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Friday, December 30, 2016 | Vol. 35, No. 53

Indo American erican News

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December 30, 2016

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Beautiful Dance Production: Bhakti Sugandham BY THARA NARASIMHAN

HOUSTON:

“Bhakti Sugandham” meaning Devotional Fragrance was an exposition of exquisite music combined with exclusive Bharatanatyam dance. The dance performance was embodied with expressions of nine different emotions called “Nava Rasa” and the Global Organizations of Divinity produced the program with the music compositions created by His Holiness Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. To depict the nine different forms of Rasa or emotion many episodes were taken from Srimad Bhagavatham and woven into expressive performance through narrative Bharatanatyam. The concept being sublime, important extra efforts were contributed by dance choreography of Surabhi Veeraraghavan and exclusive music rendition of Uma Ranganathan. Both the Artistic directors spent a whole year of planning, preparations with creativity and production of phenomenal orchestra accompaniments and costumes. Beginning with the Dhyana Sloka the dance commenced with carrying the Text of Srimad Bhagavatham in a palanquin, as the scripture itself is an embodiment of the deity Lord Krishna. This was followed by soulful poetical tribute to Srimad Bhagavatham. It was interesting to witness how Srimad Bhagavatham originated. “Bhakti Sugandham” dance ballet opened with a group dance of swift Jathis portraying the Nava Rasa content of Courage, Disgust, Anger, Compassion, Humor, Fearfulness, Wonder, Love and Peace that was presented through popular stories taken from Srimad Bhagavatam, the crown jewel of all Indian sacred texts. One can see that Rasa Abhinaya was predominant in all of the nine different emotions. Veeram of Bhishma was well portrayed by his vow of either killing Arjuna or forcing Krishna to pick up a weapon. Bibatsa or disgust was conveyed by the transition of soul passing through the disgusting Vaitrani River. The Anger story was depicted with excellent choreography with fast paced Jathis and the anger of Lord Shiva. The Karunya or Compassion of the Lord Dwarakadheesh and poor classmate Sudama story. Lord Krishna. Hasyam came out of Samudra Manthan, among oth-

er things. “Bhayam” or Fear was well depicted from the story of the ferocious Narasimha Avatar. The ingenuity of Surabhi Veeraraghavan who superbly performed as Lord Narasimha presented the

posture precisely in Bharatanatyam style. Shobita Arun portrayal of some the wicked personalities in the scripture were laudable. Soujanya Madhusudhan presentation was very authentic Kalakshetra

style. The Adbhutam and Shringaram had episodes of Vamana avatar and Bhakti of Gopis of Vrndhavana respectively. The Gopis dancing with vitrtual dandia was remarkable. Shantham was shown

as the Eternal Peace by taking us to the tranquility of SriVaikunta where Lord Sriman Narayana reposes along with his consort Sri Mahalakshmi. Other star studded participants were Sandhya Raghuraman, Meenakshi Venkataraman, Divya Koothan, Hema Naren, Jwalanti Prasad, Krishnaya Corbett, Pavithra Chandrasekaran, Radha Venkat, Ratna Ramaraju, Selvi Samy, Shriya Fruitwala, Shruti Natarajan, Usha Prashanth, Varsha Vasu, Zenitha Ram, Advaith Subramanian, Ananya Hariharasudhan, Madhura Sriram, Maithreyi Asthagiri, Maya Shankar, Sahana Thothadri. Each and every one of the dancers brought out the gestures and facial expressions in different episodes that were outstanding. The emcees were Ravi Thottadhri and Malathi Krishnan. Uma Ranganathan melodiously rendered the invocation. Dr. Lekshmi Nair welcomed everyone and gave an introduction about Namadwaar and the activities of Global Organization of Divinity (G.O.D.) Contrary to the norm Vote of thanks was given by Nisha Giri even before the main event began. Nisha was integral part of the production concept and stories that were included. She thanked all who were involved in the production of Bhakti Sugandham. It is believed that there are two easy paths of devotion or Bhakti, which are Shravanam (To hear) and Kirtanam (sing Lord’s Praise). I would add “Natyam” dance as a form of worship as this beautiful dance production of “Bhakti Sugandham” created one such experience.

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December 30, 2016

Ogg is Eager to Transform the DA’s Office and Include Diversity BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: In Kim Ogg’s quest to be-

come the Harris County District Attorney, the second time was the charm as she hammered in on the issues that she said exposed the bad managerial style of the incumbent DA, Republican Devon Anderson. Two years ago, Andersen beat Ogg in a tussle over substantive policy reform, but this time, Democrat Ogg found several key issues that stuck with the voters in the hardest fought race in the County between the two parties. Ogg’s victory marked the return of a Democrat to the office after many years of Republican control and was a bright spot for the Democratic party in Harris County in the 2016 elections. Ogg focused on Anderson’s lack of managerial skills in at least four cases: keeping a mentally unstable rape victim in jail in general population over the Christmas holidays to ensure that she would testify against her attacker; the destruction of evidence in more than 1,000 criminal cases in the Harris County Precinct 4 constable’s office; a prosecutor who did not disclose payments to witnesses in a murder case and two prosecutors who intentionally forced a mistrial of a doctor accused of fondling a juvenile patient. In her law office near the Galleria, Ogg pointed to a 1992 picture of herself as a young assistant district attorney from among the 192 who were in Harris County DA Johnny Holmes office. In the same photo collage were the man who was elected DA in 2012, Mike Anderson and his wife, Devon Anderson who was appointed to serve out his position after he died of cancer in August 2013. After she left the DA’s office, Ogg headed Crime Stoppers of Houston and recently had her own private practice. Ogg is the daughter of former State Senator Jack Ogg. During her two runs for the DA’s office, Ogg has become quite familiar with the South Asian community in the Metroplex and is aware of their hard working ethic

Kim Ogg

and keen business mind. She was a speaker and an emcee at two Indo American Charity Foundation events in 2013. She realizes that many small business owners have been victims of crimes and recalled a prominent jewelry store in Little India that had a break in and then turned to private detectives to find the criminals. “As DA, I will encourage them to call my office if HPD does not respond,” she said adding “If we don’t investigate and prosecute those who hurt our business community, then we hurt our economy.” Ogg realizes that the South Asians are a community which is mostly concerned about robberies and burglaries. She is eager to find attorneys from the community who want to work as prosecutors in her office. She wants to streamline the DA’s office to analyze crime data across multiple jurisdictions. She would like to focus on problems in the international community like crime rings, white collar fraud and crime against the elderly. “I would like to start an International Advisory Board, plan community outreach with the DA’s office and work on solutions,” she said. “I want to serve the business community by putting emphasis on the criminals who prey on them.”

