E newspaper 09222017

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Friday, September 22, 2017 | Vol. 36, No. 37


Indo American erican News

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

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Musical Night Fundraiser P5

Happy Navratri

The musical evening organized by Mousumi Banerjee (center in black) was held at India House on Saturday, September 16. Hemang Thakkar led the musical team and the other talented performers included Deep Bhattacharya, Varun Tandon, Nupur Basu, Padma Iyengar and Lakshmi Peter.

Comedic Anthology of American Pop


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The program was organized by Meera Kapur (center) who posed with Sewa International’s Houston Chapter President Gitesh Desai and Hindu American Foundation Board Member Rishi Bhutada (right).

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September 22, 2017


Satyal Puts a Comedic Spin on 60 years of American Pop Music BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: From the moment

he jumped on the stage, he was wired and in his groove, talking a mile a minute, every sentence containing a burst of humor that made the audience break out in a laugh. Thin, in a light blue suit with matching thin tie, his eyebrows thick and dense, Raj Satyal even poked fun of his clean shaven head, exclaiming that he and India House Executive Director Vipin Kumar even went to the same barber! That was just the beginning of Satyal’s 90-minute rapid-fire monologue as he sped through an anthology of American pop music from the 50’s onwards, assisted in the race by Taylor Anderson, a young singer and songwriter who played riffs of popular songs from the past six decades. Even though he had gone through this in 13 other shows across the country, he still made it look fresh and relevant. The two have known each other for 7 years ever since Satyal, now 41, worked with Anderson’s dad at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Now we both live in Los Angeles and we explored this idea I had,” explained Satyal, “about mixing music and comedy together.” Out of the collaboration came the Taking a Stand tour that the two have taken to 14 cities so far, Houston being the 14th, and will end with 3 more cities on the west coast. “This show is all about music and comedy,” he jested, “and which desi can resist that, two for one!” And fittingly for these trying times the Bayou City has endured, the show was co-sponsored by the Houston Chapter of Sewa International with half the proceeds from ticket and drink sales going towards the group’s Harvey Relief Fund. Sewa volunteer Meera

Aspiring singer Shreya Kaul was the lead in for Raj Satyal’s Houston show

Raj Satyal performed his comedy routine during the Houston stop on his 17-city Taking a Stand tour. Satyal was accompanied by singer/songwriter Taylor Anderson.

Kapur and her husband Umesh helped organize the program which brought out about 100 people on the evening of Friday, September 15 at India House. The audience was a mix of older Indians who crammed into the first three rows and a larger group of Indian Next Genners who brought along a few of their mainstream friends. It was Old-New Desi goes improv at the improbable nightclub called India House! Given the emphasis of the show on music, a young and aspiring Indian singer, 20 year-old Shreya Kaul, opened up the evening with two songs that she sang with passion and a voice which was loud and confident. “My parents allowed me to take a year off from studying biology to pursue my dream of becoming a singer,” said a vivacious Kaul, who is releasing her first CD Skin this coming weekend at The House of Blues. She performed the original Energy, with a heavy R&B influence tied to an ending Indian riff and then Beyonce’s Halo which really expanded her range.

Satyal is no stranger to Houston, having performed here several times, as recently as this past May for the Save A Mother Gala (where Kaul also performed) and is well known by many in the community. He proudly proclaims that his wife Harsha Mistry is from La Grange, just west of Houston and has a special spot for Texas. “It’s great to leave America and come to Texas,” he quipped. “American music is either black or white,” Satyal shot off. “Taylor brought the blues, and I brought the browns!” He added that music has always been controversial between generations, acting out an imaginative skit from the 1750’s when Bach could have been considered conformist only to be beat out by radical Mozart compositions. Then Satyal fast forwarded it, asking the audience, by their applause, to show which era of American pop music they identified with and most went for the 80s ad 90s. Anderson played a little Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and two medleys before the Thriller soundtrack blew out of

the laptop. “The greatest star of the 80s was Michael Jackson,” Satyal said as he recalled when he first heard Thriller. He poked gentle fun at his Indian immigrant parents unsuspecting the hidden meaning in lyrics. “Michael Jackson was famous all his life from 5 to 50,” he quipped, adding “black people die of drugs, but white people die of painkillers” citing that as an ex-

ample of racist dialogue even as it elicited “ooh’s” from the audience. Satyal ran through the 90s and the 2000’s, and the era of boy bands, grunge, hip-hop and rap, and was visibly comfortable with these genres that formed a central part of his adulthood, pausing to dance, strut and even sing some of the lyrics. He snapped his hand high and hopped like a performance artist as Anderson played a little Snoop Dog, Kayne West, Jay Z, Hammer, Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy and explained how black music has now taken over. At that point of total recall and familiarity with the American pop music scene, there was no separation between Satyal’s experience as a child of immigrant Indian parents who grew up most of his life in the US, and that of the average American kid. In that moment, the Next Genner desis in the audience related to him and you could see the mixed-race, mixed-culture tomorrow of America evolving. And he ended the show with a snub to Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan by holding a cheeky, naughty placard over his head with a similar refrain. But it would ruin it for others to reveal exactly what!



September 22, 2017



September 22, 2017


Houstonians Lend their Support for SEWA’s Harvey Relief! BY VANSHIKA VIPIN VARMA


In the aftermath of hurricane Harvey, several organizations and individuals have supported the victims of this disaster. Amidst passionate speeches and moving performances, the Harvey Relief fundraiser event, organized by Mousumi Banerjee and well supported by Hemang Thakkar and Achalesh Amar was held on September 16, at India House. More than 300 people, including several Houston philanthropists attended this musical night, and all proceeds were donated to Sewa USA, Harvey Relief Funds. Sewa International has continued to serve Houstonians in the aftermath of Harvey. Sewa has a dedicated team of over 1250 volunteers who have collaborated together to achieve over 43,000 hours of services that translates to efforts worth $1 million. The enthusiastic team has done clean-ups of over 400 damaged houses and provided direct support to over 800 families. In the last couple of weeks, Sewa has taken a lot of efforts in providing assistance in rebuilding and rehabilitation, and their commitment and dedication is indeed noteworthy. Staying true to its mission of servicing humanity in distress, aiding l cal communities and promoting volunteerism, Sewa has been collaborating with multiple organizations to aid relief. The community has been organizing various events to help Sewa raise funds. The musical fund raiser night was a welcoming thought after the post-traumatic stress of the extremely destructive hurricane. The guests enjoyed the melodious evening, complimented by some delectable Indian food, while supporting the cause of Harvey Relief. Hemang Thakkar led the musical team and the other talented performers included Deep Bhattacharya, Varun Tandon, Nupur Basu, Padma Iyengar and Lakshmi Peter. The Emcee for the event was

Gitesh Desai, Sewa International (Houston chapter) President presented Mousumi Banerjee with a plaque, as a token of appreciation.

The musical team.

Photos: Murali Santhana

The organizing team, Sewa team, and volunteers.

Riva Thanki, who did a fabulous job in facilitating the objective of the event. The event began with a medley of some old and new Hindi songs like, ‘O Palanhaare’, ‘Ek pyaar ka nagma hai’, ‘Savan jo aag lagaye’, ‘Kahi door jab din dhal jaye’, ‘Zindagi ka safar’, Saathi hate badhana’ and more.

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While most of these songs evoked a memorable emotional experience, one song in particular brought tears to many. It was the track, Kal Ho Na Ho, which was played along with a slideshow of the photographs of victims being rescued and the damages cause by Harvey. Everyone from the audience could relate to the heartrending stanza, Har pal yahaan, jee bhai jiyo, Jo hai sama, kal ho na ho, which means, Live every moment of your life to the fullest, as you may not see tomorrow. This emotional segment was followed by a short speech by Gitesh Desai, Sewa International (Houston chapter) President. He mentioned Sewa International aims

at raising $1million and about a quarter of the same has been achieved so far. He requested the people to donate generously to Sewa’s noble cause. He presented Mousumi Banerjee with a plaque as a token of appreciation for her hard work in putting this event together and raising funds of Sewa. This was followed by a few individual song performances, Varun Tandon sang Pukarata chala hu mein, Nupur Basu sang Teri deewani, Deep Bhattacharya sang Rim jhim gire saawan, Lakshmi Peter sang O mere Sona re, Hemang Thakkar sang Ek ladki ko dekha, and Padma Iyengar sang Aaj jaane ki zid na karo. These songs were certainly inspiring for many and

they were followed by some melodious duets that helped positive vibes flow across. The selection of songs ranged from the ones of the old era, transitioning beautifully into the new era. A section of songs were particularly dedicated to Amitabh Bachchan and A.R.Rahman. The outstanding band, ‘Rhythm of Dreams’, owned by Hemang Thakkar did a fantastic job, along with its participants, Dishant Thakkar (on the Drums), Renison Macwan (on the keyboard) and Jagdish Sheth (on Dholak & Congo). Some dance schools also performed with their bright and talented students. One of the performing teams was Bindya Suresh Babu’s ‘Taal’, which is a group of like-minded ladies, and some of its participants other than Bindya were Jamie Mathew & Nandita Rajagopalan. Another team that cheered the guests was Soumee Choudhury’s Kathak Nitya Kala Kendra, which performed with its participants, Karnika Choudhury, Bhavika Chandak, Shabnam Heiramath and Chandana Sharma. While Soumee’s team swayed to the traditional tunes, Lakshmi Peter owned Lakshmi Dance and Music Academy, participated along with its team, Keerthana, Neesa, Mariah and Julia. The musical journey was then followed by a short speech on the rescue operation, by Arun Dev and Aseem Deshpande of Sewa. They shared their heart wrenching and emotional experiences on how they rescued people and pets, and participated in Sewa’s cleanup efforts,

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September 22, 2017


September 22, 2017





September 22, 2017

Best in Class Education Center Celebrates its 50th Nationwide Opening Two Decades After its Founding, Education Enrichment Franchise Opens 50th Location in Mill Creek, Washington

HOUSTON: Founded with the mission

to “Give the Gift of a Lifetime” to K-12 students nationwide, Best in Class Education Center, an unmatched education enrichment franchise with programs focusing on math and English, has a lot to celebrate this school year. From opening in new states throughout the country to expanding within existing states, Best in Class is proud to open the brand’s 50th nationwide location Mill Creek, Washington. After Best in Class Founder and CEO Hao Lam fled Vietnam’s communist government in the late 1980s, he worked tirelessly to put himself through school at the University of British Columbia where he graduated at the top of his class with a BA in Mathematics. During that time, he tutored classmates through complex coursework and difficult exams – and that’s when a spark ignited. Lam knew that educating others was his ultimate passion in life. “My wife Lisa and I opened our first Best in Class center in 1995 in the heart of Seattle, and since then, the business has grown rapidly through franchise partners and an excellent corporate team, all who have the same passion for education that we do,”

Lam said. “We have worked extremely hard and feel like this is a true accomplishment to hit this special milestone. We’ve helped hundreds of students around the country so far and look forward to supporting even more students in the years ahead.” With centers currently open in California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington, Best in Class is confident that they will continue to evolve into a leading nationwide brand. The current team behind Best in Class is continuously looking for passionate and dedicated individuals to join this premier franchise family and ensure our youth will excel academically. “We’ve already experienced tremendous growth in 2017, and our 50th opening represents a huge achievement for us,” said Lam. “It’s a very exciting time to join our brand, and we look forward to continuing to impact the lives of more and more families throughout the country.” For more information about Best in Class services for your student, or about current franchising opportunities, visit www.bestinclasseducation.com or call toll free at 1-888683-8108.

