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Friday, August 25, 2017 | Vol. 36, No. 34

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Indo American erican News

Incredible Diversity Through Dance P10 & 11

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

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In the Temple of Krishna Reconnected with I-Day P19

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His Holiness 71st Independence Day at India House Mahant Swami Maharaj at BAPS

P5, 16 & 17

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

From left: Dr. Durga Agrawal, Dr. Virendra Mathur, Jugal Malani, Sam Merchant, Anil Aggarwal, Vipin Kumar at India House on August 15.

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Houston Indians Celebrate I-Day by Honoring US Military Veterans BY PRAMOD KULKARNI

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OUSTON: The Indian community in Houston strengthened its ties with the mainstream American society by honoring US military veterans at a dinner on Tuesday, August 15 hosted by the Indian Consulate in recognition of India’s 71st Independence Day. Many of the veterans attending the function at the home of CG Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg were members of the Lone Star Veterans Association. Recognition of the veterans follows the honor bestowed upon Ian Grillot at the India House Gala in March 2017. Grillot had come to the aid of Indian Americans, who were shot in a racial incident in Kansas. In welcoming the veterans and local dignitaries, CG Ray said, “Today, India celebrates its Independence Day. India and the US share many Democratic values. Of these values, I can’t think of anything more than the respect for its military veterans.” “There is no other section of the American population that commands universal respect than the verterans,” Dr. Ray continued. “The ideals that the veterans represent, that of sacrifice, of fighting for a cause greater than yourself-- these values are admired by both Americans and Indians. By recognizing the veterans, Indians here can say ‘thank you’ for the freedoms and liberties they enjoy here.” “I am honored that you are honoring our veterans, because they are truly the front line of Democracy,” said Congressman Al Green. Also in attendance were aides of Texas Senator John Cornyn and Congressional representatives Sheila Jackson Lee, Pete Olson, Ted Poe and Kevin Brady. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales said that as a former Houston

Congressman Al Green (at lectern) presented a Congressional Proclamation recognizing India’s Independence Day as dignitaries Jiten Agrawal (left), Consul General Anupam Ray, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales applaud with Congressional aides with Col. Raj Bhalla and TV Asia’s Manisha Gandhi.

Speaking on behalf of the US minilary veterans was Kevin Doffing, Executive Director of the Lone Star Veterans Association (left), flanked by India House leaders Dr. Durga Agarwal, Jiten Agarwal and Rajinder Soni. Also on the podium was Hansa Didi, who served with the US Army Medical Corps for 26 years after coming to the US as a refugee from Kenya.

City Councilman, he recognized the importance of the Indo-American community and the contributions they make to Houston’s diversity. UH Regent and India House leader Dr. Durga Agarwal recalled that the roots of India’s independence

struggle go back to the emergence of the Ghadar party that was started in 1913 in San Francisco by a Sikh, Hindu and Muslim of Indian origin. “If it were not for the freedom struggle, I would not have been able to come here to the United States 49 years ago. I

would have remained in a village where I was born and grew up.” “I take this opportunity to thank all US veterans for their service to the nation,” said India House Ambassador Jiten Agarwal, who established links to the veterans. “All of you embody the Democratic values upon which America was founded 241 years ago. Most of you are silent heroes.” Agarwal recalled the heroism of US Marine Captain Ravi Dharnidharka, who served in the battle for Fallujah, also happened to be at the Taj Hotel on 26/11/2008 when the hotel was attacked by LeT terrorists. Captain Dharnidharka is credited with saving the lives of 157 guests, who were trapped inside the hotel. Kevin Doffing, Executive Director of the Lone Star Veterans Association, thanked the Indian community for recognizing the veterans and thanked the community leaders for their help in recruiting jobs for veterans and providing space for their upcom-

ing Christman toy drive. Also among the honored was Hansa Didi, a Brahma Kumari in the Houston community, who described to the gathering her story of military service. “My parents were born in Porbandar, where Mahatma Gandhi was also born. I could not practice as a doctor in India as a foreigner, but travelled to Kenya as an intern. Two months afterward, I was called by these generals, my passport was cancelled and told that I woud be serving in the Kenyan army for two years.” Hansa Didi sought refuge in the US Embassy in Nairobi. She was transported within six hours to the US and provided with a green card on refugee status. Subsequently, Hansa Didi finished her medical studies at Creighton University in Nebraska. At that time, she came to the attention of the US Army for her scientific publications. She eventually served in the Army Medical Corps for 26 years, but with the condition that she would not be asked to bear arms because of her belief in non-violence. “I congratulate all the veterans for what you’ve gone through. I never served on the battlefield, but I came to know many soldiers by providing medical treatment.” Other military veterans who spoke were Col. Bajwa, a secondgeneration verteran, who has been serving in the US Army Reserves for more than 31 years and now with a brigade command. Col. Bajwa’s father served in the US Navy. Col. Raj Bhalla served in the Indian Army Medical Corps. “I served for 21 years and know what we all go through. We are all comrades in arms.” The evening’s presentations concluded with the presentation of Congressional recognitions from the offices of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. and Rep. Ted Poe.

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Spirituality, Inspiration and Joy with His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj at BAPS

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj on August 13

STAFFORD: On Thursday, Au-

gust 10, over 3000 devotees and well-wishers gathered to welcome His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, TX. With deep joy and excitement, devotees officially welcomed Mahant Swami Maharaj on his first trip to Houston, TX as Guru and President of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, continuing the life work and mission of his guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj following his earthly departure. Pramukh Swami Maharaj initially came to the United States in 1974. From that initial visit through 2014, he visited North America a total of thirteen times with the goal of fostering growth and development of spiritual activities. Before his passing in 2016, he had appointed Mahant Swami Maharaj as his successor

and the sixth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. On his swagat or welcome assembly the youngest devotees from ages 4-10 welcomed Swami in a traditional manner with garlands and performances reciting our Vedic scriptures. The 10 day event began at 5:30 am daily with over 3000 attendees for puja darshan. Puja darshan is where one dedicates their first part of their day to connect with Bhagwan before starting their daily activities. Special cultural programs were held day to day for children and youth ( Bal-Balika Din, KishoreKishori Din, and Yuvak-Yuvati Din), a women’s cultural program (Mahila Din), and a 2-day family shibir focusing on strengthening family unity. Yuvak – Yuvati Day, young adults, recalled moments of the gurus of BAPS under the theme “Eva

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Sant Ne Namu Hu Shish.” Amal Patel, said, “The message of Bhagwan Swaminarayan that he will be ever present through the ideal devotees is evident through our lineage of gurus in BAPS.” He added, “Even today we can see the same characteristics that Pramukh Swami Maharaj had in Mahant Swami Maharaj.” The high school aged youth or Kishore-Kishori day program themed Je Je Hariye Karyu Het gave many an opportunity to make memories for the first time with their guru. In the evening assembly, Mahant Swami Maharaj guided them by saying, “[In life] education and spirituality are needed. Both are necessary for success.” With the theme of Mandiram Param Shantidham, an inspirational program for women by women focused on the peace and stability we find through the Mandir. Special guest Rekha Muddaraj, news anchor on KHOU Channel

11, helped kick things off by sharing her own personal story of how spirituality and religion shape her family, career, and personal life. Mrs. Muddaraj said, “My parents instilled culture in my sister and I.” In an emotional evening charged with love, inspiration, and tremendous joy, community leaders, devotees, and well-wishers alike filled the seats of the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, TX on August 13, 2017. This day marked the one year anniversary where millions of people from all around the world heard the shocking news that their beloved guru had just taken his last breath. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s eternal love, inspiration and presence can still be felt through His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj embodies the very same teachings, life, and legacy. All felt the joy of reviving the old memo-

new assembly hall mahapuja in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj. Throughout the 10 day visit many dignitaries such as Senator John Cornyn, Governor of Texas Greg Abbot, Congressman Pete Olson, Consul General Anumpan Ray, Mayor Leonard Scarcella, Mayor Joe Zimmerman, Mayor Allen Owen, Mayor Pat Halisey, Mayor Slyvester Turner and Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls welcomed His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj with proclamations and key to city. In Mahant Swami Maharaj’s concluding blessings to the assembly, he emphasized to the attendees to live value-centric lives filled with spirituality and faith in God as well as maintaining respect and samp (togetherness) within our families, “Samp is needed in this entire world...however, samp begins at home”. Throughout his life, Mahant Swami Maharaj has

Cultural Performances by the youth of BAPS.

ries of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and a feeling that he is still with us today through Mahant Swami Maharaj. Colonel Bhalla commented, “It was a unique experience for me when I had the good fortune of offering my respects to Mahant Swami Maharaj ji. Standing before him, I felt distinct emotional vibration- a vibe that is hard to explain except that it was like an electric energy going through my whole body.” Other events that were celebrated were Janamashtami and the

emphasized the importance of unity as the foundation for families, organizations, and communities. His life communicates the core values of BAPS rooted in mutual understanding, tolerance, respect, and consideration for individuals. For further details email at media@na.baps.org

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COMMUNITY

India’s 71st Independence Day Celebrated at India House with Pomp & Glory!

