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Friday, January 13, 2017 | Vol. 36, No. 02


Indo American erican News

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January 13, 2017


January 13, 2017 3 COMMUNITY Guru Gobind Singh’s 350th Birth Anniversary at the SNC

The Prabhat Pheri was conducted at 5:30am on January 2, 3 and 4 at the SNC grounds.

Several hundred Sikh families from the Houston area participated in the akhand path which culminated with the traditional langar (big feast) for the entire congregation

on. Two Raagi Jatha’s (raagi groups) of the Sikh National Center led by Bhai Nitender Singh and Bhai Harwinder Singh, performed a melodious keertan and the katha was performed by Bhai Amrik Singh. Speeches were given by members of the Sangat. The highlight of the function was Prabhat Pheri (early morning procession) organized by Gursharan Singh, a dedicated member of the SNC. The Prabhat Pheri toured the large SNC property on the early mornings of January 2, 3 and 4 starting at 5:30am and between 50 to 75 members took part. For the past 15 years, the SNC, a national organization, has been building its campus on 20 acres on Sam Houston Parkway across from the Sam Houston Race Park. A special Diwaan (religious function) was also held at SNC on the evening of Thursday, January 5, to commemorate Guru Gobind Singh’s life and his huge contributions to mankind, after which there was a fireworks show in the evening.

Bhai Harwinder Singh and his jatha performed keertan

Bhai Nitender Singh and his jatha performed keertan

HOUSTON: The Sikh National Center

completed week-long religious services to celebrate the 350th Parkaash Purub (birth anniversary) of the 10th Guru Gobind Singh on Sunday, January 8 with the bhog (completion of akhand path of the Sikh holy book, the Granth Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh took on the religious bigots of his day and, following the footsteps of his father, Guru Teg Bahadur, triumphed for religious

freedom and equality for all. Guru Gobind Singh introduced the five articles of faith which have become permanent identifiers for Sikhs; the Panch Kakas (5 K’s). The nonstop (akhand) reading (path) of the Granth Sahib for a continuous 48 hours is typically sponsored by one family and this year that honor went to Satnam, Gurmit, Baldev and Gurminder Singh Padda and their families.



January 13, 2017



January 13, 2017


Heavenly Gates open at the Vaikunta Ekadasi Celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple BY M. K. SRIRAM

PEARLAND: It was a great and divine

start to 2017 for several hundred devotees who worshipped at Sri Meenakshi Temple on the very auspicious Vaikunta Ekadasi day that fell on Sunday, January 8. The darshan of Lord Maha Vishnu on this day is most important to many devotees. “The Temple” is the place to visit on this day. The forecasters predicted a very cold morning, and cold it was with temperature at 24 deg. F early morning. But braving this cold, at least 50 devotees assembled at the sannidhi of Sri Venkateswara at the main temple at around 6 AM, to partake in the chanting of Thiruppavai. It was a truly divine experience. The early morning arthi was accompanied by the beats of the chenda drums, which is a very unique Kerala tradition. By 9 AM, the crowd had grown much larger filling the temple hall. The priests started the most sacred abhishekam of the Lord to the chanting of vedic hymns. The belief is that one’s ego and sins are all washed away when witnessing the abhishekam. The curtains were then drawn for the elaborate decoration (alankaram). This was the time when the temple hall was filled with Vishnu Nama, with the recital of Sahasranamam (1000 names of Lord Vishnu). When the curtains were opened, Lord Venkateswara appeared in his most magnificent and glorious form giving darshan to his beloved devotees. While the priests made final preparations, hundreds and hundreds of devotees lined up for the Vaikunta Swarga Dwara darshan outside the north temple door. This is the one time every year when the “Gates to Heaven” open and devotees have the blissful experience of having darshan of Maha Vishnu in his abode in heaven. As the doors opened at about 10:45 AM, there was rapturous chanting of Govinda Govinda and devotees entered the Lord’s abode. It was an indescribable sight to see the Lord with His consorts Bhoo Devi and Sri Devi adorned with dazzling alankarams seated on His Garuda vahana. Hundreds of devotees thronged through the heavenly gates to have darshan. Archana was performed simultaneously to the moola vigraha and the Utsava Murthies

from 10:30 AM till late in the evening. MTS Chairman S. Narayanan thanked Priests Sreedharan Raghavan, Pawan Kumar, Sriman Narayana and all the other priests, temple staff, Religious Activity Committee led by Sheila Sriram, Temple Board members and their families and volunteers for their phenomenal effort to make this a very fulfilling event. He particularly praised the efforts of the silpis, Ramanathan in particular for setting up and decorating the temple for this special event. This event was coordinated by Bhargavi Golla, Harini Sampath and Malathi Sundar.

as the bhaktas basked in blissful delight with the Lord in their hearts. At around noon, the deities on the Garuda Vahanam were taken in a procession around the temple to the chanting of Purusha Sooktham and various other Vedic verses. It was truly amazing that there was a non-stop stream of ardent devotees walking through Swarga Dwaaram

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January 13, 2017


ICC Selects the 2017 Executive Committee and Trustees Picture on left: The new India Culture Center Executive Committee after they were elected on Sunday, January 8. New President Falguni Gandhi (center) is flanked by (from left) Election Commissioner Girish Pandya, Treasurer Sanjay Sohoni, Vice President Nisha Mirani, Secretary Sapna Shah, Past President Rajiv Bhavsar and Election Commissioner Jawahar Malhotra


HOUSTON: The Board of Directors of

the India Culture Center convened to elect its new Executive Committee at its first annual meeting of the year at India House on West Bellfort this past Sunday, January 8. The 2017 Board is made up of Dilip Dadhich, Pramod Bengani, Ajit Patel, Sangeeta Dua, Nimish Sheth, Kiran Shah with directors Sapna Shah, Rafi Ansar, Hemant Patel and Saundarya Sohoni who were re-elected and Nimish Sheth and Ina Patel who were newly elected just last month. At the meeting conducted by the 2016 Executive Committee, Trustee Swapan Dhairyawan announced his resignation and he was immediately nominated and unanimously elected as a returning Board Director. The 2017 Executive Committee election was conducted by Election Commissioners Girish Pandya and Jawahar Malhotra, while Sam Merchant was unable to attend. The new 2017 EC is composed of Falguni Gandhi, President; Nisha Mirani, Vice President; Sapna Shah, Secretary and Saundarya Sohoni, Treasurer supported by Rajiv Bhavsar as Immediate Past President. The Board then accepted the nominations for three new Trustees for the three open spots and unanimously confirmed them Lachhman Das, Col Raj Bhalla and Charlie Patel – who will join existing Trustees Parul Fernandes, Sangeeta Pasrija, Hasu Patel and Vijay Pallod. The Board continued its plans for the first signature ICC event of the year, the Indian Republic Day celebrations at Stafford Center to be held on Saturday, January 21.

