist. In the Bollywood-crazy country, the south Indian fantasy-action blockbuster, Bahubali 2, was the most searched item all year, according to Google data on the top-trending search terms in 2017. The Telugu and Tamil movie, later dubbed into Hindi and Malayalam, was one of India’s highest-grossing films, with earnings of over Rs1,500 crore. It is also among the country’s most expensive film franchises. Searches for the Indian Premier League and cricket scores came in the second and third spots, followed by Bollywood blockbuster Dangal, Half Girlfriend, and others. Hindi film songs dominated the most searched music list as well, along with Despacito, the most popular YouTube video and most streamed song of all time globally. Bollywood actress Sunny Leone, the most-searched in 2015, lost her spot on the overall most-searched list this year. However, the former adult movie star still led the most-searched entertainers list on Google. Trailing her were reality show contestants Arshi Khan and Sapna Choudhary from Bigg Boss. The top entertainers that Indians googled for were: 1) Sunny Leone 2) Arshi Khan 3) Sapna Choudhary 4) Vidya Vox 5) Disha Patani 6) Sunil Grover 7) Shilpa Shinde 8) Bandagi Kalra 9) Sagarika Ghatge 10) Rana Daggubati India’s unique identity number Aadhaar, the “free” mobile phone of Jio, and bitcoin dominated the “How to…” searches this year. Searches

for the cryptocurrency grew sharply in November just as its value peaked, drawing interest from Indian investors. Here are the toppers of the “How to…” list: 1) How to link Aadhaar with PAN card 2) How to book Jio phone 3) How to buy bitcoin in India 4) How to take a screenshot 5) How to remove holi color from face 6) How to file GST returns 7) How to invest in mutual funds 8) How to mine bitcoin 9) How to vote for Bigg Boss 11 10) How to buy ethereum in India Indians were also keen on learning more about the goods and services tax (GST), the biggest policy reform of the year; it was the most searched “What is” term in 2017. Here are the top terms from the “What is…” list: 1) What is GST 2) What is bitcoin 3) What is Jallikattu 4) What is a BS3 vehicle 5) What is PETA 6) What is Jio Prime 7) What is Cassini 8) What is a fidget spinner 9) What is a lunar eclipse 10) What is ransomware




December 29, 2017

Celebrities Who Passed Away in 2017

Om Puri 1950 - January 6, 2017

Vinod Khanna 1946 - April 27, 2017

Reema Lagoo 1958 - May 18, 2017

Inder Kumar 1973 - July 28, 2017

Veteran filmmaker Lekh Tandon 1929 - October 15, 2017

Shashi Kapoor 1938 - December 4, 2017


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22 December 29, 2017


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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes Chawal di Kheer (Rice Pudding) Directions:

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with sweets, nuts and wonderful aromas like this recipe which is the best way to usher in a New Year. Below is a reprint of Mama’s Chawal di Kheer recipe, which is a tasty sweet popular in many Indian restaurants and is delightful in any season. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions. Kheer has become a staple dessert in so many Indian restaurants South Asian restaurants, just like the equally popular ras malai (cottage cheese in creamed milk) that you can almost predict what’s on the menu. Part of the reason is that kheer is a simple and inexpensive dessert to make. But this does not mean that all restaurants make it equally well. Far too many make kheer with boiled rice soaked in a thin milky syrup, which does not do justice to this dessert. To make tasty kheer that people will rave over, it has to be made properly: in a thick milk base (but not dry), with nuts and sprinkled with some cardamom powder for added flavor. Some people even make it in a slow cooker, though I prefer making it in a large pot where I can keep an eye on how it is coming along. The term “kheer” comes from the Sanskrit word ksheeram (which means milk), but the dish is also known as payasam in South India or payesh in Bengal. The recipe for the popular English rice pudding is believed to have originated from kheer. Other types of kheer are made with broken wheat, sabudana (tapioca) or seviyan (vermicelli). Kheer is found all over India, though the true North Indian version is made with ghee, rice, sugar, cardamom, raisins, kesar (saffron) and dried fruit in thickened milk. It is prepared for festivals, in temples and many special

