Indo-American News March 15, 2019

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Friday, March 15, 2019 | Vol. 38, No. 06

Indo American News


Rave Reviews for ‘Janata Raja’ Published biweekly from Houston, TX

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“Janata Raja”, the epic play written by Shiv Shaheer Babasaheb Purandare, was presented in all its glory in Houston, as a fund raiser for Houston Maharashtra Mandal’s Vastu site, located on 11 acres in Rosenberg.

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March 15, 2019

Zoroastrian Temple ‘Atash Kadeh’ to Open Doors in Houston Sacred space offers place to practice the 4,000-yearold religion Houston: Those who practice the 4,000-year-old faith of Zoroastrian will now have a place to worship in the Bayou City. On March 23, the Atash Kadeh Temple will open on West Airport Blvd. and will be the first in North America to facilitate a full range of traditional Zoroastrian religious practices, including performance of higher liturgical rituals and ordainment of priests. The religion, a monotheistic faith with roots in the Persian Empire, operates on the ideals of “good thoughts, good words and good deeds” and “there is only one path – the path of truth.” A life-affirming religion, it has seen

The Zoroastrian Temple, Atash Kadeh, has been built through financial contributions donated by the Bhandara family. The grand opening of the temple will take place on March 23, 2019.

a resurgence in recent years as there are now 26 associations and one North American federation (FEZANA), providing a strong communal structure. “It made sense to build this temple in Houston – one of the most diverse cities in the country – that embraces a wide range of cultures, ethnicities and religions,” said Fred Bhandara, whose financial donations made the construction of the temple possible. “It will provide the approximately 1,000 Zoroastrians residing in Houston with a sacred and quiet place for

worship and meditation.” Worldwide it is estimated that 200,000 individuals practice the faith, one that has survived despite many devastations, destructions of scriptures, annihilation of priests and persecution of believers. “The goal was to create a practical and contemporary building that fulfills the needs of the present-day community, while still referencing and perpetuating the rich religious and liturgical heritage of the faith,” said Aban Rustomji, spokesperson for the Atash Kadeh Temple. Located at 8787 West Airport

Blvd., the temple features ornamental stone columns. The interior of the building provides a peaceful environment with a glass walk that overlooks a garden. The prayer area, with its simplistic design, has marble walls, which help those worshiping focus without distraction. A quiet garden provides space for outdoor worship and reflection. The temple will officially open on March 23rd with a grand opening celebration, which will include prayer ceremonies, social events, lectures and a gala dinner. For more information about the practice of Zoroastrian, visit http://

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March 15,2019


Tiger Ball 2019: Celebrates Asia Society Houston’s 40th Anniversary

Houston: This year, the Asia Society’s fabulously decorated Tiger Ball was held in memory of Founding Member Barbara Bush. The event also recognized honorees Phoebe and Bobby Tudor and was co-chaired by Michelle and Hector Herrera and Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron, as well as honorary chairs Hushang and Shahla Ansary, Maria and Neil Bush, and Molly and Jim Crownover. As the 670 guests arrived on Friday evening, March 1 at the ASTC’s Southmore Blvd. facility where they proceeded along the red carpet into the award-winning Asia Society Texas Center (designed by famed architect Yoshio Taniguchi), which was thematically decorated and registrated in the Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall.Amid hors’deouvres and appertitifs, guests perused the auction items during the cocktail hour which filled up the building. Dancers from HuaxingArts Group and Samskriti lit the way with Asian lanterns to the lavishly decorated 82’x180’ Chevron Gala Pavilion, a white canopied and lined structure put up just for the evening covering 1700 square feet of the Asia Society parking lot. A 10’-tall archway flanked by enormous candelabras greeted guests, and inside, the Pavilion was adorned by a 60’ video wall, ambient projections of wishing lanterns, 8’tall custom-built cast-iron floating lanterns suspended from the ceiling, a variety of centerpieces, as well as lighting festooning the 13 live oak and Shumard red oak trees that are a part of the property. A sumptuous Pan-Asian dinner was served in the Pavilion (catered by a remarkable 130 City Kitchen staff

members).Abrief program followed, with a ceremonial candle-lighting to honor the memory of ASTC’s Founding Member Barbara Bush. After dinner, guests returned to the ASTC building. A highlight of the dessert options was bananas foster flambéed on the Green Garden. Dancing kicked off in the Education Center, and guests placed final bids on their favorite auction items. Throughout the evening, guests

participated in the big board auction and bid on one-of-a-kind items and experiences, including the opportunity to throw the first pitch at an Astros game; a week’s stay in the Tudor family’s 10-bedroom Nantucket home with ocean views, infinity pool, and spa bathrooms; luxury accommodations in NYC, with exclusive tours at the BigApple’s most famous museums; two sets of first-class United Airlines airfare to

Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India or the Middle East; dinner for 10 with Rice University president Dr. David W. Leebron and his wife Y. Ping Sun in their 1920’s mansion; artwork by Japanese painter/woodworkerAyomi Yoshida; exquisite jewelry by Tiffany & Co., Chopard, David Yurman, and Mariquita Masterson; and a necklace boasting 73 pearls honoring the 73year long marriage of Barbara and George Bush, by Texas designer

Becky Hollands. The auction items are valued at almost $195K. The décor choice this year revolved around the symbolic 40th anniversary motif (ruby). The variety of roses included black magic, freedom, big fun, and coral reef, plus Calla lilies, red tulips, hand-dyed willow eucalyptus, and curly willow. Décor was by Prashe, tent byAztec Events & Rentals; catering by City Kitchen; Music by DJ Senega of Karma DJs; and lighting by GTX Production. In addition to the Ball honorees, honorary chairs, and chairs, the Gala’s special guests included Sushila & Durga Agrawal, Nancy Allen, Muffet Blake & Bob Murray, Laurie & Milton Boniuk, Kristy & Chris Bradshaw, Leslie & Brad Bucher, Anne &Albert Chao,Anne & Charles Duncan, Chinhui Juhn & Eddie Allen, and Diane Lokey Farb. Other dignitaries included Lily & Charles Foster, Kathleen & Glen Gondo, Kathy & Marty Goossen, Marie & Vijay Goradia, David Harvey, Sultana & Moez Mangalji, Duyen & Marc Nguyen, Hong & Dorion Ogle, Cabrina & Steven Owsley, Sylvia & Gordon Quan, Leigh & Reggie Smith, Stephanie & Frank Tsuru, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Margaret Alkek Williams, Lynn Wyatt, plus members of the consular corps from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and TECO. Proceeds from the Tiger Ball support Asia Society Texas Center’s 150+ public programs each year. At press time, the fundraising has grossed $1.3 million+ (excluding auction), making it the highestearning gala in ASTC’s history.

Indian Culture Fest with Youth Competitions and Sri Jagannath Chariot Pearland – The second annual Puranava INDIA Culture Fest with Youth Cultural Competitions and a highlight Sri Jagannath Chariot Parade (Rath Yatra) will be held at the Pearland Town Center Pavilion on Saturday, March 23. The free event, organized by Global Organization for Divinity, will commemorate Houston Namadwaar’s 9th anniversary and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s jayanthi. The Honorable Mayors of both Pearland and Manvel, Mayor Tom Reid and Mayor Debra Davison, will attend the event. This project is also supported by a City of Pearland Cultural Arts Grant program from the City of Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The culture fest – which will begin from 4 pm onwards – will be an opportunity for families to enjoy and appreciate India’s unique regional diversity. There will be cultural exhibits from different Indian states and also regional music, dance and folk performances, both on stage and during the Chariot Parade, showcasing various cultures within India – including the Assamese Bihu dance, Mohiniyattam dance and Chenda Melam percussion from Kerala, classical Odissi from Orissa, and classical and folk performances from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Sreepadam School of Arts, Kalaangan the Odissi School of Dance and Sunanda’s Performing


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Arts Center will also present thematic presentations. The traditional chariot (Rath) of Sri Jagannatha will be pulled around the Pearland Town Center Pavilion in a gesture of universal harmony, amid kirtan, dance and regional arts performances. Children of the Gopa Kuteeram Youth Program will present a Song of Unity in 16 different world languages to commence the Rath Yatra. The Rath Yatra is co-hosted by the Universal Shraddha Foundation. The festival will also feature Indian food booths and a bazaar with saris and Indian-wear, jewelry, artwork, Indian garden plants, books, and more, and also kids’ activities.

