Indo-American News: March 24, 2023

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 24, 2023 • Indo American News 2470 Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77077 • 713.789.NEWS (6397) • Special Reports Community Briefs Local Politics South Asians in the News Published weekly from Houston, TX W E D D I N G S , S P E C I A L E V E N T S , T E N T E D E V E N T S , O U T D O O R C O U R T Y A R D 3 3 3 0 F M 1 4 6 3 | K a t y , T X 7 7 4 9 4 | 8 3 2 . 8 5 5 . 5 5 2 0 | p a l m r o y a l v i l l a . c o m Friday, March 24, 2023 | Vol. 42, No. 12 $1 Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway P3 P2 Law on Illegal Immigration P2 Global Unity through Nowruz Festivities P11

Global Unity through Nowruz Festivities Over Four Days at Asia Society

houSton: This Spring Break, celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year festivities hosted by the Asia Society of Houston from March 14-17, marked the onset of spring, and brought in about 120 attendees on the weekdays and approximately 1200 attendees Friday evening. Nowruz is celebrated by more than 300 million people all over the world.

This was a free all-ages special event, open to the public, organized by the Zoroastrian Association of Houston (ZAH). It featured performances, arts and crafts, stories, and food — all inspired by Nowruz traditions! There were stalls where

one could create Persian New Year greeting cards, learn to write one’s name in Farsi, Haft Seen table display, and Shahnameh display. There were fun, hands-on arts and crafts, artist doing live paintings and stalls explaining the journey along the Silk Road with artefacts from Rome, Iran, India, Indonesia and Central Asia.

The morning activities over 3 days included puppet stories from the Shahnameh, interactive Persian dances by students and participants, Smurgh bird collage, clay butterflies, egg decorating, creating floral bouquets, coloring activities and games.

The main hall on the second floor was abuzz with activity on

the final evening and packed to capacity, while the first floor offered delicious Persian food from Reza Grill.

The grand finale event commenced with a children’s story from Shahnameh (The Epic of the Kings), followed by an introductory Persian song by Behzad Kaigobadi and group. The crowd was welcomed and greeted by Aban Rustomji of ZAH with her opening speech. Narration of an adaptation of the battle between Rustom and Sohrab from Shahnameh was done by Kaermerz Dotiwala of ZAH.

Iranian Cultural foundation presented 2 Persian dances By Meriam, and following the Silk

Road, songs of spring were sung by Ms. Tseng and students from ED White Elementary school to the accompaniment of the Ehru. A scarf/handkerchief dance from the Shan Dong province of China was performed by Elliott Kuehler and Kylie Huang of the Dance of Asian American Academy. This was followed by greetings from Ajit Giani of the Bahai Organization.

A traditional Afghani dance by the Shia Ismaili Council for Southwestern USA was very impressive and not to be left behind, the Parsis of India represented by the Rhythm India Dance company had a very interactive presentation of lively Bollywood dances.

Zoroastrian migration from Iran to India between the 7th and 9th century led to the birth of the Parsis in India. They adopted the Indian custom of wearing a sari yet maintained their cultural identity. The song Natalya and Jidina taught the audience had a Garba base to it, which is a folk dance from the western state of Gujarat in India, where the Zoroastrians first landed in India, when they migrated from Iran. The interactive dance beautifully choreographed by artistic director, Arzan Gonda got the crowd moving to the rhythm of the dance and enjoying.

Houston will be looking forward to more such exceptionally wellorganized events in the future.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 24, 2023 • March 24, 2023 2
Piano recital. Photos by Yezdi Engineer and Percy Behramsha Painting booth

Gujarat Mulls Law to Check Illegal Immigration to Western Countries

ahmedaBad: In a bid to check rampant illegal immigration to the US and other countries which often results in tragic death, detention and cheating of gullible people, the Gujarat government is mulling to introduce a law to check human smuggling by enacting a legislation on the lines of 'The Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act, 2012'.

The move comes in the wake of a Patel family of four from Dingucha in Gandhinagar freezing to death in a bid to illegally cross over to the US last year and other instances of deaths and detention of Gujaratis attempting to cross over into the US and other countries in an unauthorized manner.

A senior officer of the state home department confirmed that a draft of the proposed legislation is being finalized, with legal experts and a team of the state CID (Crime). The government proposes to enact the law shortly by introducing a bill in the state legislative assembly, most probably in the budget session that begins next month.

"The act will be brought to regulate travel agents in a bid to check and curb illegal and fraudulent activities of organized human smuggling in the state," said a senior home department officer.

A senior home department officer said, “There are also growing incidents of unscrupulous agents cheating foreign aspirants by

charging them hefty fee on false promise of sending them abroad.

