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Friday, December 28 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 52

Indo American erican News

$1 Published weekly from Houston, TX

7457 Harwin Dr, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 713.789.NEWS (6397) • Fax: 713.789.6399 •

Partnered & Syndicated with Times of India,, Google, Yahoo & Bing

What a Year It Was ! IAN covered over 400 events this year

What a vibrant community this is! $1

Friday, June 29 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 26

Indo American erican News Published weekly from Houston, TX

7457 Harwin Dr, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 713.789.NEWS (6397) • Fax: 713.789.6399 •

Lofty Yatra for the Lord P3&P10

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December 28, 2012



December 28, 2012


Locals Find Hope for India in Narendra Modi’s Reelection

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA HOUSTON: What most Gujaratis see may not be apparent to those of us who seldom visit the state in West India but over the past ten years, the difference in living standards and efficiency of the state government has become apparent to the people who live there. And according to Ramesh Shah, a long-time resident of Houston these very improvements were the main reason that Narendra Modi won his third election for Chief Minister. Shah and his wife Kokila spent a month in their maternal state to work in the campaign to re-elect Modi, by traveling across the state to five cities starting from Surat in the south. They joined more than 70 other people from the US who volunteered their time and spent their own money to join the Bharatiya Janta Party in spreading its message across the state. “Five of us were from the Houston area,” explained Shah as he related his experience along the campaign trail to a room full of 80 people at the Keshav Smriti hall in west Houston on Sunday after-

Pradip Parekh Kokila shah Ramesh Shah and Bharat Gupt at the Modi victory celebration in Houston

jay Pallod, Girish Desai, Sharad Amin and others who are stalwarts of the Hindus of Greater Houston and other from the Friends of the BJP group. Most of them also enthusiastically supported Modi to run for Prime Minister in the next general elections which are slated for 2014 but many believe could be held much earlier in mid-2013. “We visited many villages and spoke with them about the progress that Modi Professor Bharat Gupt from Delhi addresing the audience in Houston and the BJP have noon, December 23. The people were brought together through the efforts of Vi-


made in their lives,” recalled Shah. “It was eye opening for them that Americans like us had come to help. We told them we were doing namaskar from 3 million IndoAmericans. Modi won the game!” Over the past decade, Gujarat has made tremendous progress in healthcare for children and women, education, sanitation and transportation often using public-private partnerships to undertake the work. Under Modi’s watch, many high-tech industries and even Tata Motors have been attracted to the state, lifting the employment rate and helping to trickle down wealth. On hand for the victory celebration was Professor Bharat Gupt, recently retired from the University of Delhi after teaching Literature and Cultural Studies for nearly 40 years, who is currently visiting Houston where his son lives. Gupt was extremely happy at the election outcome as he saw in Modi a leader who can plan in careful details and then execute within a set schedule. “There is hardly any other politician in India today who can inspire such faith and confidence in the people,” said Gupt. “For this very reason, Modi is a trustworthy claimant for the post of Prime Minister.” Gupt noted the episode with the rioting in 2002 that resulted in many deaths of Muslims, but

said that in this election, many Muslims voted for Modi, nevertheless. Leaving aside the issue, Gupt asserted that India was at a crossroads as the ruling class of politicians and officials in Delhi have totally run out of ideas. “On one side we have a highly regressive political strategy of distributing dole and free money to the public (which is largely gobbled by the party workers), of making false promises to caste groups and religious minorities, of enticing them with reservations, “ Gupt explained. “On the other hand there has been the successful planning of economic growth based on actual administrative efficiency and innovative policies by Narendra Modi.” Another volunteer, Pradip Parekh of Victoria and a supporter of the local Hindu Mahasabha spoke of his experience over the five days he spent on the campaign trail. “Modi mania is real!” he said. “The local Congress leaders became minced meat by Modi’s campaign. They tried to use divisiveness and played the caste card but it didn’t work.” Many others shared their views on the election and the prospects for the BJP in the future, but collectively, the refrain was that the majority of those at the meeting want to see Modi become Prime Minister to provide India with better overall progress as a nation.

Indo American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $40 per year) by IndoAmerican News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036, tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-7896399, email: Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News,7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036


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December 28, 2012



December 28, 2012

IACCGH Selected as the Strategic Partner of the Year

HOUSTON: The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACCGH) was selected as the Strategic Partner of the Year during the MED Week and Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum Award Ceremony. Three IACCGH members won awards at MED week : • Minority Service Firm of the Year: Foster Quan LLP • Minority Supplier/Distributor of the Year: Moftware, Inc. • Minority Emerging Service Firm of the Year: ESPA CORP, Inc. The Award was presented at the 30th Annual Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) and the 21st Annual Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum Awards Ceremony held on Tuesday, October 30 from 8-10am at Houston Community College. MED Week was designated by a Presidential Proclamation in 1983 to recognize and promote the achievements of minority-owned businesses and advocates of minority businesses. It is a national initiative of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). This year’s event is celebrated and locally hosted by the Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum, Asian Chamber of Commerce, East End Chamber of Commerce, Houston Airport System, Houston Business Development, Inc., Houston Community College, Houston Independent School District, Houston Minority Business Enterprise Center, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Mayor’s Office of Business Opportunity,

The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce was selected as the Strategic Partner of the Year during the MED Week and Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum Award Ceremony. Photo: Bijay Dixit

Metropolitan Transit Authority, NASA, National Association of Minority Contractors, Port of Houston Authority, Texas A&M University System, Texas Business Alliance, Texas Southern University, United Space Alliance, University of Houston System, and University of Texas System. This year’s theme is “Job Creation in America: Build it Here—Sell it Everywhere”. The Awards Ceremony on October 30 included recognition of 8 outstanding minority entrepreneurs and advocates of minority businesses. Those in attendance were minority entrepreneurs, bankers, bonding agents, public and corporate sector officials, diversity managers, government administrators and small business development purchasing agents who are seeking new business opportunities, information and contacts.

IACCGH Holds Reception for Gene Wu

HOUSTON: State Representative Elect Gene Wu made his message loud and clear by reaching out and meeting the leadership of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) and prominent Indo-American Hilcroft-Harwin merchants at an IACCGH Reception on December 19. The Reception was part of the IACCGH Hilcroft-Harwin Initiative which has hosted several events focused on areas of interest like Flooding/Drainage and Security with Council Member Al Hong, Council Member Stephen Costello, Asst. Chief of Police John Chen and the need for better security featuring Charles A. McClelland, Jr.., Chief of Police, H.P.D. In his introduction IACCGH Director Sanjay Rambhadran said Gene’s inspiration to seek elected office was based on his desire to serve the community. From an early age, Gene was instilled with the philosophy that you must place the community’s good before your own. Gene has demonstrated this ideal in many aspects of his life. In his speech Gene Wu, the recently elected State Rep. who will represent Houston District 137 (Southwestern Houston) , said he is reaching out to all sections of what he

termed is probably the most diverse district in the country and let everyone know they will have a voice. He said he wanted the South Asian community to have a forum to express their concerns and wishes and assured the Chamber he would come back to a similar meet and greet at least once a quarter to understand the business community’s concerns and update them on what is happening in the State Legislature. He felt the Indo-American community has played an important role in building Houston and he wanted to make sure that they get the respect they deserve He touched on some of the major policy areas that are coming up in the next Legislative Session including Education reform, Transportation funding and Water Plan. Chamber Secretary Joya Shukla ,Directors Aku Patel and Allen Richards presented the speaker with a plaque. IACCGH Board member Ashok Garg and Treasurer Swapan Dhairyawan thanked Raman Das of Palace Inns for hosting the dinner at London Sizzler. IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia talked about the Hilcroft-Harwin initiative and other upcoming IACCGH events in 2013.

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December 28, 2012


Inauguration of the BAPS Mandir in Los Angeles Inspires Generations

LOS ANGELES, CA: Calling it a tribute to the community, Assemblyman Curt Hagman along with Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami) - one of the most senior Swami of BAPS, State Senator Bob Huff, Mayor Peter Rogers, Councilmember Art Bennett and Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the head of Kauai’s Hindu Monastery and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine, inaugurated the majestic traditional stone and marble BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills (Los Angeles), California on December 23, 2012. After six years of unflinching dedication and thousands of hours of volunteer work, the Mandir stood glistening under the sun as the much anticipated inauguration ceremony started on the morning of December 23. Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami) performed the consecration ceremony in accordance with Hindu vedic rituals to infuse divinity into the sacred images inside the Mandir in the presence of devotees and well-wishers from across North America and various countries around the world. Those who could not make it to the event saw the live webcast. Speaking on the occasion, Mayor Rogers said “The Mandir is a beautiful testament to the hard work of your congregation who has spent several years to build this place of worship.” He proudly stated “The Mandir and Cultural Center will indeed be a place that Chino Hills can be proud of for so many, many generations”. Other dignitaries present for the event were Councilwoman Cynthia Moran, Artesia Mayor Sally Flowers, Milipitas Mayor Pete McHugh, and Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella. The inauguration was a culmination of a host of events, held over four days. The festivities for the opening began with His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 92nd Birthday celebration on Thursday, December 20. Nagar Yatra, a colorful procession parading the sacred images in 8 beautifully crafted floats through the streets of Artesia, CA took place on Friday, December 21 as devotees in colorful costumes celebrated with folk dances, devotional hymns, and a youth marching band. Later that evening a Kirtan Aradhana was performed by BAPS Swamis. On Saturday, December 22, the Vishwa Shanti Mahayag featured a grand

The newly inaugurated BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills, California.

