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Friday, February 24 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 8

Indo American News

Hee Haw!

Here we come

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

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Sivoham Page 12

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2012, Feb 28-Mar 18, rides into town.

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Sivoham, a spectacular presentation by local danseuse and dance guru, Dr. Rathna Kumar and the Anjali Center for Performing Arts, was presented as a fundraising event under the auspices of the Chinmaya Mission of Houston on February 19, the eve of Maha Shivaratri, to benefit the centennial year celebration of Swami Chinmayananda, founder of the worldwide organization, in 2016.

Spiritually Uplifting

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February 24, 2012

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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India House Gala 2012: Living Our Dreams of Philanthropy

HOUSTON: India House Inc. celebrated its 2012 Annual Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel Galleria on Saturday, February 18. Over 400 guests in attendance were treated to an evening of cultural cuisine and dramatic dance performances as India House hosted their largest fundraiser of the year. Living Our Dreams of Philanthropy was the theme of the event, symbolic of the plight of members of the organization, who once dreamed of building a community center. India House now represents that dream of giving back to the community lived each day through programs that educate youth, care for sick, support seniors, and celebrate Indo-American tradition and achievement. The gala commemorated the success of India House programs and highlighted the accomplishments of esteemed members of the community. India House honored one of the leading international authorities in bioavailability and bioequivalence and founder of Apaar Group, Paul Likhari, with the Businessman of the Year award, along with Govind Agrawal, owner of Subway, Massage Envy, Wing Stop, Smash Burger, and European Wax Center which are in over 200 retail outlets. Both were honored for Exemplary Accomplishments in Business. Also honored with the Businesswomen of the Year Award, Arpita Bhandari, Vice President of Human affairs at BioUrja Trading LLC, an energy commodities trading company she co-founded with her husband. The Philanthropist of the Year Award went to Bal K. Sareen, owner of Brask Inc. and Young Entrepreneur of the Year

was awarded to Bikram Singh, President of NewAge Casting, one of the top cast iron soil companies in the nation. Inc. Among those honored were a host of volunteers including India House Clinic doctors, Urban Youth educators, and Cricket coaches. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett delivered the keynote address and presented awards along with India House Vice President of Operations Kul Bhushan Uppal and University of Houston President Renu Khator. Gala Chairs Paul and Stephanie Madan welcomed distinguished guests such as City Councilman Mike Laster and University of Houston Dr. Gerald Strickland, and India House President, Jugal Malani, followed by giving thanks to supporters, members, and friends who helped make the event and the organization a success. Included in the evening’s festivities was Consul General of India, Honorable Sanjiv Arora who briefly addressed the audience jovially mentioning India House should host a cricket match in the future. The evening concluded with electronic beats bouncing off colorfully lit walls as attendants danced until late into the night. India House’s big night was a party with a purpose, celebrating over $500,000 raised to support community and cultural programs.

Left (from top): Judge Ed Emmett and Jugal Malani, Arpita Bhandari receiving the award, Paul Likhari, Renu Khator and Dr. Virendra Mathur and Govind Agrawal receiving the award Right (from top): Dr. Manish Rungta receving the award, Bal K. Sareen, Bikram Singh, Paul & Stephanie Madan Photos: Bijay Dixit

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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COMMUNITY

February 24, 2012

Giddy-Up, Let’s Ride into Town

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2012 Celebrates Agriculture, Education, Entertainment and Western Heritage BY KRISHNA GIRI HOUSTON: For 80 years, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ has been the heartbeat of the Southwest, beating powerfully with 26,000 volunteers who annually contribute their time, resources, and talent as part of the world’s largest livestock exhibition, world’s richest regular-season rodeo, and the Southwest’s premier entertainment event. Since its beginning in 1932, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has made an impressive footprint on the livestock and entertainment industries and in the sport of rodeo. It also has played a notable role in enhancing the lives of thousands of young people in the state of Texas. The Rodeo has committed approximately $283 million to scholarships, research, endowments, calf scramble participants, junior show exhibitors, School Art participants, and other educational and youth programs. Of that total, the Show has committed more than $165 million in direct educational program support, since the first scholarship was awarded in 1957. Because college is only a dream for so many students, the Show has made an extraordinary impact on the lives of countless young men and women in its quest to benefit the youth of Texas and support them through education. Currently, more than 2,000 students are on Show scholarships, attending more than 100 different Texas colleges and universities. The value of these scholarships is approximately $30 million. All recipients of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarships must demonstrate academic potential, citizenship/leadership

and financial need, and they must attend a Texas college or university. The effects of the Rodeo are felt worldwide, not only through educational support but also through the agriculture industry and much more. In the Houston Metropolitan area, the Show is known for its generosity on a number of levels. Reliant Park is home to a number of buildings that were donated to Harris County for entertainment and educational uses throughout the years. Students from Houston and throughout Texas feel the impact of the millions of dollars in scholarships awarded every year, as well as the hard work and determination of the 26,000 volunteers who bring the Show to

life.”While the primary benefit of the Rodeo is the unparalleled entertainment opportunities it provides the region and the large distribution of charitable giving, the Rodeo also provides a bonus economic stimulus to the overall economy that is significant. This stimulus is almost certainly greater than any other sports or arts production in Houston and is comparable to the presence of a major economic base corporation with local employment in excess of 3,000 employees,” observed Dr. Barton Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Emeritus, University of Houston. “Often times, promotional efforts to bring growth to Houston are to help beef up the

fiscal health of the community. Once again, the Rodeo comes to the plate swinging grand slams. It is doubtful that there has been any relocation to Houston in recent times that has netted local governments in the region over $27 million annually,” he added (from an estimate based upon results of the 2010 Show). From its own Downtown Rodeo Parade to the Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition, and trail riders to barbecue enthusiasts, there is something for the whole family. Each day at the Rodeo is a carefully planned eventful day dedicated to such topics as: Armed Forces Appreciation Day, Black Heritage Day, Go Tejano Day, Go Texan Day, International Days, Paint the Rodeo Pink, Rocking the Rodeo Runway, Rodeo Rockstar, Lil’ Rustler’s Rodeo, Rodeo Uncorked/Wine Show, and the very popular World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. The Rodeo 2012 star studded entertainment lineup includes stalwarts such as Reba McEntire (Paint the Rodeo Pink Day), ZZ Top, Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band, Alabama and Train. They will be joined by Kid Rock, Lady Atebellum, John Legend (Black Heritage Day), Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band, Eli Young Band, The Band Perry, Big Time Rush, Luke Bryan, Chris Young and Enrique Iglesias. This year’s Go Tejano Day sponsored by State Farm will feature Duelo, La Original Banda El Limon. For more information about the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, visit www.hlsr. com

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

February 24, 2012

Sivoham Spiritually Uplifting on Eve of Shivarathri

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Led by an ornately adorned Nandi, a majestic Lord Shiva, his consort Parvati, and other celestial beings meandered through the audience from the foyer to the stage (below) in a stately procession. Shiva, swathed in tiger skin, with matted locks unbridled, took his seat on the summit of Mount Kailash where he reposed in meditative quietude as devotees praised him through dance as the Supreme God in Sivoham, a spectacular presentation by local danseuse and dance guru, Dr. Rathna Kumar and the Anjali Center for Performing Arts (above). The fundraising event was presented under the auspices of the Chinmaya Mission of Houston on the eve of Maha Shivaratri Photos: PhotographyByNavin.com

BY KALYANI GIRI HOUSTON: Led by an ornately adorned Nandi, a majestic Lord Shiva, his consort Parvati, and other celestial beings meandered through the audience from the foyer to the stage in a stately procession. Shiva, swathed in tiger skin, with matted locks unbridled, took his seat on the summit of Mount Kailash where he reposed in meditative quietude as devotees praised him through dance as the Supreme God in Sivoham, a spectacular presentation by local danseuse and dance guru, Dr. Rathna Kumar and the Anjali Center for Performing Arts. The fundraising event, held under the auspices of the Chinmaya Mission of Houston at the Stafford Civic Center on February 19, 2012, the eve of Maha Shivaratri, will benefit the centennial year celebration

of Swami Chinmayananda, founder of the worldwide organization, in 2016. A capacity audience was privy to a performance steeped in spirituality by the artistes led by Dr. Kumar. Well-researched and drawing from the works of composers/sages such as Gopalakrishna Bharathi, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and Adi Sankaracharya, Dr. Kumar also included some verses from ancient Tamil literature. All pieces were choreographed by Dr. Kumar along with Venugopal Josyula, an Anjali dance faculty member, who also took on the role of Lord Shiva for the production. Sivoham showed Lord Shiva as the quintessential yogi and ascetic sage meditating in the Himalayas; he was also portrayed powerfully as the Cosmic Dancer, Nataraja,

whose dancing feet beat out the rhythm of the universe. Also explored were his roles as the creator, destroyer, preserver, and as the one who blesses and grants boons to those who pray to him. Dr. Kumar’s students, all graduates of the Anjali Center in the Kuchipudi and/or Bharatha Natyam styles of dance, were graceful, sterling in their presentations. Josyula as the Lord of Dance was exuberant, extravagant in his movements. Dr. Kumar once again enchanted with her abhinaya, or facial expression. Outstanding was her depiction of Nandanar, a Saivaite saint who was born in a low caste family, who yearned for a glimpse of Lord Shiva, but wasn’t permitted entry to the temple. Dr. Kumar eloquently showed him jostling with crowds, and begging priests for a view of the god. Threatened with bodily harm, he persists, but Nandi, Lord Shiva’s bull, gets in the way of his line of vision. He beseeches god, and prays for a clear path; Shiva hears his entreaties and gives Nandanar darshan. Nandanar attained salvation at the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Anjali graduate students presented a noteworthy line-up of items including Gale Bhujanga, and Nrityathi Nrityathi, among others. Ananda Tandavam Aadinaal pitted Lord Shiva against Goddess Parvati in a challenge to find out which of them was the better dancer. Lord Shiva won only because Parvati, out of feminine modesty, would not raise her leg high in dance as Lord Shiva did. Josyula, with reverberating ankle bells, showed Lord Nataraja’s raised foot as the

path to salvation in the lyrical Shankara Srigiri piece. Dr. Kumar presented the beautiful Gopalakrishna Bharathi composition Sabapathikku Veru Deivam, that asks who could ever compare with the god of Chidambaram, Lord Nataraja; a visit to that sacred temple will wash away the sins of a lifetime, said the poet. Preceding the event the choir from the Chinmaya Mission Houston Bala Vihar rendered soul stirring bhajans and shlokas in the foyer. Acharyas of Chinmaya Mission Houston Gaurang and Darshana Nanavaty presented a plaque of appreciation to Dr. Kumar for a program well presented. “I respect Acharya Gaurang ji and Darshana ji as wonderful extraordinary leaders in this community,” said Dr. Kumar. “You allowed me to be a part of Chinmaya Mission and I have learnt many values from you. Through Sivoham we had the opportunity of experimenting the many aspects of Lord Shiva through dance. Tonight, on the eve of Shivarathri, we shared not just a performance but a prayer,” she added. For more information on Chinmaya Mission Houston, visit www.chinmaya.org. Indo American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $30 per year) by IndoAmerican News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036, tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-789-6399, email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News, 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036

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February 24, 2012

Yoga and Health

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BY SADHGURU VASUDEV Fundamentally, the word health itself comes from the root word ‘whole’. What we call, ‘feeling healthy’ is that we have a sense of wholeness within us. If we are free of diseases medically, that is not health. If we feel like a complete human being in our body, mind and spirit, that is when we are really healthy. If one has to experience this sense of wholeness and oneness, it’s important that one’s body, mind, and above all, one’s energy functions in a certain level of intensity within themselves. Now, physically, as per medical terms, one may be healthy, but energies may be lethargic. One doesn’t

know why things don’t happen in life the way they should, both inside and outside; this is simply because one is not taking care of the well-being of his energy. For every physical or psychological situation that you go through in life, there is an energy basis, which in turn has a chemical basis. When it comes to health, no human being gets to live in perfect conditions. The pressures of life, the food that we eat, the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, all these can affect us in many ways. The more our activities are in the world, the more we’re exposed to many things that can throw our chemistry off-balance and create health problems. But if the energy

in our system is properly cultivated and kept active, these things will not have an effect. So, in Yoga, when we say health, we don’t look at the body; we don’t look at the mind; we only look at the energy - the way it is. If your energy body is in proper balance and full flow, your physical body and mental body will be in perfect health. There is no question about it. Keeping the energy body in full flow is not about doing any kind of healing or things like that. This is about going to the foundations of your energy system and activating it in a proper way, building a foundational yogic practice that establishes your energy in such a way that your body and mind are naturally fine. See, life functions in many ways. Let us say you don’t know what

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and visionary humanitarian. His presence creates an extraordinary opportunity to break through limitations into one’s natural state of freedom, love and joy. Named one of “India’s 50 Most Powerful People” by India Today magazine, Sadhguru has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide, contributing to his vision of raising human consciousness. Learn Isha Kriya, a simple and powerful guided meditation designed by Sadhguru. Find a free session near you by calling 832408-0663. Sadhguru will be conducting a 3-day Inner Engineering Program in Houston, Texas from May 4-6. To learn more, watch Sadhguru’svideos, or access the free meditation, visit www.BeBreatheBlossom.com.

electricity is. This hall is dark. If I tell you to just press this switch and the whole hall will be flooded with light, will you believe me? No. Now if I just flip this switch, light appears. You will call it a miracle, isn’t it? Simply because you don’t understand how electricity works. Similarly, life happens in many different ways. You have limited yourself to just the physical, the logical - physical in experience, logical in thinking. This life energy in you created your whole body - these bones, this flesh, this heart, this kidney and everything. Do you think it cannot create health? If your energies are kept in full flow and proper balance, it is capable of much more than just health. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a yogi, profound mystic of our times,

