E newspaper 05252018

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Friday, May 25, 2018 | Vol. 37, No. 20

Indo American erican News

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www.indoamerican-news.com Published weekly from Houston, TX

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Pratham Houston Gala 2018

P5,14&15 Pratham Houston Board members and their spouses at the Pratham Houston Gala 2018 held on Saturday, May 12 at Hilton Americas in Downtown Houston. Standing: Dr. Randeep Suneja (left), Anil Shah, Brij Kathuria, Sagar Naik, Pankaj Dhume, Somesh Singh, Mehul Parikh, Dhamo Dhamotharan, and Shawn Karande. Sitting: Seema Suneja (left), Purnima Shah, Shital Patel, Annu Naik, Asha Dhume, Jyothi Singh, Dr. Sapna Singh, Seema Karande, and Rema Dhamodharan.

Historic Landslide Win for

Sri Kulkarni

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May 25, 2018

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COMMUNITY

May 25, 2018

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Sri Kulkarni Leads Indo-American Candidates with a Landslide Runoff Win BY PRAMOD KULKARNI

SUGAR LAND: At about 9:40

pm on Tuesday, May 22 night, Sri Preston Kulkarni was in the middle of a speech thanking his volunteers for their dedication to the campaign in the packed party room at Club Louie in Town Center when Campaign Manager Karim Farista showed the screen of his phone. With quiet confidence, Kulkarni announced, “We won!” Immediately, everyone in the room rose up simultaneously and cheered with thunderous applause. In a historic achievement, Kulkarni won the US Congressional Democratic Party runoff for District 22 against Black American leader Leticia Plummer. Kulkarni captured 62.1% or 9,502 votes against 37.9% or 5,794 votes for Plummer. District 22 extends from of Katy to Sugar Land and Pearland. Kulkarni will now face Rep. Pete Olson (Republican) in the mid-term Congressional elections on Nov. 6, 2018. In the 7th Congressional District, which runs along west side of Harris County and has been held since 2001 by conservative Republican John Culberson, Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher handily won over challenger Laura Moser by 68% the vote to 32%. Moser was a favorite among Indian Americans as her husband, Arun Chowdhary, is of Indian origin. Chowdhary was an official videographer of the White House, from 2009-2011 during the Obama administration and then

With his mother Margaret at his side, Sri Preston Kulkarni thanked his volunteers for the successful runoff campaign. Sri Kulkarni (center) celebrates the landslide win in District 22 runoff with his mother Margaret (left) and room full of volunteers at the victory party in Sugar Land.

worked on the White House staff. In other recently completed races in Sugar Land on May 5, incumbent Himesh Gandhi (4,353 votes) was unopposed in the race for city council member-at-large in Position 1. In the race for at-large Position 2, Jennifer Lane (3,432 votes) defeated write-in candidate Farha Ahmed (2,355 votes). Ahmed had previously run unsuccessfully for council in 2011. The Indo-American community made extraordinary contributions to Kulkarni’s congressional campaign. Vijay Pallod remembers meeting Sri Kulkarni at the Meenakshi Temple in Pearland in the early months of the campaign. “He was all by himself,” Pallod recalls. “Within a month, we raised $30,000 to get his campaign off the ground in the first month and

brought in a total of $45,000.” Pallod remembers how hard Ramesh Bhutada worked to raise funds for the Kulkarni campaign. “Despite busy schedule, Ramesh met with community stalwarts, regardless of their party affiliation to bring their financial power to help Kulkarni.” In his victory speech, Kulkarni thanked his opponents for raising the public interest for Democratic Party in a district that has been firmly in the Republican column in recent years. Kulkarni made it a point to thank just about every volunteer by name, including Campaign Manager Karim Farishta, who was the youngest staff member in the Obama White House and worked in the last days of the runoff campaign virtually without any sleep. Farishta has assembled

a team of 120 youth and 600 adult volunteers to work on the campaign. In thanking Ramesh Bhutada, Kulkarni said, “I lost my father when I was very young, but in this campaign, Rameshji has become like my father.” Kulkarni also pointed out two strategies that brought success to the campaign. One was bringing out the Asian Americans to the voting booth. “I was told not to bother about the Asian-Americans because they don’t bother to vote. By bringing the turnout among Asian-Americans in record numbers, we showed that they didn’t vote earlier because nobody bothered about them.” Sri Kulkarni’s second strategy is to build coalitions. “I would like to bring together people of all backgrounds and all ethnicities. We can win by building coalitions of all like-minded ethnicities – Asian-Americans,

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

Black Americans, Hispanics and Whites.” Kulkarni began his speech with a moment of silence for the victims of the Santa Fe High School shootings. In parallel, a vigil was taking place on the steps of Sugar Land City Hall. The candle-light vigil was organized by Syed Gardezi, Shahid Hasnain and Shagufta Hasnain. Though saddened by the Santa Fe shootings, the campaign workers and well-wishers at Bar Louie were uplifted by Kulkarni’s landslide win. An additional happy outcome was the Houston Rockets’ close victory against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA playoffs just moments later. The Sri Kulkarni campaign team appreciated the happy respite, but is now ready with the same quiet confidence of their candidate to take on the Republican machine in the mid-term elections.


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May 25, 2018

COMMUNITY

Santa Fe Shooting Victim’s Body Returned Home to Karachi after Houston Funeral HOUSTON: Sabika Sheikh, a 17-year-

old Pakistani scholar participating in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) student exchange program from Karachi, was one of the ten people killed when Picture on left: Sabika Sheikh

a teenage classmate, armed with a shotgun and a revolver, opened fire in Santa Fe High School on May 18, about 38 miles south of Houston. To honor Sabika’s memory, more than 2,000 people gathered Sunday for the funeral service at the Masjid Al-Sabireen mosque in the Brand Lane Islamic Center in Stafford, according to The Houston Chronicle. When the mosque’s indoor spaces filled up, people took off their shoes and kneeled in the grass and on the mosque’s cement walkways, even though a steamy rain had started to fall. “We found out about the shooting from a local TV channel and tried, but failed to contact Sabika and her friends,” Sabika’s father Abdul Aziz, told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, while adding that they then contacted the YES program coordinator, who confirmed the news of their daughter’s death, “after a four to five hour delay.” According to her father, Sabika — the eldest among three sisters but younger than her brother — was due to return home on June 9. Her family had been counting the days till her return. Described as a brilliant student by her father, Sabika had completed her matriculation from Karachi Public School. She was an honor roll student at the Santa Fe High School. Sabika wanted to be a diplomat when she grew up. In Santa Fe, Jason and Colleen Cogburn served as Sabika’s host parents. The Cogburns have six children of their own. Jason and Colleen spoke at the funeral, along with their daughter, Jaelyn, who was one of Sabika’s best friends. On Mother’s Day, Sabika gave her host mother a prayer shawl handmade in Pakistan. Just a week later, Joleen Cogburn wore it to cover her head inside the mosque as she remembered Sabika’s life. “She wanted to be a part of what we did, and we wanted to be a part of what she did,” Jason Cogburn said. When Sabika began fasting last week for Ramadan, he said, the whole family started fasting along with her. “She was so loyal to her faith, her country and she only had good things to say about everybody. She loved her family. She couldn’t wait to see them, and she loved us,” Jaelyn said, according to ABC News. As the memorial service concluded, the casket was transported to the Bush International airport for the flight to Karachi via Turkish Airlines. From Islamabad, US Ambassador David Hale called Sabika’s family to offer his deepest condolences. In Washington D.C., U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered his condolences in a statement, saying that “Sabika’s death and that of the other victims is heartbreaking and will be mourned deeply both here in the United States, and in Pakistan.” Aisha Farooqui, Consul general at the Pakistani consulate in Houston, said in an official statement that the US State Department had sent them official confirmation of Sabika’s death in the Santa Fe shooting. M.J. Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, issued a direct challenge to the high school kids in the audience, urging them to follow the path of the teen survivors of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, who have spoken out nationally for gun control.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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May 25, 2018

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A Record $2.8 Million Raised by Pratham Houston to Curb Child-illiteracy in India!

