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Friday, August 31 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 35

Indo Indo American American News

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Colorful, Bustling Janmashtami The 23rd Annual Janmashtami Celebration featured a large number of children who participated in the Little Krishna and Sages costume competition


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August 31, 2012



August 31, 2012


Rose Petal Holi , Sounds & Vivid Colors Enliven HGH Janamashtami

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: The most attractive part of the Janamashtami celebration last Saturday evening, August 25—and for that matter, the event that has evolved over the years—is the number of activities going on simultaneously over the vast hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center. As a celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna, it captures the joyous mela spirit with throngs of people sauntering around booths, the stage and the food stalls. In this sense, the Janamashtami celebration organized by the Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) is different from the other large community wide events—Independence Day and Republic Day— because it brings out the multitude of colorful booths, flowers, musical sounds, blowing of horns, and clanging of drums, all while some chanting maybe going on and stage shows proceed as planned. When over 40 Hindu organizations from across the Metroplex come together, as they did last Saturday, there is commotion and excitement in the air that makes it hard to keep the mind focused. For a while this past Saturday evening, the organizers who had worked so hard to piece all the elements together were wondering if the crowds would come. A few lamented how much money and time had been spent putting the totally free event—religious booths paid no fees and there wasn’t an entrance ticket—together for a meager showing of crowds. But, as if a faucet had been turned on, by 9 pm, they started arriving and then it was a torrent that stayed together till the final moments of the million rose-petal drop and till the close after midnight. There were certainly conflicts with other events around town, and also a newly recognized phenomenon—event fatigue—that contributed to this. Still, over 4,000 people came through the doors

(from a count of the shoes that were left off at the entrance), a far cry from the over 6,000 of last year. But for those who came, this year’s 23rd Annual Grand Janamashtami brought together the young and the old; the over 98 little kids who were dressed up by their mothers in Little Krishna look-alike Malika Dargan, Sandhya and Sunil Thakkar, Zoe costumes for Wallace, Uma and Sanjay Jajoo enjoyed playing a competition; Phoolon Ki Holi Photo: Kavita Pallod the temple booths adorned with deities and offering prasad to passersby; the inquisitive Americans who lingered on and the dancers with their dandiya-garba sticks. Group A: For those who participated, it 1st: Shiv patel was a learning experience to build nd 2 : Sanchita Chinta the booths, which were judged for 3rd: Somiya Gupta their appearance, religious content and depiction of the life of KrishGroup B: na and his teachings. In the group st 1 : Neha Joshi Jhanki category there were some 2nd: Devshank Mukundan amazing designs like the Godrd 3 : Ramitha Venkat vardhan Mountain episode, Garuda Vahana (Eagle Chariot) procesGroup C: sion, different stages of Krishna in 1st: Surbhi subhash Gokul, Krishna in all his ten incarnd 2 : Akhilesh Kumar nations and Kansa-devaki. rd 3 : Ayushi Sharma The Vedanta Society of Greater Houston (VSGH) lent out a poster Group D: board photo exhibit on the “Life First Prize: Ten avatars of of Swami Vivekananda”. Visiting Lord Vishnu Swami Muktanand spoke briefly Second Prize: 2 Groups, from the stage; he later gave a Stages of Krishna in discourse the next day at the Arya Gokul and Nandgram with Samaj. A moment of silence was Govrdhan Mountain. observed for the six Sikh victims

of the Oak Creek Gurudwara massacre. For the first time, a Sikh kirtan was held onstage, relating how Krishna met his old friend Sudama. The youth groups from the SwaraRagaLaya and Pranavam School of Arts gave marvelous Carnatic music performances. A lifetime achievement award was given to Kookila Shah by Swami Muktanand. Back this year by popular demand was the “Phoolon ki Holi” (Shower of flower petals) which

brought cheer and laughter to seniors and kids alike. Darshak Thakkar of Krishna Sounds set the hall moving with his masterful drumming and vocalist Karishma got everyone dancing to the raasgarba beat. And, as in previous years, Sangita Bhutada made a circular rangoli depicting a chariot at the main entrance. Also as in the past, groups of teenage volunteers helped to take and store shoes and return them to their rightful owners as they were leaving.

ICC at HGH Janmashtami

Costume Contest Winners

From left: Swapna Chaudhuri (Vedanta Society of Greater Houston), Thara Narsimhan (Hindus of Greater Houston), Ambassador Arun Singh (Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India, Washington DC.), Consul General P. Harish and ICC President Raj Bhavsar

India Culture Center Houston (ICC) had its presence at the 23rd Janmashtami festival on August 25 at the George Brown Convention Center. ICC booth was manned very effectively by Charlie Patel, Hemant Patel and Swapan Dhairyawan. Free popcorns were distributed at the both by young volunteers. Tickets for the upcoming Joint concert of Rajesh Khanna at the VPSS Haveli on September 3 were also available for purchase. The ICC team was delegated to host and coordinate the visit of Ambassador Arun K Singh, Consul General P Harish and the rest of the consular staff to the Janmashtami celebrations. ICC President Rajiv Bhavsar escorted all of them from their prior commitment at the Hilton’s America and brought them to the Janmashtami festivities. They all were very impressed to see the magnitude of the event and participated in the Aarti for Lord Krishna. They were also shown around the Vivekananda Exhibition hosted by the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston. This was another outreach effort with the Community organizations which ICC has been engaging for the last 4 years. For more information about ICC, visit



August 31, 2012



August 31, 2012

Swami Gautamananda: Trustee From Ramakrishna Mission Visits VSGH

HOUSTON: What a busy and hectic week (Aug 18 – Aug. 25) it was for the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston (VSGH). On Sunday, Aug. 19, VSGH participated in the ICC – IFEST event with a photo exhibition on the “Life of Swami Vivekananda” and got a lot of admiration and commendation from the spectators. Then, on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 22 and Aug. 23, one of the Trustees of the Ramakrishna Order, Srimad Swami Gautamanandaji, President of the Chennai Ramakrishna Math, paid a visit to the center. Subsequently, on Saturday, Aug. 25, VSGH took part with a much expanded photo exposition on the “Life of Swami Vivekananda” in the Janamashtami function at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Again VSGH received a lot of compliments for the exhibition, some of the viewers even commenting that this was one of the best photo exhibitions they had seen. The visit by the Trustee from Belur Math was the foremost highlight among all these activities. Srimad Swami Gautamanandaji is visiting the USA centers and VSGH was very honored and grateful that though it is not an official center of Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Swamiji took time out of his busy itinerary and paid a visit to the Vedanta Society. In the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 22, Swamiji met with quite a few devotees and gave an informal lecture on “How to be happy and successful in this life”. He said, “Those who get a chance to work for the center are very fortunate.” He also said that Dharma is what makes the difference between humans and non – humans. Pride has no place in it. The real great people hide it and saints are afraid of name and fame. There is no statistics that spiritual people are not successful in the worldly life. In fact there are many examples of spiritual people having wonderful careers. On the other hand, unspiritual people will always be successful is also not true. Everybody has to realize that we are eternal beings and the soul is the one operating the body. There is infinite joy within and to be happy, discriminate between the fact that worldly joy is short – lived but joy in the Self is eternal. For the evening Reception, Arati (evening vespers) and the lecture, VSGH had close to a hundred and thirty – five people. The shrine hall, where the lecture was given by the Swami, was packed. Among them, VSGH was very delighted to receive Imam Zafarullah of the Ah-

Swami Gautamananda

madiya Community Center with his family and fifteen members of his congregation as well. Swami Gautamanandaji’s lecture in the evening was on “Sri Ramakrishna’s Message to the Modern World”. He said, “Sri Ramakrishna taught us we are children of God. We have forgotten that we are a divine family, children of the same parent. We are all children of God hence we are all brothers. This whole creation is by God so it should be mutual service, mutual sacrifice. We have all come from God and we will all return to God. Fulfillment of life lies in living a life giving joy to the world. Modern advances have not given us this joy. Spiritual teaching of giving love to all is going away. Instead selfishness is being encouraged.” He added, “Sri Ramakrishna gave equal importance to spiritual life and social life. We are all children of Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother is our mother, don’t look as men or women but as part of the Divine Family. Education must build our character. Be selfless in your life. The essence of all morality is selflessness.” After an hour of lecture on this topic, Swamiji had dinner with the guests and the devotees. Swami Gautamanandaji was very impressed with the center and its building. He commented that this center should be the model for all private centers. VSGH hopes that Swamiji will put in a good word to Belur Math, the headquarters for Ramakrishna Mission, to send a resident monk soon to the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston. For more information about VSGH, visit


Sewa International Puts “Service Above Self”

HOUSTON: Sewa International is a 501 (c) 3 Hindu faith-based non-profit organization that has in the past collected funds to address humanitarian crisis in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Since 2008 Sewa has taken up the cause of helping the Bhutanese refugee families and opened a Houston chapter to expand its mission to address the needs of the needy in the Houston area. Since then Sewa Houston has worked tirelessly to help provide low-income families with essential resources and training with the help of its volunteers, which hopefully will contribute to their lasting success. Sewa was founded as a volunteer organization and believes that motivated volunteers are very important to its organizational success and in turn for the success of its programs. The Houston chapter over the years has built up a healthy pool of volunteers. Every summer Sewa organizes a summer internship program “Get Inspired Houston” (2 month long) for aspiring college students and youth form varied cultures. It aims at providing a platform for the youth to contribute their time to a larger movement of serving humanity. Since 2009, Get Inspired have provided more than 50 youth the opportunity to give back approx. 10,000 hours to their community. The internship includes programs for community development, women’s empowerment, children’s activities, immunization drives and organizational development. Sewa and its volunteer have invested a lot of time and effort to create a sustainable and highly successful after school education program called ‘ASPIRE’ (Assuring Student Performance In Refugee Education) that focuses on educating young high school students by focusing on areas that need extra attention. This effort has lead to the collaboration of Sewa with the Alief School district to strengthen the impact of education on this population. Furthermore, Sewa believes that families are the building block for a harmonious society and thus, with the help of its volunteers is currently in the process of launching the ‘Family Services Program’ that will strive to support families in achieving the purpose of a fam-

ily as an institution in society. Under this program Sewa will help to create a structure for the community and by the community to help families in urgent situations. Sewa will work with the community to help facilitate people in need with helpful information or a volunteer that can help in specific situations such as transportation, health insurance access, family crisis support, food preparation among other needs. To support its existing programs and expand its operations, Sewa is hosting its annual fundraiser on September 8, 2012. This year’s events will feature the renowned Indian theatrical dance troupe, Prabhat Kala, in their Houston debut performance of Shri Krishna Vyjayanti. Tickets for the event can be purchased at or Everyone is encouraged to attend the event to enjoy a memorable performance and support Sewa’s noble cause.