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COMMUNITY

February 24, 2012

Bharat Matrimony to Create World’s Largest Wedding Photo Album for Matrimony Day

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NEW DELHI: Kick starting a two month long run-up to Matrimony Day (April 14), BharatMatrimony.com has set the ball rolling on February 14 in an attempt to create two world records • Attempt a Guinness World Record in putting together the world’s largest wedding photo album • Set a world record with 1 million wedding pictures online at www.millionwed-

Day on April 14th when we will unveil the album for verification”. Sharing a few words on the occasion, Kapil Dev and Romi Dev said, “They say marriage is a celebration of life; it’s a lifelong journey that two people take together and a memorable occasion that lasts a lifetime. We are happy that BharatMatrimony is creating an occasion that can rekindle these joyous moments amongst millions of

dingpics.com to create the largest collection of wedding pictures online. During the event, the ideal celebrity couple Kapil Dev and Romi Dev uploaded the first wedding pictures onto the website to officially launch www.millionweddingpics. com. Marriages are for a life-time and these fond memories are stored in family photo albums for posterity and for recalling nostalgic moments together. The website opens up an opportunity to all married couples to participate in this momentous occasion and create history. Spread over a period of two months the grand finale of this attempt to create a Guinness World Record with the world’s largest wedding album will be unveiled on April 14 which is celebrated as Matrimony Day across the globe. Speaking on this occasion, Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder & CEO, BharatMatrimony.com said, “Marriage is sacred and it is for a life time; it is an occasion for family get-togethers, celebrations, sharing and spreading joy. This is an attempt to get all Indians to participate and share their wedding pictures and feature in a record making photo album. We hope to clinch the world record on the auspicious day of Matrimony

Indians. We are contributing to the event by sharing our pictures for the album and would urge many more couples to participate in this record-making attempt.” The final lap of events will begin on March 1 to mark Matrimony Day celebrations. Drop in your wedding pictures at the US office of BharatMatrimony located at South Brunswick, NJ or log on to www. millionweddingspics.com and upload your pictures. The participation is free and open to all married couples. About BharatMatrimony.com: BharatMatrimony.com is owned by Consim Info. Pvt. Ltd, India’s leading internet business group with leadership presence in all key categories. The group currently owns and operates BharatMatrimony.com and has 400+ community portals; 15 regional portals; 5 exclusive matrimonial sites like PrivilegeMatrimony.com and EliteMatrimony.com. BharatMatrimony received the Red Herring 100 Asia 2009 award and in 2010 went on to bag the Red Herring 100 Global Award. It was listed among the top 50 of 100 IT innovators by NASSCOM in 2009 and was Deloitte Fast 50 winner in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

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COMMUNITY

SAB TV Launch Daily Primetime Fiction, “I Love My India”

NEW YORK, NY: SAB TV joins forces with Tony & Deeya Singh from DJ’s to present a heartwarming show, “I Love My India”. The show depicts the Sethi family that resides in London; although their heart is still nostalgic for their motherland. Therefore the family then decides to fulfill the homesick feeling by moving back to India. The show premiered on February 20 and will be aired every Mon-Friday at 8 pm on SAB TV. Produced & directed by Tony & Deeya Singh “I Love My India” is a family comedy show; the show is based on the portrayal of a new culture trying to adjust to the way of life in India. The story is about Premnath (Arun Bali) and Deep (Himani Shivpuri) Sethi, an NRI family who are deeply connected to their roots. The family desires that their children and grandchildren imbibe Indian culture, values, and traditions. Once the family returns to India, the trials and tribulations that the family face to adjust to their home country is brilliantly depicted. “I Love My India” has some prominent artists like Arun Bali, Himan Shivpuri, Imran Khan, Indresh Malik, Ayaz Ahmed etc.

Jaideep Janakiram, SVP International Business-Head of North America stated, “I Love My India will touch many NRI’ hearts with its patriotic flavored comedy. Indians living abroad try very hard to preserve their traditions and cultural values, and they can easily relate to these fun-filled experiences that can potentially unravel on a visit to India”. I Love My India marks return of veteran actor Arun Bali to TV. He will be playing the role of Premnath Sethi, and his wife Deep will be played by Himani Shivpuri. Supported by Imran Khan, Indresh Malik, Ayaz Ahmed and Harkamal the show promises viewers across the country an amusing and fun family time together every week from Monday to Friday at 8pm on

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February 24, 2012

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Indian-American Student Triggers Harvard, Princeton Probe; Alleges Race Discrimination WASHINGTON (TOI): A complaint from an IndianAmerican student who was near the top of his high school class but was rejected by both Harvard and Princeton universities has triggered an investigation by the US Education Department. The unnamed Indian-American student in California complained that the two universities discriminate against Asian-Americans in undergraduate admissions, according to a media Bloomberg report. According to the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights the complaint was received Aug 22 and the allegations “accepted for investigation” on Jan 11. The complaint alleges “discrimination against AsianAmericans on the basis of race/ national origin with respect to the university’s admissions process.” A Harvard spokesman was cited as saying the institution does not discriminate. AsianAmericans make up 16 percent of Harvard undergraduates. But Bloomberg said there’s plenty of research to suggest

that Asian-American applicants must bring higher test scores and GPAs than whites, Hispanics or Blacks to gain entry. The report cites a 2011 study of admissions at Duke: AsianAmerican enrolees scored 1457 on the reading and math sections of the SAT, compared to 1416 for whites, 1347 for Hispanics and 1275 for Blacks. Princeton in New Jersey also asserted that it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and and will provide the government with the requested information. The proportion of AsianAmericans among Princeton undergraduates increased to 17.7 percent this year from 14.1 percent in 2007- 2008, a spokesman was quoted as saying. The rise reflects the tendency of incoming classes to “fluctuate based on the assessment of individual applications” rather than the impact of the federal review, he said. There are 14.7 million Americans of Asian descent only, plus 2.6 million who are multiracial including Asian, according to the 2010 US census.

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INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

February 24, 2012

11

Houston Area’s Asian American Students “Go Green” in Art Contest

HOUSTON: The Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association (APAHA), with support from Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), announced the ‘Go Green’ Art Contest, aimed at engaging Asian/Pacific American high school students to express environmental issues such as sustainability, clean air, water quality, renewable energy and recycling through art. The contest will accept participants from three Houston-area school districts and scholarships will be awarded in the categories of drawing, 2D and 3D designs. The judging panel will include government officials, experts and advocates in the fields of arts and environment and the sponsors. Wells Fargo is the ‘Legacy Sponsor’ of the contest. Other sponsors include Houston Community College, City of Houston - Waste Management, DN Commercial Realty and the Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce. “As a way to celebrate our 20th anniversary of service to the Houston and Fort Bend communities in 2012, we wanted to showcase an issue that the Asian/Pacific American community is well-versed in,” said Alma Duldulao-Ybarra, the executive director of APAHA. “We encourage Asian students to show their creativity, passion and enthusiasm in conveying green

stewardship through art.” Asian/Pacific American students from three Houston-area school districts, Houston ISD, Fort Bend ISD and Alief ISD, along with students from Asian language schools in the greater Houston area, are invited to participate in the contest. The entry must be

original work, and the judging will be based on artistic execution, originality and creativity, interpretation of the theme and effectiveness in teaching and engaging the overall community. Scholarships will be awarded to the winners by APAHA. “We are so proud to enable Asian/Pacific American youth to express their artistic talents by highlighting a plethora of environmental issues,” said Charlene Jung, Asian Segment Marketing program manager at Wells Fargo. “Together we are making a healthier, more sustainable world with thriving communities like the greater Houston area.”

Students need to register through their schools by Feb. 22. Entries must be submitted by March 22. Finalists will be judged during an Art Expo at Tracy Gee Community Center (3599 Westcenter Dr.) on April 22, where First, Second, and Third Place winners will be announced. The Grand Prize Winner and People’s Choice Award will be presented at APAHA’s annual gala event, scheduled for May 18 at the Omni Galleria Houston Hotel. For more information about the guidelines and to submit an entry form, visit www.apaha.org. About Wells Fargo In Houston, Wells Fargo has more than 2,500 team members, more than 200 Community Banking stores and nearly 300 ATMs. The financial institution has donated more than $3 million to Houston-based non-profits and schools through corporate and foundation giving, and team members contributed more than 15,000 volunteer hours in 2010. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, communitybased financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in

San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo. com and wachovia.com) and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations and is the #1 SBA lender in Texas. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. About APAHA The Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association (APAHA) was formed in 1992 to “promote awareness and increase understanding of the Asian/Pacific American culture

and its diversity through education and celebration, focusing on May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), and continuing throughout the year.” To make a difference in our community, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association (APAHA) has collaborated with various community and educational entities to provide ongoing educational, cultural and scholarship programs to the Asian/ Pacific and Greater Houston communities. As a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, APAHA’s main objectives include enhancing racial harmony in Houston and Fort Bend, promoting cross-cultural awareness, education and appreciation between and among Asian/Pacific Americans and other ethnic groups by outreaching to schools, businesses and other institutions. APAHA also celebrates their 20th year of service to the community in 2012.

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10200 Richmond Avenue, Suite 210 Houston, Texas 77042 email: anguyen@danpllc.com - web: www.danpllc.com INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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COMMUNITY

Ashok Reddy Danda: New Ekal USA President HOUSTON: Ashok Reddy Danda of Houston is the new president of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF) USA. Danda, who has been the national secretary of the organization, succeeds Subhash Gupta, also of Houston. The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation is dedicated to education and village development in rural India. The Ekal movement is the largest, grassroots, non-governmental education movement in India, operating in over 36,783 villages and educating over 1.035 million children in rural India. The Ekal Vidyalaya movement aims to help eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India by 2015. Ashok Danda, a software engineer by profession, knows only too well the value of education as he grew up in a remote village near Nalgonda in Andhra Pradesh in southern India, where electricity and automobile were unheard of, where even a match box was a novelty, and villagers kept the fire burning overnight, so that it would be possible to do the cooking next day. “At that time, our village had an elementary school and I saw only few kids going to school. Most of the kids were accompanying their parents to the farm. I knew how education helped my family. I believed education is helpful in uplifting people in remote villages.” “ When I heard from my friend Ramesh Shah that there would be

eas of Karanataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala as part of Ekal Global Learning tour. It was eye opening to see so many people working in the remote villages. When you look at their dedication to the cause of helping others make me think to do more here to help them. Now I am working as President of Ekal USA. I feel honored,” Danda says. As EVF-USA president, Danda’s goal is Ashok Danda with village kids in India to try to connect more Indian Americans to the an organization to support educa- cause of education and draft more tion in remote villages in India, people to help the Ekal movement. myself and my wife, Praveena, EVF-USA has 40 chapters and decided to be a part of the move- Danda wants to strengthen the orment,” Danda explains his connec- ganization. tion to Ekal Vidyalya as his childIn the Ekal structure in India, he hood impression still lingered in would like to see the increased use his mind. of solar light and help improve the Dandas has been living in Hous- life comforts in the tribal areas. ton since 1974. While his wife was Danda does not believe in re-inhelping in accounting, Ashok used venting the wheel and would like to help manage the Ekal office. to collaborate with like-minded Subsequently, he accompanied organizations. For example, Ekal EVF USA founder and past chair- can look at organizations like man Ramesh Shah to spread the Pratham, and adopt programs or movement across USA and helped practices which are better. If one in establishing local chapters. organization focused on urban Praveena then became EkalUSA areas, another can focus on rural Treasurer and Chapter president areas. No organization owns any for Houston Area. The Ekal con- territorial right in spreading litnection strengthened and contin- eracy in India, Danda says. More ued further. the merrier, as long as there is no “ I visited schools in remote ar- conflict, he adds.

Indian among Facebook Fellowship Winners of 2012-2013 BANGALORE (SI): Rashmi Korlakai Vinayak, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Science was announced as one of the winners of the Facebook Fellowship recently, an event that is Facebook’s way of supporting the academic community. The Fellowship received around 300 applications, out of which only 12 were declared winners. As a member of the Fellowship, Rashmi received a $30,000 intended to cover study expenses, as well as tuition for the year 2012-2013. Being a Fellow of the

Rashmi Korlakai Vinayak

social network, she was also given $5,000 for conference travel, and $2,500 for a personal computer.

The Fellows are also welcomed to visit Facebook later this year to get together with engineers who work on problems corresponding to each Fellow’s research. Rashmi’s area of study deals with Data and its storage. The challenge of the storage and management of vast amounts of data (handled by key Internet players such as Facebook) drove her to research on new encoding mechanisms for distributed storage systems. Her main aim is to improve the elasticity and reliability of data storage systems.

Indian-American Appointed to Key Republican Post in Florida

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WASHINGTON (TOI): Indian-American Akshay Desai has been appointed to a key Republican post in Florida, making him responsible for the party’s finances in this election year. “In this election year we need the resources for victory, and Dr Desai’s long history of work for the state and our party make him a proven leader,” Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) chairman Lenny Curry said in a statement. Desai has been appointed to serve as the chairman of Finance Committee of the Republican Party of Florida. Desai is currently the Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Universal Health Care Group, Inc and serves the health care community through several associations. “A K Desai is a tireless advocate for Florida and for our Republican party. RPOF will be well served by his dedication and experience,” said the Florida Governor Rick Scott. A member of the Florida State Board of Education since 2007, Desai previously served as a Member of Florida State Board of Governors from 2005-2007 and as Commissioner and Chairman of the Health Committee on the White House Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders from 2005-2008.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


February 24, 2012

13

llway

To Westpark

Bellaire

Beechnut

10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Worship performed by Swami Prasannatmananda, Assistant Minister, Vedanta Society, Berkeley, CA

Lunch - 12:30 -1:30 pm Supper - 6:30 pm President: Swapna Chaudhuri 281-584-0488 832-594-5554

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The Vedanta Society of Greater Houston cordially invites you along with your family & friends to attend 14809 Lindita Drive Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday Celebration Houston, TX 77083 (off SH 6 between Empanada & Beechnut, behind Champion Chevrolet) Saturday, March 10, 2012 Special Worship Interfaith Dialog 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Moderated by Pravrajika Brahmaprana, Resident Minister, Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas, Irving, TX Speakers Sheikh Omar Inshanally Islam Reverend Betty Adam Christianity Dr. Tejendra Gill Sikhism Swami Prasannatmananda Vedanta

http://www.houstonvedanta.org/ Email: info@houstonvedanta.org How can Religion be used as an Instrument of Peace?