Left: Pratham Ambassador & Bollywood Actress Waheeda Rehman & Pratham Houston President, Asha Dhume. Center: Gala Chairs & Pratham USA CFO Swatantra Jain and wife Bimla Jain with Pratham Ambassador & Bollywood actress Waheeda Rehman. Right: Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray with Pratham USA Chairman, Deepak Raj. Photos: Bijay Dixit

BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA

HOUSTON: Houston participat-

ed in one of its most resplendent events, the Pratham Houston Gala 2018 held on Saturday, May 12 at the spectacular Hilton Americas in Downtown Houston. One of the premier events of the local Indian – American social calendar, the gala celebration, attended by more than 900 people and a complete sell out, was a grand success with an amalgam of glam and truly heartfelt emotions. Pratham, one of India’s largest education charities, has its presence

in 23 of India’s 29 states, having its methods replicated in a dozen countries, including Mexico. The first US chapter was founded in Houston in 1999 by prominent Indian-American businessman and philanthropist Vijay Goradia, who was looking to make a difference back home. Last year, donors in the US contributed $20 million for Pratham’s mission to have “every child in school and learning well”. Through their noble act Pratham has affected the lives of more than 50 million underprivileged children in the past two decades. Pratham USA, a 501(c)(3)

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nonprofit organization is a 5-star charity. It is listed as one of the top ten charities in Houston by Charity Navigator, as mentioned in Houston Chronicle in November 2017. The evening began with National Anthems of United States and India, sung by Apoorva Das and Pooja Vettical. Co-emcees for the evening were LA-based Indian-American comedian and entertainer Rajiv Satyal, whose high-energy and unique brand of clean comedy was a hit with the multi-generational crowd and had everyone in titters throughout the evening and along with him was Bollywood actress and former Miss India Neha Dhupia. Pratham Houston President, Asha Dhume welcomed the guests and thanked everyone for attending. She said, “ Pratham means first and I am truly humbled that so many of you chose Pratham

first tonight and came here, your presence here means a lot to me and thank you from the bottom of my heart”. Citing the organization’s positive impact on “50 million underprivileged children in its 23-year history,” she encouraged audiences to donate generously and pointed out that in a country where nearly 100 million children cannot read or write, “there are many more mountains to climb”. She thanked Gala Chairs - Swatantra and Bimla Jain, Gala Benefactors - Shawn and Seema Karande, Bhavesh and Shital Patel, and Gala Co-Chairs – Aravind and Mai Melligeri, Dhiren and Anila Shethia, and Chowdary and Angela Yalamanchili and also thanked everyone else for their donations and support. She thanked her team: Vice President Dr. Randeep Suneja, Mani Surkari, Dimple Kalani, Manasi Pendharkar, and Houston Board of Directors. She shared her

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heartfelt thanks for Vikas Bahl, Brij Kathuria, Simran Rihal, and Darel D’Souza and his team of most dedicated volunteers. Veteran Bollywood actress Waheeda Rehman, graced the event as the guest of honor. She has also been the goodwill Ambassador of Pratham since early 2000. She said, “I am happy to see Pratham grow bigger and I also am very happy to see all of you here today”. Thanking the audience, she mentioned that she hoped they will continue to support Pratham. Her quick speech was followed by the Gala Chairs and Pratham Visionaries Swatantra Jain and wife Bimla Jain coming up to present the plaque to Waheeda Rehman

CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

For photo collage, see pages 14-15


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COMMUNITY

May 25, 2018

A Record $2.8 Million Raised by Pratham Houston to Curb Child-illiteracy in India! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 as a token of appreciation. Jain complimented this by singing a couple of lines from the veteran’s famous movie Guide. He also complimented Asha Dhume for a successful gala. Commending on the tremendous work being done by Pratham, Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India, Houston stated, “Education will determine the speed at which India becomes a rich and powerful nation. I have myself seen the work Pratham does in India. Its activities have a huge positive impact and I am glad to be associated with it.” Deepak Raj, Pratham USA President presented a plaque to Dr. Ray as a token of appreciation. Dr. Rukmini Banerji, the Chief Executive Officer, Pratham Education Foundation in her speech said, “ I have been here many time and I

Ganpat Luche, Former Pratham Vocational training student with Host & Bollywood star Neha Dhupia. Designer Tarun Tahiliani with models.

am always impressed by the energy and warmth Houston gives us.” Elaborating on Pratham’s noble cause, she encouraged everyone to

support the organization. She was soon followed on stage by Neha Dhupia who introduced Ganpat Luche, Pratham’s vocational training program graduate, and one of the millions of youth impacted by Pratham’s programs. At the age of 23, he earned Rs.1300, the equivalent of $35, a month doing odd jobs. After completing a course in hospitality with Pratham, Ganpat, now 29, takes home $800 a month as a waiter in Dubai and is saving to buy a piece of land in his village, where he plans to start his own restaurant. His closing words echoed the sentiment of the entire evening: “I ask you all to continue supporting Pratham and we, the

youth of India, will not disappoint you,” leaving the audiences visibly moved. While delectable dinner was served by Daawat catering, pledge drive was conducted by Dr. Sapna Singh and Mark Turner, while the charming and master at the art of auctioning, Dr. Subodh Bhuchar managed the live auction with Turner. The evening was bedazzled by a special attraction, a scintillating fashion show, choreographed by Simran Rihal that showcased stunning designs from world-renowned fashion designer, Tarun Tahiliani, leaving the audience mesmerized. The night closed with a beautiful dance performance by the very famous Rhythm India Dance Company founded by Ar-

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

tistic Director Arzan Gonda, shaking a leg to Piya Tose – a tribute to Waheeda Rehman and ended it with the latest songs Boom Diggy and Laila Mein Laila that got the crowd tapping their feet. At the end of program, Asha Dhume and Dr. Randeep Suneja thanked everyone for attending the program and for making it a great success. For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit prathamusa.org or make a check payable to “Pratham USA” and mail it to Pratham USA, 9703 Richmond Ave, Suite 102, Houston TX 77042

For photo collage, see pages 14-15


May 25, 2018

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May 25, 2018

Michael Wood Explores Akbar’s Vision and Justice at Asia Society

The celebrated historian, filmmaker, broadcaster and author Michael Wood gave a talk on the Mughal Emperor Akbar at the Asia Society on Tuesday, May 10.

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: For those who are familiar

with Michael Wood on the series The Story of India, his talk at the Asia Society last Tuesday, May 8 was a fascinating continuation of the narrative, albeit delving into the minute details of life at the beginning of the Mughal Empire in the mid-16th century. Wood was back at the AS after a gap of 20 years and he was asked to speak on the Emperor Akbar. “The history of India is second to none,” Wood said, “and Akbar is most significant and a direct contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I.” Wood is a celebrated historian, filmmaker, broadcaster and author who has produced the 6 hour-long documentary on India that explores many aspects of its past. He is currently working on a similar Story of China. The event was brought to the main auditorium of the AS on Southmore in collaboration with the Archaeology Institute of America, Houston Society, now rebranded as Archaeology Now. He was introduced by Moez Mangalji, a member of the Asia Society Board of Directors. With the help of slides of colorful paintings from the era and video clips from his series, Wood was able to dive into the history of the epoch, narrating it with the same flair, fluency and wit that he displays on the PBS documentary. He gave a little premonition of what happened to the 35 year-old Akbar in a painting where he is surrounded by courtiers, but is filled with remorse and contemplation besides a shot deer which is dying. “Tolerance was an amazing idea in the mid-16th century Muslim world,” declared Wood. Adding some background, Wood described how Akbar’s grandfather Babur

This painting shows how the Emperor Akbar, surrounded by courtiers, was filled with remorse and contemplation after a deer was shot, showing his personal drift towards tolerance and mutual understanding of other religions.

started his kingdom in 1524 and wrote “Hindustan is a very strange country compared to ours. There is no limit to people and most of them are infidels.” Akbar was born at 2am, Sunday, October 25, 1542 but his father Humayun had lost most of his kingdom and the family fled to Sindh and then Jodhpur. Akbar was coronated in Khandhar in 1556 at the age of 13 after Humayun died in a tumble down a staircase. Akbar was cruel in his youth and as a king, killing and torturing. He never learnt to read and write but had an inquisitive mind and a fantastic memory. His predecessors were intolerant towards Hindus, taxing them for their religion. But in midlife, Akbar started to change inside and became a different type of sovereign. He did away with the hated religion tax and even learnt Hindu mantras and rituals, though he was still a practicing Muslim, In 1578, he went to the junction of the Ganges and Jamuna rivers and named the place Allahabad and started to embrace all India’s religions. In his 20th year or reign, he built Fathepur Sikri near Agra and held conferences on religions. “No one religion can claim absolute authority,” Wood quoted Akbar, “so the sovereign cannot identify with one religion.” This led to developing enemies in the Muslim Orthodoxy as Akbar created a Sufi type of tolerant society, “kind of like the Knights of the Round Table,” exclaimed Wood. Akbar died at age 62 in 1605 amid rumors that he was poisoned. Wood wrapped up his talk by fielding several questions from the audience. His DVD on India was available for purchase after the two hour event and he personally met, spoke and posed with many of his admirers.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

May 25, 2018

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Arya Samaj of Greater Houston, DAVSS and AYM Youth Celebrate Annual Day

ASGH Graduation Guests: Joseph & Christina Emmett from Vedanta Institute Malibu, with Shri Dev. Mahajan

