E-Newspaper 02012019

Page 1

Friday, February 01, 2019 | Vol. 38, No. 03

Indo American erican News


India Dominant vs. Kiwis It was more of the delightful domination from India’s bowlers to reduce the hosts to 59 for 3; Ross Taylor and Tom Latham then added 119 for the fourth wicket but when it came to cashing in, India were too good once again, keeping the pressure up in the field and then breaking through with wickets for the returning Hardik Pandya and the rampant Mohammed Shami.

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Hardik Pandya urges the captain to review a decision.

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Houstonians Celebrate India’s 70th Republic Day

Republic Day celebrations took place throughout the region, begining with the unfurling of the Indian tricolor at the Consulate General of India. The venue shifted later to India House where the celebrations included a group dance by the After School Care children, displaying unity in diversity. In the evening, CG Dr. Anupam Ray hosted an invited group of IndoAmericans to another celebration. We also report on Republic Day celebrations in DFW at the Gandhi Memorial in Irving. Attendees gather for a group photo beneath the unfurled flags at India House.

Manikarnika Storms Indian Box Office

P6 ICC’s Sunny R-Day Festival P5

Jhansi Ki Rani was unable to beat the British imperial armies, but the Kangana Ranaut movie certainly took the Indian box office by storm. The movie has crossed its first benchmark– the Rs. 50 crore mark after five days at the box office. The film had a fabulous opening weekend.


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vipin@indiahouseinc.org | 713-929-1900 | www.indiahouseinc.org/gala2019 INDO-AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

February 01, 2019

Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 1, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com



February 01, 2019


Consulate Balcony to Red Fort Ramparts, the Indian Tricolor Unfurls By Jawahar Malhotra


OUSTON: For pomp and pageantry that highlights the diverse cultures of India and its military might, nothing compares to the massive parade that makes its way down Rajpath to India Gate in New Delhi on Republic Day. And as the address from Indian President Ram Nath Kovind was read out this past Saturday, it evoked past memories of many such mornings spent shivering in the New Delhi early morning chill standing on the bleachers that lined the broad avenue, intently taking in the patriotic sentiments in the message and waiting impatiently for the parade to begin. The festivities conclude in the evening with a Beating the Retreat program featuring soldiers on horseback. This past Saturday morning, January 26, at 7:30, in the chill on the rear balcony of the Indian Consulate on Scotland Street off Memorial Drive, the Consul General Anupam Ray unfurled the Indian tricolors as the people assembled below listened to the Indian national anthem sung by Rajarajeshwary Bhat and disciples. They made their way up the staircase to the large hall, which has become a place of many gatherings ever since Ray conceived use of the vacant space, and sat in rows or stood in the back, perhaps 150 people who made

the effort to rise early on a Saturday morning for the event. Ray read the President’s address which linked the 70th Republic Day celebration year with the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi and reaffirmed allegiance to principles of conduct. His address concluded with “ ‘We, the People ...’ gave ourselves this Constitution and ‘We, the People ...’are the custodians and upholders of its principles.” Guests of honor included Congressman Pete Olson, who narrowly won re-election this past November and gave best wishes for the celebration. The other guest was newly elected Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George, the first Indian-American or Asian to

Clockwise from top left: Members of the informal Friends of India group gave rousing patriotic chants outside the Indian Consulate on Scotland Street; the Indian tricolors were unfurled at the back balcony and stair entrance to the Consulate; newly elected Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George presented an award of recognition to Consul General Anupam Ray

Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

hold that position, who presented Ray which an award for his dedicated support of the Indian community. Light refreshments were served later in the Consular Hall. Even as the activities were going on inside, a die-hard group of locals called the Friends of India, stood outside on the street side from early morning, chanting patriotic slogans with a megaphone and waving Indian flags, both large and small, at people and cars going by. Later that evening, Consul General Ray and his staff held a reception for invited members of the Indian community at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Greenway Plaza, with food prepared by Udipi Café whose owner Chef Satish Rao was on hand to look over the details.


February 01, 2019


Sunny Day Brings Out Many to Celebrate India’s Republic Day By Jawahar Malhotra


TAFFORD: Blessed with warm temperatures and sunny skies, a stream of people came through the Stafford Civic Centre all afternoon long, till the late evening to participate in the first large community-wide event of the year, India’s Republic Day celebration. One of its two flagship events, the India Culture Center once again held the celebration of the 70th Republic Day with a now familiar setup of booths and stage shows, making it cozy for the regulars who attend and easier on the vendors who go through their often practised paces. The organizers were likewise heartened by the turnout and especially that people lingered on till the end of the cultural programs which started after 5:30. “Success is sweet, but it’s sweeter when its achieved thorough co-ordination, cooperation, collaboration and teamwork,” said ICC President Nisha Mirani afterwards in thanking her Board and volunteers, and especially the 13 year-old Eesha Dhairyawan who assisted her throughout the day. The doors opened at 2pm and right after the initial welcome remarks dived into the Mom & Me talent contest organized by Jasmeeta Singh who has often pulled together such shows for the ICC programs. The entries were six teams of moms and their young children performing dances, songs, musical instruments and other routines; all much appreciated by the audience. Santosh Varma and Ajit Patel (he was dressed in a 70s style retro outfit) had organized an ICC Idol 2019 contest that projected many talented individuals and groups on stage. Other segments featured performers like the much-followed popular Mukhti Band of senior citizens who

sat onstage and sang several songs while playing hand cymbals and other instruments. Charlie Patel, Pramod Bengani and Ajit Patel organized the over 36 booth of vendors lined up in the back of the hall and the front lobby area. Particularly impressive were the large stalls of Unique Arts, a framed pictures vendor, andArchie’s Creations, an artificial jewelry

Scenes from the ICC Republic Day celebration. ICC President Nisha Mirani is at right.

vendor, both of Atlanta, who had setup enormous booths of wares. Two food booths – Tony’s Kitchen and Hot Breads – provided ready-made food for sale. Dr. Raj Bhalla organized the Community Award Segment, which was held after the formal segment of

the national anthems and speeches by ICC, community leaders and local elected officials including Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella, the Indian Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana, Stafford Councilman Ken Mathew, recently elected officials Julie Mathew and Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George. Alice Chen, who is running for Stafford City Council Position 1 in the upcoming May 4 elections, made her rounds among the crowd. Also attending were the Fort

Bend County Constable Pct 4 Trever Nehls and his twin brother Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls. Rajiv Bhavsar and Dr. Falguni Gandhi coordinated the VIP seating and the ICC booth was handled by Hemant Patel, Dr. Sarita Mehta and Swapan Dhariyawan. Darshak and Mona Thakkar of Krishna Sound provide the sound system, Raghu Thakkar of Image n Motions the photography and Asit Patel did additional photo and videography.

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February 01, 2019

India House R-Day Celebration Displays Unity in Diversity

India House Trustee Dr. Virender Mathur read out Indian President Kovind’s Republic Day address (left) and children in the After-School Care program display US and India flag with Executive Director Col. Vipin Kumar (retired).

By Dr. Sarita Mehta Houston: India House Houston celebrated India’s 70th Republic Day with great éclat on Saturday, January 26, 2019, The event began with the unfurling of the US flag, tricolor flag of India, and flag of Texas flying adjacent to the flag of India House by India House Trustees Dr.Virender Mathur, Dr. Durga Das Aggarwal and President Jugal Malani following which the US national anthem and the Indian national anthem were sung. In a brief address to the gathering, Malani paid a glowing tribute

to India’s ancient civilization and traditions, declared that India’s philosophy, was not an ideology, but the inclusive philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, or world family, and this has guided us since Vedic times. Malani lauded the pivotal role played by the Indian diaspora in the US to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries. He also talked of the Indian-American community as a “strong pillar” of that special relationship. Dr. Virendra Mathur congratulated all and said, ‘Though every day is special but this year is extra

special as India will commence a two-year-long celebration to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahamata Gandhi, and it will be a joy to be share with whole world.” Mr. Mathur also read out the Republic Day address of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind. President Kovind called upon all voters for vote” He also called on a commitment to collective goals and hopes, which, according to him, is only a milestone in the journey towards fulfilling people’s aspirations and building a developed India.” “This is a critical and formative

period when we need to take very wise steps, decisions and actions of today will shape the India of the remainder of the 21st century. As such, this is not just a once-in-ageneration moment – it is a oncein-a-century moment,” Kovind said in his address to the nation. India House Executive Director Col. Vipin Kumar (retired) described the various activities of India house. The event included cultural performances including Kathak dance by Datta Subharao, Director of Bharat Natya Dance Acadamy. A group dance was performed by India House after-

school care kids under the guidance of Deepti Patel, Nikki and Liz in which the kids of diverse backgrounds danced to the beat of patriotic songs, carrying Indian and US flags, and conveyed the message of unity in diversity. The patriotic song “Ai mere watan ke logon” was sung in a melodious voice by Serene Kaggal, which filled everyone with patriotism.. The celebration concluded with the singing of the national anthems. The public dispersed after delicious snacks courtesy of Alings, with the image of the fluttering tricolor in their mind and heart.

Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com


February 01, 2019

Shami, Pandya Take Dominant India to 3-0 Lead vs Kiwis By Sidharth Monga Mount Maunganui (ESPN Crickinfo): India 245 for 3 (Rohit 62, Kohli 60, Boult 2-40) beat New Zealand 243 (Taylor 93, Latham 51, Shami 3-41, Pandya 2-45) by 7 wickets. For the first time in the series, New Zealand managed to dig in for long enough through their first century stand of this one-sided contest to be able to think of transferring the pressure back on India. The visitors, however, smothered that uprising to seal an emphatic 3-0 series win against a fullstrength New Zealand, who have the best win-loss ratio at home since the last World Cup. It was more of the delightful domination from India’s bowlers to reduce the hosts to 59 for 3; Ross Taylor and Tom Latham then added 119 for the fourth wicket but when it came to cashing in, India were too good once again, keeping the pressure up in the field and then breaking through with wickets for the returning Hardik Pandya and the rampant Mohammed Shami. New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for 65 runs to end up with just 243, which proved to be below par by about 25. The slow nature of the pitch meant you could trouble batsmen if you banged the hard length. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had to take a few unusual risks to make sure the bowlers didn’t settle into a rhythm and their fifties did enough to make sure the middle order was not stretched. Through the series, New Zealand have been grappling with questions rarely asked in batdominated ODI cricket these days. Once again the top order didn’t have answers. Colin Munro, after a brief attempt at curbing his natural game in the second ODI, threw his hands at everything; two balls after being dropped, he edged Shami to first slip again. Martin Guptill did much the same, and once again New Zealand had failed to deny the two new balls a wicket each. Once again, Yuzvendra Chahal was introduced with new batsmen under pressure, once again he delivered with an early wicket. The early wicket for Chahal this

MS Dhoni launches one over long-on during a spectacular chase.

Hardik Pandya urges the captain to review a decision.

time also announced the return of Pandya, who took a spectacular flying catch at short midwicket to send back Kane Williamson. Taylor and Latham then had to be at their best to make sure they didn’t lose the series then and there. Taylor was understandably slow to begin with, but Latham brought industriousness with his manipulation of spin. He was better at the sweep this time than in the previous game, and both gradually began to increase the scoring rate. With Pandya back, India didn’t have to rely on Kedar Jadhav early - he had bowled ahead of Kuldeep Yadav in the two previous games and by the time Jadhav came on to bowl his three overs this time, New Zealand were in a better position to attack him. New Zealand were 113 for 3 in 27 overs when Jadhav came on. In the next 10, New Zealand scored 63 without taking too many risks. Taylor had gone from 15 off 40 to 71 off 90. Latham was one short of a fifty. They had taken 85 off the wristspinners’ 16 overs for just the one wicket. This was the ideal scenario now; they were hoping for at least 100 off the last 13, and if things went well, even a score of 290 could not be ruled out. Latham then tried to take six off Chahal over deep midwicket but under-hit the ball. A moment of

indiscretion had put New Zealand right back under pressure. Pandya now jumped in. He had bowled seven overs for 26 runs until then, and with the catch earlier this was already a satisfactory return to action. The real blows came now. A slower bouncer handcuffed Henry Nicholls, and Mitchell Santner edged another slower ball outside off. Just like that New Zealand were 198 for 6 with everything now relying on Taylor. Taylor threatened to switch gears in the company of Doug Bracewell, who scored a fifty in the last match, but Shami was quick to quell this mini resurgence. He stopped the partnership at 24, once again hitting the in-between length to catch Taylor playing the cut to a ball not short enough. The rest folded swiftly with New Zealand failing to bat out their 50 overs in all three innings this series. It wasn’t as straightforward a chase as the eventual seven-over margin suggests. Shikhar Dhawan’s flying cameo of 28 off 27 at the top of the chase helped. Just as the slow pitch began to play its trick, Rohit and Kohli had the luxury of taking their time to get themselves in. Both of them had to take risks to eliminate the threat of Santner. In Santner’s second over, just after having been beaten on the outside edge, Rohit stepped

out and launched him over longoff for a six. He had been 24 off 40 before that. In the 20th over, even Kohli played across the line and against the turn. He had been 19 off 35, and this was the only boundary since that Rohit six six overs ago. The two batsmen, arguably already all-time greats in the format, knew this was the key contest, and they not only needed to deny Santner but also needed to not let him build too much pressure on them. Immediately after that, Kohli got stuck into Ish Sodhi, and the game had been broken open. By the time Rohit tried to hit Santner off his length again, to be out stumped for only the second time in this format, India had seen off Lockie Ferguson’s short-ball attack and needed just 92 in 127 balls. A slower ball from Boult resulted in a rare Kohli dismissal between 50 and 100 but India were well on their way. Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu saw India through to the win, which sealed the most comprehensive home series defeat for New Zealand in six years. James Neesham and Todd Astle have been brought back into the New Zealand fold, and will be available for selection for the fourth and fifth games in Hamilton (January 31) and Wellington (February 3).



Saina Claims Indonesia Title after Marin Injury Jakarta: World number nine Saina Nehwal was crowned the women’s singles champion at the Indonesia Masters Super 500 tournament on Sunday after Carolina Marin pulled out of the much-anticipated final with an injury midway during the first game. Carolina Marin, the reigning Olympic and world champion, started the match on a high as she seized the early initiative at the Istora with her pace and power. Saina Nehwal was seemingly clueless as the Spaniard race to a 8-2 lead. However, in a heartbreaking moment, Marin winced in pain after landing awkwardly while attempting a smash. She fell on the ground and was in tears unable to bear the pain. A spirited Marin tried to carry on and even won a point after the injury, which proved decisive in the end. With her eyes welling up in disappointment and frustration, Marin finally decided to withdraw from the match when she was leading 10-4. “It is important year for all of us. This was not good at all. She is a tough competitor, she started off well and it is unfortunate what happened today,” said Saina, who last won a BWF title in 2017 in Malaysia. It is a creditable performance for the Indian, who had suffered a shin injury late last year. “I just came out of injury. I played this events to see how good is this. and I’m happy I could play the semifinals at Malaysia and final here. Looking forward to get back to shape and play next tournament,” she said. “I have been getting injured in the last few years. I always try to come back stronger. I want to thank physios and coaches who are supporting me a lot.”

Saina Nehwal claimed the Indonesian Masters crown after Carolina Marin suffered an injury.

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February 01, 2019


American Telugu Association Elects Parmesh Bheemreddy as President

Parmesh Bheemreddy (right) recives the gavel as new president of the American Telugu Association.

Chicago: ATA, American Telugu Association, a 28 year old Telugu Organization serving the interests of ever burgeoning Telugu Community in USA elected Parmesh Bheemreddy as its new President. Mr. Bheemreddy was sworn in as the President on January 19th at the board meeting held in Lasvegas. Born in Pothireddypadu village of Nagarkurnool district of Telangana Mr. Bheemreddy came to US on a student visa to pursue higher education in Computer Science. Being a software professional himself, established a firm and helped many students and professional from India to settle down in US. Married to a cardiologist Sarita, Bheemreddy is a well-known Community Volunteer, co-founder of Palamuru NRI forum and conducted various charity activities across the district. An avid community activist, Mr. Bheemreddy has been an integral part of ATA since Inception and served in various positions like Secretary for the 12th Convention and as a Convener for the Philadelphia Conference in 2014. ATA board was sworn in on the occasion as well, raising the Board of Trustees count from 27 to 31. Mr. Bhuvanesh Boojala from DC Metropolitan area was elect-

ed unanimously as the President Elect. ATA elected Venu Sankineni as Secretary, Sharath Vemula as Joint Secretary, Ravi Patlola as Treasurer and Arvind Muppidi as Joint Treasurer. ATA Advisory Chair Hanmanth Reddy garu congratulated the new board and wished them luck in its future endeavors. Presiding over the board meeting, the new president not only vowed to preserve and strengthen the Telugu community across North America but also promised to further promote the literary, cultural, social, educational and rich cultural values of the community strictly abiding by the constitution of ATA. Unveiling his vision, Mr. Bheemreddy quoted that ATA under his leadership will include focus areas like immigration, SAT Training, exchange student onboarding procedures, Medical and Dental camps for Senior Citizens and Visitors, Matrimonial and Emergency Services. Mr. Bheemreddy was ecstatic to announce that the new ATA Foundation Scholarship program will award 10 scholarships to meritorious students of economically backward classes of $1000 each. Mr. Bheemreddy thanked the outgoing President Karunakar Asireddy, EC and board for its outstanding contribution to ATA and expanding the organization to new areas like Nashville and Boston areas.

Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com



February 01, 2019

Glorious Pongal Celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple

Dignitaries pose in front of Pogal celebrations. A few of the participants begin preparation of the Pongal prasadam over a wood fire. Photos: Srini Sundarrajan

By Bhargavi Golla Despite cold weather, there was an overwhelming participation of enthusiastic devotees in outdoor Pongal celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple on January 19 th , 2019. Pongal is a popular harvest festival of south India that marks the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere. It’s celebrated to reaffirm and appreciate the many significant sacrifices of our ancestors, quite like Thanksgiving in America. Pongal is the only festival of Hindus that follows a solar calendar.

More than 100 families, several out of town, came to prepare pongal in the Raja veedhi, which is in front of the main temple. Silpi Ramanathan made a look alike bullock cart, and a cut out of the cow, adding a nice touch to the ambience of the whole place. Gho Pooja for the first time offered at Pongal event was very well received by devotees. Gho Puja is done to honor the Mother of the Universe. The cow represents a symbol of all Gods unified in one form. Though the day started out cold, Surya Bhagavan (Sun God) graced

us with his bright presence during pongal preparation. The temperature soon warmed up to the cozy heat from all the wood burning stoves and so did the tempo with traditional pongal music. Pongal was cooked in beautifully decorated brass pots on stove made with clay and wood used as fuel. Rice and milk are boiled in a pot till the pot starts overflowing. The overflowing pot symbolizes fulfillment.

When milk started to boil over, everyone shouted out, “Pongalo pongal!” The ambience was very similar to what you would see in the villages of South India. The festive atmosphere was enhanced with a group of energetic ladies performed Kummi, a popular South Indian dance where the rhythm and beat were maintained with clapping since instruments T:6” were not present in these folk dominant regions of India.

Priests offered the delicious Pongal prasadam to all four deities inside the main Temple: Siva, Meenakshi, Venkateswara and Padmavathi with a special aarthi. Chairman Dr. Padmini thanked silpis for the hard work in setting up the stoves and beautiful decorations, which was a visual treat. She also thanked priests, staff, board members, advisory council and volunteers for making this event successful.

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February 01, 2019 Joint Session by IACCGH and Aga Khan Economic Planning Board

Canadian Opportunities and Requirements for Permanent Residency Houston: On December 15, 2018 The Aga Khan Economic Planning Board and Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston hosted a session on the financial growth opportunities in Canada and it’s immigration process. The event was led by a team of attorneys presented a seminar to discuss if moving to Canada is the right decision. The event included a general seminar for the audience that included information on the logistics of the Canadian immigration process. After the general seminar, the team of attorneys consulted with each attendee one-on-one to provide advice specialized to each attendee’s needs. The keynote was delivered by emminent Houston based immigration attorney Charles Foster who was joined by Canadian attorneys Benjamin Kranc and Gurpreet Kaur Patheja. To quote Charles Foster “With fewer viable U.S. immigration options for LPR status given the limited number of H-1B visa numbers and backlogs of ten years plus for Indian nationals under employment-based preferences, Canada may be a viable option, through employment, family and under the merit point system. On behalf

ning Board a way to reach out to a larger cross section of the community” said IACCGH President Swapan Dhairyawan. The audience was reminded that the USA was always our first choice but for some Canada may be a better option than moving back to their homeland. The Chamber invites readers to visit www.iaccgh.com to learn about upcoming events.

New Policy for Rural, and Northern Region

Speakers and dignitaries gathered on stage for a group photo. Photos by Paresh Shah.

of Foster LLP, Charles Foster said that the EB-5 Investor Program was still a viable and safe U.S. option for those few who could make a de facto $500,000.00 loan.” According to Gurpreet Kaur Patheja J.D, Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public “While the United States becomes more restrictive with its immigration policies, Canada is targeting to increase the quotas of permanent residents they will be accepting in both economic and family sponsorship over the next few years. From temporary

residence as a student or worker in Canada to permanent residence options under the Federal and Provincial Programs, Canada offers a wide range of immigration pathways for skilled and semi skilled individuals.” At Patheja Law we work with our client’s to identify the best solution to their specific immigration requirements she said . “IACCGH is proud to continue its support of community wide events and has found partnering with Aga Khan Economic Plan-

Barrister Gurpree Kaur was one of the speakers at the session.

Ottawa: The Government of Canada has unveiled a new fiveyear economic immigration pilot that will help rural and northern communities in Ontario, Western Canada and Canada’s three territories attract and retain skilled foreign workers. The Rural and Northern Pilot builds on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program launched in 2017 and will facilitate permanent residence for foreign workers of various skill levels. IRCC says eligible communities can be either a city with a population of 50,000 or less located at least 75 kmfrom the core of a metropolitan area of 100,000 or more, or a city of up to 200,000 people that qualifies as remote.

Gujarat MOU with SAYI & Vidya Dham

From left, Pradip Parekh, Dr. Sarita Mehta, Dr. Falguni Gandhi and Dr. Bharat Gandhi

By Jawahar Malhotra


OUSTON: For pomp and pageantry that highlights the diverse cuIn the recent Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2019, inaugurated by Prime Minister of India Narinder Modi, two Texas based non-profit organizations have signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Government of Gujarat for imparting knowledge and service in the field of Sanskrit, Hindi Ayurveda and Yoga. Though the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2019 is meant for business and investment; realizing the power of knowledge and worldwide acceptance and growing popularity of Sanskrit, Ayurveda, Yoga and Hindi, the Government of Gujarat welcomed SAY International and Vidya Dham USA- both Houston based non-

profit organizations - to sign MOUs for the exchange of knowledge. It is a matter of pride for Texas and especially for Houstonians that such a knowledge-based MOU has been signed with an Indian State Government. Dr. Falguni Gandhi of SAY International and Dr. Sarita Mehta of Vidya Dham USA are promising women worthy of accolades because of their selfless service to the Indian community in Houston. Pradip Parekh, a government official of India who was instrumental in turning the dreams of these two promising ladies into reality, recently visited Houston last week and the three parties signed the formal MOU which carries some support from the State of Gujarat. Now the big task ahead for these NGOs to chalk out programs in their fields to serve to the people of Texas and USA as well.

Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com


February 01, 2019

Renu Gupta Receives “Nari Udhyani” Award


Pradeep Sulhan, P.C.

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Renu Gupta, second from right, receives the award from Tara Gandhi, grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, seated, and Baby Rani Maurya, Governor of Uttarkhand, third from right.

By Manu Shah Varanasi: On January 23, Renu Gupta received the She The Change - Nari Udhyami Sanman 2019 for her lifelong efforts in bringing about a positive change in the lives of people in India and the US. The award, conferred by the Beti & Shiksha Foundation in Varanasi, India was presented by Tara Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and Baby Rani Maurya, Governor of Uttarkhand. While happy at the honor, Renu downplays her achievements and says there are many people who are doing as much work as she is and she just “happened to be lucky” that she was recognized. This is typical of the friendly no nonsense awardee who doesn’t believe in doing “anything that doesn’t make sense to her,” but will do whatever it takes to help someone in need. Renu, 61, spent her growing years in Rajasthan where she completed her studies in Sanskrit and English. Marriage to Dr. Arun Gupta, a scientist, brought her to the US where she plunged into a job, studies and community activities. She credits two strong influences in her life. Her maternal grandmother who instilled the values of Hindu dharma and her paternal grandfather from whom she absorbed the spirit of selfless service. The appeal of Hindu Dharma, observes Renu, is its “universality, logic and its step by step direction for self-realization.” She is “very comfortable being a Hindu in the US” and accepts other religious traditions with the same openness. A member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad America for the last 36

years and now serving as VP of Seva in VHPA, Renu spearheaded a group of 15 likeminded women for “Seva, Shakti and Sadhana.” All activities are geared towards this mission such as organizing spiritual retreats, workshops and serving the community. In 2008, she received a call from a Catholic Service coordinator who asked for help in rehabilitating 50 refugee Bhutanese and Nepali families. Over the course of 10 years, the VHPA group worked with the refugees to set up their homes, taught them to clean houses and drive so they could find employment, file taxes and helped their children enroll in school. Five years ago she took up the “Support A Child” project – a VHPA initiative that was languishing for want of attention. The initiative raises funds for the education and boarding of under privileged children in India and her efforts helped the support grow from 700 children to 2500 children. Renu makes it a point to visit the Ekal schools and the SAC hostels every year to supervise its operations personally. Plans for the future include increasing the number of children in the program from 2500 to 5000. One of the original volunteers of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, Renu was elected as the first woman to become the chairperson of the Board. Renu’s husband Dr. Arun Gupta, is equally engaged in Ekal and serves as a Board Director. Renu also spends time teaching Hindi and Hindu culture to children in Cincinnati, Ohio where she is based. Role models, for our children, she inserts, must be characters like Mirabai, Shivaji, Maharana Pratap and Laxmi Bai.

