E newspaper 01122018

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Friday, January 12, 2018 • Vol. 37, No. 2

Indo American News READ US ONLINE at www.indoamerican-news.com | Published weekly from Houston, Texas. USA 7457 Harwin Dr, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 • PH: 713 789 6397 • Fax: 713 789 6399 • indoamericannews@yahoo.com

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New Year Blessings! Sri Meenakshi Temple

P6 Hindu Worship Society


Best Wishes for Lohri, Makar Sankranti & Pongal Sri Radha Krishna Temple

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January 12, 2018



January 12, 2018


In spite of Challenging Weather Hundreds of Devotees Attend the Annual Event of Mata Ji Ki Chowki at Hindu Worship Society! BY NISHA BHATIA, PRAMOD SHARMA & MANISH KHATRI


Hindu Worship Society, Houston’s oldest temple, started off the New Year by hosting its annual Mata Chowki held on January 1, 2018. This Chowki brought many devotees out to the temple seeking Mata Rani’s blessings for a great and prosperous New Year. The function was about giving kick start to a superb year by worshiping the Goddess of Supremacy, for peace, harmony, health and wealth to all and specific to those and their loved ones who took time out and joined this worship. It is truly believed and experienced that MATA is very kind and rains the blessing, fullfil desired feats of its worshippers The occasion was very auspicious. It was celebrated by the mandir devotees, who sang Bhajans, Bhents, and performed prayers to the Goddess.Mata Rani’s bhents were led by longtime devotees Sheel and Balram Thakral along with our own Pandit Ji’s children, Rishabh and Ruchi all coming together as a great community in Mata Ji’s devotion. Several community members commented that they were delighted to note an increased participation by devotees offering Bhents. Few of the devotees very respectfully agreed to fore go their offerings of Bhents so that the program can be completed on schedule. Those who attended saw the mandir beautifully decorated by the youth of the mandir. These kids volunteered there and spent several hours cleaning and decorating for the event. It is of one the goals of Hindu Worship Society’s new Board of Trustees and Executive

Section of Devotees offering Mata Ji Bhents

HWS Youth Decorators: Akshit Lashkari, Riya Patel, Nehal Barnwal, Priyanshu Barnwal and Ritvik Lashkari Patrons and sponsors at the Puja; Jaya Sharma, Rakesh Kapoor and Narin Sehgal

Committee to get more youth involvement into the mandir. These kids did an amazing job to start off the New Year! Devotees also saw a new office in place where they could get hosting and sponsoring information, general membership sign-up, posters of Bhagvan Ji and Mata Rani and Hindu Worship Society calendars. This event could not be possible without all the contributing Patrons and Sponsors. HWS will like to thank the following Grand Patrons , Grand Sponsors

and Sponsors along with their families : Grand Patrons: Rita and Bal Sareen, Diana and Narin Sehgal Grand Sponsors and Sponsors: Kirti and Devki Agarwal , Saroj and Vishwa Bahl , Vanita and Vijay Bhagi , Kiran and Ramesh Garg , Aruna and Ravi Goel , Radha and Ram Gupta , Sudhesh and Bhisham Guptay, Neena and Rakesh Kapoor , Manju and Madan Mangal , Surita and Satish Malhota, Shakun Parti , Rama and Navin Patni, Vijay and Suresh Sachdev , Poonam and Raj

Sehgal , Dipi and Raj Sethi , Jaya and Prabhat Sharma , Vimla and Pramod Sharma , Meera and Rajinder Soni, Dr.Arun and Vinne Verma of the Sita Ram Foundation. And a big thank you goes out to Bombay Brasserie for catering the “ Satvik “ dinner prashad for over 400 devotees. Hindu Worship Society would like to continue doing such events for the Houston community, which without the support of such sponsors may not be possible. Hindu Worship Society invites all the existing General Members to renew their annual membership and invites fellow community members and devotees to become new

General Members with an annual donation of $101. HWS Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee is working very hard to make positive changes at the Mandir. Devotees can see the progress on Hindu Worship Society’s new website: www.hwstemple.org and on their new Facebook page @hwstemple. Hindu Worship Society is very proud of our strong and participating community and all the volunteers who help our events happen, like this Mata Chowki a grand success! Please visit the mandir to see the exciting progress! Happy New Year and Jai Mata Di!



January 12, 2018



January 12, 2018


Chants of Jai Mata Di Resonate Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Houston BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA

HOUSTON: There are various

ways to begin the New Years and while some enjoy celebrating it with a grand party, or outing with family and friends, others believe in experiencing the spiritual trance that is attained from a religious get-together, and Mata ki Chowki serves as a perfect devotional gathering where people of all age groups preach about Mata to seek blessings from ‘Her’ divine powers. Considering this, Pandit Ravi Shankar Puri has been hosting successful and blissful Mata ki Chowki’s. This year, Ravi Shankar and Group organized the Vishal Mata Chowki on January 1, 2018, at the Sri Radha Krishna temple in Houston. The rough and cold weather was no barrier for those hundreds of devotees who made it to this venue, to pay their respect through their prayers. The evening started at 4 pm, which also served as a perfect time considering most of the people had a late night from New Year’s Eve. The hall was decorated with chunris, kalash, flowers and garlands. Light snacks and tea was served to the enthusiastic devotees as they greeted each other. Around 5 pm, Mataji’s Akhand Jyot was lighted with the chanting of Langar Vira and a pooja. Mata’s darbar then resonated to the sound of dholak and keyboard amidst thundering claps, as the devotees praised the Goddess through Mataji’s bhents and bhajans. The continuous chanting of Jai Mata Di left a mystic effect in the air, making a complete transformation of everyone’s body and soul. It seemed that everyone’s mind was freed from all kinds of worldly affairs and was completely lost in a reverie of gratitude to the divine Mata. Maa Durga is the divine mother who protects people from evil forces of selfishness, jealousy, hatred, anger and ego. She, being the most powerful Goddess is known to bestow immense blessings upon

Photos: Bijay Dixit

her followers. This Mata ki Chowki was such an auspicious way to seek something magnificent, something resplendent as blessings from the Goddess. It was such a positive environment where all the devotees sung praises in harmony. Pandit Ravi Shankar Puri recited melodious hymns, as he was accompanied by Rupesh, Ramesh, Bhola, Amit Joshi, Sunil Mishra, Surinder Sharma, Sunny, Renison, Zubair and Nirav Puri. The devotees were so enthralled by this spiritual trance that they started singing along, clapping and dancing. To add up to the spiritual vibe, a member from the group appeared as Durga Maa, while another came up to the stage dressed as Lord Ganesha. In their bhakti mode, enthusiastic devotees

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performed to the Garba and Raas traditional dances, to honor the warrior goddess Durga. Scrumptious langar prashad was served at 9.30pm, after the aarti. Siblings Gopal and Sanjay Aggarwal carried out the duties of priests, while Bijay Dixit did the photography. The credit for the success of any event lies with the person

who envisions it, and here it was the vision of Ravi Shankar Puri. He mentioned that he would like to thank everyone who attended the event, particularly the several dedicated volunteers and donors from Houston, without the support of whom the event would not have been possible. As the first evening of the New

Year sank in, it left behind joyous memories and the blessings of the Divine Mother. For more information on Mata Chowki, Satyanarayan Katha, Bhajan Sandhya contact Pandit Ravi Shankar Puri at 713-4807284 or email: jaimaahouston@ gmail.com

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January 12, 2018

Grand New Year Day Celebration and Leadership Transfer at Sri Meenakshi Temple BY KAMALA RAGHAVAN

PEARLAND: Starting from evening of

December 31, 2017, devotees gathered at Sri Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS) to bid farewell to 2017 and to welcome 2018. The special midnight pooja has been a regular feature at MTS with many devotees braving the winter cold. The Thiruppavai and Thiruvempavai recitals in the auspicious Dhanur Masa (Marghazhi) from mid-December to mid-January reverberate at the dawn hours to awaken the Gods, and set the scene for the New Year on January 1st. It was a Grand New Year’s Day celebration at Sri Meenakshi Temple. From the early morning to the late night the main temple was filled with devotees, in spite of the biting cold weather. More than 4,000 devotees visited the Meenakshi temple on that day to witness the pujas and the customary transfer of leadership once every 2 years. Ganapathi Homam, Venkateswara Laksharchana, Pallakku processions for Goddess Meenakshi in the morning and for Lord Venkatesawara along with special Archanas all went smoothly with large number of devotees participating. The Priests did an excellent job with the throngs of devotees coming to pray and seek blessings. The décor and the ambience of the inside main temple beautifully complemented the expanded corner temple praharams and walkways with Acharyas, Nayanmargal and Alwargal. The Cultural Segment ‘BHAKTHI” started with a skit by local talent on Nayanmargal, Alwargal & Acharyas. It was both educational & entertaining & well received by

Photos: Setty

the audience Classical dance performances by students of 4 local dance schools added to the festive ambience on New Year day. The hall filled up with guests to enjoy a magical afternoon of singing and dancing. As the program progressed, we experienced delightful classical dances from students of Sreepadam Schoolof Arts, Sunanda’s school of Arts,, Anjali Center for Performing Arts, and Abhinaya school of Performing Arts.. The talented performers left the audience totally enthralled. Devotees toured the Corner Temple praharams and expressed their delight in the progress made by the Corner Temple Renovation Project (CTRP) in bringing the atmosphere of authentic Indian temple to US. Food booths were always crowded, and the vendors did an awesome job serving all the devotees. MTS thanks the event coordinator Secretary Ramachandra Reddy, all the volunteers, board members, council members,

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Day experience at our Temple.