Dr. Durga Agrawal

Dr. Virendra Mathur

Jugal Malani Photos: Bijay Dixit

BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA

HOUSTON: Some 9000 miles away from

our motherland, Indians in Houston exuberantly celebrated India’s 71st Independence Day, at India House. The soulful composition and the evocative lyrics of Jana Gana Mana, the Indian National Anthem, transposed these guests into the realm of patriotism, at least briefly. India House, which has been adhering to its vision of uniting cultures, creating bridges and serving the community by bringing resources, education, services and Indian culture to Houstonians, was the apt venue for this patriotic event. On August 15, while India celebrated their hard fought independence with patriotic fervor, Houstonians too rejoiced this special day. They gathered at 10.30 am at the O.P. Jindal Centre of India House, located at 8888, West Belfort Avenue. Each one of them looked elegant and exceptional in their stylishly embraced, patriotic traditional outfits. While some preferred the basic whites with a slightly accentuated look, some added a tinge of bling to their ensemble of saffrons and greens. The event began with the USA, Indian, Texas and India House Flags being hoisted by India House trustees Dr. Virendra Mathur, Jugal Malani, Hari Agrawal and Dr. Durga Agrawal respectively. Kruthi Bhat then sang national anthems of USA and India. Nostalgia for their motherland mingled with pride as hundreds of Houstonian Indians watched their national flag being unfurled. And this CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

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COMMUNITY

August 25, 2017 BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

STAFFORD: By 2pm, the parking lot was

full and you had to go to the very far side to get a space, even as more people were pouring in. And it wasn’t just old-timers who knew what to expect, but lots of younger kids, many of whom were going to be on stage and their parents and friends who came to see the performances that would captivate the audience throughout the afternoon. An estimated 4,000 came to the event. Once again, the India Cultural Center, the community’s premier umbrella organization, galvanized a myriad of groups in the metroplex to come together to celebrate In-

A Magnificent India I-Day Celebration Full of Local Talent dia’s 71st Independence Day. The 7-hour long program was as much a celebration of how the huge number of Indian expatriates have evolved in their adopted home along the banks of all the bayous that fill up this region of South Texas. And a sultry Sunday afternoon, August 20, reminded the new Americans of the baking heat in the parts of India where they are from. As expected, the back half of the hall at the Stafford Civic Centre on Cash Road was filled with an assortment of nearly 60 booths of non-profits and businesses alike, many repeats of past years, And further

back, in the adjoining hall with tables to sit down and eat and were three food booths catering Indian delicacies. The foot traffic really got busy around all the booths around 3 and kept up till nearly 6:30 when the crowd thinned down. The stage program began with a prayer by ICC President Dr. Falguni Gandhi, followed by a string of inspirational patriotic and devotional songs by kids from the Shree Krithi School of Music, Telugu Christian Fellowship, DAV Montessori, Houston Brethren Association and Swar Madhuri. The JVB Preksha Meditation Center presented a skit with a powerful message of universal peace and non-violence. A cultural segment followed with 14 dance performances by kids young and old doing Kathak, Garba, Odissi, Bengali folk, Bollywood and regional folk from Karnataka (one of the highlights of the day) by groups from the Kathak Kala Kendra, Bollywood Shake, Infused School of Dance, HH Creationz, Laaya Dance Group, Navikarna, Indian Senior Citizens Association, Keka’s School of Dance, JAZ Creations and Bollywood Dancing. The segment was coordinated by Nisha Mirani and Nimish Sheth who kept the audience engaged with the flow of the program. An Elocution (public speaking) Contest was conducted by Parul Fernandes and

Photos: Raghu Thakkar

Pramod Bengani with Fateh Ali Chatur, Sai Rachakonda and Rahat Kalle as judges. There were 3 winners each from the junior and senior age groups. Emcees Harshil Sheth and Nira Patel began the formal segment with a lamp lighting ceremony by Rajyashree Adhana (wife of Indian Deputy Consul Surendra Adhana) and Pallavi Dhairyawan (wife of event chair Swapan Dhairyawan). The National Anthems were sung by Malika Ghei (Indian) and Madhuri Maniar (US). Event Chair Swapan Dhairyawan welcomed the crowd saying the ICC did its “utmost ef-

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CONTINUED ON PAGE 14


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Intricate Dances Showcase the Incredible Diversity of India

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There is a language to dance which those of us who have two left feet can never fathom but can certainly be in awe of. It is a language that has many facets, encompassing hands, feet, hips, arms, fingers - and even just as importantly, facial expressions. And if the dance is a classical one, especially one of the eight classical dances of India, you have to wonder how the dancer remembers the intricate moves in all the entire sequences? And you have to admire the mind of the choreographer who juggles all the elements of dance and makes a symphony for others to appreciate. This is even more challenging with all the complicated hand/finger or mudras and eye gestures that convey feelings which are an integral part of Indian classical dances. Add to that the musical composition and the songs and taal (beat) that accompanies the movement and you can understand the complexity of a sequence. Each of these mudras and movements are particular to the style of Indian classical dance. In Bharat Natyam (from Tamil Nadu), there are 55 root mudras; 32 require one hand and 23 require both hands. In Kathak (North, West and Central India) there are 28 for a single hand and 24 for both. The other six styles - Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh),

Odissi (Odissa), Manipuri (Manipur), Mohiniyattam (Kerala), and Sattriya (Assam) – all have their own mudras to tell their stories. It was just this diversity of dance styles, and the accompanying colorful costumes and makeup, that Houston’s own renowned exponent of Bharat Natyam Rathna Kumar wanted to showcase when she presented Incredible India – Unity in Diversity at the Miller Outdoor Theatre this past Saturday, August 19 to a huge crowd in the seats and on the hill beyond. “India is a country that gets under your skin,” Rathna said in her brief introductory remarks. “Quoting an Indian soldier fighting in World War II, ‘Even in a corner of a foreign field, there is always India in my heart’.” This year’s show was produced by Samskriti, Kumar’s signature performing company, in association with, for the second year, the Consulate General of India. “India is an ancient land and a young country,” said Consul General Anupam Ray. “It has the most diversity in the world.” He said he was amazed “how Rathna can fill up a theatre this size” and that “the face she presents is the one we want you to see.” Assisting Rathna, handling all the stage lighting and direction was her sister Seetha Ratnakar, a retired Assistant Station Director of Doordarshan Television, visit-

ing from India. The curtains opened to a backdrop screen showing the silhouette of mountain ranges in dawn’s light. Offstage, Rathna quoted from Mark Twain and Albert Einstein and, offering salutation to the Sun God, summed up with “There is unity in diversity in India. We have many religions, many languages, but we are all one.” And in the appropriately named first piece, Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), three male dancers, Venugopal Josyula, Vijyakumar and Vasanthkumar started the first dance with yoga CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

For Photo Collage, see page 10

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India’s 71st Independence Day Celebrated at India House CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6

coupled with the inducing words from Jana Gana Mana, kindled some spine tingling and eye-watering patriotism in over the 150 Indian-at-heart who were attending. It was then time for the programs to begin and the guests were invited to the Banquet halls. Dr. Durga Agrawal extended his warm greetings to all and shared some of his childhood experiences of celebrating Independence Day in India. He was followed on stage by Jugal Malani, President India House, who shared the excerpts from The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the nation delivered on Independence Day Eve. Dr. Virendra Mathur then came up on stage and wholeheartedly thanked all the attendees before sharing the essence of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s speech given at the Red Fort, Delhi. A certificate of Special Congressional Recogni-

tion presented by Congressman Al Green, was handed over by his representative Sam Merchant to India House officials. Music has great powers and nothing proves that better than Independence Day. Some wonderful patriotic numbers like, Sare jahan se accha, Ae mere pyare watan, and Bharat Anokha Raag hai, sung by Hemant Bhavsar and Rucha Sheth, rekindled the spirit of independence and truly filled everyone with love and respect for the motherland. Kruthi Bhat added to this mesmerizing effect with her melodious Bhajans. Col.Vipin Kumar, Executive Director, India House, rolled with the punches being the perfect Emcee for the event. The feeling of nostalgia, patriotism and nationalism is also credited to the astounding quality of outdoor and indoor live sound, which was provided by Darshak Thacker from Krishna Sounds Production. The program culminated with attendees being served with light refreshments, which

were sponsored by Café India and Umang Mehta of Deep Foods. At the India House, the freedom of India was truly commemorated, and genuinely celebrated as a tribute to Mother India and the spirit of Independence Day. About India House: India House offers multiple programs and services to the community, most of them being free of charge. Some of the programs include: India House Charity Volunteer Clinic, Sareen Harris Health Medical Clinic, Yoga & Meditation Classes, Urban Youth: After School Classes, Legal Center, Hindi Language Classes, Heart Health Classes, STEAM Classes, Taekwondo, Art for Soul, Art and Craft, Taped Ball Cricket, Technology Classes for Seniors, Kidney Smart Classes. For more information on India House and its various programs visit www.indiahouseinc.org or email vipin@indiahouseinc.org or call at 713-929-1900.