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January 13, 2017

Sugar Land Councilman Harish Jajoo to Seek Another Term

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man Harish Jajoo today announced plans to seek reelection to a fourth term in District 4, pledging to remain an independent voice for the city’s residents. Jajoo, a licensed professional engineer and small business owner, gained prominence on council by working to lower property taxes, restrain spending, and improve public services. “I have lived in Sugar Land for 32 years. It is where I raised my family, built my life, and came to admire its people and to value their friendship,” Jajoo said. “As a member of City Council, I have always worked to be a clear voice for conservative principles and fiscal responsibility.” First elected to council in 2011, Jajoo has spearheaded efforts to promote planned growth, upgrade public safety services, develop new parks and bike paths, rehabilitated streets and sidewalks all while holding down taxes. He was among members who worked to raise the city’s homestead exemption tax rate from 7 to 10 percent, saving homeowners thousands of dollars. He has been most proud of completion of City’s world class performance venue -Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land as well as Festival Grounds and Brazos Parkall in District 4 “My single goal for Sugar Land has been to see that progress and tradition receive equal attention as we build our city together,” Jajoo said. “Our community’s values are my values, and as Texans we all know that family and community come first in our lives. That has been my guiding principle on council.” While on council, Jajoo was elected President of the Texas Association of Mayors, Council Members and Commissioners (TAMCC). He also serves on the board of the Texas Municipal League and was past

Sugar Land City Council Member Harish Jajoo has announced his reelection bid for another term. The election will be held on May 6, 2017

president of the League’s Region 14. On City Council, Jajoo serves on the Fiscal and Audit Committee, the Integrated Water Resource Planning Task Force, Sugar Land 4B Corporation, Sugar Land Development Corporation, and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 4. He has previously served on City’s Economic Development Committee, Intergovernmental Relations Committee and Compensation Committee. He was also a member of Transportation Policy Council under the Houston-Galveston Area Council for 5 years Jajoo and his wife Shashi have two sons, Sid and Rishi. The Jajoos reside in Sugar Land’s Commonwealth subdivision neighborhood.

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January 13, 2017


9th Annual Madhura Utsav at Namadwaar – a Feast of Devotion


A light Krishna leela moment during Bhagavatam katha.

Saints say that Bhakti is akin to a virus. It cannot be taught; it has to be caught! Bhakti is nurtured, inspired and grows only in the satsang of a Mahatma who himself (or herself) has that true bhakti. This fact becomes more and more evident every year in the annual Madhura Utsav held at His Holiness Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji’s Houston Namadwaar every year end, to all the devotees who flock here from Houston and all corners of the country. Organized annually by Global Organization for Divinity, 9th annual Bhagavata Saptaha and Madhura Utsav was held from Dec 24 to 31, and was another beautiful experience for all those who were fortunate to be a part of it. With shravanam and kirtanam, the pillars of Bhakti, as its basis and conducted in the presence of Sri Ramanujamji, disciple of Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, the weeklong celebration was full of joy and inspiration, with Sri Premika Varadan-Sri Madhuri Sakhi (Lord Sri Krishna-Sri Radha Devi) in the center. The highlight events were the sweet nectar of Bhagavatam katha by Sri Ramanujamji in the evenings where he elucidated in detail on Sri Krishna’s birth and His leelas, and the sharing of his sweet memories of Sri Swamiji in the mornings where he shared how being with Sri Swamiji was a constant learning on leading a life in Bhagavata dharma. Ramanujamji’s expositions on Bhagavatam were so beautiful, deep and unique, and meant specially for rasikas (those who simply enjoy Bhagavatam for the sake of enjoyment). He dwelt in great detail for over 3 days simply on the birth of Sri Krishna and the single sloka “tam adbhutam balakam…” that describes the descent of Krishna avatar. After that, over the next few days he went on to heartfelt descriptions and elucidation of Bhagavan’s special Gokula leelas – Putana moksham, Damodara Leela, the heart-warming, humorous Makhan chor leelas – and finally concluded with a touch on

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Another light moment during Bhagavatam katha by Sri Ramanujamji.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s soft prema leelas – Brahma mohana leela, the Venu Gitam, Rasa leela, and ending on an auspicious note with Sri Rukmini Kalyanam. Other events during the week included Sri Guru Paduka Pooja, daily Tiruppavai recitals, daily Nama dhyanam, daily Madhura Gitam Mahayagna renditions of Sri Swamiji’s kirtans, daily Ashtapadi bhajans, Vahanam processions (Sesha vahanam, Garuda vahanam and Yaanai vahanam) with kirtans, Nandotsavam where all ladies and children danced around baby Krishna, Govinda Pattabhishekam (celebration of Krishna lifting mount Govardhan maharaj), Deepotsavam, Janavasam, Radha Kalyanam (the divine wedding of the divine couple), Divya nama sankirtan and many other devotional events.


There were also many children’s events and cultural programs through the week – rendition of Sri Swamiji’s songs by the students of Smt. Uma Ranganathan and group of Smt. Neela Iyengar, Smt. Kiran Partha and Smt. Raji Iyer; Hari Kathas by many children Mayuri and Keshav Srivaths and Krithika Dwarakanath from Houston, Chandrashekar Rajesh and Krishnanujam Srinivas from California; a play on the qualities of great devotees by over 30 children from across the USA and Canada; a special Nikunjotsavam concert by Kum. Akhila Mamandur of Houston TX; a quiz program, an outing for children, and more. Over 200 devotees from Houston as well as visitors from across the USA/Canada enjoyed and served at the week-long Madhura Utsav feast of devotion at Namadwaar.


10 January 13, 2017


Reenergize Your Student: Five Tips for a Productive Start to Second Semester

HOUSTON: All the excitement

and anticipation of the holidays has finally fizzled as we enter the new year. We’re all a little familiar with the post-holiday blues, as the lights come down and the decorations are stored for another ten months. While it can be tempting to just start counting down the days until summer break, it’s important to set your student up for a successful start to second semester. Best in Class Education, which

helps K-12 students prepare for academic success through customized educational programs, understands that some students find it challenging to get back into the daily learning routine. There are, however, a few things you can do to prepare your student for a productive second school semester. Get Organized and Plan Ahead Students may panic and doubt their abilities when a large workload is presented to them. Help

your student stay organized and calm by setting a reasonable plan for them at the beginning of each week. For example, he or she can work on a math assignment on Monday and a science project on Tuesday. This will help your student stay focused on one task at a time instead of becoming overwhelmed by a daunting list of multiple tasks. Replace Worn Out School Supplies Remember how exciting it was to stock up on new school supplies at the beginning of every school year? So much joy can be taken from a cool new notebook or fun, colorful pens. Take stock of what supplies have seen a considerable amount of wear and tear during the first semester that could be replaced. Reassess Extracurricular Involvement School can be made more exciting when it’s paired with interactive clubs and activities. Take a look at your child’s current extracurricular activities as well as activities and clubs available to join during second semester. Cut out any activities they’re not completely invested in and stick with the ones they like best. Find Excuses to Celebrate Google around to find interesting holidays, or brainstorm fun reasons to celebrate even on the most ordinary days of the year.

