Indo-American News: June 7, 2024

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, June 7, 2024• June 7, 2024 1 Friday, June 7, 2024 • Vol. 43, No. 23 Indo American News READ US ONLINE at | Published weekly from Houston, Texas. USA 2470 Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77077 • 713.789.NEWS (6397 •
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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, June 7, 2024• 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 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 Friday, June 7, 2024 | Vol. 43, No. 23 $1 India’s General Election Defies Exit Polls, ‘Wins’ for Many Leaders, Parties Narendra Modi is expected to return as PM of a coalition administration. DAV Annual Day & Graduation Jute’s Revival ‘Mr & Mrs Mahi’ : Self Discovery Janhvi Kapoor shines as under-confident Mahima, who finds her identity and pursues her own dreams. PAGE 10 Trader Joe’s jute bags helps revival of jute industry in Bengal. PAGE 6 DAV School Celebrates Annual Day & Class of 2024 Graduation PAGE 5 Rahul Gandhi returned Congress to respactability with 99 seats. Telugu Desam Party’s Chandrababu Naidu and Janata Dal - United’s Nitish Kumar are in a position to dictate terms to the BJP to form an NDA coalition. PAGE 4

Modi Elected as NDA Leader, Ready to Lead Third Administration

New Delhi: Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance unanimously elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the bloc’s leader on June 5, passing a resolution to underscore the government’s commitment to serving the poor, women, youths, farmers and deprived sections of society.

They met at Modi’s residence in New Delhi a day after the NDA won a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha election, paving the way for him to take the oath for a third consecutive term, a first for any ruling

since 1962.

Telugu Desam Party leader N Chandrababu Naidu, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas leader Chirag Paswan and Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel were among those who attended the meeting.

The resolution said the NDA government will continue working to lift people’s living standards for the country’s all-round development while conserving its heritage.

“We are all proud that the NDA

fought the 2024 Lok Sabha polls unitedly under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and won. We all NDA leaders unanimously elect Narendra Modi as our leader,” it added. The resolution also said that people have seen the country being developed in every sector in the last 10 years due to the pro-people policies of the NDA government under Modi.

On Thursday, however, cracks may be starting to emerge already in Narendra Modi’s attempts to form a coalition government, with reports that the BJP’s minor allies

are making big demands regarding policy changes.

Modi is being forced to negotiate terms with alliance members after his BJP unexpectedly failed to win a majority in the country’s election.

Indian media are quoting sources as saying Modi plans to push back his inauguration for a third term as PM until Sunday while the talks continue.

The Janata Dal (United) has reportedly asked the BJP to modify its controversial Agniveer scheme – a flagship military recruitment

reform passed in 2022 that created short-term, US-style “tours of duty” for new soldiers. Nitish Kumar, leader of JD(U), is also expected to negotiate for key portfolios in Modi’s cabinet.

Another key ally, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by N Chandrababu Naidu, is likely to demand a new special status for his state Andhra Pradesh, a cabinet role for his son and more funds for Amravati city in his state.

Election Results for Lok Sabha: BJP 240, Congress 99, NDA 294

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India announced the Lok Sabha Election Results 2024 on Tuesday. The BJP emerged victorious on 240 out of 543 seats, while the Congress secured 99 seats. Despite the Lok Sabha having 543 members, counting was conducted for 542 seats following the uncontested election of BJP’s Surat candidate, Mukesh Dalal. Although the BJP fell short of the 272-majority mark, it will rely on National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies to form the government. The election results did not deliver the overwhelming victory anticipated by the BJP-led NDA or as indicated by the exit polls. However, the NDA won 293 seats, 21 seats above the minimum required to form the government. Yet, the results have shocked most pollsters and Modi supporters—and indeed, the country.

That’s because the BJP won only 240 seats this election, effectively losing the single-party majority Modi has enjoyed since he was first elected in 2014.

“Modi will have to act in a more consultative, deliberative, and inclusive manner,” says Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“This is anathema to the PM who, going back to his days as Gujarat chief minister, has never had to truly worry about coalition politics.”