A Magnificent India I-Day Celebration Full of Local Talent CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8 fort to preserve, spread and expand the rich Indian culture to our next generation.” Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana stepped up to share the message from Consul General Anupam Ray. Dr. Falguni Gandhi stated the goals and vision of the ICC, saying it “helps to preserve the values of our culture and heritage and promote Indo-American friendship.” Proclamations and warm wishes came from Leonard Scarcella, Mayor of City of Stafford, which was a joint sponsor for the event; US Congressman Al Green represented Sam Merchant and Missouri City Mayor Allen Owens, brought by Hasu Patel.

This year, the ICC gave awards to three individuals for their contributions: Stafford City Councilman Ken Mathew and Shiva Mathur of Shivangini School of Dance for Outstanding Community Service and Special Recognition Award for 16 year-old high school senior Syamantak Payra for his 200 awards for academic and extracurricular achievements. A surprise special Dedicated Award was given to Past President and Trustee Chandrakant (Charlie) Patel for his continued service to ICC. The highlight of the event was the closing concert by the Riyaaz Qawali group of Varun Mehta and two other members of his troupe who presented a rousing performance of shabd, qawali, patriotic

and devotional songs. Introducing the group Dhairyawan recalled the first time the group performed on the ICC Stage in January 2007 as students of UT Austin. Ten years later, they have come back full circle to the ICC stage more resourceful and mature and recognized all over the country for their soulful music. The sound and PA system was arranged by Darshak and Mona Thakkar of Krishna Sounds; Photography was by Raghu Thakkar and videography by Gautam Jani. The ICC’s next planned event is the Diwali Mela at Jones Plaza on Sunday, November 12. • Swapan Dhairyawan contributed to this article

Intricate Dances Showcase the Incredible Diversity of India CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 movements, ending with head stands. Next came two Bharat Natyam dances – Ganesha and Ananda - from students of Rathna’s Anjali Center for Performing Arts. Ganesha paid homage to the elephant-headed God of Auspicious Beginnings (whose birthday, coincidentally, will be celebrated with a 10-day festival starting August 25) and was performed by 12 girls with movements that fused ancient and modern footwork to a pulsating soundtrack. Ananda, or the expression of joy, continued on with more carefree and vibrant movements as another set of girls danced in trios to taals (beats). The Odissi Panchabhoota (five elements) performed in Odissi style by 9 girls from the Aruna Mohanty Odissi Academy, choreographed by teacher-in-residence Bijaya Dash, told the story of

Prithvi (earth), Jala (water), Teja (fire), Mathura (wind) and Biyana (sky) to a background male narration to the soundtrack and blownin smoke closing the set. The visually stunning Vismaya, another Rathna composition, unfolded like a water lily with the entire group of 12 girls in red and green sarees with gold belts and black longsleeved blouses – sans ankle bells - clumped on stage left, dancing to an endless male singing Jhe kina kina jhum taal and ending the set gathered on stage right. After a 15-minute intermission, the story of diversity through dance continued with a marvelous Kathak piece, choreographed by Shiva Mathur, Director of the Shivangini Academy of Arts, telling the story of Krishna and Radha. The set slowly grew to a tempo with the sheer size of 25 girls dancing as two groups and

ending in unison with their arms tilting upwards signifying joy and respect to Divinity. The tempo of the evening slowed down with a display of the graceful moves of Indian martial arts in Kalari by visiting Indian artist Vasanthkumar, ending with a pose with sword and shield in hand. The finale was the marvelous Ekta ki Awaz (the voice of unity), again choreographed by Rathna, in which dancers performed different numbers representing 14 different parts of the Indian Subcontinent, each turning back to salute corresponding images of the Indian countryside on the backdrop screen. And the program ended with Vande Matram (Salute to the Motherland) by three dancers and ending with a curtain drop with all the performers and artistes taking a bow.

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Divorcing Religion from Inequality

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY

Why India Should Buy into Trump’s War BY MIHIR SHARMA

Will Donald Trump’s new ap-

T

he verdict of a five-member bench of the Supreme Court – the members representing five different faiths – marks a milestone in India’s legal history and has been widely hailed by all those who acknowledge that inequality, exploitation and discrimination, on the basis of gender or religion or social mores, has no place in a society which proudly proclaims itself to be the world’s most populous democracy. The judgment, delivered by a 3:2 majority, ruled that triple talaq was open to ‘arbitrary and whimsical’ misuse and violated Muslim women’s constitutional right to equality. Though two of the five judges recorded dissenting remarks – citing Article 25 of the Constitution which guarantees the fundamental right to religious freedom – it was deemed that triple talaq, whereby a man can divorce his wife by merely repeating the word ‘talaq’ three times, was not an integral part of Islam and as such could not be defended on the grounds of the liberty to follow the faith of one’s choice. Indeed, Islamic states like Pakistan and Bangladesh have abolished the practice. The government is said to be unlikely to ban triple talaq, but in individual cases the matter can be taken up courts of law. The SC ruling comes as a political plus point for the BJP government, and could prove to be a stepping stone to introducing a uniform civil code, which has long been on the lotus party’s agenda. Even those who disagree with the BJP’s saffron ideology will agree that a common civil code, which doesn’t discriminate between religions, is not only appropriate but necessary in a polity which deems itself to be a secular republic. While a consensus about a common code needs to evolve within the Muslim community, the debate should not be restricted to those of that particular faith but should involve all citizens of our diverse society which is bedrocked on the right to universal equality. A common civil code is – or ought to be – above partisan politics. Because the right to equality is – or ought to be – common to us all, irrespective of faith or ideological hue. -- Jug Suraiya in Times of India

proach to South Asia work? Its success depends on whether India is convinced that Trump’s America is a partner to be trusted—and whether India itself is willing to step up its engagement with Afghanistan as the US president has suggested. Let’s be clear: the Afghanistan strategy Trump has laid out looks more sensible than what Barack Obama promised in 2009, when he announced his “surge and exit” policy at West Point. There are two big differences, both of which give India reason to trust Trump’s approach more than it did Obama’s. First, Trump didn’t announce a timetable for withdrawal. Obama famously declared the war in Afghanistan would be over by 2014. As many in India—a country with an unfortunately extensive experience of counter-insurgency—pointed out at the time, it’s vital to avoid giving insurgents a sense that they can wait out a war. (One Indian columnist quoted Jay Leno to bolster his point: “Obama announces he’ll bring the troops home in 18 months; the Taliban says they will keep fighting for 19.”) Your choice to become an insurgent depends not just on where you live, but on your evaluation of the chances of winning in a well-defined timeframe. Obama’s deadline doomed his policy from day one. Second, although both Obama and Trump mentioned “safe havens” for insurgents in Pakistan, Obama initially insisted that “mutual trust” was the basis of the US-Pakistan relationship and spoke only of targeting “groups that threaten our countries.” This bought into Islamabad’s distinction between Islamists that threaten Pakistan and those that threaten India and other countries. (The Obama administration’s view of Pakistan grew harsher over time.) Trump, on the other hand, immediately specified that he was focused on “groups that threaten the region and beyond.” His administration has privately underlined this point to Pakistan. And it’s demonstrated its resolve in public, when last week it included a major Kashmir-focused

The dominant narrative of flood protection includes measures such as embankments, dredging rivers and bank strengthening.