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


14 February 24, 2012

Saif Ahmed Wins Unitedhealthcare Scholarship Award

ARLINGTON, TX: Saif Ahmed, an Aerospace Engineering student from the University of Texas at Arlington, is one of twelve Asian-American college students who received $30,000 in scholarships that will help them build a foundation for personal and professional success. The scholarships, offered through the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and funded by UnitedHealthcare, were awarded to students from California and Texas for the 2011-2012 academic year. Saif received at $2,500 scholarship award. Other scholarship recipients are attending universities such as University California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; and University of California, San Francisco. The students are pursuing degrees in a variety of fields including biology, nursing and pharmacy. Students were selected based on GPA (minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale), letters of recommendation and financial need, and must have enrolled as a first-year student in an accredited U.S. college. The students may use the financial awards for educational expenses such as tuition, housing and books. “We are honored to work with UnitedHealthcare as they expand their partnership with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said Neil Horikoshi, APIASF president & executive director. “The scholarship support they are providing to students will help ensure a diverse pipeline of talented professionals who will strengthen the communities that they serve.” The scholarships reflect UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community and comple-

COMMUNITY

can Scholarship Fund to help exceptional students access higher education and realize their career goals.” For details about APIASF’s scholarship programs, visit www.apiasf.org. Also, follow APIASF on Facebook (www.facebook. com/apiasf) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/ apiasf).

Saif Ahmed

ment the financial support already provided to APIASF by United Health Foundation, a not-for-profit, private foundation established by UnitedHealth Group to improve health and health care. Since 2008, United Health Foundation has provided scholarship support to APIASF and was recently honored with the APIASF’s Inspiring Dreams award, a recognition given to an organization that has made a difference in the AAPI community by recognizing the importance of ongoing education. “We congratulate these students and wish them the best in their educational and career pursuits. Investing in students is an investment not only in their future, but also in our country’s future,” said Scott Flannery. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Asian & Pacific Islander Ameri-

Sikhs Urged to Celebrate March 14 as Environment Day

About APIASF Based in Washington, D.C., the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) is the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted solely to providing college scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Since 2003, APIASF has provided a critical bridge to higher education for APIA students across the country by distributing more than $50 million in scholarships to students. APIASF manages two scholarship programs: APIASF’s general scholarship and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. About UnitedHealthcare UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

WASHINGTON (TOI): Washingtonbased Sikh organization EcoSikh is appealing to Sikhs around the world to celebrate Mar 14 as a Sikh Environment Day for the second year. Guru Har Rai, a nature and animal lover, became the seventh Sikh Guru on this day in 1644. EcoSikh has set the goal of enrolling more than 700 Sikh institutions and Gurdwaras all over the world to celebrate the day this year, up from 450 who celebrated last year. It is urging them to start the signing up on Jan 31, the birth date of Guru Har Rai. This year it also plans to approach Sikh-owned businesses to join in this endeavour. According to Dr. Rajwant Singh, President of EcoSikh: “This will be perhaps the largest direct action event by the Sikhs worldwide to help preserve the natural environment of Mother Earth.” EcoSikh has already received confirmation of participation from many Sikh institutions, gurdwaras and Sikhrun schools and colleges in India and abroad. EcoSikh has a website for gurdwaras and Sikh institutions to register their participation internationally. Bandana Kaur, New York based programme director of EcoSikh in North America, said: This is a positive way to connect Sikhs in the diaspora to be aware of environmental issues facing in their own localities but also be conscious of challenging state of ecology in their own spiritual homeland.”

Spike Rao

Nov 18, 1999 - February, 2012 Courtesy Indo American Pet & Animal Welfare Society of Greater Houston http://www.ipawshouston.org http://www.facebook.com/ipawshouston Email:ipawshouston@gmail.com

Tribute to a Best Friend

Sunlight streams through the window pane onto a spot on the floor..... then I remember, it’s where you used to lie, but now you are no more. Our feet walk down a hall of carpet, and muted echoes sound..... then I remember, it’s where your paws would joyously abound. A voice is heard along the road, and up beyond the hill, then I remember, it can’t be yours..... your golden voice is still. But I’ll take that vacant spot of floor and empty muted hall, and lay them with the absent voice and unused dish along the wall. I’ll wrap these treasured memories in a blanket of my loke, and keep them for my best friend until we meet above. - Author Unknown “He chose us to be his family and gave us unconditional and unflinching love. His loss has left a big void in our hearts and all of us will miss him forever!!”

Grieving Family: Savita, Sanjay, Megan, Monica, Ian & Lucky Rao INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


COMMUNITY

15

February 24, 2012

100 Donors Pledge $192,500 for Houston Tamil Convention

Padmini Nathan (left), Sam Kannappan, A .K. Subramanian, P. Vaduganathan, Roopa Balakrishnan, S. Narayanan, Srikanth Venugopalan, Rajan Radhakrishnan & S. G. Appan.

HOUSTON: Tamil Nadu Foundation’s 37th National convention (TNF) is to be held in Houston, during the Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, 2012. One hundred donors have already pledged to support as Steering Committee Donors, and have together pledged $192,500. The organizing committee lead by Sam Kannappan (Convener), Dr. Padmini Nathan(Convener), Dr. P. Vaduganathan, Rajan Radhakrishnan, and Srikanth Venugopalan held a fund raising event on Sunday February 19 at Madras Pavilion, Sugar Land. The dinner presentation, coordinated by Dr. A.K. Subramanian, supported by Roopa Bala, celebrated reaching the milestone of 100 Steering Committee Donors, a show of solid support from the Houston Tamil community. S. Narayanan coordinated the fund raising goals of this event. The Fund Raising committee consisting of Dr. P. Vaduganathan, Dr. S.G. Appan, Dr. A.K. Subramanian, S. Narayanan, Roopa

Bala, D. Kannan and Rajan Radhakrishnan were congratulated for their remarkable success in generating donor support and funding to achieve the dream of making this convention a pride of the Tamil community of Houston hosting this convention. Dr. Vaduganathan emceed the dinner presentation which was attended by about 95 donors. Sam Kannappan welcomed the donors. S. Narayanan appealed for generous support from the donors, and reported at the end of the event $192,500 as the total donations pledged so far. Dr. Appan who lead the fund raising team to this successful milestone of 100 steering committee donors thanked the donors for their generous support. Rajan Radhakrishnan, in-charge of the Star entertainment program, highlighted the upcoming high quality entertainment and literary segments of the program by a visiting team of cine/TV artists, singers, orators and other entertainers from Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Dr. Padmini Nathan outlined the important mission of this convention to provide donation funding for programs to reduce dropouts in TNF adopted schools in rural Tamil Nadu. She presented various critical school projects in rural Tamil Nadu that need help urgently. Srikanth Venugopalan summarized the enthusiastic support extended by the Tamil Sangams of Dallas, San Antanio, Austin and other cities in Texas. Raj Thiagarajan presented details about the TNF Idol competition underway in several cities including Houston with the winners to be crowned at the convention. Bharathi Kalai Manram President Ma-

hesh Iyer reported that they have received a Houston Arts Alliance grant award of $15,000 from Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker to assist in the cultural segment of this convention. The coordinators of the 22 committees working hard to make this convention a grand success were recognized and thanked. The U.S. based organization TNF (Tamil Nadu Foundation) was founded in 1974 to help, fund and promote social, economic, educational welfare and other charitable projects in Tamil Nadu. For more information about the convention, visit www.tnfconvention.org

International Conference on Human Rights Concerns of Indian Diaspora to be held in New Delhi in Feb.

NEW DELHI: A conference on ‘Human Rights Concerns of Indian Diaspora’ organized by Delhi based organization, Human Rights Defense (India) will be held at Hindi Bhawan and Indian Law Institute, New Delhi from February 24-25. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of ‘Art of Living’ will inaugurate the conference and deliver the keynote speech. Known as an ambassador of peace, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has played a pivotal role in conflict resolution and has worked incessantly to spread his vision of non-violence. Gouri Shankar Gupta, an educationist and social reformer, will be the chief guest for the conference. Additional Solicitor General of India A S Chandhiok, Bangladeshi human rights lawyer Ravinder Ghosh, Dr. Richard Benkin of Harvard Universityare

among some of the speakers for the conference. Indian Diaspora has made a distinctive impact in different parts of the world, where they live by virtue of their loyalty, dedication, hard work and success. Despite their immense contribution, basic human rights of members of Indian Diaspora have many a times been violated. HRDI Secretary General Rajesh Gogna is of the opinion that there is a need to formulate a comprehensive policy on human rights concerns of the Diasporic community members and cultivate an informed interest in it. He said that there is also a pressing need for the creation of an effective coordinating mechanism for addressing the routine Diaspora affairs and to achieve international consensus on a more rational approach to migration and migrants.

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16 February 24, 2012

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Dum aloo belongs to North Indian or more specifically Kashmiri cuisine. Baby potatoes are first fried and then cooked under low pressure in yogurt based gravy. It is so delicious with a blend of so many different spices. Fennel seeds powder really brings out the

flavor of the gravy. Ingredients: Baby potatoes- 16-18 Cumin seeds- 1 tsp, roasted and ground into a powder Garam masala- 3/4 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder2 tsp Fresh yogurt- 1 and 1/2 cups Green cardamom powder1/2 tsp Ginger powder- 1 tsp Fennel powder- 1 tbsp Mustard oil- 3 tbsp Cloves roasted and powdered4-5

Asafoetida- a pinch Vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil- to deep fry potatoes Salt- to taste Hot water- 1/2 cup Method: 1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly and prick all over with a fork. 2. Keep the potatoes in salted warm water for 15 minutes, then drain and wipe dry. 3. Heat the oil in a pan and deep fry the potatoes until golden brown from outside. Drain on a kitchen towel and set aside. After they cool a little bit, prick the potatoes once again with a fork. 4. Whisk the yogurt with kashmiri red chilli powder, fennel powder, ginger powder and cardamom powder. 5. Add the fried potatoes and let it sit for 15 minutes. 6. Now heat the mustard oil in a pan and add a pinch of asafoetida and

the powdered cloves. Let it splutter for a few seconds and then add the 1/2 cup of hot water and salt. Let the water come to a boil. 7. Add in the yogurt potato mixture and mix. 8. Cover the pan with a tight lid and let it cook on a medium low flame for 15 minutes or until the potatoes absorb the gravy and oil surfaces. 9. Sprinkle the garam masala and cumin powder. Serve Hot with Naan, Roti or Poori. - Recipe by Vaishali Sharma For more recipes, visit www. zestyflavors.com or visit https:// www.facebook.com/pages/Zestyflavors-Adding-Zest-to-yourCooking/145518712165348 Also “Like” Zestyflavors on Facebook

FOOD/HEALTH

Drink Coffee to Cut Diabetes Risk

LONDON (Hindu): Want to stave off diabetes? Drink four cups of coffee a day, recommends a new study. Previous researches suggested that drinking coffee cuts diabetes risk but there were conflicting results on whether it protects or promotes chronic diseases such as cancer. Now, a team in Europe claims to have found that moderate consumption of coffee everyday may lower a person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those drinking it occasionally or not at all. In fact, drinking coffee can cut the risk of developing diabetes by nearly 30 per cent, says the study which has also revealed that the drink does not increase the risk of heart disease or cancer, the Daily Mail reported. For their study, the researchers recruited 42,659 people. The volunteers, who took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Germany, were followed up for almost nine years on average. During that time, there were 1,432 cases of type 2 diabetes diagnosed, 394 heart attacks, 310 strokes cases and 1,801 cancer cases. Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day — caffeinated and decaffeinated — compared with less than one cup was not linked to a higher risk of developing a chronic disease, the findings revealed. A lower risk of 20-30 per cent of developing type 2 diabetes was linked to moderate consumption of both kinds of coffee, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Ten countries contribute to the EPIC study, including two centres in Germany which carried out the latest analysis. Euan Paul of British Coffee Association said: “This study adds to the growing scientific data that suggests moderate coffee consumption, four to five cups of coffee per day, is safe and does not increase risk of chronic diseases.”