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Swatantra Jain Joins the National Board of Directors of Pratham USA

HOUSTON: Swatantra Jain, a business partner with Vinmar International – a global plastics and petrochemicals company has joined the National Board of Directors of Pratham USA. Jain has over thirty years of experience in international trade and currently resides in Houston. A longtime advocate for transforming India’s potential through education, Jain currently serves as the President of the Pratham USA’s Houston chapter as well as Treasurer of Pratham USA. “We are honored to welcome Swatantra Jain to our National Board of Directors,” said Molly Easo Smith, Executive Director of Pratham USA. “Jain brings extensive experience from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. His long-term dedica-

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tion to Pratham USA will bring an invaluable insider’s perspective to our efforts,”she added. Jain has a deep history of working with non-profit and community based organizations. He is Chairman of JVB Preksha Meditation Center Houston and Directorat-large of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Houston. He has received numerous recognitions for his leadership and philanthropy, among them, the Philanthropist Award by India House in 2010 and the Community Leadership Award by the IndoAmerican Chamber of Commerce in 2011. Jain graduated from the University of Delhi with an Honors’ degree in Account-

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ing in 1966. He is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India since 1970. About Pratham: Pratham, which means “first” in Sanskrit, was founded in the slums of Mumbai in 1994 with UNICEF support. Today, Pratham’s urban programs, including preschools, community libraries, and remedial learning programs, reach thousands of children every year. In 2007, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Pratham launched its flagship “Read India Campaign,” an innovative effort to reach millions of children in India who cannot read, write, or complete basic mathematics.


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COMMUNITY Sharmita Bhattacharya Wins Two Titles at the National Miss India America Pageant

LOS ANGELES: Houstonian Sharmita Bhattacharya bagged Miss India West Coast 2012 and Most Photogenic title at the Miss India America 2012 held in Los Angeles on August 25. Following was Sharmita’s reaction after winning: “I had no idea what was in store for me when I entered into the National Miss India America pageant. Seeing talented and beautiful girls competing from all around America, celebrities from around the world and media from various places left me with everlasting memories and bundles of friendships to cherish forever. Hearing my name called for Most Photogenic gave me enough confidence to prepare for the question/answer round, which I passed with flying colors. Finally, the time came for the final results to be announced. At this point, I no longer knew what to expect. It wasn’t easy being on stage knowing that I was being judged by big names in the South Asian and American community. Fortunately, I was announced as Miss India West Coast 2012 and I beamed in pride knowing I had represented my state, community, friends, family and myself very well. I felt that my hard work had paid off.”

August 31, 2012 Join HAF and Capt. Srinivasan in Houston on September 7 the past year. The Foundation’s Take Back Yoga campaign, which was covered extensively in the New York Times, NPR, and CNN, is now also featured in a Harvard Business School case study. Six outstanding undergraduates completed an eight-week HAF internship on Capitol Hill. And HAF sponsored a national documentary tour to generate awareness of the

A Captain in the U.S. Army, Rajiv Srinivasan is a Hindu American with a story to share. While serving in Afghanistan in 20092010, Srinivasan wrote the essay, My Battle Within: The Identity Crisis Of A Hindu Soldier In The US Army, that won first prize in the Hindu American Foundation’s annual NextGen Essay Contest. Srinivasan’s captivating and unique story will be headlining at the Foundation’s annual Houston Awareness and Fundraising Dinner on Friday, September 7. He will be joined by HAF’s (Hindu American Foundation) Board member, Rishi Bhutada, a Houston native, as well as two of HAF’s fulltime staff members, Sheetal Shah and Samir Kalra. HAF’s advocacy efforts have grown by leaps and bounds over


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SOS Inducts New Board of Directors at River Oaks Country Club Reception

BY FARIDA HASANALI HOUSTON: SOS presented its new Board of Directors on August 15 at a reception at the River Oaks Country Club. Share our Secrets (SOS) is an organization dedicated to the core belief that “success can be taught” and that each generation is responsible for teaching the principles of success to the next generation. SOS seeks extraordinary people who are willing to share their stories to teach the next generation. Along with the board transition, this diverse group also celebrated India’s 65th Independence Day. The event was sponsored by the PUR Insurance and their general agent in Houston the INS Group. The event drew Houston’s elite who were interested in learning and supporting SOS Sixty-five is a milestone number; for a nation it’s merely childhood, but for an individual in the United States it is their retirement age and Biki Mohindra, Founding Chairman of SOS took the opportunity to announce he was stepping down as Chairman of the Board and passing the baton to a new board. The new Board of SOS consists of Ranvir Mohindra, Chairman Emeritus; Vivek Mehta, Chairman of the Board; AJ John, Vice Chairman; Archana Laxmisan, President and CEO; Farida Hasanali, Dev Lamba, Qusai Mahesri, Atul Dhingra, Zarir Sethna, Reggie Varghese, Sumit Mathur, Harash Yalamanchili, Sharad Malhautra, Sanjay Varma, Swapan Dubey and Pawan Agarwal. SOS started out small; a thought, a vision that someday a group of primarily South Asian professionals whose primary goal would be to help each other succeed. That vision came to fruition three years ago when Mohindra articulated that vision to Farida Hasanali, then President of the Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP). The synergy between SOS and NetIP was electric; on one side was a group of successful South Asian professionals looking to mentor the next generation and on the other side was a group of young South Asian professionals looking for a mentor, a guide, a leap into a successful future. The first structured class (Mohindra had been teaching SOS principles to many of his mentees prior to this effort on a one-on-one basis) of SOS was formulated by Mohindra, Farida Hasanali and Kevin Kalra. The speaker series, which is an integral part of SOS, was led by Qusai Mahesri, and Zarir Sethna took on the diligent task of Operations for the class. A J John graciously allowed the group to use his office as our classroom and continues to support SOS in

Sheetal Dalwadi-Oza (left) and Amisha Dalwadi join Farida Hasanali, Preity Bhagia and Manisha Dalwadi-Brahmbhatt at the SOS reception.

Guests at the River Oaks reception included Jyoti Kulkarni (left) with Jasmeeta Lamba, Stacy Banks and Prita Mohindra.

A Sweet Intent, operated by the Dalwadi sisters, provided cupcakes created specially to celebrate India’s Independence Day.

its third year. The next year, SOS enjoyed strong support from Sumit Mathur who added more rigor to the class curriculum and Archana Laxmisan took over the President role from Farida Hasanali. Every person who has participated in the SOS program has contributed their time to effort to see this effort grow. Whether they have managed the money, the logistics, or spread the word by talking passionately about SOS, they have contributed to the growth and added to the depth of the SOS program. In 2011, Farida Hasanali was awarded the Benjamin Ostrofsky Award for mastering the principles of SOS and building the life she wants. Dr. Benjamin Ostrofsky, from the University Of Houston Engineering School, played a pivotal role in the creation of SOS. He didn’t even know he was behind it until Mohindra dedicated an award in his name and told him how that came to be. Mohindra had studied under Ostrofsky, but not in the traditional sense. He was invited by Ostrofsky and two other professors to lunch once a month for over seven years. During lunch, they taught Mohindra the principles of SOS

sharing with him the secrets of life, the way forward, and the exponential leap to financial and personal success. They also taught him one important lesson; when you want to pay someone back for the help they’ve given you, the best thing to do is to pay it forward, to help others just like they helped you. That is the best payment a mentor can ask for. This commitment is what led to the formulation of SOS today and we hope to see it evolve and grown in years to come. SOS welcomes membership from young professionals who are eager to learn street smarts for success. Ideal SOS candidates have been in the workforce for 5-10 years after finishing college. SOS also has membership opportunities for mid career and senior professionals, who want to see others succeed. For more information on SOS, contact Archana Laxmisan, SOS President at archana.laxmisan@ Insgroup has served the community since 1978, providing insurance, risk management, and employee benefits for businesses, professional firms, not for profit organizations, and individuals.



August 31, 2012

North-South: A Jugalbandi to Remember


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Over 25 year experience K Kesavan (on Mridangam), Srikanth Gopalakrishnan, Pt. Suman Ghosh, Sameer Kotasthane (on Harmonium) and Prithwiraj Bhattacharjee (on Tabla).

BY SUNIL PANGARKAR HOUSTON: A Jugalbandi concert between Houston’s own Pt. Suman Ghosh and Chennai’s Srikanth Gopalakrishnan on August 19 in the Anjali Center, reminded the audience of main value proposition of divine music – bliss! Carnatic and Hindustani styles of classical music each have a devout following who rarely venture into each other’s world. The stylistic differences may be there, but they are both Indian and both Classical. And when they meet, they have a potential of offering a sum that is much greater than its parts. This concert arranged by Samskriti and Anjali Center for Performing Arts was like that. The stage was full; besides the featured vocal artists there were the accompanying artists – Prithwiraj Bhattacharjee on Tabla, Sameer Kotasthane on Harmonium and N. K Kesavan on Mridangam. The

Anjali center was full of audience , followers of both styles were there to enjoy the creativity. The vocal artistes had not communicated before. A jugalbandi concert is a challenge at the best of the times. In addition to showcasing ones’ technique and creating a mood that invokes a Raaga, one has not only to adjust to the other performer’s style, but embellish the overall concert. Hindustani and Carnatic styles are sufficiently different to be unique but mood development is still the same. So unless one is so grounded and well trained in one’s art, a non-rehearsed jugalbandi is not for the faint hearted, in my opinion. But when the stage is full of performers of so high caliber, jugalbandi can be a home run. And it was. The artistes were extremely cordial to each other throughout the performance yet daringly explor-

ing and creating such wonderful new patterns that the most popularly sung Raag Yaman ( Raag Kalyani in Carnatic) was blooming with freshness. The accompanying artistes being accomplished in their fields took turns to innovate and create rhythmic patterns and connect back to the melody. The whole performance was like a garden of colors and scents - unique and pleasant. Creativity is such an intoxicating thing that all the artistes carried on for more than an hour and they were still in the mood to explore. In fact, at one point Pt. Ghosh nudged Srikanthji to remind him that there is no end to the exploration and the reality of Sunday night has to be considered. On audience demand, the Sunday ended with wonderful Bhairavi compositions and a desire that such concerts should only be planned on Saturday nights.