militant group on a State Department list of terrorist organizations. Yes, it’s worrisome that Trump’s view of international relations is constantly transactional: He mentioned the “billions of dollars” that India “makes” in trade with the US as a reason it should help in Afghanistan. But one of the few times that view fits with reality is when it comes to dealing with the Pakistan military; that’s precisely how Pakistani generals view their relationship with the outside world as well. Some wonder if the US has any leverage with Pakistan that it hasn’t already used. Congress has been adding more and more conditions to military aid to Pakistan. And when Obama made his speech in 2009, the US was investing $870 million dollars a year in Pakistan; last year it invested only about $70 million. (China has increased investment tenfold to compensate; it pumped in almost $1.2 billion last year.) Plus, of course, the Pakistani military will always control the best land route to Kabul. But India feels there are multiple ways in which the US could be tougher on the Pakistani establishment. Some are now being explored: A US government spokesman has already said sanctions on specific Pakistani officials might be introduced. Let’s accept for now that Trump’s speech and his government’s actions help address India’s general distrust of US commitment to the region. It’s

then India’s turn to live up to its own aspirations; if it expects to be a “net provider of security” in its region, in the words of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, then it will have to commit to helping stabilize Afghanistan. To be fair, India is already doing a great deal, as the Afghan ambassador in New Delhi pointed out recently. It has built roads, electricity lines, a dam and even the Afghan Parliament building. Thousands of Afghan officers are trained in India. It sponsors hundreds of schools. But it is also true that India could do more. It spends less than 10% of its minuscule foreign aid budget on Afghanistan, while delays in New Delhi continue to hold up cooperation in infrastructure. Some Afghans complain that fear of Islamabad’s reaction has kept India from selling arms that the Afghan Army badly needs. Yes, Pakistan’s military will bristle at any expanded Indian presence in Afghanistan. But, like any irrational belief, there’s no real way to convince them that Indian actions can contribute to stability—and hence to Pakistan’s own security. Such paranoia is hardly legitimate justification for Pakistani—or Indian— inaction. If India wants to become a source of regional stability, then it must start acting like one. That’s what makes sense for India, whatever Donald Trump may say or do in the years to come. -- Bloomberg View

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

August 25, 2017

19

Janmastami 2017 – ISKCON of Houston

Evening Aarti Altar

Photos: Thejas Rajaram and Nagaraju Nagalla

Costume contest group picture

Ecstatic Chanting of kirtan in temple

HOUSTON: Last Tuesday was a

night unlike any other as ISKCON of Houston and Hindus of Greater Houston came together to celebrate Janmastami, which marks the appearance of Lord Sri Krishna. As one of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated with great pomp and circumstance worldwide as a testament of love, life, happiness and devotion to the Supreme Lord with millions gathering in nearly every town and village to commemorate this special occasion. This year saw the city’s biggest and most boisterous celebration yet as thousands upon thousands of wellwishers and devotees gathered at the ISKCON of Houston temple to worship, feast, dance and sing the night away on August 15th. Usually celebrated in several different ways in

Houston, one of the most famous being the Hindus of Greater Houston’s (HGH) George R Brown Convention center Janmastami, many wondered why it was not celebrated there this year. HGH President said: “We should not frame as HGH moved the venue to ISKCON but rather, “Bringing Hindus together” concept encouraged us to join hands with the devotees at ISKCON of Houston. This year’s Janmastami coincided with several significant events by key supporting organizations and holding this event in convention center would have divided the attendance and therefore HGH decided to rather partner with one of its supporting organization ISKCON for this year.” This way HGH could uphold its motto and the community itself could come together to mark this important

occasion… and come together it did. From 4 pm to 2 am, nearly eight thousand people came through the temple doors, joined in the amazing kirtan (holy chants), joyfully witnessed the worship of the Lord, enjoyed the outdoor activities and milled through the booths set up by various organizations and nonprofit centers in Houston. In the hall opposite the temple, they observed the adorable children’s costume contests, various cultural performances and one of the most anticipated dramas of the year put up by the ISKCON of Houston youth, The Pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna. A very special attraction at the holy grounds this year was Go (cow) puja. ISKCON’s very own, Mangala (the cow) was enjoying devotees worship her and feed her fruits and vegetables. Of course, the popular attractions included bathing and swinging of Baby Krishna – Gopal. The collaborative celebration of Janmastami was a great and pleasant experience for HGH. HGH celebrated ISKCON 50 last year and in line with “Bringing Hindus Together” theme - are planning to hold their Hindu Youth awards next year. All this is but a spark of this splendorous festival, and to truly experience it, we invite you to join us next year. For more information please visit https://iskconhouston.org/

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22 August 25, 2017

COMMUNITY

Bala Vihar Nurtures Ideals from Childhood BY SUBHASHREE HARIHARAN

HOUSTON: “Happiness depends on what

you can give, not on what you can get,” said Pujya Gurudeva Swami Chinmayananda who inspired the Chinmaya Mission, an organization where the subtle art of doing Seva is fervently embodied by all the teachers and volunteers and where service is not a sacrifice of time or effort but a natural way of worship. Such a committed work to inspire members and children to stay on the path to finding true happiness is a challenging task that requires immeasurable time, effort and total dedication. At Chinmaya Mission Houston, the path to happiness is identified and connected to spirituality as explained in the ancient Vedic scriptures. This spiritual essence is taught to both adults and children as a means of discovering themselves and their connection to all around them. Love and compassion are taught as necessities to save and protect the fragile world we live in as voiced by Dalai Lama: “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” Bala Vihar at Chinmaya Mission is a weekly Sunday gathering of children between the ages of five and seventeen years. Children are taught the fundamentals of Vedanta, the culture and traditions of India as well as moral values to evaluate right vs wrong through stories, arts and crafts, bhajanas, discussions, and music,. The teachers undergo careful training to develop skills to help children introspect, connect to real time situations, as well as to constantly have a

Photo: Jayesh Mistry

thirst for learning. What makes Bala Vihar Houston especially successful is the guidance of its founding Acaryas – Sri Gaurang Nanavaty, who conducts a satsanga for adults, and Srimati Darshana Nanavaty, who has led Houston’s Bala Vihar since 1982 and has developed its curriculum which is now used worldwide. Understanding the true significance of what is taught in each grade, children learn about the role-models from the Hindu epics, about practical applications of moral values, and the meaning behind Hindu

DIVORCE

symbolism. Children also participate in pujas at Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya, and learn how to live life with an attitude of gratitude. As they enter high school and begin to transition into young adulthood, they have a forum to understand the nuances of Hindu philosophy and, through a discussion of the Bhagavad Gita, understand how it pertains to their daily lives. In addition to these Bala Vihar classes, there are extracurricular activities to further the children’s interest in Indian languages and culture. Students can learn a variety of Indian languages

including Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, and Telugu. Through such classes, they learn to communicate and share cultural experiences with their parents and their extended families in India. Bhajana and slokathon classes allow children to develop their talents and express their devotion through music and chanting. Between shared memories made in the Indian-American melting pot of Sunday school, class lock-ins and picnics, and celebrations of various Indian festivals, students form lifelong friendships that last well into adulthood. It is important for our children to be successful in all endeavors in life, to become model citizens, to overcome challenges with grace and humility, and above all to always be happy. Chinmaya Bala Vihar sows the seeds to these ideals in the children’s formative years. Houstonians who would like their children to join CM Bala Vihar: • CMH Bala Vihar will start on Sunday September 10th, 2017 for this school year. Classes are held in two sessions each Sunday. First session: 8:35 to 10:15 AM and the second session: 11:20 AM to 1:00 PM. • Bala Vihar New Registration will be open for new members at Chinmaya Smrti Hall, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 AM on Saturday August 26th and Sunday August 27th only. Registration will be open for all grades for both the sessions. No Registrations on the Opening day Sun. September 10th. For more information visit CMH website at www.chinmayahouston.org or contact Bharati Sutaria at 281-933-0233 or Jay Deshmukh at 281-565-1108.

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

August 25, 2017

Anti-Cancer Living

HOUSTON:

Indian American Cancer Network(IACAN) is a Houston based cancer resource network for people of Indian origin. Among many other things they do, organizing education seminars on cancer related subjects for Indian community is one of them. On July 23rd, IACAN organized one of such education programs, Anti-cancer Living at Arya Samaj. The program was presented by Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D, professor, Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Cohen says that here in USA, one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. There is evidence which shows that many types of cancers and the resulting suffering can be prevented based on the lifestyle choices we make. These factors can also influence outcome for the patients suffering from cancer. Dr. Cohen described what he calls 6 lifestyle pillars for health. Giving and receiving love and support to and from your family and friends provides broad benefits. It affects how our cells function and express the genes that control our health. Stress management by practicing meditation and yoga every day is important to our health. Chronic stress can negatively affect most of the biological processes, decreases the beneficial effect of healthy food habits and speed up the aging process. Develop good sleep habits. 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night improves our health, coping ability, our mood, weight, cognitive function and more. Good sleep habits include establishing bedtime, going to bed at similar times both weekdays and weekends, reducing ambient light in the bed room, avoid watching TV, using smart phones and tablets before bed time and reducing caffeine intake, alcohol and sugar. A healthy diet is one of the key factors of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Consume primarily variety filled whole-foods and plant-based diet. Refrain from processed foods as many of them can be loaded with sugar. Avoid smoking. To avoid obesity exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 to 6 days a week. Use of a pedometer to make sure that you reach the ideal goal of taking at least 10,000 steps a day. Sitting less, standing more, taking stairs and parking your car farthest from your destination are some of the suggestions Dr. Cohen made to keep yourself active. The last of the six lifestyle pillars we have to be aware of is environmental toxins. Some of the carcinogens we find in our daily life are BPA, parabens, styrofoam, formaldehyde among many others. Use glass containers for food storage and stainless steel containers for water. Dr. Cohen hopes not only we pick and practice good lifestyle choices but encourage others to do so. IACAN is looking forward to organizing education events like this at other Indian community venues around Houston. Contact info for IACAN: iacannetwork. org, Phone: (713)370-3489, Website: iacannetwork.org INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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24 August 25, 2017

COMMUNITY

ASIE’s Seminar for New Product “FRP Lightweight Concrete Rebar”

ASIE Board Members Chetan Vyas - Vice President, Chaitanya Gampa, Madhu Kilambi, Dinesh Shah - President, Gaju Patel - Secretary, Life member Raghu Dass presented the Certificate of Appreciation and ASIE Mug as a token of gratitude to the guest speaker Larry Goldberg with other board members Archana Sharma, and Sirish Madichetti who performed as Emcee.