the inside pillars and ceilings, the Mandir is completely etched with intricate carvings in marble and sandstone. The 6,600 handcarved motifs depict a mosaic of tales of inspiration, devotion and dedication, along with historical figures from Hinduism. Artisans created the Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami) doing carvings in India arti during the traditional “Vishwa Shanti Mahayag” - the cere- with great love, skill and patience mony for peace, prosperity and happiness for all of mankind. before the pieces were shipped to yagna and prayers for world peace. A Women’s Conference was also organized on the Chino Hills. The Mandir is situated on a 20-acre site, complete with 91 foot lotussame day. Constructed from 35,000 pieces of metic- shaped reflection pond, a Cultural Center, ulously hand carved Italian Carrara Marble gymnasium and classrooms. It is designed and Indian Pink Sandstone, the BAPS Shri to “calm the mind and open it,” said Ronak Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills, en- Patel, a volunteer of the BAPS Swaminacompasses five pinnacles, two large domes, rayan Sanstha. As the first earthquake-proof Mandir in four balconies, 122 pillars and 129 archways. From the external walls and domes to the world, the upper structure of the com-

plex is protected from earthquake damage by separating it from the base with a series of 40 base-isolator units. The Mandir also uses a solar power system to generate electricity and reduce adverse effects on the environment. “The Mandir combines the best of traditional stone art and architecture and the best of modern technology,” said Divyesh Patel, a member of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. “If one word could sum up the construction of this Mandir, it would be sacrifice. It was, indeed, the dedication, service, effort and sacrifice of hundreds of volunteers from doctors to lawyers to engineers to architects who completed this Mandir”, said Director of Construction Rakesh Patel. “Whether it was raining or sweltering outside, volunteers did everything from heavy duty labor to planning and execution of the smallest thing for making this Mandir”, concluded Patel. His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the inspiration behind the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and Cultural Center in Chino Hills, California. As the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), he has not only helped raise hospitals, schools, cultural exhibitions, and other wonders such as Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi, Gandhinagar, and the Mandirs in Atlanta, Houston, Chicago and Toronto, but has reformed and bettered the lives of millions through his personal touch and universal message. It is because of his guiding vision that, as an international charitable socio-spiritual non-governmental organization, BAPS enjoys an affiliation with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Today, BAPS serves the global community through 160 humanitarian activities in a myriad of areas such as education, environment, health, social welfare, disaster relief and culture. This is only possible through the dedication and devotion of its members and, in particular, the 55,000 volunteers spread over 3,300 centers worldwide. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, CA will inspire generations to appreciate their traditions, and sacrifice for the community. For more information, visit or

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December 28, 2012

Atma Shanthi Puja At Sri Meenakshi Temple for Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Victims

Mayor of Pearland, Tom Reid attended the Atma Shanthi Puja held for Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting victims at Meenakshi Temple.

PEARLAND: On Wednesday, December 19, the board of Sri Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS) offered prayers for the souls of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut. The temple priests Sri. Parameshwaran and Sri. Pavan Kumar conducted the Athma Shanthi Puja offering sankalpam at the Shiva sanctum. The two priests chanted mantras for the victims’ souls and for the grieving families. Tom Reid, the honorable mayor of the city of Pearland participated in the prayer ceremony. After lighting the lamp in honor of the victims, he spoke briefly to the devotees present about the horrific tragedy and asked for the Lord’s grace towards the innocent victims.

Tupil Narasiman, Chairman of the temple Board of Directors, said that this Athma Shanthi Puja for shooting victims was the second of its kind at Sri Meenakshi Temple, after the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting, and said with poignancy that this was “two too many”. He hoped that we never have to do Athma Shanthi Puja for shooting victims ever again. Losing a loved one, even if they have lived a full life, is quite hard on the family; but losing loved ones, and that too 6 year olds, and in this horrible manner, is simply unbearable for the respective families. The devotees present at the prayer meeting, along with mayor Tom Reid, beseeched the Lord to heal the hearts of these family members and to care for the souls of the victims.

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December 28, 2012


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Patio. This open air space is a pleasure to sit down and let yourself relax after you have been dancing to the music, it is fully equipped with chairs and tables. The management promises to provide the best security with on duty and off duty officers handling the areas and making sure that the party mood. The doors open at 9pm and goes on till the last guest decides to leave. It cannot be a better way to bring in the New Year other than having it at the Sugarland Banquet Hall or the M Lounge in Sugarland, the tickets for this venue are available at Viranski at Harwin, M Lounge at Sugar Land and No party can be done without the support of some people and this party is no exception. The organizers are thankful to Viranski, HumTum Radio an Indo American News for lending t h e m their support in order to make this party a grand success. This event has been managed by Arif Memon of Show Bizz Events. This company has been doing events all over for over 25 years. For more in- formation regarding the party or tickets, call Malik at 832-2893365.



December 28, 2012

Utpala Dubey Receives Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Gold Medal

Utpala Dubey, an engineer from Houston, was awarded the “Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman 2012” medal by the government of India and the Non-Resident Indians (NRI) Welfare Society of India. Utpala received her award from Honorable Baroness Sandip Verma, Minister of Energy and Climate Change in the UK at the House of Lords in London in the presence of dignitaries during a function of Global Achievers Conclave in October this year. The Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Gold Medal is given to recognize the people of Indian origin for their significant contributions in their respective field in the country of their residence and in the service of the wider global community. Dubey was one of the 58 awardees this year and was recognized for her outstanding services, achievements and contributions in the field of project management.

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Utpala Dubey, an engineer from Houston, was awarded the “Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman 2012” medal by the government of India and the Non-Resident Indians (NRI) Welfare Society of India.

This is one of the many feathers in her cap having won “Sword of Honor” earlier this year on the eve of India’s Republic Day at the 31th International Congress of NRIs in New Delhi. Utpala was also awarded the “Rabindranath Tagore Samman” and “Hind Rattan Award” by the NRI welfare soci-

YLDP Students Visit Houston Food Bank

HOUSTON: On Saturday, December 15, YLDP students arrived at the Houston Food Bank expecting a simple tour of the enormous building. However, they left with much more than that. After visiting the key parts of the Houston Food Bank, the students were enlightened by the advice of the President of the Houston Food Bank himself, Brian Greene. When Greene first started running the Food Bank, his vision was analogous to other local food pantries – to end hunger. Over time though, Greene realized that hunger was not the only issue present. Rather than providing calories, Greene called for a transition to providing nutrition. It was then that Greene realized that a change in vision is essential to make an impact, but the vision must be compelling and desirable if it is to be prosperous. In his opinion, one should not think about how a task is going to be done, but instead what accomplishing that task can lead to. He also added that in order to make a difference, “you must be in a position to make a difference” and “overcome” any “gaps” in your path. “You can’t


just take what people assume as your role,” he stated. Greene instilled in the students a sense of self-confidence and urged a flexible mentality that is sure to aid the students as they aspire to be leaders in the future. This field trip was not just a view of the inner workings of the Houston Food Bank, but also an eye-opening lesson for the auspicious YLDP students that they will remember forever. The December YLDP session raised funds for the Food Bank to feed the needy. The initiative led by Nimmi Vale at the Bear Creek Yoga group raised funds, supplemented by individual contributions by YLDP students and Board to make a total of $13,065 with 2-1 Chevron Oil Co. matching. Registration for the 2014 YLDP batch is now open. Indo American High School Juniors and Seniors students can apply at Reena Jasani, with help from Sharath Bhat, Nivetha Chandrasekaran, Samedh Iyer, Sanchi Palicha, Nitin Ponnaganti and Pinakin Jaradi contributed to this article

ety of India for her contributions, services and achievements and keeping the flag of India high. She dedicated the award to her parents and family. Dubey said, “I am extremely honored and humbled to receive such recognition.” Dubey has over 16 years of experience in Project Management and Controls of large scale projects in the energy sector and currently is the Project Services Lead for India for BP’s 7.2 Bn USD investment geared towards exploring and promoting Oil and natural gas development opportunities in India with Reliance Industries Limited.

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SOUTHFIELD, MI: On November 13, 2012, Jaya Travel presented a check in the amount of $25000 to the Southeastern Michigan Region chapter of the American Red Cross in support of relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy. Founded by its president, Arvin Shah and wife Jayshree, Jaya Travel has been a mainstay in the Indian community since 1976. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This check is a gift from the heart of Jaya Travel as well as the hearts of all our clients,â&#x20AC;? said Shah. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is through our clients support throughout these many years that we are in the position to donate such an amount.â&#x20AC;? Shah also noted that there was significance in his presenting the check to the American Red Cross on the occasion of Diwali. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As Jaya Travel begins the New Year, we wanted to start off the year on a positive note through this gift.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many of our clients were without power for several days,â&#x20AC;? he added. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People are still homeless and without power. In this season of giving, we felt this was the right thing to do.â&#x20AC;? Hurricane Sandy which hit the USA on October 29 has affected millions across the East Coast. Current statistics show that 16,000 families still remain without power. Through its relief efforts, the American Red Cross has activated more than 300 response vehicles, provided more than 72,500 overnight stays in shelters, and served more than 5.3 million meals and snacks to victims of the storm. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The American Red Cross is very grateful to Jaya Travel for its generosity in response to Hurricane Sandy. The aftermath of this storm is staggering, and thousands of people are still in serious need of assistance,â&#x20AC;? said LaForice Nealy, Regional Chief Executive

From left: Akshay Shah, V.P. Marketing; Jayshree Shah, Secretary; Arvin Shah, President; La Forice Nealy, Regional Executive OfďŹ cer-Southeastern Michigan American Red Cross; and Raj Patel, Vice President

Officer of the American Red Cross, Southeastern Michigan Region. About Jaya Travel Jaya Travel is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN), the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and Michigan Minortiy Business Development Council. Headed by Arvin Shah and his wife Jayshree, Jaya Charitable Foundation has been an active community sponsor for over five years. The foundation has donated to several needy causes including Asian Tsunami of 2004, Pakistani floods, and Earthquake in Katch. The foundation also sponsors the Jaya Rehabilitation Center in Bidada. The Bidada Sarvodaya Trust which runs the Rehabilitation Center has just been named recipient of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Institution working for the cause of Persons with Disabilities for the year 2012â&#x20AC;? by the Government of India.