How can you feel disengaged when you’re celebrating National Chocolate Cake Day or a family member’s half birthday? Cultural events and silly holidays are great ways to spice up a normal school week. Schedule Down Time Everyone puts deadlines and places they need to be on the calendar, so why not plan for some down time as well? Help your child schedule time for something fun or just relaxing – no guilt, no chores, no homework. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but let them choose how to spend that time however they’d like. To help your student exceed his or her academics goals, Best in Class Education Center offers a

variety of customized, supplemental enrichment courses and tutoring options to ensure your students are equipped with the tools they need this school year. Best in Class Education is targeting the addition of 20 more units in 2017. The state of Texas has been identified as a key state for growth. The current team behind Best in Class is looking for passionate and dedicated individuals to join this premier franchise family and ensure our youth will excel academically. For more information about Best in Class services for your student, or about current franchising opportunities, visit www. bestinclasseducation.com or call toll free at 1-888-683-8108.



Makar Sankranti is a harvest

festival celebrated in India, Nepal and parts of Bangladesh in various cultural forms. It is one of the most auspicious days for Hindus all over India and in other countries. It is celebrated with pomp and devotion in almost all the states of India in various forms. There are many other harvest festivals called by different names in different parts of India. Makar Sankranti is a festival of the harvest season when the Sun enters the Tropic of Capricorn or ‘Makar’. It usually coincides with 14th or 15th of January every year corresponding to the month of ‘Magh’ according to the Hindu solar calendar. Significance The day signifies the beginning of the summer and the harvest season. It also signifies the northward journey of Sun which is called ‘Uttarayan’. People discard old things for new ones, forget old enmities and pray to god and offer food to their ancestors with the start of the harvesting season and end of the winter months. People attend holy fairs like the ‘Kumbh Mela’ in Prayag and the ‘Gangasagar Mela’ at the junction of River Ganges and the Bay of Bengal and take a dip in the holy waters to wash off their sins. ‘Makar Sankranti’ celebrations take on different names and hues in different region of India. - Goa and Maharastra - ‘Makar Sankranti’ is celebrated for three consecutive days -’Bhogi’, ‘Sankrant’ and ‘Kinkrant’ in honor of ‘Goddess Sankranti’ who killed ‘Sankrasur Rakhsasa’ or Demon on this day. Married women celebrate ‘Haldi-Kumkum’ while the men and boys fly kites. People distribute ‘til-gul laddoos’ made from jaggery and sesame seeds among themselves. - Odisha - According to the Puranas, ‘Lord Surya’ got over his anger with his son ‘Shani’, the master of ‘Makar Rashi’, and paid him a visit on this day. It is also believed that ‘Lord Vishnu’ killed all the ‘Asuras’ on this day and buried their heads under the ‘Mandar Parvata’ or mountain. All communities celebrate ‘Makar Sankranti’ by offering fresh fruits to ‘Lord Surya’. ‘Uttarayana Jatra’ and ‘Uttarayan Vandapana’ of ‘Lord Jagannath’ are also celebrated at the ‘Puri Temple’. - Andhra Pradesh and Telangana - ‘Makara Sankranti’ is celebrated over four consecutive days in this region. The people light bonfires with old wooden furniture during the first day of ‘Bhoghi’ and distribute sweets. On ‘Makara Sankranti’ day people put on new clothes and offer prayers to the almighty and food to their ancestors. Women draw beautiful patterns on the ground with the help of colored powder. On ‘Kanuma’ day, food is shared with the livestock, birds and fish. Farmers pay their homage to nature’s elements


January 13, 2017

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and offer gifts to gods and goddesses on ‘Mukkanuma’. People participate in ox and bullock racing, cock fighting and kite flying. - Bihar and Jharkhand - ‘Makar Sankranti’ is celebrated on the 14th and the 15th of January in this part. On 14th January, people have ‘chura’, ‘gur’, milk, curd, vegetables and sweets made from sesame seeds. Some people also enjoy flying kites. On15th January, people perform worship and enjoy a dish of ‘dahi-chura’ followed by ‘laddoos’ made from sesame seeds. A special ‘khichdi’ accompanied with ‘ghee’, ‘papad’, ‘chokha’ and ‘achaar’ is served to the people in the evening. - Delhi and Haryana - The people in these places celebrate the ‘Sakraat’ or ‘Sankranti’ festival with ‘halwa’, ‘kheer’ and ‘ghee’ while men visit their sisters’ homes with gifts. The women sing folk songs giving away gifts known as ‘Manana’ to their in-laws. - Karnataka - The festival is called ‘Suggi’ here. Girls wear new clothes and exchange plates containing a mixture of white sesame seeds, dried coconut, groundnuts and jaggery with other families. Women also create beautiful designs with multi-colored powder on the ground. The cattle are decorated and taken out in processions called ‘Kichchu Haayisuvudu’. - Himachal Pradesh - During the festival known as ‘Magha Saaji’ in this region, people get up early in the morning, have a bath at the springs and visit their neighbors. They gather at temples to pray and enjoy ‘khichdi’ with ‘chach’ and ‘ghee’. During the evening people participate in folk dance known as ‘Naati’ accompanied by singing. - Kerala - People attend the ‘Makaravilakku’ celebrations at the pilgrimage spot of ‘Sabarimala’ and see the star of ‘Makara Jyoti’ and get the blessings of ‘Lord Ayyappan’. - Punjab - In this region the festi-

val is known as ‘Maghi Sangrand’ in which the people have an early bath and light sesame oil lamps to drive away evil, wash away sins and bring prosperity. They participate in their famous ‘bhangra’ dances and enjoy having ‘khichdi’ jiggery and ‘kheer. The people light big bonfires in the evenings and sing and dance around it. - Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh - The people of these states celebrate ‘Makar Sanranti’ by having local delicacies like ‘pheerni’ ‘kheer’, ‘pakodi’, ‘laddoo’ and other such stuff. Married women exchange gifts while others give gifts, fruits, ‘khichdi’ and such things in charity. People fill the skies with kites and try to bring down the kites of others. - West Bengal The people of this state celebrate ‘Makar Sankranti’ as ‘Poush Sankranti’ with sweets known as ‘pitha’ and worship ‘Godess Lakshmi’ on this day. People living in the hills of Darjeeling call this festival ‘Magey Sanrati’ and worship ‘Lord Shiva’. People from all parts of the country gather at the ‘Ganga Sagar Mela’ to take a dip and pray. -iloveindia.com