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10 December 30, 2016 HOUSTON:

Maira Junaid turned 9 years old this November … but she has been sick since birth. This little girl has spent more time in hospitals than in school. The doctors say she has a few months to live, unless she gets a double lung replacement. Maira needs to $650,000 for the transplant surgery. Maira was born in Karachi with a chronic, inherited disease called Cystic Fibrosis (CF), This is not common amongst Asians so treatment options are limited abroad. When she turned 2 years old, the situation somewhat stabilized. Her parents learned to manage her condition at home, unaware of the gravity of her ailment. They continued with regular medications and a nasal pump to clear her clogged nose. In August 2014, her health went downhill. She was admitted to the hospital and X-rays showed that one lung had completely collapsed and the other lung showing signs of distress too. Maira’s parents researched to understand CF. They looked for treatment options available outside of Pakistan. Most hospitals quoted $500,000 for an initial evaluation. Texas Children’s Hospital gave them a quote of $106,000 and agreed to send them a letter of invite for treatment, based on which they

COMMUNITY

Help Raise Funds for Maira

could apply for a visa. With the help of family and friends, they were able to raise the money and are now at Texas Children’s Hos-

pital in Houston, TX. As a international patient, the family needs to raise $650,000 (initially this amount was $1.5 mil-

lion) for Maira to be a candidate for a lung transplant. Maira’s father, Junaid has meet with the department heads of Transplant at Texas Children’s Hospital and with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). He has actively reached out to various media outlets, non-government organizations (NGOs), Muslim and Pakistani Associations in Texas as well as other states in the US. The National Foundation for Transplant (NFT) has set up a separate campaign page for Maira on their website to channel fund collection. Maira needs generous donors to raise the hefty amount of $650k for the actual transplant surgery. The community of Houston has been more than helpful, doing every bit they can through bake sales, community gatherings, social media campaigns, and much more. The donations are coming but Maira needs much more and time is running out. Please help raise funds for Maira. For more details on Maira’s journey and updates on her health status, please follow the facebook pagehttp://www.facebook.com/breathehope4maira Their Fundraising web page links are as below: http://www.breathehope4maira.com http://patients.transplants. org/ma

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December 30, 2016

Bobby Kathuria – Neha Purohit Wedding

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The newlyweds Bobby and Neha Kathuria with their parents Brij and Aruna Kathuria (on right) and Sharad and Bharti Purohit (on left) at their wedding reception.

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: The wedding card

– a tall, short illustrated booklet really – gave away the theatrical lavishness that was to come and true to form, the groom’s father, Brij Kathuria, delivered the three wedding functions for his son Bobby in the characteristic style which he has become known for. In the past four years, he has staged stunning sets for wedding receptions and fundraising galas (notably for his favorite charity Pratham) which express his admiration for the mix of electric logos, mood lighting and heavy beat music. Kathuria is an aficionado of elaborate sets and heavy décor and his theatrical style shows that his true calling for a second career should be in nightclub design. This time around, of course, the elaborate setup was for his son, Bobby who got married to Neha Purohit in a function that started with the bang of dholuks (barrel drums) on the boulevard outside the Hilton Americas downtown and onto the Avenidas de Americas as the groom rode a decorated steed while his groomsmen and relatives danced in front all the way to the waiting bride’s parents by the main entrance. The night before, the two families and their guests had immersed themselves in the sangeet ceremony on the 4th floor ballroom and eaten from six different cuisine stalls laid around the immense room. The next evening, the ballroom had been converted into a huge nightclub for over 700 people with a fountain inside the round newlyweds table and dance numbers by friends and family from both sides. Brij Kathuria finally had a chance to strut and shimmy in his own creation and he was overjoyed! Dawat Catering capped the evening with a cup of sweetened creamy milk

with blanched almonds heating in an oversized kadai (wok). The groom, Bobby, could have taken a page from the theatre too, in the way he went about in wooing his bride and winning her hand. The two met after finishing off at UT Austin while they were still living in that city. A mutual friend introduced them but it wasn’t till 18 months later that they went on their first date to see the movie Avatar. The show was sold out, so they went to another screen and found that, awkwardly, they were the only two in the theater! “She didn’t think that was our first date!’ recalled Bobby four days after the wedding. “For her, it was when we went to see the Cirque du Soleil three weeks later.” In between, they had ice cream with her cousin and by then, the two knew they were smitten. Bobby Kathuria, 32, was born in Spring, Texas and went to the get his bachelors in electrical engineering from the University of Texas in Austin. After a sprint with a local firm, this past March he joined ST Micro, a Franco-Italian company, as a global accounts manager and has relocated to San Francisco. His dad, Brij was the 98th employee of Compaq Computers, the topselling laptop computer company at that time and worked with them since 1982 in various management capacities till he left in 2008 after it was acquired by Hewlett Packard. Brij continues to do consulting work and is a lighting and sound specialist by avocation. Bobby’s mom, Aruna has kept the family together in their comfortable home in Spring for 30 years. His younger brother Neil, 30, is an emergency medicine doctor in New York City, and gave an emotional sendoff at the reception. Neha Purohit, 30, is a physical therapist who until recently worked in New York City and is now planning a move to San Fran-

cisco. She received her degree in human development from the University of Texas in Austin also. She is the youngest child of Sharad and Bharti Purohit, both raised in Kenya – he from Nairobi and she from Mombasa - who have lived in Houston since 1980. Sharad is a geophysicist who got his degree in London and started his career with the diamond mines in East Africa. He moved to Houston to continue in the field of geoscience, working for several companies and start-ups until he finally retired in 2011. Bharti worked for 14 years with Bechtel before becoming a homemaker. Neha’s older sister Niyati, 32, was born in Houston too and is in stem cell research at MD Andersen Cancer Center. Her older brother Ujval, 38, was born in London and is a geophysics scientist, like his dad, at Noble Energy. The newlyweds are excited about their planned honeymoon in New Zealand, Sydney, Australia and Hawaii, for which they left on December 29. They will make their home in San Francisco and look forward to many visitors from Austin and Houston.