HOUSTON: Sunday, May 13

morning was filled with sheer joy for 125 children of the Sanskriti School, managed by Arya Samaj Houston. It was their Annual Day that was eagerly awaited, preceded by their strenuous practice. Their elders in the Arya Youth Mandal (AYM) were in attendance to bid farewell to seven graduating seniors, about to join reputed universities. They, with their parents and siblings were the Yajmaans in the morning Havan, followed by Acharyaji’s message that they can carry with them for lifetime. A large number of AYM youth were given the President’s Voluntary Service Certificate by the guest of honor Joseph and Christina Emmett, for the services they rendered within the Arya Samaj campus or outside. The graduating students displayed confidence

as they narrated their long years of experience at the Arya Samaj. Once the Sanskriti school (the Sunday School of Arya Samaj Houston) children took over, it was non-stop showcasing of their skills they had earned in arguably very efficient manner, within bare two hours a week. Besides their learning of Hindi and Naitik Shiksha (Moral Instruction), they learn electives such as music (vocal and instrumental), Tabla (beginners and advanced), Yoga, dance, orchestra, Hindi R&W, Vedic Math, public speaking, etc. The Annual Day began with a song by the vocal music group of children. The dance was found to be a new experiment with four groups performing together, culCONTINUED ON PAGE 11

ASGH AYM Senior Students Graduations, 2018

ASGH Celebrates AYM Senior Students Graduations, 2018

DAVSS Sanskriti School Cultural Song Performance - Maharishi Geet

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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COMMUNITY

FIS Partners with Houston Public Library to Celebrate Indo-American Heritage Day BY NISH BHAN

HOUSTON: The Indo-American

community gathered on Saturday, May 12 afternoon at the Jungman Neighborhood Library to celebrate their culture. The event, which showcased the art, food, culture and spirit of the Indian subcontinent, was presented by the Houston Public Library (HPL) in partnership with the Foundation for India Studies (FIS). The keynote speaker was NASA astronaut of Indian descent, Sunita Williams, and the guest of Honor was Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India in Houston. The program began with a traditional Indian dance performed by Soujanya Madhusudan, Associate Director of Bharatha Darshana School of Indian Dance & Music, followed by remarks from Jennifer Schwartz, Manager of Programming for the Houston Public Library. Then, Krishna Vavilala, FIS founder and chairman, introduced Dr. Ray. CG Ray spoke on the nature of Indian heritage, remarking that Sunita Williams is herself a personification of Indo-American heritage, by virtue of her name. He also noted that Indian culture is about keeping your feet firm on the ground while reaching out for the

FIS supporters, friends and Board members with Consul General, Dr. Anupam Ray. Key Note speaker NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Chief Guest, Consul General, Dr. Anupam Ray received awards from FIS Chair, Krishna Vavilala.

Helen Chou and Jennifer Schwartz, of HPL managed and Emceed the 4-hour long program that also included an interactive Q&A session with the astronaut.

skies. Dr. Ray also recited a Sanskrit shloka which is inscribed in the Indian parliament stating that, for small minded people, petty differences are important, but for

broad minded people, the whole world is one family-“Vasudhika Kutumbakam” HPL Program Manager Jennifer Schwartz then introduced the

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she joined the US Navy and became an astronaut and how she, who has an Indian father and a American mother of Slovenian descent, is truly “Indo-American” CONTINUED ON PAGE 11


COMMUNITY

May 25, 2018

Arya Samaj of Greater Houston, DAVSS and AYM Youth Celebrate Annual Day

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 minating in a fusion signifying unity of the humanity in its diversity. Tabla players made it very interesting when the teachers’ phonetic sounds were replicated by tiny fingers of little children on their instruments. Orchestra was a special ensemble by its teacher Aakash Gupta training five youngsters playing diverse instruments. It must have been an emotional moment for Aakash that he would now leave for Harvard after so many years at the Sanskriti School, first as a little boy then as a youth and its fullfledged teacher. Yoga performers gave the message to stay healthy, so much important for the Indian community reporting serious health issues related to heart, diabetes, etc. Instrumental performance on keyboard by multiple players was a new feather in the cap as a new elective and was very well received.

Everybody patiently waited for the signature school song that sees all the children, teachers and volunteers on the stage, the glowing finale dedicated to the pioneering contributions of Maharshi Dayanand (1825-’83), the founder of Arya Samaj. Due to the shortage of time Hindi conversational skills and Naitik Shiksha component didn’t find place. A new addition was the Multimedia Art that was displayed outside, 20+ art work created by 5 to 13 yo. Some of them were sold on the spot, proceeds donated to the Sanskriti School. The entire event was being live telecast via streaming and can be watched by anybody anytime on the youtube channel of Dayanand Arya Vedic Sanskriti School. Interspersed within the program was the annual report, presented by its director Dr. Kavita Vachaknavee. It kept away from the usual statistics and restricted to a long

list of new developments in the year 2017-18. Even the list required three slides, endorsing the phenomenal advances Sanskriti School makes on a continual basis. It reflects in the record registration by this time of the year. Acharyaji’s message for the parents highlighted the need of harmony among the parents at home so that child develops holistically under the love, warmth, and security provided by the parents. Patanjali Yoga Meditation holds the key in this regard to inculcate genuine and pure love, simultaneously washing away stress of the modern life. Write to davssgm@gmail.com for any query or call 832.874.3376. The new year in DAV Sanskriti School will begin from August 19. Registration is now open and online at http://www.davss.org/, more information is available at https:// www.facebook.com/AryaSamajOfGreaterHouston

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FIS Partners with Houston Public Library to Celebrate Indo-American Heritage Day CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10 in every sense of the word. Her speech detailed the unique lessons she learned while looking at the earth from the space, especially her focus and interest in the unique human message. She remarked that, fundamentally, far more things unify us than divide us as a species, and that for her, going to space is emblematic of this truth. She also recalled the unique challenges presented by operating on the International Space Station, and then devoted some time to discuss NASA’s future plans for space exploration. Ms. Williams Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma, late astronaut Kalpana Chawla, and NASA’s fresh Indian American recruit, Raja Chari, a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. A short Q&A session followed and then Mr. Vavilala presented FIS mementos to both Sunita Williams and Dr. Anupam Ray. FIS introduced a variety of new

items in this year’s Heritage Day celebration, including an oral recitation and explanation of the Vedas by Sitaram Ayyagari; a lecture demonstration explaining expressions and various mudras of Indian dances by Pallavi Kumar, founder of Laasika School of Dance; live painting and display of Madhubani paintings from Mithila, Bihar by Tanushri Misra assisted by her husband Amaresh; and dances by students of Bharata Darshana School of India Classical Dance and Music. About 30 kids participated, wearing regional dresses of different states of India. Other cultural presentations included Telugu and Hindi songs were sung by Telugu children brought up in this country, organized by Sunil Kommineni; and an India-BEE fun quiz conducted by Soundarya Sahoni, which attracted a number of participants, young and old who tested their knowledge about India and were rewarded with small gifts.

The Indo-American Heritage Day was presented by the Houston Public Library under its new series called the Living Room at HPL. It is all about neighbors meeting neighbors and getting to know each other in an informal living room setting and promote meaningful conversations across communities, said Jennifer Schwartz the overall program Manager. For full video coverage of the Indo-American Heritage Day, please visit the FIS Facebook page.

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


12 May 25, 2018

COMMUNITY

Dr. Atul Varadhachary: Bringing Medical Innovations to Life

Dr. Atul Varadhachary in the foreground at Fannin Innovation Studio

BY MANU SHAH

HOUSTON: Fannin Innovation

Studio’s Managing Director Dr. Atul Varadhachary explains why he has “the best job in the world.” He says he gets to work with brilliant people who are figuring out a way to use medical research to save patient lives. This, he adds, was an important piece in his decision to join Fannin in 2012. The Company, which takes scientific research from Texas Medical Center Institutions (TMC) and brings it to an early stage commercial venture, was named a winner in the US Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition for the second time in a row. It also won the prestigious Tibbetts Award by their Small Business Innovation and Research program (SBIR) – the only forprofit company to do so. Named after the street - Fannin, which is at the heart of TMC, the company was started in 2006 by Leo Linbeck III. Fannin in-licenses technology from academic innovators which it commercializes using its experienced management team and internal funding. This

model was developed for places like Houston that have immense research but little commercialization due to a shortage of experienced life sciences entrepreneurs and funding. The company primarily deals in biotech pharma and medical device development. Two ground breaking products are currently at the human testing stage - Pulmotect, an inhaled therapeutic to prevent and treat respiratory infections in cancer patients and Procyrion, an ambulatory heart pump that can be introduced in patients through an outpatient procedure. The process of steering it from an idea to the market, he says, takes an average of 15 years. A resident of Mumbai, Atul went to Medical School in Mumbai, India before heading to the John Hopkins University School of Medicine for a PhD in Physiology. This encouragement came easily from a father who was a renowned cardiologist in Mumbai and a mother who he says is “one of the smartest people” he knows. He credits them with instilling in him a love for learning and the importance of working to impact others positively. Atul and his wife Gauri, a Medical Oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center, moved from Bal-

timore to Houston 23 years ago – a move he quips was “heavily driven by the weather.” While pursuing demanding high profile careers, the couple also displayed their communitarian spirit including working with Pratham in India for a year. Atul subsequently served as Pratham USA’s President for 5 years while Gauri is on the Pratham Houston Board. Boards on which Atul is or has served include the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Harris Health System and BioHouston. He was also Past President of IACCGH and is President Elect of TiE – an organization that promotes the next generation of entrepreneurs. A program he’s says he’s “probably most proud of” is Fannin’s Fellowship and Internship program which aims to develop Houston’s next generations of entrepreneurs by providing them with mentoring and hands-on experience. The company has welcomed 165 interns and Fellows so far. When he’s not bringing cutting edge medical science to real life or involved in civic engagement, Atul gives in to the lure of a good book. He’s fond of a good mystery, is partial to science fiction and considers the “Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb one of his best reads.