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12 January 13, 2017 Pongal is a four-days-long har-

vest 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 HARVEST RICE, INC., a family owned rice in the month of milling and packaging operation, with facilities Thai (Januarylocated in McGehee, AR, and in Otwell (near February) durJonesboro), AR, is looking to build a community ing the season when rice and of employees who value loyalty, dedication & other cereals, hard work. We are looking for the right candisugar-cane, and dates to help us expand our family of employees. turmeric (an essential ingreThe positions needed are as follows: dient in Tamil cooking) are harvested. ADMINISTRATIVE / OFFICE / TRANSPORTATION for both loMid-January cations is an important SKILLED LABOR, i.e., PACKAGING, MANUAL, MACHIINE time in the Tamil calendar. The OPERATORS – McGehee, AR location harvest festival, Pongal, falls Harvest Rice, Inc. is family owned and operated for over 25 years typically on the 14th or the 15th and we value employer / employee relationships, so in addition to of January and is our competitive compensation & benefits package, we will consider the quintessenoffering assistance with relocation and schooling, depending on the tial ‘Tamil Fescircumstance. tival’. Pongal is a harvest festival, a traditional Please visit our company website at www.gulfpac.com to find out occasion for more about our capabilities, our technologies & innovations and our giving thanks to nature, for celcommitment to quality & food safety. ebrating the life cycles that give Anyone interested in this unique opportunity, us grain. Tamilplease send resumes to ians say ‘Thai Deborah Shriver, H.R. Manager at 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. Another ritual observed on this day is Bhogi Mantalu, when useless household articles are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest. The significance of the bonfire, in which is burnt the agricultural wastes and firewood is to keep warm during the last lap of winter. 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. In the village, the Pongal ceremony is carried out more simply but with the same devotion. In accordance with the appointed ritual a turmeric plant is tied around the pot in which the rice will be boiled. The offerings include the two sticks of sugar-cane in background and coconut and bananas in the dish. A common feature of the puja, in addition to the offerings, is the kolam, the auspicious design which is traditionally traced in white lime powder before the house in the

early morning after bathing. 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 resounding of their bells attract the villagers as the young men race each other’s cattle. The entire atmosphere becomes festive and full of fun and revelry. Arati is performed on them, so as to ward off the evil eye. According to a legend, once Shiva asked his bull, Basava, to go to the earth and ask the mortals to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat once a month. Inadvertently, Basava announced that everyone should eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. This mistake enraged Shiva who then cursed Basava, banishing him to live on the earth forever. He would have to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Thus the association of this day with cattle. 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. In Tamil Nadu women perform this ritual before bathing in the morning. All the women, young and old, of the house assemble in the courtyard. The rice is placed in the centre of the leaf, while the women ask that the house and family of their brothers should prosper. Arati is performed for the brothers with turmeric water, limestone and rice, and this water is sprinkled on the kolam in front of the house. -pongalfestival.org



January 13, 2017



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January 13, 2017

Swami Vivekananda S

wami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), was an Indian Hindu monk, a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. Born into an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta, Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his Guru, Ramakrishna Deva, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. After Ramakrishna’s death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions pre-

“You are the Creator of your own Destiny.” -Swami Vivekananda

vailing in British India. He later travelled to the United States, representing India at the 1893 Parliament of the World Religions. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated there as National Youth Day. A spiritual genius of commanding intellect and power, Vivekananda crammed immense labor and achievement into his short life. At the same time, vehement in his desire to know the truth about God, he questioned people of holy reputation, asking them if they had seen God. -vivekananda.org


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January 13, 2017



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 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. 1. 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. The festival is celebrated in various parts of the country with different names and people wait for this day desperately. In Andhra Pradesh it is celebrated with the name Bhogi. Similarly in Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala the festival is celebrated with the names Magha Bihu, Pongal and Tai Pongal respectively. On the other hand people of UP and Bihar call it the celebration of Makar Sankranti. 2. How Is Lohri Celebrated? People of India celebrate Lohri with lots of happiness and joy like many other festivals. It is one of those festivals which give an opportunity to family and friends to gather together and spend together some quality time. On Lohri people visit their friends and family and distribute sweets. This festival is particularly significant for farmers as it is considered to be a harvest season. People celebrate the festival by lighting up bonfire and dancing and singing around the bonfires. While singing and dancing around the fire, people throw popcorns, gur, rewaries, sugar-candies and sesame seeds. On this day, in evening a pooja ceremony is held in every household. This is the time when people get blessing from the almighty by doing parikrama and offering Pooja. According to the customs and rituals people on this day eat foods like makki ki roti with Sarso ka Saag, gur, gazak, til, moongphali, phoolia and Prasad. In addition to that people also wear new clothes on this day and perform Bhangra which is a folk dance of Punjab. For farmers, this day marks the beginning of a new financial year. For newlywed couples and new born babies this festival also holds great importance. On this day newlywed brides gets gifts from all the family members and they are supposed to wear all the ornaments that brides usually wear on their marriage day. 3. 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 pollu-

tion 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 environmental protection in the long run. -lohrifestival.org


20 January 13, 2017 Spare a Thought for the Small Pravasi

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Via Verde for Indian Cities


he prime minister, ever the skilled orator, threw in a hookline to the thousands at a Pravasi Bharatiya Divas event in Bangalore saying, “To me, FDI means First Develop India through Foreign Direct Investment, the norms of which have been fully liberalised for non-resident Indian and persons of Indian origin.” His aim was to enthuse the diaspora to engage in the government’s flagship programmes like Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India, Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and Namami Gange which, of course, could push all round development. But the NRI is also canny about where he puts his money. Despite all our best efforts, the ease of doing business in India is still daunting. Anyone investing here would want basics like safety for employees, a good quality of life and certainly less red tape. The other aspect of the pravasi story is that of the huge remittances which flow in from the diaspora. And it is here that the government has consistently failed to highlight the pravasis who have unfailingly sent money home, keeping parts of the economy afloat over the years. While it is laudable that the government tries to attract big ticket investment from NRIs, it should also recognise the contribution of the small pravasi, mainly from the Gulf who engage in myriad, often menial, jobs and send home a whopping $35.9 billion dollars in remittances, the figure having slid slightly thanks to the drop in oil prices. Though we now have a very proactive external affairs minister in Sushma Swaraj, many Indians working in West Asia do so in conditions of extreme hardship, often with no access to their travel documents that are in the custody of their employers. Many have no job security and can be dismissed with little notice. Yet, in places like Kerala, often described as a remittance economy, their flow of money keeps many households going. Thanks to the global slowdown and dip in oil prices, many of them have had to return home with no safety net. The pravasi divas could also be an opportunity for the government to look into their problems and concerns and consider perhaps re-skilling those who have lost their jobs abroad. The idea of creating a national data repository is a positive one as it will enable prospective employers to bypass middleman and reach out to people whose skills they are seeking. Remittances make up 3.7% of GDP. The government must act as a facilitator for those wishing to seek jobs elsewhere as well as provide a conducive atmosphere to those who wish to return. Maybe next time around, the government could spare a little more thought for the small pravasi also. -hindustantimes.com