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The Concealed Power of Namarta (Humility)

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“ f you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace.” - Saint Mother Teresa The term “humility” comes from the Latin word humilitas, a noun related to the adjective humilis, which may be translated as “humble” because the concept of humility addresses intrinsic selfworth, relationships and socialization as well as perspective. In Sanskrit, the virtue of humility is called “namarta” which means modest and humble behavior. It is emphasized in religious practice, moral teaching and ethical study where the notion is often made more precise. In a religious context, humility can mean recognition of self in relation to God or deities, acceptance of one’s defects, and submission to divine grace as a member of a religion. Outside of a religious context, humility is defined as self-restraint from excessive vanity, and can possess moral and/or ethical dimensions. Humility offers its owner complete freedom from the desire to impress, be right, or get ahead. Humility is simple and comes straight from the heart and results in contentment, patience, forgiveness, and compassion. It offers significant control over attitude, outlook, actions, quality of strength and the first step to liberation. Politeness is just a social etiquette but humility is a quality of divine nature. When we are humble, we never get puffed up by a false sense of superiority and also never get depressed with a false sense of inferiority. By adopting and acquiring humility, we can obtain an egoless state. Do not get involved with the idiosyncrasies and demands of the uncontrolled mind. We should start our day with a prayer to God who has

given us our breath of Life and created this universe for us. It is really important to practice humility to develop into a better leader and a better person. Pride makes us artificial whereas humility makes us real. “Thank you” is the best prayer and expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding. The greatest friend of Truth is Time, its greatest enemy is prejudice, but its constant companion is humility. Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought. Humility is really necessary because it keeps you fresh and new. Humility is a central aspect of Sikhism’s preaching as “Namarta”. Guru Nanak established the system of the langar in order to demonstrate the need to share and have equality between all people. Sikhs extend this belief in equality, and thus h u mility, towards a l l faith: “all rel i gious traditions are equally valid and capable of enlightening their followers”. According to Guru Nanak the supreme purpose of human life is to reconnect w i t h

Akal (The Timeless One). He inspired people to earn an honest living without exploitation and also the need for remembrance of the divine name (God). He described living an “active, creative, and practical life” of “truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity” as being higher than a purely contemplative life. My concept of humility is what you have when you give up certain self-aggrandizing thought patterns, reflexes, and behaviors. It involves an experience of growth in which you no longer need to put yourself above others, but you don’t put yourself below them, either. You’re just as valuable as every other human being on the planet, no more and no less. Humility is one of the foundations of devotional life: “Upon the altar of humility we must offer our prayers to God.” The power of humility is to overcome hostility as true humility is strength, not weakness. It disarms antagonism and ultimately conquers it. One of the most difficult things to learn about the importance of being humble when serving others is to render service without bossing, without making a fuss about it and without any consciousness of high a n d low.

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14 December 30, 2016

HAPPY GURPURAB Happy Gurpurab : Guru Gobind Singh Ji

GURPURAB RECIPES:

KARAH PRASHAD

Ingredients: 1 cup ghee or 1/2 lb unsalted butter (2 cubes) 1 cup whole grain flour (atta) 1 cup sugar 3 cups water

Procedure:

‘Guru Gobind Singh’, the tenth

Guru, was born at Patna Sahib in Bihar, India on December 22, 1666. He is the last of the Tenth Gurus of Sikhism. He was the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, who gave his life to protect religious freedom. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was nominated as the Guru by the ninth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur who was also his father. After Guru Tegh Bahadur’s death, Guru Gobind Singh became Guru on November 11, 1675. He lost his father, mother, and all four of his sons to a religious war, being waged by the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb was keen to see Islamization of Hindus an Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh established the ‘Khalsa’,

a military force of saint-soldiers which he baptized. Guru Gobind Singh is highly regarded by the Sikhs his monumental role in the development of the Sikh faith. He was a learned man. He compiled a number of books and poetry collections in his life. Before his death in 1708, he declared the Guru Granth Sahib, which is Sikhism’s Holy Scripture to be the permanent Sikh Guru. Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti is celebrated by the Sikhs as the birthday of their tenth and last guru Guru Gobind Singh. It is a religious celebration in which prayers for prosperity are offered. This day witnesses large processions and special prayer gatherings at all Gurudwaras. -all-essay.blogspot.com

GURPURAB RECIPES:

SHAHI PANEER

Ingredients:

250 gm Paneer 1/4 cup Beaten curd 1/2 cup Milk 1 1/2 cup Tomatoes, finely chopped 1/2 cup Onion, chopped into strips 1/2" piece Ginger, finely chopped 2-3 Green Chilies, finely chopped

2-3 Cardamoms, crushed 1/2 tsp Garam Masala 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder 2 tsp Tomato Sauce 3 tsp Ghee or butter 1/2 cup Water Salt to taste For Garnishing: 2 tsp Grated Paneer 1 tsp Coriander Leaves, chopped

Procedure:

Cut the paneer block to make 2"

Add sugar to water and set in pot to boil.Melt ghee or unsalted butter in a pan. To clarify unsalted butter heat and skim off foamy curds and spoon out solids from bottom of pan.Add whole grain flour (atta) to melted butter. Karta Purkh. Stir mixture continuously to lightly toast flour.Continue stirring flour and butter mixture while sugar boils to make light syrup. Butter separates from toasted flour turning a deep golden color with a nutty aroma. Pour boiling sugar syrup into toasted flour and butter mixture. Mixture will sputter. Take care not to be scalded. Stir rapidly until all water is absorbed. Keep stirring prashad as it thickens into a firm pudding. -zeenews.india.com cubes. In a frying pan, heat 1 1/2 tsp of ghee. Add onion, ginger, green chili and cardamom and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. Now, add tomatoes and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beaten curd and cook further for 5 minutes. Now, add water and allow it to cool.Once cool, blend the mixture in the mixer until it turns smooth. Now, take the frying pan and heat the remaining ghee. Now, add the churned gravy and the spices and tomato ketchup. Boil the mixture until it turns to thick gravy. At the time of serving, heat the gravy. Add milk and paneer cubes and allow it to boil for about 3 to 4 minutes.Garnish it with chopped coriander and grated paneer. Your yummy shahi paneer is ready to be served. -zeenews.india.com

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HAPPY GURPURAB

December 30, 2016

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INDIA

December 30, 2016

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Recap: Top Events that Shook India in 2016

F

rom Demonetisation to natural disasters, there had been a number of events that shook the nation this year. Here’s a quick look at the major events that got India talking.

January 2: Heavily armed gunmen stormed into the Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab. Two security forces personnel were killed in the initial battle, with an additional security force member dying from injuries hours later. Security personnel secured Pathankot base after a battle lasting more than 14 hours. The guerrillas were reportedly members of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed. The attack came days after the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif met in Lahore to launch a surprise peace initiative.

the state cruising to a comfortable majority, while BJP scripted history by opening its account in the state assembly. The Congress only managed to retain power in Puducherry from its breakaway group AINRC with a simple majority.

June 22: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched 20 satellites through a single rocket, breaking its 2008 record of launching 10 satellites in a single mission. Cartosat-2 Series satellite, the PSLV C-34 rocket blasted off from Sriharikota, carrying satellites mainly for international customers including the US, Germany and a Google-owned company. Most of the satellites entered orbit to observe and measure the Earth’s atmosphere, while another aimed to provide service for amateur radio operators.

August 20: While female wrestler Sakshi Malik delivered India its first medal of the 2016 Rio Games on August 18, PV Sindhu became India’s first woman to win an Olympics silver medal, creating history with a stunning display of talent, power and grace.