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May 25, 2018

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14 May 25, 2018

See article on page 5 INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


May 25, 2018

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16 May 25, 2018 BY DR. S.G. APPAN

PEARLAND:

Seva Clinic, a charity medical clinic serving the uninsured and under insured patients in the Pearland area has completed the one-year milestone and had a celebration attended by many officials and over 100 enthusiastic supporters on May19. Seva clinic has seen over 1000 patients in the first year and is located at the Pearland neighborhood center building, 2335 N. Texas Avenue, Pearland, TX 7758. The clinic was founded by Dr. P. Vaduganathan, a cardiologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital and now several physicians, nurses, and mid-level providers volunteer their services to run this clinic. The clinic is open every Thursday between 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm and is a walk-in clinic and no appointments are necessary. Patients should be registered by 7 pm in order for them to be seen that evening. Pediatricians are available to see children on every second Thursdays. The anniversary event started with Honorable Mayor Tom Reid’s short prayer and moment of silence for those affected by the Santa Fe shooting. Dr. Vaduganathan gave a brief report of how the clinic was started with over 2 years of planning. He introduced the members of the Seva Clinic Board: Mayor Reid, Dr. Vaduganathan (Chair-

COMMUNITY

man & Medical Director), Dr. Bandhakavi (Medical Director), Joanne Barrett(Nursing director), Jim & Hita Dickson ( Treasurer), Jerry Farmer, Srikanth Venugopalan ( Secretary) , Dr. S.G. Appan and Dr. Deepa Iyengar ( Medical Director). Dr. Vaduganathan reported that now blood tests are done at Seva Clinic for a nominal charge of $5 per test if they can afford it. He also told that after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, the Seva clinic doctors provided medical care to the Cambodian community at Rosharon, TX over two weekends. Pearland Mayor Hon. Tom Reid admired the services of Seva Clinic and told the crowded audience that his vision is that Seva Clinic should have its own place and a building so that it can expand its services. Texas State Representative Hon. Ed Thompson congratulated Seva Clinic’s success and said that “When you want something done, tell a Texan it can’t be done.” Kyle Price, CEO, Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, John Kelly, superintendent of Pearland ISD, Ms. Melissa Washington from Pearland chamber of commerce, and Brad Christen from the Pearland Neighborhood center spoke in praise of the clinic. The other members of Memorial Hermann Southeast and Pearland hospital who attended the event are Mario Garner, C.O.O, Kelly Ochoa, C.N.O, Dr. Glen Garner,

Seva Clinic Celebrates One Year Anniversary

C.M.O, Rebecca Lilly, Ashley Quinonez and Shannon Kimich. All the physicians and nurses had come in their white coat and Dr. Sandeep Gupta spoke about his good experience in the clinic. Several members of Sri Meenakshi Temple attended the event and Sam Kannappan, Dr. S. G. Appan

praised the clinic. Dr. Padmini Nathan congratulated Seva Clinic and pledged $5000 for the clinic to buy an EKG machine. Dr. Vaduganathan thanked all the donors particularly Memorial Hermann, Jim & Hita Dickson, Nach and Dr. Vaduganathan, Rajam & S.G. Appan and Glenda and Jerry Farmer.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

A certificate of recognition was given to all the physicians, nurses and the student volunteers including the ones from Turner High school. All the physicians, nurses, medical staff & students who are passionate to be part of Seva Clinc as volunteers deserve to be commended.


COMMUNITY

May 25, 2018

Paani Poori Productions Present Zakir Khan for the First Time in Houston

H

OUSTON: ‘Zakir Khan’ also known as Sakht Launda is one of the brightest Indian stand-up comedian, writer and presenter. AIB founder Tanmay Bhat describes Zakir as “The biggest stand-up comedy act in India. Period”. One of the few comedians to consistently sell out venues across the country with his hard-to-resist Zakir’s phenomenal rise as one of the most popular comedians in the country is nothing short of extraordinary. In 2012, he won Comedy Central’s India’s Best Stand Up Comedian competition. While touring with his Amazon Prime special, Haq Se Single, he sold out to arenas of thousands. Called a pioneer of storytelling in Indian comedy, he serves up his take on modern India with a hard-toresist rustic humor that’ll have you nodding your heads and clapping as you relate to everything he says. He can smoothly switch modes for an audience full of family members, a corporate crowd or a room full of men. Each show will know him as a different Zakir His family has a strong lineage of musical and cultural ethos. His grandfather Ustad Moinuddin Khan, a Padma Shri awardee, was a vocalist and an eminent performer of classical musical under the Jaipur Gharana. His father Ismail Khan is another eminent musician. Zakir very passionate

17

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about reciting and writing Urdu and Hindi poetry. He often collaborates with other popular comedians and co-hosted the 5th Golden Kela Award with famous stand-up comedians Papa CJ and Vir Das. Zakir shares a unique relationship with his fans, as he put it “It’s a very unique and adorable relation which I share with my audience. The faces might change as you do shows in various places but the emotions remain the same. I connect with them by being honest with my stories. Whatever I feel, I say through the form of stories. There is a certain standard which I maintain with my fans” Paani Poori Productions in association with Amir Dodhiya of New York Life, is proud to present Zakir Khan

for the first time in Houston on Friday, June 22, at Old Stafford Center at 8:30 pm to connect with his fans and create new ones. The doors will open at 7:15pm for food sales by Nirmanz Food boutique and seating will start at 8:00 pm. The show has been made possible with the support of Sponsors like Discount Power, Sterling McCall Toyota, Smile Profile Dentistry, CellPay, Devesh Pathak CPA & Sameeta’s Beauty Lounge. Tickets for the show can be bought online at TicketHungama.com, Sulekha.com, HumTumDesi.com and DesiWindow.com. For further information and bulk tickets (Groups of 10 or more), please call 832-443-7350 or email paanipooriproductions@gmail. com

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


18 May 25, 2018

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY

No More ...

Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh came from terror-

plagued Karachi to Santa Fe High School in Texas with the assurance of a safe, learning environment. On the morning of May 18, her illusion was shattered in 20 minutes of gunfire that took her life. Just days later, Sabika was due to return to her home and family. As reported by The Houston Chronicle, M.J. Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, issued a direct challenge to the high school kids in the audience, urging them to follow the path of the teen survivors of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, who have spoken out nationally for gun control. “Don’t look at Austin and Washington to solve your problems,” he said. “You must solve your problems yourselves. Take the lead from the students in Florida. They stood up and they said, ‘No more.’” Gun control legislation is monumentally difficult in a red state like Texas, but we must begin the steep legislative climb through our votes in every local, state and national election. -Pramod Kulkarni

... One of Many More

I

ndo-American News congratulates Sri Preston Kulkarni (no relation, but a friend) for his remarkable landslide win in the Democratic party runoff in District 22. Now Indo-Americans voters in the district, which extends from Sugar Land to Pearland and Katy have an opportunity to elect one of their own to the U.S. Congress. Electing Sri Kulkarni is one of many steps we need to take to achieve effective gun control. Kulkarni has spoken out many times against gun violence in our society, even before the shootings in Parkland and Santa Fe. Winning against an entrenched Republican candidate won’t be easy in the mid-term elections on Nov. 6. The Republicans will appeal to the Trump base, evangelicals and second-amendment fanatics. The NRA will pour money into the campaign. Kulkarni will once again needs to build effective coalitions of like-minded voters in the district and drive voters to cast their votes during early voting. Together, we can win once again. -Pramod Kulkarni

Toss Out the Coin Toss?