Earlier in the day, from 9 am onwards, competitions will be conducted for all ages of children/ youth in Art, Chess, Indian classical music, Indian classical dance, and a unique ‘Heritage Vocabulary Bee’, at the same venue. These competitions are open to participants of all cultural backgrounds. To see competition guidelines and register, go to www.puranava-usa. org. This event is also a commemoration of the 9th anniversary of Namadwaar Prayer House located in the Pearland/Manvel area. This anniversary celebration includes annually supporting various local service organizations by providing necessary supplies.

This year the organizations being supported are Alvin ISD’s Youth Empowerment Team and Manvel Community Outreach pantry. Supplies donations of new board games/youth activity kits and nonperishable/canned foods will be accepted at Namadwaar Prayer House located at 3642 Bailey Ave, Manvel TX 77578 any time until March 22 or at the Puranava Culture Fest event on March 23. The Puranava INDIA Culture Fest is organized by Global Organization for Divinity, in collaboration with Love to Share Foundation America. The chariot parade is co-hosted by the Universal Shraddha Foundation.

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March 15, 2019

Houston Maharashtra Mandal’s “Janata Raja” Enactment on Chhatrapati Shivaji Draws Rave Reviews

The rajyaabhishek (coronation) scene from “Janata Raja” enactment of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s life by Houston Maharashtra Mandal. Here Pandit Gagabhatt (Nitin Gokhale) from Kashi (center) declares Shivaji (Nimish Jagtap) the king on the golden throne as the courtiers cheer as Jijau (Meghana Jadhav), Shivaji’s mother watches from the upper window on the left and Shivshahir (Swanand Deshmukh) rises in the air on the right as he describes the scene in song. Photo credit: Pradnya S Joshi.

By Varsha Halabe Houston: “Janata Raja”, the brain child of Shiv Shaheer Babasaheb Purandare, was presented in all its glory in Houston, as a fund raiser for Houston Maharashtra Mandal’s Vastu Project at the Stafford Center on March 9, 2019. This is a play depicting the life of Chhatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosale who established the Maratha Empire defeating Adilshahi and Nizamshahi rulers during 16301680 AD in Maharashtra, India The audience’s enthusiastic rave response was totally on par with the amount of work that went into the production.

Actors, directors, backstage artists, property developers, stage set engineers kept at the task for the last six months, putting in tireless hours of work and rehearsals. The last four weekends comprised 12 hours, at a stretch, of practices. The added challenge to the presentation was that it had to be coordinated to the tee to a pre-recorded track that is strictly copyright protected by Babasaheb. The whole presentation came together flawlessly, making the audience doubt whether these were professionals or local talent! A total over 600 seats were sold, raising a total contribution of $190,000 for the Vastu project.

Babasaheb’s recommended, two established director-actors, Anand Javdekar and Abhishek Jadhav, were invited from India to guide the enthusiastic participants in Houston. The directors worked tirelessly with the local project manager Abhishek Bhat and local director Chaitrali Thote-Gokhale, resulting in an outstanding performance. Most of the actors were performing on stage for the very first time. The stage set was built locally and was 21 feet tall and 50 feet wide with Goddess Bhavani’s replica projected in the center as Shivaji Maharaj was her ardent follower and disciple





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President Jyotsna Phadke. HMM now have their own land of 11 acres in Rosenberg and have recently built a Sankalp Maruti prayer station, which will be inaugurated in April. As funds accumulate, HMM hopes to build a Siddhi Vinayak temple and a sabhagruha (auditorium) on the property. More successful ventures/fund raisers like “Janata Raja” should make the Vastu an achievable goal in the near future. Along with the performing artists and the volunteers in the back stage, the Vastu Committee and the “Janata Raja” Marketing team did an outstanding job in raising funds.


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Several anecdotes of Shivajiraje’s life were a part of the play with Jijabai, his mother, being his inspiration and mentor for the creation of “Swarajya” (independence). Shivajiraje Bhosale is like God to the State of Maharashtra and a production like “Janata Raja” further commemorates his bravery, valor, and at the same time, his principles of kindness and generosity. This is yet another feather in the Houston Maharashtra Mandal’s (HMM) cap, which over the past five years, has really geared up to build its own community center and temple under the direction of HMM Vastu President Rahul Deshmukh and HMM Cultural




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March 15, 2019

Southwestern National Bank Scholarship

Houston: Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Program is funded by Southwestern National Bank (Member FDIC) to recognize and assist outstanding high school graduates reduce the financial burden for college. Southwestern National Bank Scholars are selected on the basis of their financial need, academic achievement, and community involvement. Each year a total of $5,000.00 will be awarded to five selected scholars. Each scholar will be awarded $1,000.00. Eligibility 1. Demonstrates financial need for college tuition, book & supplies and expenses 2. U.S. high school graduating seniors 3. Has a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (un-weighted) 4. Will enroll in an accredited U.S. college full-time for the entire academic year 2019/2020 Documents required (To be considered, all of the following documents must be submitted) 1. A completed Southwestern National Bank Scholarship Application Form 2. An official high school transcript 3. Copies of the most recent document(s) demonstrating the financial need (Family’s 1040 Federal Income Tax Return Form, qualification for School Free/Re-

duced Lunch Program, etc.) 4. Two letters of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, and/or other advisors 5. A two-page typed essay stating why you should be awarded a scholarship. Please include: • Financial need for this scholarship for educational purposes • Personal and academic achievements. Give specific examples. • Academic plans and career goals. Give specific examples. • Past and current involvement, as well as future plans, towards making a difference in your community Application Process & Award Announcement 1. Please send your application package to Southwestern National Bank, Attention Scholarship Program-Ling Chuang, 6901 Corporate Drive, Houston, Texas 77036. 2. Applications and all supporting documents must be received by April 30, 2019 for application to be considered. 3. An interview may be part of the application process for all semi-finalists. 4. Scholarships for the 2019 Scholarship program will be announced by mail in May 2019. Please Contact Us Scholarship application and information will be at all the Southwestern National Bank branches, or please contact the Scholarship Coordinator by e-mail at, 713-272-5045.

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March 15,2019

Raj Salhotra, Son of Indian Immigrants, Announces Run for Houston City Council

Raj Salhotra takes a selfie with his supporters.

By Pooja Salhotra When I entered Chapman & Kirby on Wednesday evening, it felt like high school all over again. I didn’t recognize many people, and upon introducing myself to anyone in the room, I was met with the same reaction: wide eyes, a broad grin and immediate reverence. Similar to when I was a freshman in high school, strangers gave me an underserved level of admiration, simply because I was Raj’s younger sister. Only this time, people’s respect stemmed not from my brother’s popularity, good grades or side business as a DJ, but from his passion to create a better Houston for everyone. Raj, who graduated from Harvard Law School last year, deferred a corporate firm job at Baker Botts and instead committed to public service in Houston. On Wednesday evening, in a room full of over 200 supporters, Raj officially announced his candidacy for Houston City Council At-Large Position 1. “I am running for Houston City Council to build one Houston,” Raj said. “To build a Houston where we can all reach our dreams. I fundamentally believe that starts with economic opportunity, improving our quality of life and building a resilient city.” Raj is challenging incumbent Mike Knox, vying for one of the five at-large seats on the Council. Unlike the district seats representing a specific geographic area, atlarge positions represent the entire city of over 640 square miles and

more than 2 million people. At 28 years old, Raj will likely be the youngest candidate on the ballot this November. The son of Atul and Poonam Salhotra, Raj grew up in Bellaire, Texas and attended St. John’s School. He grew up Hindu and currently serves as the president of the Young Hindus of Greater Houston (YHGH). After graduating cum laude in 2012, he went on to Rice University where he studied economics and public policy and tutored low-income high school and middle school students. While in college, Raj spent a semester interning in the Obama White House, an experience that he says shaped his political aspirations. Upon graduating from Rice in 2013, Raj joined Teach for America as a high school calculus and statistics teacher at YES Prep Southwest, a charter school serving predominantly low-income, minority students. As a teacher, Raj saw students struggle to achieve academic success because of problems they faced outside of the classroom – crippling poverty, even homelessness in some cases. This experience inspired Raj to create SWAG to College, a mentorship organization helping 600 underserved students get into and thrive in college. Raj’s experience as a teacher, coupled with his upbringing as the child of Indian immigrants, together motivated his decision to run for office. “The city of Houston, and this country more broadly, has helped