Hindu occasions though it is equally popular – especially the one made with vermicelli – among Muslims for Islamic celebrations. Kheer has made a comeback as a chic dessert at wedding where the thickened variety is presented in small earthen dishes, garnished with strands of saffron, chopped almonds and pistachios and with a small piece of sona ka varak (gold film). Ingredients: • 4 cup doodh (milk) – whole is best, but low-fat will do too • 1 cup chawal (rice) • ¼ cup chinni (sugar) • 2 tbsp condensed milk (if used, you can reduce the sugar) • ¼ tsp ilachi powder (cardamom powder) • Dry fruits to your taste: kishmish (raisans); badam (almonds – peeled and slivered); piste (pistachios – halved or pieces)

1. Pour the milk in a large, openfaced pot (to avoid boiling over) and bring to a boil over medium heat. 2. Meanwhile, wash the rice in cold water and let it soak in the water. 3. Once the milk has come to boil, pour the rice through a strainer, then pour the rice into the milk. Stir occasionally to make sure the milk does not stick to the pot. 4. In a little while the milk will get thicker and the rice will mix well. Now, add the sugar (condensed milk if you like too) and throw in the dry fruits. The peeled, slivered almonds taste best. 5. Thicker kheer tastes best. It can be served hot, but most people prefer to eat it cold, so refrigerate for an hour or two before serving. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the oldfashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India (since renamed Faisalabad) 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 late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share her delectable Punjabi vegetarian recipes for future generations.




Some ingredients, lik as they bring added e methi (fenugreek) are used in sparing quantities, aroma and taste to an Also - again like m ethi - they are often y dish they are mixed in with. expensive and diffi large quantities and cult to th long time since I ha en sort and clean before cooking. It ha buy in s indeed a ve had a dish of fre sh the last time may ha ve been in India a fe methi and aaloo (potatoes); w years ago. Thankfully, methi ca has been available n be picked and dried to use for anothe in small packets fo r day, and r ye tasty methi dishes, you only need a sm ars in many stores. To make all qu start to use the pack et methi, be sure to antity. However, when you cold water. Let the first clean it by was methi soak in a po t of water, then skim hing it in pieces off the top. the You’ll be surprised to see how much di floating the bottom! rt settles to

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December 29, 2017



tiger zinda hai: This Tiger is Alive and Kicking

It’s inspired by the real-life incident of the rescue of Indian nurses

held hostage in Iraq by terrorists and at the helm of affairs of the mission is Indian RAW agent Tiger (Salman Khan). The story picks up from where the first film in the franchise left off. Indian RAW agent Tiger (Salman Khan) and ISI agent Zoya (Katrina Kaif) are married and living a peaceful life with their son. Eight years have gone by since they decided to choose love over their missions. But their plans will change very soon, with another mission (most impossible) coming up for this sota hua Tiger. Tiger’s ex-boss Shenoy (Girish Karnad) tracks him down and wants him to rescue 25 Indian nurses who are held hostage at a hospital by a dreaded terrorist organisation that has tak-

en over Iraq. From here, it’s a Salman Khan show all the way with his star power and screen presence looming large, ably aided by Katrina Kaif who jumps into the fray as 15 Pakistani nurses who are also held hostage with the Indians need to be rescued. The other USP of this mission is, that Tiger brings together Indian and Pakistani agents to fight terror in Iraq, for the sake of humanity. And, not surprising then that there is a fair sprinkle of patriotic one-liners, too. And all this is happening with oodles of swag and style. (Obviously!) The film is visually stunning in parts and Salman Khan plays Tiger with roaring confidence and dialogues packed with punch. Of course, his fans get a true-blue Salman Khan moment when he bares his torso. However, the screenplay often loses focus, slackening the film’s pace and our attention. Director Ali Abbas Zafar had a lot of ammo in hand, with the star power of Salman Khan and Ka-

trina Kaif adding to that. But the direction falters and he is unable to keep you riveted through the film’s runtime. Supporting actors that make up the rescue mission team are competent and Paresh Rawal delivers a dependable performance. Katrina Kaif gets into action-girl mode, displaying some kick-ass stunts. Meanwhile, the antagonist, Abu Usman (Sajjad Delafrooz), heading the terrorist organisation, is effective in his role. With such a premise, the storyline needed to be far more compelling and the editing much tauter. Needless to add, a lot of sequences defy logic, but at the same time, there are many moments that will leave Salman Khan and action film fans impressed. Whether Tiger is Zinda or not for the next round, that’s for you to find out. -timeofindia.com