Playing on the word “Hindi medium” she enjoins Indian American parents to “raise their children through the Hindu medium and teach them values of Hindu dharma.” Growing up, Renu was often buried in books thanks to a friend’s father who owned a bookstore. Writing came naturally and she has several books to her credit. Her experiences and observations in America served as fodder for her books. Close to her heart is “Mrityorma Ma Amritam Gamay” and deals with a friend’s battle with cancer while her latest book “Sansari Sanyasi” is a biography of Hanuman Prasad Poddar, a saintly personality who played a key role in her spiritual journey. Renu, along with her husband and son is also actively engaged in running the dozen franchisees of Great Clips – the hair salon chain they own.

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Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 1, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com



February 01, 2019

Makar Sankranti and Lohri Celebrated with Zest at Arya Samaj

Senior volunter Shekhar Agrawal (left photo) ignites the traditional fire. Folk dance was performed by the Sanskriti School children and parents.

Houston: This was third year that Arya Samaj Houston went full steam to celebrate the Indian festival variously called as Makar Sankranti, Lohri, Pongal, Bihu, etc. bidding good-bye to the peak of winter. Its Sunday School, the DAV Sanskriti School took the responsibility and converted it into a learning tool for its 150 children to grasp the rich Indian culture in an experiential manner. Acharya Harish-Chandra described God’s wonderful design that the earth is slant by about 22 degrees as it

orbits around the sun. The peak of winter is now almost gone and the days will be getting longer. If you see sun in the morning from a window that opens to the east then you couldn’t have missed out noticing that the sun is now shifting northward, having touched its maximum southern point. This magic of 22 degrees slant creates various seasons that is so important for rainfall, snow deposits, crops, etc, crucial to life support on the earth. Indian classical scientists called Rishis taught harmony with na-

ture. For them, nature manifests God’s intelligence flowing toward us as pure love. That harmony requires us to return the bounty of nature back to the nature with a deep sense of gratitude. Offering the bounty to the fire transports it in its minute form to all the living beings without any discrimination. The traditional fire was lit by the senior volunteer of Arya Samaj Houston, Shekhar Agrawal followed by the children of DAV Sanskriti School lining up to offer rewari, gajak, and other foodstuffs

into the fire before having a taste of them. Their discipline was at full display. Traditional folk dances from different regions of India were rendered in the form of Garba, Bhangra and Pongal dance. Remarkable ensemble was noticed that dance teams included all age groups – from little children to even seniors. Six-week coaching by its dance teacher Dolly Goyal was well appreciated, founder of ‘Steps for Dancing’ – free for all, including members of public. As

Chidanand’s dhol began the high octane sound, all in the 600+ adult audience felt invited to dance on the foyer that had become the large-size stage. Kites were available and children were thrilled to fly them. Kitchen committee served with smile the special meal that included makki di roti and sarson da saag. New parents showed interest in enrolling their children to the spring term of DAV Sanskriti School. For more details, call its director Dr. Kavita Vachaknavee at 832.874.3376.

Pranab Among Recipients of Bharat Ratna Awards New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee, India’s 13th President and one of the Congress’ tallest leaders for decades, has been awarded the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour. Along with Mr Mukherjee, social activist and one of the BJP’s senior-most leaders Nanji Deshmukh and music maestro from Assam, Bhupen Hazarika, have been awarded posthumously. The Padma awards 2019, announced on eve of the Republic Day, resident Ram Nath Kovind on Friday conferred one of the highest civilian awards of the category, to 112 people from various disciplines. The awards were conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The list, which was approved by the President, comprises of four Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri awardees. Twenty-one of the awardees are women, 11 persons are from the category of foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI; there are three posthumous awardees and one transgender person. An analysis of Padma Shri awards given out by data journalism portal Factly shows that this number tends to spike in election years. Padma Vibhushan 1. Teejan Bai Art-Vocals-Folk

Chhattisgarh 2. Ismail Omar Guelleh (Foreigner) - Public Affairs - Djibouti 3. Anilkumar Manibhai Naik Trade & Industry Infrastructure Maharashtra 4. Balwant Moreshwar Purandare - Art-Acting-Theatre - Maharashtra Padma Bhushan 1. John Chambers (Foreigner) - Trade & Industry Technology USA 2. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa Public Affairs - Punjab 3. Pravin Gordhan (Foreigner) Public Affairs - South Africa 4. Mahashay Dharam Pal Gulati - Trade & Industry Food Processing - Delhi 5. Darshan Lal Jain - Social Work - Haryana 6. Ashok Laxmanrao Kukade Medicine-Affordable Healthcare - Maharashtra 7. Kariya Munda - Public Affairs - Jharkhand 8. Budhaditya Mukherjee - Art-

Music-Sitar - West Bengal 9. Mohanlal Viswanathan Nair Art-Acting-Film - Kerala 10. S Nambi Narayan - Science & Engineering-Space - Kerala 11. Kuldip Nayar (Posthumous) - Literature & Education (Journalism) - Delhi 12. Bachendri Pal - SportsMountaineering - Uttarakhand 13. V K Shunglu - Civil Service - Delhi 14. Hukumdev Narayan Yadav Public Affairs - Bihar Among the popular names in the list of awardees are Kariya Munda, Mohanlal, Sunil Chetri, Kader Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Prabhu Deva and Gautam Gambhir. For a complete list of Padma awards, visit https://zeenews. india.com/india/padma-awards2019-full-list-of-padma-vibhushan-padma-bhushan-and-padmashri-awardees-2174159.html The awards will be presented by the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan in March.

Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY For Honor’s Sake: Bharat Ratna

In an ideal world, the Bharat Ratna awards would be free from political considerations It is in the nature of our polity to use any opportunity possible for political signalling, and the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour, has not been spared from this propensity. Over the years, ideological considerations have influenced the choices. While the Narendra Modi government’s decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on the late Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika (who contested on the BJP ticket in the 2004 Lok Sabha election) and the late Nanaji Deshmukh (a Bharatiya Jan Sangh leader and social activist) evoked little surprise, the choice of former President Pranab Mukherjee seemed to have caught everyone off guard and triggered fevered speculation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “an outstanding statesman of our times”. While Mr. Mukherjee’s seniority and contribution to the polity are not in doubt, the fact that he agreed to speak at an RSS event last year to the bemused disapproval of the Congress party was held out as a reason. And more unsympathetically, could the award have been a part of the BJP’s strategy of embracing old Congress leaders such as Vallabhbhai Patel to highlight that its real opposition is to the Nehru-Gandhi family? It is no secret that Mr. Mukherjee’s political ambitions were thwarted at one point by his inability to break the hold of dynastic politics in the Congress. Whether or not someone deserves a particular honour is not an easy question to resolve. Idolised leaders are integral to the imagination of a community, and arguably, for nation-building. Such secular rites of veneration set an ideal that the community celebrates and strives for. This is of course different from the pursuit of partisan political interests. Unfortunately, competitive politics has overshadowed the majesty of the Bharat Ratna. The honour to M.G. Ramachandran in 1988 was widely seen as a cynical political move ahead of an election in Tamil Nadu. A promise to confer the Bharat Ratna to Madan Mohan Malaviya was made by Mr. Modi during the 2014 campaign, and he fulfilled it soon after coming to power. Claims and counterclaims for the honour have become part of assertions of power by various groups. The emergence of new political elites is often accompanied by a clamour for greater acceptance for their leaders in the national roll of honour. A democratic, plural community must resolve these demands with respect and sensitivity. But this must not lead to a devaluation of the honour. Transparency is not easy to achieve, and fairness is difficult to establish, given the contradictory demands of representation and majesty. But a good place to start is to discontinue posthumous awards. It is a slippery slope of arbitrariness. Idols and ideals unite diversities in a community, and Bharat Ratnas must be selected with this in mind. On this count at least, the Modi government’s list will be contested. --The Hindu

February 01, 2019


Bollywood: Connecting Cultures By Harsimran Julka As the protagonist slithers the throat of a villain in cold blood, a crowd full of Indian students, erupts in claps. Am watching a film on surgical strikes in a multiplex in New Zealand and perhaps it’s the first time I’ve seen an Indian audience erupt in cheers, while watching a manslaughter, even it is for revenge for the country. This is a different India, a character in the film blurts out. This is also a different India, that people of Indian origin, who migrated from the country, decades ago, are experiencing through the film. An India – which is technologically advanced. An India – which has an army unparalled, and which is eager to prove itself. An India – which will not keep quiet if attacked. An India – which has sportsmen that beat rivals on their home turf. And an India which can produce cinematography on par with Hollywood. But it is also an India – as experienced through films such as Simmba, Mulk or Kedarnath, where division between people on religious lines is high as ever, where women safety is a constant issue. And where nationalism runs high in veins. Many people across the world – who have never travelled to India – experience it first, through its Cinema – whether that’s in Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, or in any other Indian language. Bollywood especially has done a lot, to dispel the myth of India as a nation of snake charmers. The global audience enjoy the song, dance and action – but also get to experience the various problems that Indians face daily through the ordeals of the film’s characters. The same multiplex is showing another Hindi movie on another screen. On the screen – the protagonist portrayed by actor Ranveer Singh talks about the Nirbhaya ccase and the increase in rapes in India every year since 2012, making the official cross 180,000 registered rapes in 2017. He mumbles out the statistics.