Houstonians Lend their Support for SEWA’s Harvey Relief! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 while witnessing the massive amount of property damages. Their emotional note was followed by some light entertainment that added some more spark to the night. Auction of items, and raffle games were played, while scrumptious food was being served. The mouth-watering dinner was sponsored by Nirmanz Food Boutique, Aling’s Chinese Cuisine, and Biryani Pot. The other sponsors that supported this event were Murali Santhana, Deep Foods, Deco Art, Radio Dabang 105.3FM, Indo-American News, Humtumdesi.com Houston, Rhythm of Dreams, Bollywood Shake Houston, FourWay Travel, Sonal Shah, and Dr. Virendra Mathur. The light and sound was managed professionally by Sage Productions. The support for the evening were the volunteers and some of them were Ashish Jain,

Gagan Panday, Swati, and Indira. Mousumi Banerjee was overwhelmed with the response she received. She stated, “The entire event was planned in 3 weeks, and this was extremely challenging. But after the success of the event I realized that it was worth the effort. I would like to thank the entire community for pouring in their support unconditionally. I hope our small effort will make a difference to the countless people who lost everything in this disaster”. While experts say it could take Houston a really long time to fully recover from Harvey, organizations such as Sewa really help make a difference by providing aid. This was truly a memorable evening and we wish Sewa the best for their continued efforts dedicated towards a noble cause. You too can do your bit and volunteer or donate by visiting their web page at https://sewausa.org/chapter/houston/houston-overview or by getting in touch with Sewa at Houston@sewausa.org

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September 22, 2017



10 September 22, 2017



September 22, 2017

Kidnapped, Coerced to Convert and Forced into Marriage in Pakistan

Pradeep Sulhan, P.C.

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It was the family’s worst nightmare. It wasn’t till much later when they looked around for her did her brother recall that his youngest sister had stepped out into the heat of the afternoon for a walk around 2 pm. That was the last they had seen of her. Panicking, they asked around from neighbors and others in the street and were able to piece together what had transpired. She had been approached by six men with weapons who came in two cars and on two motorcycles. Within 30 minutes they whisked her away and she disappeared. The anguish in her uncle’s voice over the phone was still palpable eleven days later as he described the events of that fateful day on Saturday, September 9 when his older brother Raj Kumar’s youngest daughter disappeared. “”They looked everywhere and finally filed a First Information Report with local police,” said a distressed Kishwar Sharma. By then, they had understood that the men who had taken Aarti Kumari Sharma worked for a large land owner, Ammer Wassan. She was taken to a local mosque, forcibly converted to Islam and married against her will to a man named Amir Bux. She was also reportedly coerced into signing an affidavit claiming that she married Bux and converted on her own free will. Aarti, 20, worked as a teacher of young kids at the Qasim Model School in Gambat, a town of 100,000 people in the District of Khairpur in the Sukkur Division of the province of Sindh in Pakistan. The entire southeastern edge of the district borders the Indian state of Rajasthan and the city of Khairpur is about 120 miles west of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Gambat is about 20 miles southwest of Khairpur and 20 miles to the west flows the Indus River. As with the rest of Pakistan, Gambat is predominantly Muslim, but has a tiny population of over 1,000 people who are Sindhi Hindus. “There are many mandirs (temples) in Gambat,” said Sharma who is a Brahmin, “ to Shiva, Krishna, a Gaushala and most of them also revere Guru Nanak (a tradition among Sindhis). Muslim have grabbed the lands that belonged to the Gaushala (shelter for cows).” At the time of the Babri Masjid incident in India (December 6, 1992), the temples were desecrated with trash, and those in Khairpur and the huge port city of Karachi were heavily damaged. As a child, this reporter had first-hand experience of the harassment in Karachi where his father was posted to the Indian High Commission for three years.


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Aarti Sharma

The chowkidaar (night watchman) for the housing complex for four families was a local Hindu and told of how difficult it was to go to the local Swami Narayan Temple in the Lighthouse area or the Shiv Temple in Clifton Beach. Sharma estimates that now about 200,000 Hindus live in the Karachi region or 1.3% of the city’s 15 million inhabitants. Another 250,000 are Christian. Sharma himself was kidnapped in April 2011 when he was held hostage for four days in a bank in Gambat where he had a rice and wheat wholesaling business. He was stripped naked, beat and his tormentors asked for a ransom of 1 crore rupees ($95,000) but was able to negotiate it down to half and escaped with his life. He immediately decided to flee Pakistan and immigrated to the US in 2012, settling with his wife Padma in Houston. “Aarti’s basic civil rights and freedom have been flagrantly violated, in contradiction of Pakistani law and international human rights law,” said Rishi Bhutada, a Board Member of the national Hindu American Foundation and a Houston resident. “We urge the Sindh High Court to order the immediate release and safe return of Aarti to her family.” According to the HAF, many NGOs and human rights groups, including Global Human Rights Defence and the Movement for Solidarity and Peace, have estimated that more than 1,000 Hindu and Christian girls and women are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam annually. The courts and legal system in Pakistan are often complicit in sanctioning this practice by accepting false documents and statements obtained through force, threats, or coercion. Sharma acknowledged the sad condition of Hindu women in Pakistan, citing the case in May 2012

of another Sindhi Hindu woman Rinkle Kumari and another girl in his family who was likewise kidnapped and now has two children from the captor whom she had to marry. Aarti was engaged to be married in November. “It only became clear to us later that Aarti had been raped by the abductor in the school they both taught in.” explained Sharma. “He then blackmailed her threatening to show a video of the rape and she took Rs. 50,000 to 60,000 cash and 10 to 12 tolas (10 gms) of gold over 6 months from the house to pay him off.” The last the family saw of her was this past Monday, September 18, nine days after she was kidnapped. After waiting for 3 hours in a clinic, with the kidnapper’s armed guards at the door, a desolate and frightened Aarti was allowed to meet a social worker and only her mother for 4 minutes and wept inconsolably, looking fearfully towards the door, saying she was abducted. She was then quickly whisked away.

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12 September 22, 2017


The Journey of Chakra Meditation


Despite all its popularity, today very few of us truly know what “Meditation” is. Some say it is a mental concentration on something, others consider that when we meditate we imagine something that gives us peace and satisfaction. To enlighten the concept of meditation, one day workshop was conducted by Dr. Preeti Mandawewala at India House, Houston on 10th September, 2017 which received an overwhelming response. This event was co-sponsored by India House, Houston. It was a pleasure seeing people being engrossed in the subject as Dr. Preeti took them through the journey of Chakra Meditation which they found interesting and informative. It was an interactive session where even people shared their thoughts, questions and got the answers they were looking for. As the reputation stands, Chakra Dhyana meditation is responsible in restoring peace and happiness in people’s lives by showing them the path to overcome their ailments, emotional problems, work & stress related problems and many more. It has been observed that people who have incorporated Chakra Dhyana Meditation in their daily routine have managed to gain control over ailments like high blood pressure, asthama, migraine & acidity, arthritis, cramps / pain in joints etc. In addition to ailments it also helps in overcoming emotional disorders such as anger, insecurity, greed, fear, lust, low self – confidence and ability to make decisions. Our bodies are like complex worlds within worlds. We know they begin and end, and yet they are vast and full of mysteries,

which we may never understand. No machine has ever been devised by a human that is as complex or clever as our own body. The ancient system of CHAKRAS is a way to understand us. There is an incredible amount of subtle interaction going on all the time. The Chakras are pranic centres within the human framework and inside each person. There are countless Chakras. However only few are utilized in yogic practices. These few are the ones which cover the full range of a person’s being from the gross to the subtle. These main Chakras are: • The Root (Mooldhara) Chakra. • The Sacral or spleen (Swadhisthan) Chakra. • The Naval or solar (Manipura) Chakra. • The Heart (Anahata) Chakra. • The Throat (Vishuddhi) Chakra. • The Third eye or Bow (Agya) Chakra. • The Crown (Sahasrara) Chakra. Chakras cannot be described from a materialistic or physical view. As these are both real and symbolic. They suggest two things • They are representative of the centres of subtle energies (Prana) within the pranic body of the human, each Chakra being associated with Pranic energy at a specific frequency level. Each Chakra is a switch, which turns on or opens up specific levels of mind. • They are the gateways to increasingly higher states if awareness. That is the Chakra symbolizes different levels of awareness

in a human being, from the more natural realms associated with the root chakra (Mooldhara) to the more spontaneous realms associated with the Bow Chakra (Ajna). They symbolize the spiritual path. These two aspects are really two different ways of saying the same thing, for management and control of Prana in any of the centres will produce a matching state of awareness. Conversely, a specific state of awareness will produce Prana to dominate at the corresponding Chakra. Each is directly related to the other. Meaning of the Chakras: • The Chakras are an indication of the fullest potential of each and every person. • They indicate that a human can surpass his individual limitations. • Science has generally accepted that a human uses very little of his potential and the Chakras are clear indicators of this fact. • The lowest of the human Chakras, the Mooldhara, represents the level in man where there are severe limitations both in knowledge and the ability to act. • The higher Chakras show how a man can gradually exceed current limitations and go beyond the present notions of him. Thus the higher Chakras represent higher levels in range of understanding, harmony, bliss, identification and knowledge. As you get deeper into Chakra Meditation, you will begin to relax. You will feel at peace and stop thinking about your worries, even if it is just for a little while as you meditate. As you go deeper, the Chakras in the body start getting balanced, you will begin to find a way around the fearful “ego” part of your personality and begin to get in touch with that part of your being that is at peace, happy and free. The workshop lasted almost 8 hours with many requests to return soon and visit more cities on next tour. Dr. Preeti plans to return for her next workshop in USA durint the spring of 2018. You can reach her through the Chakra Dhyana Meditation facebook page or email her on ChakraDhyanaHouston@gmail. com


September 22, 2017



14 September 22, 2017

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Terms and Conditions:: •Sale Items are subject to availability •We reserve the right to limit the quantity of sale items •Vishala is not responsible for any kind of typograp INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

September 22, 2017


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phical error in this advertisement •No refund, no exchange, no credit, no rain checks •Sale price valid till supply last •Sale items are not for any wholesalers or retailers INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

16 September 22, 2017 COMMUNITY KTRU South Asian Concert Brings Healing in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Swar Yatra – A Musical Journey! Celebrating 50 years of KTRU and 25 years of Navrang Show


HOUSTON: On Sunday, Sep-

termber 10, a large, beautifully diverse, and attentive audience experienced Swar Yatra – A Musical Journey, a concert hosted by KTRU Rice University Radio. Varsha Vakil, who has now organized four South Asian music concerts and three KTRU Outdoor Show (ODS) Indian performances in her nine years as a DJ at KTRU, led and curated the event. This year’s concert was particularly special in that it celebrated 50 years of radio at Rice University and 25 years of the Navrang radio show. Swar Yatra – A Musical Journey was dedicated to former KTRU Station Manager Nick Schlossman, who originally invited Varsha to join Navrang and facilitated a shift in the then Bollywood-focused Navrang show to more diverse Indian music styles. Schlossman and fellow KTRU alumnus Katie Mayer were in attendance. Additional guests of honor included Dr. Shih-Hui Chen, Chair of Composition and Theory at Rice’s Shep-

Pandit Suman Ghosh at KTRU’s Swar Yatra – A Musical Journey!