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Right) with Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations, Bengaluru, Karnataka, January 8

In 2016, Mexico city undertook

the initiative of turning its 1000 plus columns supporting flyovers and elevated roads into ‘vertical gardens’ in a stretch of 27 kilometers. Following alarming levels of Ozone in the environment, the city that already tightened vehicle restrictions tried this new approach. Project ‘Via Verde’which means ‘green way’is an initiative that aims to fight pollution, beautify the cityscape and reduce the stress levels of motorists. The columns — to prevent damage to them — are covered with green walls that are made up of a metal frame and a cloth of special density that allows the roots of the plant to interweave with it. Instead of ground soil, these plants grow in pockets of soil held within the cloth. The gardens have an automated, remotely monitored, irrigation system which absorbs and makes use of rainwater and is additionally supplemented with treated water. Via Verde aims to provide an additional 40,000 square metres of greenery to the city to lift not only the air quality, but also moods and productivity of its 20 million residents. The self-purification ability of plants has a certain absorption effect for fine particulate matters. The project is slated to produce enough oxygen in a year for more than 25,000 citizens, in addition to filtering more than 27,000 tons of harmful gases, capturing more than 5,000 kg of suspended dust particles and processing more than 10,000 kg of heavy metals from the air per year. In most Indian cities, the tree cover

is lower than the minimum optimum norm. Last September, there had been murmurs that the AAP government was inspired by the same idea and planned to develop greenery under Delhi flyovers, but there has been so far no further update or indication of such a plan materialising. Delhi needs quick decisive actions to improve its air quality. Last November, post-Diwali, air pollution in the city hit new highs which heightened its notoriety, at least briefly, for the worst air quality readings on Earth. While Beijing’s air pollution levels spawned public protests, widespread use of pollution masks and a state declaration of ‘war’ on polluting culprits, the political response to Delhi’s situation has been quite diffuse and rather muted. We even failed at removing ageing cars from the roads — the scheme which was drafted by India’s Union road transport and highways ministry in May 2016, has not been approved by the Centre so far. In the 1990s, Mexico City became internationally known as arguably the most polluted city in the world at the time. 6 out of 10 residents in the city are known to suffer from respiratory ailments. It is worth observing that what seems to be working for Mexico City in turning itself around on a greener and more sustainable path is a combination of an efficient environment administration and a robust, participatory drive of its citizens. Via Verde too has also been a citizen-led initiative. The project director, architect Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, and well

known Mexican producer-actor Luis Gerardo Mendez imagined the possibility of installing a garden in the most congested avenue of the Mexican capital. The duo proposed to convince the city government of their project plan of vertical gardens and used the actor’s influence among the common citizens, especially his sizable Twitter following, to launch a public petition through Change. org. After the petition gathered more than 80,000 signatures, the Government of Mexico City authorised the installation. Donors, local government and advertisers have been helping fund this project. “We can say that the form of funding was determined through a survey in which people decided that private companies should provide resources for the project. I think it is the best way, because this should not be a programme that diverts public resources, but one that complements the environmental policies of the government,” said Ortiz Monasterio in an interview with Daniel Casillas. In Delhi, the pollution problem is unlikely to be solved without implementation of strong, state-backed policies, but Project Via Verde is a powerful example of civil society’s engagement with problems affecting them through innovative thinking and collective action using a digital platform. It also has a more sustainable funding model through a combination of public money and private advertising. Can something like this be done in Indian metropolises? Let’s hear in the comments section. -indianexpress.com


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January 13, 2017


Worshippers of Black Money Portraying Note Ban as Anti-people: PM Modi

ENGALURU: Some “worshippers of black money” were projecting the November 8 demonetisation exercise carried out by the Indian government as anti-people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told over 6,000 delegates from the Indian diaspora at the inauguration of the 14th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Sunday. “Friends, after coming here you may have heard about and seen our efforts to tackle corruption and black money. We have taken a massive step against corruption and black money. Corruption and black money gradually erodes our political system, country, society and governance. It is unfortunate that some worshippers of black money are projecting our efforts as anti-people,” the Prime Minister said in a speech in which he thanked the diaspora for backing the government’s efforts. Following his visits to the USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, UAE, Qatar, Singapore, Fiji, China, Japan, South Korea, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Malaysia, “there is new energy, keen desire and strong drive among the Indian diaspora to connect more extensively and deeply with India’s social and economic transformation,” the Prime Minister said. “In foreign lands and communities across the globe, irrespective of the path they take, and the goals they pursue, the Indian diaspora represents the best of Indian culture, ethos and values. Their hard work, discipline, law-abiding and peace-loving nature are role models for other immigrant communities abroad,” he said. The Prime Minister announced an extension of the deadline for overseas Indians to convert their Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards to Overseas Citizen of India cards by six months. “I keep saying and I also wish

PM Narendra Modi is flanked by his Portuguese counterpart António Costa (right) and Suriname Vice-President Michael Ashwin Adhin in Bengaluru, Sunday.

(for conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards) but you are all very busy and so you have not been able to do this. So, seeing your preoccupation, I am happy to announce that we have extended the deadline for such conversion from December 31, 2016, until June 30, 2017 without any penalty,’’ he said. He also said that new procedures were being put in place to simplify the process of obtaining OCI cards for people from the Girmitiya countries starting with Mauritius. The Prime Minister said a new scheme aimed at personality development of people travelling abroad for small jobs would be launched soon. “To ensure that the migrating Indian workers enjoy better economic opportunities, we will shortly launch a skill development programme, the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana, targeted at Indian youth who seek overseas employment.” Workers travelling to take jobs like housekeeping in a foreign country “can be trained to speak a few sentences of the language in the country they are travelling to, some manners, and some cultural issues which are essential”, the Prime Minister said.

“We want to provide soft skills irrespective of how little people have been educated. This will help boost confidence and make the workers believe they belong on foreign soil. This is our intention,” he said. A scheme called VAJRA or Visiting Adjunct Joint Research Faculty would be launched by the Department of Science and Technology soon to enable the Indian scientific community abroad to participate in research and development in India. “Under the scheme, an overseas Indian can work for one to three months in an institution in India,” Modi said. The Prime Minister called on the Indian diaspora to make investments in India, since FDI norms have been liberalised for overseas Indians. “Investments by PIOs on non-repatriation basis, and by companies, trusts and partnerships owned by them, are now deemed to be domestic investment at par with investments made by resident Indians,” he said. He also called for the diaspora to connect with government programmes like Swachh Bharat, Mission Digital India, Startup India and Namami Gange. -indianexpress.com

Pakistan Successfully Test-fires First Submarine-launched Cruise Missile: ISPR

Pakistan on Monday successfully

test-fired its first ever submarinelaunched cruise missile Babur-III, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said. The range of the missile is 450 kilometres, the DG ISPR said. Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa congratulated the team behind the launch and the nation on the development, Maj Gen Ghafoor said. The missile was launched from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean, Radio Pakistan reported. It was fired from an underwater, mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy. Babur-III is a sea-based variant of ground-launched cruise missile Babur-II, which was successfully tested earlier in December last.

