Indo-American News: June 3, 2022

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Friday, June 3, 2022 | Vol. 41, No. 22

June 3, 2022


Indo American News


Published weekly from Houston, TX

Special Reports Community Briefs Local Politics South Asians in the News

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CRY Houston Gala Celebrates Heroes for Life Sunday School Grads

ABOVE: Chinmaya Mission of Houston’s Bal Vihar and the Arya Samaj of Houston DAVSS held graduation ceremonies. Stories on Pages 4 and 8. LEFT: Dev and Dr. Sushma Mahajan receiving the Heroes For Life awards from Vivek Anand Oberoi. See Pages 2 and 3.


3 3 3 0 F M 1 4 6 3 | K a t y, T X 7 7 4 9 4 | 8 3 2 . 8 5 5 . 5 5 2 0 | p a l m r o y a l v i l l a . c o m

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June 3, 2022

CRY Houston Gala Celebrates Heroes for Life, Raises $1 Million Edited By Jawahar Malhotra

Houston: It was a tough two years as CRY America bided its time waiting for the COVID pandemic to subside. In those two years, with fundraising efforts trickling down, the nearly 45 year-old, India based organization Child Rights and You, pivoted to more achievable programs to help children in distress. Along with it, the group’s US fundraising arm, CRY America, managed to ride out the pandemic with lower levels of donations and two years – 2020 and 2021 – of hybrid- virtual galas with committees from its five core cities. All that changed this year as in-person galas resumed once again. The success of the CRY America’s galas held in mid-May in the five cities – San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, San Diego, New York City and Houston – spoke as much of the outpouring of donations made by donors who supported CRY’s work as it did for the outstanding efforts of the host committees in each city and the legions of volunteers. Once again, CRY turned to Bollywood actors for star power to draw in the crowds. This year’s galas featured veteran Bollywood actor Vivek Anand Oberoi (“Saathiya”, Amazon’s Emmy-nominated “Inside Edge”). And true to form, the galas also brought in a key member of the CRY India team to share her story. This year it was Lalithamma, director of People’s Organization for Rural Development, a CRY America-supported project in Andhra Pradesh. Houston’s gala – dubbed “Heroes For Life” was held at the Royal Sonesta hotel on the West Loop and brought in about 350 guests. Food for the evening was catered by Dawaat Catering and the cocktail hour was sponsored by Naveen and Simmi Jaggi of JLL and Zuhne. The emcees for the event were Sunny Moza of the Bay Area who went to all five cities and Meena Datt, Houston’s beloved radio celebrity. Murali Santhana provided all the excellent photography and music was by DJ Raman. The set up was by Sage Productions, linens donated by Dream Decors Design House, and centerpieces by @preyna CRY America CEO Shefali Sunderlal noted that project workers were given special permission by the Indian government as essential workers during the pandemic to ensure that challenges faced by communities and children were addressed. “CRY’s donors and volunteers are our ‘Heroes for Life’ who ensure that our work for children can continue and grow,” said Sunderlal. A special thanks went to honorees Dr. Sushma and Dev Mahajan for their generous support. Oberoi was engaging with his appeal to the attendees and shared his own reasons for being involved with CRY. He spoke about his mother’s dedication as a palliative care worker as inspiration for his long track-record of philanthropy, which he termed as “karmic investment”. After dinner, he led the evening’s pledge drive, telling stories about the importance of philanthropy. He walked the hall as spotters pointed out pledgers and appreciated them with personal thanks, wrapped them in a ceremonial scarf and took a picture with them Dubbed a “superhero in a sari” by Oberoi, PORD director J. Lalithamma took the stage to share her story from growing up as a victim of gender discrimination to her work today to empower girls in her district. She founded PORD in 1992 to focus on girls’ education as a means of preventing early marriage. The pledges drove the total donated in the five cities to over $1 million, a first for CRY America, with Houston leading the way with nearly $375,000 pledged, the most of all the galas, Oberoi and the emcee Sunny Moza exclaimed. The tail end of the gala dazzled with a glittering fashion show choreographed by Ekta Popat and featured Bollywood musical numbers. The evening ended with guests taking to the dance floor in celebration to the beat of Bollywood hits. Indo-American News • Friday, June 3, 2022 •