my family live the American Dream,” he said. “As a teacher and non-profit leader, I have worked with hundreds of students who have the exact same aspirations as I do, whose parents work just as hard as my parents do, […] but unfortunately, because of policy issues and structural inequalities, they are trapped in poverty.” Raj’s campaign promise is to serve as an advocate for all Houstonians. He referenced one of his former students who wanted to attend Lone Star Community College but did not have a car. That student takes the bus every day, spending three hours on a commute that would take thirty minutes by car. Raj intends push for a stronger public transit system and to work with METRO to increase bus services to underserved areas. He also referenced a Rice student who was injured in a bike accident. It is unacceptable that 2000 Houstonians have been injured or killed from a bike accident in the last four years, he said, advocating for Vision Zero, the elimination of all traffic fatalities and injuries. Over the next several months, Raj plans to listen to concerns from Houstonians; he even gave out his personal cell phone number – “the same number my mom uses to call me.” “You all are the employer and the boss, and I am the public servant and employee,” he said. “Ultimately, the job of a public servant is an advocate. It’s an advocate for folks who have traditionally been left out. It’s an advocate for folks who don’t necessarily have the time or the wherewithal to go speak out on their causes, but their causes are important.” On Wednesday, Raj used his platform to advocate for Liyna, a 29-year-old South Asian journalist in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Volunteers from Be the Match Registry set up a table so that attendees of Raj’s campaign kick-off could sign up to determine if they are a blood match with Liyna. To find out more about Raj’s campaign, visit his website here:


Masala Radio Radio Rocked Aliana @ Yogi India Grocers Grand Opening Over one thousand in the Aliana community in Richmond rushed to the Masala Grand opening of Yogi India Grocers, a brand new Indian grocery store & kitchen. Masala Radio promoted the grand opening and hosted the event on Sun Mar 3rd, 2019. It was supposed to rain but thankfully it did not. It was slightly cold but perfect weather for hot chai & fresh snacks that Yogi India served to al guests. They did not expect such a large turnout and had to bring in extra kitchen staff to keep up with the line of guests outside the store waiting to go inside. The store was fully packed by 10:30am. Masala Radio played music live and made regular radio announcements on air to invite everyone to the parking lot party with music, dance, autorickshaw rides, contests & gifts. Owners Amish, Kamlesh & Meghdut Patel along with their families personally greeted all customers and were especially delighted with those who strolled in on foot from nearby residences! The first 25 customers were gifted with a bag of rice, next 25 customers were gifted 20 lb atta bag, next 25 were presented special gift baskets courtesy of Umang Mehta & Deep Foods. Shoppers filled their carts to the brim with amazing sale items, and stood in long check-out lines extending to the back of the store. The families of the owners also helped out a lot at the event – Shefali Patel, Jill Patel, Jigna Patel, Nira Patel, Pujan Patel, Meghdut Patel, Jagruti Patel. Outside the store, Masala Crew members Ninad, Diip, Mayur & Ruchir gave Free rides in the Red Masala Autorickshaw and the Sholay scooter with the cute side car! DJ Nish cranked up the music and Pyari Priya taught everyone some Madhuri dance moves. Ladies & men alike participated & event coordinator Payal gave all Holi Mela tickets. Ruchika of Bollywood shake made a surprise entry in her punjabi outfit and taught some Punjabi moves to the crowd. Everyone was having so much fun, even Rocky Shah, chief trustee of Gujarati Samaj joined in the fun. “I didn’t expect so many people in this cold weather. This

is really jammin. People are enjoying the free chai and dal vada. Soon the entire store was converted into a dance floor and the party was booming inside. DJ Nish joked “this is more fun than the club parties” The guests were having such a blast they didn’t want to leave. Masala Radio team Challenged men & women to participate in Grocery games and awarded Deep Silver coins to the winners. Yogi India Grocers almost ran out of complimentary snacks at 1pm. On the spot they made additional hot snacks to meet the commitment to serve free snacks till 2pm. Amish & Kamlesh and their families thanked all well-wishers who flooded the store all day to congratulate them. Umang Mehta of Deep foods announced on the mic “Deep foods congratulates Yogi India Grocers. Our community has grown so much near 99. I see so many people from Harvest Green than Aliana” He said jokingly. Ina Patel who lives walking distance from Yogi India remarked “I live right behind the store. And I love their kitchen. They make authentic home style vegetarian food and the prices are very reasonable” Amish Patel happily said “This event was beyond our expectations. It seemed everyone in Houston knew about the grand opening. We had people come from as far as the Woodlands. We were not ready for this kind of a response. Masala Radio did a great job with the promotions and organizing the event. Thank you Houston and thank you Aliana. Halo re halo.” Masala Radio would like to thank the families of the owners who helped out at the event – Shefali Patel, Jill Patel, Jigna Patel, Nira Patel, Pujan Patel, Meghdut Patel, Jagruti Patel. They all came to enjoy the event but ended up helping out with the event. Without all their help, we would not be able to handle the amazing crowd we had that day. Yogi India Grocers is located at 10450 FM 1464 @ west bellfort. Its open 7 days from 10am to 8:30pm. You can reach them at (832)- 5327170.

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March 15, 2019

President’s Day IACCGH Shell Lecture by Neil Bush Houston: On Monday February 18, 2019 Neil Mallon Bush helped celebrate the life and work of his late father George H. W. Bush, the 41st President (1989-1993) who he said brought to the White House a dedication to traditional American values and a determination to direct them towards making the United States “a kinder and gentler nation” in the face of a dramatically changing world. Addressing the packed gathering at the IACCGH Distinguished lecture with personal insights of the life of his father and in a very emotional speech, Neil Bush shared his personal experience of the late Presidents’ funeral. Neil reminded us that in the Inaugural Address President Bush had pledged in “a moment rich with promise” to use American strength as “a force for good.” Feeling a responsibility to make his contribution both in time of war and in peace on his 18th birthday President Bush enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in the Navy, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. He was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued by a U. S. submarine & was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action. The President next turned his energies toward completing his education and raising a family.

Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana (left) presents a momento to speaker Neil Bush with IACCGH President Swapan Dhairyawan, Shell’s Ana Kopf and IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Aluwalia.

father’s vision of inspiring, equipping and mobilizing volunteers to increase capacity for vital social services and for finding innovative solutions that lift individuals, strengthen families and renew communities. Neil chairs the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, dedicated to helping all Houstonians realize their fullest potential through literacy. In his professional life, Neil develops international business opportunities. Renowned Houston artist Gopaal “Neal” Sen presented Neil Bush with a special portrait he had created when he had heard of the passing of the President. IACCGH President Swapan Dhairyawan presented Neil Bush and Acting Consul General Surender Adhana with mementos. The series sponsor Shell’s representative Ms Ana Kopf proposed the vote of thanks.

In January 1945 he married Barbara Pierce. Excelling both in his studies and sports, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and captain of his sports team at Yale, then pursued a career in the oil industry in Texas. Interested in public service he served two terms as a Representative to Congress from Texas, as Ambassador to the United Nations, Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1988 he was elected President of the United States and saw the end of the cold war, the breakdown of the communist empire and the fall of the Berlin Wall. His greatest test was during the Iraq invasion of Kuwait. Neil Bush, an international businessman, serves as Chairman of the Points of Light Board of Directors, where Neil expands his

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KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, TX is looking for an Innovative, Hands-on, Sr. Producer – Marketing. This individual’s primary role will be to help create and oversee the Digital promotion of our station’s Marketing content. We need a content optimization strategy champion who knows how to grow a brand through compelling promotional content creation and getting it in front of the right audiences. Our Marketing (Non-News) content includes: Network, Syndicated and Locally Produced Programs, Owned Station Group Content including “Localish”, OTT Content, Locally Sponsored Marketing & Community Campaigns, Specials, Live Events, and “Own the Moment” opportunities. We need a strong leader with excellent communications skills who has the ability to work with all departments to help plan, create, publish and manage the digital presence of this content. Additionally, someone who will provide ongoing feedback and training to department producers/photogs/editors/graphic artists to create SEO-focused production workflows and the most compelling promotional content possible. We need a Brilliant Ideas Person with the ability to conceptualize and create clean, contemporary, yet attention-grabbing work using their strong promotional writing/ editing and graphic skills. Someone with hands-on experience posting, promoting, engaging and performance tracking both written and visual digital content, including launch pages, native ads and all elements of an integrated marketing content campaign. Qualifications: Minimum 5 years in Television Promotion/Digital Content Production with handson experience in creating, publishing and optimizing content on both linear and non-linear platform. Highly organized and detail-oriented Intimate understanding of Digital Analytics and is comfortable providing strategic recommendations based on deep dives into the data. Strong understanding of all digital platforms and SEO principles Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office and Adobe products, including PowerPoint, Excel, Photoshop, Illustrator, Outlook, Word Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Premiere, online publishing tools. Understands this is a 24-7 business and has the ability and desire to work with a sense of urgency whenever needed within a deadline oriented fast paced environment. To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at www.disneycareers. com by uploading a resume file and cover letter. Please reference Job Requisition # 646579BR



KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

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March 15,2019

YLDP Receives Exclusive Look at CHR Solutions


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Prayer meeting underway for Pulwama victims at the Sanatan Shiv Shakti Mandir. CHR Solutons President Dr. Arun Pasrija addressing students at the sixth YLDP session.