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January 12, 2018

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January 12, 2018


Houston Welcomes ManPasand Supermarket! BY PREANKA DESAI

HOUSTON: All the way from

Austin, Manpasand Supermarket has come to Houston with its vast range of flavors and spices. Right from fresh veggies, Indian sweets and snacks to 52 freezers with a variety of frozen foods. The Supermarket is newly renovated and expanded from its old Savoy food market. Masala Radio organized a Sunday Funday Grand Opening event on Sunday, January 7, from 10am – 2pm and people forming a line to enter since 8am. Sandhya Thakkar and Bhavisha started decorating the parking lot early in the morning with balloons, red Masala Radio tents, and wind dancers and the Masala Hummer at the street corner to let everyone know about the grand opening. Sharp at 10am, AmirAli Maknojia, owner of Manpasand Supermarket, opened the doors and greeted everyone with a smile and the enthusiastic customers poured in. As a token of good luck, coupons for silver coins, rice bags, prestige pressure cookers were given to first 100 lucky customers. Manpasand Supermarket also offered all guests complimentary Samosa Chaat, Pani Puri, Bhel Puri and hot Masala Chai for which there was always a rush. By noon, contented shoppers

stood patiently in checkout lanes that extended all the way down the aisles while Sandhya Thakkar & RJ Preanka engaged with shoppers who rolled out carts chockfull of groceries and remarked, “the prices are so low… 40 limes for just $1”. DJ AJ in the red Masala Radio tent at the entrance, mixed popu-

lar Bollywood songs, which made the event, feel like a party and had the guests dancing in aisles while shopping. Umang Mehta of Deep Foods graciously doled out 500 delicious Deep juices with a variety of flavors. Todd Freeman of Texans Energy, felt like a vendor at a busy Mumbai store, surrounded by hundreds of customers to get

their free Texans Energy T-shirt who happily even exchanged sizes for guests and eventually ran out of all shirts in just two hours. Masala Crew member Dhaval Patel gave away 500 free kites sponsored by Gujarati Samaj of Houston and ISSO Swaminarayan temple to celebrate the upcoming event of Uttarayan on January 14. Rakesh

Jain and Pratiksha of MyTaxFiler were present at the event to meet with anyone who needed free tax advice and tips. Realtor Sony Kohli stopped by to say hello to the Masala team and took pictures in front of the Indian Premier Padmini car.



10 January 12, 2018

Guru Gobind Singh’s 351st Birthday Celebration at Sikh National Center


Houston Welcomes ManPasand Supermarket!


HOUSTON: To commemorate

the 351st birthday of the tenth Guru Gobind Singh, an Akhand Path was started at the Sikh National Center on January 5 and continued for the next two days after which a Diwan was carried out. The celebration was attended by a continuous stream of the faithful who came throughout the day and night. Bhai Amrik Singh explained Guru Gobind Singh’s valiant and inspiring nature to the Sikh sangat. At 10:30 am on Sunday morning, January 7, the path was concluded with a soulful and melodious kirtan recited by Bhai Harvinder Singh and his jatha. Then Dr. Surjit Singh Uppal expressed his emotions through a well composed poem. A large number of sangat members showed up to seek blessings on this joyous occasion. A delicious langar of various dishes was prepared and served every evening. Many young Sikhs were once again inspired by the incomparable life of the Guru. The Sikh National Center prabandhak committee and volunteers were full of enthusiasm. Dr. Hardam Singh Azad, Harjit Singh Galhotra, Gurbir Singh Boparai,

Bhai Harvinder Singh and his jatha sing a soulful and melodious kirtan

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 09 A continuous stream of the faithful who came throughout the day and night for the commemoration of the 351st birthday of the tenth Guru Gobind Singh at the Sikh National Center

Charnjeet Singh Sandhu, and other members thanked the sangat for their participation and said they hoped to celebrate this occasion in the new gurudwara building next year. [Editor’s note: Sikhism’s tenth and final guru Guru Gobind Singh,

established the Khalsa in 1699 on Vaishakhi Day at Anandpur, Punjab, which is located midway between Jalandhar and Shimla. He initiated the Panj Payare, the Five K’s and the Khalsa and administered a strict code of discipline.]

The huge crowd present at the Grand Opening not only caused long shopping lines at the store but also caused a major traffic jam on Wilcrest all the way till West Bellfort. One officer was not enough to guide the cars so Masala Crew member Ruchir Patel stepped in to assist with traffic flow whistling Indian style. RJ Priya led shoppers in an impromptu dance class. In no time

the store was converted into a dance stage and all shoppers joined in to dance. Participants were gifted with Deep Foods goodies and Texans Energy rewarded two winners with a free Rockets ticket. Manpasand Supermarket is located at 11246 South Wilcrest Drive #145 B, Houston, TX 77099 and is open Monday through Sunday from 10:00am to 11:00pm. Please call (832) 8507111 for further information.



January 12, 2018

1305 Patients, 21 Physicians, 5 1/2 Hours. A Memorable Day in Treating Rural India


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The group of 21 physicians at the end of the medical camp after receiving their certificates of appreciation

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SURAT: Thirty-four years ago

after I finished my Junior Residency at Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi in 1984, I had my very first experience of seeing patients in India. And what an incredibly memorable day it was! My mentor for this trip was Dr. Nitin Shah, an anesthesiologist from Los Angeles who has been doing these free medical camps at least yearly for 25 years. With only a couple of hours of sleep the night before, I was at the New Delhi Airport at 4am to board the first flight to Surat, Gujarat. I was excited beyond words as this was my first overseas Medical Mission trip ever. Soon after my arrival at Surat Airport, I was greeted by a US based physician couple, Dr. Suvas Desai, a urologist, and his wife Dr. Nirmala Desai, a neonatologist from Louisville, Kentucky who had also come to participate in this camp. The two and a half hour journey to the northeast guided by Google Maps literally seemed very short as we were so busy engaged in conversations about our lives in US that we didn’t even realize we had

arrived at the Medical Camp set up at the Rajpipla Sugar Cane factory in rural Gujarat. Rajpipla is a small town of 60,000 people located on the northern edge of the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, about 2 hours southeast of Baroda. The camp was very well organized as we all 21 Physicians worked 5 1/2 hours nonstop and provided care to a record 1305 patients. In addition to examining patients we did diagnostic testing including EKGs, hemoglobin, echocardiograms and provided recommendations along with free medications. I can certainly state that on this day, I diagnosed and treated the most varied spectrum of illnesses I have ever seen in my entire medical career in a single day. What a professionally fulfilling and rewarding day it was!! We saw a wide variety of patients, some of whom who had never ever seen a physician in their entire life and had significant illnesses. After we concluded the day, Dr. Nitin Shah thanked all the participants by awarding certificates of Appreciation. We then drove back 2 1/2 hours to arrive in Surat and were greeted at the Victorian style guest house at the Ad-

ventist Hospital. We all felt we had barely scratched the surface with so much more to do, yet hoping we at least made a little difference in all the lives we had touched. We could simply feel the gratitude of the patients expressed in their eyes and kind gestures of tremendous respect towards us. The day ended when I invited the two US medical residents volunteering in this camp to join me for dinner at the elegant Taj Hotel where we thoroughly enjoyed the best vegetable soup we ever had tasted in our lives and an extremely delicious dessert that I had never ever tried called Walnut Halwa. After retiring to bed late at night completely exhausted after such a long day, I arrived at the airport the next morning at 6:30am to fly back to New Delhi. As I penned my thoughts during my return flight to New Delhi, an indescribable peace blossomed within me. I am confident I will definitely return one day again but until then the faces of all the patients I saw will be permanently etched in my memory forever.

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12 January 12, 2018


IACCGH’s 2018 President, Swapan Dhairyawan BY MANU SHAH

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every year, Swapan Dhairyawan spends two hours writing his goals for the year. He sticks this sheet of paper on his closet door and reads them every day. One of the big goals on that sheet this year is to take on the mantle of leadership as President at IACCGH and empower business. In 2004, Swapan and a colleague Irfan Moosa branched out on their own with MD & Associates LLPa Certified Public Accountancy firm. He took up a friend’s invitation to attend a Chamber networking event and the potential made him renew his membership every year. In 2012, he joined the Board and became Treasurer. For five years, Swapan oversaw the books and in 2017, was voted unanimously as President for the year 2018. Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia sums it up when he says he is highly impressed with Swapan’s organizational skills, his willingness to understand a different point of view and work at building a community consensus. Running a business is no easy feat and no one knows this better than Swapan - an entrepreneur himself. One of his goals this year is to empower small businesses and help them adapt to the changing times. He would also like to

Swapan Dhairyawan Photo: Bijay Dixit

continue the momentum of engaging younger demographics in the Chamber’s activities. Swapan came to Houston in 1999 and along with finding a foothold as a CPA, was active in community service – a bent of mind inherited from his mother. Over the years, he headed the India Culture Center as President, the International Hindi Association as National President and played a key role in organizations such as Sewa and IMAGH. His CPA side is clearly visible as one of the first pieces of advice he gives any organization is to develop “fiscal responsibility” and have a “rainy day fund.” No organization, whether commercial or

nonprofit, he insists, can survive long term without this in place. He pushed for this as well as transparency practices in several organizations. A point of pride is a compliment from an IRS Audit agent who told Swapan – “I wish all nonprofits maintained their books like this.” His favorite financial advice to people – “controlling your lifestyle is the way to build wealth.” Swapan is a great believer in time management and multitasking which probably accounts for his ability to attend dozens of community meetings, events and run a leading CPA firm. He is quick to credit wife Pallavi for her unwavering support, whether it’s missing dinnertime again or writing out a check for a community cause. The one thing he never compromises on is dad-time with his 11 year old daughter, Eesha. When Hurricane Harvey battered the city in August, Swapan was struck by the fortitude Houstonians displayed and it reminded him of his hometown Mumbai’s “never say die” attitude. Like many Indo Americans, he pitched in to help the community get back on its feet, whether it was organizing meals or assisting folks who were stuck. He is a proud Houstonian and IACCGH is proud to have him head the Chamber this year.