SPORTS This is another India – which people get to experience through Bollywood where corruption is high amongst the netas, where sanitation and women safety are perennial problems. I see, that there are a few people of Chinese and Causcasian origin, also amongst the audience. This could well be their first Bollywood masala film, and they enjoy the Hindi films through their subtitles. The only thing – that perhaps they don’t understand are the Bollywood songs, which most often don’t come with subtitles. Interestingly several kids of Indian origin, experience ‘India’ first through cinema. Either we accept it or not, ‘Bollywood’ now has a huge appeal across the world. In the age of on-demand platforms, the first touch people have with India is through its films – now widely available at the click of a button on YouTube. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the titles of Dhoom 3, 3 Idiots, and Koi Mil Gaya, from a colleague from Tonga, an island – in the Pacific which has a population of just about 100,000 people. He enjoys Bollywood films, as passionately, as anyone in India would. And knows the names of all our top actors. “There is a local shop owned by a Fijian which rents out Bollywood DVDs. I’ve managed to watch a lot of Bollywood films. My favorite is Dhoom 3,” he tells me. Recently, it was music to my ears to hear the word ‘Sholay’ from – Mohammad Arianfar, an engineer from Tehran, who works

in an Auckland based electric vehicles startup. “Almost everybody in Iran knows ‘Sholay’ by heart,” he tells me, even as YouTube and Facebook is banned in his country for last two years. Bollywood could also be the first touch point for me, if don’t know the language of another person, I’ve come to realise. A few years ago, while vacationing in Bali, after wrapping a tech conference, I was amused to hear the words ‘Shahrukh Khan,’ ‘Salman Khan,’ ‘Amitabh Bachhan’ in the Bahasan accent, by the hotel receptionist, after he checked my nationality on the passport. Bollywood made us connect. We became friends thereafter, for the duration of my short stay, even though I could not speak a word of Bahasa. I also got to know that Mahabharata is one of the most popular TV serials in Indonesia, from a GoJek driver. While having supper with a Korean journalist in a Tokyo Restaurant near the Tokyo Tower, a few years ago, I was surprised to hear the words ‘Aamir Khan’ and ‘3 Idiots.’ Often the India – Bollywood displays, becomes the India in the minds of a global audience. Sometimes people would watch Bollywood, just to understand Indians and their country better. -- Times of India. -- Harsimran Julka is a writer with a career in writing spanning 15 years and also runs a startup community in New Zealand: Startupanz.com.

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February 01, 2019

Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

February 01, 2019

India to Pass U.S. to be World’s 2nd Largest Economy by 2030 London: India is likely to overtake the United States and become the world’s second-largest economy by 2030, a British financial services firm has predicted. According to Standard Chartered Plc, China will assume the top spot by dislodging the US, which will fall to third on the list behind the two Asian giants. Indonesia is predicted to vault into the fourth slot while Turkey will round out the top five. “Our long-term growth forecasts are underpinned by one key principle: countries’ share of world GDP should eventually converge with their share of the world’s population, driven by the convergence of per-capita GDP between advanced and emerging economies,” Standard Chartered economists led by David Mann wrote in a note. As per the economists, India is projected to accelerate to 7.8 per cent by the 2020s while China’s

will moderate to 5 per cent by 2030 reflecting a natural slowdown given the economy’s size. The firm also predicted that the new global order will see current emerging markets occupy seven of the top 10 spots. Among other findings by the economists of Standard Chartered, it was found that in the emerging markets, the waning reform

momentum weighs on productivity growth; with a majority of the world’s population entering the middle-class income group by 2020, it is at a tipping point; the effects of the rapid population aging trend of China and many economies will be countered by the middle-class driven by urbanization and education. Ageing populations are likely to

weigh on global growth, but India, home to the world’s largest group of young people, will remain unfazed, Standard Charted notes. Half of the country’s population is under the age of 25. The bank expects “the rising aspirations of a young population to continue to support consumerism in India’s economy.” But a young demographic also creates a demand for massive employment. About 100 million new jobs must be created in the manufacturing and service sectors by 2030, according to the report. To achieve this, it says, the government needs to close a widening skills gap, raise the participation of women in the workforce, and ease labour laws. “India needs to train circa 10 million people annually, but currently has the capacity to train just 4.5 million,” the report says. It also calls for reforms to boost spending on infrastructure.

Trump Promises US Citizenship for H-1B Visa Workers New Delhi: President Donald Trump said on Friday he is planning changes including a possible pathway to US citizenship to foreigners holding H-1B visas, issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants who work in specialty occupations such as technology or medicine. “H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship,” Trump said in a Twitter post. The Republican president has often said he wanted an immigration system that favoured educated or highly skilled people. The White House did not immediately comment on what kind of changes Trump was considering. Trump and Democrats in the US Congress are at an impasse over spending legislation to fund the federal government. Trump has refused to sign on to a bill unless it includes $5.6 billion to build a wall along the country’s southern border to prevent ille-

A turnabout for a President who campaigned on protecting jobs for American citizens.

gal immigration by migrants. Democrats say the wall project, which carries a total price tag of more than $20 billion, is expensive, ineffective and immoral. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the US government that is now in its 21st day. While Trump typically depicts undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers attempting to enter the country through Mexico as criminals and terrorists, he fre-

quently praises those applying for H-1B visas, which require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Competition is tough for the temporary visas. In 2018, the United States hit the limit on the number of H-1B visas it could issue, 65,000, by the first week of April. Trump campaigned for president on a promise to crack down on immigrants, who he said took jobs away from US citizens. In April

2017, he signed an executive order for a review of the H-1B program. US companies often use H-1B visas to hire graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics. The visas are heavily used in the tech sector. According to sources who spoke with McClatchy reporters, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering new regulations ending extensions for H-1Bs — visas for skilled workers in a range of fields like technology, research, and education. Foreign students hoping to stay and work in research, advocacy, and the non-profit sector are also among those who rely on H-1Bs. The visa is typically offered for three years with the option of renewal up to six years. Currently, some recipients with pending green card applications have the option of extending that time period, allowing them to work in the United States until their paperwork comes through. The vast majority are Indian.


India’s Forex Reserves Increase to $396 Billion New York: The country’s foreign exchange reserves jumped by $2.68 billion -- one of the largest increases in recent months -- to touch $396.084 billion in the week to January 4, driven by a rise in core currency assets and gold holdings, RBI data showed Friday. The overall reserves had increased by $116.4 million to $393.404 billion in the previous reporting week. In the reporting week, foreign currency assets, a major component of the overall reserves, rose by $2.215 billion to $370.292 billion. Expressed in US dollars, forex assets include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves. The reserves had touched a record high of $426.028 billion in the week to April 13, 2018. Since then, the forex kitty has been fluctuating and mostly sliding. One of the major reasons for the decline is that the central bank has been selling dollars in the market to contain rupee volatility. In the first five months of the current fiscal, the central bank has sold more than $34 billion to arrest the fall of the rupee, which had sniffed at 74 to a greenback earlier this fiscal. The value of the gold reserves increased by $465.5 million to $21.689 billion in the reporting week, the apex bank said. It can be noted that the RBI has been buying bullion after almost a decade. During its fiscal year ending June 2018, the RBI had added 8.46 metric tonnes of gold. The central bank now holds total 566.23 tonnes of the yellow metal. The purchase was made to diversify the foreign currency assets, the RBI had said in its annual report.

Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 1, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com


February 01, 2019

3rd Houston-India Conference: “Mutual Relationships are Limitless” Houston - Overwhelming consensus at ICCR Houston India Conference held in Houston, Texas, on January 11 2019 was that “Possibilities of India-USA relationship are limitless”. The 3rd Houston India conference brought together thought leaders in industry, trade, diplomacy, economics and journalism from India, Washington, DC and Texas, USA to focus on investment opportunities in India, and IndiaTexas bi-lateral trade. The conference had participants representing over 80 companies including ExxonMobil, BP, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Expedien, L&T Infotech, Goldman Sachs, Texas Medical Center, University of Houston, University of Pennsylvania, World Bank, Rice University, Reliance and Mahindra USA among many others in addition to the local government officials, journalists and Think tank experts. The Conference was moderated by Sunanda Vashisht, noted political commentator and Co-founder of new age media company MyIndMakers. Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director IACCGH was the master of ceremony at the conference. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner pointed out that Houston is the 4 th busiest gateway for trade between India and USA and emphasized the importance of a direct flight between Houston and India.