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Surgeon Dr. Mukesh Hariawala to Unveil ‘Revolutionary’ Cardiac Technologies in India

NEW DELHI (TOI): Harvard trained, eminent Indian American Heart Surgeon and Research Scientist Dr Mukesh Hariawala will deliver the keynote lecture on receipt of this years prestigious “ India’s Most Admired Surgeon “ award in Mumbai on September 21, to be presented by Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayan. The event will see the national launch of three new revolutionary cardiac technologies , Dr Hariawala’s pioneering Triple Heart Therapy ( Angiogenesis + Stem Cells + Laser ) best done in a “ Hybrid Operation Suite “ , VAD ( Ventricular Assist Device ) and Non Invasive Shockwave Therapy in

India. The FDA or CE mark approved VAD’s, which will be offered to patients as an alternative to Heart Transplantation, has a cumulative worldwide Implantations record which has crossed 10,000. The “ Optimal VAD for India “ would be one that has a good track record of reliability, minimal complications and competitive shelf price.

Dr. Mukesh Hariawala

Elaborating on the long life lithium ion battery operated VAD’s which plays the role of a Mechanical Artificial Heart, Dr Hariawala told ANI in an exclusive interview, that VAD is only for patients who are in advanced stage heart failure and who do not qualify as patients for routine angioplasty, stent or bypass surgery. VAD patients following implantation will be able to ambulate and begin enjoying an improved quality of life with certain restrictions, he said. Storz Medical’s unique “ MODULITH SLC Shock Wave “ Non - Invasive system has an excellent record with CE certification that employs the principles of “ Therapeutic Angiogenesis “. This easy to deliver technology is ultrasound image guided. The controlled targeted level of shock wave energy stimulates the release of cellular growth factors like VEGF helping in formation of micro blood vessels from pre existing ones. This resultant effect is provision of a large pool of oxygen rich collateral vessel network which supports circulation to the failing heart, thus giving early relief of angina related symptoms. The advantage of this technology is negligible incidences of procedural complications, and is best suited for most Indian patients who have diabetes, diffused extensive non bypass-able coronary artery disease and who are in need of repeat bypass surgery but are high risk subjects . The well established EECP ( External Enhanced Counter Pulsation ) technology works on the same principle using inferior extremity cuffs. Boston, US based Dr Mukesh Hariawala is also a Visiting Honorary Cardiac Surgeon at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital. In addition to performing open heart surgery on many worldwide celebrities, Dr Hariawala along with Dr John Wright had performed the first Bypass operation in London on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 1990. INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


August 31, 2012

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14 August 31, 2012


AAHOA Hotel Owners’ Anger Flares Over Oil Spill Deal

BY EMILY PICKRELL HOUSTON: Owners of small hotels on the Florida and Texas Gulf coasts say a proposed settlement unfairly excludes thousands in the tourism industry who suffered economic damages in the 2010 oil spill. The Asian American Hotel Owners Association says the settlement between BP and a committee representing claimants sets arbitrary geographic boundaries including the entire coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, but only portions of the Texas and Florida Gulf coasts. Several hundred hotel owners marched on BP’s west Houston headquarters on Thursday, August 23 to protest the geographic provisions of the settlement. “Throughout the Gulf Coast there are business owners that have been impacted by the spill,” said Nash Patel, who is on the board of the association that estimates its members own 60 percent of the 1,280 hotels affected by the spill but not covered in the settlement. BP officials acknowledged the protest but declined to meet to discuss the settlement. “I suggest that you and your colleagues contact the staff administering the court-supervised settlement process for more information on the settlement and

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans, who is overseeing the massive tangle of claims and counterclaims arising from the spill, has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 8 to determine whether the BP settlement provides reasonable compensation for the class. Potential participants in the class action have until Oct.1 to decide whether to join the class action or opt out and pursue their claims as part of a trial before Barbier set to begin in JanuHotel owners and their supporters demonstrate outside BP’s Houston ary. headquarters protesting the geographic provisions of the settlement between The settlement BP and a committee representing spill claimants. Photo: Cody Duty / © 2011 acknowledges that Houston Chronicle the January trial will “It was the Gulf Coast disaster cover claims for people and busiyour rights under it,” Iris Cross, a spokeswoman for BP, said in an – every state in the Gulf was af- nesses outside of the geographic email to the hoteliers. “All claim- fected,” said Amar Patel, a busi- bounds set in the agreement. ants, including hotel owners who ness analyst on the hotel industry “The PSC believes the hotels, believe they are entitled to com- for Farrell and Patel, who has spe- along with many other businesses, pensation, may continue to pursue cialized on the economic impact deserve to be compensated for of the spill. their claims.” their losses,” said Steve Herman, BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering one of the lead attorneys for the The settlement allows claims from the upper Texas coastal Committee agreed in March on a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. counties of Jefferson, Orange, tentative class action settlement to “We look forward to trying their Chambers and Galveston, and cover economic and medical dam- liability case in January.” from 20 counties on the Gulf coast ages suffered by coastal individuThe settlement divides the Gulf als and businesses. of Florida. Coast region into four zones in

which residents and businesses are eligible to make claims. Claims from Zone A, which includes sections of coast hardest hit by the spill and its aftermath, fall under the ‘presumption’ category, meaning claimants there don’t have to prove the spill caused the damages, though they must prove the amount. In Zones B, C and D, businesses must meet additional requirements, including causation, and must provide comprehensive accounting records for each month. Most of the eligible areas in Texas and Florida, along with inland regions in other states, are in Zone D. The protesting hoteliers said the higher burdens of proof place unfair pressure on already struggling businesses, even if they are in eligible zones. The hoteliers also say that the settlement negotiation process excluded small hotels and their expertise in the patterns of tourism. “With a class action settlement, you are required to have class action representatives for each class affected,” said Ricky Patel, a Miami-based attorney with Farrell and Patel. “We do not know to this day who they managed to pick from the lodging or the hospitality or travel industry. We represent close to half of all hotels in the US, and over 3000 members with hotel properties have submitted claims. Yet our voice was muted.”

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The Mesmerizing Santoor Concert Organized by IMS Showcases the Next Generation of Classical Musicians

BY SUNIL PANGARKAR HOUSTON: Brand development in Hindustani Music is an arduous task. One potential shortcoming in this field in my opinion, is that newcomers are recognized far slower than any other field. It requires a change in mind set to appreciate and promote the younger generation. Indian Music Society of Houston (IMS) has once again done that by organizing an absolutely wonderful Santoor concert by young Kunal Gunzal on August 18. Kunal was accompanied on Tabla by Houston’s own Pandit Shantilal Shah, who is a veteran performer and one of the best known Tabla Gurus (as acknowledged by the glitterati of the Tabla world). Shantilalji also happens to be one of the Gurus of Kunal, who taught him Tabla before Kunal took to Santoor in a serious way. Kunal’s Taalim has been initially from Pandit Dhananjay Daithankar. He now learns under the guidance of the greatest-ever Santoor exponent and Guru, Padmavibhushan Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. This was an evening concert. The concert began with the elaborate treatment of Raag Kaunsi Kanada. Kunal played Alaap, Jod, a slow tempo bandish in Rupak (7 beat cycle) Taal , then, one each medium and fast tempo bandish in Teen Taal (16 beat cycle) and Ektaal (12 beat cycle). It is very clear that Kunal has picked up the exquisite style and perfection from his Guru and loves the elaborate layakari . The development of the Raag and decorative patterns really brought out the mood of the Raag. What was interesting to see, is the body

Pandit Shantilal Shah on Tabla with Kunal Gunzal on Santoor

language of the performers and the response they received from a hall full of connoisseurs. IMS organizes their concerts in the Jones Hall of University of St Thomas, and I believe it has been one of the reasons for bringing out the best from the performance. Interactivity is the life blood of creativity in this genre. The serene mood of the first half changed to more romantic and folk setting. Both Raag Jhinjhoti and Raag Pahadi are perhaps made for instruments such as the Santoor and the flute. Kunal did full justice to the mood of the Raag and carried the audience where he wanted them to go. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan had once said that Raags are not just pattern of notes – they are alive and have to be invoked. Kunal was able to do that with his instrument. The audience mainly comprised of die-

hard music lovers and Pandit Shantilal-ji Shah’s students. For them this was a performance, a lesson and a great evening watching their Guru. It is said that to keep this oral and aural tradition of Hindustani music, one needs to be a “Sunkaar” before being a “Fankaar” . Listening to good music performances is an essential part of learning. IMS has been providing this opportunity for listeners in Houston for the last 20years. And now IMS is increasing their focus in providing opportunities to young artistes by inviting them for concerts in Houston. Kudos to Indian Music Society for celebrating the freshness of the upcoming – perhaps the best way of cherishing an age old tradition. For more information about IMS, visit


Consul General of India, P. Harish’s Message, on the Occasion of Onam

On the joyous occasion of Onam, Consul General of India, P. Harish offered greetings and wishes to the Indian community. “ I offer my heartiest greetings and good wishes to the Indian community, especially the Malayalees among them, of Texas and eight other states of USA served by the Consulate General of India, Houston”, he said. Onam marks the beginning of the harvest season and is celebrated with traditional gaiety. Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham). There are actually four days of Onam. The most important day of Onam (known as Thiru Onam) is the second day. Festivities actually commence 10 days before this day (on Atham), with the preparation of floral arrangements (pookalam) on the ground in front of homes. This year, Thiru Onam was on August 29.