Indo-American News • Friday, june 3, 2022 •

June 3, 2022


4 June 3, 2022 EDUCATION Special Bala Vihar Graduation Day at Chinmaya Mission Houston By Shalini Somaraj Houston: May 15th marked a day of great joy and renewal at the beautiful Chinmaya Prabha in Houston. Chinmaya Mission families, Acharyas, BalaVihar teachers and volunteers assembled in Smrti Hall for the Special BalaVihar Graduation Ceremony after a period of two years. The Chinmaya Mission BalaVihar Graduation Day is a culmination of the spiritual education that children receive over a period of over 14 years in BalaVihar Houston. May 15th was a day to not only celebrate their many achievements but also pay a glowing salute to resilience and courage they have demonstrated in surmounting obstacles during these unprecedented times caused by the Pandemic. For the students and their families, the day began with a brief photo session in Chinmaya Smrti Foyer. The Graduating class then proceeded to the temple where they performed a puja to seek divine blessings. In keeping with the discipline and timeliness, which are among principal tenets of BalaVihar, the students led by Pujya Acharya Sri Gaurang Nanavaty, entered the Smrti Hall at 9:35 am. They were welcomed by the lilting notes of Graduation music. Chinmaya Choir and Orchestra, under the guidance of Smt. Jamuna Murali continued to enthrall the gath-

ering with the melodious bhajans of “Gaiye Ganapati”, “GuruDev tumhari charanon mein”, “Jayati Jai Maa Sarasvati” and “Bhumi Mangalam”. At 10 am, Sandhya Harpavat, herself an alumnus of BalaVihar and a BalaVihar Parent, presided as Emcee of the Graduation ceremony. She welcomed all in the audience who graced this special occasion. She also felicitated the students for going above and beyond in these past few years, for thinking outside the box, searching for opportunities during lockdown and showing great fortitude in striving for their goals. They have been guided and inspired by Swami Chinmayananda’s teachings, Pujya Auntie’s carefully thoughtout curriculum and Pujya Uncle’s divine pravachan. She noted that

BalaVihar Graduation Ceremony follows a set path deeply rooted in “Guru/Shishya Parampara”. In Guru shishya Parampara, as a student completes education and gets ready to embark on the next journey, he/she is given a great parting gift. This gift carries a loving blessing with a firm set of reminders from the teachings of Taittiriya Upanishad. This instruction serves as a guiding light in every circumstance. Acharya Gaurang Nanavaty lit the ceremonial lamp of knowledge and delivered the inspiring Graduation address from the ancient Taittiriya Upanishad. The Smrti Hall resounded with the voices of the Class of 2022 as they promised to “Satyam Vada” – speak the truth and “Dharmam Chara” – Abide by duty. The students are also or-

dained to share their good fortune and blessing with others and live their lives with utmost reverence to the Guru. Following the spiritual teachings from Taittiriya Upanishad, the Emcee welcomed the esteemed Chief Guest Sri Durga Agarwal to the Podium. Dr Agarwal is the Founder and CEO of Houston based company Piping Technology and Products and has many other illustrious achievements. He is also the founding president of India House, and is currently secretary of UH System Board of Regents. Sri Durga ji congratulated the students and said he was personally proud to have two of his grandchildren in the graduating class. He also commended the teachers, volunteers, and Chin-

maya Mission community for the nurturing support they provided to the students. He recounted days from his own childhood when he overcame many hardships in his small town despite which, in addition to learning from his father about family business, he also imbibed good values of sharing and kindness by performing many acts of community service. He encouraged the students to seek what they are passionate about. Hard work, determination and persistence is key to achieving goals. Durga ji also noted that students should put their families first and stay connected with the community. The Graduation commencement began at 11 am. Each student received a trophy that had a quote from Pujya Gurudeva- “Always learn to put your mind where your hands are working”. Lighting of the ceremonial lamp by each student reaffirms their commitment to share spiritual knowledge and live by the spiritual values. A slide show was also displayed to the audience in which each student shared their best moments in Chinmaya Mission and their favorite quotes of Pujya Gurudeva. Pujya Uncle awarded trophies to the new graduates. In our ancient Vedic tradition, it is a special honor and privilege for students to offer “Guru Dakshina” to a teacher on completion of studies. Continued on Page 11