Speakers and conference dignitaries gather for group photo.

A direct flight will help grow the bilateral trade relations between Houston and India, he remarked. Houston Mayor Turner and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have led two successful trade delegations to India recently. Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, Government of India talked about the building of New India, an economy based on innovation and rule of law. He said that the economic fundamentals in India are strong, and the challenge is to push the economy into an even higher growth trajectory. Sandip Sen, President, Emerging Businesses, Essar Group explained the key drivers for the growth of the Indian economy and talked about the emerging industries and

opportunities to invest in it including digital payments, e-commerce, startups and AI/ML. Dr. Djordjija Petkoski, Lecturer at the Wharton School of Management and Advisor to the World Bank said that India is a laboratory where any technology can be developed and tested for it robustness. He emphasized on the role of domestic and multi-national corporations in community building and strengthening democracy in India. Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, talked about delivering democracy with a focus on governance. He discussed the financial inclusion programs such as Jan Dhan Yojana, banking reforms and

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in India. Dr. Jyoti Kiran Shukla, Former Chairman of Rajasthan State Finance Commission, talked about how India is developing per day such as 1300 houses built everyday under Pradhan Mantri Jan Awas Yojana, 8400 toilets created per day under the Swachh Bharat and 2,86,752 beneficiaries per day under the Jan Dhan Yojana, to name a few. Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Arjun Subramanian discussed the IndoUS Strategic partnership and how it has been growing steadily over the past two decades and is on an irreversible trajectory. He also talked about how India has progressed from a reactive to a proactive society, which has also led to the stability of the economy from a

security perspective. Dr. Makarand Paranjape, Director Indian Institute of Advanced Study, quoted Dr. Raja Rao and mentioned that the alliance between India and US existed naturally and was thwarted by the external forces. He said that the Indian diaspora has become such a critical mass in the US, that going forward, the friendship between the two countries will only grow further. Brian Mclaughlin, Senior Vice President, McDermott, spoke on growing presence of McDermott in India and how well educated, relevant and mobile workforce in India has been helping McDemott with its growth. He also mentioned about the absolute fair and transparent procurement process in India. Ashok Belani, CTO, Schulmberger, talked about the huge role India plays in the global hydrocarbon market and the initiatives Petroleum Minister of India Dharmendra Pradhan has taken towards improving the energy industry in India. Conference Chair and CEO of Expedien, Jiten Agarwal, welcomed everyone and spoke about the successes of the first two conferences held in 2017 and 2018 in terms of the economic activities including several commercial deals that have taken place as a result of the networking during conferences.

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Indo-American News • Friday, FEBRUARY 01, 2019 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com


February 01, 2019

R-Day at Gandhi Memorial in Dallas



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DALLAS: Mahatma Gandhi Memorial of North Texas (MGMNT) organized the 70th India’s Republic Day Celebrations in Dallas (Irving) at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza, the Largest Gandhi Memorial in the USA. More than 150 jubilant crowd gathered to celebrate the event. Mr. Rao Kalvala, Secretary, MGMNT welcomed the gathering, introduced MGMNT Board and expressed his joy over public enthusiasm. Dr. Prasad Thotakura, Chairman, MGMNT after hoisting the Indian National flag stated “Since 1950’s, as a Nation we have achieved a lot but much remains to be done. As Indian Americans, our responsibility

is double now. We all need to strive for the betterment of both countries where we come from and where we live in. “ Mr. B.N.Rao, MGMNT Co-Chair, conveyed his Republic Day greetings to the community and remembered the sacrifices of Mahatma Gandhi who got independence to India with only peace methods. The Chief Guest at the event Mrs. Oscar Ward, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, City of Irving, welcomed Indian American community on this special occasion and appreciated their efforts in building better communities with their education, intellect and knowledge. Irving City Councilmember Mr.

Allan Meagher, Special Guest of the occasion addressed the gathering, conveyed his best wishes to the Indian Americans for celebrating India’s 70th Republic Day. He further stated that it is essential for all to work together to uphold the democratic values both in the largest democracy, India and the oldest democracy, USA. Mr. Abhijit Railkar, Treasurer, MGMNT, in his closing remarks thanked all the guests and sponsors of the Republic Day celebration and invited the community again to gather at the same place on January 30th at 5 PM to observe a moment of silence and pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on the day of remembrance.

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February 01, 2019



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February 01, 2019


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Pakore of any sort, made of any type of vegetable or paneer, are such a common comfort food that it is a staple appetizer at many occasions. But some vegetables, like bhaen (lotus root) are not just uncommon, but have a refreshing crunchiness. Below is a reprint of Mama’s Bhaen ka Pakore recipe, which is perfect with chutney and hot tea. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions.

Bhaen De Pakore

(FRIED LOTUS ROOT FRITTERS) In India, bhaen or kamal di dandi (lotus root) are available most times of the year and in the Punjab, it is prized for its crunchiness and highly fibrous texture which allows it to be made dry or curried. You can even make bhaen pakore (fried fritters) and though it is not a common ingredient, the results are delicious. The lotus flower is a divine symbol in Hinduism and many other Asian cultures, representing purity and nonattachment. Vishnu and Lakshmi are often portrayed on a pink lotus, and the Goddess Sarasvati is portrayed on a white lotus. Ganga and Ganesh are also often depicted with lotus flowers as their seats. In politics, the BJP uses the lotus as its symbol and in Indian civilian awards Padma Sri and Padma Bhushan, the word Padma means lotus. The lotus root is found underwater and can grow to a length of four feet. It is reddish brown with a white interior that is lacey, and has a texture that is slightly crunchy and mildly sweet. The lotus root is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin. Riboflavin, vitamin B5, phosphorus, copper and manganese and is low in saturated fat. The Indian variety is smaller and tastier than the Chinese variety which is bigger but also more porous and less crunchy. They have to be thoroughly washed as the roots have lots of dirt on them. Pakore are simply chickpea flour batter covered vegetables, but many people experiment with other edible items to dip and fry. Punjabi kaddi tastes best when made with plain pakoras rather than those with vegetables in them. And then there are the little pakodiyan (chickpea flour drops) that are plain and used in raita. Chickpea flour is also called besan and come from dry roasted garbanzos (or chickpeas) which is then ground. It is high in carbohydrates, but contains no gluten and has a higher protein Ingredients: • 250 gm bhaen (lotus roots) • 1.5 cups besan (chickpea flour) • 1 cup pani (water) – enough to make running paste • Spices: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), dhania (coriander powder), amchoor (green mango powder), haldi (turmeric), ajwain (bishop’s weed or carom seeds)

Directions: 1. Wash the bhaen thoroughly to remove all the dirt off them then cut the stalks into 2 inch long pieces and place in a pot of water. Bring them to a boil for 10 minutes. 2. Drain the water and let the bhaen cool down then cut a slit half-deep into them lengthwise. 3. In a small bowl, mix all the spices together and keep to the side. 4. Now, take a pinch of the spice mixture and spread it into the slit in the bhaen and keep all the spiced pieces in a bowl. 5. In another bowl, pour in the besan, water, namak, mirch and ajwain and mix till it becomes a soft, running paste. For best use, the paste should not be too thin or too thick. 6. Heat the oil in a karahi (wok). Throw in a small dab of batter to make sure the oil is very hot. Take a piece of spiced bhaen, dip it into the batter to coat well, then release it into the hot oil. Keep doing this till

the surface of the oil is covered with battered pieces. 7. When one side is slightly brown, turn it over using a sieved spatula and turn over a few times to make sure both sides are cooked. Be careful that they do not become dark brown. Take them out and place on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India (since renamed Faisalabad) before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her early-nineties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share her delectable Punjabi recipes for



EEK FOR CRISPY LOTU S R O OT, DON’T USE THE P RESSURE COOKE Lotus root is a very R hard vegeta

ble, many cavities that run the whole leng though the stalk is hollow with into pieces, it is impo th. Though it can be easily cut to get out all the di rtant to thoroughly clean it under ru rt that the roots grow nning water in ponds. Some people try to sa ut é the roots di become hard and in edible. Lotus roots rectly in a skillet but they only to soften them. Som need first be bo you risk overcookine people cook the roots in the pressuiled into order that fall apart. It is g and making the pieces very tend re cooker but best to boil them in er and mushy ing periodically that a pot of water and th the pieces have be en checkcome tender.