September 18: Seventeen soldiers were killed in a major terror attack at an army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri near the Line of Control, one of the deadliest terrorist strikes on security forces in recent times. All four terrorists were killed in the attack that India has directly blamed on Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, ‘I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished.’

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February 9: Students of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) held a protest on their campus against the capital punishment meted out to the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, and Kashmiri separatist Maqbool Bhat. This set off the row, with the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staging a protest to demand expulsion of the organisers. ABVP members alleged that the protest march consisted of students shouting ‘anti-India’ slogans. Four days after the event, JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on sedition charges and thrased before a hearing on February 15 in the Patiala House courts complex. The escalating stand-off over Kumar’s arrest saw the students going on strike till he was released on March 3.

May 19: The 2016 Assembly polls in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry ended on May 19 with the vote counting. The BJP made history inAssam by getting its first government in the north east, while two women Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee romped home for a second consecutive term in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Kerala voted out Congressled UDF and handed over reins of power to the Left Democratic Front. CPI(M)-led LDF regained power in

(281) 564-9500 July 8: The Indian Army announced the killing of Hizbul poster boy Burhan Wani that triggered massive protests across the Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands gathered in Tral, Wani’s hometown to participate in his funeral prayers. Several protesters were killed with many security personnel were injured as violent street protests erupted across the valley. Wani, who carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head was declared a ‘martyr’ by Pakistan with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announcing July 19 as a ‘black day’ to express ‘solidarity’ with people of Kashmir.

July 22: An Indian Air Force AN-32 transport plane carrying 29 people, mostly military personnel disappeared while flying over the Bay of Bengal. The aircraft was en route from Tambaram Air Force Station in the city of Chennai to Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

September 19: India decided to boycott Pakistan and cancelled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Islamabad for Saarc Summit. India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan on the issue of terrorism got a boost with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan also decided to skip the event, setting the stage for the postponement of the meet.

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September 29: The Indian Army conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control in a fitting response to Pakistan for the Uri attacks conducted by the country. According to sources, Indian army Special Forces operations on terror launch pads lasted from 12:30 am to 4:30 am, location was 500 meters - 2 kms across Line of Control. Surgical strikes on Pakistani terror camps belonged to multiple terror groups, no Indian casualties were reported. Pakistan denied India’s claim saying, ‘no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated by India.’

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18 December 30, 2016 The Importance of Being Indian: Our country has more VIPs than any other nation in the whole wide world

A former US official described her country as the only

indispensable nation in the world. While we might not be able to make such hyperbolic claims for India – no matter how patriotic the heart we wear on our tri-colour sleeve – we can certainly affirm that ours is, literally, a Very Important Polity, in comparison with other countries. We base our scale of importance on importance itself, by showcasing how many VIPs, Very Important Persons, we can lay claim to in our public life. Britain reportedly has a total of 84 officially designated VIPs. The French republic boasts 109 such personages, Japan 125, Germany 142, Australia 205, the US 252, South Korea 282, oligarchic Russia 312, and China 435. Leaving such stragglers far behind and in the dust, India has taken an unbeatable lead in what might be termed the Dignitaries Derby by fielding no fewer than 5,79,092 frontrunners, and still counting. Besides the president and the vice-president, these include, among others, the governors of all the states, the Speakers of Parliament and assemblies, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, corporators, taluk/ gram panchayat members, party leaders, the chief justice and judges of the Supreme Court and high courts. Indeed, the creation of VIPs is a growth industry in the country where the diktats of dynastic rule create their own hierarchies – or higher-archies – by the elevation of kith and kin – or should that be kith and king? – to positions of power and prestige. Sceptics might ask how come, with so many very important persons in our midst, we aren’t world leaders in all spheres of activity, from economic and social uplift to sports. Could it be a case of too many cooks – too many crooks? – spoiling the broth? Such questions miss the point, which is that only too often importance feeds on itself and creates a culture of competitive self-importance, with each contender preoccupied to the exclusion of all else with scoring points over others, be it in a parliamentary logjam over demonetisation or in the impasse as to who calls the shots in poll-bound UP, Number One Son or Number One Uncle. All of which ensures that, our grand panjandrums apart, all the rest of us can also collectively claim another sort of VIP status: Very Insignificant Priorities. -timesofindia.com

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY

2016 was a Bad Year for Indo-Pak Ties When Prime Minister Narendra What Lies Ahead? Modi made a surprise visit to Lahore on December 25 last year to wish his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday, the overwhelming feeling was that the only way bilateral ties could go was up despite simmering tensions on the LoC. Within days, the brazen terror attack on Pathankot airbase put paid to the optimism. The attack also marked the beginning of a cycle of terrorism that continued till the assault on an army camp at Nagrota in November, capping one of the worst years for bilateral ties in recent memory. And things could get worse in the coming year, according to experts in both countries, with little expectation that the two sides can find common ground on dealing with issues ranging from terrorism to Kashmir. The optimism, which began when Modi invited Sharif to his swearingin ceremony in May 2014, peaked after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad a year ago, when the two sides agreed on a new comprehensive dialogue. But the process never got off the ground because of the string of attacks on military facilities at Pathankot, Uri and Nagrota. A planned meeting of the foreign secretaries in Islamabad fell through after Pakistan rejected India’s contention that talks should focus on terrorism. The attack on the Uri army camp was followed by India pulling out of the Saarc Summit in Pakistan and surgical strikes across the Line of Control, which sparked intense exchanges of fire between troops of the two sides. Pakistan was also angered by Modi’s reference to rights violations in Balochistan and Pakistanoccupied Kashmir, especially during his Independence Day speech. “Modi has been very tactical and made some smart moves, such as inviting Sharif to his swearing-in and going to Lahore. He’s done the right things to show you can’t trust Pakistan,” Ajay Behera of the Academy of International Studies at Jimia Millia Islamia told Hindustan Times. “Unlike Mumbai, where civilians were targeted, Pakistan has shifted to hitting military installations,” he added. In Pakistan, experts said, there were