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"My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions."..... Swami Vivekananda


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10:30 am - 12:30 pm Many Facets of Swami Vivekananda Talks delivered by eminent Houstonians

Lunch - 12:30 -1:30 pm President: Swapna Chaudhuri For event details contact Chaya Timmaraju 832 594 5554 Ayati Ghosh 713 623 1704

2:30 pm - 5:30 pm Facilitator Pravrajika Sitaprana, Vedanta Society of Southern California Santa Barbara Convent

Vivekanandaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Message to the West Science and Technology in the Light of Vedanta Vivekanandaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Teachings Inspiring Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Youth Harmony of Religions Vivekananda's Idea of Service Role of Women in Society

Register online by January 3, 2013 to participate in the Youth Convention Click on the link provided on http:/// The Youth Convention is open to registered delegates 18+ in age interested in engaging in discussions on the above-mentioned topics REGISTER NOW INDO AMERICAN NEWS â&#x20AC;˘ FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


December 28, 2012

Youth Convention at VSGH: Celebrating Swami Vivekananda’s Sesquicentennial

HOUSTON: Swami Vivekananda, the foremost disciple of Sri Ramakrishna had a mandate to invigorate humanity with the message of Vedanta: the philosophy and wisdom accumulated over time by humans immersed in thought, guided by reason and enriched in spiritual experience. Although this school of philosophy started and flourished in the Indian subcontinent, the wealth of this wisdom applies to the entire world beyond geographical boundaries. These ideas were slowly reaching across the oceans through philosophers such as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and other transcendentalists but it was Swami Vivekananda who opened the floodgates of this school of thought to the western world. At the World’s Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893 Swami Vivekananda spoke eloquently and held a captive audience comprising of intellectuals and elites of the American society. Vedanta emerged as a powerful philosophy appealing to the intelligentsia and it was not going to be maligned as a religion quagmired by dogmas, beliefs and strange rituals contrary to the misinformed notion in the West. Swami Vivekananda spent the next three years traveling and giving lectures on Vedanta mostly in Northeastern

cities of America and in London. Upon his return, appropriate for the needs in India Swami Vivekananda had a slightly different vision. It was not only to emphasize spiritual consciousness but to bring about unification of the different sects in Hinduism, finding the common thread that runs through it all. In addition being an ardent humanist he focused on economic upliftment of the poor, social equity for women and the downtrodden, education for the masses and he actively addressed these issues with the strong spiritual basis of Vedanta. He founded the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1897 where the motto for a renunciate is to strive for one’s own spiritual enlightenment while doing unselfish work for others in an unattached manner. This is how the concept of practical Vedanta emerged and is the driving force

for the activities of the Ramakrishna Mission. The Vedanta Societies worldwide are modeled after the Ramakrishna Mission of India. In the west, Vedanta is making an impact in a subtle yet unmistakable manner as the idea of harmony of religions is gaining acceptance, different schools of thought are emerging and worldwide humanitarian organizations are increasingly aligning themselves to the concept of Vedanta. Yoga as popular in the West is a discipline of Raja Yoga where the need to maintain a healthy body is emphasized as a prerequisite for concentration, meditation with the ultimate goal of self realization. The Vedanta movement, however, does not guage its influence by the number of centers it builds but by how it is transforming our attitudes, making us more accepting and realizing the bond that we share as we continue in our own faiths and progress spiritually. Swami Vivekananda stressed the power of the Youth with its welldirected energy making a positive impact in the world. He had immense faith in the youth and in many of his speeches addressed them directly. He had said, “Out of them (youth) will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions.” The Youth Convention to be held


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Contact: on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston (VSGH) is to make people aware of Swami Vivekananda’s vision and to help them in coming up with concrete ideas in bringing about positive change in the communities where they live. Round table discussions on relevant topics: Vivekananda’s Message for the West, Science and Technology in the Light of Vedanta, Harmony or Religions, The Role of Women in Society and Vivekananda’s

Idea of Service will be held facilitated by Pravrajika Sitaprana, a nun from the Vedanta Society of Southern California, Santa Barbara Convent. To participate at the Youth Convention, register at http://www. For more information, call Chaya Timmaraju at 832-594-5544 or email or call Ayati Ghosh at 713-623-1704 or email

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The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi


Gandhi’s Arrest Creates Sensation Worldwide

The story thus far… Newspaper reporters from all over the world were there to report the progress of the Gandhi’s satyagraha. The march ended on April 5 at Dandi village. Gandhi and his selected followers went to the sea shore and broke the salt law by picking up salt left on the shore by the sea. Gandhi then gave a signal to all Indians to break the salt law and prepare to resist the police action in a nonviolent manner. Heeding Gandhi’s word, all over India people swarmed to the nearest sea coast to break the salt law. Great excitement was created everywhere. Only a few people knew how to make salt, but the people soon found their own ways of making it. All that mattered was the breaking of the salt law. Gandhi and other leaders had made arrangements for the continuation of the agitation if they were arrested. A chain of leaders had been chosen, so that as each leader was arrested another would be ready to take his place. The government waited for some time before taking any action, and then at last retaliation began. Gandhi was left at liberty, but many other leaders were taken into custody. Jawaharlal, Mahadev Desai, and Gandhi’s son Devadas were the first to pick up salt to break the law and be sent to jail. In dealing with the breakers of the salt law, the police resorted to their usual brutal methods. The Indian National Congress was declared illegal. Some newspapers, threatened with censorship, suspended publication. The people held hartaals (strikes) and demonstrations, and mass arrests were made. Soon the jails were overflowing. The people remained nonviolent, lest Gandhi should call off the movement. Gandhi then informed the Viceroy that he was going to raid the government salt works at Dharasana. Lord Irwin decided to act. Two English officers, with pistols, accompanied by many Indian policemen armed with rifles, arrived at Gandhi’s camp in the middle of the night. They woke Gandhi and said, “You are under arrest.” Gandhi was taken to Yeravda Central Jail and was thus absent for the raid on the Dharasana salt deposits. The salt deposits were surrounded by barbed-wire fencing and protected by four hundred Indian policemen armed with steel-toed canes. A few British officers were in command of them. Gandhi’s volunteers halted some distance away from the fence. Then a select group of them ad-

vanced towards the fence. Police officials ordered the volunteers to disperse but they ignored the warning. Suddenly the police rushed at them and rained blow after blow on the defenseless men. Not one of the volunteers even raised an arm to stop the blows. They fell down, some with broken skulls, some with broken shoulders, arms, or legs. When the entire first batch had been knocked down and carried off on stretchers, another batch advanced to meet the same fate. The campaign went on for hours. Finally, as the heat of the day increased, the volunteers stopped their activities for that day. Among the volunteers two had died and 320 were injured. Gandhi’s arrest had created a great sensation in In-

The Extraordinary Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi is brought to you courtesy Mahatma Gandhi Library. dia and abroad. Representations were sent from all parts of the world to the British Prime Minister asking the government to release Gandhi and make peace with India. Even those who were cooperating with the British demanded the release of Gandhi. Gandhi proved to be more dangerous inside the jail than outside. While he sat quietly in Yeravda Jail, countrywide outbreaks of civil disobedience were greatly taxing the British. The jails were full. The government was in distress and finally, in 1931, had to release Gandhi, Nehru, and other leaders. As soon as Gandhi was out of prison he asked for an interview with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin. The interview was immediately given. Gandhi and Irwin met, but the two men seemed to have come from two different worlds. Gandhi did not go to seek any

favors. He wanted to negotiate on terms of equality. The meeting went on for many days and finally the talks culminated in a treaty, the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. It embodied compromises made by both sides. Irwin agreed to release all the political prisoners, and Gandhi promised to suspend civil disobedience and send a Congress representative to the Round Table Conference. At the time, in London, the British government was holding a Round Table Conference on the future of India. The Gandhi-Irwin Pact was a victory for nonviolent resistance. But some of Gandhi’s Congress followers thought that he had not gained much as a result of the pact. Gandhi was designated as the sole representative of the Congress to the Round Table Conference. In August 1931 he sailed for London with a small party. Gandhi went to England with the object of reaching an agreement with the British on a fair Constitution for India and also of winning the hearts of the British people. In his first object he failed, and in the second he met with great success. Gandhi spent 84 days in England and most of the time he was meeting and talking to people. Prime Minister Winston Churchill refused to see him but Gandhi captivated the hearts of many. He had tea with the King and Queen. When a reporter asked him if he thought he had been dressed well enough for such an august tea party, Gandhi replied, “The King had on enough for both of us.” At the Round Table Conference nothing was conceded to India. The Conference played up the differences between Hindus and Muslims, and this only served to worsen communal tension in India. Gandhi returned with nothing except warm goodwill for India from the hearts of many English people. At home, Gandhi found that the government had returned to the policy of repression. There were widespread arrests and seizure of property and bank accounts of people and organizations who were hostile to British interests. Early in 1932 Gandhi wanted to meet the new Viceroy, Lord Willlingdon, but the Viceroy made it clear that the days of negotiations were over. Gandhi informed the authorities that he was again starting a civil disobedience movement. The Viceroy thought it was a threat and had Gandhi arrested and lodged in Yeravada Central Jail. Several other leaders and many followers of Gandhi were also arrested and jailed. — To be Continued