New 2018 Executive Committee, Trustees for ICC

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for advertising call 713-7 8 9 - 6397 After the election held on Sunday, January 7 at India House with Election Committee Commissioners Jawahar Malhotra (right) and Girish Pandya (left) are the 2018 ICC Executive Committee from left, Hemant Patel, Treasurer; Pramod Bengani, Vice-President; Nisha Mirani, President; outgoing President Falguni Gandhi and Ajit Patel, Secretary. two-year term was filled by Jas-


HOUSTON: A month after it

held elections for new Directors, the India Culture Center held its follow up election for the Executive Committee for 2018 on Sunday, January 7, at India House. And once again, in the same manner as the previous election, things went smoothly as nominations were made and votes were cast. Election Committee Commissioners Girish Pandya and this reporter conducted the process and certified the results for the key positions for 2018. A room full of ICC members, Directors and Trust-

ees were present for the hour long process, following which the new Trustees were also announced.. Nominations received for each position were unopposed and then the candidates were accepted by unanimous voice votes. The new 2018 Executives are President Nisha Mirani; Vice-President Pramod Bengani; Treasurer Hemant Patel and Secretary Ajit Patel. Falguni Gandhi will fill out the team as past-President. Also revealed were the two three-year term Trustees, Praful Gandhi, former president of the Indian Senior Citizens Association and Rajiv Bhavsar, twice a former ICC President and Director. The

meeta Singh, a previous ICC Director. All there candidates were unopposed. The group will now head up its first upcoming flagship events of the year: the celebration of India’s Republic Day on January 20 at the Stafford Civic Centre on Cash Road. Each member of the new executive Committee gave a short introduction of themselves and their goals for the upcoming year. Mirani, who works as an office manager at a doctor’s office, remembered when she was a teenager 37 years ago and got involved with the com-




January 12, 2018

Living Bhagavata Dharma at Namadwaar Madhura Utsav


Numerous saints hail Bhagavata Dharma – the path of devotion through kirtanam (singing the Lord’s Names) and shravanam (listening to His stories) – as the simplest and most potent dharma to sprout love for Bhagavan and lead us straight to Him; and as one that can be practiced easily by anyone from the youngest to the oldest even in today’s tumultuous age of kali. At the 10th annual Namadwaar Madhura Utsavam (“sweet celebration”) conducted by Global Organization for Divinity at Houston Namadwaar from Dec 23-31, 2017, one could actually experience the beauty of living in Bhagavata dharma, as everyone – from little children to aging grandparents, and all in between – enjoyed themselves effortlessly in thoughts of Bhagavan for a whole week. Led by Sri Poornimaji and Sri Ramaswamyji, disciples of His Holiness Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, and in the divine presence of the Namadwaar deities of KrishnaRadha named Sri Premika Varadan-Sri Madhuri Sakhi, this year’s Utsav was truly unique. What was elucidated on in Poornimaji’s brilliant evening discourses on the Navayogis’ exposition of Bhagavata Dharma in Srimad Bhagavatam, was actually practiced by all devotees during the day, easily with no explicit effort. The Navayogis speak of how, to


Sri Poornimaji’s discourse

get rid of fear, one must hold on to the Lotus Feet of the Lord through incessant Nama sankirtan and reminiscing of the leelas of Bhagavan. True to this, there was constant reverberation of the Divine Name in Namadwaar and every day, different leelas of Bhagavan were enacted by devotees. Special highlights included the Vana Bhojanam – a depiction of the Gopa boys playing with Krishna in the forests of

Brindavan, where children dressed up as Gopas and actually played with Premika Varadan and ate with Him; and Govinda Pattabhishekam, where devotees and children enacted the entire leela. The moment when the storm came and all devotees surrendered completely to Krishna was truly moving as everyone fell together at Premika Varadan’s feet! Vaikunta Ekadasi was also cel-

ebrated in a grand manner with the whole Namadwaar reverberating with the Divine Name as Premika Varadan-Madhuri Sakhi and all devotees went through the “Vaikunta Dwaar”. In the afternoon, a unique Garuda vahanam procession included enactment of various scenes from Bhagavatam where Bhagavan gives darshan while seated on Garuda. Another highlight event at the Utsav was an entire day dedicated to children. On Dec 30th morning, children helped pull Bhagavan’s Ratha (chariot), then presented a unique music and dance sequence depicting Krishna subduing the different egos of Brahma, Indra, Kaliya and the Gopis. In the afternoon children played Krishnathemed games outdoors, which was followed by Janavasam performed entirely by children and the grand finale of the Radha Kalyanam, also performed by children in their own mandaps to their own Premika Varadan-Madhuri Sakhi. It was truly a one-of-a-kind experience for the children. Every day there was also Madhurasmriti, where devotees shared sweet memories of their experiences with Sri Swamiji in India, and also many cultural performances – Hari Kathas by children from the Gopa Kuteeram Hari Katha Club, Dance performances by Shweta Srinivasan from Canada, Sanjana Anand from Seattle, Dharshana


Dhantu from Atlanta, Pavithra Chandrasekar from Houston, and group of Archana Bharadwaj, Harini Ganesh, Keerthana Venkataraman, Ramitha Venkat, Sahana Ganesh, Sneha Nair and Varshni Venkatesan from Houston, and Bhajans by children from the Gopa Kuteeram Bhajan Mandali and students of Smt. Meenakshi Venkataraman. Earlier in the week, a Madhurageetham devotional music competition was held for all ages based on the compositions of HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. The competition saw enthusiastic participation by children, and they were also inspired to learn and understand the meanings of the songs they were rendering. The judges Smt. Sridevi Josyula, Smt. Nalini Sadagopan and Smt. Rajalakshmi Ganapathiraman wonderfully encouraged the children while emphasizing on the devotional aspect and understanding/appreciating the lyrics. The emcee, Smt. Uma Gomathi, also conducted a very informative musical quiz. The winners of the competition were Dhrithi Balaji, Ananya Hariharasudhan, Pranav Sriram and Malavika Dwarakanath in Subjuniors; Madhura Sriram, Keerthana Venkataraman, Kritika Dwarakanath and Harini Ganesh in Juniors; and Bharat Salvady and Shweta Srinivasan in Senior group. The first place winners also performed one evening during the Utsav.


14 January 12, 2018




January 12, 2018



16 January 12, 2018 New 2018 Executive Committee, Trustees for ICC CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 munity. “I want to bring the youth into the ICC through activities like sports and picnics,” she said, adding that her other goal was to work on women’s issues. Bengani, a petrochemical engineer, said he would support Mirani in her goals and recalled a recent incident of a young Indo American who committed suicide at Texas A&M University. “I want to work with youth and give them a sense of belonging,” he added. Hemant Patel, a researcher with MD Anderson Cancer Center, has

been on the ICC Board before and said serving was for the community and not for the ego. He also agreed that getting the youth involved and empowered was an important goal. Ajit Patel, who owns Air An U Cool air conditioning, said the ICC was “one big happy family.” In concluding her year as president, Gandhi said she was proud of what she was able to achieve and “when you sit in this seat, you understand the responsibility.” She added she was “very passionate for what the ICC stands for.”


Seeking cast in Houston for Broadway Style Stage Show “MAHABHARAT” directed by legendary Masterji Trivedi. Cast Needed: Actors & Actresses of all ages for various roles, must be able to speak Hindi. If you are committed and have passion for acting and want to see yourself on stage. Walking audition have been schedule on Jan 31st, 2018. Please email renowned Director Masterji Trivedi at masterjitrivedi480@gmail.com Audition Date: Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm Venue: NIRMANZ 16338 Kensington Drive #160. Sugarland. TX 77479


HOUSTON: Whoever said that

seniors don’t have fun should have joined the Club 65 seniors on January 3, 2018 when they celebrated New Year on a cold wintry evening. The temperatures were in the mid 20’s and yet close to 100 seniors crammed into the Savoy party hall decked in their colorful attires and broad smiles. The party mood was further enhanced when members donned a special mask provided to them. The energetic and effervescent Paru McGuire, President of Club 65 greeted the members and guests with a warm welcome. She then expressed her gratitude and felicitated with a box of chocolates, the Board – Chair Fateh Ali Chatur, Vice President Rahat Kalle, Joint VP Hatim Kanorwala, Secretary Albert Joseph, Treasurer Farida Bandali and core team of volunteers – Farida Jinnah, Rozina Jaferali, Shaheen Vora, Saeed and Bilkish Pathan – for their help in pulling off all the programs throughout the year. Streamers, balloons, colorful garlands and other New Year paraphernalia decorated the Savoy party hall giving it a festive look. A photo wall was also set up for members to take pictures with their friends and family to etch the memories of the evening forever in their photo albums. The evening started with hot soup, vegetable spring rolls and pakoras accom-


Club 65 Celebrates New Year in Style

From left: Ashma Moosa, Paru McGuire, Taiyeb Shipchandler, Mariam Ibrahim, Saeed Pathan

From left: N. Pasha, S. Chunawala, K. Rahim, P. McGuire, A. Kanorwala, H. Kanorwala, J. Pasha

panied by hot masala chai and soft drinks, followed with a sumptuous dinner and desert. Music was organized by club 65’s very own member, Jamil Chunawala and local artists including Bindu Malhotra, Taiyeb Mohsin Shipchandler affectionately known as kaka to Club 65 member as well as Salem Afroz and Safder Hasan. The audience was mesmerized by the melodies, some swaying, others lost in reverie while still others on the dance floor alone or with their spouses completely held captive in the moment. The program held a few more surprises, with raffle tickets and prizes for six lucky winners, Facemasks, noisemakers

and gift bags for all. Club 65 King and Queen 2018 – Mariam Ibrahim (Queen) and Taiyeb Moshin Shipchandler (King), were crowned (a very tough decision indeed) by the judges Ashma Moosa and Saeed Pathan. Dr. Jaseem Pasha, a Club 65 member offered the toast accompanied by members welcoming 2018 with sparkling cider, noisemakers and a crescendo from the music group. The evening ended at 10 pm with each member and guest receiving a gift bag, once again to commemorate the evening. For more info on Club 65, contact Paru McGuire at 440-390-1763 or at parumcguire@yahoo.com



January 12, 2018


Journalist Moser Enters Congressional Race to Challenge Culberson for Dist. 7 BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: Emboldened by their

party’s performance in the last General Election in 2016 and by the snafus and guffaws that President Donald Trump has been making since he took office, a rush of Democratic candidates has filed to run for offices in more districts across Texas than in recent years. The list of candidates on the Democratic slate seeking to oppose 17year Republican incumbent John Culberson for US Congressional District 7 is just one example of this phenomenon. There are seven Democratic candidates who seek to win in the March 6 primary cycle: James Butler, James Cargas, Lizzie Pannil Fletcher, Laura Moser, Ivan Sanchez, Alex Triantaphyllis and Jason Westin. On the other side are Republicans Culberson seeking his 10th term in office and his opponent Edward Ziegler in his first campaign. Also in the race is the Reform Party candidate Ronald Kimmons. This past Sunday, January 7, two activists from the Indian community, Rashmi Desai and Jagat Kamdar organized a Meet and Greet for one of the Democratic candidates, Laura Moser, who was introduced to them by Desai’s neighbor and Party Chair for District 435 Mary Morrison. Impressed by Moser’s meeting – and by the coincidental fact that her husband Arun Chaudhary is of Indian origin –

Contender for the Democratic Primary for District 7 Laura Moser with community activists Rashmi Desai (left) and Jagat Kamdar at the Meet and Greet they organized on Sunday, January 7.