According to Radio Pakistan, the newly-launched missile has been built with state-of-the-art technology, including underwater-controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, augmented by global navigation and terrain and scene matching systems. Babur-III also features terrain-hug-

ging and sea-skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences, in addition to other stealth technologies. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah also congratulated the nation on this landmark achievement, the DG ISPR said. -dawn.com


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22 January 13, 2017



Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

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Uble Ande Di Turri (Boiled Egg Curry)

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nde (eggs) are very popular all over India, but especially so in the North during the winter months. It is common to find cart vendors selling quick, hot boiled eggs, peeled and sliced if you want, with spices, to warm people up. With a little gas powered stove, they can even cook up a vegetable omelette or eggs any style, with a slice or two of bread, at a cheap price for those who have to eat quickly. Eggs are also very popular in Indian homes, especially for nashta (breakfast) which usually comes an hour or two after morning chai (tea), and the most popular way is an omelette with onions eaten with a crispy, hot parantha! But eggs aren’t usually kept in home fridges because, for one, they aren’t sold in nice little containers, and also in deference to those in the house who may be vegetarian. If you want to eat some, people usually run to the corner market to get them. Part of the reason eggs are so popular is that farming techniques have allowed for more and larger eggs to be sold. This has reduced the price of eggs and made them readily available, as they are sold in any corner provisions (grocery) stall. They are usually stacked several rows high on cardboard egg crate trays though they are not refrigerated so you have to be careful hold old they may be. In the past, the eggs were much smaller and from free-range hens, but still the eggs (as also most vegetables) sold in India just taste better than those found in grocery stores in the US. Eggs are an easy source of protein and contain an almost equal amount of fat. They are high in the vitamin choline, phosphorous, sodium, potassium and also cholesterol and contain many other nutrients. This is a quick, easy recipe to make for those unannounced guests or for

when you don’t have anything else in the fridge and everyone is inpatient and hungry. When served hot, it offers a nice complement to plain rice. If you already have the masala ready, this dish is even faster to make, but the secret is to make sure the curry is thick. Ingredients: • • •

6 large ande (eggs) 1 large pyaaz (onion) 1 medium tamater (tomato) – soft ones are best • 1 medium clump of adrak (ginger root) • 1 medium kernel of lasan (garlic) • 3 cups of water • 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil • Tomato paste to taste • Spices (to your taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), haldi (turmeric) and sukha dhania powder (dried coriander seed powder) Directions:

utes. 2. Remove from the heat and let the eggs cool down. When cool, peel them and then cut each lengthwise in half, making sure not to crumple the yolk. Carefully arrange the cut eggs in a wide serving bowl. 3. While the eggs are boiling, chop the ginger, onions and garlic and brown them in the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. 4. Chop the tomato in chunks and add to the mixture and stir till the masala is soft and thick. Add the spices to your taste – if you have others you wish to use, add them too.Add half a tablespoon of tomato paste, to enhance the taste, texture and color. 5. Now add the water and let the gravy thicken up a bit and bring to a rapid boil, then turn the heat off. 6. Pour the hot gravy over the eggs and cover the serving bowl. Leave covered for 10 minutes so that the flavor seeps into the eggs. 7.For best taste, serve with hot plain rice and a little achaar (pickle) of your choice.

1. Drop the eggs in boiling water and let them stay for at least 3 min-

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 (since renamed Faisalabad), India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition. 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 some of her delectable recipes.


ING TIME, KEEP EX TRA MASALA READ Many people say th Y at th e hardest parts of co dishes is the prepar oking Indian vege ation in cutting the tar ian vegetables and mak for all the curries. Th ing the base is is a complaint of who don’t have the many younger cook time – or patience s – to cook and often in the US faster dishes – like just resort to pastas – to fill their stomachs instead! One way to cut dow the time consumin n the time required for cooking is to ha g items ready befo ve some of re ha vegetables cut and cleaned from the fro nd. You can always get many zen fo something you have to make. When doin ods aisles, but the masala is and freeze it. I wou g so, just make a lar ld do ge you are ready to cook that for my sons when I would visit r amount them. When , just take a tablespo on with water to create the curry and add th or two and drop it into the dish e other spices that yo u want.

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January 13, 2017


Veteran actor Om Puri has passed Veteran Actor Om Puri Passes Away, away, he was found dead at his Mumbai house on Friday morning. He was 66. As confirmed by his friends from the film fraternity+ the actor succumbed to a major heart attack. Reportedly, Puri returned home on Thursday evening after a shoot. The door bell to his house at Lokhandwala’s Oakland Park residence went unanswered on Friday morning, following which his driver raised an alarm. Actor Shabana Azmi shared on twitter, “OM Puri undergoing postmortem at Cooper Hospital. Will be taken to Trishul around 3pm Funeral at Oshiwara electric crematorium around 6pm.” The recipient of two National awards and two Filmfare Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award, Om Puri had an illustrious film career , spanning over four decades. The actor had posted a tweet, looking back at his career in December 2016. He said, “I have no regrets at all. I have done quite well for myself. I didn’t have a conventional face, but I have done well, and I am proud of it.” The Padma Shri awardee, studied at the Film and Television Institute of India and at the National School


Prakash Electronics

Bollywood Mourns his Demise

of Drama, where Naseeruddin Shah was his classmate. Born on October 18, 1950, hailing

from Ambala in Haryana, Om Puri made his film debut in 1976 with the Marathi film ‘Ghashiram Kotwal’. A critically acclaimed actor, Puri featured in films like ‘Ardh Satya’, ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, ‘Aakrosh’, ‘Mirch Masala’ and many others. More recently, he was seen in the movies, ‘Dabangg’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and ‘Ghayal Once Again’.

