Indo-American News: March 1, 2024

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024• Indo American News 2470 Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77077 • 713.789.NEWS (6397) • Special Reports Community Briefs Local Politics South Asians in the News Published weekly from Houston, TX W E D D I N G S , S P E C I A L E V E N T S , T E N T E D E V E N T S , O U T D O O R C O U R T Y A R D 3 3 3 0 F M 1 4 6 3 | K a t y , T X 7 7 4 9 4 | 8 3 2 . 8 5 5 . 5 5 2 0 | p a l m r o y a l v i l l a . c o m Friday, March 1, 2024 | Vol. 43, No. 9 $1 INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL at Asia Society P 3 Students at EGMH P 9 DAV Celebration P 6 16th IFFH Board Members along with Indian Consul General D.C. Manjunath and the IFFH 2024 Award Winners.

Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya


Come, Celebrate and receive Lord Siva’s blessings

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrId rch 1, 2024 • www.IndoAmerIcAn-news March 1, 2024 2 COMMUNITY
Further information visit.
Mission Houston 10353 Synott Road Contact:
Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya

Captivating Provocative, Evocative Films at 16th Indian Film Festival

Houston: The Indian Film Festival of Houston has long been recognized for the excellence and variety of its selections. The 16th annual event, held once again at the Asia Society on Southmore St. in the Museum District, outdid itself this year. Chosen from 47 submissions, the shorts, documentaries, and feature films were unlike ones that are usually seen in local theaters. Each was unique, intelligent, and thought-provoking. Sutapa Ghosh, Founder and Director of IFFH, along with programmers who previewed each motion picture, selected the very best.

The documentary “Parama: A Journey” with Aparna Sen, about the beloved actress, filmmaker, and political activist, directed by Suman Ghosh, was shown on Friday, February 23. Also screened were the short film “Ghost Walk”, a humorous case of mistaken identity, and the feature film “It’s Time to Go”, inspired by a true story of an elderly couple who want life to have a happy ending—one of their choosing. Both films were directed by Ananth Madhadevan. While Ghosh was in the theater to do a Q&A for his film, Madhadevan appeared on the large screen via Zoom. The audience was very engaged and asked relevant questions that provoked interesting

answers. The films screened on Saturday, February 24, were the documentary “Colours of Life” directed by Praveen Morchhale; the short film “Naam”, directed by Sooraj Gunjal, about a single mother who changed her identity to get a job so she can provide for her and her son; and the feature film “Kabuliwala”, directed by Suman Ghosh. The film is based on the short story written by the late venerated author and poet Rabindranath Tagore concerns a middle-aged Afghan man, mistaken for a Pakistani, who comes

to India in order to send money home to take care of his young daughter. He meets a little girl the age of his daughter and loves her like his own. Some residents of the city misinterpret his actions and trouble ensues. Although the tale has been made into other films, this one left women and men in tears. Gunjal and Ghosh were eloquent in answering the questions proposed by the movie goers.

After a reception in the foyer, Indian Consul General D.C. Manjunath came to the auditorium stage and addressed the audience,

giving kudos to Sutapa Ghosh and IFFH board members. He was followed by Houston Councilwoman Carolyn Evans-Shabazz who presented the group a proclamation from Mayor John Whitmire announcing the Indian Film Festival of Houston Day.

Selecting the best picture in each category was challenging, as all were outstanding. The Best Short Film Award was presented for “Naam” to Sooraj Gunjal by Consul General Manjunath. Alfred Cervantes, President of IFFH, gave the Best Documentary Award to Suman Ghosh for

“Parama: A Journey with Aparna Sen”. This was the first time in IFFH history that a director was given a second award in the same year as Ghosh won again for his feature film “Kabuliwala”. Ending the ceremony, a Special Recognition Award was given to Amanth Mahadevan for “It’s Time To Go”. The foyer was beautifully decorated by Décor One for the event where attendees enjoyed Indian food provided by Verandah’s Taste of India while enjoying melodies played by the Moodafaruka, Music Beyond Borders group.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024• March 1, 2024 3 COMMUNITY
Left to right: from left, Atul Badwal, Jose Grinan, Sutapa Ghosh, Iqbal Khan (both Khan and Grinan were emcees for the Festival); Founder and Executive Director of IFFH, Sutapa Ghosh, Director Suman Ghosh and Ruchi Mukherjee from LCAHouston International Society News; from left: James Harris, Sutapa Ghosh, Iqbal Khan and Atul Badwal

Sinha Returns as VP Sales at American Completion Tools

Houston: As a veteran of the oilfield world where knowledge of drilling and transporting petrochemicals is crucial to a successful project, Tapan “TJ” Sinha has developed a strong reputation over the past 50 years in delivering the right technology when it is needed.