Moser with the media, Jawahar Malhotra (left) and Manisha Gandhi.

Kamdar and Desai fanned out to others they knew who were politically involved and savvy for the meeting this past weekend. Moser came prepared with her campaign staff to discuss the issues that are central to her race and what sets her apart from the others in the fray. A tall, Jewish woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, Moser is a freelance journalist who recently moved back to Houston and to West University Place where she grew up. She reflected on her family’s history – a grandfather who left Nazi Germany six weeks before the infamous Kristallnacht terror attack in 1938 and started afresh again in Houston, - and how that infused in her the spirit of hope and possibility

Texas Congressional District 7 was redistricted in 2011 and generally runs from Meyerland to Cypress and Katy to Shepherd Drive in the city’s center and Hilary Clinton won it in the last election. It is a well-heeled district with 38% White population and 68% who have a college degree. According to Moser, the only two issues that Culberson , who sits on the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, has worked on that have directly impacted the 7th District dealt with transportation. One, when he got federal funding for expanding the Katy Freeway and the other was when he consistently blocked federal funding for the METRO Uptown line and along with it slowed the growth

of renewal that Houston represents to the diverse community of immigrants which live here. Moser said that the issue of immigration and impending deportations upset her especially when she saw a picture of a 6-year-old being ripped from her family. “When I saw what was happening to my America, I was motivated to run,” she said. Her husband had become the first official videographer of the White House, a position he held from 2009-2011 during the Obama administration and then worked on the White House staff and the growing family (they have two kids, Leo, 8 and Claudia, 5) lived in Washington, DC. When Moser decided to run, they moved down to the Bayou City.

of public transportation in Houston. “One of his pet projects is satellites to outer space, like to Europa or toAlpha Centuri,” she quipped. “Other than that, Culberson has done nothing, especially for flood relief after Harvey,” blasted Moser in her rapid–fire style which showed her grip on issues that affect the district. Most of the two dozen or so people who came out to meet her agreed that the time was ripe for a change. She hopes to build on her platform through story-telling as an effective way to talk about people’s lives and through her Daily Action text-messaging service which has already signed up 300,000 people since it started 2 months ago.


18 January 12, 2018 Weathering the H1B Challenge

Free trade and liberal immigration policies are, broadly,

economic positives on a macro scale. But political developments in Western polities over the past year or two show that ignoring the localized downsides they can potentially have is not a winning strategy. US President Donald Trump rode that particular resentment to victory in 2016, and he has continued to follow that script. In April 2017, he signed the “Buy American and Hire American” executive order. Since the order, various proposals have been made, or notified, that would make hiring H-1B workers difficult for companies. The latest one—ending grant of extensions to H-1B visaholders who were waiting for permanent residency—was clarified on Monday as being withdrawn. But more trouble might be lurking in the future. The direction of recent policy, or at least the rhetoric, is intended to make life difficult for future immigrants, with proposals like: reserving 20% of the H-1B visas for small firms, which necessarily reduces the number of visas that Indian multinationals can apply for; raising the minimum salary to reduce the opportunity cost of hiring an American; rules deciding whether family members can seek work and if the worker can indefinitely stay in the country while waiting for the green card. India has been the largest beneficiary of the old system, illustrated by the disproportionate number of visas—126,692, new and renewed—that were issued to Indians in 2016. And over 60% of the revenue of the $150-billion-plus Indian IT industry is from exports to the US. It follows that India will be among the major losers if the US decides to tighten the screws. In response, Indian firms have already picked up hiring in the US. TCS’ applications for work visas reduced by 30% in FY16, compared to FY15. Infosys also promised in May 2017 to hire 10,000 Americans and Wipro and HCL Technologies Ltd already have local workers that make up 50% and 65% of the workforce, respectively. In order to improve its cost competitiveness, Infosys, Wipro and TCS have been using their proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms to increase productivity. In 2016-17, both Infosys and Wipro said these automation tools helped each of the firms record productivity worth work done by 12,000 engineers. But challenges remain. New Delhi will, no doubt, continue pushing for freer movement of its skilled professionals across borders. It has been lobbying at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for multiple-entry visas on cross-border movement of services, relieving professionals on short stints from social security contributions, insurance visas, etc., as a part of the Trade Facilitation Agreement for Services. But judging by the opposition to this agenda—whether at the WTO or on a bilateral level—banking on success here would be naive. -- LiveMint

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Bhima-Koregaon: Lessons from History BY MAYANK SINGH

As caste violence in Maharashtra

and now perhaps Gujarat takes centre stage, it appears that the nation is regressing towards anarchy. With self-proclaimed Dalit thinkers all over TV shows waxing eloquent on Bhima-Koregaon battle being a victory of Dalit Mahars over Brahmin Peshwa army, a few points need to be thought over. Firstly, shouldn’t a thinker be someone with the core ideology of concern for all humanity? Aren’t those who isolate themselves to a segment, limited in their approach, because of their self-imposed restrictions and not qualified to grandiosely refer to themselves as thinkers? Why should thinkers be demarcated as Dalits, Muslims, Brahmins, Vaishyas et al, limiting their ability to deliberate on the larger cause of humanity? Secondly, was the Peshwa army only a Brahmin and Maratha army? While the selective thinkers and modern-day historians with their pre-determined agendas have compartmentalised every aspect of our tradition and legacy, it would be useful if they remembered the life of Ibrahim Khan Gardi. Popularly known as Khan, Ibrahim was obviously a Muslim, who commanded the artillery division of the Peshwa army. Before joining the Peshwas, Ibrahim served the Nizam of Hyderabad, again obviously a Muslim. Trained by the French, he was a master artillery man who gained the confidence of Sadashiv Rao Bhau, commander of the Peshwa army. It was Ibrahim who led the Peshwa artillery wing as they took to battle during the third battle of Panipat circa 1761. The Marathas, who were unused to fighting in a formation of artillery and cavalry, lost the battle as their sword-wielding cavalry broke defensive formations and charged headlong into the Rohilla division of Ahmad Shah Abdali’s Afghan army and died before the consistent musket firing. Ibrahim, however, continued to fight, causing maximum damage to Abdali’s army. This effort was despite the fact that some Maratha

The British won the Bhima-Koregaon battle because of superior military technique and not because one Indian caste prevailed over the other. In the end, however, India lost. generals deserted the army in the face of imminent defeat. Ibrahim is said to have been captured by the Rohillas as he performed the last rites of Sadashiv Rao Bhau and Vishwasrao, the Peshwa’s son. He was tortured to death because the Rohillas and the Afghans hated him for opposing them despite being Muslim by faith. Perhaps those spreading venom in society by pejoratively referring to Peshwas as Brahmins and celebrating their defeat at Bhima-Koregaon as class struggle, need to understand those times by learning about Ibrahim. He was not a Brahmin, but rose because of merit and proved his worth even in death. No army could afford to become a fighting force by segregating people on the basis of faith and caste. The British spread this canard to divide Indians and we still fall prey to this fallacy even 70 years after Independence. Thirdly, the Marathas were never the same after the third battle of Panipat, which though again never analysed, was primarily responsible for the British taking control of India. The much-vaunted Battle of Plassey, as the turning point in India’s history, is a glorified myth. The Marathas were at the peak of their power in 1761 and their pan-India ambitions made them a powerful enemy for the East India Company. The same cannot be said of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah who, with due regards, was no Mughal. The Marathas did keep venturing to Delhi even after 1761, but militarily never recovered. Therefore, the charade of 1818 and projecting it as a battle of classes is insidious. The Mahars were and still are very brave people, but then they were in the employment of East India Company more because of better employment opportunities than any other reason.

