Indo-American News: March 3, 2023

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 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 3, 2023 | Vol. 42, No. 9 $1 Beyond Bollywood: 15th Indian Film Festival of Houston P7 JK Yog’s Holi Festival P2

Beyond Bollywood - 15th Indian Film Festival of Houston Celebrates in Style

Houston: From a phenomenal opening sequence featuring a NASA astronaut welcoming the audience to the 15th Indian Film Festival of Houston, featured screenings of 3 world premieres and an Oscar-nominated film, Q&A with filmmakers, to an elegant Awards Night and black-tie sitdown dinner at the Asia Society Texas Center, guests were treated to what was fittingly billed as one of Houston’s 4 best events in the first quarter of 2023.

The Festival showcased several strong films, as diverse as the Indian diaspora. Among the first-rate contemporary films screened in the modern Brown Theater, All That Breathes directed by Shaunak Sen received the 2023 IFFH Jury Award for Best Documentary Film. It is also up for an Oscar at the upcoming 95th Academy Awards. The Storyteller, director Ananth Mahadevan’s wise and mischievous movie about art, traditions, love, and, of course, storytelling, won the 2023 IFFH Jury Award for Best Feature Film. In his acceptance, Ananth said that the film was a tribute to Satyajit Ray on the centenary of his birth.

Preet, directed by Jayesh Jaidka, won the 2023 IFFH Jury Award for Best Short Film, made a strong cinematic statement as a psychological drama. Tikdam, director Vivek Anchalia’s directorial debut received a Special Recognition Award from the IFFH 2023 Jury for its realistic portrayal of migration set in a small hill town. The Festival also honored Gordon Quan with a Humanitarian Award and Actor, Director, Producer Deven Varma with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Festival itself is the brainchild of Founder Sutapa Ghosh whose vision is to look beyond Bollywood and introduce Houstonians to Indian cinema. According to Ghosh, voted one of the 100 Most Creative People in Texas, the Indian Film Festival of Houston is for everyone who seeks quality cinema. “Houston has become a very diverse and multicultural city. The food scene, the cultural scene, in last 15 years has changed remarkably. It’s an Indian film festival, but it’s for all human beings.” Several members of the local Consular Corps were present through the Festival.

The decade plus partnership with the Asia Society Texas Center provided a stunning background for the 3-day Festival from February 23-25, 2023. Apart from the film screenings, the Festival featured live Q&A sessions with filmmakers, enchanting music by the Moodafaruka band, elegant decorations by Décor One, cocktail receptions and a black-tie sit-down dinner from Verandah Progressive Indian Kitchen and live entertainment from Rhythm India Bollywood Dance Company who performed a live medley of heart-stopping dances including the Naatu-Naatu song which has also been nominated for an Oscar.

Governor Greg Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner sent Letters of Congratulations to the Festival on its 15th anniversary and a Proclamation to Sutapa Ghosh, Founder of the Indian Film Festival of Houston. Congressional Representatives Wesley Hunt and Al Green also recognized Ms. Ghosh for her ongoing contributions to arts, culture and business in Houston and Texas.

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 2023 • March 3, 2023 2 FINE ARTS
IFFH Founder Sutapa Ghosh (front center) with IFFH board members. Sutapa Ghosh (center) with Jose Grinan (left), Leda Burkle and Sam Merchant.

Chinmaya Mission Houston was Spiritual Epicenter for Mahashivartri

seattle: Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya, Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH), was once again a spiritual epicenter for the Mahashivaratri celebrations of the Greater Houston Hindu community on Saturday, February 18th, 2023. Mahashivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of the deity Shiva. According to Hindu calendar, the festival is observed on Chaturdashi of the lunar month of Phalguna or Magha.