The new law will put a check on such agents as strict action will be taken under the new law.”

The officer said that the proposed law will institute a system of keep-

ing a check on travel agents by registering them and if any irregularities will be found, then those agents will be blacklisted. Travel agents will be issued licenses so that immigrants can avail services of legal and scrupulous agents

only, said the officer.

The proposed law is expected to have stringent punishment provisions for travel agents who operate without the mandatory registration and license. A thorough check of the agent’s background

will be done before he is granted a license to operate. “If any agent is found to be indulging in activities to traffic humans abroad illegally in a repeated manner, the person will be booked for organised human smuggling under sections of the proposed act,” the officer stated.

The officer said, “Like Punjab’s Doaba region, there is rampant human smuggling from north Gujarat. So, we wanted astringent act like the one enactedin Punjab, where a case is investigated by a DySP rank officer and it is completed within two months.”

Gujarat DGP Ashish Bhatia said that a law to prevent human smuggling in the state will be introduced.

The need for a stringent law against human trafficking has arisen in Gujarat in the wake of the shocking deaths of four members of a Patel family from Dingucha in Gandhinagar district who had frozen to death while crossing the Canada-US border in January 2022.Later in April last year, six men from Gujarat were about to drown while crossing the CanadaUS border through the St Regis river. In December last year, a man from Kalol in Gandhinagar, Brijkumar Yadav, died when he fell while scaling up the Trump wall on the US-Mexico border. His wife and their child are said to be presently in the US.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 24, 2023 • March 24, 2023 3
The Patel family of four that froze to death while crissing into US from Canada in 2022.
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North South Regional Contests Help Underprivileged Children in India

houSton: North South Foundation is conducting its 2023 Houston regional contests on April 22 and 23, 2023 at the University of Houston Campus. North South Foundation promotes excellence in human endeavor by organizing Educational Contests for the kids in USA. Children who consistently participate in these contests have excelled in national level contests such as Science Olympiad, Scripps National Spelling Bee, National Geographic - Geography bee, MathCounts for more than a decade.

North South Foundation is a volunteer run organization. Proceeds from these contests are used for giving scholarships to brilliant but the most needy students in India entering colleges, regardless of religion, gender, caste or creed. North South Foundation Strives to help people achieve success by giving hope to those who may have none. The foundation has done that for over 25 years helping more than 20,000 students achieve their higher education dreams.


Chapter Regionals on April 22-23 2023 University of Houston, Main Campus

spreading the word around regarding the contests and the good work that North South Foundation does in helping under privilege students achieve their dreams.

No N -Li N ear News e ditor (Part- t ime)

Registrations close on April 9, 2023. So, hurry and register your children for these contests. For registration please visit - https://

The Regional contests will be held for Math, Science, Spelling, Vocabulary, Geography, Computer Science and Public speaking at various grade levels. The top rankers at these regional contests will have a chance to qualify for the national finals in fall 2023.

North South foundation contests are open to people of all ethnicity and is not restricted to children of Indian origin. We seek help

Parents and children are often impressed by the camaraderie with which the contests are conducted. They often comment that their children had a lot of fun interacting with other contestants in a way that they felt no pressure of the competitions. Parents have also given feedback that the energy at the contests is very inspiring for the children which makes them attend these contests year after year.

At North South foundation we believe every child is a winner. Give your child the opportunity to learn, grow & succeed by registering them for a contest today!

For more information on North South Foundation please visit

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 24, 2023 • March 24, 2023 6
At NorthSouth we believe every child is a winner Give your child the opportunity to learn, grow & succeed by registering them for a contest today!
Par ticipants with high scores, based on a cut-off, will be invited to the National Finals to be held in August-September
For further details contact
Adults and High school student volunteers can contact
code to Register
https://northsouth org/public/USContests/RegionalContests

Holi-Fest 2023: The Festival of Colors Ushers in Spring to Houston

houSton: Holi or the festival of color originally celebrated in the Indian subcontinent has now spread extensively to other regions of Asia and the Western World. Holi marks the beginning of spring after a long winter and signifies the triumph of good over evil. Colors used profusely in the celebrations, symbolize the shades of love, friendship, and goodwill. This year, Houston celebrated the Holi festival at India House on Sunday, March 12, 2023 under the auspices of JKYog Houston. JKYog is a Nonprofit 501c (3) Organization. The organization’s core philosophy is to transform lives through mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

The global mission of JKYog is committed to the spiritual and material needs of society. This mega charity event was a fund-raiser for the education and healthcare of the underprivileged.