BY DINESH SHAH, MBA, PE

HOUSTON: American Society

of Indian Engineers and Architects (ASIE) held a second technical seminar in August on 17th at Mayuri restaurant. In the jam-pack room

with 60 plus engineers and architects, Larry Goldberg, PE, serves as Regional Sales Director for Neuvokas Corporation, bringing with him over 34 years of civil engineering experience. He made the presentation of GATOBAR product called “FRP lightweight concrete rebar”. These rebar

are made up of fiber reinforced polymer material. The fiber material such

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as Basalt, glass and carbon bonded with resin materials such as polyester, vinyl ester, polyurethane and high strength epoxy. This technology is proven for twice longer life than regular steel rebar. It has a longer sustainability being a rust proof. It is very lightweight as it has advantage 4 to 7 times less in weight than regular steel bar, which reduces the construction time and labor and transportation cost. Two men can lift 20’x20’ grid of 76 pounds vs. 530 lbs. of regular steel rebar. The product is being used for major highway projects, high-rise buildings to the small household handyman projects. This material is easily available in Lowe’s

store locally. With this technical information, the one hour seminar was well received and many professionals participated in Q and A session. The licensed professional participants earned One PDH Hour Certificate for their Continuing Education Requirements. In the beginning during social and dinner time, Sirish Madichetti, ASIE Board Member, Professional Engineer, and Project Manager with Michael Baker International performed as Emcee for the event. He made the welcome remarks, introduce the guest speaker, and concluded with vote of thanks.

Knowing Others is Wisdom, Knowing Yourself is Enlightenment!

OUSTON: Knowledge about chakras can be the key to peace and happiness. Many have heard about the seven chakras and perhaps read how they operate within our body, mind and soul. The word chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘chakra’meaning - a wheel. Chakras are like meeting points or interfaces between mind and body. Through Chakra meditation, it is possible to observe oneself and almost see the energy moving via the different spiritual centers within our body. Chakra is a part of the esoteric medieval era theories about physiology and psychic centers that emerged across Indian traditions. Each chakra is designed to manage and maintain the perfect operation of the bodily systems. Through regular meditation the blocked chakras open up and start rotating in the right direction thereby reducing negative forces like fear and insecurity and help us move towards joy, faith and an inner confidence that we will be able to achieve what we want. The benefits are almost immediate.

Dr. Preeti Mandawewala

Through Yoga, meditation, pranayama we can train the Chakras and gain control over body and mind. Dr. Preeti Mandawewala, a Chakra Meditation professional quotes: “I believe each one of us can achieve this state of complete harmony with regular practice of Chakra Meditation. My objective is to spread this wonderful technique of Chakra meditation to as many people as possible. I am confident of its benefits, Chakra meditation has helped me and my students manage diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, acidity, migraine, blood pressure, spondylitis, asthma, respiratory, lower back and stress related problems etc. Of all

living bodies that express themselves through behavior, human body is the most highly developed. It is capable of self-expression and understanding the truth beyond just physical realms. With the help of memory, imagination, and awareness, the human body can understand the characteristic laws of nature and can put those forces that are mysterious, to work for its benefit and growth”. Chakra Meditation: Meditation is the tongue of the soul, and the language of our spirit. Meditation is not withdrawal from life; it is the process of understanding oneself. Our mind is like a butterfly flying from one place to another not being able to stay at one place for long. Meditation is the study of deep concentration, calmness and tranquility of the mind, and attaining complete control over one’s mind. It is only by knowing our minds deeply, we can really know ourselves. Chakra meditation has helped many individuals overcome their ailments, stress related problems, frustration and lead a better, cheerful and a stress free life because life is 20% of what happens to us and 80% of how we react to it.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

August 25, 2017

National Champion of 2017 MoneyGram Cricket Bee Announced

HOUSTON: In a nail biting and

dramatic run up to the Finale of the MoneyGram Cricket Bee, Schaumburg’s Alpesh Gohil correctly answered “Michael Holding” in response to the question “who infamously kicked over the stumps during a test match against New Zealand in 1980”, to become the 2017 National Champion and win the grand prize of $10,000. The runner-up was Sentilkumar Sethuraman of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, who took home the $2,500 prize money. The Cricket Bee in its second year is a game of cricket trivia that is conducted in a bee format on a miss and out basis. In 2017 the Bee was expanded to two additional cities and almost 900 enthusiastic cricket whizzes registered to battle it out for a chance to win the coveted title of National Champion. “We are pleased to be able to return for the 2nd annual MoneyGram Cricket Bee and have it done with such great success,” said Johnny Rosario, MoneyGram’s head of account management. “Congratulations to Alpesh Gohil and all of the finalists. It is an honor to support community events like the Cricket Bee that unite friends and loved ones around the world.”

Rahul Walia, Founder of MoneyGram Cricket Bee, Jay Kim, Managing Director of Aaaza, HR Shah, CEO of TV Asia, Aplesh Gohil, National Champion, Senthilkumar Sethuraman, National 1st Runner Up, Johnny Rosario, Head of Account Management of MoneyGram and Lael Daniel, Corridor Development Manager of MoneyGram

Contests were held in Hayward, Calif.; Dallas, TX; Chicago, IL; Edison, NJ; and Toronto, Canada, from where the top two were invited to the finals. Cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 were given out at the regional levels. MoneyGram, along with its marketing agency, AAAZA, commissioned the idea for the Cricket Bee from leading multicultural agency Touchdown Media in an effort to

engage and connect with the more than 10 million cricket fans in North America. “To watch the finals yesterday was no less gripping than the last few overs of a hotly contested T-20 match. It was intense, dramatic and extremely gripping. A hearty congratulations to Alpesh and to all the finalists for what was a truly exciting, edge of your seat finale,” said Rahul Walia, founder of the Cricket Bee.

25

Malaysia-based food conglomerate Kawan Foods served as the powered by sponsor, while the exclusive broadcast rights were bagged by TV Asia, which will telecast a packaged programming later this year. “We were very happy to return as powered by sponsors of the MoneyGram Cricket Bee, and watching the finalists battle it out was exhilarating. Very impressed by the knowledge of the finalists and hats off to the winners,” said Tim Tan, managing director of Kawan Foods. “As the oldest broadcast medium for the community, it was definitely an honor to be returning as the exclusive broadcaster for the MoneyGram Cricket Bee and continuing with its success. We pride ourselves in connecting with our community, and this initiative is in line with our continued commitment to the diaspora in North America,” said H.R. Shah, chairman and CEO of TV Asia and an avid cricketer himself.

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26 August 25, 2017

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Place a Number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. Send us the correct answer before August 30, 2017. Email us at indoamericannews@yahoo.com or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).

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PUZZLES / RECIPES

Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Tofu te Mutter di Turri (Tofu & Peas Curry) Of course, there is the obvious dif-

ference between a dish that is sautéed and dry and another that is wet and has some curry. But, it comes as a surprise to many people that the same dish made “dry” can taste so different when it is made “wet”. A clear example is this tofu dish which can be made both ways, but the favorite of my family is when it is made with turri (curry) and served hot. But not all vegetarian dishes taste good with curry, for example cauliflower or carrots and peas which are best sautéed. Ever since Indians overseas have discovered the benefits of tofu, they have accepted it when they eat out, especially when eating Chinese food. A few have even ventured to use tofu in their own kitchen, but mostly as a substitute for paneer (Indian cottage cheese) without the high calories and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference, but this depends on the skill of the cook. Tofu (or bean curd) is made by coagulating soy bean milk, then pressing the resulting white curds to drain the fluid and then forming it into blocks which can be soft, firm, or extra firm. Tofu is low in calories but relatively high in protein, iron, copper, zinc and vitamin B1 and depending on the coagulants used, can have high calcium or magnesium content. Tofu can lower cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, but does not increase HDL. It is also considered beneficial as an antioxidant, minimizing diabetes and reducing inflammation since it is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and alphalinoleic acid. Because tofu has a subtle flavor, neutral taste and a range of consistency, it is often cooked seasoned or marinated with many other vegetables and meats. It can even be processed to have the texture of many types of meats. Tofu can be found in bulk or in small packages which are refrigerated, and once opened, should be rinsed and kept in water in the fridge. Unopened tofu can be frozen for upto 5 months. This recipe is similar to the one made with paneer, but can be made quickly and with less preparation, yet have lots of flavor. It’s a quick and simple dish that most enjoy!