If the Peshwas had no qualms in employing Ibrahim, a Muslim, as an important cog in their military wheel, it can be safely presumed that they would have been comfortable using the military acumen of the Mahars. It might be politically incorrect to say, but the British won Bhima-Koregaon because of superior military technique and not because one Indian caste prevailed over the other. In the end, however, India lost. And for those ‘thinkers’ pretending on TV channels as if the British cared for the Mahars and other deprived classes, they would do well to remember that the British did nothing to remove the curse of untouchability. It was outlawed in 1955, while Sati was outlawed long ago. The British only played one community against the other. Unfortunately, as things stand, not much seems to have changed since then. To refer to Peshwas as Brahmins, Babasaheb Ambedkar as Dalit or Kalam as a Muslim is an insult to these pathbreakers who set parameters which should be emulated rather than ridiculed. It is symptomatic of sad times when people like Umar Khalid, whose agenda of ‘Bharat tere tukde honge’ is unambiguous, is depicted as someone who is honestly commemorating Bhima-Koregaon, without thinking it as part of a larger seditious agenda. It is indeed the prerogative of the citizens of this country to have a preference for a certain kind of political leadership, but the forces out to divide people by instigating their baser instincts deserve to be shunned. Otherwise and if this goes on, rest assured, we the people of India, are playing into the hands of subversives. 2019 will come and go, but the wounds being forcefully thrust onto the polity of India by such forces will ensure a bloody future. In case of any self-doubt, close your eyes for a moment, think of Ibrahim Khan Gardi, his valour and his sacrifice. Your doubts will vanish. It is time India starts to debunk false narratives promoted by colonialists in the past and their neo-colonialist successors now. Decolonising the mind has to begin now. Before it gets too late. -- Times of India


CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR INDIA: ASEEM KULKARNI ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-6397 email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: www.indoamerican-news.com



January 12, 2018


Sri Sarada School of Music 10th Anniversary


OUSTON: On the auspicious day of Thyagaraja Panchami, which fell on January 6, Sri Sarada School of Music celebrated its 10th anniversary at Ashtalakshmi Temple with the company of over 200 Houstonians. Founded by Sitaram Ayyagari, the school is dedicated to impart Carnatic Classical music to the young, budding talent in the city of Houston. Ayyagari received his initial training from Peddada Surya Kumari, and advanced his music skills under the mentorship of the legendary Late Sri Ivaturi Vijjeswara Rao in India. The event commenced with a commentary on the spiritual journey of Saint Thyagaraja through his own compositions, delivered by Ayyagari. Following the introduction, students began the evening with a prayer to Lord Ganapathi through “Sri Gana Nadha”. This was followed with swarajathis, varnams, and krithis of Saint Thyagaraja, Mutthuswami Deekshitar, Papanasam Sivan, Bhadrachala Ramadasa, Annamacharya, and Purandara Dasa by 4 groups of junior and senior students. Over 30


Ragas were presented by the same number of students, each charming the evening with their flawless renditions. After the student’s performances, Siddharth Ayyagari gave an enthralling mini-concert, starting off with the Navaraagamalika varman “Valachi Vacchi.” The main item was “Sogasuga Mrundaga Thaalamu” in the raagam Sri Ranjani, set to rupaka thaalam. The entire program was supported with stellar performances by Nischal Anand and Mukund Josyula on the violin for the juniors and seniors, and Vishal Setlur on the mridangam. Sri Kanth Josyula provided excellent AV support throughout the entire event.

At the culmination of the program, student’s parents and devoted senior citizens rendered the Nama Ramayanam, a musical description of the Ramayana originally brought to fame by the legend M.S.Subbulakshmi. Dr. Ravi Tamerisa led the group with his scintillating rhythms on the mridangam. Chief Guest Chitten Raju Vanguri, President of Vanguri Foundation insisted on coming together for preserving and nurturing the traditions of Indian Classical Music by involving the kids and themselves alike. Sri Sarada School of Music intends to continue its services to enhance the cultural & musical knowledge for generations to come.

Husband And Wife Team Who Stole $90 Million From NYC & Got Away

eddy and Padma Allen owned a computer consulting firm that pulled in $450 million in city contracts since 2005. Earlier this month they walked away with $90 million of it. Their company, TechnoDyne, was named the number two minority owned firm by NJBiz, and Ernst & Young honored Padma Allen as last years entrepreneur of the year, according tro the New York Post. Two weeks ago the couple were called to appear before a grand jury to face questions about kickbacks to get CityTime contracts, and money laundering. In response, the pair boarded

a jet for India and haven’t been heard from since. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bhara unsealed indictments against

the couple yesterday and called the CityTime fraud, “one of the largest and most brazen frauds ever committed against the city.” In the couples wake lay 200 former employees, dozens of indictments, and $38 million in 120 bank accounts for shell companies across three continents. So far, Bhara’s team have identified $90 million that made it to the couples pockets before they fled. Mayor Bloomberg is being petitioned to reform the city’s IT contract system. -businessinsider.com


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20 January 12, 2018 LOHRI T

he people of Punjab celebrate Lohri with utmost zest every year on 13th January. It is believed that the festival is celebrated on the day when days start becoming shorter and the nights start becoming longer. This festival is celebrated as the harvest festival and on this day people light bonfire, sing and dance in joy to pay respect to the Dulha Batti. Though, it is the key festival

Pongal is a four-days-long harvest

festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India. For as long as people have been planting and gathering food, there has been some form of harvest festival. Pongal, one of the most important popular Hindu festivals of the year. This four-day festival of thanksgiving to nature takes its name from the Tamil word meaning “to boil” and is held in the month of Thai (January-February) during the season when rice and

of Punjabis but some Northern states of India also observe this festival which including Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. The people of Sindhi community observe this festival as “Lal Loi”. Punjabi people living in various corners of the world also celebrate Lohri with same fervour. The Reason behind Lohri Celebration People have many assumptions regarding the celebration of Lohri festival in Punjab, some of which include: Lohri is considered to have been derived from the word “Loi”,

who was the wife of kabir, the great saint. While some people believe that it originated from the word “Loh” which is a device used for making chapattis. In some parts of the state people also believe that the festival’s name originated from the name of the sister of Holika, who survived the fire while Holika herself died. Besides that, some people also believe that that the word Lohri originated from the word tilorhi which comes from the combination of the words rorhi and til. Modern day Lohri Celebration

Earlier people used to celebrate Lohri by gifting each other Gajaks, while in the contemporary world the trend has been gradually changing and people prefer gifting chocolates and cakes instead of gajaks. With the increasing threat to the environment with the roaring pollution agents people have become more conscious and they prefer not to light up bonfires. People avoid cutting on more trees and plants for lighting up bonfires on Lohri. Instead they celebrate Lohri by plnting more and more trees so that they can contribute to the en-

vironmental protection in the long run. -lohrifes-

other cereals, sugar-cane, and turmeric (an essential ingredient in Tamil cooking) are harvested. Mid-January is an important time in the Tamil calendar. The harvest festival, Pongal, falls typically on the 14th or the 15th of January and is the quintessential ‘Tamil Festival’. Pongal is a harvest festival, a traditional occasion for giving thanks to nature, for celebrating the life cycles that give us grain. Tamilians say ‘Thai pirandhaal vazhi pirakkum’, and believe that knotty family problems will be solved with the advent of the Tamil month Thai that begins on Pongal day. This is traditionally the month of weddings. This is not a surprise in a largely

agricultural community - the riches gained from a good harvest form the economic basis for expensive family occasions like weddings. The First Day This first day is celebrated as Bhogi festival in honor of Lord Indra, the supreme ruler of clouds that give rains. Homage is paid to Lord Indra for the abundance of harvest,

thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land. The Second Day On the second day of Pongal, the puja or act of ceremonial worship is performed when rice is boiled in milk outdoors in a earthenware pot and is then symbolically offered to the sun-god along with other oblations. All people wear traditional dress and markings, and their is an interesting ritual where husband and wife dispose off elegant ritual utensils specially used for the puja. The Third Day The third day is

known as Mattu Pongal, the day of Pongal for cows. Multi-colored beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands are tied around the neck of the cattle and then are worshiped. They are fed with Pongal and taken to the village centers. The Fourth Day The Fourth day is known as Knau or Kannum Pongal day. On this day, a turmeric leaf is washed and is then placed on the ground. On this leaf are placed, the left overs of sweet Pongal and Venn Pongal, ordinary rice as well as rice colored red and yellow, betel leaves, betel nuts, two pieces of sugarcane, turmeric leaves, and plantains. -pongalfestival.org

er, the Sun returns to the same spot in the sky every 365.25 days. So, there is a difference of 11.25 days between the solar and lunar years. Every 2.5 years, therefore, an intercalary month (the Adhik Maas) is added to the lunar calendar to roughly synchronise the two. This adjustment in lunar calender and the solar calender is important and critical because weather patterns follow the solar calendar, not the lunar. On the other hand, accurate ‘tithi’ and ‘mahurat’ (or ‘muhurat’) calculations are better done with the relatively faster moving moon. In fact, to make

such calculations more accurate, the celestial path of the moon, which is slightly off from the path of the sun, is divided into 27 ‘nakshatras’ while the path of the sun is divided into 12 ‘rashis’.(Thus the celestial path of sun and moon have been divided into 12 rashis (the zodiac signs) or the 27 ‘Nakshatras’, thus can be said 1rashi =2.25 Nakshatras). The case of Makar Sankranti is different and unique to other festivals : it goes entirely by the solar calendar. The clue to this mystery lies in the fact that Makar Sankranti is also called

Uttarayan, or the day on which the sun begins its northward journey. In this system, the sun enters different zodiacs on a fixed day with an error of one day on either side depending on how close you are to the leap year. So around mid-December, the sun rises in the Sagittarius or Dhanush, in January in Capricorn or Makara, and so on. We celebrate January 14 as the day on which the sun begins to rise in the Makara Rashi, Sankranti meaning entering. -quora.com


akar Sankranti is the only Hindu festival celebrated on a fixed calendric day, 14/15 January of the solar calendar(English Calender) . Whereas all other Indian festivals are celebrated as per the lunar calendar(Hindu Calendar) , which make their days of celebration on the solar calendar vary every year . For


example, Diwali, which is celebrated on the no moon day (Amawasya) of 8th month, Kartikh, of Hindu Calander, and as we notice the Diwali falls on different dates of the English calender every year. The difference is easy to see. In India, we follow a lunar calendar; the moon goes from new moon to new moon or full moon to full moon in 29.5 days. We get 12 full moons in 354 days, making a lunar calendar year 354 days long. Howev-