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Club 24 Members Receive an Upclose and Personal Tour of Asia Society Building

BY PRAMOD KULKARNI HOUSTON: The Asia Society building was at its sparkling best on Sunday, August 26 afternoon. The reflection pool off the second floor of the building was flowing gently with wisps of water vapor rising across the balcony. About 60 Club 24 members and their guests gathered at the balcony and enjoyed hors d’ oeuvres and wine before a lunch of contemporary Asian cuisine. A presentation about the Asia Society followed from Executive Director Martha Blackwelder. Director of Programs & Education, Sabrina Motley, followed with a review of the Inaugural Fall season at the Asia Society, including several events of interest to the Indian community. Blackwelder and John Bradshaw, Director of Development, took turns in escorting two groups of Club 24 members to a tour of the building and the current exhibition of the Rockefeller art. Upcoming programs at the Asia Society include Voices of Afghanistan featuring the sufi music of Ustad Farida Mahwash on Sept. 16. Amjad Ali Khan, Master of Sarod, will be featured on Sept. 20. Bharatnatyam dancer Mythili Prakash is scheduled to perform on Sept. 30. Pakistani folk musicians Zeb & Haniya will take the stage on Oct. 4. For the full calendar and tickets, visit AsiaSociety. org/Texas.

The new 40,000-sq-ft Asia Society building, located in Houston’s Museum District, was inaugurated in April 2012. The building’s key feature is a reflection pool on the second floor of the building.

Several Club 24 members availed themselves of the opportunity to become Asia Society members. Members and their guests have the opportunity to enjoy evening mixers at the Leo Bar on first Thursdays of the month. Asia Society was founded in New York by John D. Rockefeller III to promote cultural ties with the nations of Asia. Houstonians, led by former First Lady Barbara Bush and former Ambassador Roy M. Huffington, shared this vision to establish Asia Society Texas Center in 1979. In 1995, the Texas Center’s Board of Directors voted to build a home for its programs and activities. The board selected Japa-

nese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, best-known for his renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, to design the building, located in Houston’s Museum District. Completed in early fall 2011, the 40,000-square-foot Center features the 273-seat Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater, Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center, and Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall. Blackwelder recalled, for Club 24 members, her trip from New Delhi to Srinagar on a Royal Enfield motorcycle. She also performed a bhangra dance at the Holi festival with Sunil Thakkar of Masala Radio.

Asia Society Executive Director Martha Blackwelder (right) explains to Club 24 members the intricate features of the current exhibit—Asian Art: A Rockefeller Legacy, that runs through Oct. 7.

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Mean Machines

We all suffer under the tyrant we’ve created called technology The other day i conclusively lost an argument with a mechanical treadmill in the local gym of which i’m a member. The treadmill won the argument hands down. Or, rather, butt down. My butt, on which i landed. What happened was that having finished my routine 4 km on the treadmill, i pressed the wrong button while stopping the machine. Instead of coming to a halt and enabling me to get off it, the damn thing took off like Usain Bolt being chased by a horde of hornets. From a sedate 6.5 km an hour, the treadmill speed shot up to 21 kmph. The result was inevitable. Unable to anywhere near keep up with that pace, i fell. First on my knees on the still-whizzing belt of the machine and then on my bottom when the treadmill flung me off and deposited me on the floor six feet away. And the truth is that machines — all machines, and not just gym treadmills are out to get me. And it’s not just me. Machines are out to get all of us, all humans, who invented them in the first place. It’s like Dr Frankenstein who created the monster who turned on him and brought him to a sticky end. I learnt this early. Don’t go too close to anything electrical: you’ll get a shock. Use the stairs and not lifts: they’ll trap you by jamming between two floors or their cables will snap and send you hurtling doomwards. Planes crash. Trains collide (besides which, if you’re very small you might fall through the open hole that serves as a loo on Indian Railways). Cars are accidents waiting to happen. Computers will turn you into a geek with spondylosis. Mobile phones will give you a brain tumour, or ‘pesky’messages, whichever is worse. Have you ever thought how the telephone — landline or mobile — is the most tyrannical of all the machines we’ve invented? It uses us more than we use it. By summoning us by its frantic ringing when we are in the middle of doing something else — watching TV, or reading a book, or sitting on the potty — so that we have to drop everything double quick and go rushing to answer its commands, like a fearful slave hurries to obey the dictates of his whip-cracking master. No wonder the poet wrote: Ask not for whom the phone rings: it rings for thee, and for me. That’s why I hate phones. It’s also why I keep a safe distance from all electrical gadgets, avoid lifts unless absolutely necessary, never drive a car or travel by train, take large doses of tranquillisers before getting onto a plane, and have nothing whatsoever to do with computers which — were I on Facebook, which I most definitely am not — I’d put on top of my list of ‘unfriends’, immediately and forever. My friends tell me I’m a Luddite, referring to that bunch of people who went around smashing up machinery in England in the early 19th century. I’m not out to wreck machines; machines are out to wreck me. Hullo? Is that the phone ringing? Where did i leave the damn thing? Better jump to it and find it. Ouch! Forgot those blasted bruises i got from that bloody treadmill... Jug Suraiya in Times of India

My Tweet, Lord, Don’t Gag Us

BY JAIRAJ SINGH A few days ago, a friend and a fellow journalist’s Twitter account along with few others was haphazardly blocked by the Indian government in an apparent overnight swoop. The government claimed that some 300 webpages, including blogposts and videos, played an instrumental role in spreading malicious and inflammatory content to heighten ethnic tensions between the Muslims and people from the Northeast. On further scrutiny, it appears that the government has also used this opportunity to silence some of its critics and satirists on social media. In its defence, the government said the Orwellian crackdown was a matter of national security to curb the medium from fuelling rumours and panic, leading to an internal security crisis such as the mass exodus of people from the Northeast in states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in recent weeks. “We are only taking strict action against those accounts which are causing damage or spreading rumours... There is no censorship at all. We decided on taking action because there were pictures of Myanmar online etc, which were disturbing the atmosphere here in India,” noted the ministry of home affairs statement. But the government’s clumsy handling of the issue has exposed an underlining intent of wanting to carry out personal vendettas under the umbrella of national crisis. There are still, however, unanswered questions that linger: did the government know what it was doing when it demanded that certain websites be blocked, or was it merely testing water for something bigger yet to come? The recent hullabaloo of internal security has not only cast aspersions once again on how solid India’s internet freedom is, but whether the government is looking for an opportunity to clamp down on what it’s been mulling to do for a while now. In December last year, top officials of online

giants such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook were summoned by the communications and information technology minister Kapil Sibal, who requested them to prescreen user content from India and to remove disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content before it goes online. Word got out, Sibal was miffed with the ‘insensitive’ content being uploaded on social media to poke fun at his party bosses and colleagues, even though he said it was about security issues. His so-called meeting also sparked hue and cry on the web and media that the government was planning to censor the internet, as it’s doing now. But after hitting out against social media again, the minister recently acknowledged that to exercise control on Twitter and such sites is difficult as its jurisdiction and server fall outside the ambit of India, but maintained that a ‘permanent’ solution must be sought. Sibal didn’t clarify, though, whether he meant the freedom we assume on the web is going to be threatened or modified as soon as the government finds a way out. On the other hand, Twitter on Friday finally caved in to government’s repeated demands and blocked several handles spoofing the Prime Minister’s account after it was threatened with severe consequences. Sixteen other such handles, including my friend’s account — who can only be held

culpable for exhibiting an inscrutable wit and nothing else — are also still up in the air whether they will be blocked permanently or not. Ironically enough, a day after minister of state for communications and IT Milind Deora used the microblogging website to explain the government’s intent in blocking some sites, his own account was ‘suspended’ for a day to be ‘verified’ while another one resembling his handle remained active. It doesn’t really come as a big surprise that the government may not have entirely known what it was doing, or who was calling the shots. While those responsible for fanning hate and instigating war among religious communities must be brought to knees, as our governing authorities rightly believe, to set an example to future trouble-makers, we must do so by not giving out hints that we’re impinging on those who are not afraid to speak their minds. Increasingly so, I find, we are becoming an intolerant society, one that’s losing its sense of humour and irony. Let us not forget who we are or our pride, freedom and culture; let us not vent our frustrations and inadequacies against the uneducated and politically weak. At the same time, we must bear in mind that if we are to cherish this freedom of expression, we must also assess its hypersensitivity and impact. An update on Twitter, stripped of its sarcasm and tone, can spread in lightning alacrity, stirring dangerous, and lasting consequences. One does not know in days to come how India’s internet policy will take shape, but it is evident enough that now is the time to start worrying. By acting in haste, the government has set a new precedent on what it can do if there ever comes a time when a national emergency has to be imposed in the digital age. Having topped the 100 million mark last year, India’s web users are believed to overtake the US’ in the next few years. If we don’t raise our voice now, we may have to hold our silence for good. HT

Indo American News FOUNDER: DR. K.L. SINDWANI PUBLISHER: JAWAHAR MALHOTRA EDITOR: PRAMOD KULKARNI PARTNER: KRISHNA GIRI MANAGING EDITOR: MANASI GOKHALE ADVERTISING & ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER: VANSHIKA VIPIN CORRESPONDENTS HOUSTON: PARTH DWIVEDI, SOWMYA NANDKUMAR, CHETNA SAMAL CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR, INDIA: RAJ KANWAR ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-NEWS or 6397 Fax: 713-789-6399, email:, website:



Shock, Surprise is this Artist’s Forte

Neil Sen

BY MANU SHAH HOUSTON: He’s no stranger to awards and recognition by art organizations. His vibrant paintings and murals can transform the drabbest room. He’s versatile and delightfully down to earth. Meet Neil Sen. One of Houston’s renowned contemporary artists, Neil has had various showings of his paintings all over the country as well as done several illustrations for books and magazine covers. Sen came to the US in 1989 as a student. He laughingly recalls that he was a very average student in India as learning in India is primarily memory based but that changed dramatically in the US where emphasis is on logic, analysis and originality! Here he was in his element and started notching up straight A’s. For someone who wasn’t academically inclined, he’s got two Bachelors and one Masters! Sen is a food and beverage conceptualizer for the Inter-

continental Group of Hotels but his passion – he calls it his obsession – is art. A product of Kolkata, there is a strong Bengali influence in his work. Looking at his work, it’s easy to see why art lovers and art critics are nodding appreciatively! Sen’s paintings – whether a watercolor, oil, an individual portrait or a sketch are a rare blend of rough beauty, vibrant colors and a depth of emotion

that springs from deep within the artist. The colors merge in and out seeming to have a mind of their own and after they’ve weaved their magic they head towards the viewer to shock, please, surprise. Sen’s forte lies in his creative expression of the female form. He pays homage to her, recognizing her sensuality as well as her spiritual strength and believes that she is an embodiment of Ma Durga. There are shades of the social reformer in this deeply sensitive artist

when you see the painting titled “Abuse “while his love for nature is obvious in several landscapes. The philosopher in him comes through in his “Journey of Life” while his spiritual bent of mind makes his painting of the Buddha a visual treat. In 2007, Sen was recognized for his contribution to Indian Art by the Sanskriti Art Association. He was the Artist of the Month at the Artist’s Alliance of Sugarland and in 2010 was recognized for his works at the Sugarland Area Artist Convention. Neil is currently the Director of Art at the Anjali Art Academy, Sugarland Art Alliance and Kala Bhavan in Houston. Presently, his works are on display at St. Marcos Walker’s Gallery of Arts, Lucyo’s and the Zen Gallery at the Galleria. Sen shares a natural rapport with children which explains why he’s such a good teacher. Parents have praised his teaching methods saying he doesn’t just teach children to recreate a painting but encourages them to liberate their creativity. One wonders if gifted artists have a favorite color? Sen does and its blue! If you’d like to nail a Neil Sen work on that wall above your fireplace, call him to commission a work at 832-816-338. He also holds painting classes for ages 5 to 65.

India House Hosts Annual Summer “Urban Youth Explosion” HOUSTON: In honor of ending the Summer Enrichment Camp at India House, the community came together for a jam-packed one-day event, called the “Urban Youth Explosion” to celebrate the new school year with keynote speakers, cultural entertainment groups, food and outdoor games. India House is a community center founded by Indo-Americans that strives to meet the immediate needs of local Houstonians. It provides services, such as a medical clinic, legal services, computer classes and afterschool tutoring at zero to nominal cost to accommodate low to moderate-income families. The Summer Enrichment Camp is another one of India House’s successful initiatives, as it provides a positive and educational environment for at-risk youth during the summer. This year, participating students had the chance of learning about several countries around the globe, as well as more traditional subjects such as science, through hands-on projects, guest speaker appearances, and educational field trips. To keep the “Youth Explosion” educationally engaging and relevant to the enrichment camp curriculum, performances by guest groups, including the Houston Liederkranz’s German choir and the Katy Kungfu Center, gave youth a live demonstration of some of the

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give a few words of encouragement to our youth to gear up for the new school year. While the “Youth Explosion” was sponsored by Wal-Mart Neighborhood Center, other major sponsors of the event included Subway, True Value Hardware, Target, Udipi Café’, Jamba Juice, Randalls, Krogers, Freebirds, Jason’s Deli and Chipotle. After the Summer Enrichment Camp, India House plans to prepare for its year-long after-school tutoring program, which provides academic assistance to students for free. The session will start on September 4, 2012 through May, 22, 2013. Class will be held Monday-Friday from 3pm until 6pm. For more information, visit www.

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This Column is Not Plagiarised BY SREERAM SUNDAR CHAULIA (The Hindu) The embarrassing revelation that international affairs pundit, Fareed Zakaria, had plagiarised in a recent Time magazine column raises questions about celebrity intellectualism and the punishing schedule of knowledge production under the media’s arc lights. Dr. Zakaria has apologised “unreservedly” for lifting portions of an essay written by a Harvard University professor in The New Yorker without attribution to the original source. Both Time and CNN revoked his temporary suspension shortly after his repentance, but that does not take away from the serious issue of intellectual integrity in public life. This saga highlights demands placed on and taken up by wellplaced columnists and television personalities who are expected to wax eloquent on varied issues at the drop of a hat. What is the basic rationale behind plagiarism? It is a form of dishonesty by cutting corners and trying to succeed either due to lack of time, knowledge or articulation power. For a person like Dr. Zakaria, who has distinguished academic training (he holds a PhD from Harvard) and is the author of acclaimed books, it is inconceivable that he plagiarised due to inadequate knowledge or shortage of the right words. Academicians have to deal these days with mundane forms of plagiarism practised by students who have access to the copy-pasting luxury of the internet, and who cannot beat the bad habit despite repeated coaching about the nobility of using one’s own language and thoughts. At the stroke of a few keys of the computer, these web-savvy young people hope to cover up for their basic deficiencies in knowledge and inadequacy of reading through copying. To be sure, plagiarisers in high schools and colleges are also usually poor managers of their time, which may be frittered away in countless distractions, leaving them prone to the quick-fix of copy-pasting at the proverbial eleventh hour when assignments are due. Even in the case of the highly accomplished Zakaria, there must have been a fatigue factor behind his stooping to such a low. He has a non-stop routine of penning columns for Time and The Washington Post, anchoring a weekly television show on CNN International, interviewing heads of state and business tycoons, and delivering lectures before universities, think tanks, business associations and global jamborees like the World Economic Forum. The incriminating paragraph from his Time magazine column, which is almost identical to the original article in The New Yorker, is actually a purely factual one that lists dates when individual states in America adopted gun control laws. Dr. Zakaria did not borrow any big ideas of analytical nature, but merely reproduced verbatim some factoids. This goes on to buttress the argument that he was suffering from severe paucity of

The Fareed Zakaria saga highlights demands placed on and taken up by celebrity columnists and media personalities who are expected to wax eloquent on varied issues at the drop of a hat.

time and was unable to balance his conscience and the expectations of churning out brilliant opinions for the 24/7 news cycle. A more damaging (though unproven) interpretation of what he has admitted to be a “terrible mistake” and “serious lapse” is that his Time magazine column, which is in the eye of the storm, may have been ghostwritten by some callous aide and that he simply signed off on it. It is an open secret that many global thought leaders, who dash from one megaphone public appearance to the next in an endless circuit, resort to fobbing off writings and speeches penned by faceless staffers as their own. A previous accusation that he had delivered two identical addresses with hardly any difference in content to a graduating ceremony at Harvard and to a commencement event at Duke University has got wider circulation after the Time magazine scandal broke out. He has also been castigated for “quote-stealing” from The Atlantic magazine for a column he had written in Newsweek in 2009. Given Dr. Zakaria’s extraordinary grasp over the state of the world, such acts of indiscretion can only be attributed to his propensity to take on many more assignments than he can do justice to. The lure of fame, as an opinion-moulder who has to give his two cents on every developing event, and possibly money — as a fee-charging star public speaker who cannot forego any lectern opportunity — is indeed a dangerous addiction. Cases of Leaders But his minor acts of plagiarism pale before egregious cases like KarlTheodor Guttenberg, the former Defence Minister of Germany, who was stripped of his PhD in 2011 by the University of Bayreuth for “substantially copying” from another source for his dissertation. Guttenberg was struggling at that time to juggle the twin act of simultaneously being a

rising star as an elected member of the Bundestag (the German Parliament) and producing a doctoral thesis that was original. In April 2012, the then President of Hungary, Pál Schmitt, had his comeuppance when his university revoked his PhD for “direct translations” in 197 out of his 215page thesis. Romania’s Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, is currently battling claims that “more than half” his PhD dissertation was plagiarised. The essence of all these instances is that ambitious busybodies are desperate to pass off as superlative geniuses who can be practitioners, scholars, motivators and a lot more. Dr. Zakaria must be thankful for his already considerable achievements, reorder his commitments and return to what he excelled at — original analysis of the world. As to the millions of students in schools and colleges who continue to fall back on plagiarism to somehow succeed and grapple with high academic standards, there are painful lessons to be learnt from these scandals of the famous. First, as Benjamin Franklin once said, honesty is the best policy. Even in a crassly materialistic and immoral ambience of contemporary society, where getting ahead by foul means is becoming normal, one must pause and realise that cheating at an early age in life is going to set a person up for a big fall. Second, there are no shortcuts to scholasticism, which rewards only those who read voraciously and take copious notes and annotations in the old fashioned way, even if the mediums have changed from paper and pencil to laptops and iPads. Technology and access to the Internet should not become excuses for a pervasive culture of lying, which is the deeper meaning of plagiarism. I am advising my students of international affairs to be truthful and to stay clear of the “Zakaria trap,” even as they continue to follow and read his extraordinary writings.