Monsoon Shootout: This Nawazuddin Siddiqui Starrer is Inconsistent Four years after it was shown at Cannes, Monsoon Shootout has finally hit the screens — with the advantage that many of its actors, in the meantime, have become known stars. That works both to Monsoon Shootout’s advantage as well as disadvantage. Siddiqui, for example, as the slightly deranged hoodlum, seems to be just picking up from where he left off in many a previous film. Or specifically, Raman Raghav 2.0. Monsoon Shootout, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, inhabits the same universe of chaotic, unseen, underbelly Mumbai as that film, directed by Kashyap, did. Here too, the lines between police and criminals intersect and blur — changing both sides. That said, writer-director Amit Kumar, who has patiently waited for his film’s release, deploys an interesting tool to tell a story about an idealistic cop, a hardened criminal, and the Mumbai monsoon. He tells it

imagining three different scenarios, is doing, as the storyline takes three born of three different choices by different routes from that alleyway, the police officer, to underline how the film hits a surer note. So that by we reach those choices, and how the time he is into his third strand, the choices we make determine the we feel we know and sympathise consequences. with each of the people therein — Given the tight length of the film — including Adi’s boss Khan (Kabi), his 90-plus minutes, at a trot — Kumar friend Anu (Thapa), and Shiva’s wife has to sacrifice some of the character (Tannishtha). development leading into that definThere is some solid acting here, ing moment. The episodes that land and cinematographer Rajeev Ravi Adi (Varma) in that alleyway, fac- delivers faithfully Kumar’s attempt at the fish market to the vada pav and the better as the film progressesn. If only ing Shiva (Siddiqui) with a gun in capturing every aspect of the unglam- dance bars. Vijay Varma is solid as the Monsoon Shootout was as consistent his hand, are a series of cliches that orous Mumbai, from the trains and moral center of the story and grows throughout. - indianexpress could belong to any halfdecent Bollywood film about corrupt politicians, compromised police, and canny small dons. And then there is Adi himself, with a dedicated mother, and a late father who was also in the police, who he salutes before leaving for his first day at work. Twinkle Khanna Pulkit Samrat Nana Patekar Vidhya Balan December 29, 1973 December 29, 1983 January 1, 1951 January 1, 1979 However, once we have realised what Amit Kumar

Happy Birthday


24 December 29, 2017 Unadkat, Pandey Shine as India Finish 3-0 Sweep K


OLKOTA: (ESPN Cricinfo): India 139 for 5 (Pandey 32, Chameera 2-22, Shanaka 2-27) beat Sri Lanka 135 for 7 (Gunaratne 36, Unadkat 2-15, Pandya 2-25) by five wickets For the first time in the series, Sri Lanka were genuinely in the contest. The bounce at the Wankhede Stadium gave their seamers some zip that they couldn’t quite manage to generate in Cuttack and Indore. In defence of 136, they dismissed the rampaging pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who walloped jointfastest T20 hundred two nights ago, inside seven overs. India’s asking rate climbed to close to 8.5 per over with eight overs left, a genuine test for a middle order that hasn’t had too much batting time of late. This was Sri Lanka’s best opportunity to close out the game. But India had MS Dhoni in the middle at the end along with Dinesh Karthik. Nuwan Pradeep only conceded six runs off the first five balls of the penultimate over, leaving India nine to get off the last seven balls. At that point it was Pradeep who cracked under the pressure; he sent down a friendly full-toss that Karthik swatted into the stands beyond deep midwicket. That, right there, was the knockout punch with one full over to play. A heady climax eventually turned cold right at the end, but not before India had been given quite a scare. Lack of scoreboard pressure early in the chase gave India some leeway as Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey overcame early struggles against the moving ball to add 42 in 6.2 overs to put India back on track. But the match swung again when Iyer was run-out at the non-striker’s end, Akila Dananjaya’s fingertips intercepting a flat-batted strike from Pandey and deflecting it into the stumps. The wicket may have not come about had Thisara Perera not thrown himself to his left to stop a single at cover off the previous delivery. Clearly, Sri Lanka were in the game, waiting to grab at any opportunity. When they sent Iyer back, India needed 55 off 40. This was precisely the moment when Pandey, largely subdued until then, decided to cut loose, hitting

