Indo-American News: April 1, 1951

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Friday, April 1, 2022 | Vol. 41, No. 13

April 1, 2022


Indo American News


Published weekly from Houston, TX

Special Reports Community Briefs Local Politics South Asians in the News

2470 Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77077 • 713.789.NEWS (6397) •

Masala Holi Madness with 15,000 Fans !

Sri Sita Rama Kalyanam


‘RRR’ : Epic Bromance

Masala Radio 98.7 FM organized Houston HOLI Festival of Colors in under 6 weeks. People of all ages, religions, and ethnicities shook off their fears and danced with colors in a celebration of Spring, a celebration of being ALIVE. SEE PAGE 2-3, 12.



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Indo-American News • Friday, April 1, 2022 •


MASALA RADIO 15,000 Crazy Masala Fans Experience Holi Madness! April 1, 2022


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Gen Z were in rhythm crooning to his hits like Down, Ride It, Do You Remember. The packed audience screamed when he sang the Hindi version of “Wanna Dance With You” and went buck wild when he sang “Down”. It was incredible that Jay Sean chose to perform in Houston on his actual birthday, and the Masala Crew surprised him with a 30-person sparkler parade and cake on stage, as he humbly accepted thousands of people singing Happy Birthday. The Jay Sean Concert was presented by MIG – Meghani Insurance Group and in fact Houston Holi 2022 was insured by MIG. The event opened with a holy prayer by Thara Narshiman, president of HGH to invoke the blessings of Lord Krishna. Local Indo American leaders Vijay Pallod, Kalpesh Rana, Swapan Dhairyawan, Ajit Patel, and Nisha Mirani were present on stage during the prayer along with elected officials including Sugar Land City Council Member Naushad Kermally and Fort Bend County Treasurer Bill Rickert. Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan said “Its great to see people of all backgrounds coming together as one. This is what America stands for.” FB Precinct 3 Constable Nabil Shike and his team flawlessly helped with all traffic management. “I love the spirit of Holi. You color each other as a symbol of love, peace & forgiveness. I want to promote this in my community.” Fort Bend County Judge KP George played with color with the revelers and said on stage “In color we are all ONE.” Well before the Jay Sean Concert Finale, leading local dance schools presented colorful Bollywood dances, in order of appearance: Ek Do Teen Dance, Katy Bollywood Beats Dance, Swati & Group, Aditi Bollywood Dance Sensation, Bol-

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Houston: Looking at the joyful, color-streaked faces of nearly 15,000, it was clear that Good had triumphed over Evil, the essence of HOLI. Masala Radio 98.7 FM organized Houston HOLI Festival of Colors in under 6 weeks. A monumental challenge after COVID, with labor and supply shortages like never seen. Indeed, it was apparent on SAT MAR 26th that the long winter of the pandemic had ended. People of all ages, religions, and ethnicities shook off their fears and danced with colors in a celebration of Spring, a celebration of being ALIVE. As guests entered glimpsing at the colorfully draped columns with carved Hindu Gods & Apsaras under the opulent domes of the VPSS Haveli Temple serving as a gorgeous background for a non-Indian DJ playing Bollywood Music - they knew this was no ordinary event, Holi or otherwise. Open fields inducing HOLI colorand-flee rushes, free flowing water pichkaris, non-stop Bollywood music and dancing, comedy relief, mouth-watering street foods, and endless giveaways from tshirts to Indian snacks and sweets encapsulated the 13th Annual Houston Holi on MAR 26, 2022, a tradition in Houston for thousands since 2008. Bhavisha Thakkar said, “My son Ayaan is 4. For the last 2 years – most of his conscious life – he’s been stuck indoors – so he raced through the fields with color and water gun as if escaping from a cage. He rode every ride multiple times – embraced the bounce house as his new second home - and it was difficult to take him home from Holi.” Returning to Holi after 5 years, Jay Sean emitted even more energy and connection with the audience. Everyone from Gen X to


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Willy, Nanayakkara and Associates remains in full operation during this global health event. Attorneys, legal assistants and support staff will be available via phone and / or video conferencing between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM CST. Thursday free consultations can also be scheduled by phone and video. Please contact us at (281)265-2522 or visit our website at www. for more information.