Fusion artist and rapper Gaura Karuna with Ram Das

Justin Laseiwicz on Tabla and Shane Monds on Sitar

herd School of Music; Paul English, professional composer and Shepherd School of Music alumnus; and David Leebron, President of Rice University. After enjoying free henna tattoos from ISKCON and free snacks from Deep Foods, the audience was treated to an energetic performance from Houston’s rapper Gaura Karuna. Gaura, accompanied by Ram Das on vocals and harmonium, presented his unique fusion of soaring, Kirtan melodies and rapped verses over electronic beats. The audience was eager to dance and clap along to his performance. The tone of the event then calmed significantly with a traditional sitar raaga masterfully performed by Rice University Doctor of Musical Arts student Shane Monds. Justin Lasiewicz joined Monds on tabla for the performance’s conclusion, which fully demonstrated the

rhythmic and sonic capabilities of each instrument. Justin humbly shares “Sound provided was of the highest quality, the stage was perfectly created for an evening soaked in North Indian classical traditions; the food, henna, moving music and comforting chai made for a special evening.” Closing out the concert was internationally acclaimed Hindustani Classical vocalist Pandit Suman Ghosh. Pandit Ghosh rushed to the event from the airport having just returned from a performance in Minneapolis, MN, but nothing about his performance felt the least bit rushed. In fact, he presented a perfectly-paced and masterfully performed set of raaga representing the cyclical nature of each day. These raaga ranged from calm and contemplative to intense and intricate, demonstrating the full capabilities of his versatile voice. Pandit Ghosh was accompanied by Hindole Majumdar, whose innovative tabla technique guided the performance through its varied moods and beat patterns. Apurva Ghosh and Prasun Kolhe, disciples of Pandit Ghosh, also accompanied the performance, introducing recurring themes and melodies throughout and perfectly executing call-and-response vocal passages. Pandit Ghosh admirably states “The event, spearheaded by Varsha Vakil was organized and presented in an impeccable fashion and with noticeable grandeur. My heartiest congratulations to KTRU and Navrang!” Pandit Ghosh dedicated his performance, which he graciously donated to KTRU, to those affected by Hurricane Harvey and flooding events around the world. KTRU’s local show director, Ian Wells, was invited on the stage by Varsha to express her sincere gratitude for his unconditional support towards the Navrang show endeavors. Varsha applauded the tremendous efforts by Rice University undergraduate students and ktru’s small concert directors Ethan Hasiuk and Jeff Horowitz for their exceptional leadership and management skills. Varsha earnestly thanked sponsors Hindus of Greater Houston, South Asian Youth Alliance, ISKCON, Daya, India Culture Center, Indian American Cancer Network, Maharaja Bhog, Udipi Cafe, Govinda’s, Deep Foods, Quik Tea, Britannia, and the media partners Masala Radio, KPFT and GenerAsian Radio. The evening concluded with celebratory cake in addition to Indian vegetarian cuisine. It was beautiful to see artists, Rice students, and members of the Houston community gathered together in this way, brought together by music even during a time of pain and struggle. Ethan Hasiuk is a Rice University Undergraduate Student.



September 22, 2017


True to its Mission, Sewa Team Continues to Serve Houstonians in the Aftermath of Harvey

OUSTON: 1,250+ volunteers, 43,000+ hours of service (translating to efforts worth 1 Million dollars), clean-up of 400+ damaged houses, direct support to 800+ families – this quick statistics of the rebuild and rehabilitation work over last 2 weeks by Sewa, says it all. Hundreds of Sewa volunteers continue to be on field supporting some of the most impacted communities in Katy, Cypress, Downtown Houston and Texas City. Their selfless and untiring efforts have helped rebuild many homes in these communities. Sewa team is helping in sheetrock cutting, house cleaning, organizing and distributing clean-up kits, equipment etc. Sewa is actively leading the rehabilitation work at Rosharon. This community mainly consists of poor Cambodian agrarian families severely affected by Harvey with no provision of any temporary shelter. Along with helping more than 200 families, 35 houses, providing 200+ tents, 120+ bedsheets, and other essential items at Rosharon, Sewa team also organized a medical camp for these residents. It was heartening to see a small Cambodian girl insisting to be a doctor when she grows up – inspired by the empathy and warmth of Sewa doctors! Sewa International has been collaborating with multiple organizations in relief efforts like Red Cross. Team Sewa’s dedication and commitment have gained support from many lead-

Sewa volunteers helping at Pets4Life animal shelter. Over 500 dogs and cats all around Houston who were separated from their families during the merciless wrath of Harvey are at this center.

Doctors for Sewa - Rosharon Sewa medical camp put together by a few doctors is getting busy now!! We have a team of 5 wonderful doctors at the moment, more are joining soon!

ing organizations and personalities for its humanitarian cause. Along with ‘Doctors for Sewa’, the Harvey relief operation efforts by Sewa have also inspired ‘Comedians for Sewa’, ‘Music for Sewa’ and even ‘Garba for Sewa’. Comedy show by Rajeev Satyal, a famous Indo-American stand-up comedian, was organized by Hindu American Foundation on Sep 15 at India House. 50% of the show collections were donated to Sewa International Disaster Relief Fund. Another rising star of stand-up comedy, Amit Tandon, will also be donating part of his proceeds from his

Pathak have also supported Sewa International for Harvey relief this year. More than 20 major Garba events across US have expressed solidarity with Sewa International’s Harvey relief efforts. Many families in Houston are still struggling to get back to their lives since they have lost their means of livelihood to Harvey. Providing livelihood support to such families is another topmost priority for Sewa. Mr. Riaz Ali, a Houston-based DJ from Mumbai had lost his van and his music equipment during the Harvey disaster. Sewa team came forward to help him in this hour of need and has

upcoming event in Houston to Sewa International. A musical fundraiser exclusively for Sewa Relief Fund was organized by Mousumi Banerjee and Hemang Thakkar at India House on Sep 16. More than 200 guests enjoyed the evening of melodious Indian music and delicious Indian food while helping the cause of Harvey Relief. ‘Ratri before Navratri’, a popular local dandiya event organized by VPSS and Manoranjan Inc (Ajit Patel, Nisha Irani) on Sep 16 donated 10% of their receipts to Sewa Harvey Relief Fund. The biggest Garba event in Austin and in Dallas with Phalguni

provided financial assistance to buy new van and equipment. Mr. Riaz Ali is now back on his feet while joining the plethora of people supported by Sewa International. Volunteer crews are actively helping senior citizens, homebound citizens, low-income families and single mothers across Greater Houston. You can join your neighborhood volunteer group by registering as volunteer at https://sewausa.org/ chapter/houston/houston-overview Or email us at Houston@sewausa. org


18 September 22, 2017 Blooper Reel

The first archives and re-

cords date back to ancient Mesopotamia — for the rather mundane purpose of tax collection. Modern states and societies, however, require an institutional memory that moves beyond tithes and tariffs and extends to history and culture. By any reasonable contemporary measure — cultural, historical or economic — Indian cinema’s rich, diverse heritage is a resource worth archiving and protecting. The Government of India recognised this, in theory, when it rolled out the National Film Heritage Mission (NFHM) in November 2014 and earmarked nearly Rs 600 crore for the preservation and restoration of celluloid prints. However, nearly half-way through the Mission, the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) continues to falter in its implementation. Through a series of RTI applications, The Indian Express has found that about 1,100 films, including rare reels both domestic and foreign, are “not in a runnable condition”, according to the “condition report” of the NFAI. The archiving itself appears haphazard and incomplete: While 51,500 cans of film reels and 9,200 prints were “not present” in the Pune-based archive, 1,112 cans of film that have not been listed are present in the vaults. The missing titles include classics such as Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, Guru Dutt’s Kagaz ke Phool and Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Silent films, as well as reels that recorded visits by foreign leaders to India in the first three decades after Independence and even rare, single prints, may now be lost to posterity. The NFAI also possesses film posters, scripts and press clippings that are decaying in its vaults. Despite producing the largest number of films in the world, Indian society and its government seem unaware of the importance of preserving cinema history. But even by the standards of the purely utilitarian concerns that led to the first forms of writing and record-keeping, there is merit in the NFHM’s mandate. There is great economic value in original prints and paraphernalia of cinema, which, if preserved and showcased, will only grow. Politically, cinema is an integral part of India’s “soft power” projection. A functioning, vibrant archive of its diverse forms — in themes, languages and degrees of experimentation — can be a resource for researchers, academics and enthusiasts from around the world. For that to happen, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the NFAI must work together urgently to fulfil the mandate of the NFHM, rather than it turning into a blooper reel of their own shortcomings. -- Indian Express


Do We Really Need Linking of Rivers? BY HIMANSHU THAKKAR

Interlinking of rivers is a very expen-

sive proposal. It has huge adverse environmental impacts on land, forests, biodiversity, rivers and the livelihood of millions of people. It is a socially disruptive proposition. It will not only add to climate change impact (destruction of forests means destruction of carbon sinks, and reservoirs in tropical climate are known sources of methane and carbon dioxide), but will also reduce our capacity to adapt to climate change. Take, for example, the Ken-Betwa link which is the government’s top priority. The link will facilitate export of water from drought-prone Bundelkhand to the upper Betwa basin, as the detailed project report (DPR) makes clear. The Ken-Betwa link’s hydrology is effectively a state secret, so there is no way to check if the claim of Ken river being surplus is valid. There has been no credible environmental impact assessment of the link and no public hearings in canal and downstream affected areas. The link’s environmental management plan is still being prepared. The Ken-Betwa link threatens about 200 sq. km of the Panna tiger reserve, and with it the Ken river and large parts of Bundelkhand. Yet, it does not have an environment clearance, a final forest clearance, and its wildlife clearance is being scrutinized by the Central-empowered committee appointed by the Supreme Court In fact, both forest and wildlife clearance recommendations are under the condition that the power project will be taken out of the forest/protected area, but the environment clearance recommendation assumes the project will be inside the forest/protected area. So even that is invalid. The government justifies the KenBetwa link, and indeed the river interlinking project as a whole, by saying that it will provide irrigation, water supply, hydropower and flood control. But we need to understand that most of India’s water benefits, including irrigation, come from groundwater. In fact, in the past two-and-a-half decades, the net national irrigated area from big dams has decreased

by about 1.5 million hectares from a peak of 17.79 million ha in 1991-92, according to government data. But in the same period, India’s total irrigated area has gone up—primarily due to groundwater. Groundwater is our water lifeline and whether we like it or not, whether we want it or not, groundwater is going to remain our water lifeline for decades to come. However, our current use of groundwater is not sustainable. The focus of our water resources development should be on how the groundwater lifeline can be sustained. Will Interlinking of rivers help in this? No, since Interlinking of rivers entails a large number of dams that will lead to destruction of rivers, forests, wetlands and local water bodies, which are major groundwater recharge mechanisms. So as far as irrigation is concerned, it seems the river interlinking project is likely to create more problems than benefits. The same is true for water supply. As far as hydropower is concerned, it is clear that large hydropower projects are no longer a viable option in India. The power minister has repeatedly said in Parliament over the last two years that hydropower projects of over 11,000MW are stuck due to lack of finances and questions over viability. The chief minister of Himachal Pradesh has stated that private developers are exiting the sector as they consider the projects to be nonviable. The situation in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh is similar. It costs over Rs10 crore to produce one megawatt of hydropower, which in turn produces less than four million units of electricity. This means the per unit cost of power from such projects is in excess of Rs8 per unit, when there are no takers for power that costs even Rs3 per unit. In any case,

Interlinking of rivers will be needing more power to lift the water than what it is likely to produce. Can the river interlinking project flood-proof the flood-prone river basins? While theoretically, a large reservoir can help moderate floods in the downstream areas, our experience on the ground doesn’t inspire as much confidence. For example, heads of government, state officials, and the Comptroller and Auditor General have on numerous occasions pointed out that big dams such as the Ranganadi dam, the Damodar dams, the Farakka and Bansagar dams, and the Hirakud dam have brought avoidable flood disasters to Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha, respectively. The other problem with the river interlinking project is that of storing large quantities of waters. Most of the sites suitable for the big reservoirs are in Nepal, Bhutan and in the North-East—and each one has made clear their opposition to big storage reservoirs. If the water cannot be stored in big reservoirs during the monsoon, which is when some rivers are flooded, then the other option is to transfer the water to deficit basins during this time. But when the Brahmaputra is in floods, so is the Ganga and all the rivers through which the water needs to be transferred, including the Subarnarekha, the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Pennar, and so on. Why should these rivers, that are already facing floods, receive more water? There is no doubt that if we can store water during the monsoon, we can make it available in the post monsoon months. But the water resources establishment sees big dams as the only storage option. Yet, the biggest, cheapest, most benign, possibly fastest and most decentralized storage option for India is the groundwater aquifer. In other words, what India needs is not interlinking of rivers but something else to achieve water, agriculture and livelihood security. -- Live Mint. Himanshu Thakkar is coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.