December 28, 2012


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14 December 28, 2012 BY FARIDA HASANALI HOUSTON: SOS (Share Our Secrets) proudly announced the launch of its newest program “SOS Connect” at the SOS Holiday Party hosted by Biki and Dr. Prita Mohindra on December 8. The program has been designed for history, philosophy and religion lovers and lifelong learners who are always trying to understand the past, present and future and how it impacts who we are today, how we interact with others and why we are who we are. “Learning about the social origins of mankind is instrumental in understanding why people react in certain ways and how we can deal with them effectively, said Biki Mohindra, co-founder of SOS. Due to popular demand, SOS Connect’ s first session has been scheduled for early January and is open to all. Sessions will be held over lunch on the first Saturday of every month. For more information on how you can participate, email at The Buzz about the SOS Connect program at the holiday party was almost electrifying. The event was attended by over a 100 who’s who of Houston from all walks and strata’s of life. The evening could not have been more perfect; students from SOS’ first class, Andi Berkman and Susan Jhin talked about their experiences with the class, which they took twice (once as a class of two, and second in a class of 10). In fact Andi and Susan were the initial instigators urging Mohindra to put a class curriculum together that could be delivered to a small group of individuals at the same time. Both of them spoke passionately about how SOS principles had changed how they viewed their own lives and even the lives of their children. Next, Dr. Swapan Dubey and attorney Briseida Luna, students from SOS’ current class shared their thoughts on the changes they were experiencing in their lives as a result of the introspection that every class seemed to urge them to undertake. “I wake up willingly early on a Saturday morning to attend this class. I wouldn’t miss it for the world” said Briseida as she eagerly recounted how the class had helped her think through some of her life decisions. The program closed with a heartfelt thank you from Vivek Mehta, Chairman of SOS’ Center of Influence (COI). Vivek recounted COI’s 2012 accomplishments and promised exciting events in 2013 such as a networking event at Auto Dynamics, Inc, a showroom of high end luxury cars, an information event at Dr. Dubey’s emergency clinic and another sophisticated networking encounter at the River Oaks Country Club. The SOS Holiday party provided an opportunity for three SOS generations to interact; accomplished seniors who want to give back, young adults who are looking for guidance and help to navigate the waters of life, and mature adults who are looking to succeed further in their businesses or life goals. There were already several SOS Connect recruits who seem anxious to get started. For those who are not familiar with the parent SOS Organization, SOS (Share Our Secrets), an educational organization was founded in 2010 as a joint venture between Club24 and NetIP. SOS focuses on lifelong learning, and in keeping with that charter


SOS Announces SOS Connect

From left: Kalpita Shah, Archana Laxmisan, Radhika Kuchadkar, Biki Mohindra, Briseida Luna, Farida Hasanali and Vivian Liu

Andi Berkman (left) and Susan Jhin

Vivek Mehta (left) and Raj Verma

From left: Briseida Luna, Vignesh Veer, Jagan Lenka, Sergio Alvarez and Zal Sethna

the organization caters to three generations (young adults, mature adults and seniors), addressing each of their needs with a different program whilst providing avenues for all three generations to interact and learn from each other. SOS’ vision is to create an environment where successful individuals become even more successful. The current SOS program consists of three components; the SOS class, SOS member speaker series and the Circle of Influence. The SOS class geared to young adults consists of a select group of 10 individuals hand-picked by the SOS board to attend 8-10 classes over a period of 6 months. The class curriculum covers topics such as learning to negotiate, finding a job at any point in your life, and defining love, success, happiness and leverage. “The class atmosphere is so charged” says Dr. Swapan Dubey, “I find myself anxiously waiting for the next class so my routine mindset can be challenged and I can learn something new.” The SOS Member Speaker Series provides an avenue for accomplished members/ seniors in our society to share their secrets of success with SOS class students as well as SOS members who want to learn from other’s experiences. Speakers from varied backgrounds and areas of accomplishment are invited to speak at lunch and everyone is encouraged to ask questions with an effort to learn from the speaker’s experience. Successful entrepreneurs like Marc Ostrofsky and Amit Bhandari, Houston City Council member Felix Fraga, Shawn Wharton, CIO, BP NAGP, and Dr. Johnella Bradford, Dean of HCC Southeast, are a few examples of the caliber of speakers that the SOS program delivers. What’s even more exciting is that they are open to being mentors for SOS students depending on the applicability of the speakers experience to the individual’s needs. SOS’ Circle of Influence (COI), the newest member of the SOS family caters to individuals who are past the student stage, but still need the support of the community to further their goals in life. COI hosts events throughout the year that are intended to support the businesses or jobs of the COI members. COI Chairman Vivek Mehta, Sr. Vice President at Bank of Texas is always striving to deliver quality events that support effective results-oriented networking for the COI and its guests. Last quarter’s event held at the River Oaks Country Club was a resounding success, and due to member demands he will be planning another one in first Quarter 2013. As mentioned earlier, the success of SOS’ existing programs; the class, speaker series and COI and the increased demand for more participation has led to the creation of SOS Connect. Connect allows us to share our passion for lifelong learning and with the extended community and to further promote our educational charter to help people succeed. SOS Board is very excited about this new venture and is eager to get started. If you are interested in any of the SOS components, email at LearnHow@ Please mention specifically how you would like to support SOS and its goals to help the next generation succeed at an accelerated pace.


December 28, 2012


WHATWILLYOU LEAVE BEHIND Will the wisdom you have accumulated disappear after you are gone? Will anyone leverage your knowledge? Will your vision continue to grow? Become a mentor today, share your experience, and nurture the next generations of leaders. SOS invites you to share the secrets of your success. We invite you to help others avoid the obstacles you encountered on your journey. Contact to leave behind a better tomorrow.

CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE Atul Dhingra Swapan Dubey Farida Hasanali AJ John Devinder Lamba Archana Laxmisan Qusai Mahesri Sharad Malhautra Sumit Mathur Vivek Mehta Biki Mohindra Zarir Sethna Randeep Suneja Regi Varghese Sanjay Varma Raj Verma Haresh Yalamanchili EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Pawan Agarwal Farida Hasanali Radhika Kudchadkar Sayli Kulkarni Archana Laxmisan Sumit Mathur Biki Mohindra Amit Patil Zarir Sethna Shafiq Shivji Kamal Kishore Verma INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

16 December 28, 2012


Massive Demonstrations in all Major Cities

Unnamed Rape Victim Becomes Cause Célèbre in India BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT The rage over the gang rape of a 23-year old Delhi woman on the night of December 16 has turned into a tsunami of unprecedented magnitude that has engulfed many of the Indian cities and has not abated even on Monday – the seventh day of unrelenting and fiercely emotional protests. New Delhi has been epicenter of these poignant and emotive protests with the youth of the capital city angrily taking up cudgels against the somnolent and callous administration. Never before in the history of independent India and even during the Emergency era, did I see a hurricane of thousands of demonstratively angry and furious young men and women come out on the Capital’s streets to voice and lodge their emotional and vociferous protests over this gang rape. ‘Aur nahin bas aur nahin’ became the war cry that thousands of protestors shouted in unison. It meant that the patience of the Indian youth had reached the end of its tether and no longer would it tolerate such abominable and gruesome acts. The demonstrators wore their anger on their shirt sleeves and were emotionally outraged whenever a TV news reporter pushed his mike at their face. The responses of both Delhi and the Federal governments were typically bureaucratic and simply insipid. The powers that be were perhaps too insensitive as to appreciate the gravity of the situation and the magnitude of mass and spontaneous anger that had swept the Delhi streets and neighborhoods including the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Prime Minister’s House, Police Headquarters and

even Sonia Gandhi’s residence. The demonstrators demanded that the Home Minister and the police commissioner must come out and listen to their grievances, but neither mustered courage or were perhaps not foolhardy to take the risk of facing thousands of angry young people. Only Sonia Gandhi in the early hours of the 22nd December morning came out to talk to the demonstrators and tried to reason out with them; but her words of sympathy, however soothing or reassuring, did not have any effect on the ruffled tempers. Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit’s belated remorse via a TV journalist failed to apply balm to the bursting anger of the highly emotive youth even when she repeatedly said that “I have my sympathy with the demonstrators and I identify myself with them.” The Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde too uttered some mumbojumbo, assuring this and promising that but his officialese proved ineffective. Unfortunately, these worthies had never ever faced neither such a situation nor thousands of apolitical angry youth. The enormity of the situation came out in full measure on Saturday and Sunday nights when the impatient demonstrators shivering in the chilly cold of the wintry December nights overran the barriers that had been erected for the oncoming Republic Day Parade preparations and rehearsals and began knocking at the massive iron gates of Rashtrapati Bhawan. It was at this stage that the police lobbed tear gas shells, used water cannons and even used lathis (batons) in order to disperse the crowd as it attempted to barge into the Rashtrapati Bhawan to see

The police used water cannons on demonstrators gathered in India’s capital city on Saturday.

the President. It is not known how senior the police officers on duty were or whether any executive magistrates were present at the spot to consider the situation in its proper perspective and then decide whether to use any force and to what extent. The crowd was too large and restive; it retaliated and threw at the police force stones or whatever missiles it could find. All this caused injuries both among the protestors and even police force. The continuing demonstrations and protests finally compelled the Prime Minister to address the Nation on Monday morning in a televised speech. Referring to his own family, the Prime Minister said, “As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you. My wife, my family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime.” Even he described the anger at this heinous crime as “justified” but added that “violence will serve no purpose”. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s speech too was badly drafted and lacked the desired passion. I have been an emotional fool much of my adult life, shedding tears at any touching scene in a movie. But my fragile emotions spilled over last week and brought copious tears to my eyes whenever I watched the enthusiasm and anger of these demonstrating young people. What really touched my heart strings was the spontaneous response that this rape had brought about from not only the young people in New Delhi but also even in relatively smaller cities; in Dehra Dun several groups of young people, even teenagers had come out on the streets. These spontaneous demonstrations pro-

vide a fertile ground to political parties of all sizes and hues or even lumpen elements invariably take advantage and try to fish in the troubled waters. That is the danger that spontaneous responses by largely apolitical protestors would sooner or later be infiltrated by such elements and thus become unruly and uncontrollable. Despite all this, one must truly admire the gutsy young men and women who had continued to stay on that harsh Delhi winter night in front of police barricades at Raisina Hill, even after the majority of the demonstrators had left at 9 p.m. About 100-odd young men and women sat around bonfires, shouting slogans against the government and the Delhi Police. Whenever they felt sleepy, they sang patriotic poems. Even though they were beaten yet their spirit could not be broken. Neither there was food nor drinking water; the protestors somehow spent the night on mere tea and coffee, bought from a few roadside vendors who too kept company with the agitating youth. Some friends had ferried packets of biscuits and packets of snacks for the sit-in demonstrators. Interestingly, they shared some of these packets with the police personnel on duty. Meanwhile, as I write this dispatch on Monday afternoon, the condition of the victim of the rape continues to be critical. Prayers are, however, being offered all over the country for the speedy recovery of this victim. These country wide processions and demonstrations over the past week has made the case of this unfortunate rape victim as the cause célèbre that is likely to impact not only the existing laws but also the ‘chalta hai’ mindset that has been the country bane since the independence.