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


INDIA

February 24, 2012

When Children Marry

BY KALPANA SHARMA (Hindu) Count up to three. By then, another young girl would have been forced into marriage somewhere in the world. Yes, forced child marriage is a reality not just in India but also in many countries around the world. In fact, India is one amongst 13 nations worldwide with some of the highest prevalence of child marriage. Yet, this is a problem that appears almost intractable. It is also an issue that is often forgotten or overlooked even as we discuss women’s rights, children’s rights or the health and nutrition problems of girls and boys. Latest data reveals that although there has been a decline in the prevalence of child marriage in India, seven out of every 100 women getting married are under the legal age of 18. This is happening despite a law banning child marriage dating as far back as 1929 with subsequent amendments in 1949 and 1978. And the passage of a comprehensive Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in 2006. In fact, the National Family Health Survey 2005-06 revealed that 44.5 per cent of women between the ages of 20-24 years had been married before they turned 18. The prevalence of child marriage is a worry for obvious reasons. First, it results in girls being pulled out of school. Guaranteeing all children the Right to Education has no meaning when these girls are left with no choice. Second, if girls get married so young, their bodies are not ready to bear children. These underage mothers are most at risk of dying during childbirth, thus contributing to the already unacceptably high maternal mortality rate in this country. Third, these girls are also at risk of having multiple pregnancies. Most of them are poor, illiterate, and not aware of reproductive health or their right to decide when and how many children to have. Given their young age, they are powerless in their marital homes. This takes a huge toll on their health

Time to leave it behind. File Photo: AP

and that of their children. According to Plan UK, a nongovernmental organisation working on the rights of girls, an estimated 10 million girls are forced into marriage worldwide each year. This, according to their report, “Breaking Vows, Early and Forced Marriage and Girls’ Education” works out to a horrifying 27,397 girls a day, 19 every minute and one every three seconds. In all the countries where this practice occurs, implementing laws, if at all they exist, is difficult because child marriage is wrapped up in tradition. Therefore, people will not question it. It is also entangled in poverty. Families with no hope of overcoming their economic plight feel compelled to send their girls off so that they have one less mouth to feed. After a natural disaster, that last justification becomes even more acute. In Kenya, for instance, Plan UK noted the prevalence of ‘famine brides’ during a time of acute famine and food shortages. After the 2004 Asian tsunami, in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and even India, there were instances of

young girls being compelled to marry ‘tsunami widowers’. In Indonesia, people living in camps for the tsunami displaced thought it was safer to marry their young daughters even to older men rather than risk their getting raped. Another interesting point that emerges from several studies on the prevalence of child marriage is that it is higher where the laws on age of consent are unequal. For instance, in India, where the prevalence is an estimated 47 per cent, the age of consent is lower for women (18) and higher for men (21). Is there any justification for this discrepancy? Why should it not be the same age of consent for men and women? After all, when it comes to other laws, such as child labour for instance, there is no difference between girls and boys with regard to the age at which they can be legally employed. No one will argue that the custom of child marriage, in India or elsewhere, is a hugely complex issue and that there are no easy solutions. Clearly, a law banning the practice is not enough. It has to be coupled with efforts to make sure girls enroll in schools and stay there. If the prevalence is declining in India, this could be one of the reasons. There are many other steps. But I would suggest that at a time when the media has become omnipresent, intruding into areas of our lives that many would prefer to keep private, this is a legitimate area into which it can intrude, investigate and focus. It can also pester lawmakers and law enforcers about the lax implementation of the law, another major reason for the continuing prevalence of child marriage. If you shine a bright light into a dark corner, you might not scare away the problem, but you will at least see that it is there.

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EDITORIAL

18 February 24, 2012 Turbulent Flights Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh’s statement that the government would offer no bailout to private airlines, despite pleas for help by cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, is welcome. Actually that ought to have read any airlines, period. Using precious taxpayer’s money to plug the leaks in failing airlines is bad policy, whether they belong to the private or public sector. What the government should do, rather, is make the airline sector as a whole a viable business proposition, so that civil aviation can take off. Despite its rapid growth in recent decades only one of the six private airlines that commenced operations in the mid-1990s, Jet Airways, currently survives. And of the half a dozen new carriers that took off in the middle of the last decade, four have been accumulating losses even as another, Air Deccan, has been taken over. Only the last, Indigo Airlines, has reportedly made reasonable profits in recent years. This is a dire scenario which can have major repercussions on the further growth of Indian civil aviation. Although the ninth largest market in the world, commercial aviation in India is just about one-fifth of the Chinese market. A viable and well developed civil aviation network has the same role today as that of rivers in agricultural civilisations, or seaports during the industrial revolution. While rivers and (to some extent) seaports are natural features, a nation’s civil aviation network can be built up through good policy. It is crucial not only for attracting investment and tapping opportunities in the global economy, but also for generating new employment and income streams, especially in landlocked states. Ensuring a viable aviation industry requires that government policy is radically reworked. While the recent dilution of the public sector monopoly on bilateral traffic rights is a major gain, other steps are also urgently needed. Aviation fuel prices should be sharply reduced and brought closer to global levels. States should cooperate in reducing taxation on aviation fuel. It’s their economies that stand to benefit, which will eventually yield more revenue. Killing the goose that lays golden eggs is foolish policy. Allowing foreign airlines to pick up stakes in Indian airlines is in the works; this should be pushed through. As economic distress takes its toll on airlines, the DGCA must crack the whip to maintain safety standards, suspending or cancelling licenses if necessary. The Center should ensure a level playing field for all players and stop mollycoddling Air India. To save the airline, it should be privatized without delay. - Times of India

Aiming for the Head BY AYESHA SINNIQA The hearing of the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on February 13 left most people frustrated. The friends of democracy grew anxious to see that the highest court was in no mood to spare the government. The enemies, on the other hand, were equally unhappy because the SC did not seem to expedite the process of chopping off the government’s head. In fact, Imran Khan had immediately called a press conference decrying the government as having lost the moral authority to rule. But both sides understand that the highest prize is not the prime minister but the president. The contempt proceedings against Yousaf Raza Gilani is due to his refusal to write a letter to the Swiss courts asking them to re-initiate an inquiry into president Asif Zardari’s ill-gotten wealth that he seems to have stashed away in the banks in Switzerland. The case to retrieve the money lying in Switzerland was withdrawn by the previous government of Pervez Musharraf as part of the National Reconciliation Ordinance signed between the former military dictator and Benazir Bhutto. Public opinion is clearly divided between those who feel Zardari and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are being victimized and others that are of the view that nailing the president will usher in an era of better governance. However, the fact of the matter is that the SC’s activism is not likely to morph the system of governance and bring in a corruption- free society due to its inquisition against an individual. The highest court seems to have a tilt towards one party at the cost of the other. Recently, the court ordered the government body investigating corruption to return Rs 115 million of the Sharif brothers. Therefore, the legal battle appears to many as an ex-

tension of the political battle between Zardari’s PPP that his deceased wife Benazir Bhutto used to head and the country’s all powerful security establishment that many believe is taking cover behind judicial activism. The perception is that the court is being used to thrash the political government as it has fallen from grace in the eyes of the military. The contempt proceedings were preceded by another case popularly referred to as the memogate scandal in which an American national of Pakistani origin had accused the president and the country’s envoy to the US Hussain Haqqani of provoking Washington into taking action against the Pakistan military. The case is under trial before the Supreme Court but seems to have lost its lustre due to the American national Mansoor Ijaz’s subsequent refusal to appear before the court. Recently, the court allowed Ijaz to record his statement via videolink which is the first time that such a thing will happen. The highest judicial leniency in certain cases tends to stick out especially when it does not show a similar resolve to nail the accused in other cases. The legal cases against some of the militant outfits are a case in point. The PPP government also seems to have opted for a political methodology to fight the legal battle. For instance, instead of selecting a capable legal mind to fight the contempt case, the party chose a less capable lawyer, AitzazAhsan, who is better known for his political showmanship particularly during the lawyers’ movement of 2007/2008. Ahsan’s selection, many political observers believe, was to appease the judges, especially the chief justice with whom Ahsan has a good relationship. However, the chief justice, while pampering his friend in the court, was in no mood to ignore the fact that Ahsan was unable to present

a convincing legal argument. At this juncture, there appears to be little possibility of a rapprochement between the Supreme Court and the government. In other words, Gilani’s departure is inevitable as he has refused to write a letter to the Swiss court on the grounds that the president has immunity. Some sources are also of the view that the axe will fall on Gilani also because the army chief and his chief spook are utterly unhappy with the prime minister who had spoken against them in Parliament. Although Gilani later retracted his statement, the fact is that his comment regarding the army being ‘a State within a State’ will always remain part of parliamentary record. This is no mean feat. But the larger issue is of pushing out Zardari who in the past four years has given a tough fight to the country’s political army. Gilani’s removal will open up the floodgates for more protest by Zardari’s opponents to impeach him. His removal, as some will argue, may not just be to eradicate corruption in the country but to ensure that Asif Zardari is not there to influence the choice of the next army chief even remotely when Gen Ashfaq Kayani retires in 2013. The country’s powerful military establishment is not willing to take any risk by keeping a man who seems to have shaken the GHQ’s relationship with the US. Getting rid of him and his cabal may be critical at a time when the endgame is being decided in Afghanistan. The Supreme Court will decide Gilani’s fate in the end of February which soothsayers say will seal the fate of his cabinet and democracy in general. Ayesha Siddiqa is an Islamabadbased writer and is the author of Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy. - Hindustan Times

Jokes from Khushwant Singh

LABOUR WOES The Indian and Cuban labour ministers were in the midst of a meeting. Cuban labour minister: ‘Labour problems in our nation produce hundreds of types of tensions for me.’ Indian labour minister: ‘That’s nothing. Labour problems in our nation produce 50,000 babies every day.’

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Patrick P. Hoffmann: “A Watch is Not about the Time” BY ARUN JANARDHAN (Mint) Patrick P. Hoffmann insists that people do not buy Ulysse Nardin to “read the time”. The chief executive officer of the exclusive watch brand grins before clarifying why the primary purpose of buying his watch would be different. “Today, people buy a Ulysse Nardin and many of the other brands because of the craftsmanship, art, the culture and the expression of lifestyle. That’s why,” he says emphatically, “we will never do a quartz watch. We don’t just sell the look; we sell the inside, the heart of the watch.” This meeting with Hoffmann, 47, who confesses to being a salesperson at heart, took place over a month ago, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai, before the announcement of Yuvraj Singh as the watch’s brand ambassador in India. The Indian cricketer, then recovering from a non-malignant lung tumour, seems to be a surprising choice for the brand—a brash, rough-on-the-edges, continuouslyon-the-fringe player representing a sophisticated watch company that produces a mere 25,000 watches a year. Hoffmann calls it a partnership between legends, a status justified by his company, which has existed for 166 years, and he hopes, by Singh, who helped India to its second cricket World Cup in April. Bleary-eyed, but with a cheerful smile, Hoffmann is seated in a room big enough to accommodate a hundred people, having just arrived in Mumbai from Switzerland. He speaks with a faint German accent, emphasizing certain syllables. His left wrist bears the expected Ulysse Nardin watch, this one called the Freak. Released 11 years ago, with a technology using silicon, the Freak was one of the company’s more successful products. The CEO wears a prototype, bearing the number 1, which is not for sale. “Freak was a code name which later became the name of the model. People thought we were crazy to name it that, but then it was so out of the box that it worked,” he says. Hoffmann was in the middle of the kind of promotional Asian tour that brings a whole lot of global company heads to India. His three-day visit, coinciding with the launch of a limited edition here, was to include Kolkata, Bangalore and New Delhi before he would head to the US. It was his first visit to India and came after he took over as the company’s CEO in April. Ulysse Nardin, founded in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland, was best known for producing marine chronometers, but over the years started making mechanical watches as well. It was bought over in 1983 by businessman Rolf W. Schnyder, who relaunched the brand in a more contemporary avatar. Hoffmann had started tinkering with watches as a child, though no one in his immediate family was in the business. He studied to be an accountant in Switzerland and later went to the US to study sales and marketing. On his return to Switzerland in 1991, he joined a watch company, Oris SA,

The Ulysse Nardin CEO on why a watch is the best luxury product for a man, and being at the right place at the right time in sales, and five years later, moved to Malaysia with watch distribution company Swiss Prestige Ltd. His neighbour in Kuala Lumpur was Schnyder. “You just have to be at the right spot at the right time,” he says, without a hint of irony, on how he happened to join Ulysse Nardin. Hoffmann moved to the US in 1999 with Ulysse as its vice-president and managing director; Schnyder’s demise last year brought him to the head office in Le Locle as CEO. “When I was studying in the US,” he says, “everybody said you have to be in the watch industry because you are Swiss. I liked watches from the beginning and today, I am still in the industry because a watch fascinates me with its combination of technology and fashion.” He might buy into the stereotype of being Swiss and, therefore, a part of the watch industry, but Hoffmann says the watch business in Switzerland is really small, employing just 35,000 people. Surprisingly, he describes it as an unsophisticated business—the way pieces are put together, the pace of work… “Everything is hand-assembled. People ask me how long it takes to produce a watch and I have no answer. A piece like this,” he says, pointing to his watch, “takes about seven years from the spark of the idea to the time the first watch is out. “At the end, the watchmaker as-

sembles it and certain watches can take up to six weeks to put those 480 or 620 parts together. There is a misconception—you look at a magazine or catalogue, you see a watchmaker bent over, but he is really just a part of the process. There’s an enormous amount of labour involved.” He uses his US experience to explain the Swiss-watch connection further: “In Switzerland, and that’s why we are good in watchmaking, we conceive, plan and execute the process so that it’s just right. Sometimes that planning takes a long time. In America, you have a philosophy—try it and then fix it. What I have learnt is, a watchmaker who produces the piece cannot be pushed. They have their pace and passion and you have to let go. At the end of the day, you will have a product that’s as wonderful as ours.” This passion for tradition and precision is also the reason why Ulysse Nardin will never make quartz or electronic watches, he adds. “It will only be hand-assembled, mechanical watches for the company, and that will not change,” he says. “Like the hand wind which you call oldfashioned,” he continues, smiling, “the advantage is that 200 years from now, you can still service that watch and still be able to produce a part if it doesn’t work any more. It will cost time and money because of the labour, but it will work again.” “There are certain fashion elements which we adapt and integrate. Ten years ago, we never thought we would make a watch with rubber and ceramic. We are researching and developing continuously and I see people in our company working on movements that will come in 201617. Trends are changing even as traditional as we are,” he says. Hoffmann himself owns about 30-50 watches, many of them not Ulysse Nardin. “When I am thinking or sleeping, I have the Ulysse Nardin hat on, that’s part of the job. I am not tempted to wear something else,” he says. He quickly assures that his enviable collection is not rusting in a locker—his three sons, Samuel, 20, Neil, 18, and Kevin, 16, “take care of those as also my wife (Liliane). Today, women wear men’s watches as well.” So it’s not surprising that he says watches, when compared to cars, cufflinks or a good bottle of wine, are the best luxury products for men. “You cannot carry a car around, can you?”