Indo-American News • Friday, April 1, 2022 •

FM 98.7

lywood Dancing Stars, Any1CanDance, Ethnique Performing Arts, and Infused Performing Arts. Infused presented a riveting theatrical performance of PUSHPA with Malayalee film actor Kiron Kumar in the lead role. Masala Radio Jockey Bijal Mehta choreographed a heart-racing Dholida from Gangubai Kathiawadi with dancers Rishita and Saloni. Local South Asian Rappers Bali and Omer-ican Dream had the audience in a trance with their original music with desi and hip hop beats. What was in no shortage was the generous sponsor support and giveaways. Minal of Zee5 said “This truly the biggest Holi celebrations in the country, and I have been to many but nothing like Houston one of the most vibrant and united South Asian Communities in the USA.” Zee5, the World’s largest South Asian streaming platform, gave away free 1 month subscriptions and delicious Alpha kulfis. Ramji Law Group gave away free Helicopter rides. Arshad Ramji said” No.. Not toy helicopters… we will bring the REAL DEAL.” Groups of four guests would go up every 15 minutes from behind the stage for a pradakshina of the Holi festival. Pablo from Club Pablo decided to play Holi with $1000 in dollar bills from stage, creating a frenzy in the audience. Nitya Capital sponsored free Rikshaw and Sholay Scooter rides, which was one of the hits of the festival. Malik Jamal of Discount Power single handedly gave away thousands of water bottles right near the stage to keep all the dance crowd hydrated. When he came on stage, he said “Lets keep dancing !” Upon hearing this, the audience threw water in air and danced in frenzy. Bob’s Lounge and Mai USA water gave away over 20,000 bottles of water at the entrance for people to drink, splash and use in their water guns. Colors and water are essential to Holi. Sherwin Williams gave away 5,000 white Tshirts and by 2pm all the guests looked like Sherwin Williams Minions! Umang Mehta & Deep Foods gave away 15,000 packets of Cookies and Snacks. Quick Tea handed out 5,000 milk shakes that retail for $2.99 each! Umang Mehta said. “I had my doubts how many would turn up at the gate because we just came out of Covid. But right behind my tent was the shuttle drop off and I saw packed buses constantly being dropped off until 4PM to catch the Holi fun. Then I knew this years Holi event was a roaring success.” Amir Dodhiya played cricket on stage and tossed balls in the air to a packed crowd in front of the stage. Everyone that caught the balls won cricket bats. Sam & Jimmy from

April 1, 2022

Neptune Imports gave away sunscreens and moisturizers at their tent. Mani Pallani from Texans Minerals gave away 5,000 of the worlds best sanitzers. Real Estate Rock stars Pinky & Imran of the B&P team ran fun raffle contests at their tent. Showfest conducted an impromptu Arijit Singh singing contest and gave away free Gold Seats. Keemat Grocers sponsored the Carnival rides to make them free – something unheard of at festivals. Kinjal Chheda of World Food came with his family to play Holi and said “Even people in India don’t play Holi like this. Here it seemed like the entire community came together like one family, forgiving each other and being one in color. I have not seen such a large crowd in my life.” Jawahar Malhotra of Indo American News said “With such a vibrant event, we are so proud to be chosen as the exclusive South Asian newspaper promoting this event.” Key Sponsors also included Blink Lending, Pervez Jasani, BitCare, and Dr. Freemu Varghese, & Dhanani Group. Indeed it takes a village, and the village leaders really came through. VPSS Haveli generously allowed the event to take place at their beautiful temple. Thousands of people who had not seen this temple got their first look in amazement at the fine artwork and beautiful temple grounds. Rashesh Dalal & Shailesh Patel of VPSS said “To play Holi is to pray for forgiveness of any past wrongdoings and Lord Krishna blessed us all with new hope, new life and a new beginning. Jai Shree Krishna.” VPSS management was so welcoming and helpful in every aspect of the event organization. Organic colors in cherry red, rosy pink, sun orange, mango yellow, lime green and peacock blue were sold by the Gujarati Samaj of Houston, one of Houston’s oldest Indo-American organizations. India Culture Center, International Hindi Association and Hindus of Greater Houston sold pichkaris – modern day water guns which made easy targets of guests caught off-guard! No industry has felt the pain of the pandemic more than the res-