By Gaurang Budhiraj Houston: During the sixth YLDP session, many individuals came together to listen to Dr. Arun Pasrija talk about the obstacles he has faced in his career as well as the company we all know as CHR Solutions. The lecture was held on February 16th at the company base of CHR Solutions. They are the leading provider of BSS/OSS Software solutions, Engineering, and Managed IT and NOC services that address the operational and marketplace challenges faced by today’s Communications Service Providers. Their team of experts in industry help companies grow revenue and improve operations. Dr. Arun Pasrija started off with

a big company (AT&T Bell Labs/ AT&T/Lucent/Nokia) in which he was included in the robotics and software development, systems engineering, international assignment, product development management and general management. Later, he moved on to a pseudo start up in which he was the head of operations. Lastly, he was part of a true startup company that he was in partnership with the co-founder. The first thing Dr. Pasrija talked about was the meaning of a true business. He explained that a business is an organization involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers, or to other businesses. He also explained the difference between a small and large

business (small business- fewer then 500 employees). Next, we learned a couple of small business statistics. One stat that attracted my attention was that 52% of small businesses are home-based. Who knew there were that many people working from home? In addition, Dr. Pasrija described the bases and complex meaning of entrepreneurship as well as what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. He taught me that entrepreneurship improves productivity, spurs innovation and creates job for many people. There were many lessons to take away from this lecture, but the main one he emphasized was to always stay persistent and to always work hard.

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Indian Doctors Host First CME Session

IDA President Dr. Swati Joglekar welcomed attendees to the first CME session.

Houston: Indian Doctors Association (IDA) is a non-profit, group of physicians who provide mentorship in academic excellence, patient care, and promote health education to the greater Houston community. Indian Doctors Association hosted its first annual CME conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, Texas. The conference opened with welcome remarks by IDA officers, Dr Swati Joglekar (President), Dr Jignesh Shah (Vice President), Dr Atasu Nayak (Secretary), Dr

Ashima Chauhan (Treasurer), & Dr Prasun Jalal (Past President). The hands-on course, moderated by Dr Jignesh Shah, provided an up-to-date review of the theory and practice of meditation from its ancient origins to modern brain science. Prodigious mediation speakers, Drs Ragini Miryala and Radheshyam Miryala, spoke on The Role of Compassion & Ethics in Medicine and Cultivating Ethics & Professionalism through Meditation. During the conference, attend-

ees, also, participated in a 30-minute interactive meditation workshop designed to alleviate psychological and physical distress. The workshop helped attendees cultivate their own personal meditation practices. It was noted, meditation holds great promise not only for clinicians’ own personal development but is a remarkably powerful tool to augment virtually every form of psychotherapeutic and medical treatment. The CME course concluded with a Q&A session lead by expert panelists, Dr Uttam Tripathy and Dr Manish Ghandi.

M/WBE Supplier Opportunity

WNA Houston is bidding on Project number 19-08-18 Kitchen & Production Smallwares for the Houston Independent School District. We are looking for possible M/WBE Suppliers to provide the following: Delivery of Finished Goods If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Griffin Clark at our office by email at

Indo-American News • Friday, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:


March 15, 2019

Saturday, Ma Cinco Ranch Hig

See article on page 5 Indo-American News • Friday, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:

March 15,2019

arch 9, 2019 gh School, Katy

Indo-American News • Friday, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:



March 15, 2019

Hindus of Greater Houston Elect New Board, Thara Narasimhan as President Houston: After an incredible three year run as President of Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH), Partha Krishnaswamy handed over the reins to Thara Narasimhan in February 2019. As one of its founders, Thara’s association with the organization runs deep and with this she becomes the first woman to head HGH. While she “understands the greater responsibility that comes with the position, she accepts to serve the community and do her best to take the new Role as President of HGH, along with a new admirable team of Board members who join her to build a harmonious successful year.” The new HGH 2019 Executive Directors will comprise of Thara Narasimhan, President, Sanjay Jain, Vice-President, Partha Krishnaswamy, Immediate Past President, Bhawna Luthra Secretary, Hemant Jadhav Jt. Secretary, Girish Naik, Treasurer. A Houstonian since 1981, Thara isn’t new to leadership roles having served as President of Bharathi Kalai Manram- the Tamil cultural organization in Houston and the “Samskriti Society of Indian Performing Arts”. Thinking ahead, Thara intends to focus on the HGH website database and consolidate information about all the temples and their ac-

Hindus of Greater Houston - Board of Directors Left to Right: Gopal Aggarwal, Hemant Jadhav (Jt. Secretary), Bharat Pallod –Hindu Youth Camp, Board of Advisor, Girish Naik (Treasurer), Sreemathy Ranganathan, Bhawna Luthra ( Secretary), Thara Narasimhan(President) , Partha Krishnaswamy (Immediate Past President), Sanjay Jain (Vice President), Somansh Agarwal, Swapan Dhairyawan, Vijay Pallod. Not in Picture: Tupil Narasiman, Vinod Mantri, Bhagwan Bhutada, Sanjay Jajoo, Mark Ram, Rajesh Bakshi, Raj Shah, Sharad Amin.

tivities in and around Houston. Another goal is to develop an “open, single communication center” for clarifying questions about Hinduism for mainstream America or issues within the community. Developing young Hindus of Houston is another priority. A competitive tennis player until two years ago, one of the lessons Thara absorbed is that one can’t always win but what’s important is “giving every game your best shot.” She will utilize these life lessons from tennis to “Listen, Learn and Lead” in her new capacity.

A native of Chennai, high schooled in Besant Theosophical High School Adyar, Thara graduated with a Masters in Microbiology from Madras Medical College. Her grandparents were a major influence in imbibing in her the values of Sanatan Dharma, learning Sanskrit, Hindi and Tamil slokas and bhajans was mandatory for all in her family. She loves to learn the “arth” (meaning) of the lyrics in Classical music compositions and Sanskrit hymns. She is well versed in Tamil,

Hindi, Sanskrit and Telugu languages. Her parents inspired her to develop love for arts and culture. As a hobby she contributes concert reviews in Houston on dance and music performances to local newspapers and websites. Professionally, a microbiologist, medical and radio technologist at an Urgent Care Clinic for the past 35 years, Thara points out that the color of the blood she draws from every one of her patients is identical. In a philosophical vein she says, “We are all alike inside and different outside and I value each life as

one and the same.” She shares these nuggets of spiritual wisdom every weekend with her listeners when she dons the headset on the “Voice of Sanatan Hinduism” a radio show that explains the tenets of Hinduism. She is proud to continue the legacy started by Shri Padmakant Khambhati as a Hinduism Radio program, which has communicated through public media not only the eminence of Hindu faith but also presented melodious bhajans, music and chants of Vedic Hinduism.” Khambhati ji was the main influence for her to join HGH and also takes inspiration from Beth Kulkarni ji who is also a founder and past advisory member of HGH. HGH Chairman of the Board of Advisor Dev Mahajan has this to say “Tharaji is not only a great team player but an excellent leader. The objectives and goals of HGH are ingrained in her blood since she has served diligently as a secretary for last 6 years. I believe she will lead HGH to new heights.” Despite so much on her platter, Thara seems to juggle it all with ease. She credits this to a “very admirable and understanding husband (Dr. N.D Narsimhan) who is a pillar of patience and support.” The couple has one son Kirthi, an engineer and daughter in law Dr. Rashmi Narayan.