TJ has worked at several prominent firms and has even ventured out on his own for a few years. Now, he is returning as Vice President of Sales at American Completion Tools, where he had been able secure the Presidential Export Award from the US Department of Commerce during his previous stint with the firm.

TJ graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree, following up with an MBA from the Thunderbird, Global School of International Management at Arizona State University. TJ worked with Texas Instruments, World-

wide Oilfield Machine, American Block Manufacturing, American Completion Tools and the SARA Group in Conroe as a Vice President of its subsidiary American Flow Iron, before starting up Dartex Industries. At American Block Manufacturing, he built up sales worldwide which landed the firm the Jesse Jones award for export excellence.

American Completion Tools (part of the Parveen Group of India) is one of the oldest manufacturers of oilfield equipment. ACT now manufactures in Texas, Düsseldorf, Germany and India. Worldwide stock and sales is handled in their new building at 1255 Grand Plaza Drive in Houston, with stocking points in Dubai, Nisku, Jakarta. Some of ACT’s major clients include Weatherford, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger.

Prabhat Kumar, Director of ACT, has been a pioneer in the oil patch, monitoring marketing strat-

egy, new product development with a team of professionals, enhancing the sales of the company and increasing market share.

ACT has advanced numerically controlled machining centers located in Burleson, Texas (20 minutes south of Fort Worth) on Interstate 35W and can offer a wide range of products from cast iron bridges, cement retainers, service tools, gas lift, to flow iron products. ACT designs and manufactures completion, service tools

and flow control tools such as drillable Bridge Plugs, Frac Plugs, Cement Retainers.

American Completion Tools will display its full product linewhich includes flow line, completion, equipment and custom fabrication - at the 2024 OTC from May 6 through 9 at NRG Park.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024 • www.IndoAmerIcAn-news March 1, 2024 4 COMMUNITY low cost seniors ApArtment rentAl Meadows Place Seniors Village 936-777-0351 12221 S. Kirkwood Rd #100 Meadows Place, Texas 77477

Malabar Gold & Diamonds to Launch 10 New Showrooms; with 350 Global Stores by March End

Malabar Gold & Diamonds, the 6th largest jewelry retailer globally with an extensive retail presence of over 340 showrooms across 13 countries, has announced a massive expansion to their global operations. The jewelry giant is set to launch 10 world-class showrooms which will propel the brand’s global store count to 350 by March 2024.

The new showrooms in India will be launched at Latur, Satara & Nagpur in Maharashtra, Kolar & Whitefield in Karnataka, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Chandni Chowk in Delhi, Vanasthalipuram in Andhra Pradesh, Patiala in Punjab & in Puducherry. While 8 of the new showrooms will be opened in regions where Malabar Gold & Diamonds has already established a robust presence, the new showrooms in Rajasthan & Puducherry will be the brand’s first expansion into these states.

countries that we operate in. With every new store launch, we are inching closer to our goal of being crowned as the world’s no. 1 jewelry retailer”, commented M.P Ahammed, Chairman of Malabar Group.

“The great strides achieved by Malabar Gold & Diamonds globally is a matter of great joy not only for us within the organization, but for all jewelry lovers across the 13

With over 25 exclusive brands and collections that include Gold, Diamonds, Precious Gems, and Platinum jewelry—such as MINE Diamond jewelry, Era uncut diamond jewelry, Divine Indian heritage jewelry, Ethnix handcrafted antique jewelry, Precia precious

gem jewelry, and Viraaz royal polki jewelry, among others—the new showrooms will feature an extraordinary selection of designs. Special attention has been paid to the diverse tastes and preferences of Malabar Gold & Diamonds’ extensive customer base, ensuring a broad assortment of jewelry suitable for bridal, occasional, and everyday wear will be available to customers.