Puri also had a meaty and memorable role opposite Helen Mirren in Steven Spielberg’s 2014 American comedy drama ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’. The acclaimed actor delivered some stellar performances in mainstream commercial Pakistani, Indian and British cinema apart from making a dent in Hollywood with his roles in ‘east is East’, ‘City of Joy’, ‘Gandhi’ and ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’. He was nominated for the Best Actor BAFTA for ‘East is East’ in 2000. The actor also received an honorary OBE in 2004 for his contribution to British cinema. On the personal front, Om Puri’s first marriage to Seema Kapoor, the sister of actor Annu Kapoor, in 1991, did not last long. After they broke their 8-month long marriage, Puri tied the knot with journalist Nandita Puri in 1993. The actor had a son named Ishaan with Nandita. In 2009, Nandita wrote Puri’s biography titled ‘Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri.’The actor was furious at the inclusion of explicit details of his previous relationships in the book. -timesofindia.com


A middle-aged electrician is smit-

“Film industry waali ladkiyan aise waise kaam karti hain.” In a film that tries to dispel the myth that all actresses take the casting couch route to stardom, it’s surprising that Prakash doubts her character on more than one occasion. Interestingly, the only word beeped out in the film is ‘item’, which is how most of the characters refer to Barkha. Still, misogyny is not the weakest point in the film. As a viewer, you’re cheated of a twist concerning Prakash’s romantic life, which could have been fun to watch. It does have a handful of funny scenes, but you have to wait for the jokes through cringe-inducing melodrama. Prakash Electronics itself is in serious need of repair on its script, music and jokes. -timesofindia.com

ten by a diva who comes to live in his society. He wants to marry her, but his orthodox mentality comes in his way. Will he overcome his hang-ups to marry the love of his life? But Prakash Electronics packs too much – melodrama, a message and suspense in a movie that is an hour too long. An orphan, our protagonist Prakash is conned out of the property his parents left him by his sister and brother-in-law. An introvert by nature, butt an overall nice guy, he grows up to be a moderately successful electrician and does pro bono repair work for neighbours. A pretty girl, Barkha (Hrishita Bhatt), rents a house in his building and he is smitten and wants to marry her. There’s only one problem here. No, it’s not that Barkha is way out of his league. Just that Barkha is an aspiring actress and Prakash doesn’t like people who work in films. Imran Khan According to him, January 13, 1983


Sidharth Malhotra January 16, 1985

24 January 13, 2017

Yuvraj Recalled, Kohli Named ODI and T20I Captain MUMBAI: Yuvraj Singh has been

recalled to both the ODI and T20I squads for India’s upcoming series against England in January. Virat Kohli was named the captain in both limited-overs formats after MS Dhoni stepped down on Wednesday. While Dhoni retained his place in both squads, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was named in the T20I squad. This was the 19-year-old Pant’s first international call-up. It followed a prolific Ranji Trophy, in which he scored 972 runs at an average of 81, including a triple-century at a strike rate of 94. A BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo that they hope to find a successor for Dhoni, though he remains the first-choice behind the stumps. “As far as MS is concerned, he is fit and fine and there is no two ways about it. But, you still need to have a backup ready, no? You have to prepare a succession chart, that is what is happening. Mahi is one guy who doesn’t keep knowledge within himself; he is always there to share. So what else do you want?” In the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane kept his spot in the ODIs, but the selectors opted for youth in the T20Is, going for Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Mandeep Singh ahead of Rahane. Shikhar Dhawan, who had been kept out of the Test squad despite recovering from his hand injury, walked back into the ODI squad. Suresh Raina made a return too, but only to the T20I squad. He was originally selected for the ODI series against New Zealand, but illness ruled him out of the initial stages and he was later released. Considering he has only played five first-class matches since the end of the IPL in May 2016, the BCCI official said the selectors preferred to ease Raina back into international cricket. “See, that is the reason why we put him in T20. We will see how his progresses and we will take a call in [ODIs]” R Ashwin, whose workload has been managed carefully because India are playing 13 Tests in their home season, was back in both the squads after he missed the closing stages of Tamil Nadu’s Ranji campaign with a sports hernia. Ravindra Jadeja, too,

Yuvraj Singh struck six fours and two sixes in his knock of 56, India A v England XI, Mumbai.

made a comeback to both the limitedovers squads after resting during the New Zealand ODIs. Royal Challengers Bangalore legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal took the place of Amit Mishra in the T20I squad while veteran Amit Mishra retained his spot in the ODIs. Ashish Nehra, who missed the tours of Zimbabwe and the USA, came back to the T20I side, with the selectors going for experience in the bowling attack. The return of the 35-year-old Yuvraj, though, remained the biggest talking point. Yuvraj last played for India in the World T20 in March 2016 and has not played ODIs since December 2013. He averaged 18.53 in his last 19 matches in the format going back to the start of 2012. The selectors, however, recalled him based on his form in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy, where he scored 672 runs in five matches for Punjab, at an average of 84.00, making two hundreds including a 260 against Baroda. “We should appreciate the way Yuvraj Singh has played in domestic cricket,” chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said. “All these days we thought he hasn’t played long innings. But he has scored a doublehundred. He scored 180 [sic] on the Lahli wicket.” Fast bowler Mohammed Shami was yet to regain fitness after missing the last two Tests against England with a right knee injury. Some of

the players coming back from injury were set to prove their fitness in the two warm-up matches against the England side in Mumbai. Dhawan and Rahane were set to play in the side games. Nehra, who has recovered from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of the IPL and the domestic season, will get to prove his fitness in the first of the tour games. The selection meeting was delayed on Friday because of a lack of clarity over protocol in the wake of the Supreme Court order on January 2, which left the BCCI without most of its office-bearers. The meeting was supposed to begin at 12.30pm IST but it only began at 3.15pm after clarification was received from the Lodha Committee. It was eventually convened by the board’s CEO Rahul Johri. ODI squad: KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav T20I squad: KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Virat Kohli (capt), MS Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra. -espncricinfo.com


The Whitewash that Few Saw Coming BY OSMAN SAMIUDDIN

SYDNEY: Whitewashes can usu-

ally be seen coming a mile away, or at least that is the case with Pakistan, and even if you don’t see them, it all makes sense very soon after they’ve gone. A template, set on the 1962 tour to England, has more or less stood firm over the years, despite cricket being unrecognisable now from what it must have been then. Technically that tour wasn’t a whitewash, but Pakistan would have lost the fourth Test had over ten hours not been lost to rain, so essentially it was. The outcome was obvious even before the first Test began in Birmingham. Pakistan had appointed a young, inexperienced man as captain. They had no bowling attack. The one gun they had - Haseeb Ahsan - was sent home under controversial circumstances (Official line: Injury. Innuendo: Chucking). Senior players were unhappy, fading stars were fishing for opportunities from the outside and the management was missing only the ‘mis’ as prefix. With only minor variations, that series set in tone how Pakistan whitewashes would forever unspool. Sometimes the opposition was just better than them. Other times, Pakistan were enough for themselves, on the field in their poor disciplines and off the field in even poorer disciplines. After the tour it became obvious that only a fool - this correspondent included - could have missed the signs. Mohammad Yousuf should never have been captain. Nobody wanted him to be, least of all himself. The players didn’t not get on, but they weren’t really a team either. The core, of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir, Kamran Akmal and Danish Kaneria, was rotten and only a few knew. The management missed all signs of the dysfunction; that, or they were incapable of handling it. So in a way, as we sit here, another whitewash so fresh in our minds, it is testament to the enduring impossibility of putting Misbah-ul-Haq into any kind of conventional box a Pakistani would recognise, that he has suffered an unparalleled