Rape Victim Flown to Singapore NEW DELHI (TOI): Late on Wednesday night, the rape victim was flown in a special air ambulance to Singapore where she will be taken to the Mount Elizabeth hospital, a top-notch critical care medical centre. “Her health is precarious, that’s the main issue before the government,” said a Union minister, not wanting to be identified. Doctors at Safdarjung Hospital where Nirbha-

ya was being treated for the last one week were hesitant to hold out hope. “Still, the fight to save her is just as strong,” said a doctor. Safdarjung Hospital sources said Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth is equipped to deal with trauma and serious medical complications. It is also capable of carrying out multiple organ transplants. It is understood that Amar Singh’s kidney transplant took place at this hospital.


December 28, 2012 Letter to the Editor Fiscal Cliff: The Compassionate Fix


Dear Editor, The revenue side of the fiscal cliff seems to be hanging on tax rates on the bottom 98% versus the top 2%. Obviously, there are ‘compassionate’ and ‘not so compassionate’ in both, the former favoring tax rate increase and the latter resisting it. I have a proposal that will allow the ‘compassionate’ to be so and the ‘not so compassionate’ to be so, yet raise revenues for the Feds. Don’t raise taxes on any one. Make a provision so when filing tax returns people can include a sizable donation earmarked for the programs for the not so fortunate in the society. To be fair, make that particular donation 100% taxdeductible with no cap. The Feds can then use that pool of money to pay for entitlement programs as well as reduce deficits. Will this work? Probably not- hardly anyone will pay a dime out of compassion. And, that is the fallacy in the compassion argument. If the great majority of ‘compassionates’ are themselves unwilling to part with a dime to help the less fortunate, what moral grounds do they have to get on the ‘screw the rich’ bandwagon! - Hari Dayal






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December 28, 2012

Cricket without the Noise

India-Pakistan games have always demanded something extra from the cricketers involved. Like on that historic tour to Pakistan in 2004, the Indians were asked to not merely win games, but conquer hearts too. Over the years, the fans have wanted them to be overtly aggressive but the officials don’t want them to get carried away. Indo-Pak games have been strategically scheduled to be political ice-breakers or ill-disguised CBMs. Depending on the diplomatic temperature of the day, these contests get played either in the background of a predictable war-by-other-means rhetoric or in a pleasant haze of nostalgia harking back to prePartition days. Marketing men have loved exploiting these emotions while selling the series. Slotting a fiery Pakistan paceman against one of the many superstar India batsmen was enough to raise the mercury in the fan zone. All that was missing this time as Pakistan virtually sneaked into India for two T20 games and three ODIs. The last time they were here for a series was way back in 2007. But despite the five-year gap, the anticipation that usually goes with receiving a long-awaited arch rival was missing. There were several reasons for this. For starters, India was preoccupied with a high-profile retirement. Besides, Pakistan is a team that has gone under the radar since international teams have been repeatedly rejecting their invitation after raising security fears. Plus, there is no Shoaib Akhtar-like player to needle Tendulkar or the Indian fans. The two Pakistan teams, the Mohammad Hafeez-led T20 team and the Misbah ul Haq-led ODI team, are made up of mellowed down men who believe in action, not words. It would be foolhardy to say that the old rivalry has lost its zing. There are enough men in blue and green who have the skills and the temperament to provide top quality cricket. Despite their limited international exposure, Pakistan continues to throw up pacers of high calibre. Add to the mix a few wily spinners and the visiting team has a bowling attack that is capable of testing the promising batsmen of the home team. It’s a scrutiny India urgently needs as it tries to separate the wheat from the chaff in these times of generational shift. In a nutshell, the missing buzz during the countdown doesn’t necessarily translate into tame cricket on match day. Actually, an India Pakistan contest minus the noise, is what the true cricket fan always wanted. Indian Express

Master Blaster Retires Sachin Tendulkar, India’s very own “god of cricket” will never again answer fans’ prayers for runs in one-day internationals after deciding to retire from the format he served for more than two decades. And his decision has sparked an outpouring of tributes from his team-mates, cricket pundits, and millions of fans who believe watching the game will never be the same without the master batsman. The record-breaking cricketer will continue to play in Test matches, but this has not provided any consolation to his fans. BBC

Rage and Helplessness BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA The protests in Delhi are generating two sorts of anxiety. The spectacle of a spontaneous, unstructured, unavoidably vague movement borne out of genuine rage has unsettled the establishment. And it will respond the way it does: by recourse to the language of order. The second is a critique that the movement is misdirected: it is blaming government for what is, in fact, a deep social problem. It is looking to the state’s power of order to rectify a social malaise, and what it will get as a result is an illusion of a solution. There is an element of truth to this critique. In any society, politics can dance lightly on the surface, only when there is no catastrophic social failure. But in India the relation between state and society has historically evolved in a way that statism has become our natural response. At independence, the Indian state, and the classes allied with it, placed itself in the vanguard of Indian modernity. The Indian state would be the site of all that is egalitarian, emancipatory and progressive. All institutions outside the state, from family to market, were inegalitarian, oppressive, and reactionary. The reality was never this simple. But this construction legitimised immense state power. Over time, this view was internalised by society itself: the mistrust the state had of it, led it to be, at most, defensive; at worst, all its energies were sapped. In some ways, it is not so much that the movement is picking on the wrong target, government. It is also an admission that norm creation will now involve different modalities. The two traditional sites of norm production, family and religion, are in some fundamental sense, delegitimised. They have been marked out as not adequate to the task of producing a new morality. They may not condone violence, but their ability to respond to the new economy of desire and freedom is seriously in doubt. It is telling, for example, that the “traditional” response to the problem of violence involves an economy of restraint: prohibitions on drinking, movement and so on, that are unacceptable to the new regimen of freedom. Even if

It is one amongst many forms of anguish against the fact that law has become a lottery; protectors have become predators, and virtue overrun by venality. A lot of the punitive rage being expressed is a sign of helplessness. they had progressive resources, these institutions simply do not have the authority any more. It is not an accident that the fight for new norms will now necessarily involve public mobilisation and spectacle. We are used to thinking of the public protest as a site of narrow political rights or economic mobilisation. Norms are no longer created just in small spaces. Modern societies, particularly because they are media driven, require the uses of public spectacle and mobilisation to convey what should be acceptable to society. A response to a moral shock cannot be just an individual emotion, or be dealt with only at the level of traditional institutions. It also requires recognition that the emotion is shared by others. It is that recognition that prevents specific incidents from being written off as an individual aberration, or getting lost in a fog of statistical jugglery. The achievement of this movement was at, one stroke, to rescue violence against women from being written off as the exception. Whether these protests are converted into teachable moments depends on the response of society. But it is clear that our political system is simply not geared for the idea that serious moral conversation will have an element of public mobilisation. The state, used to conventional politics, does not understand this. It will simply crack down on this, not provide space for this, or try and reduce it to partisan politics.

But this protest is also more than about rape. It is now an open, generalised and largely justified contempt of the state. It is one amongst many forms of anguish against the fact that law has become a lottery; protectors have become predators, and virtue overrun by venality. A lot of the punitive rage being expressed is a sign of helplessness. The state cannot solve every problem on its own; but its looming shadow has distorted us in the deepest sense in four respects. The so-called crisis of Indian masculinity is a complex phenomenon. But a moment’s reflection on the social dimensions of the political economy we inhabit will bring out the state’s role. In vast peri urban areas, you now have a peculiar syndrome: a property market-driven cash economy, which has necessitated an extraordinary gun culture; a traditional social structure suddenly catapulted into the modern economy of desire and consumption; modern institutions like colleges that are deeply alienating, and a state that would rather put more liquor outlets on streets than street lights. Under the surface, there is a volatile mix brewing, whose lines can be traced to the ways in which the state has structured the economy and its major institutions. Finally, no one expects politicians to be psychotherapists or perfect moral exemplars. But if there is one job description that comes with politics, it is being a connection artist. It is an ability to tap into latent sentiments, emotions, hopes and fears. A demagogue exacerbates and panders to them in a destructive direction. A leader’s job is to channel them into constructive and imaginative solutions. But if there is a deep disconnect, an absence of common decency, and a constant attempt to evade political responsibility, there will be an antipolitical politics. Some ineffective states let societies go their own merry way. We are in a peculiar position where the state positioned itself as a vanguard, and then got lost in its own pathologies. Statism was a disease bequeathed to us, by the state. The writer, president of the Centre for Policy Research, is contributing editor, ‘The Indian Express’.