taurant industry. Many brave restaurants stretched their resources to offer tantalizing street foods at the festival. Pablo’s created a Dosa Factory with traditional and fusion Dosas and had 45 min long lines to order fresh hot dosas. Pablo said “I brought my entire team from both restaurants here to keep up with the crazy demand at Holi. While others ran out of supplies by 3pm, we were serving to the very end. Pablos Restaurant is proud to be one of the title sponsors of this amazing event” Mirch Masala served delicious chat varieties – a Mumbai street food type consisting of tamarind and cilantro chutneys with puffed breads, puffed rice, onions, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Curry House came down from the North Side to offer their own Kerala style curries and payasam. Bawarchi – boasting a 400 item menu at their restaurant in the heart of Little India on Hillcroft – served up their world famous biryani. Ghamshyam Caterers offering typical Gujarati snacks like Khaman Dhokla, Khichu, Manchurian, Faloodas and the most divine Kachoris. VPSS temple offered complimentary Prasad blessed by Lord Krishna, and also served typical HOLI fare – Gotas! It was a hit and completely sold out. Masala Radio CEO Sandhya Thakkar said “Lord Krishna blessed us with such a positive response both from sponsors and from the community that we had to constantly keep adding more tickets online and more infrastructure for the additional demand. Our amazing crew was constantly updating shuttles, security, sound, water barrels almost daily. It was a challenge but it came together so perfectly.” Sunil Thakkar said “Thank you God for allowing us to have this event and giving us beautiful weather. Sandhya and the ladies of Masala channeled the divine powers of Hindu goddesses to put 6 months of work in 6 weeks.” Masala Radio 98.7 FM would like to thank the peerless Masala Crew without whom nothing would be possible: Office Management: Rinku, Bhavisha, Suji, Alisha, Manali, Rishi. Event: Ninad, Dhaval, Shah, Ankit, Aditi, Bindi, Mrugesh, Samir. Ticketing: Sangeeta, Meera, Jyotsna, Lauquel, Mala, Dinesh. Stage: Haroon, Yumna, Dilip, Preanka, Rajoo, Josh, Anish, Vyoma, Harshin, Priyanshi, Simran, Sahil. DJs: DJ Tazmayne, DJ Tamim, Dj Boyd. Video: Tom Sunny. Photo: Hassan Studio, Hy Lee, Ayaan Ahsan. Photos & Videos will be updated on / Facebook & Instagram MasalaRadio98.7FM.


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Kumud Athavale, Ramana Vadrevu, Sanchali Basu, Krishna R. Vuddagiri, Taranjit Singh, Kanubhai Patel, Adeet Gala, Kousalya Gopal

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April 1, 2022

Houston’s Payal Patel Joins HHS Advisory Council Ann Arbor: Dr. Payal K. Patel MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Michigan and member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at University of Michigan has been nominated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to serve as a Voting Member on the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB). Dr. Patel is the daughter of Sugar Land-based Ramila and Kanti Patel. Payal was born in Houston and attended public schools K-12 in Fort Bend ISD. PACCARB provides advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of HHS regarding programs and policies intended to support and evaluate the implementation of United States government activities related to combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria The problem of antibiotic resistance is so complex and interconnected, it requires a collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary “One Health” approach to stem the tide of this looming public health threat. Dr. Patel was nominated to serve based on her expertise in implementation of antimicrobial stewardship in national and international settings to improve the use of antimicrobials. She was

sworn in on March 2, 2022 and will serve a four year term on the Council. Dr. Patel’s career as an infectious disease physician has been dedicated to addressing the pressing issue of antimicrobial resistance through clinical practice, advocacy, scholarship, national and international research collaborations, and medical education. Dr. Patel completed a medical degree and internal medicine residency at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, earning an MD with distinction in research in the field of infectious diseases. Committed to gaining clinical expertise in an-

VFS Global Resumes Services Houston: The VFS Indian Consular Application Centre has restarted accepting applications in-person via appointments with effect from March 8th, 2022. Applicants will now have two options for submission of their application – by post or in-person with an appointment. Please select the service you are applying for eg. Passport/Visa/ OCI and then select Apply by Post or Apply by Appointment to proceed Please visit VFS Website for information on services outsourced to VFS such as Passport, OCI, Visa, Renunciation, PCC and GEP. In Houston, VFS Global is located in the Galleria area at 2425 West Loop South, Suite 330. Their offices are open 9 am to 4 pm on Monday thru Friday, but closed on Thursday. You may call VFS Global via phone Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. For passport and visa services, please call +1 800 320 9625. For other services (Visa, OCI, Renunciation, GEP & PCC) call +1 800 320 9693.