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

some who always expected bilateral ties to deteriorate sooner or later under Modi. The unrest in Kashmir after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani also added to the deterioration in relations. “Much of this has to do with civilmilitary relations in Pakistan,” said analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi. While the situation in Kashmir was a “good reason” for Pakistan to react, the real issue was “friction between Sharif and the military high command”, he said. The Pakistan Army insists its moves are aimed at getting the civilian government to perform according to the constitution, but politicians say the military’s intentions aren’t always noble. “They claim to be fighting corruption and poor governance but what they are doing is playing on popular sentiments to put pressure on the government to extract major concessions,” said a senior politician who did not to be named. Besides pushing for concessions such as tax breaks for army-run businesses and hikes in defence spending, the army has also pressured the government to downgrade relations with India, keeping in mind Sharif’s desire for regional peace and better ties with India. “The army thrives when relations are bad. One can tell with the statements issued by the (military’s media arm) as cross-border firing took place,” said Abid Hussain, a local journalist, who added the media was “managed” by the military “and told what to write when such incidents

occurred”. The powerful security establishment continues to push militant groups for operations across the border while the ruling PML-N has links with organisations that cause havoc along sectarian lines within Pakistan. “When the Sharif government puts pressure on the JuD and other ISIsponsored organisations, the army goes after militants that are political allies of the government,” said a senior military official. “It’s a mess,” he added. The outlook for the coming year, the experts agreed, wasn’t very promising. Elections in key Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh and the PML-N going into election mode ahead of Pakistan’s 2018 polls would “reduce the space available” for talks, said Commodore (retired) C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies. Pakistani analysts believe relations with India can improve only if Islamabad sorts out its own state of affairs. Two close aides of Sharif – interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and de-facto foreign minister Sartaj Aziz – are perceived to have helped further the security establishment’s agenda as they are close to the military. This only makes it harder for Sharif to act. “In many ways Sharif continues to be a cornered prime minister,” said Rizvi. India too needs to firm up its Pakistan policy, which has been inconsistent for far too long, experts said. -hindustantimes.com

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INDIA COMMUNITY CONTINUED FROM PAGE

December 30, 2016

Recap: Top Events that Shook India in 2016

17

November 8: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes to check corruption. According to the PM the country was doing away with Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in an effort to weed out corruption, black money and in turn poverty and terrorism. Modi said that the government believes the time has come to ‘take a strong decision’ on tackling these problems, suggesting that counterfeit notes from across the border were being used to fund terrorism in India. PM Modi’s sudden announcement, though welcomed by people across the country, has left many in the lurch and utter state of confusion. Millions of consumers have been desperately queuing up outside banks and ATMs to exchange old notes for new ones or withdraw cash.

November 20: Fourteen coaches of the Indore-Patna Express had derailed at Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 150 people and injured over 200. This was the worst accident since May 28, 2010, when the Gyaneshwari Express derailed in West Midnapore district of West Bengal, killing at least 148 people.

December 6: Chief minister of Tamil Nadu, leader to many Tamils and ‘Amma’ to millions, J Jayalalithaa died after undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai for 75 days. She was 68. The six-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu was buried with state honours at Chennai’s Marina Beach near her mentor M G Ramachandran.

December 12: Tropical cyclone Vardah made landfall in Chennai that killed at least 7 people. Vardah moved ashore just north of Chennai

21

as the equivalent of a Category 1 tropical cyclone. The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center in its final advisory estimated Vardah’s maximum sustained winds were 85 mph just prior to landfall. These high winds downed nearly 260 trees across the city. According to The Times of India the direct impact of the cyclone has generated 23,400.12 tonnes of trees, branches, debris and garden waste. -sify.com

December 1: Supreme Court ordered that ‘all the cinema halls in India shall play the national anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the national anthem’. The apex court further added that ‘ the time has come, the citizens of the country must realize that they live in a nation and are duty bound to show respect to National Anthem.’

HINDU WORSHIP SOCIETY

ELECTIONS FOR GOVERNING BOARD & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE - FEBRUARY /MARCH 2017 (This announcement is being made in the local news media as not all emails and/or addresses are available) Recently, Bal Sareen, HWS Temporary Board President announced that Hindu Worship Society will hold elections in FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 for a regular Governing Board and Executive Committee to operate the HWS in accordance with the current constitution and good operating practices.based on lessons learned and input from the Temporary Board. ELECTION COMMISSIONER Usha Mehra will to insure fair elections are conducted per HWS Constitution guidelines As a first step, the Temporary Board is reaching out to all HWS devotees & well wishers to confirm their Membership Status by completing the membership verification form provided below: Hindu Worship Society - Membership Declaration Form (Self-attestation process) Name: ___________________________________________________________________ Address: _________________________________________________________________ E-mail Address: ____________________________________________________________ Phone Number: Home: ______________________ Mobile: ________________________ I am a Life Member ____ General Member ____ Since: ________________________ Signature______________________________________

Date:___________________

HWS Constitution Article 4: Membership • Membership in the society is open to any Hindu 18 years of age, the term “Hindu” shall apply to anyone who was born into the Hindu faith or who has adopted the Hindu Faith • Life membership is open to those who pay life membership fee. Life membership is not transferable • Associate or corporate membership shall be open to anyone who respects and supports the objectives. Associates and corporate members shall have no voting rights • Members who have paid annual or lifetime dues and fees shall be entitled as set forth in this constitution, to vote on the election or ratification of members of the executive committee and of the board, on the acquisition and disposition of the major assets of the society, on the merger and its principal terms and any amendment of those terms, on any resolution to dissolve the society, and on any amendments to this constitution. The voting rights shall be in effect after two months of continuous membership in good standing. • All members shall be required to abide by this constitution and to promote the welfare and the interest of the society • All members shall pay annual or lifetime dues as set by the general body at the beginning of each year the amount for life time membership may be increased but shall not be decreased. For the first year the amount due for life time membership shall be $1,000 which may be

paid over a twenty four month period. Only after the full amount has been paid shall member become a life member. • The annual membership dues shall be for January 1 through December 31. General Membership is currently $100 per year. Each Verification Form is for TWO votes (Member and Spouse) The membership verification form indicates the requirements for LIFE MEMBERS and GENERAL MEMBERS. Life members are voting members, General Members for years 2015 & 2016 are eligible to vote. Complete and return this form by any of the following methods before 8 January 2017 a. Scan and return by Email to: mnicholson@ieeinc.net b. Mail form to: Bhawani Shankar Shastri Ji, c/o Hindu Worship Society, 2223 Wirtcrest Rd, Houston, Texas 77055 c. Visit the Temple: Deposit the form in a sealed envelope in the specially marked locked box in the Temple Hall d. Forms in sealed envelopes can be handed over to Election Commissioner Usha Mehra. After the Membership verification process has been completed, Members will receive communication from the Election Commissioner providing general guidelines and seeking nominations for positions to serve the HWS of Houston. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The next GENERAL BODY MEETING will be held at HWS temple on Sunday, 8 Jan 2017 at 11am

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2016 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


22 December 30, 2016

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PUZZLES / RECIPES Mama’s Punjabi Recipes Gur Galef Kharot (Molasses Coated Walnuts) Ingredients: • 500gm kharott giri (shelled walnuts) • 500gm gur (rock molasses) • ¼ tsp saunf (fennel seed) • ¼ cup pani (water)