Indian Jewels Swiped From Venice Museum in “Movie-Worthy” Heist

On Wednesday morning around

10 a.m., at least two thieves strolled into an exhibition on Indian jewels at the Doge’s Palace in Venice, opened a display case, and made off with a gold brooch and a pair of earrings. As Elisabetta Povoledo reports for the New York Times, the thieves appeared to have disarmed a “sophisticated” alarm system without any trouble, pulling off what Italian media has referred to as a “movieworthy heist.” The theft occurred on the last day of the museum’s “Treasures of the Mughals and Maharajas” exhibition, which highlights sumptuous Indian jewelry from the 16th to 20th centuries. The exhibit featured more than 250 pieces from a collection assembled by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, which is now the property of the Qatari royal family. While in full view of security cameras, one of the thieves stood watch while the other opened the reinforced display case. According to the Guardian, Venice police chief Vito Gagliardi said that the case was outfitted with an alarm, which the culprits successfully deactivated. “We are clearly dealing here with two skilled professionals who managed to pull off their feat despite all the display rooms being fitted with technologically highly sophisticated [alarm] systems,” Gagliardi says. According to the BBC, he also told

Some jewels on display at the ‘Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajahs’ exibithion, at Venice’s Doge’s Palace, in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.

the Ansa news agency that the “glass case was opened up as it if were a tin can while the alarm, if it worked at all, went off late.” Venice’s Foundation of Civic Museum, which runs the Doge’s Palace, says in a statement that the brooch and earrings are “contemporary pieces and consequently are of less historical value than other items in the collection.” But, as the Guardian reports, the goods’ monetary worth may be quite high. Though the stolen jewels were valued at 30,000 euros (around $36,000 USD) on customs forms, local media has reported that they are likely worth millions of euros. Police have said that the pilfered items will be difficult to sell on the black market because they are so unique. But according to the BBC, they also noted that the thieves may attempt to sell individual gems separately. -smithsonianmag.com

January 12, 2018


Spirit Airlines Passenger Accused of Sexually Assaulting 22-year-old Woman While She Slept Apassenger aboard a SpiritAirlines a detention hearing scheduled for 1 flight from Las Vegas to Detroit was arrested upon landing at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport for allegedly assaulting a female passenger while she slept. Prabhu Ramamoorthy, from India, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse after the 22-year-old woman accused him of putting his hand in her pants and unbuttoning her shirt while she was sleeping against the window, the Detroit Free Press reports. According to a federal complaint obtained by the Press, the woman claims she woke up as Ramamoorthy was putting his “fingers in her (genitals) and vigorously moving them,” and that he stopped once she was awake. After he was taken into custody, Ramamoorthy admitted to an FBI agent that he “might have” unhooked the woman’s bra and “cupped her (clothed) breast,” but said he only put a finger in her pants and did not insert it into her vagina despite trying to, the federal complaint stated. Prior to this, Ramamoorthy claimed he was in “deep sleep” at the time of the incident. He also alleged that the woman had fallen asleep on his knee, and he was unaware of where he had placed his hands. Ramamoorthy appeared in a U.S. District Court on Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reported. He had

Prabhu Ramamoorthy

p.m. on Thursday, the Detroit News added. In December, a woman aboard a United Airlines flight accused a 73-year-old man of putting his hand between her thighs and groping her. And in October, a man from California plead guilty to groping a sleeping 16-year-old on an Alaskan Airlines flight. -foxnews.com


22 January 12, 2018


Place a Number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. Send us the correct answer before January 17, 2018. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Gur Gaund Ladoos (Molasses Gum Balls)

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Most Indian sweet dishes are based

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on using sugar, either added directly like in halwas (puddings) or burfis (condensed milk squares) or in a syrup form like in gulab jamun (rose milk balls) or jalebis (fried swirls). But there are several tasty desserts which are made with gur (jaggery) although most are in the form of popular snacks like this recipe. Gur is the solid brown, unrefined, coalesced natural product of boiling sugar cane juice in round bottom vats till it is dry. It is a brown raw mass made of upto 50% sucrose, 20% invert sugars and 20% moisture with the remainder made up of other insoluble matter, such as wood ash, proteins, and bagasse fibers from which it gets its color. Bagasse is the dry pulpy residue that remains after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice and is also used as a biofuel and to produce pulp and building materials. A close relative of mine, Manju Manek, introduced this ladoo (sweet flour ball) recipe to me, and it is unusual as it uses edible gaund (gum) crystals to bind the ingredients together and give it a unique crunchy taste. Usually sold as gaund katira, these white or brown gum crystals are usually eaten in cold winter months to provide heat to the body by strengthening the immune system. It is commonly used in herbal Ayurvedic medicine to treat cough, diarrhea and cure mouth ulcers. In the Punjab, after childbirth, women are often given as ladoos or pinjiri (a sweet flour powdered mix) mixed with gaund crystals to help with a speedy recovery and during nursing their babies. Gaund is sold in small packets in stores and is said to help reduce back pain. The ladoos are also popular across Harayana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. They

are called Dinkache Ladoo in Maharashtra (dink in Marathi means edible gum) where methi (fenugreek seed) is also added and in Gujarat, they are known as Gundar Ladoo. These ladoos have the softness of pinnis (sweet wheat flour balls) and the gum binds all the ingredients together, with of course the ghee and almonds adding a rich taste. It is a handy and timely recipe for the winter months because it is fairly easy to make and is hard to resist. Ingredients: • 500gm gur (rock molasses) • ½ cup atta (wheat flour) • ½ cup badam atta (almond flour) – coarse • 1 cup ghee (clarified butter) • 1 tsp pissi illachi (cardamom powder) • ½ pkt gaund (gum) crystals Directions: 1. Place the ghee in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir till golden brown.

2.Add the almond flour. If not available, coarsely crush some whole almonds in a mixee. Stir till the almonds are slightly brown. 3. Break the gur into smaller pieces and throw in the skillet and let them melt. 4. Add the cardamom and stir well for 2 minutes. Test the melted gur to see if it runs a sticky ribbon when stirred and touched. 5. Turn the heat off, throw in the gaund pieces and stir well and quickly to coat them and make sure they do not clump together. 6. When cool to touch, grease your palms with a dab of oil, take a small amount of the mixture and roll into 1 inch round balls or ladoos. 7. Place the ladoos a plate to let them cool off; when cool place in an air-tight jar so that they don’t become humid. 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.




Much of Indian co oking relies on he rb before being made into a curry and thes s and spices that are roasted e often leave a stron not only the kitchen g ar bu get rid of especially t also the whole house. It can be a ha oma in rd smell to when you are expe cting guests! Using air freshener often a store-brand just m I found a recipe for asks the smell but doesn’t eliminate it. an air freshener that and inexpensive. In is both organic, easy a pump spray bottl to make e, soda, one tablespo on of white vinega put in one teaspoon of baking r and two cups of w foaming stops, scre ater. w on the lid and sh ake well. Spray the After the the air and the odor mixture into s will disappear.

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January 12, 2018



Padmavat vs PadMan and Other Bollywood Box Office Clashes in 2018 P

admavat, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali finally got its release date yesterday. With a missing ‘I’and few minor cuts, the film is all set to give Salman Khan’s Tiger Zinda Hai a run for its money, which has been enjoying an unfettered run at the box office since last month. Enough reason to rejoice? We guess not. Because also releasing on January 25 is the month’s other most-awaited release – Akshay Kumar’s PadMan. It is apparent that PadMan and Padmavat are poles apart in terms of their themes and plots. Padmavat is a period drama that revolves around the Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) led Sultanate’s siege on the impregnable fortress of Chittorgarh ruled by King Maha Rana Rawal Singh (Shahid Kapoor) for the honour of his queen – Rani Padmavati (Deepika Padukone). PadMan, on the other hand, is a social drama based on the story of Arunachalam Murugunantham, the man behind making cheap and affordable sanitary pads. But however different the two films be, a clash is a clash. And with the limited number of screens available for the two, it is going to be a difficult fight for both. Meanwhile, here’s a look at the rest of the big clashes lined up for the year. Aiyaary vs Pari Next up on the Bollywood clash calendar is Sidharth Malhotra’s Aiyaary and Anushka Sharma’s Pari. In what looks like a smart move by the makers, Aiyaary’s release date was postponed from January 26 to February 9 post the announcement of Padmvat’s release date. Also starring Manoj Bajpayee and Rakul Preet in the

lead roles, Aiyaary is being helmed by Neeraj Pandey. The crime thriller chronicles an East Indian colonel’s chase to catch his former protégé — a rogue major who can bring down the government in just thirty-six hours. However, Anushka Sharma’s Pari is also not something that makers should take lightly. One, it has Anushka Sharma and this being her first release post her dreamy wedding with Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, will ensure that the film is more than popular among fans. Second, judging by what we have seen till now, Pari looks like a unique story. Anushka’s debutant performance as a ghost-ridden victim looks intriguing. What shouldn’t be missed is that Aiyaary and Pari could also face competition from Padmavat and PadMan, both being big-ticket films. February 9 is just two weeks post their release. Hichki vs Parmanu Rani Mukerji’s comeback film Hichki and John Abraham’s Parmanu are also going to release on the same date that is February 23. Bankrolled by Yash Raj Films, Hichki is about a teacher who suffers from Tourette syndrome and struggles to make her students take her seriously. Hichki’s trailer received a lot of flak on its release for being a rip-off of Hollywood film Front Of The Class. The makers have only recently acquired the rights for that film. On the other hand, Parmanu is based on the nuclear bomb test conducted by the Indian Army in the year 1998 in Pokhran. The film was earlier set to hit the screens on December 8, however, as per some reports, the release date of the film was postponed in order to avoid its

Happy Birthday

clash with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama Padmavat. Fanne Khan vs Race 3 Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Salman Khan having a box-office face off made all kinds of news earlier last month. While Aishwarya is back with Fanne Khan alongside Anil Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao, Salman Khan is headlining the cast of the third installment of the popular action franchise Race. Produced by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Fanne Khan is the official adaptation of the Oscar nominated Dutch film Everybody’s Famous (2000). The original film is about a father who wants to fulfill his daughter’s dreams of becoming a singing sensation. He manages to kidnap the country’s reigning superstar just so his daughter can get famous in exchange. Little has been revealed about Race 3’s plot but it also stars Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Jacqueline Fernandez and Daisy Shah in the lead roles. Releasing on June 15, this could be the biggest clash of 2018 so far. Zero vs Kedarnath After miserably failing with his last venture Jab Harry Met Sejal, Shah Rukh Khan is back with a bang in Zero. The VFX heavy film about a vertically challenged man helmed by Aanand L Rai has got everybody talking already. Moreover, it also stars Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif in the lead roles. Sounds like a blockbuster? We think so too. But clashing with this mega release is KriArj’s Kedarnath which is Sara Ali Khan’s debut film. It also stars Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead role and is being helmed by Abhishek Kapoor. Both the films are hitting the theatres on December 21. -indianexpress.com