BY SURESH MENON

Most changes in cricket have been

calculated to inject logic and pragmatism into a sport that is irrational and quirky. This has partly to do with the demands of television, partly with the quaint idea of keeping up with the times. The idea to do away with the toss has been in the air for a while; the county championship has been played without it for two years now. Yet, remove the toss and you excise from the game something unique, something fundamental, something that pays a tribute to the element of chance in sport. All captains are equal before the toss. It is too another step in the homogenisation of cricket, ignoring the game’s unique challenges in different conditions. It is not the toss that is the problem — if the problem indeed is fewer away wins — but lack of skill to adapt. The fond hope is that giving the visiting captain the choice to bat or bowl first will lead to the preparation of sporting wickets and greater balance between home and away results. Statistics from the county championship are admittedly thin, but interesting nevertheless. While doing away with the toss saw an 11% rise in matches going into the final day, there was no increase in away wins. In 2015, before the toss was removed, away sides won 45 matches. In 2016 it dropped to 33. It was 36 in 2017. In 150 Tests since the start of 2015, the away side has won only 45 matches, while losing 80 (UAE is taken as Pakistan’s home venue). So wherever you sit on the toss debate, you will have figures to support your view. Wicket preparation is the home team’s prerogative. Cricket is a game of nuances. A Test match in Chennai is different in texture from one in Perth; players of skill know how to tweak their game, and that is both the charm and challenge of the sport. Handing the visiting captain the choice might give him the sort of advantage doctored tracks give the home team. What if a team were allowed to make one change from its list of twelve after the toss? One might decide to go with the extra spinner to take

advantage of a wicket guaranteed to deteriorate in the fourth innings while the other might strengthen its batting. This is not foolproof either, and I just throw it out there for discussion. The toss existed in cricket before leg byes, follow-on, declarations, wides, no-balls, leg before wicket did. It set in motion the first-ever Test match in 1876-77. The call for doing away with the toss isn’t new. There were brief attempts in 1884 and 1905 to change the practice but these didn’t come to much. Eliminating the toss is no panacea. If a side knew whether it might bat or bowl first, curators could still provide the kind of pitch it wanted (not in international cricket, perhaps). It might even keep spectators away on the first day if they had an idea who would bat first given the conditions, and that’s good neither for the venue nor for television. Some years ago, Kolkata’s groundsman Prabir Mukherjee called the then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s instructions to give him a spinning track “immoral”. That was in a series against England. It is one of the quirks of the game that the fate of an international is, in some ways, in the hands of the individual preparing the wicket. He decides. He executes. But Mukherjee’s is a rare case. Most groundsmen are happy to oblige the home captain. And usually these things are accomplished more subtly.

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In England, teams are presented with ‘English’ pitches which help seam, in Australia, pitches have bounce and pace, India’s tend to assist spin — these are as well established as the game’s other well-knowns like the pitch of 22 yards and the size of the wickets. It is neither surprising nor immoral for a country to exaggerate its natural advantages. If pitches are prepared to counter these advantages (to keep the visiting team happy), then it won’t be long before they become uniformly bland and featureless. Cricket is not table tennis or chess which are played on unvarying surfaces. England’s cricket board is in favor of doing away with the toss; many former captains and coaches agree. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has not taken an official position. It doesn’t need to till the ICC’s cricket committee makes its recommendation at the end of the month. These will then be forwarded to the chief executives committee at the ICC’s annual general meeting. The coin spinning in the air, the expressions on the faces of the captains as they call wrongly, the subtle signs by which spectators and teammates realise the outcome are all part of the game. If it makes sense to, let’s retain the toss; if it makes no sense, then there is even more reason to retain it. For cricket is that kind of a game. -The Hindu


COMMUNITY

May 25, 2018

19

UH Business Professor Saleha Khumawala Selected as Piper Professor

HOUSTON: Saleha Khumawala,

Robert Grinaker Professor of Accounting at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business, has been selected as a Piper Professor for superior teaching at the college level in Texas. Khumawala is just the 12th UH faculty member to receive the prestigious honor in the award’s 60-year history. The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, a Texas-based nonprofit organization founded in 1950 to support charitable, scientific and educational undertakings, selects 10 honorees from across the state each year. “This is a tremendous recognition that illustrates the amount of teaching and various opportunities that I have been afforded throughout my career,” said Khumawala. “I could not have done this without the support I have received from my family, particularly my husband, my colleagues and my students. I am truly indebted to each and every one of them.” Khumawala grew up in India during the 1950s, where her father was a tradesman and her mother worked as a tailor. It was then that she developed a passion for education. “Their lack of education was the main reason that I and my siblings’ education was paramount in our family. For nearly five decades, teaching has been my calling,” she said. This seasoned educator does much more than just teach accounting and business to students. She is an innovative leader in the classroom, connecting those principles to each student’s goals and dreams, then weaves in

Saleha Khumawala, 2018 Piper Professor

her own passion for entrepreneurship and service. She is the founding director of the SURE™ (Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship) Program, which embeds service learning with a measurable social impact. Class members include UH students, current or prospective entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities and corporate executives who serve as mentors. Since the one-of-a-kind program started in 2012, more than 630 entrepreneurs from 60 Houston zip codes have been trained, while more than 115 businesses have been launched or expanded. Khumawala works tirelessly to cover the program expenses through grants and awards. Just last fall, the SURE™ Program received the Governor’s Volunteer Award for Higher Education Community Impact. In addition, she leads the Study Abroad India Program, a 17-day trip to various cities in India that includes visits with officials and government, corporate and educational institu-

tions. Participants study microfinance operations in villages and slums in the area. Her impressive body of work has caused a “ripple effect” across the UH campus, according to Richard Scamell, associate dean for student affairs at the C. T. Bauer College of Business. “Saleha Khumawala is someone who has and continues through her words and deeds to create ripples that will challenge and energize future generations, not only in Houston but across the world,” he said. “The work done by Professor Khumawala is truly awe-inspiring. Her achievements embody the ideal faculty member at the University of Houston – an individual dedicated to research, teaching and service,” said Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “It is through the achievements and efforts of individuals like Dr. Khumawala that UH continues to move the needle as a Tier One institution.” The University of Houston may submit only one nomination annually for the Piper Professor Program. The Piper Professor nominee is selected by the Teaching Excellence Awards committee, with approval from the Provost Office. “Through all this, my proudest accomplishments are my students - those who overcame odds and were the first in their family to graduate from college, those who sat on a plane for the first time to go to India, and those who have now gone on to found businesses or become leaders of Big 4 accounting firms,” Khumawala added.

India, a complex, beautiful and Freedom of Expression: Under Threat enchanting land, a melting pot of innumerable cultures, religions, ethnicities and traditions. India, a society deeply rooted in tolerance, compassion and forbearance. India, a land where the legends of Akbar’s justice, Shahjahan’s love, Prithvi Raj’s valor, Chanakya’s wisdom, live in every household. India, a land which gave birth to the concept of ahinsa, a land of Kabir and Kalidas, a land of Sufis and Sadhus, the land of Gandhi and Ghaffaar, the land of Nehru and Azad, the land of Nanak and Gautum. The list can be endless and the names more empowering. One cannot help but be proud of one’s secular Indian heritage. Having lived in a tolerant India, the news of the slow rise of fascism and intolerance seem almost incomprehensible yet, the facts are facts. We cannot run away from facts. A recent incident happened too close to home. I like many other Indians followed the pursuit to higher education and came to the US. An air of nostalgia breezes through the mind when reminded of the days spent at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in India. AMU, a public central university in India, was

established in 1875 by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, as Mohammedan AngloOriental (MAO) College. It was in 1920 that the college became Aligarh Muslim University, the campus of which is situated in the Aligarh city in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Ever since it’s inception, this University has been a beacon of education, freedom and equality, producing notable alumni, including the President of India, Vice-President of India, Governors, Chief Ministers, Poets, Writers, Scientists, Sportsmen, Film and TV artists and many others. Recent US News and World Report puts AMU as one of the top two public universities in the country, with law, medicine and engineering programs as one of the top in the nation. On May 2, 2018, a group of thugs disguised as political activists supported by law enforcement officials barged into the University premises with the demands of removing the portrait of a former Indian political figure who later championed the twostate theory and was instrumental in the creation of Pakistan. This portrait was placed in the pre-independence era during the days of British rule, along with the portraits of other life members of the University AMU

Students Union galleries. Traditionally, photographs of all life members are placed on the walls of the student union office including that of Gandhi, Nehru, Azad, Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa to name only a few. Whether this portrait should or should not be there, is debatable, and should be debated by the present AMU student general body and due process should deliver the outcome. The issue is not so much the portrait, as none of the AMU students, present or past think much of the individual in question any way, the point is the following. It is alarming when fascist forces start to break-in the gates of academic institutions with the aim of robbing these institutions of their freedom. Their agenda is not promoting patriotism or strengthening nationalism but their goal is curbing freedom of expression, silencing discussions, hijacking debates, raping harmony, undermining justice and diminishing peace. Can we as a society afford it?