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As the countdown for elections to the 17th Lok Sabha begins, the world’s largest democracy has a chance to re-imagine itself. Over the last 16 general elections and numerous elections at lower levels, the resolute trust that the founding fathers of the Republic put in the parliamentary democratic system has been substantially proven wise. India did make some dangerous turns and show signs of fragility, especially during the Emergency in the 1970s, but in the long term it expanded the scope of its democracy through widening representation, devolution of power and redistribution of resources. This is not to overlook the various maladies that have afflicted the country’s democracy, such as disinformation campaigns, corruption, disenfranchisement of the weaker sections of the society, the corroding influence of money and muscle power in elections, and divisive majoritarian tendencies. While the representative character of institutions has in general improved, women and religious minorities are alarmingly underrepresented. The exercise of elections itself is a matter of great pride for all Indians. The Election Commission of India has over the decades evolved itself into a fine institution and plays a critical role in the sustenance of democracy. Its efforts to increase voter participation through steps, including the use of the Electronic Voting Machines, have been praiseworthy. The vulnerabilities of Indian democracy have been pronounced in the last five years, and some of its long-term gains have been undermined. Therefore, this election is more than an exercise to elect a new government. This should also be an occasion to reiterate and reinforce Indian democracy’s core values. The ECI has announced a series of fresh measures to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process and curb some rapidly growing hazards such as the spread of falsehoods aimed at creating social polarisation for consolidation of votes. Measures such as better monitoring of social media campaigns, while steps in the right direction, are not in themselves adequate to deal with the challenges of these times. The stakes are high for all contenders this year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who rode to power in 2014 on the agenda of material progress through Hindutva, has to defend his reign to seek a second term. His opponents sense an existential danger from him and are trying to mobilise those left behind. While furthering individual interests, all parties must realise that democracy itself is at stake if the campaign is aimed at communal polarisation. Though the promise of Indian democracy has not been fully realised, voters have remained committed to it. They turn up in large numbers to vote, and consider the very act of voting as empowerment. That trust should be upheld. -- The Hindu.

March 15,2019


Achilles vs Fighter Jet

Karna was a complex hero of the epic Mahabharata.

By Keerthik Sasidharan The heroes of the epics were complex figures. Their counterparts today are dehumanised. The history of the ‘hero’ as a category of description in popular imagination is surprisingly fragile and also complex. It is fragile because a hero is born of a marriage of circumstance and wilful action, and is midwived into this world by a fleeting rearrangement of what is considered possible — when our present world, one filled with all-too-familiar cause-and-effect, splits to reveal another, improbable world. A world wherein a 1970s MiG-21 can shoot down an advanced F-16 jet in a dogfight. In due course, this story of improbability accretes around it a halo of awe. The idea of a hero is held together in public memory by a carapace of sentiments cemented by an insinuation of greatness, and ultimately baked dry as a fact by the very act of repetitive narration. All the while, inside this collectively architected reality lies the truth of the heroic action, which is obscured for all but the hero himself. Traditionally, what is meant by a ‘hero’ is itself complex: is it one who wars valiantly against the die of fate cast by the gods (say, Karna in the Mahabharata) or one so extravagantly blessed by the gods that his mere presence is an event (say, Achilles in the Iliad). In our secular age too, intuitions

about the heroic are still born from the wellspring of violence — Somnath Sharma at Badgam in 1947, Arun Khetarpal at Bara Pind in 1971, Vikram Batra at Point 4875 in 1999, or Sandeep Unnikrishnan at the Taj, Mumbai in 2008. In ancient Greece, a world where violence was frequent and often eulogised, we find that narratives of Homer and those inspired by him tend to have three characteristics. One, all heroes are born from war. Two, the hero often faces a choice between a long, middling life or a shorter, glorious one. And third, others are uncertain about how to think of the hero — is he to be venerated, or merely respected? The heroic mode is as much an internal one as it is one about the responses of others. In contrast, the taxonomies of the heroic mode in Bharata’s Natya Shastra — Dhirodatta Nayaka, Dhiralalita Nayaka, Dhiraprashanta Nayaka etc. — are preoccupied with an underlying psychology. The hero is a means of embodying a complex set of emotional valences constrained by social prescription and emotional maturity. In neither of these understandings does being heroic come without costs. Upon coming face to face with his enemy Priam, all Achilles could do was admire him; he “watched his handsome face and listened to his words”. In that penultimate moment before executing

his eternal enemy Karna, even the great Arjuna baulks for a moment — his humanity burbles past the barbarisms of a holocaust at Kurukshetra. In contrast to these traditional understandings of the hero as a complex being, in our modern media narratives, the ‘hero’ is a placeholder, into which an inchoate attachment and highly particularised ‘patriotism’ pours in. This patriotism is reducible to a specific set of actions that allows for convenient demarcations of good and evil, a cartoonish portrayal that has little interest in the everyday lives of soldiers in a warrior culture. In her illuminating essay on the Iliad, the French philosopher Simone Weil writes about ‘force’, which permeates all instances of violence,. She defines ‘force’ as an intervention which changes any human into a phantom approximation of the living. It is this dehumanising urge that informs hero-narratives in our media. Our understanding of the heroic is progressively limited to the ability to kill or avoid being killed. This implies that today’s anointed heroes will cease to matter by tomorrow’s news cycle. More troublingly, it means our understanding of the security forces, their struggles and strifes — all become irrelevant in the relentless need to manufacture new heroes. -- The Hindu Keerthik Sasidharan is a writer and lives in New York City.

Indo American News Founder: Dr. K.L. Sindwani Publisher: Jawahar Malhotra Editor: Pramod Kulkarni Reporter: Sanchali Basu Advertising Administrator: Sarita Mehta ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 212, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel & fax: 713-789-6397 email:, website: www.

Indo-American News • Friday, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:


March 15, 2019

Theatrical Company MIST Lives Up to Expectations Again with “Ron” By Sanchali Basu

Houston: The theatrical company MIST (Masks, Issues, & Stages Traversed) came through again with their much awaited latest production “Ron,” at the Matchbox in Midtown during March 2 and 3. The word ‘Ron’ means war in Bengali, which is the theme of the entire play which revolves around the conflict and emotions created by war in a subsection of the Bengali immigrantsin the US, touched by war in some form or the other. The main protagonist of the play is Ron (Abhishek) Mitra, a US Army soldier deployed in Iraq after the 911 attack on the US. He has grown up in the US in an immigrant Bengali family, father Animesh (Jaydip) being a professor, and mother Shanti, (Santasri) which means peace in Sanskrit, a housewife. Raised in a conventional, nonviolent, sedate environment in Bengal, the parents have not come to terms with Ron joining the army, and are in a constant state of anxiety and tension. The play builds up with flashes from the past, to acquaint the audience with the parent-son equation and understand that parents cannot dictate what their child chooses to do in life, since many themselves did not listen to their parents while choosing a career path. Gradually the other characters are introduced: Nanda (Subhodip), a friend of the Mitras; Bidisha (Nupur), a pregnant friend of

A scene from the production of “Ron” on the March 2–3 weekend at the Matchbox and cast of the play.

Ron’s; Tanmoy (Anirban), Bidisha’s husband; Pragya (Pubali), a friend of the Mitra family and Surojit (Tareque), a writer-journalist friend of Pragya visiting from India. The Mitras are getting ready to host a baby shower for Bidisha, when they are unnerved by the sad news of the untimely death of a

close friend of Ron’s who was also deployed and was the one who had inspired him to join the army. In their relationship, Tanmoy is constantly suspicious that Bidisha is having an affair with Ron. He thinks army personnel are losers, and reminds Bidisha that she was able to come to the US only be-


cause of him and that she should remain submissive and be forever grateful for that. Surojit commissioned Pragya to write about Ron, his experiences and the circumstances that led him to take the decision to join the army. Surojit reminded Pragya that she had misunderstood him

regarding the events from the past and he still had feelings for her. He comes across as a loud, blunt, no nonsense, in your face character. The party rapidly goes into a tailspin with each character exposing the secret wars they have been fighting all along. Nanda, who excels every time with his impeccable powerful acting, conveyed the anguish that he underwent when his family was killed during the Bangladesh war. Surojit, an exarmy man was court-martialed for carrying out an order for a wrongful act, also came out dramatically. Pragya’s daughter’s HIV+ diagnosis was food for thought. The climax was the news of Ron’s death, but his last wish that Bidisha’s bridal shower must go on under any circumstance, was honored. What added to the flavor of the play, was some gut wrenching vocals by Chandrani, during the interludes and Nupur and Pubali during the course of the play. Playwright Sudipta Bhawmik, through his writing demonstrates his prowess in playing with human emotions and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. The very powerful and well enacted play was supported by some brilliant acting and volunteers Aayush, Anindita, Rahul, Balaka, Rajat, Swati, Piyal, Sailaja, Priya, Suchetana, Saurabh, Partha, Sujoy, Kausik, Arani and Nahid. Manas Saha as director was par excellence. The play ran to sold out audiences for all three shows.