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readers, below is a reprint of Mama’s Gur Galef Kharot recipe, which is a tasty sweet to make especially during the merry winter holiday season. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions. Nuts of all types are a favorite of Punjabis, and especially piste (pistachios), badam (almonds), kharot (walnuts) or kaju (cashews). I remember when I was growing up in Lyallpur in the region of West Punjab made fertile by the Chenab River that my grandfather, Lalaji Mastan Chand Malhotra who was a Municipal Committee Secretary, would bring home jute bags full of nuts of all sorts. We would enjoy breaking and eating them during the winter months as we sat around an anghiti (wood burning clay bucket stove) in the courtyard of our ancestral home. During the winter months in North India chilgoze (pine nuts) and sandroasted moongfli (peanuts) are sold commonly by street vendors – and kharot (walnuts) and kishmish (raisins) are equally popular. These mewah (dried fruits) are very often used in all types of mithai (sweetmeats) like burfi (reduced milk squares) and ladoos (sweetened flour balls). Even though dried fruits are now quite expensive in India and are out of the reach of many people, the halwai (confectioners) shops are packed everyday. Gajack (peanut brittle in gur (sugar

cane jaggery)) is popular in the winter months in North India and is sold in the cities by rural farmers who come to the cities for a month to freshly make it in pop-up roadside stalls. Further south, the tourist town of Lonawala, southwest of Pune, is famous for gajack, with every other store in the main bazar selling the popular Maganlal chikki (as it is known there) brand. Walnuts (kharot) are very beneficial: they contain the omega-3 amino acid I-arginine which fights heart disease; may reduce prostate and breast cancers; have powerful antioxidants, improve metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes and help with weight control, brain health and reproductive health in men. During this Holiday Season, this timely recipe will come in handy because it is fairly easy to make and is hard to resist. Too many walnuts can irritate the palate but the gur coating makes them much tastier and is also not as heavy as other sweets are. In Texas, you can substitute pecans which are very popular, if you prefer.

Directions: 1. Chop the walnuts into halves so that they are easier to coat and eat. 2. Break the gur into smaller pieces. Place a frying pan over high heat, pour in the water and when it is nice and hot, throw in the gur pieces and let them melt. 3. Add the fennel seed and stir well for 5 minutes. Test the melted gur to see if it runs a sticky ribbon when stirred and touched. 4. Turn the heat off and throw in the walnut pieces and stir well and quickly to coat them and make sure the walnuts aren’t clumped together. 5. Place on a plate to let the walnuts cool off; when cool place in an airtight jar so that they don’t become humid.

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the oldfashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur (since renamed Faisalabad), India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable recipes.

MAMA’S TIP OF THE WEE K USE

GUR (JAGGERY) TH DARK BROWN MOAT IS MADE OF LASSES In India, it is easy to fi nd th e rig ht type of gur (jagger sweets and use in sw y) gery comes from M eet and sour pickles. But in the US, mto make ex ost jagic o an d not all of it is mad In many stores, the e from sugar cane. M ex ic an ja gg ery is sold in conica is usually light colo l shap with a hint of molas red, and some is even just compactedes, and se sugar s. For best results, bu y th e In di an gur that is sold cylinder and has a de as a larg from sugar cane m ep brown color. Make sure it says it e, squat ol is m as ses. You can break and then keep the off a piece for cookade re st se ing aled in a plastic ba use later. g and container fo r

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December 30, 2016

ENTERTAINMENT:REVIEWS/NEWS ENTERTAINMENT:REVIEWS/NEWS ‘Dangal’ Box-office Collection: Aamir Khan film scales new heights on first Monday

Aamir Khan’s Christmas release

‘Dangal,’ which also stars Fatima Sana Sheikh, Sanya Malhotra and Sakshi Tanwar in lead roles, had a phenomenal first Monday as it collected over Rs 25 crore to take the four-day total to a staggering Rs 132.43 crore. The drop from Friday is barely 14 percent when the film had earned around Rs 29 crore. With this, the film now has to its credit the third highest first Monday collection after Hrithik Roshanstarrer ‘Krrish 3’and Salman Khanstarrer ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan.’ However, it has to be noted that ‘Krrish 3’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’enjoyed the benefit of a holiday on Monday. In sharp contrast, the incredible performance of ‘Dangal’ has come on a nonholiday and is the highest collection for a non-holiday Monday. The sports drama film, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, continues to do extremely well in East Punjab pre-

sumably due to the Haryanvi setting of the film. It has also picked up pace in Gujarat and West Bengal. A biopic on Indian wrestler and coach Mahavir Singh Phogat, ‘Dangal’ has no big Bollywood release to compete with in the week to come, which serves as a great advantage. According to trade experts, the film is expected to do business of around Rs 185 crore in the first week, which, in all regards, is remarkable to say the least. -timesofindia.com

23

Shor Se Shuruaat Movie: Of Sound and Silence become extinct in an umnist who uses his voice to call out Omnibus of seven authoritarian fu-

shorts directed by Rahul V. Chittella, Pratik Rajen Kothari, Satish Raj Kasireddi, Amira Bhargava, Supriya S h a rma, Annie Zaidi & A r unima Sharma. Not all young directors get to be mentored by suchstalwarts as Shyam Benegal, Mira Nair, Imtiaz Ali, Sriram Raghavan, Nagesh Kukunoor, Zoya Akhtar, and Homi Adjania, which was reason enough for me to want to watch these shorts. Very often an omnibus of shorts becomes an uneven exercise for the viewer for multiple reasons: plots, performances and treatments can vary wildly, and the whole can become an uneasy fit. Shor Se Shuruaat has one theme which binds them: sound and silence. It is about being able to hear and choosing to mute the noise. About not being able to sleep and finding solace in CDs which have

ture; a man condemned to death whose last wish is to hear, just hear; about a fearless poet who chooses to break his silence and suffer the consequences, about whimsical dreamscapes, about a distressed young woman finding refuge in music. As compared to several other similar series of compiled shorts I’ve seen, ‘Shor Se Shuruaat’ fares better. The thematic thread running through the films gives us a useful connector. And there’s a certain quality to the production in almost all the films. But despite the potential, the stark fact is that Shor Se Shuruaat doesn’t have consistency: only two or three films stand out; the rest are either strictly serviceable or plain amateurish. The one I liked the most has Atul Kulkarni play a humanist poet-col-

injustice. Kulkarni brings weight to the part, and the filmmaker manages to give us characters who feel lived in. Also nice is the one about a little boy who chooses calm over noise: when he smiles, his face lights up. In the better films, you can see the difference between construction and creation. -indianexpress.com

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2016 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

Twinkle Khanna December 29, 1973

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24 December 30, 2016

Rain Spoils Contest after Azharton

Azhar Ali flicks into the leg side, Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test, 2nd day, Melbourne, December 27, 2016

MELBOURNE: A century from

Azhar Ali and staunch support by Asad Shafiq frustrated Australia’s bowlers but rain was a sickener for both sides on day two of the Boxing

Day Test at the MCG. Showers truncated the morning session and then re-emerged shortly after 5 pm to prevent any further play, meaning at least 78 scheduled overs