“Reaching a global store count of 350 marks a significant milestone in the growth trajectory of

Malabar Gold & Diamonds. Our influential presence across 13 countries had led to us being recently ranked 19th in the Global Powers of Luxury Goods report published by Deloitte.” commented KP Abdul Salam, ViceChairman of Malabar Group. “Malabar Gold & Diamonds currently operates 198 worldclass jewelry showrooms across all major cities in India. There is ample room for additional growth. This is particularly evident when considering the potential to of-

fer a transparent, sustainable and distinctive jewelry shopping experience nationwide”, commented Asher O, MD-India Operations.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds has always been at the forefront when it comes to generating employment opportunities. By nurturing a conducive and efficient workplace environment, the organization presently has a workforce comprising over 21,000 individuals from 26 different countries. In pursuit of expanding job prospects, the company is striving to increase its workforce to 100,000 within a span of 3 years.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds is renowned globally for offering responsibly and sustainable sourced jewellery with complete transparency and buying experience with convenience, and customerfriendly policies along with the ‘Malabar Promise’.

Malabar Promise includes a transparent price tag indicating stone weight, net weight and stone charge of the jewelry, assured lifetime maintenance from any of the showrooms across 13 countries, guaranteed buyback, certified diamonds ensuring 28-point quality check of global standards, 100% value on diamond and gold jewelry exchange,100% 916 hallmarked jewelry, responsible sourcing, fair price policy and fair labor practices.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024• March 1, 2024 5 COMMUNITY
A new showroom & M.P Ahammed, Chairman of Malabar Group.

DAV Celebrates 200th Birthday of Swami Dayanand Saraswati

Houston: On Sunday February 25, students, parents, teachers, and volunteers joined to mark the occasion, and pay tribute to the eminent social, religious, economic, and political reformer - Swami Dayanand, the founder of the Arya Samaj at its location on Schiller Road on the city’s far westside. The educational reforms served as forerunner to the DAV network of schools and colleges in India, inspiring the Indian Diaspora across the world to establish DAV schools.

The program started with yajnahavan followed by a composite program with skits, PowerPoint presentations by students, sandwiched by the chanting of mantras, shlokas and bhajans by younger ones.

The various activities during the month of February included class wise speech contests and class tests for grades 5-8 on a preset series of questions and answers as study material. Winners of the speech contests were called to showcase their talents during the program that covered his teachings that empower us to become better versions of ourselves.

AYM (grade 9-12) students teamed as groups to talk about Swami Dayanan’s four reforms, namely Women’s Emancipation

through Education; Varna, the competencies-based division of labor v the birth-based Caste system thrusted upon us by foreigners; why the need for a holistic education that emphasizes on both worldly and spiritual teachings; and the Principles of Arya Samaj for good social construct.

The program concept was by Acharya Bramdeo, resident priest at Arya Samaj Greater Houston, coordinating DAVSS educational programs and activities.

Winners and participants were recognized by Dev and Sushma Mahajan before the vote of thanks and shaanti patha, the closing prayers for universal peace.

Aome parents’ feedback:

“Teacher collaboration made it seamless. Everyone’s hard work was evident in the unfolding of a perfectly planned, executed and successful event”. - Shilpi S.

“A wonderful event. Kids performed with enthusiasm, confidence, and passion. It was a great platform for all, from the 4-year toddlers to the 15-16 years old teenagers to overcome the fear and anxiety of public speaking, more so talk about Sanatan Dharma, the rich Indian culture and the teachings of Swami Dayanand”.Nilam M.

For information on the Arya Samaj and its programs, contact

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024 • www.IndoAmerIcAn-news March 1, 2024 6 COMMUNITY # StopHateNow The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted 77 hate crime cases in the last 7 years. The most ever, by any District Attorney’s office in Texas. If you see or experience a hate crime, report it. HCDAO VICTIMS SERVICES (713) 274-0250 ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE (713) 627-3490 LGBT SWITCHBOARD 24-HOUR HELPLINE (713) 529-3211 THE MONTROSE CENTER (713) 529-0037

Southwestern National Bank Scholarship 2024 $1,000 Scholarship Awards

About The Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Program

Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Program is funded by Southwestern National Bank (Member FDIC) to recognize and assist outstanding high school graduates to reduce the financial burden for college. Southwestern National Bank Scholars are selected based on their financial need, academic achievement, and community involvement. Each year a total of $5,000.00 will be awarded to five selected scholars. Each scholar will be awarded $1,000.00.