Rohit Sharma’s imperious slog sweep, India v Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I, Mumbai.

three fours off the next five balls he faced. India were back in it. But Sri Lanka weren’t giving up. Hardik Pandya feathered an attempted ramp to the wicketkeeper, leaving India four down with 37 to get off the last five overs. When Pandey was bowled by one that jagged back in to beat his inside edge - the dismissal coming about largely because of his style of playing beside the line - it came down to 28 off 23. Up against Chameera with no slip in place, Dhoni managed to find a thick edge that beat the diving wicketkeeper and ran away for four. In the same over, there was more

drama when Sri Lanka reviewed a not-out lbw decision, the tense crowd roaring in unison as the giant screen showed the ball missing the stumps. Dhoni would eventually hit the winning runs. The architects who masterminded Sri Lanka’s downfall after they were sent in to bat were Washington Sundar and Jaydev Unadkat - two bowlers who had been at the forefront of Rising Pune Supergiant’s magnificent run to the IPL final earlier this year. Washington, India’s youngest T20I debutant, bowled three overs of nofrills offspin upfront, often varying

his pace between fast and faster, his length between good and full, and strangulated the largely left-handed top order. He finished with figures of 4-0-22-1. Unadkat, IPL 2017’s second-highest wicket-taker who also finished the tournament with an economy rate of 7.02, cramped the left-handers early on and was rewarded for his accuracy. Washington and Unadkat prised out Sri Lanka’s top three inside four overs to set off a procession. It needed Asela Gunaratne’s industrious 37-ball 36 and Dasun Shanaka’s 29 off 24 to haul Sri Lanka to 135 from a precarious 85 for 6.

Shami, Thakur Picked for ODI Seriess in S. Africa In fact, he will be playing from the 1. Batsman KL Rahul and the senior M : Seamers Shardul Thakur first of January,” chairman of selec- spin pair of R Ashwin and Ravindra UMBAI

and Mohammed Shami have been recalled to the Indian ODI squad that has been picked for the six-match ODI series in South Africa. Virat Kohli, who who was rested from the team’s most recent limited-overs assignment, against Sri Lanka, returns as captain of the 17-member touring party. Kedar Jadhav, who suffered a hamstring injury in early December and has not played any cricket since, has also been picked. Thakur too had a problem with his shoulder recently, leading to his missing Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy quarter-final on December 7 and both players are expected to be on the park very soon to prove their match fitness. “Shardul will be playing shortly.

tors MSK Prasad said. “Kedar will be playing the T20 matches shortly. Basing on the report we have got from the physio, we have taken this call [to include them in the ODI squad].” Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur. In: Virat Kohli, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur Out: Washington Sundar, Siddarth Kaul The series begins with the first of six matches in Durban on February

Jadeja continue to miss out after the selectors felt Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel deserved an extended run following their good performances in the last few months. Prasad hastened to add it was not the end of the road for Ashwin and Jadeja, who last played an ODI in June-July. “We keep repeating this. We have been consistent with Chahal and Axar,” he told reporters in Mumbai. “With every game they have been improving a lot. They should be given an extended run since they are doing very well. It is a unanimous decision. When we picked these three boys, we wanted to increase the bench strength in the spin department.”