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Ingredients: • 14oz pkt tofu (firm or extra firm) • 200 gm mutter (green peas) – frozen or fresh • 1 cup pani (water) • 2 medium tamater (tomato) – soft ones are best, chopped • 1 small pyaaz (onion) – peeled and finely chopped • ½ teaspoon of lasan (garlic) powder (if desired) • 1 small piece of adrak (ginger) – peeled and finely chopped • 3 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil • Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), haldi (turmeric), fresh dhania (coriander), garam masala Directions:

and make sure the water is dried off. Take off the heat and place on a plate to cool down. 5. Prepare the masala in a medium saucepan. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat, then add the onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the mixture is slightly brown, add the salt, pepper and haldi and stir well. 6. Throw in the peas and stir well to coat and cook for a few minutes. If frozen, then let the peas thaw out first before using. If fresh, then let the peas cook a little longer in the saucepan. 7. Throw in the browned tofu cubes; stir to coat well and let it cook for 2 minutes. 8. Add water and then cook for 5 minutes under medium low heat. 9. Turn the heat off, cover the saucepan and let it sit for five minutes. 10. Before serving, garnish the dish with garam masala and the shredded fresh dhania.

1. Open the packet of tofu and press down on the cubes to drain the water. Let it sit till most of the water is drained. 2. With a sharp knife, cut the tofu into small ½ inch square cubes. 3. Place a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and warm it up on medium heat. 4. Place the cubes of tofu in the frying pan and brown both sides slightly

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 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 some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.

MAMA’S TIP O F THE

WEEK

KNOW WHEN TO ADD THE WATER WHEN MAKING My son tells me of A CURRY his experiments wi th cooking while he how the dish would was in college and either become a soup drown it in water to or soften! This is a comm be too hard and they would have to cooks and one that on problem with ma is easily fixed beca ny inexperienced use it requires the heat and the timing right combination to of but cook in their ow add the water. And some vegetables don’t require water n ste If the water is adde am. d too early and the a thick soup; but if heat is high, chance the water is added s are you’ll make last and the heat is ingredients floating low, you will get the in a thin soup witho ut much taste. It is after the ingredients best to add the water are half cooked and als first boil so that the spices and herbs so o reduce the heat to simmer after the ak into the dish.

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INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


August 25, 2017

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27

Bareilly Ki Barfi: This Rajkummar, Ayushmann and Kriti film works in fits and starts

‘Bareilly ke bazaar mein barfi

giri re’. Clearly, the film was made keeping the iconic song in mind, except with an alliterative ‘barfi’ not a ‘jhumka’ in mind. This Small-Town Rom Com ticks

all the boxes going in: perky girl armed with requisite quirky parents, a couple of suitable boys, and great one liners. And it does work in fits and starts, but it flattens equally in between. The thing with dreaming up

VIP 2: Lalkar Movie Review

Some films sell stories, some sell

stars. VIP 2: Lalkar is the latter and it makes no bones about it. It bends over backwards to accommodate its lead actor’s skill-set and presents him with multiple opportunities to grow as the mass-hero, Raghuvaran. Raghu (Dhanush) is fresh off the success of a slum-rehabilitation project; he’s even won a Best Engineer award. Just as he’s inching closer to the goal of starting his own construction firm, he makes an enemy out of the ruthless and bratty businesswoman, Vasundhara (Kajol), by refusing to work with her. A fundamental differ-

ence in ideologies leads to inflamed egos, and Raghu and Vasundhara face off for the rest of the movie’s runtime. In its effort to make room for Dhanush’s swagger, it often fails to exercise restraint. The lines are thoughtlessly translated; the scenes with Raghu’s wife and colleagues are especially accentuated. And the film also has a paradoxical view of women; on one hand, Raghu refuses to let his wife work, sings a whole song about women being troublesome and threatens to beat-up his wife in a drunken stupor. On the other, he

smart lines, and there are some quite wonderfully flavoursome ones in here, is that sometimes entire scenes get written just to be able to include the punch-lines: this ‘mithai’ has several such sequences, and make the run-time flabby. One fine day, Bitti Mishra (Sanon) pronounced, quite properly Misra, by the ‘h’ dropping Bareilly-walas, sets her heart on meeting a mysterious someone who seems to know her inside out. Local printing press owner Chirag (Khurrana) is smitten. And then arrives a guy who goes by the name of Pritam Vidrohi (Rao) who is the fly in the ointment. Or is he? Will the new

entrant surge ahead? Who will win the fair maiden? Among the good things about this film is the superb supporting cast: Tripathi, who’s much too young to play the leading lady’s father, does a good job of being Bitti’s papa, who’s more like a pal than a pa. Pahwa scores another ace after Aankhon Dekhi: what a lovely actress she is. The two actors who play the best friends, one who accompanies Khurrana, and the other who is seen with Sanon, are pitch perfect. They show up the problems that Sanon has with merging into her part: she tries hard to the be the small-town girl who likes

a couple of puffs on the side, and who break dances for fun, but the effort shows. The plot’s contrivances come in the way of Khurrana’s playing of Chirag fully credibly. As does Rajkummar Rao, who blows away the weaknesses of this film with his consummate act, playing the timid ‘chota shehari’ on the one hand, and the loud ‘rangbaaz’ on the other. Rao sweetens the pot, and makes up for the rest of it. Almost.-indianexpress

Happy Birthday

deems himself the savior of fallen women everywhere and thumps woman-beaters. Kajol’s Vasundhara is also made to look villainous for being a powerful woman who is in charge of her life. The redeeming factor here is Dhanush, who is nothing if not charming. How he beats up goons who are thrice as big as him, is a mystery worthy of Sherlock’s time. Kajol plays Vasundhara with grit. The movie drops its aesthetic and gives you a surprisingly sweet conclusion. In spite of its issues, it may work for people seeking star-powered entertainers. But otherwise, it gets lost in translation. -timesofindia.com

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

Neha Dhupia August 27, 1980

Rajkummar Rao August 31, 1984


28 August 25, 2017 India-SL 1st ODI: Dhawan Leads Brutal Rout of Sri Lanka BY ALAGAPPAN MUTHU

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AMBULLA: (ESPN Cricinfo): India 220 for 1 (Dhawan 132*, Kohli 82*) beat Sri Lanka 216 (Dickwella 64, Axar 3-34, Jadhav 2-26) by nine wickets For half of their innings, Sri Lanka really did look like a side that wanted to bat first, as their captain had said at the toss. For the rest of it, each player was lapping the other back to the pavilion. From 139 for 1 in the 25th over, they careened to 216 all out, collapsing in a heap to the considerable wiles of... Kedar Jadhav. The part-timer - who has previously been brought on as a last resort - was indecipherable... bowling non-turning offbreaks. Considering only weird things were happening in this match, there was a fair shout that India would muck up a straightforward chase. But that’s when normal service resumed. Shikhar Dhawan struck his sixth successive fifty-plus score against Sri Lanka and carried on to make his fastest ODI hundred, off 71 balls. He alone hit more boundaries (23) than the entire opposition (20), pulling merrily, cutting anything he deemed short, and reverse-sweeping if only to feel the rush of a proper contest. He was the bulldozer and Sri Lanka were a helpless, dilapidated old building. At the other end was Virat Kohli, racking up 82 fairly soft runs to seal a nine-wicket victory with a whopping 21.1 overs to spare. The only mishap of the innings happened when Rohit Sharma, in his first innings as vicecaptain, lost control of his bat and was run out for 4 because both his feet were in the air despite crossing the crease. As bizarre as that was, little that could compete with the antics of the Sri Lankan batsman. They had looked good to score 300, then promptly lost nine wickets for 77 runs. Jadhav took out the half-centurion Niroshan Dickwella and the captain Upul Tharanga and faded into the background so his team-mates could have a little fun. Axar Patel took the opportunity and in his first match of the tour picked up 3 for 34 in 10 overs. That meant a crowd of 14,514 in Dambulla - several wearing fancy dresses, more than a few sporting

Mohammed Shami continuously troubled batsmen with his seam movement, Sri Lanka v India, 3rd Test, 3rd day, Pallekele, August 14, 2017.