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, holds significant sway in Indian elections with 80 parliamentary seats. In 2014 and

2019, the BJP won 71 and 62 seats respectively that helped fuel the party’s rise to power in Delhi. But 2024 looks very different. The BJP won just 33 seats, while its allies secured three seats. Most notably, it lost in the Faizabad constituency, where Modi inaugurated the Ram temple in Ayodhya earlier this year, seen as a centerpiece of the BJP’s campaign. The southern state of Kerala has long been seen as a bastion of the left, but the BJP finally made inroads after Suresh Gopi won by a margin of 74,686 votes in the Thrissur constituency and became the BJP’s first Lok Sabha parliamentarian from Kerala. Experts say this might reflect Islamapho-

bic elements among the Christian communities in Kerala, where Hindus make up 55% of the state’s population, while Muslims and Christians make up 27% and 18% respectively.

Indian women have become a formidable force in India’s voter turnout due to political knowledge, literacy, and media exposure. Traditionally, female voters were more inclined to vote for Congress, but in the last few elections, they have redirected their votes to the BJP. A pre-poll survey predicted that 46% of India’s 472 million women voters would opt for the BJP-led alliance in the election. The reason: Modi’s welfare schemes, which have focused on women’s wel-

fare—including cash handouts and domestic benefits like free cooking gas, piped water, and sanitation.

Amritpal Singh, a 31-year-old Sikh separatist leader who was arrested last year after a month-long police manhunt in the state of Punjab, was elected a lawmaker after defeating 26 other candidates. Singh rose to prominence calling for a separate Sikh homeland known as Khalistan. Sheikh Abdul Rashid, another jailed leader from Indianadministered Kashmir in the disputed Himalayan region, won a seat by more than 200,000 votes. The former state legislator was arrested by the Modi government on charges of “terror funding” and money laundering in 2019.

BJP supporters in Houston are expected to host a victory celebration on Friday evening at the Gujarati Samaj of Houston.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, AprIl June 7, 2024 • www.IndoAmerIcAn-news June 7, 2024 4 INDIA
BJP’s Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, J.P. Nadda were deputed to meet allies on the contours of the new NDA coalition government; TDP chief reportedly demands Central aid for Andhra Pradesh; swearing-in likely over the weekend. alliance


DAV School Celebrates Annual Day & Class of 2024 Graduation

houstoN: Students, parents, teachers, and volunteers of DAV Montessori & Elementary School (DAVMES), and members and well-wishers of Arya Samaj Greater Houston (ASGH) met to celebrate a year of learning. It was also time to celebrate the Class of 2024 (Grade 5 students, now moving to Middle School).

The graduating students along with their parents were the Yajmāns of the day, performing Havan under the guidance of Acharya Surya Nanda Ji, followed by a mosaic program blending spirituality and entertainment. Grade 2, 3 & 4 students enchanted the audience with the recitation of the mantras Shiva Sankalpa Sukta from the YajurVeda under the mentorship of Acharya Bramdeo Ji.

Students presented some of the aspects learnt at school, namely dance, yoga, bhajans and skits on the need to care for the environment, the achievements of ISRO and Chandrayan III.

The Class of 2024 enlivened the program imitating their teachers. In their farewell addresses, the graduating students expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the

teachers and admin personnel of the school as well as their parents. They all cherish the unique connect to the rich Indian cultural heritage, language and living values that would serve them a lifetime that DAVMES provided them. We wish them a bright future ahead.

Thanks to the members of Arya Samaj Greater Houston who laid the foundations (seed) of the DAV Montessori & Elementary School, which now stands as a tall tree with a beautiful crown and flowers.

A big bravo to all students and parents, teachers, and admin personnel for another year of excellence: Gold and other ribbons at the Rodeo Art competition, Great Champions at the Zane-Bloser National Handwriting Competition and the Hattrick at the PSIA State Championship.

After shanti pātha, all guests joined for prasad (lunch).

Now Enrolling for 2024-25 (PreK - Grade 5): https://www.

To visit school, email: director@

Address: 14375 Schiller Rd, Houston, TX 77082

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, June 7, 2024• June 7, 2024 5
DAV Graduating Class of 2024 with Principal Arti Khanna and Chief Guests Kiran and Ramesh Bhutada (center) DAV teachers and staff with Acharya Suryakumar Nanda and Acharya Bramdeo (center)

That Reusable Trader Joe’s Bag? It’s Rescuing an Indian Industry

NADIA, India — When shoppers in places like America take a woven reusable bag to the store, they aren’t just saving the planet. They are reviving a storied industry thousands of miles away in India.