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24 , 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


INDIA BY TUSHAR DASH (IT) Five years have passed since enactment of Forest RightsAct (FRA) and three years since its implementation in the states. There are tall claims made about its success. The year-end review of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is proud that by the beginning of December 2011, more than 31 lakh claims have reportedly been filed around the country, and more than 12 lakh titles have been distributed under the Forest Rights Act in the States/UTs. For the government these figures amount to real achievements, but the ground realities present some inconvenient truths. A powerful rights legislation, the Forest Rights Act has been converted into a benefit scheme which is selectively and strategically used to distribute pattas, a connotation which best suit the dominant political interests of the State as distributor and allocator of resources. It is seen that implementing agencies of the government have reduced the law to merely an exercise of recording of rights in a mechanical and bureaucratic way and distribution of pattas only on limited rights on land. In this din of patta distribution, some fundamental aspects of the law are ignored. A study by Center for Science and Environment on diversion of forest land informs us that forest clearances have been granted at an unprecedented rate in the 11th Five Year Plan period from 2007-2011. It reports that during this period, 8284 projects were granted forest clearance, and 2.04 lakh hectares (ha) of forest lands were diverted - this is about 25 per cent of all forest land diverted for development projects since 1981. In one single year - 2009 alone - as much as 87,883 hectares of forest lands were cleared for non-forest uses. Mining is a big culprit in all this; one out of every four hectares of the diversion was for mining projects. This is alarming, especially considering it has happened in the period when the FRA has been in force. This is the legislation that is supposed to protect the rights of forest dwellers, and ensure those rights are formally recognised. Evidently, compliance with this law is not quite what the Ministry would like us to believe. In Orissa, there is clear evidence of this - information obtained under the RTI Act on diversion of forest lands for projects reveals that in this State, most of the diversion has taken place without compliance to requirements under FRA and the informed consent of gram sabhas. In 2010 three committees constituted by the MoEF found glaring lapses and violations in diversion of forest lands. The Saxena committee on Vedanta, the Meena Gupta committee on Posco, and the joint committee of MOTA-MOEF on FRA all reported non-compliance with FRA in the diversion of forest lands. The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment on implementation of FRA was tabled in the last session of parliament, and is worth quoting

Rights Act, Not Working Right

February 24, 2012

There is wide-spread failure in safeguarding the rights of forest communities protected under the Forest Rights Act. State and Central Governments are complicit in diluting it.

In 2010 three committees constituted by the MoEF found glaring lapses and violations in diversion of forest lands

from. In the case of Niyamgiri, the committee wrote, “[W]hile deprecating the inaction on the part of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in guarding the interests and rights of these aboriginal people due to which the project could move ahead to such an advanced stage, advise the Ministry to be watchful and keep a constant vigil in ensuring that rights and interests of such people are always looked after, safeguarded and protected”. There is no mechanism put in place to monitor compliance of FRA in the forest diversion process. For example the Forest Advisory Committee which is mandated to monitor the process involved in diversion of forest land for various projects does not seem to duly monitor the conditions related to compliance of Forest Rights Act and there is hardly any information available in the documents and reports on the status of compliance of FRA. In this regard it is important to take note of a letter sent by non-official members of the Forest Advisory Committee to the Minister of State for Environment and Forests in September 2011. As reported in the media in the letter the non-official members have pointed glaring gaps in the functioning of the FAC particularly with regard to its role in overseeing the process of diversion of forests and clearance of projects. The letter has mentioned that the State forest departments/governments have abdicated their role of due diligence, mandatory under the Forest Conservation Act, possibly under political or other pressure and are routinely found approving even obviously damaging projects. Also that there is a lack of follow-up or a proper mechanism leading to violations pertaining to the case with forest, wildlife, water, catchment area treatment and soil conservation issues as well as with those pertaining to the Forest Rights Act and other related legislation. Plantations in community land Tamarjhola is a tribal village in Nayagarh district in Orissa. All the 33 households here have agricultural lands in nearby Jambukholo reserve forest, which they have been cultivating since before independence. After the implementation of FRA, the villagers have claimed rights on those lands. While the claims were

pending for verification the forest department started digging holes for plantation in their agricultural lands despite opposition by the villagers. On 22 June 2011 the villagers called a gram sabha on this issue and decide to approach the district authorities and the state level monitoring committee. After these interventions the plantation was stopped. Not all villages are as assertive as Tamarjhola. Since implementation of the FRA, such cases of forceful plantation in lands claimed under FRA have been reported from many states. As with the diversion of forest land, the plantations are carried out under the forestry projects like JICA, CAMPA, etc. on a massive scale, without ascertaining rights of the local communities under FRA. Imposition of Joint Forest Management In June 2011, a gram sabha of village Katingkana in Kalahandi district petitioned the District Level Committee against the forest department for forming a Vana Samrakshan Samiti (JFMC) in the village. In the petition the gram sabha and FRC members mentioned that formation of VSS by the FD violates the management rights and authorities vested under FRAunder sections 3 (1)(i) and 5.And since the gram sabha now holds the authority to decide how to manage the forests, the imposition of JFM by the FD is a violation, and action should be taken against the forest department. On 9 September 2011 the Forest Department government passed a new JFM resolution ignoring statewide protests by civil society groups and forest communities. The JFM resolution prescribes control and management by the forest department, which contradicts the management rights and authorities provided under FRA to the Gram Sabhas. Similarly in Maharashtra local groups and organizations have raised concerns about implications of a new government order on JFM. The MoEF, for its part in this dilution of the law, has issued an advisory to the state governments to provide legal standing to JFM by recognizing the JFMCs as organs of the Gram Sabha. The joint committee of MOTA and MOEF on FRA in its report has highlighted Joint Forest Management as one of major obstructions to the recognition of rights under FRA. Recently

the Minister, Tribal Affairs in his public statements has admitted that Community rights are illegally being awarded to joint forest management committees, which are created by the forest department. Relocation from tiger reserves In June 2011, gram sabhas of three core villages, Jamunagarh, Bakua and Kabatghai in Simlipal Tiger Reserve in Orissa protested the meetings organised by the forest department, and passed resolutions against their proposed relocation. The gram sabhas have sent letters to the state level monitoring committee to stop the relocation process, which is in violation of the FRA, and to take steps to complete the process of recognition of their rights. Earlier, in March 2010 another core village, Jenabil, was relocated from Simlipal without recognizing the rights of the community under FRA. Like Simlipal local communities living in many tiger reserves have

21

been protesting relocation and non implementation of FRA. Such protests are reported from Sariska TR in Rajasthan, Melghat TR in Maharashtra, Mudumlai TR in Tamilnadu and many other tiger reserves. These relocations are taking place despite the fact that the Forest Rights Act and the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Act require that the process of recognition of rights has to be complete before initiating any relocation process. All the above issues and developments regarding diversion of forest land, plantations, imposition of JFM, relocation of villages from Protected Areas all point to failure in safeguarding the rights of the forest communities under FRA. They also reveal the contradictions within the governance and institutional set-up, particularly the various laws and policies which run counter to the objectives of the FRA. Urgent attention needs to be given to resolve these inherent contradictions and to develop mechanism to ensure protection of rights. For this it is required that indicators for evaluation of progress of the FRA be set up by the nodal agency at the Ministry of Tribal Affairs which look at not just the claims and titles issued, but at the process of forest land use and diversions, and whether such uses under existing policies and programs are leading to violation of people’s rights.

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ENTERTAINMENT

22 February 24, 2012

Filmfare Awards 2011 Winners Ranbir Kapoor and Vidya Balan win BestActor andActress award respectively for Rockstar and The Dirty Picture at the 57th Filmfare Awards, which was otherwise ruled by Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Rockstar Hrithik, Farhan starrer snapped up 7 most popular awardsBest Film, Best Director, Best Dialogue, Best Supporting Actor (Male), Best Movie (Critics), Best Cinematography and Best Choreography. Ranbir Kapoor’s Rockstar was not far behind with 5 Filmfare awards- Best Actor, Best Actor (critics), Best Music Director, Best Lyrics Award and Best Playback (Male). POPULAR AWARDS Best Actor: Ranbir Kapoor for Rockstar Best Actress: Vidya Balan for The Dirty Picture Best Film: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Best Director: Zoya Akhtar for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Best Dialogue: Farhan Akhtar for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

Best Screenplay: Akshat Verma for Delhi Belly Best Story: Sanjay Chauhan for I Am Kalam Best Actor (Critics) Award: Ranbir Kapoor for Rockstar Best Actress (Critics) Award: Priyanka Chopra for 7 Khoon Maaf Best Film (Critics) Award: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Best Supporting Actor (Male) Award: Farhan Akhtar for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Best Supporting Actor (Female) Award: Rani Mukerji for ‘No One Killed Jessica’ SPECIAL FILMFARE AWARD: Partho Gupte for Stanley Ka Dabba LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Aruna Irani. Idea Sony Scene of the Year Award: The Dirty Picture FILMFARE MUSIC AWARDS Best Music Director Award: AR Rahman for Rockstar Best Lyrics Award: Irshad Kamil for ‘Nadaan Parindey’ of Rockstar Best Playback (Male) Award: Mohit Chauhan for ‘Jo Bhi Mein’ from Rockstar Best Playback (Female) Award: Rekha Bhardwaj and Usha Uthup for ‘Darling’ of 7 Khoon Maaf RD Burman Award for Best upcoming Talent:

Krishna for Tanu weds Manu Best Choreography: Bosco-Caesar for ‘Senorita’, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Best Background Score: Ranjit Barot for Shaitan FILMFARE DEBUT AWARDS Best Debut Director Award: Abhinay Deo for Delhi Belly Best Debut (Male) Award: Vidyut Jamwal for Force Best Debut (Female) Award: Parineeti Chopra for Ladies vs Ricky Bahl FILMFARE TECHNICAL AWARDS Best Action: Mathhias Barsch for Don 2. Best Cinematography: Carlos Catalan for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Best Editing: Huzefa Lokhandwala for Delhi Belly Best Production Design: Shashank Tere for Delhi Belly Best Sound Design: Nakul Kamte for Don 2 Best Costume Design Award: Niharika Khan for The Dirty Picture

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24 , 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


OPINION

February 24, 2012 Maharashtra Municipal Elections

23

Saffron Alliance does Better in Cities while Congress-NCP Combine Hold Sway in Villages BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT No political party or alliance of parties could secure a clear majority in either Mumbai or even Thane Corporation in the municipal elections the results of which were declared on 17 February. In Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the Shiv Sena BJP alliance together secured 107 seats in a house of 227, seven short of an absolute majority. Congress won 50 and its ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) lagged much behind with 14 seats. However, Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Nav Nirman Samiti (MNS) won 28 seats as compared to 21 in 2007. MNS was the only political outfit that contested elections without any alliance and seems to have done well enough. But Raj Thackeray’s party could not become either the kingmaker or the king as he had boldly prognosticated. The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance should be able to secure a comfortable majority with the help of the “others” and continue its uninterrupted rule in Mumbai Corporation. In Thane, it was a neck-to-neck race between the saffron group Shiv SenaBJP and the Congress-NCP alliances. The latter was leading in the initial stages, but subsequently Shiv SenaBJP forged ahead winning 62 seats in 130-member body, just falling short of majority by four votes. The Congress-NCP alliance was second with 52 seats; the remaining seats went to Independents and MNS. Here too the saffron brigade should have no difficulty in continuing with its rule. However, the pro-saffron trend was reversed in the elections to Pune Cor-

porations where Congress and NCP contested separately. Sharad Pawarled NCP secured 51 seats against 28 by Congress. BJP and Shiv Sena won 26 and 15 seats respectively. However, Raj Thackeray’s party secured 29 seats. In a way, Raj could beat cousin Uddhav in Pune which he had claimed to be his strong hold. However, NCP suffered a dent in its prestige when its star candidate and city Mayor Mohansingh Rajpal lost the civic election to a BJP opponent. No party has secured an absolute majority in the 122-member Nasik Corporation with each of the three rival political entities securing almost one third of the seats. However, MNS has emerged as the largest single party with 40 seats. The CongressNCP combine could secure only 36 with BJP-Shiv Sena-RPI alliance

coming third with only 35 seats. Thus the result is virtually an equal three-way division. It will now be a game of real politicking to watch which two of the three hostile parties will join hands. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, it was Sharad Pawar’s NCP which got a clear majority winning as many as 84 seats in a house of 128. Congress could get only 15 and Shiv Sena 13. BJP and MNS had to remain content with just three and four seats respectively. In Nagpur, the ruling BJP suffered a big setback when its outgoing Mayor Archana Dehankar and Deputy Mayor Shekhar Sawarbandhe lost to their Congress rivals. However, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine has become the largest single group with 68 seats in a house of 145 but still short of five for a clear majority. The Congress has

41 seats and NCP barely six. Here too the saffron alliance will have an upper hand. It is to be noted that Nagpur is the headquarters of Rashtriya Swayam Sangh (RSS). The ‘hung’ syndrome also continued in the 78-member Ulhasnagar Corporation in which the Shiv SenaBJP-RPI combination has secured 34 seats, still short of six for an absolute majority. Here the NCP and Congress won 21 and eight seats respectively. Thus in Ulhasnagar too the saffron combination will be able to stitch together a majority. InAmravati Corporation, the Congress-NCP combine has led with 42 seats in a house of 87 while its rival SS-BJP alliance could bag only 18. The remaining 27 seats have gone to independence and others. Similarly, the mandate in Akola too was fractured in the 73-member house with each of the two major alliances securing less than one third of the seats. In Solapur, Congress came out as the largest party with 44 seats in a house of 102. With its ally NCP securing 16 seats, it should rule the city. Incidentally, Solapur is the hometown of federal minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. In the elections to 27 Zila Parishads (district councils) in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar secured 526 seats out of total of 1639, the highest by any party. The Congress came a close second with 458 seats. The results thus show that the NCP and the Congress together maintained their sway in rural Maharashtra. This is all the more significant considering that their principal rivals, Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS lagged

much behind in the villages with 255, 198 and 19 seats respectively. Thus the combined total of these saffron parties came to 472 as compared to 1084 of Congress-NCP alliance. By virtue of its impressive performance, NCP is expected to rule in 11 of the 27 districts while the Congress party has an upper hand in nine districts. The saffron brigade of Shiv Sena and BJP will have power in the remaining seven districts. To sum it up, Congress-NCP alliance has not done as well as it had expected and predicted in the metropolitan and major cities in the state as against its main rivals in Maharashtra politics viz BJP-Shiv Sena who have done much better in urban areas. On the contrary, the Congress and NCP together or separately have shown a much better performance in rural Maharashtra. Thus the future elections to the Maharashtra assembly should attract much attention and interest. Raj Kanwar is a Dehra Dun based freelance journalist and writes columns o n c u r re n t affairs for local and national newspapers. He is also the author of the official history of ONGC, which is one of the top three companies in India in terms of market capitalization. Kanwar is also associated with World Oil as its Contributing Editor for South Asia.