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were lost over the first two days. The inclement weather cut into the time available to Pakistan to force the result they need to stand a chance of winning the series. In between the rain breaks, Azhar and Shafiq showed good composure to work through the early spells of the Australian pacemen then rotating the strike when Nathan Lyon’s spin was introduced. After Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed perished to the second new ball, Mohammad Amir played some handsome strokes while Azhar forged on with impressive determination to push the score to 6 for 310 at stumps. Azhar’s hundred was his 12th in Tests, a brilliant exercise in restraint and patience to keep Australia in the field. The hosts looked a little less than their best in what was their fourth consecutive day in the field, when

also including Pakistan’s narrowly failed chase of 490 to win the first Test of the series in Brisbane. In their search for a wicket, the Australians wasted a referral when Jackson Bird appealed for caught behind against Shafiq, before replays showed that ball was nowhere near bat. Later in the same over, Shafiq drove Bird down the ground and the bowler touched the ball before it hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Azhar quickly turned to regain his ground in time, before there was brief pandemonium at the ground when the third umpire flashed an OUT decision on the MCG’s big screen. This mistaken verdict was quickly rescinded, and following some light rain the batsmen resumed their occupation in the final few overs before lunch. Steven Smith tried himself and also Nic Maddinson in this brief period, and with a deft leg-side deflection off the latter Azhar made it to threefigures before the rain returned. There was no further play before 3.30pm local time, and with Smith immediately taking the second new ball conditions became more challenging for the visiting batsmen. Shafiq was undone for 50 by an excellent away swinger from Bird, and Sarfraz also edged the moving ball, inching Josh Hazlewood further towards his 100th Test wicket in the process. However, Amir ended Australian hopes of rolling up the tail, playing his shots with aplomb and adding 42 in quick time with the enduring Azhar. Pakistan have manoeuvred themselves into a strong position in this match, but the return of the rain lessened the meaning of that advantage.

SPORTS

India’s New Faces Make it a Series to Remember

M

Vijay (five Tests, 357 runs at 44.62) The mental strength he has is readily apparent, for he has a game that demands high levels of concentration: leaving countless balls outside off stump while waiting for the right one to put away. In Mumbai, he used a part of that to overcome a perceived weakness. After a century in Rajkot, it seemed like Vijay was not dealing with lifters well. He responded by scoring 136 in Mumbai to make sure England do not get a lead despite making 400. Of course, the Wankhede pitch was awful for the seamers, but there was plenty of spin, and Vijay is remarkable at handling that. He steps down the track late, and yet gets to the pitch of the ball quickly. And the hit is clean more often than not. He put the pressure back on Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, and they buckled. Since they were the only two spinners in the team, England buckled too. Karun Nair (three Tests, 320 runs at 160) One innings does make all the difference. He was a replacement player - getting his chance only because Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma were injured - but his 303 not out might just make his among the first names put down on the team sheet in the next Test. Granted the innings was played on perhaps the best batting track of the series, but Nair did have other things to worry about. There were notions that even if he made a hundred, he might end up losing his place because he was not among India’s first-choice options in the middle order. By turning that into a triple, he has forced the selectors, if not to vote in his favour, to at least feel awkward when not doing so. -ESPNcricinfo

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo.

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Karun Nair converted his maiden hundred into a triple ton, India v England, 5th Test, Chennai, 3rd day, December 18, 2016

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2016 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


December 30, 2016

Initial Bids for Development of Navi Mumbai Airport to be Opened in January

25

24 Lakh have Income above Rs10 Lakh, but 25 Lakh Cars are Being Bought Each Year

NEW DELHI: India has just 24.4

The project requires around 2,268 hectares out of which 1,160 hectares would be utilised for aeronautical purposes.

MUMBAI:

After much delay, the initial bids for development of the Navi Mumbai international airport is likely to be opened early next month, with leading players, including GMR and GVK expected to be in the fray. The Navi Mumbai airport, which would help in easing the congestion at the existing international aerodrome here, is to be developed through a public private partnership. City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO) proposed the development of the airport. Officials said the bids received following the issuance of RFQ (request for qualification) are likely to be opened in the second week of January next year. A clutch of entities, including GMR, GVK and Hiranandani groups as well as Tatas, are believed to have put in their bids for the project, officials added. In February this year, CIDCO invited RFQ and the deadline for

submissions was extended quite a few times. It was first extended to 30 July, then 2 September and 31 October. Finally, after another extension, the deadline ended on 10 December. The project requires around 2,268 hectares out of which 1,160 hectares would be utilised for aeronautical purposes. It is to be developed through public private partnership by way of setting up a special purpose vehicle (SPV). In the SPV, CIDCO & its nominees would have 26% stake. “The total project cost of the Navi Mumbai International Airport project, including cost of the predevelopment works is estimated at Rs14,574 crore (FY 13 prices). The cost of pre-development works is estimated at Rs2,358 crore (comprising of part airport site development and shifting of extra high voltage transmission lines),” as per CIDCO website. -livemint.com

lakh tax payers who declared an annual income of over Rs10 lakh yet 25 lakh new cars, including 35,000 luxury cars, are being bought every year for last five years, a top official said. A nation of over 125 crore people had only 3.65 crore individuals filing their tax returns in the assessment year 2014-15, the official said alluding to a huge number of individuals being outside the tax net. “Of the 3.65 crore individuals (filing returns in assessment year 2014-15), there were only 5.5 lakh people who paid income tax of more than Rs5 lakh and accounted for 57% of the total tax kitty. This essentially means that only 1.5% of those filing tax returns (3.65 crore) are contributing to 57% of tax kitty,” the official said. The tax returns when compared with car sales throw astonishing numbers, he said. “Car sales on an average in last five years has been about 25 lakh per year. In the last three years the car sales were 25.03 lakh, 26 lakh and 27 lakh,” he said adding the statistics points to a large number of people having income to buy cars are outside the tax bracket. A car normally has a life of seven years and a second car is purchased not before five years by a common man, the official said. The income tax data collated shows only 48,417 persons reporting income of more than

A car normally has a life of seven years and a second car is purchased not before five years by a common man, the official said.

Rs1 crore in a year. Yet luxury brands like BMW, Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche and Maserati sell almost 35,000 cars every year. Of the individuals filing returns, 5.32 lakh were with income of less than Rs2 lakh per annum, and so not within the tax bracket. He said 24.4 lakh filers declared their annual income of being more than Rs10 lakh and there were 1.47 lakh tax fillers who had an income of over Rs50 lakh in a year. Also during the 2014-15 Assessment Year, there were 1.61 crore people whose tax deducted at source (TDS) were deducted but they did not file income tax return (ITR), he said.