trumpets, all of them adding to a raucous atmosphere - kept scratching their heads, wondering how on earth fingerspin had become relevant in one-day cricket again. Kedar Jadhav pinned Niroshan Dickwella in front for 64 Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/ AFP The Champions Trophy had proven a few things - wickets in the middle overs matter and wristspinners are an excellent source of them. And on Sunday too, the first one that came India’s way was the result of a legspinner’s work. A well-set Danushka Gunathilaka played a reverse sweep to the new bowler Yuzvendra Chahal to then be caught at cover. The flabbergasted look of the catcher KL Rahul summed up what a weird moment that was in the game. Fine, that’s only one man down. Sri Lanka still had Dickwella, playing a smart knock, typically moving around in his crease, whipping balls into the leg side like his mother had forbidden him from thinking about a straight drive. For as many as 15

overs, he scored only one run in front of the wicket on the off side. Some of that can be explained by his preference for the leg side. He played a couple of pick-up shots over long-on and midwicket that were jaw-dropping. India’s fast bowlers, too, didn’t really give him too many balls in his half of the pitch, sensing the new ball wasn’t swinging, and immediately resorting to tucking him up or messing up his timing with slower balls. Having weathered them all with admirable patience, he then fell lbw to a straight ball from Jadhav. It was an anti-climax of epic proportions. Not least because it came as a result of the lap sweep, a shot he plays superbly well, but on this occasion did not account for the quicker delivery. For good measure, he also burned the only review Sri Lanka had in the innings. Through it all, Jadhav could well have thrown his head and laughed. There is no mystery to him. He simply doesn’t give the batsman any

pace to work with, and demands them to hit him, hard, if they want boundaries. That happens best with cross-bat shots. But the problem is he also makes balls keep relatively low, especially with his slingy action and that allows him to sneak under the bat swing. None of these nuances were necessary for the wickets he took though. Dickwella played a poor shot and Tharanga sent a high full toss into long-on’s hands. Axar troubled Sri Lanka the other way - with extra pace. He bowled Kusal Mendis, who looked the best of the batsmen, moving his feet decisively and working the field brilliantly, with a ball clocked at 104 kph, one the batsman never saw coming as he charged out of his crease. With the pitch just slow enough, and the boundaries large enough, hitting through the line was not a straightforward option. Axar capitalised on it with his clever changes of pace and steadfast accuracy. Most of his balls were fast, fullish and always at the stumps. He and Jadhav got through 15 overs for 60 runs and four wickets. India then blitzed through the tail, allowing no batsman below Angelo Mathews, at No. 5, to enter double-digits. On a night when the visitors’ second-string spin attack made sure they did not feel the absence of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - or even Kuldeep Yadav who was their best bowler in the Caribbean last month - not one of the Sri Lanka bowlers could pick up a wicket. It was just that kind of day. A section of Sri Lanka spectators held up the team bus and voiced raucous displeasure at the performance of players and administration following the nine-wicket loss. A group of about 50 fans had stood in the vicinity of Sri Lanka’s parked bus, hooting and shouting slogans such as “we want our cricket back” and “no politics in cricket”, until police stepped in and cleared the gathering. The fan demonstration follows months of increasing dissatisfaction with on-field results. Social media has been aflame with scathing satire, in a year in which Sri Lanka has slipped to several unprecedented losses.

SPORTS

Gujarat Beats Pune 35-21 in Pro Kabbaddi League

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UCKNOW: In a battle of heavyweights, Gujarat Fortunegiants defeated Puneri Paltan 35-21 in the fifth Vivo Pro Kabaddi on Tuesday. Fazel Atrachali scored nine tackle points to lead his team to victory and also created the record of scoring most points in Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 5. Gujarat now top the table in Zone A with 41 points after 10 matches. Puneri Paltan suffered only their second defeat of the season and remain second with 21 points from six games. It was a tight game in the early part of the match as both teams were level at 5-5 after eight minutes. In the next seven minutes, Gujarat Fortunegiants scored 11 points in a row including an all out to lead 16-5 after 12 minutes. Fazel marshaled Gujarat’s defence as they didn’t give a sniff to Puneri Paltan. Sukesh Hegde scored four raid points for Gujarat. Paltan scored two points in the last few minutes of the first half but they still trailed 7-16 at the break. The second half began with both teams scoring raid and tackle points as Gujarat led 18-10 after 25 minutes. Deepak Niwas Hooda scored a raid point in the 26th minute but Sachin scored a raid point in the 31st minute as Gujarat led 22-11. Puneri Paltan tried to reduce the deficit but Gujarat Fortunegiants looked in control of the match. Both teams exchanged a raid point in the 32nd minute as Gujarat led 23- 13. Puneri Paltan scored five points in the next few minutes to reduce the deficit to six points. With less than five minutes remaining, Fazel achieved a high five as Gujarat Fortunegiants led 25-18. Puneri Paltan forced a super tackle in the 38th minute but they still trailed 20-27.

Gujarat now top the table in Zone A with 41 points. Puneri Paltan suffered only their second defeat.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


August 25, 2017

Following PM Modi’s Visit, India to Buy $1 Billion of US Crude Oil H -- Following the visit of on the occasion of India’s IndepenOUSTON

Prime Minister Modi to the US in June 2017, where President Trump and PM Modi agreed to deepen the energy engagement between the two countries, India oil companies have started the process of procuring crude oil from the United States. Six weeks after the visit, the first orders for US$ 1 billion of crude are being placed. Two Indian oil giants, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum, both Fortune 500 companies, have already taken delivery of the first 2 million barrels that have shipped from ports in Texas and Louisiana. The first shipments will reach Paradip (Odisha, India) in the last week of September. They are expected to be received by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. President Donald Trump acknowledged this first shipment during his phone call with Prime Minister Modi

dence Day on August 15. President Trump welcomed the first ever shipment of American crude oil to India. He pledged that the United States would be a reliable, long-term supplier of energy. The Indian Ambassador to the United States, Navtej Sarna met the Governor of Texas Greg Abbott, Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan and Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to brief them about Indian plans to procure more US crude. India is the third largest consumer of energy in the world following the US and China, and the 3rd largest importer of crude and the 4th largest importer of LNG. With over 1.2 billion population and GDP growth rate of over 7.5%, energy will be a key driver of the growth process in India. Over the next 20 years, India’s

New Prosperity crude carrier will deliver the first shipment of US crude to India’s Paradip port (Odisha, India) in the last week of September.

energy consumption will grow the fastest among all major economies. By 2035, China and India will have largest share of global demand (35%) overtaking even OECD (33%) and all other combined at 32%. India has also developed itself into a refining hub with complex refineries that are exporting products to the world Indian oil companies are increasing their footprint in the United States. Four Indian public and private sec-

tor companies — GAIL, IOCL, Oil India and Reliance — have invested approximately US$ 5 billion in Shale assets. India will also source LNG from the United States. India has already contracted 9 MMTPA of LNG from the US and the first shipment is expected in January 2018. Indian companies are contemplating placing monthly orders, if not more. This could boost bilateral trade by at least $ 2 billion.

Infosys Row: Chorus Grows for Seshasayee’s Exit, Nilekani’s Entry N D - Infosys Ltd chair- after returning as Infosys chairman in EW

ELHI

man R. Seshasayee may be on his way out even as a chorus calling for the return of co-founder Nandan Nilekani grows louder, five days after CEO Vishal Sikka abruptly resigned and the board blamed former chairman and promoter N.R. Narayana Murthy for the exit. An Infosys spokesperson would not comment on either Seshasayee or Nilekani. Nilekani did not respond to an email, a text message and phone call seeking comment. According to three people directly aware of the latest development, Seshasayee’s future as chairman of Infosys looks precarious and he may step down in the next few weeks, maybe even days. Nilekani, who has had a successful post-Infosys stint as head of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has previously been reluctant to return to Infosys—Murthy reached out to him

2013 to revive the company’s floundering fortunes—but may not be averse to a temporary non-executive role if it can save the company, a fourth person familiar with the matter said. Mint learns that Nilekani, who was scheduled to travel to the US on a previously planned trip, has deferred his plans because he is very upset at the board’s angry note directed at Murthy and that he has been meeting Murthy every day since. A fifth person said on condition of anonymity that co-chairman Ravi Venkatesan has, over the past few months, sought to convince Nilekani to take over either as chairman or co-chairman. If Seshasayee does resign, then a shake-up of the board is certain, the first three people added. All of them requested anonymity. “There will be sweeping changes on the board,” said one of the three. Mint could not immediately as-

Nandan Nilekani has deferred his plans for a US trip because he is very upset at the Infosys board’s scathing note directed at Narayana Murthy and has been meeting Murthy every day since. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

certain which board members would quit if Seshasayee resigns, but over the past six months, Murthy has called for the resignations of Jeffrey Sean Lehman, who is the head of the nominations and remunerations committee, and Roopa Kudva, who heads the audit committee. Lehman, who has served on the Infosys board for over a decade now, is in any case

unlikely to ask for a renewal of his term, which ends in 2018. Mint reported earlier on the board’s decision to release a sixpage note blaming Murthy for Sikka’s resignation. On Wednesday, some domestic institutional investors and former employees of Infosys called for Nilekani’s return to the company. -- LiveMint

29

Whatever Happened to All Demonetization Deposits?