August 31, 2012

BY NANDINI RAMNATH (Mint) Zarina Mehta doesn’t like to be interviewed or photographed. She is relieved that she will be visually represented as a caricature rather than a photograph. She is reluctant to revisit her storied past as one of the three founders of United Software Communications (UTV) and the driver of such channels as Hungama TV, UTV Bindass, UTV Stars and UTV Action on her watch as chief creative officer (CCO) of the UTV group. Yet she has arrived ahead of the scheduled time at the coffee shop of the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai to subject herself to the questionand-answer ritual. “The only reason I am doing this interview is because I want the brightest and the best to join me,” she says. Mehta isn’t recruiting for any of her channels—she resigned in July and that is now history. Rather, Mehta is looking for talent for her latest project, the Swades Foundation. The philanthropic venture, whose philosophy is “I can do anything”, will focus its attention on pulling rural Indians out of poverty. She doesn’t want Swades to be a donor agency. Swades will invest time and money in changing villages and then move on rather than foster dependency, she says. “We are not going to give to other charities,” she says. “Rather, we aim to spend Rs. 350 crore over around seven years. We will empower communities and then exit—that is the strategy.” Mehta has ordered an Earl Grey tea, but as she warms to the subject of Swades, the beverage goes cold. Referring regularly to a diary containing stapled notes, she outlines her goals for the organization, its four-pronged strategy, and its challenges. Swades is the new name for Society to Heal, Aid, Restore and Educate (SHARE), a charitable foundation set up by UTV in the wake of the Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 (Swades is also the name of the 2004 movie directed by Ashutosh Gowariker and produced by UTV,

in which Shah Rukh Khan plays a scientist who returns to India to work in a village). Most of Mehta’s 27 years in television have been spent producing shows and launching channels at UTV. The 50-year-old professional founded the company in 1990 along with Ronnie Screwvala (to whom she is married) and Deven Khote after working on television shows while studying economics at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. In 2011, The Walt Disney Company increased its existing stake in UTV to just over 50%, and completed the process of converting UTV from an independent company to a Disney subsidiary in February. However, Mehta says her decision to swap UTV with Swades has nothing to do with the Disney deal. “I had applied myself to the industry for several years,” she says. “I loved building channels from ground zero, but I had come to a point where I wanted to apply myself to different problems. I deferred my decision for three years. Then Ronnie said, ‘We already have a foundation, why don’t you join it?’” Easier said than done. Mehta found that she had a lot of reading to do, experts to consult, and learning to achieve. “I have met more people in the last three months than I have met in my life,” she says. Mehta isn’t recruiting for any of her channels—she resigned in July and that is now history. Rather, Mehta is looking for talent for her latest project, the Swades Foundation. The philanthropic venture, whose philosophy is “I can do anything”, will focus its attention on pulling rural Indians out of poverty. She doesn’t want Swades to be a donor agency. Swades will invest time and money in changing villages and then move on rather than foster dependency, she says. “We are not going to give to other charities,” she says. “Rather, we aim to spend Rs. 350 crore over around seven years. We will empower communities and

Jayachandran for Mint

Zarina Mehta: Channel Surfing

then exit—that is the strategy.” Mehta has ordered an Earl Grey tea, but as she warms to the subject of Swades, the beverage goes cold. Referring regularly to a diary containing stapled notes, she outlines her goals for the organization, its four-pronged strategy, and its challenges. Swades is the new name for Society to Heal, Aid, Restore and Educate (SHARE), a charitable foundation set up by UTV in the wake of the Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 (Swades is also the name of the 2004 movie directed by Ashutosh Gowariker and produced by UTV, in which Shah Rukh Khan plays a scientist who returns to India to work in a village). Most of Mehta’s 27 years in television have been spent producing

shows and launching channels at UTV. The 50-year-old professional founded the company in 1990 along with Ronnie Screwvala (to whom she is married) and Deven Khote after working on television shows while studying economics at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. In 2011, The Walt Disney Company increased its existing stake in UTV to just over 50%, and completed the process of converting UTV from an independent company to a Disney subsidiary in February. However, Mehta says her decision to swap UTV with Swades has nothing to do with the Disney deal. “I had applied myself to the industry for several years,” she says. “I loved building channels from ground zero, but I had come to a point where I wanted to apply myself to different problems. I deferred my decision for three years. Then Ronnie said, ‘We already have a foundation, why don’t you join it?’” Among the items on her reading list, which she repeatedly refers to, is Bain & Co.’s “India Philanthropy Report” for last year, which found “a significant rise in private donations to philanthropic causes”, and that “India was a leader in private charitable giving among developing nations, with donations totalling between 0.3% and 0.4% of GDP” (gross domestic product), according to the company’s website. The report also found that “more than 70% of the donors were novices, with less than three years of philanthropic experience”, and that “more than a third of those surveyed were 30 years old or younger”. Mehta jokes about not being able to work with people above the age of 25—Hungama is a children’s channel, while Bindass targets young adults—but adds that there is a great deal of youthful vigour that needs to be marshalled into action. “Our problems as a country are enormous to the point of being humiliating,” she observes. “But there is now a possibility of contributing to the country in ways that were not possible before.”

Swades has a team of 70 people, of which around 40 are already on the ground, working mainly in the test-case town of Mhasla in Raigad district, Maharashtra. Mehta, who has been making the 3- to 4-hour drive from Mumbai to Mhasla once a month, says that along with providing people with improved amenities, efforts must be made to increase their income levels. She outlines an ambitious, wide-ranging programme for change: Swades will enter a village with water, then build toilets, then provide livelihood and finally focus on education. “We want to double the family income every three years,” she says. “I want every Swades community member to have health insurance. We want to provide education that is relevant to the people. Every family should have a bank account. We want to connect farmers to the markets. Every child will have an email account, and we will create a buddy network with urban children.” She also plans on setting up a community radio station and deploying communication systems, such as television sets and mobile phones, in Swades’ programmes. The worlds of television and social work seem widely divergent, but Mehta also senses parallels. “Television has its own pace, while this is more relaxed,” she says. “But the processes are actually similar. You have to understand the needs and aspirations of audiences, build up relationships and then figure out what to do. “Once you know your audience, there is nothing more precious. But television has a slight arrogance. Here, forget about it. It’s of no use to anybody.” She is clear-eyed about the challenges ahead. “This is going to be the toughest thing I have ever done,” Mehta says. “There will be problems, and it will take time and money. We’re going to make many mistakes. It is fine. It is far more important to get this right.”

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The reasons people choose HCC are as diverse as the Houstonians we serve. And no institution does more to get students where they’re going faster than HCC. We keep Houston working with affordable tuition, innovative courses, and convenient locations. INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM Indo American News Fall 2012.indd 1

8/2/12 2:37 PM


It’s All in the Mind: Says Prakash Iyer

BY PRAKASH IYER If you’ve been to Mumbai, you would have noticed how most taxis on Mumbai’s streets are rickety old black and yellow cars - probably over 40 years old. But change is in the air, and the last year has seen a sudden influx of shiny new taxis. The old Fiats and Premiers are making way for the newer Marutis and the Hyundais. They are newer, nicer and far more comfortable to ride in. So it’s not surprising that on a recent visit to the city, I found myself seeking out the new cabs, waiting patiently till

one of these new taxis came by. As I got into a swanky new cab, I struck up a conversation with the driver. I explained how I had let go of four or five old cabs as I waited for a new one. “Quite the contrary,” he said. “Many people hesitate to get in because it’s new and it looks a lot better than all those old cabs, people think we must be more expensive.” If you think about it, this happens to us all the time. Not just with cabs, but with people too! We let our perceptions – and our pre-conceived notions – impact our view of the world. We don’t always

Everyone of us is guilty of stereotyping another. Are we being too quick to jump to conclusions? Let’s take a step back and take stock... wait to discover the truth. We allow stereotypes in our mind to take over. If he is a great sportsperson, he must be terrible in academics. If she is successful, she must be arrogant. If it’s a nice new cab, it must be expensive.” Next time you feel that way about someone, its a good idea to pause and think of the Mumbai cabs. It might help change the way you look at other people! Have a colleague who you think is particularly rude? And has it happened that every time you see him, you find him saying or doing

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something that confirms your view? Maybe you should hear the story of the woodcutter and the stolen axe. The story goes that there once lived a woodcutter in a little town near a forest. He set out one morning to cut some firewood and as he was leaving home, he discovered that his favorite axe was missing. He searched high and low, but couldn’t find it anywhere. He looked in the shed where he usually left it, but it wasn’t there. As he looked up in dismay, he saw his neighbor’s son lurking around near the woodshed. The woodcutter thought, “Aha! That boy must have stolen my axe.” And as he looked at the neighbour’s son, he could see that nervous, guilty look in his eyes. He noticed how the lad was avoiding eye contactand shifting uneasily from one leg to another, his hands fidgeting nervously. He could see the guilt on the boy’s face. He was sure it was

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the neighbour’s son who had stolen his axe. Next day, as he cleared up the shed, he was surprised to see the missing axe under a pile of firewood. “Now I remember,” he thought, “It’s exactly where I had left it!” Later that day, he saw his neighbour’s son outside the shed. The woodcutter looked intently at the boy, scrutinising him from head to toe. How strange, he thought, somehow this boy has lost his guilty look. He looks like a nice, friendly lad. Aha! What happened to the woodcutter happens to us all the time. Our mind plays games with us, impacts the way we see other people. So now when you think of that colleague at work who hates you, and is out to get you, remember it’s probably not true. It’s just how you “feel”, and everything the person does or says “feels” like she is out to get you. Next time it happens, think of the woodcutter. And think of where you’ve left your axe. You’ll discover that people are nice. Remember, the neighbour’s son is a nice guy after all!!

Prakash Iyer is Executive Coach & MD, Kimberly-Clark Lever and author of ‘The Habit of Winning’.

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Rajiv Srinivasan, Captain in the U.S. Army. While serving in Afghanistan in 2009-2010, he was awarded a Bronze Star and the Combat Action Badge for leadership under fire. Rajiv is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and PBS’s Regarding War series commenting on military and veteran affairs. His essay, My Battle Within: The Identity Crisis Of A Hindu Soldier In The US Army, won first prize in HAF’s Annual NextGen Essay Contest.


Rishi Bhutada, Member of Board of Directors and Houston native Samir Kalra, Esq., Director and Senior Human Rights Fellow Sheetal Shah, Senior Director HAF’s advocacy efforts are growing… The Take Back Yoga campaign is now featured in a Harvard Business School case study. Six outstanding undergraduates completed an eight week HAF internship on Capitol Hill. And HAF sponsored a national documentary tour to generate awareness of the plight of Pakistani Hindu refugees.