Jute, a coarse fiber used to make fabrics like burlap, has been cultivated for centuries in the warm and humid climate of the Ganges Delta. Some of India’s jute factories have been in operation for more than a century, and today the country is the world’s largest producer.

But in recent decades, the industry has struggled as less expensive synthetic substitutes have flooded the market. Farmers turned to other crops, cheap labor moved elsewhere and mills deteriorated from lack of investment.

Now, though, what had been jute’s weakness is its potential strength. As much of the world seeks biodegradable alternatives to synthetic materials like plastics, Indian jute is making its way around the planet, from supermarkets in the United States to fashion houses in France to wine produc-

ers in Italy.

“Natural is fashion now,” said Raghavendra Gupta, a top official at the Indian Jute Mills Association, a trade body in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, which is home to 70 of the country’s 93 jute mills. “There is nothing more ecofriendly than jute.”

Much of the hope for a revival of India’s jute industry rests on bans

on single-use plastics that dozens of countries, including India, have enacted in recent years.

For years, the industry mostly produced burlap sacks to hold rice and other grains, supported by government mandates. Now it is pushing to branch out into decorative fabrics, floor coverings, curtains and — most significantly — reusable shopping bags.

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The global jute bag market is expected to grow from $2.3 billion in 2021 to $3.38 billion in 2026, Mr. Gupta said. Shopping bags accounted for a quarter of the roughly $400 million in jute products that India exported in 2021, and over the past five years, the country’s jute bag exports had more than tripled, Mr. Gupta said.

On a recent morning, hundreds of workers, heads down, stitched bags made of jute and cotton inside the Ballyfabs factory in the Howrah district of the eastern state of West Bengal. The company exports jute bags to over 50 countries on five continents. Its customers include Trader Joe’s and E.Leclerc, a French supermarket chain.

Mr. Agarwala said that after his company had invested in updated machinery and robotic printing, a worker who once made 100 bags a day could now make 500 to meet demand. After an expansion in May, the company now has the capacity to produce 75 million bags

per year.

Ballyfabs’s efforts are part of a modernization push by the industry and the Indian government. In recent years, the government has created several programs to help farmers improve production and companies purchase more modern machinery.

The United States is by far the largest export market for all Indian jute products, growing by 25.5 percent last year to almost $100 million.

“The bags are pulling this industry out of sleep,” said Varun Agarwala, the executive director of Ballyfabs International, a manufacturer in Kolkata. “They are called a bag for life: affordable, robust and environmentally friendly.”

Almost all of the world’s jute is produced in West Bengal and in Bangladesh. When the Indian subcontinent was divided by the British in 1947 and Bengal was split into two regions, the new borders separated jute factories in India from fields in what would become Bangladesh. -- NYT

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Monsoon to Reach Mumbai in 3-4 Days: IMD

MuMbai: The monsoon was expected to advance to Mumbai, remaining parts of Karnataka, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, some more parts of Maharashtra, southern parts of Chhattisgarh during next the three-four days, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Thursday. Monsoon normally arrives in Mumbai around June 10-11.

The progress of monsoon has been nearly normal even as areas yet to be covered are experiencing high temperatures and heat wave conditions, IMD said.

IMD director general M Mohapatra said once the monsoon northern limit reaches parts of central India next week, it would have covered half the country. “Areas covered by monsoon are unlikely to record heat wave conditions any further. The quantum of rainfall for June remains normal so far,” said Mohapatra.

Monsoon advanced into some more parts of central Arabian Sea, most parts of Karnataka, some more parts of Maharashtra, Telangana and Coastal Andhra Pradesh, most parts of Westcentral Bay of Bengal and some more parts of Northwest Bay of Bengal on Thursday.

The northern limit of monsoon was passing through Ratnagiri, Solapur, Medak, Bhadrachalam, Vizianagaram and Islampur. Conditions were favourable for further advance of mon-

soon into some more parts of central Arabian Sea, remaining parts of Karnataka and Coastal Andhra Pradesh, some more parts of Maharashtra (including Mumbai), Telangana, some parts of south Chhattisgarh and South Odisha, remaining parts of West-central and more parts of North-west Bay of Bengal during next threefour days.