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


September 22, 2017



20 September 22, 2017



September 22, 2017

Arya Samaj Houston for Hurricane Affected


HOUSTON: Soon after Hurricane Harvey’s

devastation, Arya Samaj Houston became active on multiple fronts. As the first target of $20,000 was being pledged by the key members, Sewa International’s efforts were noted and Arya Samaj Houston decided to channelize its funds through them. Close coordination made it apparent that needs of the people were phenomenally large. Arya Samaj upped its target to $50,000 and without waiting for the new pledges, it wired $50,000 to Sewa International so that the momentum of relief efforts didn’t diminish. The response from all quarters of Arya Samaj Houston was very encouraging that it has been decided to donate $10,000 to Mayor’s Relief Fund and likewise amount to Governor’s Relief Fund, totaling its contributions to $70,000. Arya Samaj has always been at the forefront when calamity has struck anywhere in the world. Be it the Haiti earthquake, Tsunami in southern India, or floods in Chennai, Arya Samaj Houston responded in the spirit of the Sixth Principle of Arya Samaj enshrined by its founder Maharshi Dayanand: The prime object of Arya Samaj is to serve the world, by physical, spiritual and social progress. Hurricane Harvey had thrown a challenge much closer to the home. Its Sunday School, the DAV Sanskriti School functions with the help of 80+ volunteers. Their small “help thy neighbor” gesture blossomed in no time into a full blown home cooked vegetarian meal delivery service for the flood victims. For over two weeks volunteers cooked in their homes and delivered to multiple homes that started with 5 families and has now quadrupled; the number is bound to increase further. The

One victim’s debris

Elderly victim Frida solely relying on Arya Samaj

Hot meal ready for delivery

One victim’s damaged living room

hurricane not only robbed them of their home and belongings, but often they have been unable to get around because their cars got flooded. A home cooked meal at a time like this added smiles and happiness to families. Starting Wednesday, 13th September the volunteers will cook the food at the Arya Samaj and deliver to families in Riverstone, Bellaire and greater Houston areas. The Sanskriti School volunteers are also compiling a list of furniture and other household things needed by victims and those offering such things. A number of Arya Samaj members have opened their homes for those who had to abandon their homes while one family has been accommodated within Arya Samaj. If you are available to cook or deliver, or if you know a family in need then please call 832.874.3376 or 281.752.0100.


22 September 22, 2017


9th Indian Film Festival to Present Films that Touch Heart & Soul

HOUSTON: In its ninth edition,

the annual Indian Film Festival will present feature films, documentaries and short films that will appeal to both South Asian and mainstream audiences. The festival will take place October 6-7 at the Asia Society Texas Center. “The films submitted this year reflect the historic changes in the world today and illustrate courage, art and a defense of human rights and expression through unique and personal perspectives that touch the heart and soul,” explained Sutapa Ghosh, Founder and Festival Director. On Friday, October 6, presentations include a feature film at 5:15 pm, followed by a Q&A session. This will be followed by a short film, and then a documentary. Mango Dreams is a feature film directed by John Upchurch. The 93-minute English film is about a

Hindu doctor with dementia and a Muslim auto rickshaw driver, who form an unlikely friendship as they cross India in search of the doctor’s childhood home. Mango Dreams is John Upchurch’s first feature film. Upchurch grew up in a small farming town in North Carolina, surrounded by storytellers -- his grandparents, farmers at the country store, and the neighborhood barber. He believes that a good story, told well, does more than just entertain, it provokes thought between laughter, healing between tears, and inspires hope. The passion to inspire positive change is what drives Upchurch’s storytelling. The Leftovers is a 23-minute short film to be screened at 7:15 pm. Directed by Tina Thadani, the film in English language is the story of two women, who have left their reputable jobs to open makeshift schools in the

heart of Mumbai’ s slums. The film follows the teachers’ trials and tribulations with the community of the lower income class, whose families know that education is the only way out for their kids. Tina Thadani is a TV presenter from Canada, who currently works for B4U Anand. She also is an actor, who shot a pilot called Guru, which was recently screened at Cannes. Thadani felt a powerful connection to share the story about the women, who opened schools for the underprivileged. Thadani’s thoughts were, “You get all these visions from up above, with powerful messages, and you just want to take a camera and shoot.”


Limitless is a documentary to be screened at 7:45 pm Directed by Vrinda Samarth, the 59-minute film explores the lives of eight long-distance female runners, who rediscover themselves through running. The film reveals their insecurities, their bruised body image, their battered self-confidence, and their guilt at accepting that they need some me-time too. This is the story of women who reached the edge of their bounds, braved against them, pushed them, and, they discovered that the sky is the limit. Limitless is Vrinda Samarth’s first feature documentary as a director. She enjoys experimenting and constantly recreating new narrative

styles. She finds stories about raw and real characters most appealing and powerful. She started as an assistant director in Trends Ad Films, where she worked with National award winner V. K. Prakash. Since then, Samarth has worked on many national and international campaigns and feature films. She has also acted in Kannada regional film “Aidondla Aidu”. As a part of Believe Films, Samarth worked on many ad and digital campaigns for advertising agencies. Description of the films screened on Saturday, October 7 will be published in next week’s edition of IndoAmerican news.

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September 22, 2017


“Reinforcing Positivity through Awareness” JVB’s Meaningful & Fun Filled Children Summer Camp


HOUSTON: JVB Preksha Med-

itation Center, Houston conducted its Annual Children Summer Camp with much vigor & enthusiasm. The camp was held from August 7th-11th under the auspicious presence of Samani Kanchan Pragyaji & Samani Pranav Pragyaji (Disciples of Acharya Shri Mahashraman). A total of 35 Kids, ages 6 to 11yrs. attended the week long eventful camp where they played, explored, laughed and learned together. Kids looked forward to each day as their day was a colorful mixture of Yoga, Meditation, Art, Craft, Games, and Science activities. The uniqueness of this themed camp “Reinforcing positivity through Awareness” was in its five-different awareness themes for five different days. Kids started every morning with blessings of Samani Pranav Pragyaji’ s (Jain Nun) prayer session, where they sang and learned a devotional prayer. It was followed by a 30 min Yoga session by Brenda Cocina who specializes in kids’yoga classes. Two-

hour awareness theme session with various hands on activities was held under the expert guidance of Magic Touch teachers, Pratima Desai & Sheetal Kothari on each day. Special art & craft session for ages 9-11yrs. was also provided by Monart School of Art every day. The first day of the camp was all about “Awareness of mind” which taught them discipline, focus, and mindfulness through clapping and breathing techniques. The second day belonged to “Awareness of speech and actions” where they learned the consequences of their own actions and reactions and various Meditation techniques which can help them control their negative thoughts. The third day “Awareness of Surroundings” aimed to teach them compassion towards mother nature and how they can use their own five senses. The next day was all about “Awareness of Knowledge” and focused at teaching them how right knowledge can empower them as well as the people around them. The finale day connected kids with how they can Integrate Gratitude & Joy and be respectful towards people and grateful for little things in life. They also kept the writing journal throughout this week. Kids love to measure, mix and bake. Baking mini muffins with different flavors, and

then savoring the deliciousness of their own creations turned out to be most fun activity of this day. All the kids enjoyed fun games like Jeopardy, Hot Potato, Sharks & Minos, tag a friend organized by senior class volunteers of JVB Gyanshala, Udai Jain, Vani Jain, Neer Jain, Snaemi Jain, Sakshee Jain, Anshumi Jhaveri, Ronak & Aarav Mehta. Everyone loved making new friends. In closing, JVB President Seema Jain organized a small get together where all the parents shared a positive feedback of their week-long experience as well as how kids felt excited at the end of the day. No event is successful without the help of talented and dedicated volunteers who are the backbone of any organization. About 15 dedicated volunteers came together to join hands in nurturing the young curious minds with their creativity, enthusiasm and love. JVB center truly appreciates & salutes its volunteers and looks forward to their patronage and affection for many more community events coming on the way! JVB Preksha Meditation Center is home to a specially designed Preksha Dhyan ‘Pyramid’ Meditation Hall and is located at 14102 Schiller Rd, Houston, TX 77082. It has free weekly Meditation, Yoga & Swadhyay sessions, Gyanshala Classes for ages 4-14 yrs. on 1st & 3rd Sunday which are open to all. Upcoming Events include Annual Day Cultural Celebrations & Adhar Abhishek Pooja on Oct. 7 & 8th. For more information, please visit www.jvbhouston.org or call Seema Jain @ 281-575-0575.

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24 September 22, 2017 BY ROSCH WADERA

HOUSTON: The 33rd annual Hin-

du Heritage Youth Camp of Houston took place at Camp Lantern Creek in Montgomery in the month of August. Over 200 children attendees plus 50 student volunteers eagerly await to participate in this annual event with activities ranging from educations to yoga, cricket to volleyball, from Holi to talent shows full of singing, dancing, and comedy. Per tradition, camp begins with establishing rules, which includes no cell phones! This allows campers to disconnect from wifi and reconnect to themselves. This generation faces constant distraction from smartphones, a serious threat to maintaining relationships. The morning practices of yoga and meditation are implemented to help sharpen mental focus and unite the camp in creating a fruitful experience for all. Campers and counselors alike return year after year to reconnect with their community, building lifelong friendships along the way. Years later, grown-up campers return the favor by giving back to this community, serving as counselors themselves. Akash Dhingra, Senior Camp Director, reflects. “The magic of camp works because of the beautiful cycle that sustains it. Elders who created this camp and nurtured the first campers led to the creation of amazing counselors. Our counselors taught us how to think critically about Hinduism, and in turn ourselves. Now as director, I am fortunate enough to continue this humble duty of promoting spiritual growth in all parts of the organization. That’s the true beauty of this camp, we are all one family, learning, growing, and living together.”


Hindu Heritage Youth Camp of Houston

25 year old Akash has been with camp since he was in 3rd grade. Now, as a certified yoga teacher, he shares his knowledge with campers, coworkers, and fellow counselors too. Counselors spend months preceding camp researching Hinduism and developing presentations to share with the campers. These emphasize on adapting an adult understanding of Hinduism to the children’s daily lives.