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emorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2018 occurs on Monday, May 28. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season. Early Observances of Memorial Day The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers. It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. Decoration Day On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day

of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I. History of Memorial Day Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan h a d se-

lected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday. Memorial Day Traditions Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unof- ficially marks the beginning of summer. -history.com

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NATURE

May 25, 2018

21

Cities Made of Sand: A Ubiquitous Resource Threatened by Massive Overuse

Sand. You probably don’t think about it,

except perhaps when you’re dumping it out of your shoes following a languorous day at the beach. What you may not know is that sand is a diminishing resource that forms the bedrock of our modern way of life. You probably haven’t given much thought to sand, especially given its ubiquity. But when you consider that sand is essentially the bedrock of modern life—used to build everything from the structures we live in to the electronics we use to store virtually all the world’s information— the substance begins to bear weight. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, aside from water, we use sand more than any other natural resource. No other material is extracted from the earth as much as sand, which accounts for between 68 and 85 percent of the 47 to 59 billion tonnes of material (think construction materials, fossil fuels, ores/industrial minerals, etc.) that are mined every year. The amount of sand being extracted has also increased more than any other material, at a rate well beyond its rate of renewal. In fact, the world could be at risk of overextracting one of its most common resources, which has also become the locus for serious social and environmental harm. Mounting demand Wait. But in the face of increasing desertification, where large tracts of fertile land are succumbing to sand encroachment and degradation, how can we be running out of sand? For one, we use a lot of it. Vince Beiser is a journalist who’s written about the global sand crisis for Wired, The New York Times, and The Guardian, and in his forthcoming book (available 2018). “Sand is the most important solid substance on earth,” says Beiser. “We use more of it than any other natural resource except water and air. Sand is the literal foundation of modern civilization. It’s what our cities are made of. It’s concrete, it’s asphalt, it’s glass, it’s the silicon chips that run our computers and our phones.” When you look at everything we use sand for, and then look at how much of it we use, the picture gets clearer. Sheer population growth means we need more resources to support the way we want to live. Beiser explains that rapid urbanization in the past 50 years has driven demand in the form of concrete. People in developing countries— especially China and India, but also others such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Vietnam—are moving to cities on a massive scale, requiring new apartments, roads, factories, and other infrastructure to sustain them. In 1960, about 1 billion of the world’s 3 billion people lived in cities. Today, more than 4 billion, almost 55 percent of the global population, live in cities. By 2050, 65 percent of people will live in urban environments. “If you think about how much sand—how much concrete, glass, and asphalt—it takes to build an urban environment for 3 billion people, that’s what we’ve done over the last 50 years,” says Beiser. “We’re adding the equivalent of seven New York Cities every year. And that’s just a mind-boggling amount.” High-impact resource When it comes to desertification, there really is no upside. Desert sand gets worn from wind erosion, making it smooth and round—and impossible to bind together. Without these binding properties, sand isn’t much use. Instead, sand broken away from mountains, and then shaped and formed through streams and rivers, into lakes and oceans, form the ideal building materials. Over millions of years,

we’ve accumulated a lot of the stuff, but the more we take, the more impact we have on the environment—and the more difficult it becomes to find and retrieve the sand we need. “It’s an extractive industry like any other,” says Beiser. “When you pull that much sand out of the earth, or out of a riverbed, or out of a flood plain, or from underneath a farmer’s field, it causes damage.” Rivers are especially susceptible to damage, where dredging operations literally scoop sand from sensitive riverbeds, stirring up sediment. “All the mud, silt, and sand that was at the bottom of the river goes up into the water and can stay there for a very long time,” says Beiser. “It suffocates fish, and any other living organisms, and it blocks sunlight from getting to the plant life along the river bottom, even in places where they haven’t dredged.” Ocean habitats are also at risk, as dredging crawlers destroy coral reefs either directly from contact or indirectly from sediment. If that’s not enough, transporting the sand mined from the ground or ocean floor over long distances, combined with heavy industrial manufacturing processes, produces high carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to climate change. There’s also the human side of the equation. Government regulations and increased demand have created a black market for sand, putting many people and their families in danger. In India alone, hundreds have reportedly lost their lives. Shift in mindset For Beiser, one of the only ways to reduce the negative impacts of sand extraction is to limit its use. “At the end of the day, the issue isn’t really just sand,” says Beiser. “The only way to deal with this issue of sand is to use less of it in the first place. To do that, we have to use less of everything. Because it’s just one more natural resource that we’re overconsuming.” There’s no doubt that we take sand for granted, assuming there will always be plenty to wash up on our shores. What we didn’t realize is that, year after year, this seemingly ubiquitous resource is gradually washing away. What can we do? The first thing we can do is to recognize the negative impact that ongoing sand mining, on a global scale, will have on our way of life. The second is to find ways to act on this knowledge by reducing our consumption. Using—or reusing—the materials and resources we already have is one way to reduce our consumption. On a large scale, this could involve finding new uses for existing buildings and paved spaces. Looking at infrastructure, concrete rubble and other recycled building materials can be used for applications requiring lower quality resources,

such as the foundation for highway beds. At home, used bricks and concrete cinderblocks can be reused in outdoor gardens and other landscaping projects. In the house, reusing and recycling glass containers also saves having to produce the glass (which is made from liquid sand) otherwise needed for new products. As for technology, resisting the temptation to upgrade to the latest electronic gadgets (smartphones, tablets, TVs) can save money as well as disappearing resources. Sand as luxury item Far from insignificant, sand is actually one of our greatest luxuries. Pristine beaches are destinations for millions eager to soak up rays while unwinding on sweeping beds of manicured white sand. But while we gaze upon waves crashing in the distance, many of the world’s

most popular beach destinations are fleeting, and have been for some time. Natural processes such as storms, winds, tides, sea level rise, and human activities eventually cause coastal sand to move, causing erosion. But with so much depending upon these beaches—think of all the resorts and expensive real estate along such iconic coastal beaches as Miami, Cancun, Northern Gold Coast, and Waikiki—you can understand why beaches are routinely remediated by beach nourishment projects, where many thousands of tonnes of sand are trucked in to replenish these iconic beaches. Even in Canada, Sugar Beach, built beneath the towers of Downtown Toronto, relies on mined sand imported from elsewhere. -alive.com

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


22 May 25, 2018

PUZZLES / RECIPES

SUDOKU

Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Cheese da Parantha (Grated Cheese Parantha)

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hen mama’s great-grandkids visited her and asked for them, it was clear how delicious the Cheese Parantha can be! So here is a reprint of Mama’s Cheese da Parantha recipe which are surely a favorite of kids and grown-ups alike. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions. Plain Punjabi paranthas (crispy flat bread) are popular for their crispiness, buttery taste and huge, filling size and now are readily available the world over at restaurants and in the frozen food sections of many desi stores and even regular supermarkets. For the younger generation paranthas have taken on a new identity in a variation called the parantha roll which is nothing more than some filling rolled up in a plain parantha. So it’s like having the stuffing outside the bread rather than inside! It’s similar to having a stuffed burrito or a gyro sandwich, but of course, the main item is the bread or parantha, which cannot be duplicated. In the late 1950’s when we lived in London, my kids came up with the idea of stuffing the parantha with grated Cheddar cheese – and they loved to eat them hot off the tava (flatplate). They loved the tastiness of the melted cheese and this was before they knew about pizzas! Since then, they were little, my grandkids - and now in 2018, my great-grandkids - love these cheese paranthas and always clamor for more! Cheese paranthas are actually better than cheese pizza because the dough is completely cooked on both sides, rather than staying soggy and wet as pizza dough can get. In fact, some restaurants actually make thin crust pizzas from wheat dough and then sprinkle ingredients on top like tandoori chicken, eggplants and onions, calling them “tandoori pizza” or some other Indian name. There are many types of stuffed paranthas: aloo (potatoes), gajjar (carrots), phul gobi (cauliflower), mouli (white radish) or piyaaz (onions), and you can make many more

with other ingredientslikedaal(lentils) or bhindi (okra) or baingan (eggplant). But many young kids in the West only go for items they recognize, so aloo is the most popular. To this, you should add cheese and see how your young children react. The secret to a good, crispy parantha is to make sure that the atta (dough) does not get too soft with the stuffing. Cheese paranthas generally do not use any spices; and there is no need to add salt as the cheese is salty enough by itself. Most paranthas can be eaten with a dollop of butter placed on top, plain yogurt alone or with achaar (pickles). But hot cheese paranthas taste much better alone, just like a cheese pizza! Ingredients: • 500gm kanak (gehon) ka atta (wheat flour) • 100 gm grated cheddar (or any cheese of your choice) • 2 tbsp tael (olive oil or vegetable oil) • 1 1/2 cups pani (water) • Spices to taste: mirch (red pepper) Directions: 1. Cut open the packet of grated cheese and if you prefer, add the red pepper, mix well and keep to the side in a bowl. 2. Pour the flour in a bowl and slowly pour in water while kneading the dough till it becomes a nice, tender by firm ball. Dab the surface of the ball with a little water to keep it moist, cover the bowl and set aside. The dough should be soft but not watery,

if the dough is too hard, the parantha will also be hard. 3. If you want to cook later, dab the top of the atta with a small amount of oil to see the crust soft and then leave the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. You should not cook the paranthas right after making the dough as they will come out hard. 4. Break the dough into small paade (balls) and then roll out into an 8 to 10 inch circle. Now place a small amount of the grated cheese into the middle of the circle so that it can be closed easily and does not tear when rolled out again. It should roll out easily. 5. Put a small dab of oil on a hot tava (hotplate or skillet) and place the flattened dough on. When it turns color a little, turn the parantha over. Put another dab of oil on the tava and then turn it over again till it is fully cooked. The parantha will be cooked when it has some dark brown spots on it. 6. Serve hot as the cheese will still be soft. If you want more taste, you can try these with some sabzi (vegetables) or daal (lentils). 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 recipes for future generations.