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EW DELHI: A look at the deposit data before, during and after the months of demonetization shows that Indians haven’t really bothered to take back the cash that the government forced them to deposit in banks through the cash purge. Indeed, deposits are still growing at a healthy pace of over 10% year-on-year.A Almost all the demonetisationinduced deposits found their way into demand deposits, essentially current accounts that pay no interest and a small part into savings accounts (paying 4%). That is because during demonetization, the public was preoccupied with just depositing cash into whatever account they held. The year-on-year growth in time deposits averaged around 9% before demonetisation and rose to 14% during the demonetization months. Since then, the growth has tapered off slightly to 10%. But growth in demand deposits rose exponentially to 25% during demonetisation and has averaged 26% in the months after. This shows that demonetisation resulted in a permanent improvement in bank deposits while not really inspiring large withdrawals among people in its aftermath. This is why demand deposits are still 26% higher than they were a year ago because whatever money was deposited in banks remains there. No wonder the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, was emboldened into cutting its savings rate and expects no big fall in its current account and savings account deposits. The Reserve Bank of India has estimated that excess deposits in banks during the 50 days of demonetization worked out to Rs 4 trillion. Even after considering some tapering off in the two months following demonetisation, the excess deposit works out to not less than Rs 3.5 trillion.

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


30 August 25, 2017

THE STORY OF GANDHI

The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi - Part 13

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he story thus far…It was announced that a meeting was to be held in a garden called Jallianwala Bagh, to protest against the government’s actions. General Dyer took no measures to prevent the meeting. He reached the place soon after the meeting began and he took with him armored cars and troops. Without giving any warning he ordered, “Fire till the bullets are finished.” The soldiers fired 1600 rounds into that unarmed mass of people. Once a park, Jallianwala Bagh was now a scene of the most brutal massacre of hundreds. Hundreds of men, women, and children were butchered, though the official figures given were only 379 killed and 2000 wounded. Leaving the wounded and dying on the ground, the troops marched away. The name Jallianwala Bagh became synonymous with massacre. There were other even more shameful deeds done all over the Punjab. Indians were ordered to crawl on their hands and knees. General Dyer also ordered that in certain areas all Indians were to alight from vehicles and salute whenever they passed a British officer. At certain places men were stripped naked and flogged. Students and children were ordered to walk miles for roll call, to attend parades, and salute the British flag. Then there was the stripping and flogging of marriage parties, the censorship of communications, and cutting of water and electricity supplies to Indian families. The administration of General Dyer’s martial law created a reign of terror in the Punjab. C. F.

According to Hindu mythol-

ogy, Lord Ganesha is the son of Shiva (The God of Destruction in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) and Parvati (Shiva’s consort). The cutest and most lovable Indian God, Ganesha or Ganpati has the head of an elephant on which rests an elegant tiara, four podgy

Andrews, who had already reached the Punjab, wrote to Gandhi and begged him to come at once. Gandhi wanted to go, but the Government turned down his requests for permission to visit the place. Finally, in October that year, the Viceroy permitted him to visit the Punjab, and Gandhi went. On his arrival at Lahore railway station, Gandhi found that almost the entire population of the city was waiting for him. The Congress had appointed a committee to enquire into the atrocities committed in the Punjab. On his arrival in Lahore he was requested to join the committee. He started a slow but most methodical investigation of the incidents in the Punjab. Gandhi thus had the opportunity to get to know the Punjab and its people. The people flocked to him. They loved and respected him. Jawaharlal Nehru, who was also there in the Punjab, realized that Gandhi was the leader of the masses. People were drawn to him because of his thoughts and deeds. Nehru saw the scientific accuracy with which Gandhi was conducting the enquiry. Gandhi’s report of the atrocities showed that the Government was trying to shield certain persons. He was never interested in taking revenge on anybody but he was shocked at the way the government sat silent when its own report was published. He was greatly moved by the sufferings of the people in the Punjab. He knew the extent of the atrocities committed on the defenseless people. Gandhi now advised the people to not cooperate with the Government in every possible way. He advised them hands joined to a sizeable belly with each hand holding its own symbolic object - a trishul or a trident in one, an ankush or goad (made from his very own broken tooth) in another, a lotus in the third and a rosary (which is sometimes replaced by modaks, his favourite sweet) in the fourth. Revered as the deity of auspiciousness and wisdom, Lord

not to accept any of the honors offered by Britain, and requested those who had already received honors to return them. He wanted people to start a movement to boycott the law courts. He advised people not to buy any foreign goods. He wanted every effort to be made to persuade Indians not to serve the Government in any capacity. He called out students from the educational institutions. Gandhi’s influence on the Indian people was steadily growing. The old leaders, many of them with liberal policies, were vanishing from Indian politics. By the end of 1920 Gandhi was

the undisputed leader and head of the Indian National Congress. The Congress was fighting for immediate Home Rule. Its method of fighting was nonviolent noncooperation with the government, and defying carefully selected laws at suitable times. Gandhi was very interested in Jawaharlal Nehru and his socialistic views. He was most impressed with the account given by Jawaharlal of his contacts with the peasants. Jawaharlal explained the difficulties the peasants were experiencing, particularly the high taxes they had to pay. The political situation in India grew worse. The Government became nervous. There was tension everywhere and amidst the suppressed people there was the danger of violence. In spite of the hard attitude of the Government, Gandhi believed that England would soon right the wrong before it was too late. Jawaharlal was of the opinion that England would not change her policy unless she was forced to do so. Jawaharlal was right. Soon the Government started arresting the leaders and imprisoning them. The British were afraid to loosen their grip on India. On August 1, 1920, in a letter to Lord Chelmsford, the Viceroy, Gandhi gave the signal for a noncooperation campaign. Along with it he returned the Kaiser-i-Hind gold medal which had been awarded to him in 1915. In the columns of Young India Gandhi wrote in detail in defense of nonviolent noncooperation. With other leaders he traveled extensively addressing huge meetings and preaching the essentials of

satyagraha. Everywhere the crowds welcomed him with great love and enthusiasm. Again and again he warned the people against violence. He abhorred mass fury. “If India has to get her freedom by violence,” he said, “let it be by the disciplined violence named war.” At the end of August the Gujarat Political Conference passed a noncooperation resolution and a special session of theCongress was held in Calcutta on September 4 to 9. Gandhi had prepared the draft of the noncooperation resolution. Gandhi was not sure how much support he would get at the Congress session. When he moved the resolution he said that he knew the resolution envisaged a policy which was different from the policy hitherto followed. “But,” he declared, “knowing this, I stand before you in fear of God and with a sense of duty to put this before you for your acceptance.” The special Congress session adopted the noncooperation plan as a means of attaining Swaraj. During the latter part of 1920 Gandhi advocated a triple boycott. He wanted an absolute boycott of the Government and all government institutions, including schools, colleges, and courts. If the people were free of these they could easily have their own schools, colleges, and courts, and the power of the British would collapse at once. There was much laughter and ridicule from the moderates and the supporters of British rule. But Gandhi paid no attention. — To be continued next week

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi Ganesha is also famous for being a trickster and for his profound sense of humour. It is believed that Lord Ganesh was born on a fourth day (chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of the

Hindu lunar month of Magh. Since then, an association between Ganesh and chaturthi has been established. Thus the festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha on this chaturthi day is named as Ganesh Chaturthi. There is a curiously interesting tale about the birth of Ganesha. It is believed that once while Parvati was bathing, she created a human figure from some unguent and balm, gave him life and asked him to guard the door while she bathed. After a long period of meditation on Mountain Kailash (Lord Shiva’s abode), Shiva chose that very moment to drop by to see his better half, but was abruptly stopped by the man-god Parvati had posted at the door. Outraged by the cheek of this stranger, Shiva cut off his head only to discover moments later that he had killed Parvati’s son! For fear of enraging his wife, Shiva immediately dispatched his ganas (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find. Well, the first living creature happened to be an elephant. As instructed, the head was chopped off and brought back to Shiva, who placed it on Parvati’s son’s

body, bringing him back to life. This elephant-headed god was welcomed into the first family of the Hindu heavens and named Ganesha or Ganapati, which literally means the chief of the ganas, or the attendants of Shiva. Ganesha is the foremost god of the Hindu pantheon. This brave guardian of the door to Parvati’s bath is beheld today as the most auspicious God of new beginnings. He is worshipped during every festival and before people undertake a journey or embark upon a new venture. You will also see him carefully guarding entrances to temples and homes, peeping out of calendars and happily gracing marriages and other such occasions. -theholidayspot.com

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


August 25, 2017

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