Indo American News FOUNDER: DR. K.L. SINDWANI PUBLISHER: JAWAHAR MALHOTRA EDITOR: PRAMOD KULKARNI MANAGING EDITOR: MANASI GOKHALE ADVERTISING & ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER: VANSHIKA VIPIN CORRESPONDENTS HOUSTON: MANU SHAH, 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:


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December 28, 2012


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Modi Wins Gujarat, Congress Himachal Pradesh BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT As widely forecast and anticipated, BJP’s Narendra Modi secured an impressive win in the recently held elections to the Gujarat state assembly; in fact, it was more of a personal victory of Modi than of BJP. This was the third consecutive time that Modi won the assembly election; all through the hectic electioneering, Modi criss-crossed like a lone ranger the entire length and breadth of the state; he even simultaneously used his 3-D images at eight venues that both astounded and amused the audiences. When the votes were counted, BJP had won 115 seats, in the 182-seat assembly; this was two fewer than the 2007 elections. Its main rival Congress was a distant second with 61 seats, adding two to its 2007 tally. Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) though won only two seats, was able to foil BJP’s prospects in at least 15 constituencies. It was not only the BJP alone that was adversely affected by GPP, the Congress too suffered because of the splitting of votes with Keshubhai Patel’s party in some of the constituencies. However, though the Congress approximately won 33% of the total seats, it was nevertheless able to secure 39% of the votes, which is 1% more than the 38% that it won in the 2007 polls. On the contrary, BJP despite much hullaballoo about its ‘massive victory’ was a loser both in terms of seats and vote share; it managed to secure only 48% of the total votes as against 49% in the previous elections; likewise, the number of seats won by it also fell by two. Thus, it is evident that as large a percentage as 39 of the six crore Gujaratis supported the Congress despite its lackluster campaign and without projecting any leader as the potential chief minister. In fact, this is proof enough that the Congress still enjoys a loyal vote bank of substantial 39% of the citizens despite being out of power for nearly 20 years. This was a no mean achievement for a party that had confronted a massive Modi onslaught and lacked a cohesive campaign strategy. If Gujarat was a minor consolation for the Congress, its credible performance in Himachal Pradesh was like icing on the cake. In this Himalayan state, Congress successfully wrested power from BJP by winning in 36

Projecting Modi as prime ministerial candidate is like counting chicken before they are hatched

of the 68 constituencies; BJP under Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal managed to retain barely 26 seats. The remaining six seats went to BJP rebels and Independents. The pollsters had predicted a neck-to-neck fight between the two traditional rivals but by winning a clear majority, the Congress, under the leadership of the old workhorse Raja Virbhadra Singh, proved them wrong. It was therefore no wonder that the Raja once again was elected as the leader of the Congress Legislative Party; this is the sixth time that the ruler from the erstwhile small princely state of Rampur Bushahr in the Shimla hills will have assumed charge of the office of the state chief minister by the time this news appears. It is unfortunate that Vidya Stokes, leader of the Congress Legislature party in the dissolved assembly, will again miss the bus. Stokes, daughter-in-law of legendary American SN Stokes was certainly a deserving candidate for the high position of the chief minister ship of Himachal Pradesh but she lost the battle to the exigencies of power politicking. Indian media like its American counterpart is widely speculative; hardly the results to the Gujarat assembly were announced, the media without exception heralded Modi as the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate for the general elections due in 2014. Even the most astute of the political analysts overlooked the crucial difference that Modi’s popularity in the state with only just about 60 million of Gujaratis is no guarantee of his popularity in the rest of India with roughly 1.2 billion of people spread over several states having heterogeneous population and diametrically opposite linguistic and caste spread. Further, BJP as the number two national party is conspicuously absent in

several states such like West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Tamilnadu and even the largest state of Uttar Pradesh. The analysts also forget that a politician with prime ministerial ambitions should not only have a pan Indian acceptability but his party should also boast of an inclusive approach. Neither, Modi unfortunately has this pan India appeal nor BJP has countrywide following. Even though Modi may have done good work in developing industries in Gujarat but then anyone else too could have achieved similar results, given the Gujarati innate entrepreneurial skills. For that matter, Gujarat is just about number four on all India ranking of industrialized states. BJP on its own stamina cannot ever hope to secure majority in the Lok Sabha; at best it could lead it’s not so coherent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to a near majority or more optimistically to a bare majority. But then all of its possible NDA allies have their own aspirants as the prime ministerial candidates. It must be assumed that any non-Congress alliance will have to include Jayalalitha’s AIDMK, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, Nitish Kumar’s JDU, or for that matter Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP in Andhra Pradesh. All these leaders have king-size egos and how will they ever accept Modi as superior to them in any way whatever. An important qualifications for Indian Prime Minister must be his ability to fluently express himself in more than two or three languages including an international lingo. English by and large is the most acceptable worldwide diplomatic as well as business language. Thus projecting Modi as the BJP’s or NDA’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections appear somewhat pre-matured and highly speculative. The year 2014 is neither very much at hand nor very far. Even though the Congress may not appear to be in the pink of health, thanks to its scam-ridden image, it still carries more favorable an image than the BJP. Of late, this prime opposition party, hoping to be the ruling party in not too distant a future has lost its steam by committing many self goals. Further, by its negative and obstructionist policy, BJP has become unappetizing as a political outfit. So, projecting Modi as the prime ministerial candidate at this uncertain point is like counting one’s chicken before they are hatched.

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December 28, 2012

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SUJI DA HALVA (Semolina Halva) There are many types and of halvas and many ways to prepare them. In the Punjab, the karah or karda is a wheat flour halva that is often served at religious functions and is always served at the langars (communal meals) after services in Sikh Gurudwaras. Although this sweet dish is considered mostly a Northern Indian confection, and is associated with Punjabi cuisine, it is also quite popular in South India. Suji halva is often made to commemorate special occasions, like a birthday or the start of a new venture or phase of life like a taking exams or starting a new job. Among Hindus, a small offering of the halva is made to the deities in the home temple and then given to the concerned person

first as a blessing for good luck and then to the other family members. Suji halva is quite simple to make and while it is cooking, the kitchen fills with a pleasant aroma. For more authentic taste, most Punjabis eat it with some nuts – usually blanched almonds – and the dish is great for cold wintery days. Ingredients: • One cup of ghee or cooking oil • One cup of suji (semolina, medium grain for best results) • One cup of sugar • Three cups of water • Some dry fruit (raisins, broken pieces of almonds) If you prefer, you can use brown sugar or gur (jaggery). Olive oil gives a better taste and is healthier than ghee.

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Directions: • In a saucepan mix the sugar and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. If the suji is a large grain, then use four cups of water. If you prefer a sweeter halva, use 1.5 cups of sugar. Make sure the sugar is dissolved well, take off the heat and set the syrup aside. • In a carahi (wok) warm the oil over medium heat and add the suji. Stir till the grain becomes slightly brown. • Reduce the heat then and slowly pour the syrup in while continuously stirring. • Reduce the heat to a minimum and if the mixture starts to bubble from the edges then turn off the heat. • Add the dry fruit and stir in. If you prefer, you can add the dry fruit while the suji is being roasted. For best results, boil the almonds to peel the skin and then slice the blanched nuts. Use these in the mixture and sprinkle over the halva for presentation.

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Playboy Reveals Sari Look for Upcoming Clubs in India MUMBAI: Despite receiving a barrage of criticism, Playboy trudged on with its plans to open up clubs across India -- with brand new, modest bunny costumes, of course. The less-revealing outfits were unveiled in Mumbai on Wednesday and will be worn in the new beachside Playboy Club in Goa next year. Designer Mohini Tadikonda was tapped to take on the iconic silk corset, black tights, fluffy tails, ears, bow-ties and cuffs and translate the pieces into an ensemble that’s more in line with India’s strict obscenity laws. Tadikonda’s tempered take? She kept the ears, bow-ties and tails, but added a one-shoulder corset top with a bare midriff and a long, sheer skirt. She explained the tricky alterations to the Mumbai Mirror: “My biggest challenge fell below the waist. At first, I wasn’t sure how to work around the hip exposure that is iconic to the American Bunny costume. The upper portion of the bustier was not an issue and I was able to leave that untouched. I knew that the hip had to be covered, so I developed concepts that addressed the questionable area while still allowing an illusion of exposure.” Of course, it’s worth noting that these India-specific costumes are the only set specially made to adhere to local guidelines. In fact, Playboy magazine is banned in the country entirely. But don’t worry, Hugh Hefner himself reportedly gave his seal of approval on the more conservative duds. Plus, Sanjay Gupta, Playboy India’s chief executive, seems to think that the bunny costumes should be the least of India’s modesty worries. “If you watch Bollywood films you will see women dressed far sexier and in more revealing outfits,” he said. Gupta did make sure to add one caveat for the forthcoming Playboy Bunny club: “We are clear about one thing: There will absolutely be no nudity.”

Designer Mohini Tadikonda was tapped to take on the iconic silk corset, black tights, fluffy tails, ears, bow-ties and cuffs and translate the pieces into an ensemble that’s more in line with India’s strict obscenity laws.

But even with the culturally-cognizant design, some fear the costumes mark a slippery slope and that opening the Playboy club would encourage debaucherous and vulgar behavior. Dilip Parulekar, the tourism minister to Goa, said: ‘We will

not entertain anyone who is here to spread obscenity and nudity.’ The outlets include clubs, bars and cafes. The first club is coming up on the Candolim beach in Goa by March, which will be followed by another one in Hyderabad.