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March 15, 2019

IACCGH Tax Seminar Educates Community on US Tax Queries and Issues for 2018 Return



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The panelists for the IACCGH Tax Seminar at India House included CPAs Swapan Dhairyawan (left), Mahesh Desai, Shehan Chandrasekar and Atul Kothari. Photo credit: Paresh Shah.

Houston: The IACCGH Annual Tax seminar, which seeks to educate the community on various tax related queries and issues was held on Feb 24,2019 at the India House, attracting over 110+ attendees. Held for the seventh year in a row, the event was ably moderated and chaired by CPA Swapan Dhairyawan. IACCGH Secretary Ashok Garg opened the event by thanking the distinguished panel of CPA’s for contributing their valuable time during the thick of tax season, in educating the community. IACCGH President and Moderator for the seminar, Swapan Dhairyawan introduced the speakers and thanked “Charter Title Com-

pany” the sponsor for this event. With the recent changes to many tax related laws in 2018, he emphasized the Chamber’s commitment of bringing “value to the community” through such events. Panelist CPA Atul Kothari explained the complexity of IRS Code section 199A and interest deduction for qualified business income from a “specified trade or business”. He stated that this new code is significant for small business owners and needs professional assistance to stay in compliance. CPA Mahesh Desai explained the importance of FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) and also highlighted the recent changes on Business &

the Individual tax brackets. He went on to explain the new tax percentages changes for each income bracket and how the taxpayers need to comply under current tax laws. CPA Shehan Chandrasekar ventured into the new territory of Cryptocurrency and explained the various tax laws and implications associated with Bitcoin and its significance with emerging Tax compliance. The presentations were followed by an interactive Q&A session which covered most of the topics & issues raised by the attendees. Madras Pavilion provided refreshments for the event. Visit for more details about future events.

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March 15, 2019

Indo-American News • FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:


SUDOKU Place a Number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine.

Send us the correct answer before September 05, 2018. Email us at or mail to 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036. Send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published (for first three entrees only & 1 submission per month).

Solution Next Week

Last Week’s SUDOKU Solution

Last Week’s SUDOKU Winners

1) Mohan Jawalagi 2) Mark Desai 3) Kumud Athavaley

March 15, 2019


Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

This Punjabi recipe incorporates a special favorite ingredient – wadiyyan (sundried lentil dumplings) – with a vegetable that is seasonal but not often used – arbi (eddoe root). Made with a medium thick sauce, and eaten with hot rotis, the results are delicious! So, for those looking for an unusual recipe, below is a reprint of Mama’s Arbi te Wadi di Turri recipe, with some additional comments and directions.

Arbi te Wadi di Turri

(EDDOE ROOT & LENTIL DUMPLING CURRY) Punjabis eat the root vegetable arbi (eddoe root) in several ways but when made in a curry it gives competition to the aloo wadiyan curry dish that it resembles, but the taste is much better as the arbi is softer on the palette and soaks up the curry flavor well. Arbi (eddoe root) is closely related to the taro root but is smaller and has an acrid taste that requires careful cooking. It grows best in rich soil with good drainage but can also be grown in poorer soils and drier climates than the taro root. Eddoe originated in India and Malaysia, and from China and Japan it migrated to the West Indies and the New World. Among the benefits of arbi are that it reduces fatigue, aids in digestion, controls hypertension, has a low glycemic index making it good for diabetics, has amino acid and Omega-3 oils, builds immunity and slows the aging process. Arbi is high in carbohydrates, the vitamins E and pyridoxine, and potassium and copper. In the US, you usually find two types of arbis: the larger Chinese or Japanese type which are more fibrous and have a flatter taste than the Indian variety, which are smaller and softer. For best results, choose the medium sized roots. Some recipes like arbi chaat require that the arbi be steamed or lightly boiled and then the hairy exterior skin can be pulled off. For this recipe, the arbi must be scrapped with a knife as the skin is thin and soft. This dish requires wadiyan (sun dried lentil dumpling) and though I prefer the Amritsari variety, any large ones that you can find will do. Just remember to brown the wadi so that the wadi will taste cooked otherwise it will give a raw lentil taste. Ingredients: • 1 kg arbi (small to medium eddoe root) • 1 large size Amritsari wadi (sun dried lentil dumpling) • 2 tbsp tael (vegetable or olive oil) • 2 cups pani (water) • 1 large pyaaz (onion) – peeled and chopped • 2 cloves of lasan (garlic) – peeled and chopped • 1 medium adrak (ginger) – peeled and chopped • 1 small tamater (tomato) or 1 tsp tomato paste

• Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), dhania (ground coriander), garam masala Directions: 1. Peel the arbi then coat it with salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then wash the arbi well and pat dry with a soft cloth.

while, the wadi will swell up and take on the flavor of the curry. 6. Check to see if the arbi is cooked and soft but firm to the touch: if it gets too soft it will taste mushy. 7. Sprinkle with garam masala and coriander before serving.

2. Cut the arbi into half-inch pieces. 3. In a kadai (wok) or skillet, heat the oil, throw in the wadi and brown it on all sides. When lightly brown, take out and keep to the side. 4. In the remaining oil, throw in the onions, ginger and garlic and brown them while stirring. Turn the heat down to extreme low so as not to burn the spices and stir to mix thoroughly. 5. Throw in the cut arbi into the spices and mix to coat. Add the water and cover and cook for 10 minutes. When the water starts to boil, add the wadi and cover and reduce the heat to low and let cook for 10 minutes. In a little

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 future generations.


WEEK IT’S HALLOWEEN SE A SO N , SO C LEA DRY PUMPKIN SE EDS TO NIBBLE L N AND In North India, we ATER! call pumpkin’s peth halwa (pud a an

d we ding) m it, or a m ashed, spicy sabzi (smake a delicious dish). Agra, the cifro au ty which is actually cr of the Taj Mahal, is famous for itstéed vegetable ys petha swee ta liz ed pumpkin. So with al the one thing that is l these uses for peth ts le ft ov er ar a, e the seeds which ca My mother, biji, n be eaten. cantaloupes, apric used to wash, clean all types of se in the sunshine for ots, pumpkins to name a few – and eds of fruits – chatting and crackia few days. We would then while awthen dry them Halloween just aroung open and eating the seeds! In ay the hours th nd the corner, try co ing and drying them llecting the seeds eanUS, with . Yo u d cleanca n ev en dr roast them in th skillet. Then pop th e oven or in a em open and chatyaw hile with friends!

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March 15, 2019


‘Badla’: Solid Thrills and Genuine Twists in True Revenge Story Story: Naina (Taapsee Pannu) is accused for the murder of Arjun (Tony Luke). Her lawyer Jimmy (Manav Kaul) hires the senior advocate Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) to help crack the case and defend Naina, but her confessions to Badal add twists and turns to the murder mystery. Review: Since revenge stories are literally done-to-death in cinema, crafting a smart thriller around the same old saga requires smart execution and tactfulness. Director Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Badla’ delivers solid thrills and genuine twists with great effect. This whodunit, keeps the viewer engaged and constantly guessing about the big reveal. The fact that this is a

remake of the Spanish film The Invisible Guest does not matter too much. The solid performances by Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu, along with the eye-for-detail in writing by Ghosh and his team, make the film a thrill-a-minute ride. The majority of the drama unfolds between just the two characters Naina and Badal Gupta, as they recollect the episode of Arjun’s murder. It’s a dialogue-heavy setup, where the interaction between two central characters draws you in and their repartee catches your attention. In the simplest sense, the premise of ‘Badla’ is a conversation between an accused, Naina and her lawyer, Badal. But,

the very fact that both characters withhold the truth and reveal their true intentions, slowly and steadily keeps the intrigue alive. Ghosh and his co-writer Raj Vasant adapt the story to an Indian context with plenty of Mahabharata references. Some of the dialogues get a bit repetitive, but the emotions of the characters and the situation are conveyed crystal clear. The constant back and forth into the flashbacks does get a bit tedious and makes the film feel a lot longer than it actually is. The real reason why the film comes together is the rapport between Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan. On paper, the setting of client and

lawyer may be familiar thanks to the two actors’ previous collaboration Pink, but the relationship and the dynamics between the two are complete-

ly new in ‘Badla’. Taapsee’s character has many shades and they’re revealed one by one as the story progresses. -- Times of India