The event was hugely attended and thoroughly enjoyed by all. The volunteers had organized every detail for the celebrations. India House presented a wonderful village like atmosphere for the day. The decorations, the vendors of Indian clothing, jewelry, art pieces and the food vendors on the grounds all contributed to the nostalgic experience of an Indian village festival. The festival began with a showcase of performances by the Houston

area children and adults. It was obvious from the enthusiasm and proficiency that these performers had awaited the event and had practiced extensively. The crowd cheered the dancers with great delight as they took the stage one after another. Vibha Goswami, a volunteer, performed an excellent task as the stage-host.

Dancing and color throwing took on a new fervor when the renowned Remix King, Harry Anand appeared on stage followed by Aditi Singh Sharma. The crowd was overcome with joy and celebrated by dancing and throwing colors. Everyone joined in. It was beautiful to see people of all ages and backgrounds danc-

ing and having fun together. The beat and rhythm of the songs selected contributed to the enjoyment of all, children and the aged alike. The Houston weather also was conducive to the event. The blue skies, gentle breeze, and balmy atmosphere made the celebrations so much more beautiful. The train ride around the grounds along with popcorn and candy was a treat for the children. It was a wonderful sight to see the children waving gleefully at the revelers throwing colors into the air.

A description of the event is not complete without mentioning the variety of mouth-watering foods available at the vendor stands. Attendees dashed in and out of

the food stands grabbing their choice food items and a glass of sugarcane juice and running back to the grounds, so they did not miss any part of the celebrations. The Houston Holi Fest was well-attended and enjoyed by all. Houstonians eagerly look forward to next year’s event by JKYog! Swami Mukundananda (IIT & IIM alumnus) the founder of JKYog is a world-renowned spiritual leader. Swamiji is scheduled to visit Houston from Aug 5th to 18th. He will conduct two weeks of Life Transformation Programs (LTP) beginning at India House on August 5, 2023. Full details of the programs will be released in July. For details, contact 281-630-5982.

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5th Annual Puranava Indian Art & Culture Fest on April 15 in Pearland

Pearland tX – The 5th annual Puranava Indian Art & Culture Fest is planned to be held on Saturday April 15 at Pearland Town Center Pavilion, from 4 pm through 8 pm. Admission to the event is free.

Competitions in Chess, Art, Quiz, Indian Classical Dance & Music will begin earlier in the day, from 12:30 pm onwards. Registration for these is at Kids/youth/adults of all ages and cultural backgrounds are welcome to participate in the competitions.

Conducted by nonprofit Global Organization for Divinity, the event is supported by a cultural arts grant from the City of Pearland through the Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Mayors of the cities of Pearland and Manvel, and other dignitaries from the Greater Houston area are also expected to attend the event.

This unique art and culture fest will showcase Indian classical and folk dances and music including rare forms such as Assamese Bihu, Tamil Nadu Poi-kaal Kudhirai folk, Kerala Thiruvadhirai, Folk percussion, apart from more well known forms of Bharatanatyam,

Kuchipudi, Kathak, Odissi, Mohiniyattam, Garbha, and others. Also showcased will be different forms of visual arts including paintings, framed art, sand art.

The Darshana exhibit on Hindu culture will be presented at the event by HSS. There will also be opportunities for attendees of all ages to try out a few different types of artwork; take pictures wearing traditional Indian clothes and henna art; shop for ethnic Indian wear, jewelry, crafts at the bazaar, and of course taste delicious, exotic Indian food. Attendees can also experience a Chariot festival, as celebrated even today in temples in India, where they can pull a divine chariot, join in kirtan, and watch street performances.

"Pura" means ancient and "Nava" means new or modern. True to its name, this event, which is presented in various formats by Global Organization for Divinity in several cities and countries across the world, aims to provide attendees & participants with an experience of India's vibrant, diverse, age-old culture which is still living and is an integral part of modern India.

These days, outside of the Indian

diaspora, Indian culture is sometimes more commonly associated with Bollywood, and an awareness of India’s thriving traditional classical and folk arts (both performing as well as visual arts) at times takes a backseat. Puranava endeavors to do its little part in bringing these exquisite indigenous arts to the forefront and presenting the beauty of these traditions – many of which are still being actively practiced not only in India itself but also by people of Indian origin around the world – to local communities here in the USA. More information about this year’s event, registration for the competitions, vendor information, etc. can be found at Visit our Facebook event at www.

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 24, 2023 • March 24, 2023 8 COMMUNITY COMMUNITY
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Hoteliers Invited to Free FF&E Expo from Gujarat in Dallas and Atlanta HOSPITALITY

dallaS, atlanta: More than 100 manufacturers of hotel products from Gujarat will exhibit their wares from April 27 through 29 at the SLPS Event Center in Irving, Texas and again from May 4 through 6 at the Gas South Convention Center in suburban Atlanta.