Rainfall/thunderstorm was likely to continue in Northwest India until Friday. Heat wave conditions are likely in isolated pockets in parts of East India, Uttar Pradesh and North Madhya Pradesh during next five days.

On Wednesday, heat wave conditions prevailed in parts of Southern Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and in isolated pockets of Haryana, North Madhya Pradesh and East Rajasthan. Heat wave conditions have been prevailing in Haryana since May 17 and Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh since May 18.

On Wednesday, maximum temperatures were in the range of 43-46°C in parts of Haryana, Delhi and at isolated pockets of North Rajasthan, North-west Madhya Pradesh and Southern parts of Uttar Pradesh. These were above normal by 2-4°C. The highest maximum temperature of 46.2°C was recorded in Fatehpur (East Uttar Pradesh) on Wednesday. -- HT

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‘Mr. & Mrs. Mahi’: Sports Dreams & Self-discovery

Story: An average and failed cricketer coaches his talented wife to qualify for the national team. During this journey, the husbandwife duo learns about individuality, chasing dreams, and defeating insecurities.

Review: Sports dramas usually paint the same picture: athletes overcoming odds with their grit and pushing their limits to achieve glory. Director Sharan Sharma takes a refreshing detour in his romantic sports drama, exploring how self-doubt and insecurity can sabotage not only relationships but also dreams.

Sharma, alongside co-writer Nikhil Mehrotra, weaves this message through the story of a failed cricketer, Mahendra ‘Mahi’ Agarwal (Rajkummar Rao), and his doctor wife, Mahima ‘Mahi’ Agarwal (Janhvi Kapoor) — giving the movie its delightful title, which is also a nod to cricketer M S Dhoni. Mahendra, trapped working at his father’s (Kumud Mishra) sports shop, harbours a dream of cricketing glory. Mahima, meanwhile, navigates a demanding senior doctor who bullies and belittles her. Both find solace in their shared passion (cricket) and become each other’s support system.

When Mahendra’s comeback

attempt fails, he recognises his wife’s raw talent and becomes her coach, propelling her towards a professional career. However, grappling with insecurity and jealousy, he struggles to be the supportive pillar. The film hinges on whether they can overcome these differences and emerge stronger or return to their old lives.

The movie’s strength lies in its narrative, which builds on a unique premise. It effectively captures the awkwardness of a newly married couple, the training, the matches, and the rift in their relationship. However, the movie has pacing issues, especially in the second half when Mahendra’s internal conflict takes centre stage. Additionally, the super-supportive Mahendra reacting poorly to Mahima’s progress after just one instance feels rushed and unconvincing.

Rajkummar Rao delivers a nuanced portrayal as the suppressed son, the supportive husband, and a man desperately seeking his own validation. His frustration exploding on Mahima and his eventual understanding of true success are particularly impactful scenes. Janhvi Kapoor shines as the initially under-confident Mahima, who finds her identity and pursues her own dreams. Both actors lend authenticity to their characters’ journeys. Kumud Mishra, Zarina Wa-

hab, and Rajesh Kumar provide able support as well.

Mr & Mrs Mahi also celebrates the unsung heroes – the coaches, the spouses – who stand silently behind those who achieve glory. Ultimately, the film beautifully depicts the idea that true victory lies in finding fulfillment within yourself, not in the eyes of others. This tale with a heart is for everyone, and you will come out learning valuable lessons...-- TNN

Heeramandi Season 2

MuMbai: In a new interview with the international outlet Variety, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has confirmed renewing the perioddrama series for season 2. He said, “It takes a lot to make a series. This one has taken a lot. After Gangubai released in February 2022, from that to now every single day I have worked without a break. So, the responsibility is huge on the series.”

Confirming season 2, Sanjay said, “In Heeramandi 2, the women now come from Lahore to the film world. They leave Lahore after the Partition and most of them settle in the Mumbai film industry or Kolkata film industry. They still have to dance and sing, but this time for the producers and not for the nawabs. So that’s the second season we are planning, let’s see where it goes. -- IE

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