Indo American News

timicrobial stewardship, Dr. Patel completed fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Patel also completed a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. In 2015, Dr. Patel joined the faculty at the University of Michigan and is currently the Medical Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program and the Chair of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Dr. Patel won the 2021 SHEA Antibiotic Stewardship Scholar Award and the 2021 Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Patel is also an active member of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and a “Stand Up to Superbugs Ambassador” with the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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PRATHAM HOUSTON GALA 2022 Saturday, May 7, 2022 5:30 PM CT

Hilton Americas-Houston 1600 Lamar Street, Houston, TX 77010

Special Guest: Indra Nooyi Former Chairman & CEO, PepsiCo

Honoree: Swatantra Jain Philanthropist & CFO, Pratham USA


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

Indo-American News • Friday, April 1, 2022 •

April 1, 2022



Celebrate the New

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Sat, April 23 & Sun, AprIL 24 with an Annual Havan Thanks to our generous sponsors


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April 1, 2022

Will Imran Khan Survive ‘No Confidence’?

Islamabad: Pakistan’s opposition parties were able to finally table a motion of noconfidence in the National Assembly against Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday (March 28). The debate on the resolution is set to begin on March 31, when the House will sit again. Procedures demand that after tabling, the motion should be voted upon no earlier than the expiry of three days, and no later than seven. The opposition parties have accused the Speaker of violating constitutionally laid down procedures by not convening the Assembly earlier. Now that the process has started, the countdown has begun for the cricketer-turnedPrime Minister, or has it? Imran had vowed to play on “until the last ball”, and he appears to be digging in to do just that. Imran Khan has been hoping to hang on through a last-minute deal with coalition partners. Some in his government are urging him to call a snap election, a year ahead from when it is due in 2023, but that would come with its own uncertainties. Until Monday, he did not seem to have many cards up his sleeve, but he is now engaged in frantic last-minute political dealmaking to shore up his numbers. The PTI coalition has been bleeding supporters daily. The National Assembly has 342 members, and Imran’s ruling coalition had 179 — but on Sunday, that came down to 178 after the Balochistan-based Jamhoori Watan Party, which has one member in Parliament, withdrew from the alliance. So does he have the numbers to survive the no-trust vote? Imran and PTI managers have been trying to get the other three allies, the PML-Q, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, who

have between them 17 MNAs, to declare their opposition to the no-confidence motion. All three parties have indicated that they are undecided. On Monday evening, after the motion was tabled, Imran Khan offered the PML(Q) the chief ministership of the Punjab province. The extremely unpopular Usman Buzdar, an Imran nominee, resigned as chief minister, making way for the PML(Q) head Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi, who had held the office during the Musharraf years. On the other hand, the BAP, which too has just a single member in Parliament, has withdrawn from the ruling coalition. And the MQM is mulling the offer of the Sindh governorship that Imran has made to the party. But Imran would still need to bring back between a dozen and two dozen members from within the PTI who have rebelled against his leadership, and are likely to vote against him. Many of these leaders are from South Punjab, and in what appears to be a move to entice them back, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is also a notable from the same region, has submitted a bill for the creation of a separate province of South Punjab. -- IE


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New FedEx Chief Executive is Raj Subrmaniam