1. Demonstrates financial need for college tuition, book & supplies, and expenses

2. U.S. high school graduating seniors

3. Has a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (un-weighted)

4. Will enroll in an accredited U.S. college full-time for the entire academic year 2024/2025

Documents Required (To be considered, all the following documents must be submitted)

1. A completed Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Application Form

2. An official high school transcript

3. Copies of the most recent document(s) demonstrating the financial need (Family’s 1040 Federal Income Tax Return Form, qualification for School Free/Reduced Lunch Program, etc.)

4. Two letters of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, and/or other advisors

5. A two-page typed essay stating why you should be awarded a scholarship. Please include:

• Financial need for this scholarship for educational purposes

• Personal and academic achievements. Give specific examples.

• Academic plans and career goals. Give specific examples.

• Past and current involvement, as well as future towards making a difference in your community

Application Process & Award Announcement

Please send your application package to Southwestern National Bank, Attention

1. Scholarship Program-Ling Chuang, 6901 Corporate Drive, Houston, Texas 77036. Applications and all supporting documents must be received by May 15, 2024, for

2. application to be considered.

3. An interview may be part of the application process for all semi-finalists.

4. Scholarships for the 2024 Scholarship program will be announced by mail in June 2024.

Please Contact Us

For scholarship application and information, please contact the Scholarship Coordinator by e-mail at

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024• March 1, 2024 7 COMMUNITY



Friday, March 8, 7pm - 8:30pm Program completed with Maha Shiv Aarti

Prasad will be served after the puja


Holi Dahan, Sunday, Mar 24, 7pm

Holi Celebration, Sunday, Mar 31, 11:30-1:30pm

Come prepared for a wet Holi

Mata di Chowki, Sat, April 13 Puja at 4:30pm; Bhajans 5:30pm till 8pm

Ram Charit Manas Recital, April 20 to 21

Puja starts April 20, 11:30am, ends April 21, 1pm

For general Information, call Ravi goel 281-235-5413, ; Ranjan Lashkari 281-798-8064, Ashima Patel 832-563-6689, Aruna goel 713-231-8925, Prem goel 281-300-8632

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024 • www.IndoAmerIcAn-news March 1, 2024 8 ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. Deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 212, Houston, Texas 77036.Tel:713-789-6397, email:, website: Indo American News Founder: dr. K.l. sindwani PuBlisHer: JawaHar MalHotra editor: PraMod KulKarni corresPondent: sancHali Basu
: The Hindus of Greater Houston expresses our heartfelt condolences to the family of Dr. G.S. Gopalakrishna, who passed away on February 7. This is a great loss to our Houston Hindu community. He was the founder member of Hindus of GreatCOMMUNITY
Wirtcrest Ln., Houston, TX 77055 • • Facebook: @hwstemple FOR PUJA INFORMATION, CALL PANDIT BHAWANI SHANKAR SHASTRI 832-278-0100

Gandhi Museum Hosts Students From The Principal Religious Educational Center

Houston: Stepping inside the museum on Saturday, February 24, 2024, the students were immediately immersed in a world of history and inspiration, surrounded by exhibits showcasing the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi alongside those of other influential figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai and others who dedicated their lives to promoting peace and justice.

The students were guided by museum docents and embarked on a journey through time, exploring photographs and interactive displays that illuminated the profound impact of Gandhi and other peace leaders on shaping the course of history. Engrossed in stories of nonviolent resistance and courageous activism, the students gained a deeper understanding of the power of nonviolence, compassion, empathy, and perse-

verance in the face of adversity.

The students left the museum inspired and enlightened with newfound knowledge and a renewed sense of purpose, eager to carry forward the legacy of peace and justice in their own lives and communities.

Principal Hassan Rajani shared their experience with us. “Our visit to the Eternal Gandhi Mu-

seum Houston was truly transformative. Walking through the exhibits filled with the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi sparked profound reflections on the principles of peace, nonviolence, and social justice. Our group found inspiration in Gandhi’s timeless messages, which resonated deeply with our own values of compassion and

empathy. Exploring the museum’s interactive displays and engaging with the knowledgeable staff facilitated meaningful discussions, fostering a greater understanding of Gandhi’s enduring legacy and its relevance in today’s world. We are grateful for the opportunity to have experienced such a thought-provoking and enlightening journey.”