Srikanth: Clinching Medals Will Require Fitness in 2018


EW DELHI: World No. 3 shuttler Kidambi Srikanth said he would look to stay fit next year in order to have a fair chance of clinching medals for the country in a hectic season. “There are lots of positives to take from 2017. Next year would be a big year with too many important tournaments lined up and it would be important for me to stay fit,” said Srikanth on the sidelines of a felicitation program organised by theAndhra Pradesh government on Tuesday. “If I stay fit then I will be able to give my 100 per cent and only then I will have better chance of winning medals for the country in important tournaments such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championship,” added the Indian, who clinched four Super Series titles in 2017. Srikanth and Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu were on Tuesday accorded a rousing felicitation by the Andhra Pradesh government for their stupendous performance in 2017. “I am thankful to the people and the Andhra Pradesh government for the fantastic support,” said Srikanth, who also finished runners-up at the Singapore Open and Senior National Championship. A slew of people, including young students, parents, officials, surrounded Sindhu and Srikanth and bestowed them with garlands and bouquets, savouring the moment with the badminton stars. The duo smiled and posed multiple times for the huge turnout of people, who wanted to capture the moment with their cell phones. Sindhu, who has clinched two titles at India and Korea and bagged silver at World Championship and Hong Kong Open, too thanked the AP government and hoped to do well in the coming season.

Srikanth and Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu were accorded a rousing felicitation by the Andhra Pradesh government for their stupendous performance in 2017.


December 29, 2017


Civil Aviation: Indian Airlines to Induct Over 900 Planes by 2025

EW DELHI : Indian airlines are likely to induct more than 900 aircraft in the coming years, with IndiGo alone expected to add 448 planes, according to official data. India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and most airlines have ambitious expansion plans, especially to tap the potential on regional routes. As per data available with the civil aviation ministry, budget airlines IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and AirAsia are set to significantly expand their respective fleet sizes. Along with other carriers, the total number of aircraft to be inducted by the domestic players would be more than 900. With an existing fleet of 150 planes, IndiGo is readying to add another 448 aircraft—399 A320s and 49 ATRs—in the next seven to eight years. Competitor SpiceJet too is in the process of expanding its current fleet of 57 aircraft. The no-frills airline

would be adding 107 B737-800s and 50 Bombardier Q400s during the 2018-2023 period. Another budget carrier GoAir, which is yet to take off on overseas routes, would induct 119 A320 planes during the period from 2018-2022. At present, its fleet size is 34. According to the data, which was recently submitted to parliament as part of a Lok Sabha written reply, AirAsia India would induct 60 planes in the next five years. Currently, the budget carrier has 14 aircraft. Legacy carrier Jet Airways—which has 107 aircraft—would take 81 B737-8 MAX planes during 20182024 period. It would also add five B737-800s this fiscal ending March 2018, as per the data. Disinvestment-bound Air India would induct three B777- 300ER and 16 A320 planes between December this year and March 2019. The national carrier has 155 aircraft

With an existing fleet of 150 planes, IndiGo is readying to add another 448 aircraft—399 A320s and 49 ATRs—in the next seven to eight years. Photo: Mint

at present. Among others, full service carrier Vistara would induct five aircraft next year that would expand its current fleet of 17 planes. TruJet, which now has four planes, would add six aircraft each year from 2018-2022. These would be ATR72-500/600, the ministry data

showed. After starting services this year, Zoom Air has placed orders for five CRJ-200 and 14 CRJ-900 planes. At present, it has two planes. In a related development, IndiGo has become the first Indian airline to operate over 1,000 daily flights across its network. -- Live Mint