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Onam: A Festival of Fun and Cultural Significance (TOI) Onam is the largest festival celebrated by the people of Kerala with great fervor since ancient times in honour of the homecoming of the noble and legendary King Mahabali, the grandson of Prahlada (an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu according to Puranic texts of Hinduism). Popularly known as vamana jayanthi, the festival falls during the harvest season that is further consid-

ered as a significant facet of Kerala’s culture and tradition. According to the Malayali calendar, celebration of Onam is observed every year during the first month of Chingam (August - September) with great excitement that lasts for 10 days. Last year, people of Kerala observed Onam on September 9 and this year the date of Onam 2012 was August 29. Festivity of Onam kicks off on Atham day, 10 days before Thiruvonam. Each day has its own symbolism and essence with respective

to traditions and rituals. Decorated ‘Onapookkalam’, earthen mounds, are installed in the courtyards of the houses. And the first day of celebrations starts with Atham. Festivity of Onam is marked with a range of novel activities, music, worshipping and fascinating decorations such as Pookalam, a fancy and colourful floral pattern laid on the

floor as a part of the ritual. Wearing of new clothes and preparation of traditional feast Onasadya is a part of celebration. Exciting games and sports such as snake boat races, mesmerizing Kaikottikkali dance, exotic Puli Kali makes the Onam festival more colourful and invigorating. People also visit temples and offer their prayers as a ritual of the festival. Onam songs, comprises of both folk and traditional songs, constitute a vital element of the grand event and enriching the religious and traditional values. Collectively these

songs are called as Onappaattu that has been passed from one generation to another. Usually, the themes of Onam songs are sung to honour and celebrate the return of the legendary King Mahabali. Most of the folk songs also sung to relive the happy times during the reign of the King Mahabali. Apart from such themes, a wide range of Onam songs are also composed to cherish the gala. Celebration of Onam is no more restricted to preparing of traditional dishes and participating in cultural activities. Sharing and sending lovely Onam SMS has become a wellliked trend to treasure and spread the joy and excitement of the occasion. Especially created for the festivity, Onam messages are also considered as innovativeandeffective ways of sending Onam wishes and spread the essence of the festival to dear ones. Onam pictures also play a crucial role in projecting some of the delightful facets about Onam festival and its celebration. Usually, the colourful Onam pictures display the images of mouth watering Onasadya (a traditional feast), enthralling snake boat race, Pookalam and the popular Kaikotikalli dance. The Onam festival mesmerizes tourists with its vividness and animated celebration. People from all corners of the world throng to God’s Own country, Kerala, to celebrate and experience the joyous festival.


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IndoAmerican News

Business IndoAmerican News


IACCGH Gala Shows Strides South Asian Businesses Have Made During Last Decade

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: The Indo American Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Gala this past Saturday, August 25 at the Hilton Americas hotel in the presence of many of the business and political leaders who have helped the organization grow since its inception in 1999. The nearly 400 guests who attended the dinner and awards ceremony in the main ballroom heard from several notables who were key in building the focus of the Chamber this year. The evening started with several short speeches by invited political leaders, like Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, in the second floor lobby which overlooks the edge of Discovery Green during the closing moments of the cocktail hour. Registering the guests were a team volunteers overseen by the Chamber Office Administrator Mondira Tangri who had been persuaded to return briefly from her retirement last year to help with this Gala due to a last minute staffing issue. The function was emceed by Sonal Bhuchar, past President of the Ft. Bend ISD School Board who presented Dr. Sunil Gadgil to play the national anthems on alto saxophone. He had performed likewise at the India Festival the previous Sunday. Gadgil also presented a beautiful duet with his accompanying pianist Carla later in the program. Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director, recognized the other Indo American Chambers which were formed around the same time in Dallas, Tampa and Atlanta and some of their Presidents who were in the audience. Chamber President Ajit Thakur delivered the State of the Chamber address and enumerated the functions that were held so far through the year.

a fine dinner catered by Bombay Brasserie, the Gala settled into a live auction of United Airline tickets followed by an awards presentation to Dr. Suresh Khator for International Educator of the Year; R. K. Chopra for International Business Advocate of the Year; Dr. Harminder Chana for Community Service; H-E-B for Corporate Citizen of the Year; Pushpa

Shenoy and Vijay Dhingra, both for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year; and Charlie Yalamanchili and Amit Bhandari, both for Entrepreneur of the Year. A special plaque for dedicated volunteer was given to Manish Jain. The evening was rounded out by remarks by incoming Chamber President Pankaj Dhume and a concluding performance by Sunil Gadgil.

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT NEEDED Consul General P. Harish receives welcome plaque from IACCGH President Ajit Thakur and Mrs. Nandita is honored with a shawl by IACCGH past president Deepa Thakur at the Grand 2012 Gala.

Known for his quick wit and taste for turning a phrase, Thakur gave a glimpse of it relating tales of driving in Houston traffic. He talked about his initiative to take the Chamber events “out to the people” in the distant reaches of the Metroplex by holding events in Clear Lake, Sugar Land and The Woodlands. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee followed him at the podium and then presented him with a Congressional Citation. Referring to her ties with the Chamber, Lee stated, “Count me friend.” The Gala featured two speakers, each with his own sphere of interest and expertise. The new Indian Consul General P. Harish, who has been making the circuit of Indo American events over the past three weeks since his arrival, introduced the chief guest, Deputy Chief of Mission to the Embassy of India, Ambassador Arun K. Singh. Singh expanded on the growth of bilateral trade and socio-economic ties between India and the US, the number of Indian firms which have invested in the US and the growing influence of the 3 million Indian

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origin people in the country. Gala Chairs Bashar and Brigitte Kalai then introduced the Keynote Speaker, Jim Compton, Executive If interested, please contact me at Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for United Airlines. Compton spoke of the recent developments in United’s fleet and its services between the US and India. He explained how the growth meant more challenges but also more opportunities for United. After a prelude classical Shruthi, Shravan, Nimmi and vocal perVale Subramaniyam formance by Little Yorkers Montessori School Pandit Suman Ghosh, Thakur 13233 West Little York Road made presentations of plaques Houston, TX 77041 and tokens of appreciation “ LYMS, through its program provides a key to the children to open the world of knowledge”. to the speakers Phone: 713-937-1816 • Fax: 713-937-3350 and • ers. With the conclusion of

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August 31, 2012

New Zealand Capitulates to India’s Spin Attack with an Innings Defeat HYDERABAD (ESPNCricinfo): Ross Taylor has said New Zealand’s capitulation to R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha in the Hyderabad Test was more to do with a mental block against spin than technical shortcomings. New Zealand lost 18 of their 20 wickets to Ashwin and Ojha to begin their tour with an innings defeat, in stark contrast to their previous visit here when they had put India under pressure in the drawn Ahmedabad Test. “A little bit of technique but I think most of it is probably in the mind,” said Taylor, who made 2 and 7 in the game and fell both times to Ashwin. “[It’s about] trusting your defence and trusting your attacking shots. When you get bogged down, it puts a lot of pressure on you and there was a lot of pressure going out there. It’s about rotating the strike, finding your single options. We are not big players of using our feet, so we need to create lengths in different ways.” Taylor pointed to New Zealand’s highest partnership of the game - Kane Williamson and Brendon

Ashwin felt Bangalore won’t be as easy for India as Hyderabad was, and was pleased with the winning start. “Last time when New Zealand were here, they batted really well and almost drew the series. But this is a good start. We knew this was not a venue where we had won the last time, so came here with a lot of apprehension but at the end of the day, I thought we did really well as a unit and won the Test in four days. “I think there will be a much stiffer contest in Bangalore, the [New Zealand] batsmen will come out with better plans. So we will also have to be up for it. The team had a tough year [in 2011] but it happens with every team. We have to put that behind and we are starting on a good note. Hopefully we can continue and have a great season.”

R. Ashwin took back-to-back six-wicket hauls, India vs. New Zealand, 1st Test, Hyderabad, 4th day, August 26, 2012.

McCullum added 72 for the second wicket in the second innings - as an example of showing an ability to survive against spin. “I guess any time you are bowled out for 160 [159 and 164] both times, you have got to be disappointed. We have three-four days to rectify that. Obviously spin is an area we need to work on and come back harder and stronger for Bangalore [in the second Test]. I thought Kane and Brendon applied themselves really well for a long period of time and showed that it can be done.” McCullum and Williamson had batted through the truncated morning session on the fourth day, but the former was given out leg-before when on 42 soon after lunch by umpire Steve Davis off Umesh Yadav. Replays indicated the ball had hit the bat and pad simultaneously even as a furious McCullum stormed off swishing his bat. Taylor was asked about the absence of the Decision Review System. “Obviously [there is] no DRS. The umpires are human

and make mistakes. It’s a part and parcel of cricket. Different parts of the world have different rules in different sports. It’s part and parcel coming to this part of the world.” New Zealand crumbled after McCullum’s dismissal, losing their last nine wickets for 66 runs, and their last seven for 26. Taylor said India had put a lot of pressure on the New Zealand batsmen and praised the efforts of Ashwin and Ojha. “Not only Ashwin, Ojha bowled very well and they bowled well in tandem. They put a lot of pressure on us, bowled in very good areas. They are both very good spinners in turning conditions. When the ball does turn and bounce a lot - when it does turn, it is a lot easier to play but when it bounces [as it did in this game], it’s a different ball game. “I guess when you enforce a follow-on and have got a big total, you can have a lot of men around the bat and [MS] Dhoni did that. Come Bangalore, we need to be as positive as possible, clear the mind, trust our defence, but also find a way of scoring runs.”