Houston: Indian American corporate veteran Raj Subramaniam is set to replace Frederick W Smith as the new Chief Executive Officer of the delivery giant FedEx, as per an official release from the company. Fifty years after he founded FedEx, Smith announced on Monday that he would be stepping down as the company’s chief executive in June. “As we look toward what’s next, I have a great sense of satisfaction that a leader of the caliber of Raj Subramaniam will take FedEx into a very successful future,” he said in a statement. Subramaniam, 54, joined FedEx in 1991 and was elected to the FedEx Board of Directors in 2020. He will maintain his seat on the Board, according to the company. Subramaniam served FedEx Corp as its President and Chief Operating Officer before being named as the CEO-elect this month. He has held various other leadership roles in the company such as the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. Apart from this, he has also served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of FedEx Ex-

press, which is the world’s largest express transportation company. Since he joined FedEx, Subramaniam has been in several management and marketing roles throughout Asia and the US, in addition to serving as the President of FedEx Express in Canada. Originally from Trivandrum, he went to IIT Bombay in 1987 to study chemical engineering and later earned a master’s degree in the same field from Syracuse University in 1989. He also holds an MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the University of Texas at Austin. As President and CEO-elect of FedEx Corporation, Subramaniam

is responsible for providing strategic direction for all FedEx operating companies, including FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, FedEx Services, FedEx Office, FedEx Logistics, and FedEx Dataworks, according to the company website. The website mentions that Subramaniam has more than 30 years of industry experience at FedEx. “His international leadership experience, keen business insights, and focus on globalization have contributed to the success of FedEx and provide a blueprint as the company revolutionizes the transportation and logistics industry,” it says.-- Indian Express


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April 1, 2022


Asia Society Presentation of ‘Samskriti: A Story. A Song, and A Dance’

Houston: The Sun is the Best Antiseptic. This simple sentence from Jean Donatto’s introductory welcome set the tone for the brilliance that emanated from the stage and warmed the hearts of the audiences at Samskriti’s world premiere of A Story. A Song, and A Dance, presented by the Asia Society Texas Center on Saturday, March 26. It was Samskriti’s first home production after a two year forced hiatus caused by the pandemic, and it was heartening to see the overwhelming response. Rathna Kumar, Samskriti’s Artistic Director, created magic by combining art forms of different genres to convey a universal theme of hope through storytelling, song, and dance. Jean Donatto, the brilliant storyteller, invested every word she uttered with intense feeling that evoked emotions with which everyone in the audience could identify. Irma La Paloma and Jeremy Garcia touched a deep chord with their soulful Flamenco music that transcended language. Rathna Kumar created compelling visual imagery to the song and story with a nuanced, sensitive depiction of the artist’s agony of isolation and loneliness and the ecstasy of performing once again. This was further enhanced by the young danc-

ers of the Anjali Dance Company, along with Venugopal Josyula, who conveyed the anxiety of separation and the shared camaraderie of performing together through Rathna Kumar’s striking choreography. Abhishek Balakrishnan’s creatively original musical score formed a unifying thread that held the story together. His virtuosity as a violinist was evident in his transitions from compelling to subtle.

The talented percussionist Naga Srinidhi and young Ishaan Shankar on violin completed the Indian musical ensemble. Words flowed powerfully, music flowed melodiously, dance flowed evocatively and cascaded into a confluence of a single universal message. Rathna Kumar’s insightful conceptual focus was pivotal in seamlessly blending these various elements to give a concrete shape to an ab-

stract theme. On a personal note, I would like to add that I was extremely fortunate to do the lighting design for this inspiring presentation. With excellent support from the technical team at Asia Society, I could create lighting moods to convey simple joys, disruption and emerging hope to blend into the narrative. Samskriti was honoured by the presence of the Consul General

of India, Hon.Aseem Mahajan, Consul, Mr.Sandeep Chowdhary and Ms. Necole Irvin, Director, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and officials from the Houston Arts Alliance and the Young audiences of Houston. Asia Society’s Director of Performing Arts and Culture, Michael Buening, moderated an interesting Q&A after the performance. At the reception that followed, many members of audience expressed that they resonated with the theme. At times their eyes turned moist with sadness caused by memories of the pandemic but soon transformed to smiles of joy as the songs and dances turned to stories of hope that lightened their hearts. Kudos to Rathna Kumar for her brilliant vision to conceive a universal theme that required collaborative inputs from an eclectic group of artists. The passion and involvement of each and every artist contributed to the stupendous success of A Story, A Song and A Dance. Congratulations to the Samskriti team for this much needed boost to our morale. Samskriti acknowledges its indebtedness to the City of Houston, through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and Dance Source Houston, for receiving the grants that made this dream project become a reality.


Indo-American News • Friday, April 1, 2022 •


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Indo-American News • Friday, April 1, 2022 •

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