MAMA’S TIP O F THE

WEEK

CAREFUL HOW YO U KEEP VEGETA BLES IN THE FR Many people go gr IDGE ocery shopping and place the vegetables when they get back home will or fruits in the refri placing them on the ge glass shelf instead of rator, sometimes carelessly of days later, they w inside the crisper bi n. ill find that the side on which the vegetab A couple has become dented le was lying , soft and the inside is frozen. Usually th cannot be cooked an is vegetable d ha Always place the ve s to be thrown away. ge tab les an d fru it insid no space, place them on a piece of cloth e the crisper bin. If there is to the cold shelf. Fr ozen vegetables do to avoid touching the surface not cook well and of tough to eat. ten become

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


High Jack

A flight from Goa to Delhi is hi-

jacked by some disgruntled employees of the airline, as they look to settle scores with the owner. Caught mid-air in this situation are a high-on-drugs DJ, a crabby middle-aged couple and many other passengers. The DJ manages to drug the others on the flight as well and what ensues is a bizarre sequence of events. A DJ (Sumeet Vyas), who promises to rescue his father’s dispensary from penury by playing at a New Year’s gig in Goa, finds out that his plans have gone awry because he has been tricked. The party turns out to be a hoax and he is left stranded in Goa without any money. During a night of intoxication, he agrees to carry drugs with him

on his flight back in exchange for money. To rid himself of nervousness he takes the drugs while on the flight. A hijack of the aircraft by the airline’s employees ensues with Vinit (Mantra) heading the mission. That sums up the waferthin plot of the film. The writers seem to have suffered a case of writers block while penning the script. Despite its short running time, the film feels like a drag as it doesn’t seem to know where it’s headed. The track involving a middle-aged man, a Pakistan hater, who constantly bickers with his wife, who eyes the DJ unabashedly, seems forced. A smattering of smart alec one-liners feature in the film and the worst of the lot is the one involving a ‘knock knock’ joke. Sample this: “Knock!

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May 25, 2018

ENTERTAINMENT:REVIEWS/NEWS ENTERTAINMENT:REVIEWS/NEWS

an intelligent and sharp satire. Sumeet Vyas, who has displayed comic chops in his earlier outings, is competent but doesn’t have enough matter to do justice to his role. Mantra as the leader of the hijackers has a limited range of expressions. The otherwise excellent actor, Kumud Mishra is straddled with a clichéd role. The film’s music by an ensemble set of musicians, including Nucleya, manages to hit the right notes though. ‘High Jack’ parades itself as a stoner comedy but after viewing it, you’d be left wondering if you need to be intoxicated to enjoy this cock-andbull story. Even by the standards of stoner comedies, this one’s like a school skit. -timiesofindia.com Knock!, Who’s there? Hi, Hi who, Hi-jack”. Director Akarsh Khurana clearly set out to make a satire on politi-

cal and social issues, but his film’s narrative doesn’t hit the bull’s eye. Neither does the film manage to be a witty dark comedy nor

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain W

hen love goes flying out of the window, a middle-aged couple struggles to keep their lives together and rekindle their romance that was long buried under the burden of domestic responsibilities. People meet, fall in love and after a few years of staying together and crawling through the madness that is life, they come face-to-face with the reality that love is after all a transient emotion. Set in the land of GangesVaranasi, ‘Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain’ is a stark reflection of perhaps the mind-set of every middle-aged couple in the world, scouting for answers pertaining to lack of love between them and this couple in question, is no different. Everything seems to be going well for Yashwant Batra (Sanjay Mishra)—a pot-bellied government servant who has a submissive wife Kiran (Ekavali Khanna) and a rebellious daughter Preeti (Shivani Raghuvanshi)—but there is a strong aura of disappointment and years of pent up frustration that looms over the Batra household. Both the ladies desire to be loved and treated as equals, but the patriarch demands his

wife stays in the kitchen and daughter marries the groom of his choice and not her neighbourhood lover (Anshuman Jha). The film has an impactful start, the kind that makes you sit back and ponder. The content, at least for the first part, is very relatable and its execution shows the plight of any woman who suffers in silence in a loveless marriage. The screenplay begins to go haywire after the interval, when the once stubborn Yashwant Batra resolves to win his wife back. The tactics that he resorts to are clichéd and that takes away from the impact of the film. The parallel love story of Firoz (Pankaj Tripathi) and Suman, which also serves as an underlying theme in this story, is interesting but gets an abrupt end. Ekavali Khanna as an aloof and withdrawn persona has done complete justice to the role of a docile and demure small-town Indian homemaker. Sanjay Mishra, too, has played his part of a male chauvinist, control freak aptly. Pankaj Tripathi, Anshuman Jha, Brijendra Kala and Shivani Raghuvanshi have done their roles well too.

Karan Johar May 25, 1972

Kunal Khemu May 25, 1983

Pankaj Kapoor May 29, 1954

The problem is not with acting or cinematography, it is the script that makes what could have been an ex-

ceptional tale of loss of love, a run-ofthe-mill Bollywood masala flick. -timesofindia.com

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

Paresh Rawal May 30, 1955


24 May 25, 2018 IPL 2018: du Plessis’ Great Escape Leads CSK into Final SIDHARTH MONGA

MUMBAI

(ESPN Cricinfo); Chennai Super Kings (du Plessis 67*, Raina 22, Rashid 2-11) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (Brathwaite 43*, Bravo 2-25) by two wickets. Faf du Plessis, playing only his fifth match of the season, repaid his captain’s faith by playing an innings MS Dhoni himself will be proud of. Chasing 140 to make their seventh final in nine attempts, Chennai Super Kings were reduced to 62 for 6 by the excellent Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling, but du Plessis took the game deep, induced a few errors from the opposition captain, and capitalised on small mistakes here and there. Carlos Brathwaite bowled the 18th over, with 43 to get, ahead of Sandeep Sharma and Shakib Al Hasan. Du Plessis hit that over for four, six and four to give an excellent match its final momentum shift. If Sunrisers bowlers were brilliant in the defence, Super Kings had bowled to a plan - that to not give away many drives at the unforgiving Wankhede Stadium - to keep Sunrisers down to 139. Incidentally, it was Brathwaite whose hitting in the final few overs - 43 off 29 - gave Sunrisers something to bowl at. Short, short, short After Shikhar Dhawan played on the first ball of the match, Kane Williamson drove the fourth ball beautifully through cover for four. Deepak Chahar then made two errors by straying down the leg side, but that was the end of the mistakes. Super Kings immediately shifted to a no-drive policy, bowling short or short of a length. Williamson gloved a pull - his fourth dismissal to short or short-of-a-length deliveries this season, Shreevats Goswami offered Lungi Ngidi a return catch, and Shakib Al Hasan too fell to a catch down the leg side. In the seventh over, Sunrisers were 50 for 4. Super Kings’ fast bowlers bowled 48 deliveries in the first nine overs, and 20 of them were short or short of a good length, for just 19 runs and four wickets. Pandey and Yusuf struggle again When Sunrisers needed a run-a-ball partnership, they had Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan in a rut. Pandey’s horrible season became worse with a return catch for Ravindra Jadeja

Faf du Plessis was the Man of the Match for his unbeaten half-century, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2018

for 8 off 16 balls. Yusuf Pathan was peppered with short balls, never mind a wide here or there. The fast bowlers bowled 12 short or short-of-a-good length deliveries to him for just 11 runs. When he fell, at the end of the 15th over, Sunrisers were 88 for 6. Brathwaite reprises some of his big hitting Before this game, Dwayne Bravo had gone for 11.92 in the last five overs this season, making him not a great choice at death even though he does largely a thankless job. With Lungi Ngidi providing him an option, Dhoni has now started using Bravo more in a role that gives him some leeway. Beginning just after the Powerplay, this was the earliest Bravo has bowled this season. He thanked his captain with figures of 2 for 25 by the end of the 17th over, but now Dhoni had to bowl others. Brathwaite took a shine to Shardul Thakur, hitting the first six of the whole innings in the 18th, following it immediately with another, and taking 37 off his 18th and 20th overs. Bhuvi, Kaul and Rashid - a triple threat Bhuvneshwar Kumar went one better than Deepak Chahar when he played around with Shane Watson before getting him for a duck in the first over. Siddarth Kaul bowled beautifully to bowl Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu in successive deliveries in the fourth over, making it 24 for 3. This brought out Dhoni - only the third time in the IPL history that he was batting inside the fourth over and typical Dhoni strategy. Dhoni didn’t want to lose wickets, Dhoni wanted to take it deep, he took nine balls to get off the mark, he told du

Plessis they will play Rashid out when he was finally introduced in the ninth over. Rashid, though, proved too good as he snuck a wrong’un past a forward defensive to comprehensively bowl Dhoni out. At 39 for 4 in the eighth, it seemed all over. Stayin’ alive - du Plessis style Du Plessis faced just six balls in the Powerplay. He looked inconspicuous during the collapse. Even as Bravo and Jadeja and Chahar fell to make it 92 for 7 after 15 overs, du Plessis kept knocking it around. In between, he hit Shakib for a four and a six in the 14th

over to stay in touch with the game. Later in the night, this might have had a bigger impact on the game than just those 10 runs. The end game With one and four runs coming off the 16th and 17th overs, Sunrisers had every reason to feel good about their chances. Super Kings had three wickets in hand, and 43 to get in the last three overs. Williamson had one over each from Kaul and Bhuvneshwar. Someone had to bowl that one over. That Shakib’s last two balls went for 10 runs might have tipped the scales in Brathwaite’s favour, but du Plessis clinically took him apart. Williamson might have erred again when he bowled Kaul in the 19th, risking not bowling Bhuvneshwar out, but there was more fortune going Super Kings’way here. Thakur edged the first two balls of the 19th over for boundaries, making it 15 off 10. This was not the first piece of luck they had enjoyed on the night. A full toss over Shakib’s head earlier was called a dead ball, and another wide not called when Brathwaite was hitting Thakur. Now, though, Super Kings needed just a clinical finish, which du Plessis provided, with a dash of spectacular by sealing it with a six.