Trump Tax Cut to Make Indian Subsidiaries Less Competitive


ASHINGTON DC: President Donald Trump’s US tax bill is set to hit the competitiveness of US firms’ Indian subsidiaries and encourage flow of capital from these units to their parents. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is set to make some taxes that Indian units of US multinational firms pay in India a cost to their parents. The differential in tax rates—30% in India, exclusive of surcharge, versus the proposed 21% in US— will prevent US parents from fully adjusting the tax credits earned in India to meet their tax liability on worldwide income in the US. The unused tax credit becomes a cost. Also, the US tax overhaul is expected to encourage Indian units to repatriate their ‘passive income’ back to their parents as repatriated dividends will be taxed at a nominal rate. Many Indian arms of US firms have so far been deferring repatriation owing to the high tax

rate on such receipts. All these changes put together could see a major change in the way US corporations invest and structure their businesses in India. The steep decline in tax rates and the elimination of certain deductions will sharply increase the tax cost for Indian subsidiaries of US corporations, said Sudhir Kapadia, national tax leader, EY India. The current effective Indian corporate tax rate of 35% and the dividend distribution tax of 20% on top will result in a significant increase in the after-tax cost of doing business for Indian subsidiaries. This is because US corporations will end up with much larger Indian tax costs which will not be possible to set off against the lower tax rate of 21%,” he said. “Further, US is moving towards a territorial system of dividend taxation, which means that dividends paid by an Indian subsidiary to its US parent will be exempt in US and

the 20% DDT (dividend distribution tax) paid in India will be an unclaimed tax cost,” he said, adding that the problem will get compounded by proposed provisions for disallowing of expenses made to related US affiliates outside the US. Experts said the US tax reform

could impact capital flows between India and the US and would encourage New Delhi to quicken its promised corporate tax rate cut to 25% to a larger section of the industry but admitted that cross-border investments are not solely dependent on tax policy. -- Live Mint


Kashmir’s Willow Bats Now Battered by Dwindling Trees


RINAGAR: A nondescript 2 km stretch of National Highway 44 is one of the two places in the world that produce professional bats made of willow—the other being England Though the willow was believed to have existed in Kashmir centuries ago, a large-scale effort to plant it in the region was carried out during the 19th century. Until 1980, there were around 30 units operating in this region. However, in the years following India’s World Cup triumph in 1983, there was an exponential rise in the demand for bats. The English willow is most preferred due to the quality of wood; its Kashmiri counterpart is considered heavier and harder, and is said to lack the punch while playing a stroke. However, the cost effectiveness of the Kashmiri willow makes it a good substitute. On average, a bat made of the English willow costs over Rs 6,000, while one made of the Kashmiri willow starts at Rs 800. Most of the existing plantations are on private land and are being cultivated by individual farmers, rather than through a collective effort. Each willow tree needs at least 20-25 years to mature before it can be put to any use. Due to the investment in time, most choose to put the land to other use in search of quicker returns. “The government must offer subsidy for those growing willow and hand out other financial assistance to encourage cultivation, else why would anyone invest so much time in it? In about five years, we are sure to feel the shortage of willow wood,” says Ghulam Qadir Bhat, the president of the Cricket Bat Manufacturers Association.

Workers put rubber grips and stickers on finished cricket bats.


26 December 29, 2017 Indian Army Hits Back in Cross-LoC Raid, Kills Three

Vijay Rupani Sworn in as Chief Minister of Gujarat



EW DELHI: A small team of Indian Army’s “Ghatak” commandos surreptitiously crossed the Line of Control in the Rawlakot-Rakhchakri sector of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to kill at least three Pakistani soldiers and injure a few others on Monday evening, leading to a surge in the ongoing cross-border firings between the two countries. The limited “ tit-for-tat” operation+ was carried out to avenge the killing of four Indian soldiers, including Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas, by a Pakistani border action team (BAT) at Keri in Rajouri sector of J&K on Saturday afternoon. “`Jawabi karavaee’ (retaliatory action) was required. It was a localized, selective targeting raid around 250300 meters inside PoK by five to six Ghatak commandos of an infantry battalion. Pakistan itself admitted three of its soldiers were killed in the operation, though intelligence inputs suggest the toll could be higher,” said a senior Army officer. The tactical operation, planned by the local battalion commander and approved by the brigade commander,