Pranab Mukherjee’s Visit Strengthens Indo-U.S. Ties BY A STAFF WRITER CHICAGO, IL: It was a moment history revisited. Brining back memories of legendary ‘modern Indian saint’ Swami Vivekananda’s spellbinding speech that took the entire America by storm when he addressed the international religious conference on 28 January way back in 1893, Chicago celebrated his 150th birth anniversary amidst patriotic fervor and spiritual awakening. The occasion also marked the birth anniversary of Indian freedom fighter and one of the greatest poets in the world Rabindranath Tagore. Paying tribute to these two great personalities India produced; the Union Finance Minister of India Pranab Mukherjee was in Chicago on his two days official visit on January 28 and 29. On January 28, Mukherjee devoted a plaque of Swami Vivekananda at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) and inaugurated a Tagore art exhibition. He also cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony of Tagore’s paintings called “The Last Harvest.” Addressing attendees at Art Institute of Chicago, Mukherjee said, “The commemorating fulfills our

commitment and executes the longcherished desire of people of India.” He promised to give USD 500,000 to Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) to conduct ‘Vivekananda Memorial Program for Museum Excellence’ that will allow professional exchange of ideas between it and various museums in India. It will also serve as a resource center that will connect both the countries via workshops, seminars, lectures and courses. Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao also spoke of Vivekananda’s contribution to the merger. “Swami Vivekananda marked the beginning of East-West global dialogue,” Rao said. AIC is also planning to spend USD 175,000 for India in planning of exhibitions and conservation techniques. Earlier on the same day (Jan 28) A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for establishment of the Swami Vivekananda Chair that will ground a visiting professorship in the field of Indian studies. On January 29, Mukherjee met over 100 prominent Indian American community members gathered at Hotel Peninsula, at North Michigan Avenue. He commended Indian American

community and said, “I always look forward to such occasion when it is possible to reconnect with those who are a part of us historically and culturally and yet offer a rich variety of experiences and ideas from having worked in an environment that is professionally and culturally so distinct from our back home.” Mukherjee then announced the various benefits for overseas citizens. He declared computerized solution for all processes in the emigration system. “It will link key stakeholders on a common platform and will be used by workers, offices of the protector of emigrants, recruitment agencies, immigration officials, employers and the Indian missions abroad,” Mukherjee added. The two days visit of Mukherjee concluded with the major announcements made by him. He said that despite US and European sanctions against Tehran India will not take steps to cut petroleum imports from Iran. He also said that the anti-outsourcing measures US President Barack Obama announced last week are unacceptable and will hurt both American and Indian economies.

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24 February 24, 2012

“Outsourcing of Child Care is the Source of Trouble”: Pediatrician

BY MEERA SRINIVASAN & LIFFY THOMAS CHENNAI (Hindu): Vivek is just oneand-a-half-year-old but his parents are already pulling all strings to see their son gets admission into pre-KG in a ‘popular school’. Pediatricians say a majority of the mothers of such children are homemakers who think a play school/day care centre would engage the child better. But, in the process they are depriving the child of non-formal communication. Going by these examples, it seems abuse on children begins right from infancy. In middle-class homes, neglect of children begins at infancy with parents spending very little quality time. Other abuses on children include over exposure to television, overfeeding, compelling the child to participate in activities, besides grave abuses as sexual harassment and corporal punishment. “Lack of awareness and knowledge of the consequences of what they are doing is a kind of abuse,” says S. Yamuna, consultant pediatrician and adolescent physician. She says that much of newage abuse, caused directly or indirectly on children, is because of the anxiety level of parents. Dr. Yamuna says it is “cruel to leave the child under the care of grandparents or a caretaker and assume that the role of biological parents is not necessary.” This outsourcing is to be condemned. “During the initial seven years, one parent has to spend time with the child,” she says, adding that more than the children it is parents who need to be counselled, which should start at the pre-

The significance attached to care of children speaks volume for the society. Rag-pickers rummage through their collection on Ellaiamman Koil Street in Tiruvottiyur recently. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

pregnancy stage. Cases involving child abuse — whether physical, emotional or sexual — are complex. Not only because they could scar them for life, but also because many children do not know where and how to voice their grievances. In 2006, the School Education Department launched a complaint cell (044-28273591) to reassure students with a helpline that they could call in case they have a problem in school. In January 2007, the State government issued orders to remove Rule 51 of the Tamil Nadu Education Rules that permitted corporal punishment in schools under specified circumstances. Though

teachers and school managements know that corporal punishment is illegal, some teachers say they “helplessly” resort to the practice in an environment where examination results and ranks seem most important. “Parents themselves come and tell us ‘beat my son, make him study’. It is not easy, we need larger support systems and regular counselling in schools for students under pressure,” says a high school teacher. Rehabilitating a victim of corporal punishment also becomes an issue in situation where culture of violence is accepted by parents and when the issue of

child rights is not sufficiently understood by teachers, says Anuradha Vidyasankar, Head, Southern Regional Resource Centre, Childline India Foundation. According to Ms. Vidyasankar, the NGO has received more calls in 2011 than in the previous two years. “In Chennai, calls seeking rescue, restoration and shelter top the list,” she says. The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), which the State government is required to set up as per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, offers some promise. Once it becomes functional, children may have a platform to voice their grievances. Be it home or outside, sexual abuse is still an issue both parents and school skirt. In many cases, the threat could be nearer home. In a recent case in the city a four-year-old girl was kidnapped by a man in Mogappair East. Her parents and relatives frantically searched for the child but couldn’t locate her. Later in the evening public found a man with the child in the area who was handed over to the police. Investigations revealed that he was a paedophile and had misbehaved with many children on various occasions. CREATING AWARENESS Any organisation that works with children, including a school, tuition centre or an NGO, should have and implement a child protection policy, which should have five components. “How are the employees recruited and screened. Do they give all employees a basic training in child protection? Do they have a code of conduct on how they should behave with children? What is the system in place to report an al-

legation of abuse? And how should a case of alleged abuse be handled?,” explains Vidya Reddy of Tulir. While the schools of Chennai Corporation have been playing a proactive role in dealing with the issue, private schools have not been co-operative as often, they are hesitant to even discuss the topic, say activists. Sudha Ramalingam, advocate: “We have a good legal system and there are enough laws to punish the offenders but how much do we take advantage. The problem lies in the execution, where the complaint mechanism is either silent or faulty. There should be more sensitisation and teaching about what abuse is. We also need a system in place where we act pro-actively to ensure that the child victim is not exposed again and again and his/her name not revealed. Institutions should also be sensitised as they tend to suppress issues. Nancy Veronica, programme manager, Tulir: “Cases of child sexual abuse in Chennai are getting more reported due to two reasons. There is increasing awareness and greater faith in the system to which it is getting reported, which could be anyone including the parent. However, there is a long way to go, before we can be confident that the child is in a safe environment. It is important for parents to provide their child the space and approachability that they can come and disclose anything they might feel uncomfortable about.”

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HOROSCOPE

(Sun Sign)

www.GaneshaSpeaks.com Visit us Online www.indoamerican-news.com ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20: You need to pay takes centre-stage this week. more attention to your health. Money and While married Librans may finances may need your attenenjoy a romantic and blissful tion. Business may produce relationship, the unmarried average results. Considering ones may fall in love. This is the planetary positions, now is the right time to express your not a good time to sign any le- love to somebody. You may even propose to gal documents, financial deals that special someone this week. Whether you or bonds. Moreover, you need to re-check are into a business or job, you are likely to lead details and perhaps rethink and realign your a routine life. The monotony may make you travel plans, as there is a strong likelihood of want to change your current job or try your luck some last minute changes. in business. However, don’t do it, as debilitated TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 Back-break- Mercury may make you make mistakes. ing work, endless deadlines and burning the SCORPIO Oct 24 - Nov 22: This week, you midnight oil may leave you will need to be extra careful about expressing your opinions and emotions. tired this week. You remain Verbal communication is a engrossed in work. You may challenge for you this week, travel overseas. This week, such are the stars. Be very you may have to make a final careful, as in your negative call about some financial and mood, you may hurt someone family matters. On the social fronts, some with your actions and words. misunderstandings may crop up between you and your friends. Don’t enter into a business On the business front, you will be fine. But, do partnership, and avoid confrontations if you are put in more efforts and energy in order to get more business. Don’t let your heart rule you in business. Watch your words and actions. mind. But be careful, as your co-workers may GEMINI May 22 - Jun 21: You may not take an advantage of this weak phase. have a smooth sailing this week as the Lord of SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 22: Too your Sign, Mercury, is debilitated. Avoid taking any major much to do, too little time! Therefore, you may be left with only one opdecision about your career/ tion - multitasking. Be ready business matters, as you are to work for long hours, to likely to miscalculate and misachieve all the targets this judge the situations. On the week. You will be so busy that personal front, things may be you will not get time to take disappointing and disturbing. But, have a heart! Avoid getting into a verbal spat, your existing care of your personal life. Besides, retrograde problems may get worse. Winston Churchill Mars forming a Square aspect with North node had said, “We are masters of the unsaid words, may further drain your energy. Try to maintain but slaves of those we let slip out”. Be careful energy levels. Those associated with the field of of legal matters. A challenging week, but you art may get an opportunity to create something will get over it! extraordinary. Be patient, especially if you are CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 23: In business, running a business. expect liquidity to increase, as chances of you CAPRICORN Dec 23 - Jan 20: Balancing receiving back your money life may be a task for you, as you keep getting from debtors are high. Now disrupted. You will constantly is the right time to generate be on your toes. Business tenbusiness and also to put those sions, work pressures, travelplans into action. The week is ling to different places will likely to bring equally favoradd to your hectic schedule. able times for professionals. Be ready to grab Be patient and alert. Maintain the opportunities on the job front; enticing and your fitness levels, and keep a lucrative offers are coming your way. Things positive frame of mind to deal with unexpected may not be as pleasant on the family front. events. Not everything shall be dull and discourSomebody very dear may hurt your emotions. aging. Your domestic life will remain smooth You may have a tiff with your siblings, relation- and obstacle free. Positive circumstances on the ships may sour. Be careful! home front will motivate you. LEO July 24 - Aug 23: The week may not AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19: You may be favor your plans to the extent you would prefer. very busy during the opening of this week. A Things may not fall in place as few business strategies may designed. Although you will start to yield positive results. try your best to earn benefits, However, you may need more you may end up getting very monetary support to take your less in return. The disappointplans further. Those planning ment may, quite understandto buy a new house are adably, frustrate you. Financial matters may give vised to put their plans on you sleepless nights. Don’t lose heart. From hold. It is not the right period to enter into any Thursday onwards, circumstances will become activity, which is related to property, real estate better. Planetary positions may bring a positive etc. especially concerning purchases. You will turn in your life. Your personal life may get bet- get to take a break from your schedule soon. ter if your ego does not get in the way. Issues Take a leisure trip to a nearby tourist destinarelated to your children occupy your time. tion and relax. Spending quality time with a VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23: Although you loved one will also work as an energy booster. will be working hard and be extremely busy Students should concentrate on their goals. all through the week, your efPISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20: Mercury is tranforts go unrecognized. Blame siting through Pisces, your logic and analytical it on retrograde Mars travelling abilities may get negatively through your sign. Business affected. Don’t make any rash too is dull this week, unless decisions, related to your job you think out-of-the-box with or career. On the financial unique ideas for marketing and promotion. On front, things are likely to be the job front, you can afford to expect a new job pretty stable. On the personal in another city or country. Review your current investment plans. Avoid new investments. Sat- front, be more practical. Emotional outbursts urn is retrograde, which may make you spend and confrontations may disrupt the harmony in money wisely, and strengthen your belief in the your marital life. Mars being retrograde and at 180 degrees from your sign may provoke your saying - ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’! LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23: Your personal life partner to counter your views. Do not lose your temper in such situations. Stay calm, meditate.