As part of the museum experience, students were entertained by an uplifting performance from Express Children’s Theater. They also enjoyed demonstrations by Contemporary Handweav-

ers of Houston. Through the act of spinning the charka, students learned invaluable lessons in selfsufficiency, mindfulness, and interconnectedness. They gained a profound appreciation for the laborious yet meditative process of producing cloth—a process intimately tied to Gandhi’s philosophy of simplicity and selfreliance.

Through this tactile experience, students understood the importance of sustainable living and the interconnectedness of all beings, realizing that every action, no matter how small, has ripple effects on the world around them. The charka spinning experience instilled in them a sense of empowerment, reminding them that by embracing simplicity and mindful consumption, they can contribute to a more harmonious and equitable world.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024• March 1, 2024 9 COMMUNITY
Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024 • www.IndoAmerIcAn-news March 1, 2024 10 COMMUNITY


Disney’s $8.5 billion Reliance Merger is a Streaming Wars Win in India

MuMBai: Walt Disney and Indian conglomerate Reliance’s media merger will give back highly valuable cricket streaming rights to the U.S. firm in a country absolutely obsessed about the sport.

Disney announced Wednesday that the companies will be merging their respective Star India and Viacom18 units into a newly created Star India joint venture, valued at roughly $8.5 billion on a postmoney basis, excluding synergies.

The merger is expected to have more than 750 million viewers in the rapidly growing Indian market. Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, will control the venture and inject $1.4 billion into its growth strategy, while his wife, Nita Ambani, will become the chairperson.

Disney acquired Indian streaming service Hotstar and Star TV channels in 2019 and had exclusive streaming rights to cricket’s lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), which it had turned into a paid service by 2020. The IPL is one of the world’s top cricket leagues, attracting first-class players from every corner of the globe.

But Ambani won the IPL rights off Disney in 2022 for $2.6 billion and made the service free on its own streaming platform, Jio Cinema, which resulted in Indian customers fleeing Disney’s platform.

Disney lost 4.6 million customers for its streaming service, Disney+ Hotstar, in India during the first three months of last year.

But things could soon be turning around for Disney’s streaming efforts in India after the merger, which is key for the company to regain lost customers in the world’s most populous country.

“Disney has been trying to regain its footing in India ever since it lost the streaming rights to Indian Premier League cricket matches in 2022,” said Jamie Lumley, senior analyst at Third Bridge.

Lumley says by forming a joint venture with Reliance, which is one of the most influential names in the Indian market, Disney could share the burden of content and operational expenses while mitigating competitive pressure.

“This move signals that Disney still sees opportunity in this market, a change from earlier indicators that the company may look to exit India altogether through a sale,” he said.

Disney in a separate filing said it expects to record non-cash pretax impairment charges between $1.8 billion and $2.4 billion in the current quarter, about half of which will be due a write-down of the net assets of Star India.

“But I think the bigger picture here is what’s happening with streaming,” Jason Ware, chief investment officer of Albion Financial Group, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”

“I think I said six months ago that they’re [Disney] going to see profitability in streaming by the end of 2024. It looks like that is very much on track, and might actually have in the third quarter, we’ll see.”

Disney has been struggling with subscriber losses in India over the course of last year and had announced a recent overhaul along with a $5.5 billion cost-cutting program that will result in a 7,000 reduction in employees globally.

Now with the merger, Disney is aiming to regain subscribers in the coveted Indian market and keep its bottom line intact.

Ken Leon, research director at CFRA Research, told CNBC the JV will not hurt Disney’s earnings, noting that the merger was a “win-win for all parties.”

“Cricket is everything in India ... I think [CEO] Bob Iger made the right decisions here,” Leon added.

Credit: CNBC

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 1, 2024• March 1, 2024 11 Solution Next Week Send us the correct answer before February 19, 2024. Email us at Please send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published. Place a number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. Last Week’s Solution Recent Winners Kumud Athavale, Krishna R. Vuddagiri, Sanchali Basu, Prabha Barvalia, Ramana Vadrevu, Yudhveer Bagga, Taranjit Singh, Sai Lakshmi Subramanian, Sahiti Palle, Arup Gupta, Prabha Narumanchi, Sharmila Moharir, Noopur Shah
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