‘Sonchiriya’: A Spiritual Puzzle of Remorse, Redemption ‘Kalank’: A Story: Set in the ravines of 1970’s commentary. Caste divide, gender Resplendent Chambal, the film follows a bunch discrimination, toxic patriarchy, deep of dacoits led by Man Singh (Manoj rooted superstitions and why revenge Period Drama Bajpayee) as they battle with the cops shouldn’t be confused with justice. and their own conscience. Review: You can run away from people but how do you escape yourself? You can silence the detractors but how do you silence your conscience? Under its rugged exterior, Sonchiriya is a spiritual puzzle on redemption, remorse and salvation, backed by stellar performances, captivating cinematography and provocative dialogue. Staying true to his style, Abhishek Chaubey gets into the heartlands of India to take a closer, gritty look at those who think they have sinned. What lies beyond their rebellious deeds and what goes on in their minds as they stare death in the face, forms the story. Outlaws can have morals and principles, while the so called righteous people can be devils in disguise. Whom do you trust? Spectacularly shot across the barren valleys of Madhya Pradesh, Chaubey tries to get a perspective on what defines good and bad through his protagonists — Man Singh and his men, Vakil (Ranvir Shorey) and Lakhna (Sushant Singh Rajput). They are God fearing bandits, who question their sense of purpose and existence.

Though centred around dacoits, cops, gun battle, ambush and dangerous confrontations in the dark of the night, the film isn’t really about crime but the aftermath of it and the curse that follows the perpetrators of violence. Can they silence their inner

demons or do they get consumed by it? The provocative film addresses the laws of nature… snakes prey on mice and vultures prey on snakes. Those who kill, will be killed eventually. What’s also hard-hitting is its social

Vishal Bhardwaj’s music and Rekha Bhardwaj’s vocals signify the characters’ inner turmoil and the empathy you feel for their need to fight a losing battle against Gujjar (Ashutosh Rana as an unforgiving cop). Even in a special appearance, Manoj Bajpayee proves once again what a terrific actor he is. Sushant Singh Rajput brings a certain honesty to the characters he portrays and he plays Lakhna with a lot of heart. Ranvir Shorey immerses himself in his role beautifully and Bhumi Pednekar plays a courageous female character effectively. Ashutosh Rana makes for a strong anti-hero who is actually in the right. Do note, the Bundelkhand dialect is not everyone’s cup of tea so you will be forced to look at the English subtitles and that can be a tad distracting. However, the language gets easier to comprehend with time. Gripping, tense and unpredictable, despite being a slow-burn western, Chaubey’s period thriller makes for a riveting watch. It manages to engage, suspect, shock and transport you to a world where people yearn for salvation over survival. -- Times of India

The teaser of Karan Johar’s dream project Kalank is out. Set in 1945, the period drama boasts of an ensemble cast including Alia Bhatt (Noor), Varun Dhawan (Zafar), Madhuri Dixit (Bahaar Begum), Sanjay Dutt (Balraj Chaudhry), Aditya Roy Kapur (Dev Chaudhry) and Sonakshi Sinha (Satya Chaudhry). The opulent sets, resplendent costumes, stunning dance sequences, unique characters and top-notch action sequences are the takeaways from the two-minute teaser of Abhishek Varman directorial Kalank. The official description of the video reads, “Set in 1945, in Pre-Independence India, Kalank is a tale of eternal love.” In the teaser, Dhawan’s Zafar is heard saying, “Some relationships are like debts which need to be paid off,” and Alia’s Noor says, “There’s nobody more damaged than a person who takes other’s failure as his or her’s achievement.”

Indo-American News • FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:

March 15, 2019

Chinmaya Houston Chinmaya Mission Mission Houston presents presents

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Indo-American News • Friday, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:




March 15, 2019

Vedic Fair: A Kaleidoscope of India’s Cultural, Religious Diversity By Sarita Mehta Katy: The 8th Annual Vedic Fair and Mega Celebration of India held on Saturday, March 9 at Cinco Ranch High School, drew more than 2,000 visitors. Once again, Ashirwad A Blessing Temple was able to superbly showcaseIndia’sheritage of cultural and religious diversity to a full house in a fun-filled, spiritual and entertaining, 5 hour non-stop program from 5 to 10 PM with over 150 artists, presenters, workshop hosts and vendors. The entrance of the school looked like the abode of the Lord, and inside was converted into the beautiful temple of Tridev; Lord Brahma – the Creator, Lord Vishnu – the Protector and Mahadev Shiva – the Redeemer along with their consorts Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati and other Indian Gods and Goddesses. The building had become a spiritual retreat, with a warm welcome at the entrance with hands folded in namaste by dwarpals, small kids dressed in traditional Indian dhoti kurtas. The Fair oned with chanting of melodious mantras followed by a Celebrate India exhibit competition. The presenters showcased 18 Maha-Puranas with a confidence and clarity that took the contest to a higher level. Defending Champion Aryaa Joshi once again became 2019 Champion for her topic ‘Bhagavata Purana’. Sudhiti Marri was runner-up for her topic ‘Agni Purana’. The competition was judged by Sanjay Patel, the author of 11 books including the best seller Science and Spirituality, and Srujana Dunnara, Ashirwad Young Wingz President. In addition, the fair showcased Buddhism by Universal Door, Christianity by Telugu Christian Fellowship, Ayurveda workshop by Ushadevi Pillai, Homeopathy by Anusha Thiagarajan, dandiya by Daksha Nagar and rangoli and painting by this reporter. A unique Musical Bingo game engaged and entertained the packed audience. FortBendCountyJudgeK.PGeorge gave a keynote address appreciating the diversity in the county and how the Vedic Fair for bringing rich culture and values. HCC Trustee Neeta Sane congratulated the Vedic Fair Team for the grand event. Sam Merchant from Congressman Al Green’s office presented a proclamation to Ashirwad A Blessing. Appreciation Awards were

presented to Vedic Fair sponsors Arun and Vinni Verma of Shri Sita Ram Foundation of USA; Saroj and Subhash Gupt;, Ajay Choudary of Ensupra Solar; Divyendu Singh of New York Life; Rama Khambhati, wife of Padmakant Khambhati, the founder of Sanatan Hindu Center Radio; fair emcee DJ AJ Ajay Kumar of DJAJ Productions; Chandana Kumar of Divaya Décor 4 U and Jignasa Anand of Chiros for being a vendor for 7 years; Govinda’s of ISKCON for being a vendor for 6 years and Chirag Patel of Maduram Mirch Masala for being a vendor for 6 years. Ashirwad Indian-LifeStyle Class students flawlessly recited the Shanthi Mantras for World Peace in honor of the deceased soldiers of the world after which the audience stood for a minute’s silence. The Dance Talent Team Competition enthralled the audience with detailed choreography, colorful costumes, props and diverse dance formats adhering to the “Indian Heritage” theme. The competition was won by Kalakar Group for their performance ‘Aadum Chidambarmoo’ about Lord Shiva

choreographed by Dr. Sunanda Nair. First Runner Up was Divine Dancers for their performance ‘Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano Ka’ choreographed by Surabhi Mahajan and 2nd Runner Up was Laasya School of Dance for ‘Kalyo Kood Padyo’ choreographed by Deepika Bhadange. The prime-time fast-paced play, “24 – The Untold Leela” directed by Vedic Fair Chair Geetha Ravula captivated the audience. The play was comprised of very rarely told unique stories from Indian Heritage. These outstanding stories highlighted how the divine descends to protect Dharma and were presented for the first time. Huge stage props, LED background screen, colorful costumes, background music, narration in English and fabulous artists took the audience on an Indian Heritage journey never seen before in Houston. The much-awaited finale, ‘Brides of the World – Fusion Show’ choreographed by Geetha Ravula was a treat for its fusion of contemporary music, dazzling costumes, and beautiful brides showcasing various heritages of the world representing Unity in Diversity.