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June 3, 2022

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June 3, 2022

Next Destination after Uvalde and NRA Convention By Bhupinder Singh What a strange week in Texas. On May 25, 2022; an eighteenyear-old gunman, Salvador Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Before heading to the school for the shooting spree, the killer had shot his grandmother. The shooter had even posted messages on the social platform Yubo that he was about “to shoot up an elementary school.” Ramos had purchased two AR15 style semiautomatic weapons within a week of his 18th birthday, including the rifle he used in the shooting spree. The families of school children and the nation were in a state of shock at the tragic shooting, when more shocking news came that the police who arrived at the scene waited 78 minutes before entering the classroom, where the shooter had locked himself. The average age of children in this massacre is 9 to 10. The innocence of children and barbarity with which they became victims resonates the deepest pains specially in Texas, as the survivors are transported back to Sandy Hook School incident when 26 first graders and educators were slain on December 14, 2012. Day after on May 27, 2022; the annual three-day convention and gun show of NRA (National Rifle Association) started in Houston. Unfortunately, the timing of convention was like adding a pinch of salt to the wounds of the nation. The convention became an emblematic of stark political divide facing the nation on the issue of gun control, which was reflected

in the protests against the NRA and counter-protesters during the convention. This is not first mass shooting in a school in the state of Texas, or in the nation of USA. Unfortunately, these events have become recurring as they raise their head frequently. The mass shootings have grown more frequent and more lethal in the last decade. Then after the tragic events the politicians make their vows that such incidents will not happen in future, and there will be measures put in place to prevent those from happening. However, whatever action is taken or because of lack of any concrete action such carnage continues to happen, and innocent lives are lost. Any attempts of guns regulation is termed by NRA as “restricting the fundamental human right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves.” Although, with the stark political divide along with a strong lobby arm of NRA, much of the reform efforts gets stymied, but still as nation we have to think what effective measures can be put in place, so that the carnages of such scale cannot take place in future. Here are few ideas worth pursuing without getting embroiled in the political divide on the issue of gun control. When a person turns eighteen that person has to take a driver’s test to get a license to drive a car, a similar requirement for purchase of gun should be made mandatory. There should be mandatory guns safety training requirements for owning the guns. If defensive driving can be an effective tool to

prevent car accidents, then why such a measure cannot be effectively employed to prevent carnages from happening? The gun safety training should also include a module on the moral responsibility of being a gun holder. In this module the emphasis should be on the responsibility of being a good citizen and a responsible gun holder. The purchase of single or multiple automatic, semi-automatic weapons should be termed as ‘weapons of war’ and not a ‘defensive weapon’. It should be regulated so that carnages of tragic proportions do not unfold. The School District Police Department should train its police force on how to react to such scenarios independently before the state/city police party arrives at the crime scene. There should be armed guards at the school entrances and better security arrangements, cameras that can help security staff during such crisis. No potential killer should have free access to post his desire and intention to kill masses on the social media. The social media should not become the broadcasting media for potential killers. How many more children have to die before the nation realizes it is time to act? Failure to act now under the stubborn belief that any reform is an infringement on gun rights is not pragmatic. The notion that all reform efforts must be stopped at all costs, is akin to helping the next shooter pull the trigger. May the wiser sense prevail, and we see some positive outcome of this blood bath.

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June 3, 2022

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June 3, 2022

Arya Samaj of Greater Houston (ASGH) 2022 DAVSS School Graduation

Richmond: Sunday May 15, was another milestone in the history of Arya Samaj Greater Houston (ASGH) which runs the DAV Sanskriti School (DAVSS). Children from K to grade 12 join for some 35 Sundays during the year where ASGH volunteers lead the classes on the Universal Living Values of Sanatan (Vedic-Hindu) Dharma. Grades 9 to 12 have been regrouped as Arya Yuva Mandal (AYM). The Graduation Day program started with Sandhya and Yajna (Havan) led by Acharya Surya Nanda, followed by Bhajans and a cultural show by the students of DAVSS amidst a host of members, volunteers, students, parents and well-wishers. Acharya Ji encouraged the graduands as well as all present to be connected to the Vedic teachings which provide safe port throughout life. Life would be like the beautiful flying kite till the string is in the hands of the person flying it. Once the string is cut, the kite may fly high for some time only but the fall would be brutal. Addressing the audience the graduands, namely - Aditya Markan, Ahika Chawla, Ansh Khanna, Lakshya Gupta and Mrigank Maharana each spoke about their learning experience at DAVSS which allowed then to unfold numerous facets of their personality. Waking up early on the Sun-