“The Gujarat region of India has a large pool of companies with the experience and the talent to design and produce high-end, high-quality hotel furnishings,” said Harshal Bhagat, Chairman of the International Business Delegation for the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SGCCI) in exclusive comments to IndoAmerican News.

“Our advantages include lower production costs, faster delivery times, and reduced import fees. It’s a unique combination that can dramatically reshape the supply chain and bottom-line results for American hoteliers,” added Bhagat.

Admission to the trade shows is free, and booths will represent a wide variety of products, notably furniture, linens, fabrics, lighting, accessories, IT support, HVAC, and equipment for in-room technology and entertainment, for safety and security, and for fitness and spa.

According to Bhagat, “Hotel

owners have suffered persistent supply chain disruptions during the past three years, so they’re ready to find reliable sourcing alternatives and take back control of their procurement cycle. Our expos are a very convenient way to discover the new buying options that every owner wants, needs, and deserves but hasn’t been able to find. Until now.”

Specifically, Indian manufacturers offer a package of benefits that include much shorter lead times

for production and shipping, together with duty charges about 20% lower and product costs that can be 20% to 35% lower, according to the SGCCI, which represents almost 10,000 individual members and about 140 associations.

More information and “no cost” registration is available online at www. or by phone at 844797-6111.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 24, 2023 • March 24, 2023 10

Chaterjee vs. Norway’: Less is More

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 March 28, 2023. Email us at Please send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published.

Solution Next Week

This high-voltage drama, powered by Rani Mukerji as the film’s titular protagonist Debika Chatterjee, is about a mother’s undying love for her children. Inspired by the real-life case of Sagarika Chakraborty being separated from her two children by the Norwegian Child Welfare Service in 2011, the film closely follows Debika’s fight against the authorities. This is the story of an ordinary immigrant woman who goes to extraordinary lengths to get custody of her children.

Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway opens with the authorities taking away Debika’s two children. A desperate Debika runs after their vehicle as they speed off with her five-month daughter, who she breastfeeds, and her son, who studies in a neighbourhood kindergarten and has shown signs of autism. Her desperation grows when she realises her husband Anirudh (Bhattacharya) might be half-heartedly pursuing the legal battle to be reunited with their children as he is more concerned about securing Norwegian citizenship. This results in Debika’s single-minded pursuit to get her children back.

This decade-old custody battle case, which eventually became a diplomatic tussle, reflects the ordeals that immigrants undergo. The real-life incident unfolded like a tense drama with Norwegian authorities levelling multiple charges against Chakraborty and her husband. And the couple kept losing multiple appeals to have their children’s custody till top Indian leaders, Sushma Swaraj and Brinda Karat, stepped in. Debika’s plight uncovers the lack of cultural understanding, inclusivity and empathy as the authorities object to her parenting methods such as feeding her children with hands and sharing the same bed. It is the

story of a desperate mother who is ready to take desperate measures for her children. Rani Mukerji understands that. The actor pours her heart into depicting Debika’s pain and ordeal. In the process, she mostly chooses to go overboard rather than exercising restraint to express Debika’s anguish.

The main charge against Anirudh is that he doesn’t share the household responsibilities, apart from being abusive. One of the weakest points of the film’s narrative is that it spells out everything loudly instead of showing what was wrong in Debika and Anirudh’s relationship, who didn’t believe in helping out his much hassled wife. By doing so, the film lets go of the details and nuances that’s essential to establish a connection with the audience. In a hurry to establish Anirudh as an unfeeling husband, who is keen to further his personal goals, his character has been left unidimensional. The writers

(Sameer Satija, Rahul Handa and Chibber) also don’t spend much screen time in showing how the children are coping with the sepa-

ration from their parents. The film with a story as deeply emotional as this needed less melodrama and more contemplative moments. In the first half of the film, there are a few scenes of Debika talking to her daughter Suchi, who is in her pram, sharing her frustration about her husband who is unavailable, emotionally and otherwise. Those moments convey Debika’s state of mind more than her screaming does. The film needed more of that. That would have helped the audience understand Debika’s predicament of being stuck in a world so different from hers.

Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway is a story that needed to be told to remind us about the power of a strong-willed mother. But it should have been told differently without giving in to the tropes of commercial cinema.

Director: Ashima Chibber

Cast: Rani Mukerji, Jim Sarbh, Anirban Bhattacharya, Neena Gupta

Rating: 2.5 stars -- Indian Express

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