cannot be compared to the “surgical strikes” against terror launch pads in PoK by Indian Para-Special Forces on September 29 last year. “The surgical strikes were much bigger in scope and simultaneously targeted four terror launch pads and two Pak Army posts co-located with them, both north and south of Pir Panjal over 2-km deep inside Pakistani territory. They were planned at the highest levels,” he said. Soon after four of its soldiers were killed at Keri on Saturday, the Army further stepped up its electronic and physical surveillance along several stretches of the LoC to “exploit any fleeting opportunity” for effective retaliation. It came at about 6pm on Monday when a patrol from the 59 Baluch unit, under the Pak army’s Rawlakot brigade, was first “hit and left stunned” by an IED (improvised explosive device) placed by the Ghatak commandos around 250-300 meters across the LoC. “The commandos, who were lying in wait, then opened fire to maximize the damage before swiftly returning

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to own side of the LoC, with our posts giving them covering fire. A Pak army sniper was also killed in Jhangar sector of Rajouri on Sunday,” said another officer. Monday’s raid was part of the almost daily war of attrition that continues all along the 778-km LoC, with the two sides engaging in fiery artillery-mortar duels and sniping operations as well as undertaking “shallow cross-LoC” raids after detecting vulnerable spots in each other’s deployment and patrolling patterns. The Indian Army has already recorded over 820 ceasefire violations+ by the Pak army along the LoC this year (the figure was just 228 in 2016, 152 in 2015), with 14 soldiers and 10 civilians being killed in them. The Army has lost another 17 soldiers during infiltration bids and “incidents” on the LoC, apart from 30 in intensive counter-insurgency operations that have killed over 210 terrorists in J&K this year. India, of course, has cranked up the pressure on the Pak Army with “preemptive and punitive fire assaults” to destroy locations across the LoC that

aid infiltration attempts ever since two Indian soldiers were beheaded and another injured in a BAT operation in the Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch district on May 1. “Pakistan has suffered many more casualties than us...Their DGMO has made a couple of unscheduled calls over the hotline in the last two-three months to ask for lowering of the hostilities,” said an officer. But Indian DGMO Lt-Gen A K Bhatt last month told his Pakistan counterpart, Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, that there was a “disconnect” between his Army headquarters at Rawalpindi, which professed a desire for peace, and its troops on the ground along the LOC, who continue to resort to heavy firing and ceasefire violations without any provocation, as was earlier reported by TOI. The Army has made it clear it continue to take “all retaliatory measures and retain the right to punitively respond to any provocative acts of aggression” till Pakistan stops actively abetting cross-border terrorism and infiltration. -- Indian Express

ANDHINAGAR: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani along with his 19 Cabinet colleagues took the oath of office and secrecy on Tuesday in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) National PresidentAmit Shah and the chief ministers of the BJP and alliesruled states in Gandhinagar. Governor O P Kohli administered the oaths of office to Nitin Patel as deputy chief minister. The new Rupani cabinet is relatively small in size as compared to previous governments with 9 cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state. As Rupani became the secondtime Chief Minister, former chief minister Anandiben Patel, Shankersinh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel shared the stage together. Among the top BJP leaders and CMs who attended the ceremony included former deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivrajsinh Chauhan and union ministers Nitin Gadkari. In the elections for the 14th State Assembly, BJPhad won 99 seats in the 182member house. Having faced a tough battle in the elections that encircled around caste composition, Rupani carefully created his cabinet by ensuring representation of all. The Patidar community, which had upped the ante against the previous government demanding reservation, has six Patidar MLAs in the new Cabinet - five having cabinet rank and one MoS. The Other Backward Classes (OBC) communities have been given equal representation in the Cabinet as that of Patidars with six prominent OBC faces getting a ministerial berth. However, geographic distribution of ministers remained tilted towards Saurashtra, once BJP fortress that emerged as the weakest region for the party in this election, has been given maximum representation with 7 ministers from the region. This was followed by the South Gujarat region, where the Patidar reservation agitation had its impact. The North Gujarat region, the epicenter of the Patidar reservation agitation has three ministers - Nitin Patel himself representing the Patidar community, while two OBC faces from the region.


December 29, 2017




December 29, 2017