Graduates – Aditya Markan, Ahika Chawla, Ansh Khanna, Lakshya Gupta, Mrigank Maharan with Acharya Bramdeo Mokoonlall Ji & Sanjay Ahuja Ji

day mornings was a chore but the outcome will be ever cherished as they found meaning to human life. Acharya Bramdeo Mokoonlall who recently joined the ASGH and DAVSS requested the graduands and all present to nurture their roots by staying connected to the Institution. They were requested to visit ASGH and DAVSS whenever they will be around in Houston. They may volunteer as mentors, share their knowledge and experiences which would motivate other kids to put up consistent efforts to be truly humane in thoughts, words and actions. He also appealed to parents to not only drop their child and come for pick-up,

August 14, 2022 with in-person classes for children from Houston area. An announcement will follow as regards to those from outside the City and from other States. The program concluded with the presentation of certificates and mementoes to the graduates. The vote of thanks was dedicated to those who has put in constant efforts to turn around the DAVSS to what it stands now, and to all members, volunteers, students, parents and well-wishers. After Shanti paatha (prayers for universal peace), the invitees joined in the sharing of Sahabhoj (mahaprasad, lunch).

rather make it a duty to volunteer at least one Sunday every month. Such volunteering would motivate their children to grow with the sense of belonging to the community, remain connected with Sanatan Dharma as well as later give back to society by coming forward as volunteers. The members cum volunteers of ASGH and DAVSS had picked up, with brio, the challenge of an in-person program after running online programs during the last 2-years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sunday programs of ASGH are now open within the prevailing health and other safety guidelines DAVSS will resume on Sunday

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ENTERTAINMENT/COMMUNITY Akshay on Manushi: “A Gifted Actress”

June 3, 2022


Walk for Peace 2022 Open for Registration

Please mark your calendar to join the 17th annual 5K Walk For Peace in person in Houston. It will take place on Sunday, October 2, 2022, at 10AM starting from Mahatma Gandhi statue in McGovern Centennial Gardens. This year is very special as the walk will take place on actual birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Please come and vote for peace with your feet. Commemorative T-shirt and water bottle will be provided to all who register for the walk.

Accounting Position Akshay Kumar’s next is Yash Raj Films’ first historical, Prithviraj, which is based on the life and valour of the fearless and mighty King Prithviraj Chauhan. He is essaying the role of the legendary warrior who fought valiantly to protect India from the merciless invader Muhammad of Ghor in this visual spectacle. Debuting opposite him is the ethereally gorgeous Manushi Chhillar, who plays the role of King Prithviraj’s beloved Sanyogita, and her launch is definitely one of the most awaited debuts of 2022! Akshay is all praises for his talented co-star as the superstar feels she is an extremely gifted actor

who will dazzle on the big screen! He says, “Manushi is extremely gifted, she is a natural actor. A film like Prithviraj is not an easy debut for anyone. She is doing a historical where she is paying tribute to one of the most memorable personalities in the history of India, Princess Sanyogita. So, she is expected to have grace and also deliver a powerful performance on screen. She has to bring to life what the princess stood for.” He adds, “I was taken aback by how prepared she was to do this role. She knew she had a responsibility towards the character and she has essayed Sanyogita beautifully. I would not say this about her if she

didn’t deserve our compliments. She learnt in her first film what I learnt probably by my twenty-fifth film. You will know what I mean when you see her on screen. She is a talent to watch out for. For her to be this calm, composed and assured of her craft speaks volumes about her personality and her hunger to deliver on screen.” Prithviraj has been directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who is best known for directing the television epic Chanakya and the critically acclaimed film Pinjar. The film is set to release worldwide on June 3 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.


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June 3, 2022

Dr. PG Parameswaran: A Celebration of Life

Houston: The Parameswaran family celebrated the life of Dr. P.G. Parameswaran with a special celebration on Friday, May 27 at the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilions of the McGovern Centenial Gardens in Hermann Park. Born on October 9, 1938, Dr. Parameswaran passed away in Houston on January 6, 2022. He leaves behind his wife Lakshmy and sons Ashok and Rajesh. A highlight of the celebration at Hermann Park was a flute recital by Varad Gaikwad (above photo). Eulogies to Dr. PG were presented

by both his sons and a large numbers of friends and well wishers. Dr. PG completed his redidency in cardiothoracic surgery at Government Stanley Hospital in Chennai and held a series of professorial and research appointments in India before immigrating to the US in 1973. He spent his career, 1981-2005, practicing at Southeast Memorial Hospital. Dr. PG is well know for single handedly adding over 20,000 South Asians to the bone marrow registry, leading to over 30 lifesaving donations. -- P. Kulkarni 'BNJMZ 0XOFE 0QFSBUFE 4JODF