February 24, 2012

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Blackberry Finally Sets Up Local Server in Mumbai

MUMBAI(The Hindu): After much controversy, BlackBerry has finally set up its server in Mumbai following intense pressure from the government to provide a mechanism for lawful interception of its messenger services and Nokia has been asked to follow suit. During a high-level meeting at the Union Home Ministry recently, officials of the security agencies were informed that Canada-based Research in Motion has installed the servers in Mumbai. The servers have been inspected by a team of officers and permission for direct linkage for lawful interception was expected to be issued shortly, a presentation made at the meeting held in the office of the Home Secretary said. About the Nokia Push Mail, the Department of Telecom also prescribed a similar policy as in the case adopted by the BlackBerry, the presentation said. The government and BlackBerry manufacturers were in a logjam over its services in India as security agencies had raised a red flag over its operations citing non availability of method to intercept its messenger service and enterprise mail. However, there was a climb down by the government on intercepting mail sent through BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) which decrypts the messages and sends it to email server of the service provider where it remains stored in decrypted form. Then the message

is pushed to the BlackBerry device in encrypted form. The DoT secretary informed that currently there are about 5000 Enterprise Servers for BES. Director Intelligence Bureau Nehchal Sandhu noted that these are communications between the employees of the enterprise only and, therefore, are not of “high concern” for security or Intelligence agencies. “However, it was decided to obtain list and location of the servers from telecom service providers,” the presentation said. RIM representatives had explained that BlackBerry mobile device sends the encrypted email which is sent to BES located with the service provider. The government had said the onus of giving access to security agencies to monitor the information on these smart phones lies with the service providers. According to the licensing conditions, the service providers are liable to put in a mechanism to allow security agencies to intercept any conversation or message of any subscriber whenever required. As telecom service providers like Airtel, Vodafone, RCom, the Tatas and the government—run BSNL and MTNL are offering BlackBerry services, it is the responsibility of these operators to ensure that the security agencies get access to all services they offer. RIM has its operations in 175 countries. Subscribe 713-789-NEWS!

“I Will Not Shut Down Kingfisher Airlines”: Owner Vijaya Mallya

NEW DELHI (TOI): Beleaguered unfortunate because our bank to resolve and negotiate with the tax Kingfisher Airlines’ promoter Vijay accounts were suddenly frozen by authorities and tried to agree on a Mallya said tonight that he will not tax authorities. I don’t deny we payment plan which is comfortable shut down the private carrier which have taxes due. The bottomline is for both. Our accounts should be struggled to stay afloat after further we requested for time to pay these de-frozen so that we can continue normal operations. We have the large-scale flight disruptions and dues,” Mallya said. resignation of pilots. “Closing down “It was the very sudden attachment money in the accounts and money is not an option. It will not happen. of our accounts that obviously is flowing in,” Mallya said. Asked why Government does the airline did not want it to not inform happen. It is not in aviation national interest,” regulator Mallya said in his D G C A first public reaction about flight to the latest crisis cancellations, that has gripped he said “if your his cash-strapped bank account airline. “Why is frozen should we give s u d d e n l y, up as long as we obviously you get help. Help is don’t have not bailout. We advance notice have asked banks by which to to consider our notify DGCA. proposal to provide It is selfmore working explanatory. capital,” he said, making it clear In the context of getting help for Kingfisher Airlines, Vijaya Mallya “ Wi t h t h e that the airline has referred to the government’s decision to allow direct jet fuel imports a c c o u n t s never asked for a by the airlines and permit foreign carriers to pick up stake in them. f r o z e n , t h e bailout from the Here Vijay Mallya posing with Kingfisher Models in better times before p r o b l e m troubles beset the airline started then government. and there. We didn’t have time In the context of getting help, crippled us,” he said. the liquor baron referred to the Kingfisher, which suffered a loss to notify anyone. It was only government’s decision to allow of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010-11 and subsequently that we notified the direct jet fuel imports by the airlines has a debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore, DGCA. We conveyed to DGCA and permit foreign carriers to pick posted a Rs 444 crore loss in third defining the circumstances we were having to suffer,” he said. up stake in them. He had lobbied quarter this fiscal. Almost 40 flights were cancelled hard with the government on both Maintaining that Kingfisher’s these issues. Mallya claimed that financial crunch was reflective of by the airline, including those to the entire issue of bailout was of the prevailing state of the aviation Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu “media making”. industry, Mallya said “we have and Dhaka, leaving hundreds of Asked about sudden disruption to make payments every day. passengers stranded at various in Kingfisher flights, the UB Group Payments are to be made for spare airports across the country. The chief said the bank accounts of the parts, to customs, fuel dues, airport cancellations included 14 flights airline were frozen “very suddenly” dues. So the ability to operate the from Mumbai, seven from Kolkata and six from Delhi. by the Income Tax authorities over bank account is critical”. non-payment of tax dues. “Once we are choked, we CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 “The abrupt disruption was obviously have problems. I tried

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February 24, 2012

Basmati Rice Export to Restart This Week After a Year’s Gap at Lower Min. Prices

CHANDIGARH (TOI): Export of Basmati rice from India is likely to re-start in couple of days as the government is learnt to have agreed to lower the minimum export price (MEP) from 940 dollars per tonne to 700 dollars per tonne. The lowering of the rate to prevalent international price around at 700 dollars per tonne will make the Indian produce cheaper as the earlier Indian rice was outpriced, an Indian exporter Jitender Dhingra told The Times of India. Notification of the new MEP is likely anytime from Monday and export will start within a day of the notification, he said. Another big rice exporter Kailash Bhagat said the notification is likely to reach ports in couple of days.

Exports were virtually halted as the government of India did not adjust to the international price despite the rate crashing both in the international and the domestic market allowing Pakistani Basmati rice to capture the market in the Gulf. The three consecutive bumper crops, coupled with slackening demand in economic crisis-hit Europe and America had adversely affected Indian exports with the high price becoming a barrier. Prices are unlikely to go up this year as the crop has been bumper this year also. One of a peculiar developments taking place this year is that Pakistan is preparing to import Indian Basmati rice for the first time

ever for domestic consumption as floods had damaged crops in the neighbouring country. Sources said exporters to Pakistan based in Dubai have made inquiries for importing rice from India as Pakistan is facing a shortage. Exports will also help relieve the situation in Punjab and Haryana as they are already facing a crisis of storage. In fact, India has so much of supply of rice (non-Basmati varieties) that it has not stopped export of this variety for lack of hardening of prices in this segment despite continued exports beyond a fixed quantity. Generally, the government discourages export of non-Basmati variety to keep prices down for domestic consumers.

“I Will Not Shut Down Kingfisher Airlines”: Owner Vijaya Mallya

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27

Wobbling on top of large-scale flight disruptions, beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines faced further problems with 34 pilots quitting and a large number of staff being put on notice even as the government today ruled out any bailout for the airline. The resignation of the pilots have taken the total number of those who have quit to about 80 since last October, industry sources said today. Reports also suggested that a large number of ground staff, mostly on contract, were also put on notice by the cash-strapped carrier and their contracts not renewed. H o w e v e r, t h e r e w a s n o confirmation from the airline about these resignations. Kingfisher has been suffering from a severe cash crunch that has culminated into the Income Tax authorities freezing its bank accounts last week on grounds of non-payment of tax dues. Meanwhile ruling out any bailout, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh told reporters here, “Government

cannot go around asking banks to lend money (for private airlines)”. “No, government is not going to have any bailout,” he added. “As far as Kingfisher or any other private airline is concerned, they have to present their business plan to the banks and if they (banks) are satisfied with that, and if it is within RBI guidelines, then they will lend money,” he said. Over 30 flights were cancelled today, including those to Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu and Dhaka, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded at various airports across the country. Today’s cancellations included 14 flights from Mumbai, seven from Kolkata and six from Delhi. Concerned over the sudden cancellations and passenger inconvenience, aviation regulator DGCA summoned the airline’s CEO Sanjay Agarwal and top officials to appear before them tomorrow to explain the large-scale disruptions in the operations and the reasons.

Adopt a pet today! 713-869-7722 Visit www.houstonspca.org Learn more by visiting their website today! A lowering of minimum export price from $940 per ton to $700 will revitalize the export of Basmati rice.

Delhi, Mumbai among World’s Best Airports MUMBAI (SI): The international airports in Mumbai and New Delhi have secured global rankings at the Airport Council International’s (ACI’s) airport service quality awards. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai, has been adjudged among the top three performing airports of last year in the airport service quality survey, by the Airport Council International (ACI), an official said. While the Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi has been ranked the first in India and the second best globally, Mumbai’s CSIA ranks the third best airport globally, and has emerged the second best in India in the 25-40 million passengers per annum (MPPA) category of ACI. The survey was conducted at 180 airports worldwide for the ACI Airport Service Quality Awards(ASQ), 2011, the CSIA official said. Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd (MIAL) managing director G. V. Sanjay Reddy, commenting on the CSIA securing the

top honours, said, it is “a reaffirmation of our vision to transform the CSIA into one of the best airports in the world.” “Last year, we received this award in the 1525 MPPA category and again this year in the 2540 MPPA category. This further reinforces MIAL’s efforts in improving the service quality at CSIA, which has been widely recognized by passengers, on an ongoing basis over the years,” Reddy said. ACI, an autonomous and independent body, carried out the ASQ passenger survey by measuring customer feedback on a range of service delivery parameters, that track the customer experience at an airport from the moment of arrival to the departure gate. Analysis of this “realtime” data, recorded on the

day of travel, serves as a guide for better aligning service provision with customer expectations. By benchmarking an airport with other similar airports, ASQ enables airports to see where they stand in competition with their peers, and in turn, helps them prioritize improvement projects and validate their investments in new facilities and services. CSIA catered to 29.10 million passengers between April 2010-March 2011, compared to 25.6 million passengers during the same period the previous year, a healthy growth of around four million passengers in one year. MIAL is a joint venture between the GVK-led consortium and Airports Authority of India, with a mandate to modernize, upgrade and expand the existing CSIA.

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February 24, 2012

Women Executives Flying High India’s Growing Liquor Industry

BOBY KURIAN & REEBA ZACHARIAH M U M B A I ( TO I ) : Wo m e n breaking the glass ceiling in financial services, FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and media sectors are a common sight today. But the picture is fast evolving in traditionally male-dominated industries too. The Indian alcohol industry is for the first time seeing

of Indian origin, has been with Diageo’s overseas operations and has been driving the company’s powerful whiskey portfolio in Asia Pacific. These two, along with Mamta Sundara (legal) and Sarah Walton (HR), make up Diageo’s women leadership under managing director Roland Abela in India. Women are beginning to drive key responsibilities for many global

India is Listed as Riskiest BRIC Nation NEW DELHI (IE): A robust economic growth seems to have made little improvement to India’s ability to withstand major external shocks, making it the most exposed and least resilient BRIC nation to the global risks. According to a study conducted by risk analysis firm Maplecroft, India has been ranked as the 19th most exposed and least resilient country worldwide to the global risks. On a list of 178 countries, Somalia has been named on the top with highest exposure and least resilience, while other BRIC countries, Russia, China and Brazil have been ranked 30th, 58th

Clockwise: Zanita Kajiji, Aparna Batra & Abanti Shankaranarayanan

women manage the show in some companies, an unthinkable idea five or 10 years ago. The world’s largest liquor company, Diageo, has uncorked a bevy of women to run its Indian operations following a quiet organizational rejig in recent days. Twelve of the top 30 managers are women. Four women directors, including a deputy managing director, spearhead Diageo’s ambitions in the local alcoholic beverages sector. The company promoted former Tata Global Beverages executive Abanti Shankaranarayanan as deputy managing director and brought in Zanita Kajiji as its new marketing director. Kajiji, an expat

drinks brands in the domestic market. Scotch maker William Grant & Sons cherrypicked Aparna Batra to head their India unit. Polly Yim has been in charge of finance at Moet Hennessy’s Indian office, where women comprise 25% of the staff. At rival Pernod Ricard, women executives make up almost one-third of the brand and marketing team. Lifestyle consumption has driven India’s rapidly growing drinks industry where on-premise sales (through upmarket restaurants and high street lounges) account for much of the profitable market. MNCs like Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and Beam have built

CONTINUED ON PAGE 32

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corruption law between the ruling Indian National Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, both of which have been hit by recent corruption scandals, has severely disrupted law-making. Maplecroft said that the BRIC countries have made little improvement in terms of societal governance and are no better placed to withstand major shocks and risks, despite their strong economic growth. Their strong economic growth in the last four years has not translated into better societal resilience, which constrains a country’s ability to

However, poor governance and a relative lack of societal resilience could undermine the ability of countries like India, Russia and China to combat any unexpected events of large magnitude and consequence, the report said. “Poor governance and a relative lack of societal resilience in India, Russia, and China are identified as significant factors that could undermine their ability to combat the effects of ‘black swan’ events,” the survey said. “A country’s resilience to external and internal shocks is built up over time, so as the BRICs political risk

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with leaders of Brazil, Russia and China.

and 97th, respectively. Among the ten countries most exposed and least resilient to global risks, Somalia is followed by Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Myanmar and Yemen. The report noted that high corruption, terrorism and political violence are some of the most prevalent risks in India and “threaten human security and business continuity, while diverting valuable government resources and money.” “Continuing poor governance is evidenced by the endemic nature of corruption, especially in India and Russia, where the political process is undermined by an inability to tackle the problem,” the report said. It further said that the political stand-off over a new anti-

adapt and combat potential shocks from pandemics, conflict, terrorism, economic contagion and impacts of climate change, Maplecroft said in its report titled‘The Global Risks Atlas 2012’. This is despite the cumulative GDP growth between 2009 and 2012 of 16 per cent for Brazil, 13 per cent for Russia, 28 per cent for India and 32 per cent for China, it said. “With hopes for a global economic recovery resting with the BRICs, investors and business seeking new high-growth, high-risk markets need to be aware of their limited resilience to global risks,” Maplecroft CEO Alyson Warhurst said. Brazil however is “largely buffered” from the destabilising influences of global risks, than the other BRICs counterparts, owing to its to its strong democratic governance and regime stability.