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Bal Thackeray: A Worshipful Home Video Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Amrita Rao Director: Abhijit Panse Rating: Two stars Thackeray is a worshipful home video in the guise of a full-length feature film, in which everything is seen solely through the eyes of the man who started life as a testy, outspoken cartoonist, and who, overcome by the ‘unfairness’ of ‘Marathi manoos’ having to deal with migrants in their home-state Maharashtra, went on to form the Shiv Sena, a political party whose ‘reactions against actions’ helped changed the face of nation. You cannot expect any subtleties

in a film like this (its producer is a member of the Shiv Sena), which conveniently terms some of its portions, ‘kalpanik natya rupantar’. In Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s impersonation of the pipe-smoking, beer-swilling Bal Keshav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena beliefs are delivered with the force of a sledge-hammer: Gujaratis, Parsis, South Indians, and job-seekers from other states, have taken over Maharashtra, so out goes the demeaning slogan — ‘hatao lungi, bajaao pungi’. The murder of a communist leader takes place in a suitably atmospheric sequence: violence against anyone who doesn’t fall in line is fine. The Emergency was okay only because

the country would finally be disciplined (Mrs Indira Gandhi is shown to soften towards the Shiv Sena supremo after a long face-to-face meeting, which a conniving non-Maratha in her cabinet almost didn’t allow to take place). There’s no hope for the Muslims, because every time there’s a hand held towards them, they bite it, so, hello, Hindutva. The film opens with Balasaheb facing trial in a court-room which has a judge with a South Indian accent, and a lawyer who is made to mouth tough questions, only so that Thackeray can shut him up with smart reversals, which then becomes the last word on the subject. -- Indian Express

Almost every moment in the movie is a death of irony, the biggest of them being that Nawazuddin Siddiqui, an outsider on both counts of community and religion, plays Balasaheb Thackeray.

Ladki Ko Manikarnika: Kangana Ranaut Owns the Period Ek Dekha Toh Drama about Freedom Fighter Jhansi Ki Rani Aisa Laga

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Jisshu Sengupta, Atul Kulkarni, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Ankita Lokhande, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Danny Denzongpa, Richard Keep Directors: Kangana Ranaut, Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi Rating: Two and a half stars

Kangana Ranaut in and as Manikarnika, the Queen of Jhansi, delivers exactly what was promised: a high-decibel, high-on-rhetoric hagiography of a queen who fought for her people and her land, till her last breath. There is not a single complex thought in this nearly three-hour movie, which runs out of steam in the third act because it needs to repeat its battle scenes ad nauseam to fill up the time till the end. It’s all kept deliberately kindergarten-level simple (in some places, even simplistic), linear, first this happened, then this happened, and then. We the viewers have to do no work to get with the movie’s plan: we just have to sit back, go with the flow, flabby and clunky in bits, and admire Ranaut blazing on the screen. Which she does, with such fierceness and gumption that you cannot take your eyes off her, especially when she is in full stride. She embodies the spirit of a very special young woman married into a ‘rajwada’, to an

effeminate princely type (Sengupta), catapulted into the throne, not because she wants it, but because she is the only real man among the men who surround her. Naturally, no other actor gets as much screen time as her: after a while it looks as if she is in practically every scene, as Manikarnika : The Queen Of Jhansi takes us from the ghats of Manikarnika in Banaras, to Bithoor where Manu’s prowess with words and swords catches the eye of the man (Kharbanda) responsible for her marriage and make-over as Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. The filmmakers (with Ranaut getting a co-director credit) have the usual caveat of the film taking creative liberties with the facts. So we

don’t really have to worry our heads about whether all the stuff unfolding on screen happened or not. We are given a glimpse of palace intrigues where a black-hearted cousin (Ayyub) hankers for the throne, as Ranaut’s Laxmi, dripping enough brocade and baubles to sink a thousand thrones, plays the part of wife and mother. It’s all very trying, this prelude to the real act, filled with Ranaut made up to the hilt (did they really have false eyelashes in 1830?) romancing, dancing, singing with ‘sakhis’ in age-old Bollywood style. The film does make a brief stab at showing us how Laxmi created an army of women (and giving the film its chance to sling in a rousing ‘action’ song as they flash blades and swirl

and twirl). Other characters come and go. There’s the faithful Ghaus baba (Denzongpa), Tantya Tope (Kulkarni), and a whole series of bumbling Englishmen, who make the mistake of thinking that Rani will be a weak puppet, just like her neighbouring princes who have keeled over at the slightest hint of British aggression, and are living on their pensions. The 1857 Mutiny pops up too, and we get a glimpse of the ‘greased cartridges’ and the ‘chhaavni of Meerut’ and the ‘rebel’ armies falling by the wayside. But we know it’s all window dressing, a backdrop for the Rani to rise, and show us what bravery and valour and patriotism is all about. Ranaut in full battle mode is a sight to behold: harnessed, charged up, tearing and slashing through the rows of ‘dushman’ soldiers, all snarly and bloody. The battle scenes are impressive: lots of ‘josh’ right there. The film skews, naturally, towards the ruling establishment in its exhortation of what nationalism means (there’s a great Scindia-Gwalior dig in there). A calf is saved from slaughter. Dialogues abound about ‘Bharat Mata’ and its ‘betis’, and a priceless one goes like this: ‘jab beti uth khadi hoti hai toh jeet badi hoti hai’. Claptrap, yes. But also clap clap. -Shubhra Gupta in Indian Express

The second trailer of Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor starrer Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is out, and it has not left much to the imagination of the audience. While the first trailer of the romantic drama had only hinted at the possibility of a same-sex romance involving the female lead Sonam, the second clip pretty much bares the heart of the conflict, which is actually a bit disappointing. The nearly two-minute promo shows Sonam Kapoor’s character fighting her family, primarily her brother and her father (played by Anil Kapoor) to remain by the side of her lover. But will she succeed in doing so? Only time will tell. The synopsis of the movie reads, “Love should not come with any labels and it should set one free.


February 01, 2019





February 01, 2019

TiE Houston Kicks Off 2019 with Charter Member Dinner

Board of Directors from left to right: Front Row: Aruna Viswanathan, Dr. Atul Varadhachary, Dr. Arun Pasrija, Vinita Gupta. Back Row: Dr. Ram Shenoy, Somesh Singh, Aju Koshy, Ana Rojas Bastidas (Executive Director), Juan Arjona, Dr. Anudeep Jain, Dr. Shri Iyer, Ravi Brahmbhatt. Dr. Arun Pasrija addressing attendees and summarizing the accomplishments throughout his presidency.

HOUSTON: TiE Houston kicked off 2019 with a gathering of its Charter Members and distinguished leaders in Houton’s entrepreneurial community by hosting their annual Charter Member dinner at the Doubletree by Hilton on January 26th. They gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of 2018 and to lay out the goals for 2019. TiE Houston President, Dr. Arun Pasrija welcomed all the guests and debuted their promotional video which was created by TiE Houston member, Namrata Singh of Misfit Communications. It highlights the history, mission, and diversity of the global TiE organization and how Houston’s chapter works hard to uphold its pillars of education, networking, mentoring, incubating, and funding.

After some networking, TiE Houston President, Dr. Arun Pasrija, gave an overview of all of the past year’s events which included expert panel discussions on Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Energy; angel investments in several startup by TiE Houston charter members, mentoring and offering third largest investment prize at last year’s Rice Business Case Competition, and leading to teach entrepreneurship to 30 high school students from underprivileged areas in HISD. He handed out a small token of appreciation to all of the organizations that TiE partnered with, such as The Cannon, HAN, TMCx, UH and Station Houston. He also highlighted the progress of their TiE Young Entrepreneur program which is currently running with 30 high

school students from underserved HISD schools. Finally, he gave many warm thanks to those who supported his past two years as President and introduced TiE Houston’s new president, Dr. Atul Varadhachary. Atul is a physician-scientist who serves as Managing Partner of Fannin Innovation Studio, Houston’s most active early-stage development group in the life sciences. Prior to Fannin, Atul has served as President, U.S. Operations at Reliance Life Sciences, President & COO at Agennix, Inc. and as Senior Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Co. Atul also serves as adjunct professor at Rice University, UT School of Public Health and Baylor College of Medicine and serves on a number of

private company boards. Atul welcomed the crowd and shared his vision in 2019. In addition to his new presidency he announced the election of new board members. Before introducing the new members, he presented outgoing board members Karl Maier and Dr. Roopa Gir with a placard noting their years of service. He then introduced new board members Dr. Anudeep Jain, Somesh Singh, and Aju Koshy. Finally, Atul and Arun jointly presented outgoing Executive Director, Ana Rojas Bastidas, with a placard for her years running TiE Houston. She is stepping down to start her own business after being inspired by all the entrepreneurs she had the pleasure of working with. That concluded

the evening. TiE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking, and education. TiE has 56 chapters across 17 countries with 11,000 members and 2,800 charter members. Charter Members, who are successful entrepreneurs and/or business executives, make the pillars of each chapters. These charter members commit their time to help next generation of entrepreneurs - a “leveraged give back” which creates jobs, economic activities and wealth in the community. Houston chapter has a strong and vibrant charter member community helping meet’s TiE’s mission and making it a meaningful part of Houston’s start up eco system. For more information on TiE upcoming events: TiE Houston: www. houston.tie.org

IACCGH Helps Mayor Turner with Successful Trade Mission to India

Houston trade delegation meets with India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu (left) and participating in an interactive session with IACC and CII in New Delhi.