Photos: Junior camp: Daksh Kapoor & Senior camp: Niti Desai

22 year old Namita Pallod, director of junior camp this year, elaborates on what she aims to achieve out of camp: “We want kids to walk away being proud Hindus who are curious to continue to learn more about their faith during the year. Camp is a home and family for all of us, and we truly feel it is the best weeks of the year” Namita has been involved with camp before she was even born, as her beloved mother, Sushma Pal-

lod, has been volunteering with camp since the beginning and is still head chef of the delicious camp menu. Full of grace, she takes care of all the campers and counselors needs, wants, and even leaves them laughing and smiling afterwards. Namita embodies the essence of camp: it’s a loving family. The need to pass down our ancient value systems has become increasingly important in today’s turbulent

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj Meets with Former President Barack Obama

HOUSTON: His Holiness Mahant

Swami Maharaj met with former President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. The meeting was arranged as part of Mahant Swami Maharaj’s efforts in North America to share universal Hindu messages

and foster public dialogue on service and the importance of unity in our communities and in our nation. Joining His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and President Obama were Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami and Pujya Viratswarupdas Swami from

BAPS as well as Ben Rhodes from the Obama Foundation. Mahant Swami Maharaj presented President Obama with a garland as part of a traditional Hindu greeting as well as anAmrut Kalash symbolizing ultimate victory of good over evil even in difficult times. Mahant Swami Maharaj also gifted President Obama a sanctified mala (Hindu prayer beads) and a copy of Transcendence, a book written by former Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam about his spiritual experiences with Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The two leaders discussed the role of BAPS mandirs in communities around the United States and the world. President Obama appreciated how BAPS mandirs have served as houses of worship but also community centers catering to society’s diverse social and humanitarian

needs. In particular, President Obama took note of the vibrant children and youth programs that take place in BAPS mandirs. Mahant Swami Maharaj was also pleased to learn that one of President Obama’s priorities in his post-presidency is preparing the next generation of leaders. The two leaders then discussed how they could work collaboratively on this key effort in preparing the next generation of public servants. With reference to the Indian American community, President Obama spoke about how, like in other immigrant communities, the second generation often engages more fully in civic life, making America theirs. The two leaders agreed that more needed to be done to encourage young South Asians to pursue careers in public service. Mahant Swami Maharaj and President Obama both

times as we face a world that is becoming more materialistic and egotistical day by day. Swami Chinmayananda once said, “The tragedy of human history is decreasing happiness in the midst of increasing comforts.”. As Hindus, it is our duty to rediscover our ancient values which withstand the test of time but have become neglected in today’s world, adapt and devise new methods through which they can be practiced in today’s social context, and spread the love as far as we possibly can, leaving this world much better off than it was when we were brought into it. As Hindu Heritage Youth Camp moves forward, in order for us to advance our mission and expand our reach, the committee behind the camp hopes to garner their own campsite for the exclusive use of the Hindu youth in the Houston area, and increase the amount of resources available so that more of our children can be included each year in response to the overwhelming demand. 200 registration spots filled up within 1 hour this year, and it is very heartbreaking to not be able to accommodate all the spirited youth, especially when what is holding us back is not even a formidable adversary. This will be an important test on our community ... for a camp that has positively impacted so many and has given so much to its community, how much is the community willing to sustain and give back to it? “Manushya tu badaa mahaan hai, bhool mat” when we join together in unison, we truly show how great we are and what we can achieve. Rosch Wadera graduated from University of Texas in 2014 and works in the finance industry. spoke about how encouraging service requires encouraging individuals to see goodness in one another. Mahant Swami Maharaj specifically explained the Hindu principle that each individual soul is divine, and so service of each individual is a selfless act of devotion. Mahant Swami Maharaj took time to specifically praise President Obama when he learned that President Obama had set aside time, even as President, to have dinner with his family five nights a week. Mahant Swami Maharaj greatly values unity in all of the building blocks of society, including families. Mahant Swami Maharaj was also touched by President Obama’s humility, sharing with the President a verse from a John Bunyan poem, “He that is down, need fear no fall. He that is low, no pride. He that is humble ever shall have God to be his guide.” Mahant Swami Maharaj noted that he saw this humility in President Obama, remarking how it has been noted that the President took the time to look after and care for his staff while in office. As Mahant Swami Maharaj was departing, President Obama respectfully bid him farewell with the greeting: “Jay Swaminarayan.” CONTACT: BAPS North American Headquarters Phone: 732-7771414, ext 140 Email: media@na.baps.org



HOUSTON: Houston Marathi

Mandal (HMM) celebrated the most awaited Ganesh Festival at VPSS Haveli on September 9th, 2017. More than 720 devotees dressed in colorful traditional Indian attire attended the event to immerse themselves into a celebration of a new beginning through display of art and culture, song and dance. HMM celebrates Ganesh Festival on an annual basis and this year was even more important for the Houston community that had just witnessed the wrath of nature. The community utilized the power of collective consciousness and prayed together to Lord Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacle (Vighnaharta) and the God of Beginnings, urging him to restore prosperity and allow people to create a new happy chapter in their life. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The celebration started at 4PM with an ornate palanquin procession shouldered by two devotees and accompanied by drummers who played percussion instruments, Dhol and Tasha. Devotees, that also included the young enthusiasts, accompanied the procession with their beautiful Lezim dance. As we entered the event hall one could see the beautiful decoration of mountains that resembled the Mansarovar; under which the Ganesh idol was placed. Hats off to Trupti Nag for her wonderful contribution in making the abode for the

September 22, 2017


HMM Ganesh Festival 2017

festive idol. Once the devotees gathered inside the hall, people paid their respect to both the nations by singing the US and Indian national anthems. Mandar Phadke gave a welcome speech and the HMM President, Anjou Sathe-Keller, provided updates on the past and upcoming events.

Anjou also shared details on HMM collaboration with the non-profit organization - Sewa International; an organization that focuses on disaster recovery and rehabilitation (https:// www.sewausa.org/chapter/houston/ houston-overview). Gitesh Desai, President of Sewa-Houston talked

about Harvey efforts. Certificates of honor were offered to the students from the Marathi school, the directors of the program Dipti Kanhere and Kalpana Sarode, Dhol-Tasha leads Anukool Damle and Swapnil Saraf and comparers Mandar Phadke and Achala Bapat. The most awaited dance performances were presented by 100 volunteers including kids and adults, based on the themes of Maharashtrian folk dances. The preparation for the cultural event started months ago and many of the traditional clothes and jewelry were ordered from India. The cultural event called “Maharashtrachi Lokdhara” was organized by Dipti Kanhere and Kalpana Sarode. Kudos to the cultural committee that created these wonderful memories for us. Kids gathered on the stage to chant the powerful hymn of Atharvasheersha. The entire audience stood up to sing Aarti with representatives from

all towns around Houston on stage – the blend of sounds and synchronization was so beautiful that it allowed you the space to go on a journey within. The prayers were concluded with a roar of “Ganapati Bappa Morya” by everyone followed by another round of palanquin procession and an even grander Lezim and Percussion instruments procession that went on for more than 30 minutes. It was a mesmerizing and immersive experience that coalesced the chaos of the mind into harmonic order as if to achieve higher energy that became evident from the rhythmic nods, taps, and claps of the people listening around. The minds were further stimulated by the delicacies of Maharashtra such as Modak and Shreekhanda that were offered at the dinner. The event was indeed memorable. It always encourages the new Houston families who get knitted into this larger Marathi family, to participate and contribute in these events that require enormous amount of dedication and energy. The entire HMM community congratulates the committee members for a yet another fantastic successful event. The next HMM event “Sur Niragas Ho” by India’s National awardwinning vocalist Mahesh Kale is scheduled on 23rd September 2017, 5 pm at University of Houston. Visit http://www.hmmhouston.org for more information.

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26 September 22, 2017


Happy Navratri

Navratri is a popular Hindu festival

dedicated to Goddess Durga. The festival is celebrated twice a year, dates of which are determined according to the lunar calendar. Generally, Navratri celebrations coincide with the beginning of spring and autumn season. The word Navratri has been derived from Sanskrit and literally stands for ‘nine nights’. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. Goddess Durga symbolizes purity, power and divinity. During the nine days, the divine incarnation is invoked as people worship God in the form of universal mother in Goddess Durga. The festival symbolizes the victory of positivity over negativity. It urges people to get rid of the negativity inside them in the form of hatred, jealousy, anger, greed and violence and become better human beings. Navratri is celebrated all over India with much pomp and gaiety. There are various legendary stories as to why Navratri is celebrated, each having their own significance. As per a legend, one of the fiercest demons, Mahisasura was killed by Goddess Durga in a battle that lasted for nine days, coinciding with Navratri celebration. As per another legend, Lord Rama invoked Goddess Durga’s blessing before taking on Ravana. He fasted and prayed for nine days and on the tenth day killed the ten-headed Ravana, a day which coincides with Dusshera. Yet another tale says that Navratri celebrates the

September 22, 2017

homecoming of Goddess Durga, when Shiva allowed Durga to visit her mother. Whatever the reason may be, Navratri celebration re-confirms our faith in Shakti or energy and invokes the awakening of divinity within us. Nine Goddesses of Navratri Navratri celebrations last for nine days. During these nine days, nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. Day 1 is called Pratipada on which Shailaputri Maa is revered. She is daughter (putri) of the mountains or Himalayas (Shaila) and

ity and wisdom. Customs & Rituals Navratri is the longest Hindu festival of the year, spanning over nine nights and ten days. Though the customs and rituals vary state wise in the country, the spirit and enthusiasm remains the same. Nine forms of Shakti are worshipped during the festival. Generally, Navratri celebrations begin with the Ghata Sthapana. A pot is installed at a sanctified place at home. Akhand diya or uninterrupted lit lamp is lit in the pot that remains ignited for nine

Nine Nights of Customs, Traditions and Celebrations is the primal energy of the trident – Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh. Day 2 is called Dwitiya on which Brahmacharini form is prayed to. She is symbolic of penance and severity and shows way to moksh and complete blissfulness. Day 3 is called Tritiya on which Chandraghanta is worshipped. Durga takes the form of a 10-armed mother riding a lion. She slays all the evil forces and negative energy. Day 4 is called Chaturthi on which Kushmanda form is called upon. She is referred to as the creator of universe. Day 5 is called Panchami on which Skandamata is worshipped. On this day, Goddess Durga is worshipped as the mother of Skanda or Karthikeya, the chief warrior of Gods. Day 6 is

called Shashthi on which Katyayani is prayed to. On this day, Goddess Durga takes a fierce form. She is worshipped as the daughter of sage Katyayan. Day 7 is called Saptami on which Kaalratri form is worshipped. On this day, Durga takes up the most terrible and ruthless form. She showcases the other side of life, i.e. death. Day 8 is called Ashtami on which Maha Gauri form is called upon. She is symbolic of calmness and wisdom. She grants peace and knowledge to her devotees. Day 9 is called Navami on which Siddhidatri is prayed to. Goddess Durga fulfills all the wishes of her devotees and blesses them with boons in the form of good health, happiness, prosper-

days and nine nights. While the pot symbolizes the universe, the akhand diya is the medium through which we worship Durga, the Adishakti. Devotes pray to Durga and perform religious rites both in the morning and evening. Another prevalent custom of Navratri is sowing of barley/jowar seeds on the first day of the festival. The seeds are sowed and watered for nine days continuously. The custom coincides with fertility wor-


ship. On the ninth day, Khetri or the sprouting of the seeds is indicative of the ‘first fruit’ of worship. Kanya pujan is yet another famous custom of Navratri. Fasts are kept on the first seven days of the festival. On the eighth day, delicacies like halwa, puri and chana are prepared. Young girls are called in. They are treated as Goddess Devi or Kanjak Devi. Kanya pujan is done by washing their feet, applying tilak on their forehead, giving them food to eat and gifting them bangles, chunni and other goodies. During Navratri, devotees avoid meat, alcoholic drinks, grains, wheat and onion. People fast so as to purify themselves of all the negative energy and start afresh. It is also a period of introspection. Negative traits like hatred, jealousy, anger, greed and violence are got rid of. People pray to Goddess Durga for health, happiness and wisdom. -festivals.iloveindia.com/navratri/