whitewash. Testament is not quite the right word is it? But then, how else to explain this one? Of all the modern Pakistan teams that have toured Australia, this really looked the least likely to endure such a fate. This was the least Australian of the Australian sides who have bullied Pakistan - in fact beaten them - before they even got on the field. More relevantly, this was the bestequipped Pakistan side to not be whitewashed. Their last away tour was a triumph. They had batsmen coming of age, a bowling attack that provided all kinds of angles to attack. They had been together on this ride for a while, and were stable; as stable as they have ever been. The captain was in charge. Nobody disputed his authority, and even the fiercest critics of his style had begun to come around. Even three defeats in a row hadn’t properly taken the sheen off. Most of all, until almost exactly the halfway mark of this series, the third afternoon in Melbourne - what days they were remember? - the idea of Pakistan losing 3-0 was preposterous. The reality of it even now, after it has happened, still sounds preposterous. This truly is a whitewash that didn’t conform to type. Only Bazid Khan, who offers his occasional insights on these pages and is, in a weird, unresolved way, a member of this Misbah era, thought Pakistan might struggle as they have done (don’t be mistaken: plenty gave them no chance but none of them did so rationally). He saw a captain on the downside of a crest, a legspinner who would struggle with the truer bounce of Australian surfaces and, above all, a pace attack many thought to be better than it actually was - or at least less tired than it was. Osman Samiuddin is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Nightwatchman Yasir Shah hung around for 93 balls.


January 13, 2017


Infosys, TCS, Wipro Stocks in Focus as USplans Tougher H1-B Visa Norms

Stocks of information technology

(IT) companies such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro continue to remain in focus over rising concerns of a clampdown by the US Congress over H1-B visas. Infosys’ stock prices were marginally down by less than a percent on Monday morning and TCS’ stock prices were stable. The Indian IT sector – which has over the time become a reason for debate for misusing work visas – fears job losses. H-1B visas admit 65,000 workers and another 20,000 graduate student workers each year and are assigned through a lottery once a year by Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services. For years, skilled engineers, especially in the field of technology and software, have filled high-profile jobs in the US, a move that America’s new president-elect Donald Trump

has often talked about and opposed during his election campaign. “I will direct the department of labor to investigate all abuses of visa programmes that undercut the American worker,” Trump had said in one of his speeches. Last Wednesday, two lawmakers re-introduced a bill in the US Congress backing changes in the H1-B programme claiming that it will help cracking down on visa abuse. The ‘Protect and Grow American Jobs Act’makes important changes to the eligibility requirements for H1-B visa exemptions was re-introduced on Wednesday by Republicans Darrell Issa and Scott Peters; both from California. One of the changes that the bill proposed is increasing the minimum salary of a person on H-1B visa to $100,000 per annum from the current $60,000, and eliminate masters degree exemption. In the recent past,

a number of companies, including Disney and SoCal Edison have been under the scanner for abusing the H1B visa programme to replace American workers with foreign workers. Raising the salary will bring the payout in-line with the average American salary, removing any profit incentives. Infosys’CEO Vishal Sikka recently warned company employees over challenges coming from big political changes. “Brexit, the American presidential election, demonetisation, cyber security, the refugee and terrorism situation were the events that seriously changed the way we viewed the world … We will not survive if we remain in the constricted space of doing as we are told, depending solely on cost-arbitrage, and working as reactive problem-solvers,” he said. Once known to hire a large number of people, the IT sector is expected

Photo: Mint

to create fewer jobs. Nasscom, the IT industry’s lobby body, predicted earlier that 30,000 fewer jobs will be created in 2016. The trend might continue. The fear of a tighter immigration

policy under Trump was expected, and the move will have an adverse impact on the $110 billion IT industry, as the US continues to its biggest market. -hindustantimes.com

Air India’s Woes Continue, Rated Third Worst Airline in the World by FlightStats Air India, the country’s state-owned

Photo: ndtv.com

carrier, has been listed as the third worst performing airline in the world in a recent survey by flight data firm FlightStats. Apart from Air India, the 10 worst carriers list included Air China, Hong Kong Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Delta Air Lines, Qatar Airways, among others. The Portland-headquartered firm’s survey highlighted issues over cabins, service quality, and flight delays. According to a Bloomberg report, taking a wrong carrier can delay travel by 55%, and the right one can reduce travel time by 11% -- a reason good enough to choose one carrier over the other. Air India has been struggling to get back to profitability. It is already chasing an unattainable operating

profit target of Rs 1,086 crore by March 2017, which means that the company will have to make Rs 11 crore of daily operating profits. The good thing is that the situation is better than before. The airline’s operating loss was Rs 161 crore in the first three quarters of 2016-17 -- reducing the daily loss from Rs 4 crore every day to Rs 58 lakh. The company also has a target to make its first net profit by 2022. Ashwani Lohani, chairman and managing director of Air India had also given a full presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a turnaround plan. However, the new rating of FlightStats can be a dampener if fewer flyers start preferring the carrier over quality issues. -hindustantimes.com


26 January 13, 2017 Job Posting:


KTRK-TV, The ABC/Walt Disney owned station located in Houston is looking for an Investigative Producer. We are a government-waste, corruption, document-driven office. We’re looking for a self-starter, a digger, someone familiar and comfortable with openrecords laws and a well-honed inability to accept the first no from a spokesperson. As a seasoned journalist, we will expect you to be a resource for and a good communicator with our news department. This is a job for a journalist; you will not be a glorified assistant to our Investigative Reporter. Knowing your way around a City Hall, School Headquarters, and local government offices will make you stand out. TV experience (investigative/special projects) is an advantage, but if you are willing to learn, we’re willing to teach. This is not a shooting/editing job; however we expect producers to know or learn the basics. Digital skills beyond simply posting to social media and web sites are a huge plus. We’re good at making TV; we need your help to make our investigative content stand out in a crowded online world. What is non-negotiable is your ability to be a strong story-teller. You will work independently and be expected to generate your own pitches turning them in to multi-platform reports. You will work with a reporter and photographer/editor. Sometimes they will be longterm projects, sometimes an investigative angle on breaking news. To be considered, interested applicants apply on-line at www.disneycareers.com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 420433BR.

Job Posting:

Part-Time Web/Digital Content Producer

KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, TX is looking for a parttime digital content producer for our web department. The ideal candidate will have at least two years’ experience creating content in a fast-paced, ever-changing news environment and must be able to handle multiple projects simultaneously with a keen eye for detail. We’re looking for someone who can produce content for all digital platforms, including mobile and social media. KTRK is a 24/7 operation and candidate must be available to work early mornings, late nights, weekends and/or holidays as scheduled. To be considered interested applicants apply on-line at www.disneycareers.com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 420222BR. No Telephone Calls Please

No Telephone Calls Please KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

First Ever

24 Hour

Telugu Radio in Houston

Online at www.radiohungama.net & Every Sunday 12 PM to 3 PM CST On

KCHN AM 1050 Contact: Sridhar Dadi at



January 13, 2017




January 13, 2017


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