Imran Khan

January 13, 1983


ajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje today announced that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial film ‘Padmavat’, originally titled ‘Padmavati’, will not release in the state on January 25. Honouring the sentiments of the people of the state, the film will not be released in Rajasthan, she said in a statement here. Following the announcement, state Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria, the Rajasthan BJP chief and several Rajput organisations spoke out against the movie. “The sacrifice of Rani Padmini is a matter of pride for the state and she is not just a chapter of history for us,” Raje said. The film, mired in controversy over its plot line, has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which has asked its makers to change the title and suggested other modifications. Though Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali have not released an official statement yet, sources in the production house said

Kunaal Roy Kapur January 13, 1979

‘Padmavat’ Will Not Release in Rajasthan: CM Vasundhara Raje

Neil Nitin Mukesh January 15, 1982

the film will release on January 25, a day before Republic Day. The period drama that features Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in lead roles was earlier scheduled to be released on December 1. “Rani Padmini is our self-respect and we will not let it hurt in any case. Directions in this regard have been given to Rajasthan Home minister,” she said. After Rajasthan, another BJP ruled-state has now banned ‘Padmavat’. It is Himachal Pradesh which has now bowed to the fringe whims. It may be noted that Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh have banned the release of the movie, despite it being granted a U/A certificate from the Censor Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC). As per reports, there was pressure on the newly-formed Himachal government to ban Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, following repeated warnings from fringe groups. -timesofindia.com

Sidharth Malhotra January 16, 1985


Javed Akhtar January 17, 19

24 January 12, 2018 1st Test Loss in SA: India Should Rue Fatal First Day

Indian Hockey Review: Sterner Tests Upcoming

NEW DELHI: It was a season that


CAPE TOWN: (ESPN Cricinfo):

South Africa 286 (De Villiers 65, Du Plessis 62, Bhuvneshwar 4-87) and 130 (Shami 3-28, Bumrah 3-39) beat India 209 and 135 (Philander 6-42) by 72 runs For a half hour or so, the South African pace attack looked... unremarkable. Without Dale Steyn - out of the series with a heel injury - the other three had a difficult task summoning their usual menace. Then came an inswinger. It only decided to be one after travelling three-fourth the distance down the pitch. It fooled Virat Kohli. And it broke India. Newlands was once again a reminder that Test-match conditions tilted in favour of the bowlers foster compelling cricket. In fact, footage of the fast bowling from both teams can probably replace adrenaline in hospitals. The fourth day alone featured 18 wickets and six of them went to Vernon Philander as his career-best sealed victory for his team, on his home ground, by 72 runs. In the end, the result highlighted the difference between the two sides and was borne from the fact that SouthAfrica’s bowlers allowed 48 boundaries in the entire Test and India’s offered 41 in the first innings alone. If a face told you the story of India’s Test, it was Hardik Pandya’s. When he sprung up after getting hit in the midriff while batting in the first innings, he was defiant even though in pain. When in the field, he was all enthusiasm, telling his “bhai log” [brothers] to finish it off before lunch. When he had ball in hand, he was full of hope every ball. Even when they sent him to deep midwicket, he kept shouting to Mohammed Shami at fine leg. When the camera panned to the India viewing area late on the fourth afternoon, though, it captured heartbreaking pictures of Pandya, sitting for the first time perhaps without any animation on his face. He was crestfallen, almost too shocked at India’s fourth-innings collapse to react. The dream was already over. India had lost six or seven cheap wickets. The look on that face was not just of disappointment; it was of having come


The South Africa players celebrate after Faf du Plessis completes the winning catch, South Africa v India, 1st Test, Cape Town, 4th day, January 8, 2018.

close, having smelled it. In his mind, playing outside Asia for the first time, Pandya had done enough to give India a fighting chance at a most glorious Test win. There was real hope as India walked off for lunch, having bowled excellently on the fourth morning, taking the eight remaining South African wickets for 65. There were about two bad balls in the whole session, and even they conceded only one run thanks to good fielding. The bowlers showed tremendous improvement from their first-innings effort. “We rectified the errors we made in the first innings by letting them off after having them 12 for 3,” a disappointed Virat Kohli said after the Test. “We plugged that gap pretty nicely in the morning today. Getting them out, 208 felt chaseable, felt very realistic, but again we needed someone to go out there and get 75 or 80 and not 20-25-30 runs. We wanted one big partnership to get the job done, which we failed to do, and again we lost four wickets in four overs.” However, India need to warn themselves against looking at it this as a very close result, and pinning it on the fourth-innings failure. India got the best of the conditions in the match. They bowled - it was South Africa’s choosing - on day one when the pitch was fresh and seamed a lot, and was quicker than typical Newlands pitches, but still let South Africa get a partnership for almost every wicket after having them down at 12 for 3. There were half-volleys and leg-side

offerings aplenty, and a dropped sitter in the slips. India then got plum bowling conditions on the fourth morning again after the pitch had remained under covers for a whole day thanks to continuous rain, which resulted in moisture getting trapped. This time the bowlers made great use of the conditions, but for this comeback to be anything more than a moral victory India needed to have batted well in the first innings, for which they got the flattest conditions of the match on day two. However, it was on the first evening that India failed to give themselves a chance. It was always going to be a difficult 50 minutes. The pressure from the four fast bowlers, who didn’t have much to lose and had their home crowd behind them, was going to be immense. India had nothing to gain from those 50 minutes but needed desperately to come out unscathed. That India lost three wickets can be accepted; you need really high skill and a bit of luck to survive this kind of pressure. How India lost them is what should rankle them. M Vijay played a loose drive, Shikhar Dhawan top-edged a pull that was not on, and Kohli meekly pushed at a short ball outside off. This was ill-disciplined batting. Kohli spoke a lot about intent at the end of it, but if anything there was too much intent in this period. “You can’t just stand there and take whatever is coming your way and not have intent at all,” Kohli said. “You might get out, but it’s important to keep coming at the

bowler and making them feel that if you make an error I am going to score. So I think that message needs to go pretty strongly and you need to do that as a batting unit, collectively. I think Hardik [Pandya] did that really well in the first innings, R Ash[win] was really positive in the second innings, but if five-six of us can have that mindset, it will really create that sort of momentum for us as a batting unit, which I think we lacked in both the innings. A brilliant performance [Pandya’s] with the bat got us back into the game, otherwise we were pretty similar to the situation we were in the second innings. We definitely need batsmen to apply themselves and show more character.” Pandya did show the intent required, but he did so when the ball was old and soft. The importance of seeing off the new ball cannot be overstated. Cheteshwar Pujara might be well-advised to recognise his moment better and start showing more intent sooner, but surely it was the lack of the well-renowned Vijay restraint that hurt India more. India’s batsmen usually get roasted when the bowling is at fault in overseas conditions. It is still partly true for this Test but only partly. It is easy to look at the most immediate thing when you are heartbroken, but the fact that India were playing catch-up through Pandya’s innings and then through that unbelievable session of bowling can only be traced back to the first day’s play, and to the selection meetings before that.

could be divided into two halves of unequal proportion. In the first half, the men’s team underperformed and the women’s gave mixed results. The men’s season began in late April in Malaysia where they were one of the favourites to win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. But for the second year in a row, they failed to make it to the final and had to contend with a third-place finish. Captain PR Sreejesh ended up hurting his knee during the event and he had to sit out for the rest of the year. In his absence, young Manpreet Singh was handed the captain’s armband. A month later, India travelled to London for the Hockey World League Semi Final. They lost to a lowly Canada in their final match, finishing a poor sixth. The European tour also triggered the exit of coach Roelant Oltmans as he was sacked in September by Hockey India (HI) ‘Lack of results beyond a certain level’was cited as the mean reason behind the decision.. In a stark contrast, their women counterpart started the year on a blazing note. They blanked a lowly Belarus 5-0 in a five-Test series and then finished at the top in the Women’s Hockey World League Round 2 in Canada. But the results were reversed in the next two tournaments. They suffered 0-5 whitewash at the hands of New Zealand in a Test series in May and then finished 8th at the Hockey World League Semi Final Johannesburg 2017. It also served as a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup and India failed to seal their berth. Mirroring their male counterparts, the women team also toured Europe where they produced mixed results losing twice to a local Dutch women team but drawing and winning a game each against Belgium junior men’s team. 2017 must have served as the drawing board where the both the teams - men and women - would have identified their weaknesses and strengths. The fact that they played the top teams in high-intensity tournaments must have given them the requisite information ahead of the year when they have Commonwealth Games, Asiad, Champions Trophy and the world cups in the space of 12 months.