28 September 22, 2017 T

he story thus far….The war in Europe was having an impact in India. The Congress Working Committee found itself unable to accept in its entirety Gandhi’s attitude to the war. In particular, they would not accept his view that the defense of India should not depend on the armed forces. Congress leaders met on several occasions in Gandhi’s room at Sevagram and talked of their desire to start some action. Finally a proposal was put forward that all provincial governments should join with the British authorities in the defense of India, but the British rejected the offer. In September 1940, a meeting of the All-India Congress Committee was held in Bombay. There, as a protest against England’s utter indifference to India’s hopes, it was decided to launch individual civil disobedience against the authorities. It was also decided to hold meetings to protest against British imperialism. At that time such meetings were forbidden. Vinoba Bhave was the first to inaugurate individual satyagraha. He was arrested and so were hundreds of others who followed him. Nehru also was arrested. Within a few months over 30,000 Congressmen were put in jail. Only Gandhi was not imprisoned. He devoted his time to spreading the gospel of truth and nonviolence. In December 1941 the government released all the satyagrahis. Then, in 1942, as the Japanese swept across the Pacific and went through Malaya and Burma, the British began to think of a settlement with India. Japan, it was feared, might even invade India. Even Gandhi began to feel that his pacifism might stand in the way of India’s future. So he made the proposal of a provisional government so that all the resources of India could be added to the government’s side in the struggle against the aggressors. But this proposal was ignored. In March 1942 Churchill announced that the


The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi - Part 17

Wheels of Independence are Set in Motion

war cabinet had agreed on a plan for India and that Sir Stafford Cripps had agreed to go to India to find out whether the Indian leaders would accept the plan, and whether they would devote all their thought and energy to the defense of India against Japan. Cripps arrived in Delhi on March 22. He met Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and other important leaders. Cripps promised greater freedom than what had been offered before. He also offered complete freedom after the war, if India wanted it. The leaders would perhaps have accepted this offer if it had come a year earlier, but now it was rejected. The Congress leaders did not want any compromise based on promises. The British did not trust the people of India sufficiently to give them any real power, and so the Indian leaders felt that they could not trust

the British to hand over power after the war. In August 1942 the All-India Congress Committee met in Bombay, and was presided over by Maulana Azad. Again the demand to set up a provisional government was made. “We can no longer hold back our people from exercising their will,” Gandhi said. “Nor can we go on eternally submitting to the imperialist policies. The time has come for the English to go. Civil servants, army officers, government officers all of them should quit India.” The “Quit India” resolution was drawn up and passed by the meeting for presentation to the government. Nehru moved the resolution and Sardar Patel seconded it. The resolution also announced the starting of a mass struggle on the widest possible scale. Winding up the meeting, Gandhi said, “I have pledged to the Congress, and the Congress has pledged herself that she will do or die.” The government did not wait for the mass movement to begin. Overnight Gandhi was arrested, as were many other leaders in various parts of India. Gandhi was interned in the Aga Khan’s palace in Poona. Mahadev Desai, Kasturba, Sarojini Naidu and Mirabehn were also taken there. But with the leaders in jail, India did not remain idle. ‘Do or die’ was taken up by the people. There were mass movements everywhere. And there was a great outburst of violence throughout the country. People started destroying government buildings and whatever else they considered to be symbols of British imperialism. Shortly after his detention in the Aga Khan’s palace Gandhi suffered a grievous bereavement. Mahadev Desai, his faithful and able secretary, died of a heart attack. “Mahadev has lived up to the ‘do or die’ mantra,” Gandhi said. “This sacrifice will only hasten the day of India’s deliverance.” All over India there were strikes and disorder. Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy, blamed Gandhi for all the turmoil. Gandhi had invited violence, he claimed. In

a long series of letters to Lord Linlithgow, Gandhi tried to persuade him to retract this charge against him. Failing in this, Gandhi decided to undertake a fast as “an appeal to the Highest Tribunal” against the unjust charges. Gandhi fasted for 21 days in February, 1943. It was a great ordeal, but he survived the fast. Kasturbai nursed him back to health, but her own health was failing. She suffered two heart attacks. Gandhi tried his best to save her, but Kasturbai grew worse. One day she died quietly in Gandhi’s arms. A few weeks later Gandhi was taken seriously ill with malaria. The Indian people demanded his immediate release and the authorities, believing that he was nearing death, released him. Gandhi was slowly restored to health. The demand for Indian independence had now acquired worldwide interest. Apart from India’s own attitude, America and other countries started pressing Britain to grant freedom to India. But Prime Minister Winston Churchill did not yield to any of these approaches. India had always been the jewel in the British crown, crucial to the Britain’s prosperity. Churchill was the last man to think of giving up India. Two months after Germany’s surrender in May 1945, the Labour Party came into power in Britain and Clement Attlee became the Prime Minister. After the defeat of Japan in August that year, the British government announced that they expected to grant self-rule to India as soon as her internal problems could be solved. This was indeed a victory for India and a victory for the principle of nonviolence. Britain agreed to a planned withdrawal from India in friendship and with no bitterness. All through his life Gandhi had worked for unity between Hindus and Muslims, without much success. There was a large section of nationalist Muslim in the Congress but leaders of the Muslim League were drifting further and further away. Gandhi was not the man to give up hope, however, and he pursued his efforts to bring about a settlement. On the other hand, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, was hostile to the idea of unity. — To be continued next week

Three Friends Unite to Give Personal Help after Harvey’s Destruction B D .M S Y




VICTORIA, TX: It’s September the 1st,

11pm, and I am glued to my television set while watching the devastation that Harvey has created in Southeast Texas. Feeling helpless, and asking myself …..what can I do to help….I suddenly get a phone call from a dear friend, Dr. Udaya Shivangi of Jackson, Mississippi, saying … “Manju, I’m coming to Houston – let’s do something and help the people!” I am thinking … people, which people, and where, when, and how? Udaya connects us with another dear friend, Dr. Anjana Samadder from Columbus, Ohio. That three-way call becomes a part of destiny slowly unfolding as a major episode in each of our lives. It’s September 6 and I’m excitedly driving my big Texas-sized SUV at +85 miles an hour from Victoria down the only major highway that is currently open and accessible in post-Harvey flooded Houston to reach Bush Intercontinental Airport. I arrive, excited to know that I have help with my mission, and to see two familiar faces with broad smiles and small carry-ons! We hurriedly rush to a local Walmart to buy

supplies needed by the families affected by the hurricane. When we are finished, each of us has a cart filled to the top with every item imaginable – from shampoos to towels to baby diapers and food galore! We decide to have dinner at a local Indian restaurant and meet a long-time resident of Houston, Vinod Shah of ABC Travels, to gather information about the status of the local community and where the need is most felt – both amongst Indians and non-Indians. The next day, we make visit Bethel’s Heavenly Hands Baptist Church which served as a temporary shelter for victims of the storm. While driving, we tuned in to the radio for breaking news of the next big Category 5 hurricane to hit the US, Irma, already levelling islands in the Caribbean. Houston traffic was beyond horrific as major highways remained under water, with only a few major thoroughfares being accessible. Yet much to my surprise and despite the mile long lines, Houston was calm and collected with no one honking and people giving way for others to pass. Just as we’re finishing giving out lunch boxes to CONTINUED ON PAGE 29



September 22, 2017

Three Friends Unite to Give Personal Help after Harvey’s Destruction


Drs. Anjana Samadder (left) and Udaya Shivangi and Manju Sachdev (right) shopping for supplies at Walmart

the needy people, a very tall and distinguished man who resembled former President Obama walked into the gymnasium. People gathered around him, beseeching, “Pastor, Pastor, can you please do this and that …. .” Pastor Walter August Jr. assumed the role of a modern-day messiah while he led us all in prayer, creating an ambiance of blissfulness and peace. We later spoke with him and came away with feeling that Houston is strong and united and will get through this. Our experience with “hands on” volunteer work at the Church was unspeakably rewarding. However, we also wanted to understand the political, social, and economic impact that Harvey has left behind. After leaving the Church, we connected with Indian Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray who outlined the work that the Consulate has been doing to help with restoration. He mentioned the projects that several local Indian organizations are engaged in, and how the Indian community has come together like never before. We learnt that two notable organizations - Sewa International and India House - had come to rescue many families and we met with them.

The three friends handed out lunch boxes and the supplies they bought at Bethel’s Heavenly Hands Baptist Church. Photos: Dr. Udaya Shivangi & Dr. Anjana Samadder

We learnt that approximately 77,000 homes in Houston were submerged under water, many of which belong to Indian families. An Emergency Houston What’sApp group was created during the storm to coordinate rescue efforts, and it managed to help those Indian families who were totally helpless during the storm. Ray pointed out that there are many sources to donate to for Harvey relief, but that as an Indo-American community we should remain united and make our voices heard by collectively contributing to ONE major fund instead of diversifying and scattering ourselves. Two days later, September 8, Udaya and Anjana returned to their home states and I drove back alone on Highway 59 to Victoria. But slower this time, as I cherished the precious moments spent with two dear friends on our mission of selfless love, giving, and with no expectation in return. I have come away with a renewed faith in the grand scheme of things called LIFE, and acceptance that all people are basically good…. unfortunately it sometimes takes a natural calamity to realize it.



30 September 22, 2017 Job Posting:



Are you a news junkie who scans the morning headlines before getting out bed each morning? Are you tied to your twitter feed throughout the day? Can’t go to bed before watching the 10pm news? KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, TX is accepting applications for a part-time content contributor for both broadcast and digital. This is a great opportunity for someone looking to advance their career as a multimedia journalist. In this position, you will work on the assignment desk and contribute to digital platforms, among other duties. Must be willing to work overnights, weekends, and holidays. The ideal candidate can multi-task in a fast-paced environment and has experience gathering information and writing news stories - along with a good understanding of social media trends and apps. College degree and some experience in a working newsroom is preferred. To be considered all interested candidates must apply online at disneycareers.com, ref job # 790303BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. In addition, please mail writing samples to: Human Resources, KTRK-TV, 3310 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005 and include the job reference number.