Unmukt Chand Leads India to Under 19 World Cup Against Aussies BY GEORGE BINOY TOWNSVILLE: India 227 for 4 (Chand 111*, Patel 62*) beat Australia 225 for 8 (Bosisto 87*, Sandeep 4-54) by six wickets Unmukt Chand led India to World Cup glory at Tony Ireland Stadium, his unbeaten century ensuring his side saved its best batting performance for when it counted most, pulling off the highest successful chase at this venue to beat defending champions Australia in the final. Chand, who was ably supported by Baba Aparajith and Smit Patel, secured India’s third Under-19 world title, after triumphs in 2000 and 2008. Chand and Patel shared an unbroken 130-run stand for the fifth wicket, after India had slipped from 75 for 1 to 97 for 4. At no stage of the chase did they let the asking rate climb too much, and several huge hits on the home stretch ensured the target was achieved in the 48th over. Smit pulling Turner to the midwicket boundary was the signal for thirteen Indians to sprint to the

This team secured India their third World Cup at the Under-19 level.

middle, carrying flags and piling on to their heroes. Chand’s innings was the defining

performance of the World Cup and he chose the perfect moment to produce it, outshining his worthy

counterpart William Bosisto, whose 87 had dragged Australia from 38 for 4 towards a competitive score. Bosisto finished unbeaten for the fifth time in six innings, ending the tournament with an average of 276. He would have gladly swapped that for a more human figure, though, in return for not dropping Chand when India needed 49 off 41 balls. India’s manic celebrations at the finish indicated a release of tremendous pressure that had built up during the pursuit. They had lost Prashant Chopra early and, in Mark Steketee’s second over, Chand was lucky to survive a close lbw shout. He was on 3 at the time. Like in the semi-final, Chand was a nervy starter, playing and missing and edging past his stumps. At the other end, however, Baba Aparajith began to play an array of exquisite drives on the off side, and Chand soon found his touch too. When Gurinder Sandhu was brought into the attack in the ninth over, Chand attacked him right away, cutting in the air to

the backward point boundary and lofting on the up for six over longoff. The 50 partnership came off 48 balls. Aparajith showed he could play the short ball too, controlling a hook off Steketee to the fine-leg boundary. India had been 11 for 1 after four overs. They were 60 for 1 after ten. The Chand-Aparajith partnership had produced 73 when Aparajith was caught on the drive by Turner at extra cover, two balls after he had driven Sandhu for another sublime four. Turner made another quick breakthrough, catching Hanuma Vihari off his own bowling for 4. As Vijay Zol walked in, Chand went up to him, had a chat and patted him on the back, but he edged to Peirson for 1 off 14balls. India were suddenly 97 for 4. They would have been five down had Peirson held a tough chance off Chand in the 19th over, when he was on 38. Patel was let off by Peirson too, on 2, and he made Australia pay. George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo


August 31, 2012


Wireless Telecom: India Adds 18 Million Subscribers Per Month The Indian telecommunications industry is one of the fastest growing in the world driven by wireless revolution.

BY POOJA THAKKAR (Business Review) India is today one of the largest telecom markets in the world, with an addition of more than 18 million subscribers every month. Telecom sector has continued to emerge as the prime engine of economic growth, contributing to nearly 2% of the Indian GDP. Indian telecommunication sector has undergone a major transformation through significant policy reforms, particularly under NTP 1999. Driven by various policy initiatives, the Indian telecom sector has achieved a phenomenal growth during the last few years and is poised to take a big leap in the future. The history of telephone services in India found its beginning when a 50-line manual telephone exchange was commissioned in Kolkata in the year 1882 in less than five years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Today India has the world’s second-largest mobile phone

users with over 903 million as of January 2012. In recent years, the Telecom sector has been delivering strong returns on investments and steady subscriber additions. This growth has been built on wireless revolution. The industry is expected to reach a size of 344,921 Crore (US$ 68.81 billion) by 2012 at a growth rate of over 26 per cent, and generate employment opportunities for about 10 million people during the same

Child Marriages are Still Rampant in Odisha: Survey BHUBANESWAR (TOI): About six per cent of rural women in Odisha get married earlier than the legal age of 18, according to the latest government survey released here Friday.

The annual health survey conducted in 1,798 rural and 566 urban units comprising a total of 4,56,413 households and covering nearly 20 lakh people in the state revealed that the marriage of girls below legal age is rampant in rural areas. “It varies from 0.5 percent to 24.7 percent,” Bishnupada Sethi, director

of census operations in the state, told IANS. The survey found that about 6.5 percent girls in rural areas and 3.2 percent girls in urban areas had got married when they were below 18 during 2007-2008. While 0.5 percent girls below 18 years of age got married during 2007-2008 in Jagatsinghpur, it was found to be 24.7 percent in the Maoist infested Nabarangpur district during the same period. India has been conducting the annual health survey in 284 districtsofninestates-UttarPradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Assam - to get comprehensive and reliable data, primarily on the health status of women and children. The fieldwork for the survey conducted for 2010-2011 in Odisha has been carried out by New Delhi based GfK MODE Pvt. Ltd and Social and Rural Research Institute (IMRB International). The survey was monitored by the Directorate of Census Operations, Sethi said.

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period. Trends in the Industry Rise in Cloud Computing: As improved broadband c a p a c ity helps to overcome network bottlenecks, cloud-based offerings from telecom operators and ICT providers will continue to grow. One Nation, One License Policy: With this, there will be no difference between Local and STD Calls. This also means that there will be no roaming charges while in India. New telecom policy is likely to be declared in June 2012. Digitization of Cable TV: This will help the government to pursue India’s

broadband goals and thereby help to boost economic growth. Smart devices and Digital content: As 3G will be stabilized by 2012 which will fuel 4G, smart devices like tablet, smart phone, smart TV will become a media for video and digital content consumption. Bharti recently set the trend by launching 4G services in India. The growth of Indian telecommunication sector is highly driven by supportive government policies, emerging new technologies and changing consumer behavior. The fact that the industry has made stupendous growth in recent times is reflected in the statistics below: Key Statistics Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has revealed that the country’s mobile subscriber base has increased from 893.84 million in December 2011 to 903.73 million in January 2012. Telecom operators added 9.88 million

mobile subscribers in January 2012. The overall tele-density reached 77.57 per cent. Broadband subscriber base increased from 13.30 million at the end of December 2011 to 13.42 million at the end of January 2012. Industry experts believe that Smartphone segment would be the fastest-emerging division that would even outpace the overall handset market. The segment is anticipated to account for 29 per cent of the total handset volume with 97.2 million units by 2017, registering a CAGR of around 40 per cent. Third largest in the world and the second largest among the emerging economies of Asia, the Indian Telecommunication network has emerged as a leader time and again. Owing to this growth, a large number of multinational telecommunication leaders are pouring into the nation and expressing their interest to invest in the telecom industry in India.

Taliban Behead 17 at Late-Night Party in Afghanistan

Taliban insurgents are presented to the media following their capture by security forces in Kandahar. (JANGIR/AFP/Getty Images)

KANDAHAR (TOI): Taliban Islamist insurgents beheaded 17 civilians, including two women, who were holding a party with music in a southern Afghanistan village, officials said on Monday. “I can confirm that this is the work of the Taliban,” the Helmand provincial governor’s spokesman Daud Ahmadi told AFP. “Two women and 15 men were beheaded. They were partying with music in an area under the control of the Taliban,” he said.

Nematullah Khan, the Musa Qala district chief confirmed that the villagers had organised a party with music, and one local official said he suspected that the two women had been dancing. Secret parties with dancing women from a gypsy-type tribe are common across southern Afghanistan. During their 19962001 rule in Afghanistan the Taliban, waging a fierce insurgency against the NATO-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, also tried to stop the mixing of men and women

who were not related. The latest atrocity happened near Zamindawar village, an area on the border between Kajaki and Musa Qala districts where the Taliban are active. The insurgents have in the past been blamed for beheading local villagers, mostly over charges of spying for Afghan and US-led NATO forces. Haji Musa Khan, a tribal elder in Musa Qala district, said the region had seen a surge in such killings in recent months.

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August 31, 2012



The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston thanks:

Investor Amerapex Corporation




Recreate PMS(from pdf )



Educator Brij & Sunita Agrawal Chaudhary & Angela Yalamanchili Inspirer Dr. Durga & Sushila Agrawal Govind & Renu Agrawal Amit & Arpita Bhandari Dilip & Shalini Bhargava Geriatric Home Care Physicians Vijay & Marie Goradia Hemant & Indrani Goradia IBM Jackson Walker Energizer ABC Channel 13 Pawan & Alka Agrawal Avinash & Peggy Ahuja Dr. Subodh & Sonal Bhuchar Ashok & Vijay Dhingra Pinakin & Pallavi Dinesh Ali Durrani/A.D SOUNDS FOSTERQUAN LLP Fulbright& Jaworski Swatantra & Bimla Jain Jones Mays Ramsey/ Victoria Heart & Vascular Center, PA Asheesh & Sameera Mahendru Jugal & Raj Malani Anthony & Beatrice Ogden Judge Ravi Sandill, 127th District Court Shenoy Stone/Shenoy Granite Shipcom Enterprise Mobility Solutions Ajit & Deepa Thakur University of Houston


Ambassador Arun K. Singh Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Washington


Jim Compton

Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for United Airlines, the world’s leading airline

Cons. Gen. P. Harish & Nandita Harish

Bashar & Brigitte Kalai

Sonal Bhuchar



Dr. Sunil Gadgil

Pandit Suman Ghosh



and congratulates:



R.K. Chopra, Secretary General, IACC India

Armando Perez on behalf of H-E-B


Vijay Dhingra

Pushpa Shenoy


Brij & Sunita Agrawal VKC Group Charlie & Angela Yalamanchili CNC Investments



Charlie Yalamanchili

Amit Bhandari





Ansh Labs HEB IBM Southside Group


Sincerely, PRESIDENT


Ajit Thakur CPA

Jagdip Ahluwalia


1535 West Loop South, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77027 | T: 713-624-7131 | E: |

August 31, 2012


Congratulations to all of the hard working people at Indo-American News on 31 wonderful years of serving the South Asian community

Dr. K. L. Sindwani & Dr. Mohini Sindwani Founders, Indo American News

Thanks for keeping their vision alive ! Arun Kumar

son, of Wichita Falls, TX


Anthony Kumar

grandson, and family of Tucson, AZ ar

um run K




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