For their continued commitment and dedication towards Indian Heritage Geetha Ravula thanked Ashirwad Family’s Vedic Fair

Team members Sailesh Kaparaju, Sri Ravula, Ashutosh and Sonali Sapru, Vikas and Shagun Ahuja, Vinod Conikee, Varun Rajan, Kavitha Prasad, Priya Muralidharan, Priya Ravishankar, Uma Chidambaram, Srimathi Kumar, Mahima Bhat, Manisha and Mahesh Halapeti, Bharat Rao, Harish Reyha, Dhawal Shah, Manoj Nair, Shiva Naidu, Surendra Naidu, Vaishali Sudhakar, Ranga Naidu and Ashirwad Young Wingz Team Srujana Dunnara (President),Ayushi Sapru (Vice President), Rishi Kadiam (Secretary), Venkat, Laalasa Kella, Divena Donthi (Past President), 50+ high school volunteers who served passionately, Judges Sanjay Patel, Rashmi Shashi, Nithya Hari, Khushboo Jaiswal and Monica Sirigiri. The Ashirwad Family thanked the supporting organization and individuals – ISKCON of Houston, Sanatan Hindu Center, Shri SitaRamFoundationofUSA, Hindus of Greater Houston, Subhash and Sarojini Gupta, Vijay Pallod, Daya Houston, Art of Living, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Avadhoota Daata Peetam, Amma Sri Karunamayi, Universal Door Meditation Center, Telugu Christian Fellowship, official media partner HUMFM 106.1, TV Asia, DJ AJ Ajay Kumar, Voice of Sanatan Hinduism Radio, Radio Hungama, Andhra Mirchi and Bharat Bazaar Booth Vendors. The 9th Annual VEDIC FAIR will occur in February 2020. For more information, visit

Indo-American News • FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:


March 15, 2019

Sewa Dancing Stars Raise Funds for Underprivileged Students

Personal Injury: Effects of Social Media

By Mala Sharma

Sewa Dancing Stars in action to support underprivileged students in Houston. Picture Credits: Navin Medivala and Andrew Roberts

By Kavita Tewari Houston: It was a week of unpredictable weather in Houston and as the Sewa Dancing Stars Team worked towards the event day, prayers were sent up and also answered! It was a beautiful spring day on March 2 when the Stars descended at Houston Durgabari to compete for the Sewa Dancing Stars 2019. This magical event saw the best dancing talent from the Greater Houston Area compete for the very coveted Sewa Dancing Stars awards. With the support of over 20 dance schools, over 900 attendees (performers, audience, and judges) and over 20 sponsors we were able to raise over $27,334, to support ASPIRE tutorials. This fundraiser was organized to raise funds exclusively for “ASPIRE Tutorials”, an education initiative undertaken by Sewa International for over 250 kids from refugee / low income / under-served community background. These kids are from Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kenya, Syria, Eritrea, Columbia, Guatemala and Mexico. The event this year featured about 100 performances in group and solo categories. The performers competed in 4 age groups and in 3 genera. The event emcees Mallika Ghei and Himi Haridas kept the audience engaged as performers in group category competed in the

main auditorium, while Nilamani Venisetty and Shruthi were the masters of ceremonies for the solo competitions being conducted simultaneously in Kala Bhavan auditorium in Durga Bari. This year’s event was bigger and better than before as 350 participants competed for 8 grand prizes in solo and group categories in all 4 age groups. The grand prize winners were 05 - 08 Solo - Ardra Rajesh Nair, Group -- Sunanda’s Performing Arts Center Bollywood Group 09 - 12 Solo - Megha Sunil, Group -Shivangini Academy Folk Group 13 - 17 Solo - Antaraa Sarkar, Group -- Sunanda’s Performing Arts Center Classical Group Arpanam 18+ Solo - Tejaswini Mohankumar, Group -- Kalaangan School of Odissi Classical Group Sewa International President Gitesh Desai addressed the gathering and thanked the dancers, their families and the volunteers for participating in the very noble cause of supporting educational needs of underserved and underprivileged children, he also remarked that the dancers’passion for giving and of being service to others through dancing was very noticeable on their faces. Sewa International USA President Professor Sree Sreenath Ji was the guest of honor for this event and he spent over two hours interacting

with volunteers, judges and the participants. In his address to the event gathering, he also talked about how ASPIRE is helping students in more 5 US cities, overcome the cycle of poverty. Nikhil Jain, Houston Chapter Cocoordinator, and Chapter Coordinator Achalesh Amar urged the audience to support such initiatives and give back to the community by either volunteering or by funding the projects. Volunteer Coordinator of the event Andrea Garza thanked over 60 volunteers, that worked tirelessly under the leadership of the core team including Hema Venkat, Charanya Sriram, Hasita Karthik, Lekha Vasanth, Jagruti Sarkar, Andrea Garza, Andrew Roberts, Sharda Gadiya, Naveen Medivala, Achalesh Amar, Goutam Venkatesh, Kavita Tewary and the event chair Anita Ravat. On the event day, key volunteers helped to anchor the various roles, including Nikhil Jain, Madan Luthra, Yagnesh Patel, Anusha Jain, Bharat Patel, Aatreya Tewary, Kaushiki Tewary, Abhijeet, among others. Sewa International is a nonprofit charity registered under the Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3). The mission of Sewa is to serve humanity in distress, aid local communities, and promote volunteerism. To know more about ASPIRE, please visit

Judge KP George Launches Global Economic Initiative

“It is crucial that Fort Bend build strong relationships with our Consular Corps and international economic development partners so that we can encourage job growth and attract private investment, for the benFort Bend County Judge KP George with other county officials and efit of residents across Fort Bend County. I dignitaries. am grateful that we Fort Bend County: Since January process, create new, well-paying jobs have a Consular Corps that is willing 1st and before, Fort Bend County for Fort Bend County residents. Judge KP George has been working In that spirit, Judge George recently to collaborate and help improve the tirelessly on increasing the level of met with Consul Generals from the economic fabric of our community,” economic development in Fort Bend United Kingdom, France, China, stated Fort Bend County Judge KP County. He is proud to launch the Fort Taiwan, Russia, Switzerland, Nor- George. With its 92 consulates, the Consular Bend Global Initiative. way, Germany, and India with the The mission of the Global Initiative goal of identifying opportunities to Corps of Houston is the third-largest is to work with international com- advance international relations with consular corps in the nation, serving panies and organizations to attract, an emphasis on economic and com- as a link between the Houston region and the world. foster, and grow businesses, and in the mercial results.


Social media has become a major factor in determining the value of your personal injury claims! This is a result of the increasing presence of social media in everyone’s lives where sharing experiences through quick posts are simple and easy. However, revealing too much on Facebook may hurt you in the end. Anything you say or post can be twisted in an unfavorable light against you and if you have a pending personal injury claim, you essentially, undermine the value of your case. That is, when you have been injured in an auto accident, slip and fall, or other incident due to the negligence of a third party, your claim for bodily injuries is filed with the negligent party’s insurance company. Once filed, the at-fault party’s insurance company will assign an adjuster to handle the case and do what they do best: find any way to pay the least amount of money. They will use all tricks in the book to counter and undermine your claim. The adjuster will look at all your social media accounts to search for any post, picture, comment by you that may be interpreted adversely to your bodily injury claims. For instance, if your personal injury claim includes severe neck pain, traumatic brain injury, physical pain, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment in life, and the adjuster see a picture of you enjoying activities that you would not normally be able to enjoy due to the damages claimed, then this will be used against you to state you are not actually in any pain. Basically, anything posted, stated, or said that contradicts your injuries will be used against you by an insurance company to state you are not injured and therefore entitled to little to no recovery for your damages. There are many solutions to preventing this social media issue. First, it is advisable to delete any social media account while the claim is pending. If you cannot delete your account, set your profile to private. Although, if litigation pursues on your

personal injury case, the insurance company may request a court to grant access to all your social media accounts. As such, it is advisable to not post anything about your accident, no pictures, nor any treatment, nothing relating to the insurance company, no communications with your attorney, nor any communication with others. Also, please let family and friends know to do the same. It is imperative that you contact a qualified personal injury attorney to guide you along this difficult journey and to recover the maximum amount for your damages suffered. Do not let the negligent party or the insurance company get away for the wrong they committed and not pay the complete value of your claim. About the Author: Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala has been appointed leadership roles for the American Bar Association GP Solo and GP Solo YLD division, is Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Past President of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association. Mala Sharma has been selected to the 2019 Texas Rising Stars by Super Lawyers. Mala has also been selected as 10 Best Attorneys by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorney for 2018-2019, Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers for 2018-2019, and Texas Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney by Attorney and Practice Magazine for 2019. This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at office number 281-893-8644 or by email at mala@ to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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Indo-American News • Friday, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:


March 15, 2019

Indo-American News • FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019 • Online Edition:

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