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No telephone calls please. KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Job Posting:


The KTRK-TV Programming Department is looking for a Dynamic Production Manager/Director to oversee KTRK’s In-Studio and Remote Productions. The ideal candidate will be responsible for supervising and scheduling the production staff as well as studio facilities and equipment. Other responsibilities include hands-on director for newscasts and special events as well as coordination of major station productions both inside and outside of the building. Additional duties include assisting in monitoring and managing on-air quality control. Candidates should have a minimum of five years of television news production supervision and experience with directing. Must be an innovative thinker with excellent leadership and communication skills. This position requires someone that is detail oriented with the ability to multi-task and work under deadlines. We are looking for someone that possess high work ethics and standards with a working knowledge of all studio and remote production equipment. Strong internal candidate. To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at HYPERLINK “http:// www.disneycareers.com” www.disneycareers.com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 490260BR No telephone calls please. KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Job Posting:


KTRK-TV, and ABC owned station in Houston, TX has an opening for a part time Non-Linear News Editor. Candidates should have experience in editing on non-linear systems as well as knowledge of the Digital Newsroom and understanding of the digital workflow for broadcast news, in a deadline intensive environment. Serious candidates should also have a working knowledge of a server based digital media workflow. Candidates should be able to edit in deadline situations, be creative, precise and be able to work fast. You must be able to take direction, and be a “Team Player” who is not afraid of an intense news environment. Hours will vary depending on the needs of the department, so flexibility to work a varied schedule is required. To be considered, candidates must apply on-line at www.disneycareers. com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please Reference Job ID: 409302BR on all materials submitted. No telephone calls please.

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September 22, 2017

Rid India of the Exploitation by Self-Styled Godmen BY DR. SULEKH C. JAIN

HOUSTON: Three weeks ago, a

self-styled seller of Bhagwan (the media calls him and others like him Godman) by the name of Ram Rahim was convicted of a rape crime. As soon as the verdict was announced, he and several hundred thousand of his followers went on a rampage and created absolute mayhem, anarchy, lawlessness and chaos in the town of Panchkula in Haryana Pradesh, near Chandigarh. Private and public properties worth millions of dollars were burnt and looted, more than 40 people died and many hundred injured. Two years ago, another marketer of Bhagwan by the name of Rampal also in Haryana Pradesh had created similar scenes. Rampal was arrested after a two-week tense standoff between his supporters and the police after close to 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from the sprawling premises. The massive operation to locate and arrest Rampal cost the exchequer over Rs. 26 crore ($4 million). During the standoff between Rampal’s followers and the police, five women and a child died, while more than 200 people were injured in the clashes. At both places, the Special Investigating Team seized arms, ammunition, pregnancy test kits and petrol bombs. Another godman by the name of AsaRam is in jail for sex and related charges for the past several years.

The name of Ram is common in all these 3 names. I wonder how many more such Godmen with the name of Ram are still roaming in India and selling their wares. Does even one of these swindlers and charlatans with the name Ram imbibe the qualities, character, virtues, peace, aura, bliss and perfection of the real bhagwan Ram of Ramayana or do they simply exploit his name to cheat people? It’s puzzling why Godmen do so extraordinarily well in India than in most countries. Is our society more vulnerable? It is hardly surprising that some Godmen behave like magicians because many of their followers are miracle seekers. People everywhere are prone to mystics, but what makes our Godmen so powerful is that our politicians use them as baits to catch votes. Modern gurus gain mass following through technologies such as the internet, satellite television and social media. Some of them initially start out as charismatic orators and then add

miracle powers to woo the gullible. All Godmen are flush with funds too. Asaram, Nithyanand, Ram Rahim, Rampal and so many more own a vast empire of hundreds of very lavishly furnished ashrams, thousands of followers, bullet proof enclosures and a large contingent of armed commandos to protect them. These Godmen hold their supporters in thrall, mostly confine them to fortified ashrams and like most cults, have deviant sexual practices (rape, incest, polygamy, orgies), miracles and a religious mumbo-jumbo which is often a variation of known religious texts. Their half-baked philosophies are then sold to the gullible. In all such deras and ashrams, the magnetism and healing powers of the leader is basic to its success. But violence is a cult characteristic. Every deviant cult leader displays a streak of violence. Rampal and Ram Rahim are no exception. They have an army of highly-trained commandos at their beck and call and use them to the

hilt. The “commandos” use bullets, stones, acid and petrol to send the police scurrying. With the ever increasing affluence of people in India, the number and the pomp and show of Godmen is significantly increasing not just in direct proportion but may be in geometric proportion too. My brothers and sisters, how we remain vigilant and reduce this disease in society is up to us. It is not entirely possible to completely wipe out fraud and deception by these Godmen. It is a fact that, as long as there is greed and a desire to get something for nothing,


the increasing wealth and affluence of people, coupled with the effective use of the power of the media, internet and social sites like Facebook, this disease and menace will continue to spread. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has launched a campaign of Swachh Bharat (Clean India) by 2019. These self-styled Godmen and their exploitation are filth, disease and a cancer in Indian society. I hope by 2019, when the world will celebrate the150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, India will be cleansed to some extent of this malady.


32 September 22, 2017


September 22, 2017



34 September 22, 2017


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 September 27, 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).


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Sukkhi Dhuli Urad di Dal (Dry Skinless Urad Lentils) • Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), hare dhania patta (shredded green coriander leaves) Directions: 1. Wash the dal and let it drip. Place it in a saucepan with the water, salt and turmeric and let it come to a boil over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until the dal is soft and cooked.

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2. Drain the water out in a strainer and let the dal sit for 5 minutes.

Daals of all types are so central to

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Indian cuisine and the Punjabi style of daals has to be the tastiest. By popular demand, below is a reprint of Mama’s Sukkhi Urad di Daal recipe which is not normally available in most Indian restaurants … unless it happens to be a dhaba in Delhi or the Punjab. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions. Lentils are to Indians what meat is to many Americans. It is a staple for most people in Indian – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian - and the source of most of their protein and in fact, a meal is often not considered complete without a lentil dish. Whereas soya beans have about 43 gm of protein, 21 gm of carbohydrates and almost 20gm of fat, lentils usually range between 20 and 25 gm of protein, but 50 to 60 gm of carbohydrates and only 1 to 1.5 gm of fat. Some lentils like urad and moong are quite high in calcium. All dals are also rich in B vitamins thiamine and folic acid as well as minerals like iron and zinc. Dals come in a rainbow of colors and tastes. There is the green moong dal; the yellow pea like channa, toor (also called arar dal) and dhuli (skinless) moong; the black cylindrical urad (known in Punjabi as mahn); the red flat masoor; the brown round mauth. Punjabis usually stick to the whole moongi, whole mahn or split mahn and channa (also called chole ki dal). There are about 50 varieties of dals (also called pulses) in the Indian Sub-continent. According to Punjabi tradition, some dals like masoor are eaten only in the cold months as they are considered warm. Others, like the dhuli (skinned) urad are ground into a powder and deep fried to make bhallas and South Indian vaddas, The channa dal is ground into besan

flour which is used all over India as a batter to coat vegetables, paneer and even bread and then fried to make a moist but crispy snack eaten with chutney. Most Punjabis eat their dals in a thick stew with plenty of spices like adrak (ginger), lasan (garlic) and hing (astafoetida powder) which has to be sparingly due to its strong fetid smell and flavor but is an Aryuvedic medicine that is a good digestive and reduces gas. Other preparations are to make dry dal dishes, like this one, which can be eaten as a snack or with roti. Ingredients: • 1 cup dhuli urad dal (skinless lentils) • 4 cups pani (water) • 1 tsp namak (salt) • 1 tsp haldi (turmeric) • 2 tbsp tael (vegetable or olive oil) • Pinch of hing (astafoetida) • 1 medium adrak (ginger) – peeled and chopped • 1 medium piyazz (onion) – peeled and chopped

3. In a kadai (wok) or large saucepan, heat the oil then add the hing, ginger and onion and brown slightly. 4. Throw in the boiled urad dal, cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. 5. Add the other spices to taste and serve with roti and yogurt. 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.




dian contains dishes like brunch can be heavy on spices and carb dosas, idlis, aaloo bu s since it probably rji chickpeas curry) wi th pooris (fired puffe (smashed potatoes) and chole (white d bread) or paranth bread) . One of the as (flat roasted whea most popular is a ga t rma-garam (hotteroff the kadai (deep than-hot) poori right wok) with chole. But what makes the dish exceptional is trick to doing that having a really cri is to add a little ric e flour in the whea spy poori. And the the dough. The rice t flour while kneadin flour adds just the rig g puff up and stay tha ht amount of starch t way as you serve to make the poori them.

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September 22, 2017


Simran: Kangana Shines but Simran Falters

Praful Patel (Kangana) is a

30-year-old divorcee living in Georgia with her middle-class parents. A housekeeper by profession, she gets drawn to a life of crime after her tryst with gambling at a Las Vegas casino. One bad turn leads to several more and before you know it, Praful is in a sordid mess. The nice thing about Simran is that it ventures into an area where the Bollywood heroine offers no defence for being a badass. The protagonist, a woman with an undaunted spirit, lives and loves by her own set of rules. She refuses to

have ‘sex without protection’ and is constantly up for adventure. She doesn’t think twice about slipping into a life of crime just to support her `character flaws’. So far so good. Besides the premise, everything else about the film is improbable. The writing falters in parts and naturally the execution follows. The way Praful goes about robbing banks and gets away scot-free, even after leaving her finger prints all over and notes scribbled with lipstick seems unbelievable. The media brands her the ‘lipstick bandit’, and the Atlanta cops and the

Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi

Hasmukh Patel (Paresh Rawal),

a conservative Gujarati shopkeeper who lives in a gated society has a list of dislikes which include alcohol, non-veg food and Punjabis. Patel’s new neighbor, Guggi Tandon (Rishi Kapoor), is an unholy mix of all the latter restrictions. Tandon is a chicken lollipop chomping, whiskey glugging, bashful Punjabi who opens a garage right in front of Patel’s shop. Tandon also has a son Monty (Vir Das), who is quite like him and falls for Patel’s daughter Pooja (Payal Ghosh). A harrowed Patel tries every trick in the book to evict the Tandons, but to his horror,

Pooja, too, is fond of the roguish-yetgood-natured Monty. This intensifies the rivalry between the two families. Warring neighbors as a plot is not an uncommon thing in Bollywood films. It’s an ageold trope, yet it has given us fun films that we watch and enjoy till today. ‘Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi’ tries to work on those lines but does not succeed. With Rishi Kapoor as the brash but loveable used car dealer, Prem Chopra as his whiskey guzzling dad with a roving eye and Paresh Rawal as the super conservative Gujarati shopkeeper;



victimised bank employees seem like a bunch of jokers, who keep harping on the fearless bandit’s modus operandi, and yet, they fail to foil the half-a-dozen heists! It is almost like Hansal Mehta is attempting a comic story. Nothing wrong there, but if is a tale that is being recounted in lighter vein, then it should have at least made the audience laugh some more. The only one who is having a good time here is Kangana. Whether she’s docile or daring, the actress goes about her screen business with a flourish; getting her mannerisms pat. However, there are occasions the movie has a strong cast of characters. But when it comes to execution, ‘PKPS’ doesn’t quite add up. With a choppy edit, over the top performances by all and an overkill of hate on Paresh Rawal’s part, it resembles a TV show more than a film. It relies heavily on stereotypes for its humour, which is understandable given the film’s title, but even that falls flat. You hope that the war between the Gujaratis and the Punjabis will, for once, move beyond the stereotypes. The chemistry between the two enemies seems watered down and the climax is formulaic and guessable. -timesofindia.com


when even she gets carried away with the constant focus. But then again, is she really to be blamed? The filmmaker doesn’t even have another noteworthy star on celluloid to share the limelight. Simran’s parents and her fiancee, Sameer (Sohum) and other actors--foreign and desi--don’t quite add up. Frankly, you can’t emotionally invest in Simran or root for her as much as you might want to. But when you watch the film, you will find yourself warming up to her occasionally, because she’s all you’ve got. Let’s give Kangana her due. -timesofindia.com

Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar September 28, 1929

Ranbir Kapoor

September 28, 1982


36 September 22, 2017 1st ODI: Pandya’s All-round Heroics Down Australia BY SIDHARTH MONGA


HENNAI: (ESPN Cricinfo): India 281 for 7 in 50 overs (Pandya 83, Dhoni 79, Coulter-Nile 3-44) beat Australia 137 for 9 in 21 overs (Maxwell 39, Chahal 3-30, Pandya 2-28) by 26 runs (DLS method) Hardik Pandya, who has one century and one five-for in professional cricket, continued to make mockery of conventional selection principles as he single-handedly won India the first ODI of the series. On a pitch with more bounce than an average Indian ODI surface, Pandya’s sensational six-hitting combined with MS Dhoni’s pragmatism to lift India from 87 for 5 to 281, but persistent drizzle converted the 282-run target into a theoretically-easier 164 in 21 overs. Pandya then introduced the world to his knuckle ball to send back Steven Smith and Travis Head. Smith had a rare shocker of a match, dropping two catches at slip, including Pandya, who went on to score 83 off 67 balls, and made Adam Zampa his fourth victim of three successive sixes in three months in international cricket. When Smith came out to bat, he looked to blast everything out of the ground, displaying uncharacteristic panic before failing to pick the knuckle ball and falling to an excellent catch by Jasprit Bumrah at short fine leg. The two wristspinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, then did their bit in the middle overs to shut the chase out. Kuldeep followed a ripping legbreak with a cross-seam delivery to account for David Warner, making it 35 for 4 in eight overs. Glenn Maxwell then hit four sixes in 18 balls to raise Australia’s hopes, but this time Yuzvendra Chahal outsmarted him with a wide legbreak that he could only mistime to long-on. That, at 76 for 5 in 12 overs, was game over for all practical purposes. It was Maxwell in the first half of the match that started Australia’s ascendancy with a sensational catch to send back Virat Kohli, who had chosen to bat first expecting the pitch to slow down considerably in the chase. This came just after reserve opener Ajinkya Rahane had fallen to extra bounce on a drive. Like Rahane, Kohli, too, drove at

Hardik Pandya thumps one down the ground, India v Australia, 1st ODI, Chennai, September 17, 2017.

Nathan Coulter-Nile, getting a thick edge, which seemed to be sailing over point before Maxwell jumped and hung on, like plucking stationery fruit from a branch. Two balls later, Coulter-Nile soon made it 11 for 3 with the scalp of India’s new No. 4 Manish Pandey. It could have been worse had Smith done his bit in a near-perfect over bowled by Pat Cummins just before Kohli’s dismissal. Cummins troubled Rohit Sharma through the over before delivering the coup de grace with the edge on the last ball, but Smith couldn’t latch on at second slip. Rohit failed to cash in on that life. As did Kedar Jadhav after a good start. Both fell - for 28 and 40 respectively - to short balls from Marcus Stoinis, one of three allrounders in the Australian line-up. India’s next man in was their only allrounder. He walked in to join the man who might as well have been the only one batting for the Chennai crowd. Dhoni is captain, the thala, as far as Chennai is concerned. Even though Dhoni played sedately - as the situation demanded - his every move drew big cheers from the crowd. Making potentially decisive moves was Smith, bringing back first Cummins and then Coulter-Nile to actively look for wickets and not just

wait for them. In his first over back, the 28th of the innings, Coulter-Nile duly produced the edge for his captain, but Smith was up too early at slip, and let it through for four runs. Had he held on, Pandya would have been dismissed for 13 off 18. Instead Coulter-Nile was through his middle-overs spell, and Smith had to eventually go back to Zampa in the 33rd over. Pandya fancied Zampa immediately, winding up to each of the three deliveries he faced from him first up. All three were too full for him to hit in the air so he got singles down the ground. In the 37th over, though, Pandya found the perfect length to hit, but only after nearly falling in freakish manner. To the second ball of this over, Australia had a straight mid-on despite there being long-on and long-off behind him, a fielding position Dhoni has previously used for big straight hitters such as Pandya’s Mumbai Indians team-mate Kieron Pollard. Pandya managed to chip a full toss just over the man’s outstretched hand. The fielder was removed after that ball. With the next three balls it wouldn’t have mattered where the fielders were as Pandya found each of them to be in his swinging arc and hit

them clean and straight for sixes. He did the same to a Stoinis slower ball later before Smith backed Zampa to bowl another over with Pandya still unbeaten. Pandya managed another six off him before Zampa found a bit of drift, making him go across the line towards midwicket, and getting an edge for short third man to gobble. The Chennai crowd had let itself be wooed by a man other than Dhoni momentarily, but after Pandya’s brilliance, the focus was back on the original darling. At 207 for 6 in the 41st over, it was now time for Dhoni to tee off. And tee off he did, although smartly, as he took 39 off the last 22 balls he faced. He had not hit a four in the first 66 balls he faced for 40 runs, but now he laid into James Faulkner, the weak link in that attack. So deliberate was Dhoni’s innings that outside the one top-edged hook off Coulter-Nile, he hit boundaries only off Faulkner. Bhuvneshwar Kumar provided Dhoni ample support with 32 off 30 before giving India a good start in the defence, cramping up his Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner with movement back in. Australia’s allrounders-filled line-up panicked in the face of the tight start and threw their bats at everything.


P. V. Sindhu Beats Rival to Win Korea Open Title


UALA LUMPUR: Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu made a quick rebound to avenge her World Championships disappointment at the Korean Open. Sindhu battled for 83 minutes to beat world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 22-20, 11-21, 21-18 in the women’s singles final in Seoul yesterday. The Indian had lost narrowly to Okuhara in the final of last month’s World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Flush with success in the Korea Open, in-form PV Sindhu faces another Japanese challenge in the Japan Open which gets underway in Tokyo on Tuesday. After avenging the World Championship final defeat to Nozomi Okuhara in the Seoul final, fourth seed Sindhu will have to negotiate two tricky Japanese girls in the initial rounds. The Glasgow silver medallist will need to be at her best to first get past world No. 19 Minatsu Mitani in the first round. The tall Hyderabadi will then again run into Okuhara in second round if she overcomes the 26-year-old Mitani. Mitani was a former top-10 player, having reached world No. 9 ranking in 2013. So far, it’s 1-1 between them. Twenty-two-year old Sindhu won the last encounter between them at Macau Open in 2015. Recovering from a slight thigh strain, Saina Nehwal is also in the bottom half of the draw as Sindhu. The former world No.1 will lock horns with Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong. Saina has a 2-0 record against Chochuwong, who’s world No.25.


September 22, 2017

Ford, Mahindra Set Strategic Alliance, 22 Years after First Partnership N D -- Indian auto conglom- commercial efficiencies, distribution EW


erate Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd and Detroit-based Ford Motor Co. on Monday said they were exploring a strategic alliance to leverage each other’s strengths to address rapidly emerging challenges in the global automobile industry. The agreement between the two companies will allow them to combine their mutual strengths during a period of unprecedented transformation in the automotive industry, the companies said in a joint statement. “Teams from both companies will collaborate and work together for a period of up to three years. Any further strategic cooperation between the two companies will be decided at the end of that period,” the statement added. The areas of potential cooperation include mobility programs, connected vehicle projects, electrification, product development, sourcing and

within India to improve Ford’s reach and into global emerging markets to scale up Mahindra’s network. At first glance, the partnership seems to be an equal one, with the Indian firm gaining from Ford’s advanced technologies and global network; the Bill Ford-led American automaker will get a stronger and bigger footprint in the lucrative Indian market, which is expected to become the second-largest passenger vehicle market by 2026 with annual volume of 13.4 million units per year (if the local economy grows at an annual pace of 7.5%), according to the Indian government. To be sure, Mahindra was Ford’s first partner in India. Mahindra Ford, as the firm was called, started making the Ford Escort sedan in India in 1995. In 1998, the company became Ford India Pvt. Ltd. The automobile industry, both in In-

dia and globally, has changed a great deal since then. While Ford is still unprofitable in India and Mahindra has not grown significantly overseas, concepts such as shared mobility, autonomous cars and electric vehicles are threatening to disrupt the sector,

forcing yesterday’s giants iake on challenges from Uber Technologies Inc., Apple Inc. and Google Inc. For Ford, it is about gaining local scale and access to Mahindra’s affordable electric vehicle technology. -- Live Mint

Low Interest in Aamby Valley Shows Limitations of Private Cities M - With only two bidders In May this year, the Maharashtra UMBAI

showing any interest in the ongoing auction of the Sahara group’s resort town Aamby Valley, the fate of India’s fledgling private cities is looking doubtful. The low level of interest in the ultra luxury town is being ascribed to the seemingly high reserve price of Rs37,392 crore set by the Supreme Court for the township spread over 6,761.6 acres. With the auction scheduled for 10-11 October, there is still a chance more bidders could join the fray, but it does seem investors don’t believe the development is likely to offer viable returns. Besides Aamby Valley, there is Lavasa city near Pune and the proposed Nanocity near Chandigarh. Promoted privately but in partnership with the Haryana government, this last has been a non-starter, while Lavasa, which is owned and run by Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd, has been dogged by problems.

state government withdrew its special planning authority (SPA) status, bringing it under the jurisdiction of the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA). This means the state government will now have a say in Lavasa’s town planning. Unfortunately, by making the terms for the resale of properties by individuals in Lavasa unfriendly, the developer has tarred itself with the same brush as did most private builders who have been facing the ire of homeowners and the courts. Maharashtra was the leader among states in exploring the idea of allotting land to companies in order to set up new cities. In 1966, the state government, under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, framed special regulations for development of tourist resorts, holiday homes and townships in hilly areas. The idea was to take the pressure off Mahabaleshwar and Matheran, the

two existing hill stations in the state. Sadly, the two cities that came up— Aamby Valley and Lavasa—are both facing an uncertain future. Far more successful has been Gurugram, India’s first city to be developed almost exclusively by private enterprise. Variously described as “urban hell” and with some irony “the Singapore of India”, it could have been a role model in urban planning, but has failed to live up to its early

promise. A March 2017 TED piece described it as “a boomtown of millions without a citywide system for water, electricity or even public sewers”. While private developers have been quite happy to build the condominiums where they can sell apartments at high rates, they have been under no obligation to build the underlying infrastructure. -- Live Mint


V.S. Gaitonde Featured in Saffronart’s New Auction


EW DELHI: Art auctions are dreadful for contemporary artists. If we look at Indian art through the prism of what’s available at auctions, it would appear that collectors have little appetite for risk. Or that they are uncertain of their own intuition—a static world where, more or less, all everyone wants to do is to acquire a Modernist, no matter the high prices they command—take for instance, Tyeb Mehta’s Untitled (Woman in a Rickshaw), which fetched Rs22.9 crore at a Christie’s auction this summer, setting a new record for a work by the artist. And ever since the 2015 Guggenheim retrospective of V.S. Gaitonde, the modern master—all the more precious since he painted so little—has been given pride of place by major auction houses. Unsurprisingly then, the sale of modern and contemporary Indian art on 21 September being organized by the auction house Saffronart, too, features an early Gaitonde. The sale also features an ink-onpaper portrait by the artist from 1974, which commands attention considering the unfettered interest in his abstracts in recent years.

V.S. Gaitonde’s ‘Untitled’ (1974, estimated price Rs15-18 lakh). Photo: Saffronart


38 September 22, 2017


September 22, 2017




September 22, 2017