KKR vs SRH for Spot in IPL Final KOLKATA: KKR 169 for 7 Qualifier 2, had no such dilemma (Karthik 52, Russell 49*, Gowtham 2-15) beat Rajasthan Royals 144 for 4 (Samson 50, Rahane 46, Chawla 2-24) by 25 runs. Rajasthan Royals got the best of the conditions but made a complete mess of a chase that seemed to be under control. Chasing 170, they seemed to be cruising at 87 for 1 in 10 overs, but then they - particularly captain Ajinkya Rahane - got stuck against spin and left their weak middle order too much to do. In 96 unsuccessful IPL chases of targets of 170 or lower, only once has a side lost with more wickets in hand than Royals had in this Eliminator: six. Those wickets in hand proved to be no good as Rahane watched the asking rate grow from overs 10 to 15. Whether Rahane’s innings was dictated by the weak batting line-up that followed, only Rahane can tell. Kolkata Knight Riders, who will now face Sunrisers Hyderabad in

even though they got off to a poor start in sticky conditions. Even after being 24 for 3 they - led by captain Dinesh Karthik - attacked the sixth over of the Powerplay; even after they were reduced to 51 for 4 they batted with enterprise; and, when Andre Russell came in with 34 balls to go you knew the bowlers were in for a world of pain. With early starts - 7pm - for the playoffs, the dew that comes down later has become a more of a factor, but on the night the team bowling first had another advantage: the pitch, for the early stages, retained some moisture from overnight rain. Royals’ spinners made the most of it with turn and sticky bounce. K Gowtham, the hope for fingerspinners this season, took out Sunil Narine and Robin Uthappa. Legspinner Shreyas Gopal accounted for Chris Lynn, and Nitsh Rana’s short-ball problems continued.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

SPORTS

India Women Hockey Team Beats Malaysia

DONGHAE

CITY: Defending champions India on Thursday breezed into the summit clash of the women’s Asian Champions Trophy after edging past Malaysia 3-2, their third consecutive victory. India, who beat Japan 4-1 and China 3-1 in their previous matches, qualified for the final with a match in hand in their pool. They are sitting atop the table with nine points and will next take on hosts Korea in their final pool match on Saturday before Sunday’s final. Gurjit Kaur (17’), Vandana Katariya (33’) and Lalremsiami (40’) sounded the board for Indian while Nuraini Rashid (36’) and Hanis Onn (48’) scored for Malaysia. “We could have made better use of our chances to score today. Though we are happy with the win, we are not very happy about how we played. We will go back to the team hotel and discuss about the mistakes we made and how to improve ahead of the next match against Korea,” team skipper Sunita said after the match. The first quarter saw both teams trade penalty corners with India opening the account in the very first minute of the match which put Malaysia on a back-foot. However, good PC defending saw Malaysia steer clear of an early goal by drag-flicker Gurjit. Malaysia’s attempt to score off a PC too was thwarted by the Indian defenders. India, who had beaten Malaysia 6-0 in the warm-up match ahead of the tournament, made their first breakthrough when PC specialist Gurjit improvised on Lilima Minz injection to strike the ball past Malaysian goalkeeper. She kept her flick low to find the bottom right corner of the goal fetching India a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

Gurjit Kaur displayed fine form.


May 25, 2018

Facebook to Debut India-first Features for its Stories Format

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook has

rolled a bunch of India-first features to its stories format, including voice posts and stories archive, before hitting the rest of world, media reports said. The new features will be available first in India, home to some 270 million users, before being made available to everyone else in the world, TheVerge reported yesterday. The social media giant is launching the new features at a time when it is facing increasing scrutiny over the alleged misuse of user data on its platform across the world. Among the new features include voice posts, stories archive and the ability to save photos and videos from the Facebook Camera app while avoiding using up space on the user’s mobile phone. The three updates will help users better “create and save memories.” The changes will let you save your photos and videos directly to your account in the Facebook cloud, share

voice messages with friends, and archive your favorite Facebook Stories, the report said. “We know that the performance and reliability of viewing and posting Stories is extremely important to people around the world, especially those with slower connections,” it

quoted Connor Hayes, Director of Product Management, Facebook Stories as saying. “We are always working on ways to improve the experience of viewing Stories on all types of connections, and have been investing here - especially on our FB Lite app,” Hayes

said. With each story expiring in 24 hours, Stories archive will provide users access to all the stories they have previously shared on the platform. The feature will be an opt-in addition and users will have the option to either permanently delete these or reshare. Facebook’s latest tools take a glitch from the “download your data” and turn it into a feature. After a forthcoming update, you’ll be able to save media directly to your account, share voice messages and archive any evaporating Stories. The updates will begin rolling out in India with a worldwide release soon thereafter. Why India? Well, local storage for smartphones is expensive in the region. Google, for instance, designed its Android One platform for developing nations and regularly uses India’s gadget and data limitations as inspiration for features as well. -Live Mint

Techies Raise Rs 43 Lakh for Families of Farmers’ Suicide

CHENNAI : Farmers’ suicides I

has always been a pressing issue in India. And most urban middleclass families feel a sense of helplessness when confronted with the realities that their fellow countrymen face. But, today with the help of crowd-sourcing, techies are now stepping forward and raised up to Rs 43 lakh for the educational needs of children from farming communities in Wardha, Maharashtra -- whose parents committed suicide. About 35 IT professionals have raised more than Rs 1 lakh each to fund education through crowdsourcing platform Fueladream and NGO Agrindus. Chennai techies are literally stepping into the shoes of their late fathers by helping them learn scientific farming through a 12-month residential program -- each of them gets 2 acres of land and 80% of the revenue they generate goes back to the children.

Agrindus, started by former IITDelhi professor Dr T Karunakaran, is a story of how life comes full circle. “Many decades ago, Polaris Software Labs’ cofounders Visnhu Prasad and Abhishek Jain (Arun Jain’s brother) were my students at IIT-Delhi. Now it is touching that they should help me continue teaching children in Wardha, Maharashtra

-- given the really pressing needs of our debt-ridden farming communities,” says T Karunakaran. Social reformer and agricultural expert Karunakaran decided to start Agrindus two years ago for children after he visited a small village in Kallam Thaluk, Maharashtra, where 45 of 200 families had seen one or two members committing suicide. “The

place was virtually like a graveyard - so many deaths; so much misery. Then I read in a newspaper that an entire village had taken a vow never to take up agriculture. The suicides of farmers was turning the tide towards the death of agriculture itself. I vowed to do something,” he says. Many of the students at Agrindus are school dropouts. “Forget drip irrigation or bio-fertilizers, some of our kids found it difficult to do basic math. Now how will they be able to stave off usurious money lenders or negotiate interest rates with a bank? So its holistic education we are looking at. Equip them with knowledge of the plants, better farming methods.” “It is heart warming to observe the sensitivity in the people of our society when a cause is aligned towards a larger purpose,” he added. -Times of India

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

25

Fraud-hit PNB Posts Loss of Rs 13.4 Crore

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EW DELHI: The government aims to more than double production of mobile phones in the country in the next two years, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday. “The more digital India will expand, the more you will gain...when our government came to power there were only two mobile phone factories, now there are 120 factories in India which make mobiles. “22 crore mobiles have been made and we have target to make 50 crore mobile phones in coming two years,” Prasad said. The minister was addressing 700 village-level entrepreneurs (VLE) at a workshop organised by CSC SPV on ‘Tele-Centre Entrepreneurship Course’ . Prasad said that he has been informed by the CEO of CSC SPV (special purpose vehicle), Dinesh Tyagi, that common service centres (CSC) were operational in two lakh gram panchayats. “Earlier there were only 25-30 thousand gram panchayats that had CSCs. Now there are 2 lakh gram panchayats where CSCs are present. He (Tyagi) has promised that in coming 2-3 months, CSCs will be opened in 2.5 lakh panchayats of the country,” Prasad said. There are a total of 2.5 lakh panchayats in the country where the government is also rolling out highspeed broadband services. Prasad said that the volume and value of transactions done by VLEs at CSCs speak about their potential.


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