January 12, 2018

Relief for Techies, US Says No Change in H-1B Extension Policy WASHINGTON DC: In a relief beyond the 6 year limit.

for Indian techies, US authorities on Tuesday said that the Trump administration is not considering any proposal that would force H-1B visa+ holders to leave the country. The announcement by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) came days after reports emerged that the Trump administration was considering tightening H-1B visa rules that could lead to deportation of 7,50,000 Indians. The reports had said it was mulling ending extensions for H-1B holders. The USCIS “is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing interpretation of section certain language in Section 104 C of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) statute that states that USCIS may grant the extensions,” an official said. This provides for H-1B extensions

“Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead,” Jonathan Withington, Chief of Media Relations at the USCIS, said in a statement. “The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment based visa programmes,” Withington said. The statement comes after last week’s news report by US-based news agency McClatchy DC Bureau according to which the US was considering new regulations to prevent the extension of H-1B visas, the most sought after by Indian IT professionals. The USCIS was never

considering such a policy change, he said adding that “any suggestion that USCIS changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false.” The reported move had been opposed by both the industry and several lawmakers. The NationalAssociation of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), a trade association of Indian information technology, had warned that any disruptive move on

the visa front would be detrimental for both India and the US. The USCIS has a Congressional mandate to issue 65,000 H- 1B visas in general category and another 20,000 for those applicants having higher education — masters and above — from US universities in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. -ToI

Indian Billionaires Coming Back on World’s Dealmaking Stage MUMBAI: It’s hard to believe ended up committing $144 billion to assets outside of China or Hong it now, but once upon a time Indians had a far bigger appetite for outbound M&A than their Chinese rivals. That was just before the 2008 financial crisis, which dealt a body blow to India Inc.’s global ambitions. Then, in quick succession, came the credit-fuelled growth of China’s state-owned enterprises; the yuan’s appreciation; a string of corruption scandals in India that bred a climate of distrust in 2013 and 2014; and the subsequent meltdown in commodity markets, which hurt the more internationally active Indian buyers. Even last year, when Beijing was clamping down on Chinese firms’ shopping for trophy assets—like Anbang Insurance Group Co.’s purchase of the Waldorf Astoria or Dalian Wanda Group Co.’s takeover of Legendary Entertainment LLC—mainland buyers still

Kong. India’s tally was a paltry $5 billion. Still, as the juggernaut of Chinese M&Arolls on (minus the flashy deals for which communist leaders have developed a distaste), Indians may not be down and out for too long. That’s the message from Kumar Mangalam Birla, whose Mumbailisted Hindalco Industries Ltd is bidding for US aluminium producer Aleris Corp. According to Bloomberg reporters George Smith Alexander and Bhuma Shrivastava, the deal could value Aleris at about $2.5 billion, including debt. The last time Birla attempted anything this bold was when he paid $5.7 billion for Novelis Inc., the vehicle he’s using now to buy Aleris. That was 11 years ago. The timing is impeccable. The automotive aluminium market is forecast to grow at a rate of 8.8% a year

Mumbai-listed Hindalco Industries Ltd is bidding for US aluminium producer Aleris.

in the decade through 2026, driven by tougher fuel-economy standards. More than 40,000 new commercial jets will be delivered over the two decades through 2036, according to Boeing Co., representing another major source of aluminium demand. Alcoa Inc.’s 2016 split from Arconic Inc. was predicated on the idea that the latter’s downstream business—which, like Aleris, provides specialized parts to key industrial

users—would outperform the other unit’s smelting of commoditized primary aluminium. This signals an inflection point. In 2013, the scion of the 150-yearold business family caused a flutter by telling Bloomberg News that India’s heightened uncertainty and lack of policy transparency were the worst among the 36 countries; he would rather invest overseas, Birla said then. -LiveMint


IBM’s Indian Inventors Account for 800 Patents

NEW YORK: Tech giant IBM on

Tuesday said it received 9,043 patents in 2017, with India accounting for over 800 patents making the country the second highest contributor to the record tally. IBM inventors received a record 9,043 patents in 2017, marking the company’s 25th consecutive year of US patent leadership and crossing the one lakh-patent milestone. These patents were granted to more than 8,500 IBM researchers, engineers, scientists and designers in the US and more than 40 other countries. “IBM’s India inventors contributed over 800 patents to this record tally, making us the second highest contributor after the US region,” IBM vice president (research), India and Singapore, Sriram Raghavan told PTI. This is a testament to IBM India’s exploratory research capabilities and commitment to innovation in creating technologies that touches lives, he added. IBM’s patents in 2017 included more than 1,900 cloud patents, 1,400 in artificial intelligence (AI) and over 1,200 in the area of cybersecurity. The US-based firm also received patents in the areas of blockchain and quantum computing. For the past 25 years, IBM’s patent leadership has changed the way the world works with advancements critical to the modern era of computing, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer (CEO) Ginni Rometty said in a statement. “Today, nearly half of our patents are pioneering advancements in AI, cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain and quantum computing—and all are aimed at helping our clients create smarter businesses,” she added.


26 January 12, 2018 Verdict in Cauvery Water Dispute in Four Weeks

The Supreme Court verdict in the Cauvery water dispute is expected next month.


EW DELHI: The decades-old Cauvery dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka may finally come to an end after the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would pronounce its verdict on the matter in

four weeks. “Enough of confusion has been there for past two decades. Any forum can touch the matter after the verdict is delivered in the issue. We will give the verdict in four weeks,” PTI quoted

a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud as saying. Cauvery is an inter-state basin that originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu on to Puducherry and finally into the Bay of Bengal. The sharing of its water has been “a source of conflict between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka”. “The genesis of this conflict rests in two agreements in 1892 and 1924 between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Kingdom of Mysore,” an official said. The SC had reserved its verdict on the appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the 2007 award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) on sharing of water after hearing on September 20 last year. The court’s comments came during the hearing of a plea filed in 2016 by a citizens’ group led by philanthropist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

seeking its intervention for supply of drinking water to residents of Bengaluru and surrounding districts. Shaw, who is the chief of the group Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC), and former Infosys director Mohandas Pai had told the court that citizens of Bengaluru required adequate drinking water and their right to life needed to be protected by the top court. Last year, the SC had dismissed the plea seeking compensation from both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments for the loss of property during the Cauvery dispute. On January 9, the Tamil Nadu government had sought a compensation of Rs 2,480 crores from Karnataka for not releasing water to the state despite getting the Supreme Court directive to do so. The apex court then directed Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu. -indianexpress.com

CAT 2017: Phagwara Boy Scores Perfect 100, Get Calls From Top IIMs


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CAT 2017 result: Phagwara boy Pramod Beri, who is a final year BCom student of Chandigarh’s GGDSD college, was among 20 others across the country who scored a perfect 100 in the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2017, the results of which were declared on Monday. CAT is conducted every year for admission to MBA courses across the country. Talking to The Indian Express on phone, Beri said he has already got calls from the IIMs in Ahmedabad and Bengaluru. He had scored 95.8 per cent in commerce stream in Class 12 from St Joseph’s Convent School, Phagwara. His father, Inderjeet Beri, is a businessman in Phagwara and mother, Sunita Beri, is a homemaker. Beri took coaching from Times Institute in Sector 8, where he studied for a year and a half. This year, in an encouraging continued on ‘trend, more students from non-engineering background have not only scored 100 percentile, but have also secured over 99 percentile.In a press release by IIM Lucknow that declared the results, it was stated that “this year, there are three non-engineers and two females in the top 20 who have scored 100 percentile.” Beri said, “Mock tests were the key and I started preparing in July 2016. I took notes while going through the study material and during lectures in class too.”Tailing Beri at 99.99 percentile is 22-yearold, Vipul Kukkar, from Jalalabad in Fazilka district. A student of Bull’s Eye coaching centre in Sector 8, this was Kukkar’s second attempt.A mechanical engineer from Chandigarh’s Punjab Engineering College, Kukkar is now working as a business analyst in Gurgaon; this was his second attempt after he got 98.61 percentile

last year. He said, “I don’t feel bad about not getting the perfect score. I focused on my weaknesses and turned them into my strengths by appearing for mock tests.” His mother is a government school teacher and father is a chemist. He got 90 percentile in the non-medical stream from Holy Heart Day Boarding School in Fazilka. He added, “I’ve got calls from IIM Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata. My first preference is Kolkata as it is good for finance.” Kukkar said his only focus now was to prepare for his interview. An avid cricket fan, he wants CAT aspirants to believe in themselves, start preparing early and focus on their weaknesses.A girl from Ludhiana, Prerna Singla (21), secured 99.73 percentile. She is a commerce student and did her graduation from Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management. She completed her schooling from Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar. Singla was unavailable for comment as her flight to Dubai was scheduled for Tuesday. Her parents are also settled in Dubai.Munish Dewan, director of IMS institute where she pursued her coaching, said, “Till now it is the highest score in Ludhiana and that too by a commerce student.”Two 22-year-old students of electronics and communications from Himachal Pradesh also scored above 99 percentile. Ayush Chauhan from Thapar University in Patiala scored 99.95 percentile and Rohan Gupta from NIT Hamirpur scored 99.74 percentile. While Chauhan belongs to Shimla, Gupta is from Mandi. Both were staying in the tricity area to take coaching classes in Sector 8. -indianexpress.com

Virat Kohli Fan Commits Suicide After Skipper’s Cheap Dismissal in 1st Test vs South Africa

A 63-year old man from Mad-

hya Pradesh used kerosene to set himself on fire on Friday after India captain Virat Kohli was dismissed for five runs in the first innings of the first Test against South Africa in Newlands, Cape Town. The victim, Babulal Bariya, a retired railway officer living in Ratlam’s Ambedkar Nagar and an avid fan of Virat Kohli was reportedly upset over the fact that the Indian skipper got out cheaply on the first day of the Cape Town Test and thereby took the drastic step. He succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday morning at the hospital where he was being treated. Speaking to the Indian Express, Pyarsingh Alave, Assistant Subinspector, station road police station said, “Bariya retired from railways recently. He was probably drunk and immolated himself while watching the match after Kohli’s dismissal. Prima facie that is what the cause of death looks like. In his dying declaration, Bariya said that he was upset over Kohli’s wicket. The family said that he was a cricket fan.” One of Bariya’s two sons had also committed suicide in 2009, Alave further added. Meanwhile, a case has also been registered and further investigation is on. “Investigation is on. The retired employee died around 7.30 am on Tuesday,” said Alave. India’s first overseas Test of 2018 came to a disappointing end on Monday as the visitors lost to South Africa by 72 runs. India were all out for 135 in 42.4 overs on the fourth day of the first Test. Even though the Proteas were without the services of star bowler Dale Steyn, seamer Vernon Philander took his side to a win by taking career-best figures of 6/42. -indianexpress.com


January 12, 2018




January 12, 2018


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