HOUSTON: IACCGH had an instrumental role in helping plan and execute the Mayor’s Trade Delegation to India in November 2018. Chamber Executive Director JagdipAhluwalia, President Swapan Dhairyawan and Past President Sanjay Ramabhadran, joined the delegation and ensured a smooth set of meetings in India. The Chamber worked closely with Dr Anupam Ray in arranging the official meetings for the Mayor and other officials including meetings with the Union Tourism Minister, the Union Infrastructure Minister, Minister of State for Home Affairs and thanks to Chamber member Hasu Patel, even a meeting with the Vice President of India Shri VenkaiahNaidu in Mumbai

was coordinated. The Chamber arranged joint meetings with IACC and CII in Delhi and Mumbai featuring Houston with presentations by Greater Houston Partnership, the Mayor and other chamber participants. Other events were co hosted with the PHD Chamber in Delhi and World Trade Center in Mumbai MOU’s were signed between IACCGH GHP and IACC- India in Delhi and Mumbai. A MoU between IACCGH and World Trade Center and All India Association of Industries was also signed in Mumbai. The outcome of the visit will lead to an Inbound Joint Delegation of

several chambers from India visiting Houston in 2019. In Mumbai, Mayor Turner visited the MCGM Mayor of Mumbai Mahadeshwar, with a select delegate and discussed the opportunities of Trade & Commerce with Houston. The delegation visited the Reliance campus in Navi Mumbai where they were exposed to the great work the company is doing in communities across India. Reliance also provided an over view of their business in India and across the world. The delegation was invited to a soiree hosted by Houston First; the day before departure where Houston artist Gopal Seyn, painted a canvas capturing the essence of the bilateral

relationships between Houston and India which was presented to IACC, and will be displayed at the various art galleries in Mumbai courtesy from IACC Mumbai. Other highlight of the delegation was a visit to the Humayun tomb as guests of Murad Ajani, of the SW Houston Aga Khan Council. This UNESCO heritage is being developed and maintained by the Aga Khan Foundation. A visit to the BAP’s Akshardham in New Delhi led to a pleasant when “Swami GM” turned out to be a native Houstonian who after an illustrious corporate career became a sadhu and is now responsible for maintaining and coordinating the

upcoming New Jersey. He amazed the delegation with his deep love and knowledge of Houston, and all attendees felt he was the best person marketing Houston in India. The delegation was a grand success with an official meeting with the US Ambassador to India Ken Juster and a dinner at the residence of the Deputy Chief of Mission of US embassy, Mary Kay Carlson, cohosted by USIBC. The attending delegates were excited with the various meetings at events in Delhi- Mumbai were provided with a wide spectrum of opportunities. The warmth in the relationship was felt in both cities. For more information visit www.iaccgh.com



February 01, 2019


With Retirement in Mind, Trust the Ones Who Manage Your Wealth BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

The Wells Fargo Advisors group of (from right) Amit Jain, Jacky Daryananani and Asheet Yagnik presented some concepts for planning for retirement with their team of product vendors (starting second from left) Kyle Anderson of Jackson Retirement Solutions, Natalie Holden with Touchstone Investments and Victor Frazier with Alger Funds. On extreme left is Narender Sehgal, the owner of Narain’s Bombay Brasserie where the function was held.


OUSTON: It was a small group of people who had many of the same concerns that many working class people have at a certain point in their careers: how to handle their nest eggs and make them grow and how to trust the advice they receive from wealth managers. It is a concern that many leave unattended way too long till they get older and come face-toface with the dilemma of retirement income. For others, getting educated about investments is a crucial part of making sound financial decisions. Some among them were astute at making money but lacked the time to manage it, All of them listened intently when the three speakers in the short, focused seminar started to describe their products. Brought together by the Yagnik, Daryananani & Jain Group of the Wells Fargo Advisors in Sugar Land, the seminar was held over a buffet dinner at Narain’s Bombay Brasserie on Wednesday, January 23. In fact, the restaurant’s owner, Narender Sehgal not only is a client of YDJG, he even made some opening remarks about how satisfied he is with their performance. The senior partner in the group, Asheet Yagnik has a long track record of providing sound financial advise to his clients and increasing their portfolios. He began the seminar

by stating that “it’s who you trust and how they manage and preserve your wealth” that matters in selecting investment strategies. He other partners Jacky Daryananani and Amit Jain chimed in throughout the seminar. First among the three featured speakers was Victor Frazier of Alger Funds, a 54-year-old firm started in New York by Fred Alger based on the principle of growth investing and currently is managing over $28 billion in assets. In light of the stock

markets’ recent volatility, Frazier touched on the 20 percent downturn in the 4th quarter, stating that it had nothing to do with fundamentals but more with trade wars and tariffs. He said that the Real Fed Fund Rate was less than 1 percent and only signaled a recession if it was more than 2 percent. “We can’t duplicate the 3% GDP of 2018, and will slow down in 2019,” he said, suggesting small cap growth funds as a timely investment. Then came Natalie Holden with

Touchstone Investments, part of the Western & Southern Financial Group, a 24-year-old group that prides itself in offering active management of their assets. She offered some insights on the markets stating that she did not see an inverted yield curve on fixed investments, expected one more interest rate hike in 2019 and suggested staying in shorter duration fixed income, She was bullish on emerging markets but not on Europe or Japan; and especially raved about India where

a large portion of the population was young in their 20s and would become consumers. She also did not see signs of a recession in equities but expected more clarity after US-China trade talks in March. Last on was Kyle Anderson of Jackson Retirement Solutions, part of the Jackson National Life Insurance Company with offices in Lansing, MI; Chicago and Franklin, TN. He presented the case for variable annuities which would guaranty a 5 percent income by investing through any of the company’s 140 mutual funds; refund the entire amount to a beneficiary and never give up control of the annuity money. A brief exchange of questions and comments with the audience ensued afterwards and during dinner.

King of Drama Captivates the Hearts of Mehfil with Local Talent BY DR. SARITA MEHTA


TAFFORD: The much awaited variety show, Dilwalon ki Mehfil (A Gathering of Heartful Souls) produced by the well-known local icon Indervadan Trivedi, better known affectionately as ‘Masterji’, was presented on Saturday, January 12 to an adoring audience at the Old Stafford Community Center on Constitution Avenue. Masterji, who is also the president of the Shree Madan Dham Center of Houston (a religious non-profit) was the producer, director and choreographer for two local groups of young artists - Khusbu and Gayatri - and trained around 62 budding performers and artists. The result was a magnificent work which transported the audience to the world of thrilling Bollywood dances, music, songs and qawali. Masterji himself performed beautifully in the opening group dance, based on the title song of the new Hindi film Simba. The entire program was based around the Bollywood theme to harness the younger generation, while also appealing to an older crowd, to keep interest alive in Indian culture and heritage, a central mission of Masterji’s outreach SMDC group. Chandrakant Sharma, the owner of Asiana Restaurant and also known for his support of the community, was the chief guest of the program. The prodigious masterji bestowed awards

Top left: Masterji Trivedi, a trained classical dancer, performed in the opening item. Right: Waiting backstage -- Budh Patel, Khusbu and Jaiswal.

of recognition upon production manager Anand Trivedi, Mukul Gandhi, Rasesh Dalal and this reporter for their outstanding performance to keep up Indian societal values and cultural heritage in Texas and especially in Houston. Rasesh Dalal, president Kala Kunj, performed as the emcee with his hilarious delivery for the 3-hour long show, keeping the audience entertained and energized. Bud Patel and Vibhas Dhurandhar, promising

actors from Houston, presented the melodious and hilarious song ‘Ek Chatur Nar’ from the film Padosan with Khusbu. It was an entertaining and thrilling experience which took many back to the older era of Hindi cinema. The young girls of Khusbu and Gayatri group thrilled the audience with their scintillating dance performance. The audience was enthralled with the performance of Masterji with his qawali giving them a standing

ovation. Mohsin Bhai impressed with his imitation of the voice of legendary singer Mukesh, performing many of his songs. Khyati, Naiya and Kiran exceled with their dance artistry based on Bollywood songs. Nandini and Dr. Sayida, emerging local stars who have become popular for their sweet voices, gave excellent performances. Girish Nayak made the audience laugh with his dialogue delivery of Gabbar Singh from the film Sholay. The popular musician and singer Hemant Dave

gave a star performance. The much appreciated event would not have taken place without generous from supporters like Subhash and Sarojini Gupta, Tandoori Nite restaurant, Amir Dodhiya of New York Life, Deep Foods, Aga’s restaurant, Nirvana restaurant, Lazeeza restaurant, Ila Driving School, Gujarati Samaj, Ashiana restaurant, NTV Houston, Tridev Investments, ViralAmin Commercial Insurance and Nu Trend, Houston.



February 01, 2019