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December 28, 2012


IndoAmerican News

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Equator Offers Full-Size Hybrid Combo Washer-Dryer HOUSTON: Equator Advanced Appliances revolutionary new product, the Cobra-Hybrid, surpasses all imagination. It is a full size Combo Washer-Dryer designed for household use. The unique feature of the Must-Have Cobra-Hybrid, is that it has advantages of both a top-loading and a front-loading machine – i.e. it is a top-loading machine using a Horizontal Axis technology. Equator has introduced the unique hybrid machine, merging the user friendly features of regular top-loading machines, which require no bending, with energy-saving features of front loading machines, features that have also proven to save water, sewage and detergent. Besides its sleek stainless and black design, the Cobra-Hybrid is packed with many other customer friendly features like One-touch start, LoadSensing Adaptive Fill, Delay start, and Wi-Fi connectivity for remote diagnostics. In addition, it uses Intellifill TM, an intelligent automatic detergent dispensing system, where liquid detergent can be loaded in the beginning and the correct amount dispensed during each load. The Cobra-Hybrid offers the finest

The Equator Hybrid is a machine that will revolutionize the laundry experience. It is a combo washer-dryer, that is, a machine that washes and dries in the same unit. It is designed to be the most advanced laundry appliance in the world; it will be made in America and have huge export potential.

and the most advanced features. It is operated with an LCD touch display which includes a full owner’s manual and a help feature. Later editions will have language modules which will be suitable for specific domestic and overseas markets. The Cobra-Hybrid is a 220 Volt Venting unit perfect for single family homes. The Cobra-Hybrid is unusually simple to operate. Press a single button at the front of the machine and the lid of the Cobra-Hybrid pops open. A light comes on inside the 3.5 cubic foot drum. Load your clothes (up to 22 lbs.), close the lid and press the Start button. The machine will fill with the right amount of water to be used, fill detergent automatically and carry out the wash functions. After the Wash cycle is done, the Dryer will start automatically. Sensors will dry clothes for the right amount of time based on whether the user selects bone-dry, damp-dry or somewhere in between. Wi-Fi connectivity is provided to notify the user for endof-cycle, remote diagnostics and detergent ordering. The unit is also available in additional colors of blue, green, red, pink and black. Atul Vir, President of Equator

Advanced Appliances stated that “a world class design team has been instrumental in building this unique machine – it is beautiful looking, ecofriendly and precision engineered. We can confidently state that this is the most Advanced Laundry Appliance in the world, Designed and Made in America”. The Equator Cobra-Hybrid (40”x 27”x 28”) will retail for $2,200. It comes with a standard warranty of one year parts and labor. Equator is the pioneer of the Combo Washer-Dryer product category, having launched their first model the EZ 1000 in 1991. Equator is offering initial production through Indiegogo, a crowdfunding company at a factory-discount of over 40%. The special price is $1400 with free shipping included (a $250 value). The first 1,000 customers will receive serially numbered collectors-edition machines. This unique offer is available on x/1579497 For more information, email atul@ or call Atul Vir at 832-567-4310

Air India Ferries Record 50,000 Passengers in Single Day MUMBAI (The Hindu): National carrier Air India flew a record number of passengers last Friday when it carried over 50,000 in a single day on its national and international routes, sources said. “We carried a record 50,765 passengers across our network on December 21. This was the highest number of passengers ferried by the carrier on a single day as compared to the last year,” an airline official said. While a total of 35,246 passengers flew on the carrier’s domestic flights, another 15,519 passengers flew on

Air India has seen significant improvement in its domestic market share in the past seven months. Photo:Kamal Narang

the international network. Air India operates 319 daily flights both on its domestic and international routes. The national carrier has achieved 87.7 per cent seat factor on domestic flights and 77.9 per cent on international routes on December 21, the official said. “Besides, the airline’s earnings also touched Rs 48-crore mark on that day including Rs 25 crore from the overseas operations, with a combined seat factor of 81 per cent,” the official said. Overcoming the May strike blues, when the airline had to drastically cut

down its international operations following a nearly two-month long agitation by a section of its pilots, Air India has seen significant improvement in its domestic market share in the past seven months. The domestic passenger data for the April-November period show consistent increase in the national carrier’s market share with the airline gaining 4.5 per cent, pushing the private operator Jet Airways to the third slot with 20.7 per cent market share in November, after no-frills carrier IndiGo’s 27.3 per cent.





December 28, 2012

Veterans Guide T20 Victory for Pakistan Australia Ahead vs. Sri Lanka

Mohammed Hafeez guides Pakistan’s first victory with two balls to spare.

By Siddhartha Talya BANGALURU (ESPNCricinfo): Pakistan 134 for 5 (Hafeez 61, Malik 57) beat India 133 for 9 (Gambhir 43, Rahane 42, Gul 3-21) by five wickets Two of Pakistan’s experienced hands guided them to victory in their first game in almost three months, and their first bilateral tour of India in five years. An early burst from debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who began his international career with a fabulous display of swing bowling, rattled the Pakistan top order but the calm presence of Mohammad Hafeez and some enterprising batting from Shoaib Malik put a chase of 134 back on track. Pakistan had another scare at the death, losing two in quick time when victory appeared secure, but Malik ultimately saw them through in the final over, sealing the game with a six. The hosts were a specialist bowler short, as the Pakistan pair targeted the non-regulars, but a more significant factor in India’s loss was their implosion with the bat, when they lost nine wickets for 47 runs in 46 balls. A 36,000-strong crowd had been silenced during an impressive display of bowling backed up by some excellent ground fielding that had helped Pakistan fight back after India’s openers had laid a strong foundation in an attractive stand of 77 in under 11 overs. The decibel

levels at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, however, hit their peak when Bhuvneshwar swung it this way and that, setting up two of this three victims with outswingers before nipping one back in to dismantle the stumps. At 12 for 3, Pakistan were reeling; their rebuilding was steady, and resulted in 24 boundary-less deliveries, but Hafeez and Malik pounced in at the right time. Virat Kohli was one of the parttimers used by India, and Hafeez slogged him for two boundaries in the 11th over, at the start of which the required-rate had hit almost nine an over. Yuvraj Singh dragged the ball too short on occasion and was heaved for two sixes by the pair and they each stepped out to Ravindra Jadeja to dispatch him for maximums over his head. The return of India’s seamers didn’t immediately check Pakistan, as the equation was brought down to 16 off the last three overs, but Ishant Sharma dismissed Hafeez and conceded just two in an over in which he had Malik caught off a no-ball for height. Ashok Dinda was given the penultimate over and he left Pakistan needing 10 off the last, which Malik helped achieve with a straight six off a Jadeja length delivery to win with two balls to spare. Ajinkya Rahane’s supreme timing was the feature of India’s opening partnership, as he lofted Pakistan’s bowlers over extra cover effort-

lessly, though they hit back after he fell upper-cutting to third man. Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal were the architects of that comeback, after being struck for sixes in their respective opening overs. Gul was smashed over midwicket by Gambhir, but had Yuvraj Singh caught in the deep off a slower ball in his new spell before removing two in two towards the death. Ajmal was carted over extra cover by Rahane, but returned to dismiss MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina with quicker deliveries at a time when India would have backed themselves to reach a score of around or above 150. Gambhir had started picking up the pace but was caught short of the crease when attempting a second run in the 13th over. Sohail Tanvir returned a throw on the half-volley to Kamran Akmal, who collected well and dislodged the stumps. Kohli and Yuvraj began well but fell trying to heave the seamers over square leg - left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Irfan got rid of Kohli to bag his first international wicket. Ajmal’s tricks against Dhoni and Raina, and run-out of Rohit Sharma, sent back by a direct hit, transformed India’s game from one aimed at an aggressive charge to mere survival. India scored just one boundary in the last six overs, their early advantage was squandered and not even a dream debut that produced a spell of 4-0-9-3 could restore it completely.

MELBOURNE (ESPNCricinfo): Australia 3 for 150 (Warner 62) trail Sri Lanka 156 (Sangakkara 58, Johnson 4-63) by 6 runs Kumar Sangakkara became the second Sri Lankan to reach the 10,000-run milestone in Tests but there was little else for Sri Lanka to celebrate on their first Boxing Day at the MCG since 1995. A day that began with Mahela Jayawardene winning the toss and choosing to bat ended with Australia at the crease and having already nearly passed Sri Lanka’s 156, an awfully disappointing total brought about by some disappointingly awful shot selections from the Sri Lankan batsmen. Mitchell Johnson was awkward to face, collecting three wickets and breaking the thumb of Prasanna Jayawardene; Jackson Bird was impressively consistent in Jackson Bird picked up two his first day of Test cricket and wickets on his first day of Test picked up two wickets; and Peter cricket. who dived to his right and grassed an Siddle and Nathan Lyon also collected two each. Australia’s selectors edge off Chanaka Welegedara. Sangakkarawaswearingthegloves must have breathed a sigh of relief at the effectiveness of the attack, due to a hairline fracture Prasanna after their decision to rest the Hobart Jayawardene suffered while batting, match-winner Mitchell Starc due to and although he dropped that chance he was part of one dismissal, whipconcerns over his workload. Not that Australia did everything ping the bails off at the striker’s end right. After a strong opening partner- to run Phillip Hughes out for 10. Ed ship of 95 between David Warner Cowan had worked the ball to the and Ed Cowan, both openers and leg side and called Hughes through Phillip Hughes fell within the space for a single, but the non-striker’s of seven overs late in the day, leav- hesitation led to his demise; Dilshan ing Sri Lanka a sliver of hope if misfielded and Hughes could comtheir bowlers can do some damage fortably have made the run had he on the second morning. At stumps, set off immediately. In the next over, Cowan departed Australia were 3 for 150, trailing by six runs, and they had their in-form with no further addition to the score, captain Michael Clarke at the crease caught at second slip for 36 when he on 20, alongside the vice-captain slashed at Dhammika Prasad, who had been brought in to replace NuShane Watson on 13. Clarke had been passed fit in the wan Kulasekara. Cowan and Warner morning, ending speculation that had given Australia a strong start the hamstring injury he picked up until Warner was caught at deep in Hobart would allow Watson to midwicket for 62 off the bowling become Australia’s 44th Test cap- of Angelo Mathews. Warner was tain, and he showed no real signs trying to maintain the brisk pace he of discomfort while batting late in had set early, having raced to his the day. Both men had been given half-century from 34 balls. There was a healthy sprinkling of lives though: Clarke put down by Tillakaratne Dilshan at silly mid-on Sri Lankan fans among the crowd when he chipped Rangana Herath to and they were disappointed with the the leg side and Watson by the acting way their side batted, apart from the wicketkeeper Kumara Sangakkara, half-century scored by Sangakkara.