India’s tax revenue as a percentage of its GDP was 16.7% in 2016, compared with 25.4% in the United States and 30.3% in Japan. The official said the numbers point to a significant number of people who are liable to pay taxes aren’t doing so. The government, he said, is shoring up its efforts to check tax evasion. The 8 November decision to junk old Rs500 and Rs1000 notes are one of the steps to tackle the menace, he said adding by mandating people to deposit the old currency in banks was a way to account for the unaccounted money and tax them. -livemint.com

Tata Sons Slaps Legal Notice on Cyrus Mistry N

Cyrus Mistry

EW DELHI: Tata Sons on Tuesday slapped a legal notice on Cyrus Mistry for alleged breach of confidentiality by making public sensitive, confidential documents. “Tata Sons slaps legal notice on Cyrus Mistry for alleged breach of confidentiality by making public sensitive, confidential documents.”

INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2016 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


26 December 30, 2016 ‘Have not Become PM to Cut Ribbons’: PM Modi Vows to Continue War on Corruption

DEHRADUN: Prime Minister Na-

rendra Modi said on Tuesday that his government’s demonetisation exercise has delivered a blow to terrorism, drug and fake currency smuggling as

well as human trafficking. “Most people are for honesty; it is just a handful who are trampling them. We have waged this war to empower those who are being tram-

pled,” he said at a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally in the Uttarakhand capital of Dehradun. “Have I been made the Prime Minister to attend small inaugurations and cut ribbons? The people are upset when I act as the ‘chowkidaar (caretaker)’,” he said, vowing to continue his fight against corruption and taking a dig at detractors of the move. He also said despite hardships, the people of the country had supported the decision to scrap high-value banknotes. Modi’s surprise announcement to recall Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8 has sparked chaos and confusion across the country, with millions of consumers queued up outside banks and ATMs to change a limited number of old notes for new ones or to withdraw cash. The government said the move was aimed at rooting out black money and graft, but faced protests from Opposi-

tion parties that questioned if there was a plan in place to implement such a massive programme. “Corruption has destroyed the country, which was known as a bird of gold. If the country is to progress, this plunder has to stop, corruption has to stop,” Modi said in the hill state that is going to polls next year. Hitting out at rivals, he said: “There are those who are on the lookout for an opportunity to pounce on me. But I know that so long as I have the security cover of 125 crore people, nothing will happen to me.” Modi referred to the OROP (OneRank-One-Pension) scheme for exservicemen and saluted the defence personnel for understanding the financial constraints of the Union government and for agreeing to take the arrears in four instalments. He also informed that so far Rs 6,600 crore has been distributed under the OROP scheme. The people

of Uttarakhand have a substantial representation in the country’s armed forces. “Uttarakhand in now lying in such a deep pit that it needs two engines to pull it out. Those two engines are -- one in Delhi (central government) and we need another in Dehradun (state government),” Modi said, asking the people to vote for his Bharatiya Janata Party. Modi also tried to woo the young and the unemployed by saying that his government has done away with the practice of interviews for Group C and D jobs, which breeds corruption and nepotism. “Now, only merit guarantees one a job, while earlier it used to be notes that did so,” he said as the crowd applauded. The PM also laid the foundation stone for an ‘all-weather’ road for the ‘Char Dham’ annual pilgrimage. -hindustantimes.com

Gurgaon could Become First in Country to get Caterpillar Train

NEW DELHI: Haryana has taken

the lead to set up a pilot corridor for the “Caterpillar Train”, a new concept for urban mass-transit solution designed by an Indian Railway officer which won a global award at the MIT in the United States earlier this year. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has instructed his office to coordinate with local authorities in Gurgaon and figure out a way forward, especially in terms of space, for the pilot corridor. Ashwani Upadhyaya (43), the railway officer who co-invented the Caterpillar Train concept, along with Emil Jacob — both PhD scholars at MIT — met Khattar on December 8 in Delhi.

“The CM liked the idea. He instructed officers to take it forward, so local authorities have been informed. We are looking at a ‘Proof of Concept’ at this stage,” said Rakesh Gupta, additional private secretary to the CM. Accordingly, Upadhyaya held meetings with Gurgaon deputy commissioner T L Satya Prakash and police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar to discuss a few possible areas for the corridor. The busy area between HUDA City Centre and Sushant Lok is one of the areas they have zeroed in on, although he talked about an area near the Ambience Mall with Khattar. “I have been asked to take help from the state’s GIS department to select a

suitable corridor. Police were of the view that the corridor may be best suited for a stretch that has transport demand but does not have proper bus service yet. But they said we were free to decide a stretch of our choice after proper scouting,” said Upadhyaya. Jacob also arrived in India to help scout for a place. The estimate is about $3 million for a “stripped down” pilot system and about $20 million for a full-fledged automated system, he said. The Caterpillar Train, or

C-Train, envisages a citywide network of lightweight, elevated train coaches running at about 100 kmph on a track supported by poles bent into arches. -indianexpress. com Artist’s impression of the Caterpillar Train

Indian-origin Immigration Manager Found Guilty in H1-B tech Visa Fraud Case

NEW YORK: : An Indian-origin

immigration manager of an outsourcing company has been found guilty in a H-1B visa fraud case, Paul Fishman, the New Jersey federal prosecutor, said on Friday. Hari Karne, 32, admitted before Federal Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark, New Jersey, on Friday that he conspired to obstruct the investigation into a scheme to get fraudulent visas for foreign workers and falsify salary information. Even though President-elect Donald Trump has not yet assumed office, the case came up a week after he announced that one of his priorities would be to have the Labour Department crackdown on H-1B visa fraud.

The others in the alleged conspiracy were shown in court documents seen by IANS as SCM Data based in New Jersey and MMC System headquartered in Virginia, and six individuals, but they are not listed as defendants in Karne’s case. The prosecution said that Karne, who is from Hyderabad, worked as an immigration manager with SCM Private Limited in India, which had service agreements with SCM Data and MMC System that in turn provide information technology consultants to US companies. The conspirators recruited students and recent graduates and sponsored them for H-1B visas meant for people with specialised qualification, prosecutors said. To comply with H-1B requirements, they showed them as full-time salaried employees of their companies, according to prosecutors. However, they were not paid by the outsourcing companies and collected salaries only from the companies they were sent to work in. One employee,

identified only as “Individual 1” in court papers, was not paid for some time around January last year. Since the outsourcing companies had to show that it paid H-1B visa-holders full-time, Karne asked “Individual 1” to pay cash to the outsourcers from the person’s earnings from the company to which the person was outsourced, prosecutors said. The outsourcers then made out a check using what “Individual 1” had paid in cash back to the person to cover the period they had not paid in order to make it appear the person was a regular, salaried employee, prosecutors said. Karne also admitted that in February and March last year he helped SCM Data and MMC Systems prepare false leave slips for foreign workers during a Department of Labour audit to conceal the fact that they were not paid during those months, prosecutors said. He could face a maximum sentence of five years in jail, but often the actual penalties are less. -india.com

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