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2012 • WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

environment improves we might see resilience strengthen, but our results reveal this is yet to happen,” Warhurst said. The survey covered 178 countries and analysed their exposure to macroeconomic risk, security, resource security, climate change and infectious diseases. It also evaluated governance and societal resilience to measure how prepared nations are to adapt to the impacts of global risks. “Improvements in basic social infrastructure, such as education, healthcare and sanitation for large sections of society, are vital in combating the impacts of global risks. Without these, and improvements in governance, the BRIC economies may not fully realise their investment potential,” The study has named New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Canada among the safest investment destinations in terms of their exposure.


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32

OPINION BUSINESS

February 24, 2012

Opposite Andhra Secretariat, Officials on a ‘Treasure Hunt’

HYDERABAD (IE): The Andhra Pradesh Archaelogy Department has been known to discover new sites dating back to historic and medieval times based on tip-offs across the state. However, this particular dig is quite different. It is quite literally a treasure hunt in the heart of Hyderabad, in front of the state secretariat. Based on a letter written to the department by a Coal India employee who claimed to

which stands the famous Birla temple. The treasure story rolled around until an employee of Coal India, Rama Raju, last year decided to look around the site where the mason claims to have seen the chamber. “I have been trying to ascertain if there was any underground construction at the spot since it belongs to erstwhile rulers. A few months ago I saw a small opening near the hillock and it appeared to have stairs going down, but I could not ascertain that. I wrote to the Archaeology Department only after establishing that the erstwhile rulers lived here, and that they may have built some secret chambers which may contain treasure,” Raju said. Raju said he showed the crevice to some of his friends and they too agreed there could be an underground structure. “We met Archaeology Director P Chenna Reddy and convinced him that based on the historical background of the site, they should at least investigate,” The treasure hunt near Birla temple in Hyderabad Raju said. with heavy machinery “Raju and his friends could not pinpoint the place where they claim have seen a “crevice” leading to a secret to have seen the opening to an underground tunnel filled with treasure, on the premises structure,” Archaeology Director P Chenna of the historic Vidyaranya School, the Reddy told The Indian Express. “Out of department started digging furiously Sunday curiosity and to set all speculation at rest, we evening. are digging at several places where they think Except disappointment, they haven’t there are undergound chambers containing found anything yet, though the school has gold hidden by former rulers. So far we have seen considerable damage, including to the not come up with anything.” seating at an open-air auditorium. He added that they would try “one last After several hours of digging frenzy, time” at a site near the Home Science College officials acknowledged they were having where construction workers had hit upon a second thoughts about whethery they were tunnel recently. However, it wasn’t found sent on a wild goose chase. Minister for leading to anything. Archaeology and Museums Vatti Vasant “NMDC officials have agreed to provide Kumar, who came to the spot to inspect, some scanning equipment so that we don’t was also scathing: “I don’t think anyone have to dig up unnecessarily,” Reddy has a clue what is happening here. I have added. told officials that instead of digging up However, experts feel Reddy shouldn’t everywhere, they should take the help of have acted in such haste on the basis of what sophisticated instruments if they feel that Rama Raju and his friends claimed to have there is something underneath,” he said as seen. “If these people saw something a year he left. ago and thought there was gold buried there, The treasure hunt started with an elderly why didn’t they approach the authorities mason confiding in a friend that he had then? Why now?” asked P Anuradha Reddy, seen an opening in the ground leading to a INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and chamber, while building a wall on the school Cultural Heritage), member, Hyderabad. premises four years ago. The school, located As workers could not make much progress opposite the Secretariat, was established by Sunday, heavy earth-moving machines were the erstwhile rulers of Wanaparthy and the pressed into service today. It being a school property still belongs to them. holiday due to Mahashivaratri, the students Besides the school is a small hillock on at least were not inconvenienced.

India, Italy Row Brewing over Killing of Kerala Fishermen

NEW DELHI (TOI): With the Italian presence of armed guards on board the foreign minister Guilio Terzi ramping up ship was permissible under Italian law pressure on India about the involvement of and corresponded to UN resolutions. The the Italian naval personnel in killing two local ministry said the case should be handled by fishermen off the Kerala coast, a diplomatic row appears to be brewing between New Delhi and Rome. An Italian official and legal delegation travelled to Kochi on Monday, even as the two Italian guards, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were remanded to three days in police custody by the local magistrate. Terzi on Monday said that there were “considerable differences” between Italy and India over the incident. “There are currently considerable differences of a legal character. Up to now I have not seen the co-operation between India and Italy that would be desirable and would allow a quick Two Italian guards Massimiliano Latorre and resolution,” Terzi said. Salvatore Girone were remanded to three Fundamentally, there are differences days custody by the Police. between the two nations over the locale of the incident. The Italians say the shooting Italy “as the incident occurred in international occurred on international waters, and waters on an Italian-flagged ship”. It said the consequently prosecution and investigation servicemen were state officials and as such should be according to the UN and not Indian enjoyed immunity with respect to foreign laws. India maintains that the crime was states. New Delhi refutes this since the crime committed on an Indian vessel, even if it was occurred on an Indian vessel. in the “contiguous zone”, and unarmed Indian “Contacts and collaboration between the fishermen had been shot dead. Hence, the two governments are essential to establish case fell under Indian jurisdiction, and should the facts in the face of unilateral actions being be prosecuted as per Indian laws. undertaken by police authorities,” it said. The Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie was The Italian media has quoted the captain flying with an Italian flag in international of the Enrica Lexie as saying that they had waters as it sailed from Singapore to Egypt, confronted a vessel that had five armed men when the incident occurred last Wednesday. and not 11 unarmed fishermen. They were Agencies quote a statement by the even quoted as saying that they had fired Italian foreign ministry as saying; the into the water.

Women Executives Flying High as Leaders in Indian Liquor Industry CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29

their presence at the top end of the market, expanding the job market and asking female executives to lead the business vertical. The broader alcobev sector has been attracting women from Nestle and CocaCola as it takes on the character of an FMCG business. Advertising and hospitality are the other favorite recruiting grounds.

Amit Nandkeolyar, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Indian School of Business, said that as certain male-dominated industries become more socially inclusive, women go-getters would increasingly become visible. However, compared to the representation in other businesses, this sector with complex regulations and state interferences still has some way to go.

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SPORTS

February 24, 2012

“Veteran Sachin Tendulkar’s Time is Up in ODIs”: Kapil Dev

NEW DELHI (IE): India’s former cricket captain Kapil Dev feels Sachin Tendulkar should retire from one-dayers, saying the champion batsman’s time is finally up after over two decades at the international level. “From what we have seen in the last three months, he should have announced his retirement before the World Cup. It’s important to know that every cricketer has his time,” Kapil told to a news channel. “Having served India for 22-23 years, there surely is no greater cricketer than him. But he should have announced his decision to retire from the shorter format soon after the World Cup,” he said. Tendulkar, who is struggling for form in the ongoing ODI tri-series against Australia and Sri Lanka, is still awaiting his 100th international century -- close to a year after he scored the 99th. Kapil felt players who cannot decide on their own about their future should be told about it no uncertain terms by the selection panel. “May be his time has come. Every player has his time. Age is not on his side as it was earlier,” Kapil said of the 38-year-old right-

India abandoned their rotation policy and played all three senior batsmen. They also brought in a spinner in place of a fast bowler. They still leaked runs at the death. Their heavyweight top order still caved in cheaply. Sri Lanka were on a different plane. Their old guard provided the base and the new order built on it to boost them to a substantial total. Their disciplined bowlers, led by Nuwan Kulasekara, dismantled a shaky India line-up, minus the in-form MS Dhoni, to take Sri Lanka into second position behind Australia with a game in hand. Parthiv Patel, Dhoni’s replacement, lasted seven deliveries and made 4. Sehwag had missed the previous two games and was stand-in captain today but that did not bring about any change in his approach. He went after the second delivery of the chase, a short and wide one from Lasith Malinga, reaching out to slice it tamely to third man. Tendulkar and Gambhir played some pleasing strokes but Kulasekara snapped up both batsmen, a reward for disciplined line and full lengths. He kept Tendulkar guessing with a few that came in and some that moved away. The batsman was a little late in deciding to leave a good length delivery and edged it onto his stumps. With two 90s as an opener in his previous three games, Gambhir dropped down to No. 3 to allow Sehwag and Tendulkar to open.

hander. “Perhaps Sachin loves cricket more than himself. Azhar feels like playing even now. Sourav (Ganguly) wants to play. It’s important what the Board or the selectors feel about the issue,” he added. Asked whether the elusive 100th hundred was affecting Tendulkar’s form, Kapil said, “Sachin has played under tremendous pressure all through his career and scored centuries inspite of extreme expectations. He has delivered in such situations in the past.” Justifying the criticism heaped on Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kapil said some his decision smack of favouritism. “If you are an Indian captain, you cannot be partial. I was surprised when R P Singh was drafted into the Test side in England... One must find out why all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was not used as a bowler even for a single over in the Australia in Brisbane. “Dhoni is a mature player. I am perturbed when he picks a player as an all-rounder and doesn’t make him bowl at all. If anyone makes such mistakes, he can’t survive for long. If Dhoni makes such mistakes repeatedly, he will have to pay the price,” he said.

But he defended Dhoni’s comment that senior players were slow fielders. “With too many seniors, it’s no denying the fact that there will be drop in fielding standards for they are no longer young. I don’t think individual players are bigger than the Indian team. Had they performed, these issues would not have cropped up,” he said. On whether there is a divide within the team given Dhoni’s comments, Kapil said, “Don’t they want to perform at their best? I don’t think they will under-perform (because of any differences).” Speaking about other senior players such as Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Kapil said, “I think Dravid and Laxman have played their last Test. They could be given one last Test for a respectable exit, but certainly not at the cost of team’s interests.” “There is no denying that the likes of Rahul, Sachin and Laxman have served the nation like few other cricketers. But they are no longer young and if Indian cricket does not move forward from the Big Three, it will risk falling a generation back and struggle like the West Indies and Australian teams have done in the past.”

Sri Lanka Too Strong for Listless India He lasted longer than the two but ended up dabbing Kulasekara to gully after walking down the pitch. Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina struggled initially but benefited from three dropped catches to keep India in the game with a 92-run partnership. Raina’s leading edge off Angelo Mathews was put down at point by Tillakaratne Dilshan. He was on 4 at the time. Kolhi was let off twice, both times by Dinesh Chandimal at deep midwicket, first on 14 off Thisara Perera, then on 32 off Malinga. Raina could not capitalise, though, and, on 32, popped another leading edge, off Farveez Maharoof this time, straight to cover. Irfan Pathan cracked a few boundaries to reduce

the margin of defeat and deny Sri Lanka the bonus point, but the match had been decided much earlier, with Sri Lanka in control right from their opening partnership. Mahela Jayawardene started the innings again, and gave Sri Lanka another strong start along with Tillakaratne Dilshan. Lahiru Thirimanne led the young middle order’s charge as Sri Lanka shrugged off the successive departures of their three senior batsmen in the middle overs. Thirimanne kept the runs coming with some enterprising strokes to ensure 124 for 3 did not turn into something worse. Mathews, who backs himself to score from any position and in any situation, smashed 49 off 37 deliveries at No. 6 as India’s

33

Kapil Dev feels it is time for Sachin Tendulkar to make more records in Test matches.

bowling came apart. India sneaked back through a doublestrike. On 45, Jayawardene swung Pathan hard into the on side, but Sehwag got in the way with a big dive at midwicket, and held on to a sharp catch. Dilshan fell for 51 on the cut when R Ashwin got one to bounce. Thirimanne did not hold back with the big strokes. He favoured the off side, mostly point and third man, as he steered and dabbed for boundaries. Irfan ended Chandimal’s stay with a yorker on leg stump but India ran into Mathews next. The scoring-rate picked up, as the pair added 49 in seven overs. Thirimanne’s batting was classy but the same could not be said about his backing up. Despite the changed law on run-outs while backing up, he repeatedly left his crease even before the bowlers were into their delivery stride. Ashwin was well within his rights to remove the bails in the 40th over as Thirimanne went walking early again, but India decided to withdraw the appeal in good spirit after a discussion with the umpires. It made no difference to Thirimanne, though, as he continued to take an early start at the non-striker’s end. He eventually fell chipping Ashwin to sweeper cover but Mathews was around to lift Sri Lanka to a big total, which proved to be well beyond India’s reach. Cricinfo

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2012 • WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


34

INDIA IN PICTURES

February 24, 2012

IAF’s newly inducted MI-17 V5 helicopter at Air Force Station, Palam, in New Delhi Photo: V. Sudershan

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha greets couples at a mass wedding function in Chennai. Photo: R. Ragu

Visitors admire flowers at the 25th Garden Tourism Festival 2012, the theme of which is “Beauty and Nutrition” at the Garden of Five Senses Said-ul-Ajaib, Saket, in New Delhi Indian players celebrate after scoring a goal against Poland during their Olympic qualifier hockey match, in New Delhi. India defeated Poland 3-0.

Models display the Autumn Winter Collections by designer Dev r Nil on the third day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

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February 24, 2012

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