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June 3, 2022

Zee5’s ‘The Broken News’: Truth behind ‘The Broken News’ ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content, is set to launch yet another exciting original series, ‘The Broken News’. The show marks actor Sonali Bendre’s comeback to acting and her OTT debut and also stars Jaideep Ahlawat, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Taaruk Raina, Indraneil Sengupta, Faisal Rashid, Kiran Kumar, Aakash Khurana and Sanjeeta Bhattacharya in pivotal roles. Produced by BBC Studios India and directed by Vinay Waikul, the drama series is an official adaptation of the popular British series ‘Press’. ‘The Broken News’ will premiere on 10th June in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada and will be accessible across 190+ countries only on ZEE5 Global. The series revolves around two rival news networks and reveals the lives, lies, love and struggles of a dynamic group of journalists. Awaaz Bharati is an ethical and a

credible news channel, headed by Editor-In-Chief Amina Qureshi (played by Sonali Bendre) and Josh 24/7 News, headed by EditorIn-Chief Dipankar Sanyal (played by Jaideep Ahlawat), is India’s No.1 news channel as per TRPs but believes in brash sensationalism and invasive journalism. Between these two extreme charac-

ters is Radha Bhargava (played by Shriya Pilgaonkar) who believes in ethical journalism but is frustrated with the restrictions which come along. As seen in the trailer, ‘The Broken News’ is a tale of the clash of these two disparate worlds, their conflicting ideologies and their incompatible ethics. It shows the reality behind our daily news – the business and the politics of it and the behind-the-scenes action as these journalists try to balance work, ambition and integrity, amid the never-ending pressure to deliver ‘Breaking News’. Sonali Bendre said, “I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction on OTT platforms than with ‘The Broken News’ on ZEE5 Global. I connected with the concept as soon as I heard it as It’s so relevant for the times we’re living in. The entire crew and my amazing co-stars Jaideep and Shriya made my return to acting such an amazing experience. I’m so excited to share what we’ve created.”


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 June 7-, 2022. Email us at Please send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published.

Solution Next Week

Sujata Murthy Promoted to Executive VP at Universal Music Los Angeles: Sujata Murthy has been promoted to Executive Vice President of Media & Artist Relations at Universal Music Enterprises. In her role, Murthy will continue to be responsible for the label’s media department and will oversee press strategy and campaigns. Murthy began her music career at Capitol Records, working with artists ranging from Radiohead to Skinny Puppy. She transitioned to become the primary publicist for artists reissu-

ing classic albums on CD for the first time, including Frank Sinatra,

Peggy Lee, and Dean Martin. She has received numerous accolades, including Korn Ferry’s Most Influential South Asian Women Executives in Media and Entertainment award, was included in ‘The 20 Most Powerful Indians in Hollywood’ list by Business Insider, and received the Visionary Award by The Women’s International Music Network. Sujata is the daughter of Houston’s Nat and Leela Krishnamurthy.

Last Week’s Solution

Chinmaya Mission Bala Vihar Graduation Day Continued from Page 4

Four students from among the Graduates expressed the collective gratitude of the Class of 2022 and thanked everyone who helped shape their character and values. The students also presented a booklet which highlights impactful teachings from the book “SelfUnfoldment”. They also thanked their parents for their support and encouragement. Pujya Darshana Aunty had an inspiring message for the new Graduates. “Guru Aagya mein nisa dina rahiye” Achieve your goal by abiding in the command of the Guru! Snehaji, the 12th Grade teacher, gave a loving message to the graduates from a Kathopanishad mantra. Awake arise!

See the brilliant sunrise, The rays of dreams And dawn of knowledge Have lit up the path So much with your courage … Stop not until you reach your goal! Graduates reiterated their resolve to live by the tenets of service and respect by reciting the Chinmaya Mission Pledge. The ceremony drew to a close with the Graduation song by Smt. Jamuna Murali.

Abhinandanam Abhinandanam Dikshanta kale Abhinandanam! Hearty congratulations to the Graduates from Class of 2022! For more information about Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities visit www.chinmayahouston. org, or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233 -Photo by Rajesh Thatte

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June 3, 2022

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