BY NIRANJAN RAJADHYAKSHA (Mint) Among the hundreds of thousands of people who poured into Shivaji Park to witness the funeral of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray in November were ordinary persons who did not fit the ready caricature of the Shiv Sena supporter as a thug. I have spent most of my life in a Shiv Sena stronghold, and have seen how regular folk, including lifelong friends, made common cause with Thackeray despite his pathological politics. The reason is that Thackeray gave voice to the unique anxieties of the Marathi speakers in Mumbai— anxieties that are less common in the neighbouring cities of Pune and Nashik. One has to go back more than 50 years to understand the roots of these anxieties. The first decade after independence saw movements for linguistic states in many parts of the country. The government in New Delhi had already agreed to the right of many other linguistic groups to form states, but was dilly-dallying when it came to Maharashtra, which many Maharashtrians still ascribe to prejudice against them. The movement for a united Maharashtra, with Mumbai as its capital, was led by a rainbow coalition— the writer P.K. Atre, the Communist S.A. Dange, the socialist S.M. Joshi, the social reformer Prabodhankar Thackeray, the Gandhian Senapati Bapat, the economist D.R. Gadgil, the peasant leader Keshavrao Jedhe and the proletarian bard Shahir Amar Sheikh, among others. The overall political leaning of this leadership was to the moderate Left, and there were hopes that the new state would be progressive in both social and economic terms. In fact, the battle to include what was then known as Bombay city in a Marathi state was split along class lines. The business class that funded the Congress wanted the city to become a Union Territory that it could control while the predominantly Marathi working class wanted it to be the capital of a progressive Maharashtra. As street protests grew in Mumbai, the government led by Morarji Desai ordered the police to fire. The eventual death toll was 105, remembered in a plaque near Flora Fountain in the old business district. Among those dead were several for whom Marathi

December 28, 2012


Mumbai: The Anxiety that Lingers was not the mother tongue. Even moderates were miffed by the hostile reaction to the Maharashtra movement. C.D. Deshmukh, a technocrat and the first Indian governor of the Reserve Bank of India, resigned in protest from his job as finance minister in the Jawaharlal Nehru government. A new state was eventually formed in 1960. The Marathi population in Mumbai soon realized it had neither political nor economic power in the state it had fought hard for. The Congress ran its political organization in the city quite independently of its network in the rest of the state. This is a unique arrangement that one does not see elsewhere in the country, with Mumbai having a Congress committee that is separate from the state committee. The city Congress has almost inevitably been controlled by leaders such as Rajni Patel, Murli Deora and Kripashankar Singh, who had little support in the Marathi population. The powerful sugar barons who run the state government have been happy to look the other way as long as they could use Mumbai as a cash cow to buy support in the rural hinterland. Economic power also eluded the Marathi speakers of Mumbai. B.R. Ambedkar had pointed to a few brutal truths when the movement for a linguistic state had not yet won its battles. In one of his last books, Ambedkar contentiously claimed: “Bombay is a home only to the Maharashtrians and none else.” But he did not spare the Maharashtrians either, asking a series of tough questions with typical clarity. “Can Bombay be prosperous under Maharashtra? This in other words means: Can Maharashtra provide the capital necessary for the growing trade and industry of the city? No Maharashtrian can answer this question in the affirmative… What would be the effect on the standard of living of Maharashtrians living in Bombay if the city’s prosperity declines either by flight of capital or removal of business houses? The Maharashtrians must not forget, however it may hurt their pride, that they are a nation of clerks and coolies. What employment can they get in a declining city?” The disempowered “clerks and coolies” eventually gravitated towards the Shiv Sena, because Thack-

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Important changes in Mumbai these past two decades have directly affected the lives of supporters of the two Senas led by Raj and Uddhav Thackeray eray spoke on their behalf. The menacing violence is well known. But his party helped local boys get low-level jobs in companies. He urged them to learn English and stenography. Many of them set up minor businesses, most famously the vada-pao stalls that still dot the city. It was useful work as well as a failure of imagination, because it locked aspirations at a very low level. Much changed after that era. Thackeray himself realized the old strategy had its limits. He hitched his cart to the massive Hindu mobilization by the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the 1980s. The campaigning during the 1989 Lok Sabha elections was vicious, and Mumbai eventually burst into flames after the destruction of the Babri Masjid in December 1992. Thackeray openly boasted about the role of his boys in the violence that saw hundreds killed. Much has changed since those heated days. His son Uddhav, a mild person, has tried to make the Shiv Sena even more inclusive since he took charge of the organization. It was widely believed that there was no juice left in the old nativist strategy, till his estranged cousin Raj swept through the Marathi heartland of Mumbai using the old slogans aimed at the sons of the soil. The gambit worked. Even the old Shiv Sena bastions in central Mumbai, including the Dadar area where the Shiv Sena was born, fell to Raj. His Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has also made immense inroads into Pune and Nashik, at a time when the demographics of these two cities are also changing rapidly because of an inflow of people from other states. To understand why Raj has won over so many Maharashtrians, one has to once again examine their anxieties. The past 20 years have seen important changes in Mumbai that have directly affected the lives of those who are the natural support base of the two Senas. The Marathi

Bal Thackeray’s funeral in Mumbai on 18 November brought together several thousand people from across the state. Photo: Vijayanand Gupta

middle class has moved away from its clerical days to embrace new and more lucrative occupations. In the 1960s, Thackeray used to publish lists of the top employees in various companies, to show how Maharashtrians were hugely under-represented in the corporate sector; a similar exercise today would perhaps show a greater balance. The economic success of the Marathi middle class has, however, been accompanied by an understandable fear that its cultural space is shrinking. The Marathi language is in retreat, as Hindi and English have become more common in the city due to migration and globalization. Marathi schools are losing students. The past two seasons in Marathi theatre have been dominated by revivals of old classics, a wave of nostalgia that is often seen in embattled societies that seek solace in the past. The new wave of Marathi cinema acts as a useful counterpoint to this trend, however. Incidentally, it is interesting to note that the Marathi cultural world has been ambivalent towards Thackeray; compare its muted reaction to his death to the public displays of grief in Bollywood. When the annual literary conference was hosted at Shivaji Park in 1999, there was a war of words between the literary establishment and the Shiv Sena chief. The Marathi middle class has experienced a complicated two decades, with economic advancement and growing cultural disquiet. The working class has had a far tougher time. It suffered because of industrial decline that was hastened after nearly 250,000 workers were left without jobs following the textile strike led by

trade unionist Datta Samant around 30 years ago. Some of the younger generation has moved up in life, but the vast majority of the old workingclass families now scratch out a living in minor service-sector jobs, putting them in direct competition with poor immigrants from north India, just as the lower middle class found itself up against migrants from south India for clerical jobs in the 1960s. Meanwhile, the old working-class neighbourhoods in central Mumbai have been torn down and replaced with high-rises and malls. The economic transition in Mumbai was inevitable, and it is hard to believe that the old textile economy could have survived in the city. But neither the political parties nor the trade unions helped the working class in the transition, as lucrative land was redeveloped in a hurry. The alienation in the old working-class districts is palpable as jobless youth are ready to vent their anger on immigrants. New anxieties have replaced the old ones, with the fear of being swamped by immigrants being the common thread. It is something that Raj understands very well, with his Marathi mobilization up against north Indian mobilization by the Congress and Samajwadi Party. He has tried to reach out to Dalits and local Muslims as well, while his wooing of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi could win him brownie points with the large Gujarati community in Mumbai. The national parties refuse to even recognize these fault lines in Mumbai, once again creating space for the two Senas to become the only voice for hundreds of thousands of people in the city.

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December 28, 2012


December 28, 2012

Sri Meenakshi Temple Society 17130 McLean Road, Pearland, TX 77584

Invites you to celebrate a New Year on Tuesday, 01, 2013

New Year's Day

Start your New Year with the blessings of

Meenakshi, Sundareswara, Venkateswara & Padmavathi on

December 31, 2012 New Year’s Eve Midnight Aarathi

Tuesday January 01, 2013 – Program

Starting at 9:00 AM, Special Archanas will be performed every half-hour for all Deities at the Main Temple and every hour for Deities in all the Corner Sannidhis. Ganapathy Homam and Abhishekam for Prasanna Vinayagar at the Ganesh 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Temple Special Puja for Maha Ganapathi 10:00 AM Morning Raga by Saxophone – By Shaym Murali & Thavil-Bala Murali Laksharchana for Lord Venkateswara & Muthangi Seva for all Pradhana Murthis 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM followed by Deeparadhana & Pallaku Procession. Pallaku Procession & 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Special Puja for Goddesses Durga, Jyothi & Kanyaka Parameswari. Special Puja for Sri Subramanya, Navagraha, Sri Ayyappa, Sri SitaRama & Sri 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Radhakrishna. 9:00 PM Ardha Jama Pooja followed by Sayanalaya Pooja

Music and Dance Festival 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Cultural Program at Kalyana Mantapam

x Classical vocal and instrumental music x Classical dances x Folk and semi classical dances

Breakfast will be available at Temple Cafeteria between 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Food will be available from Local Indian Restaurants at the Food Booth from 10:00 AM – 8:00PM To volunteer for the New Year's Day, Please contact: Srikanth at or Padma Golla: or call the temple office at 281-489-0358 ext: 100, 101 INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

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IAN 122812 E- Newspaper