The temple priest, Sri Ganesh ji, led the puja and was joined by several Ritviks in chanting for the Mahanyasa Purvaka Rudrabhisheka in the morning which was followed by Laghunyasa purvaka Ekadasa Rudrabhisheka in the

evening. With the Sri Rudram –Chamakam and Namakam chantings done throughout the day, the atmosphere was energized and transported the assembled devotees to one’s own spiritual high point at CMH Saumyakasi Shivalaya.

Along with the puja at the main temple, devotees also had an opportunity to perform Rudrabhisheka at the Smriti Hall. In the orderliness of the place, meditating, listening to Rudra chantings, families performed Rudrabhisheka in their own hands to the Shivalingam, multiple generations immersed in devotion and obtained the blessings of Lord Shiva.

Every year, Chinmaya Mission volunteers put up a theme which not only adds grandeur to the cel-

ebration but also celebrates different forms of Shiva. This year Chidambaram Nataraja adorned the courtyards of CMH.

Chidambaram is one among 12 Jyotirling temples in the Southern State of India, Tamil Nadu, where Shiva is worshipped in 3 different forms. At the CMH courtyard, people waitied patiently in lines to take the darshan of Lord Shiva in 3 forms, the full form – Nataraja - “Sakala Thirumeni”, Lingam form- “Sakala Nishkala Thirumeni” and Formless – “Nishkala Thirumeni”.

In taking the darshan and offering kshirabhisheka to the Utsava Murti, from young children to aged everyone immersed in devotion. It was a pleasant day and the flow of devotees spread throughout the

day peaking in the evening.

The celebration continued in the evening, as one climbed the steps of the brightly lit Shivalinga shaped main temple, they were elevated in their spiritual journey just by being in the atmosphere filled with bhakti – devotion to the Lord.

With the puja concluding, devotees took part in an hour-long silent Meditation followed by midnight Aarti which provided a deeper meaning to the day long events and solace to the soul tormented by the daily hustle and bustle of life.

Festivities of Mahashivaratri concluded with the Maha Mrutanjaya Homa on February 25, with the chanting of Mrutyunjaya Mantra 108 times for the physical wellbeing of family and friends.

pets are FAMILY

The spiritual vibrations of these powerful chantings rejuvenated the connections with the higher self among the devotees.

It’s a blissful wonder to witness the grandeur of CMH MahaShivaratri materialized from the countless number of hours put in by volunteers to pull of this majestic event year after year. It is a great reminder of the spiritual legacy left by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandji.

Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities please visit, www.saumyakasi. org or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 2023 • March 3, 2023 3 RELIGION
Report animal cruelty at 927PAWS.ORG or call (832) 927-PAWS Prosecuting animal abusers is a priority for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. We are members of the Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce, and we need your help to keep animals safe.
Photos by Rajesh and Gayatri Thatte By ujwala BHat

Mavla Group Celebrates 393rd Birth Anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji

Houston: Mavla Group celebrated the 393rd birth anniversary of the great Maratha warrior King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on February 19, 2023 at the energy capital of the world Houston, Texas. The birth anniversary of the great Maratha king Shivaji is celebrated as Shivaji Jayanti every year. The founder of the Maratha Kingdom, Shivaji was born in Pune’s Shivneri Fort on this day in 1630.

Mavla group has been celebrating Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti for the past 6 years. This year over 600 people from the Greater Houston Area attended the function.

Chief guest Consul Ms. Adesh Sudhir from Indian Consulate of Houston, Vijay Pallod of Hindus of Greater Houston and Kamaljit Singh commenced the function by lighting the auspicious lamp.

Maharashtra Lok Sabha Member and guest speaker Dr. Amol Kolhe attended the event on Zoom. He is popular for his role of Chhatrapati

Shivaji Maharaj in Marathi TV shows Raja Shivchatrapati and Chhatrapati Sambhaji in Mara-

thi TV series Swarajya Rakshak Sambhaji. He explained the warfare strategies, democratic values, belief, and administration of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Reva Jogdand (Austin High School Naval Junior ROTC cadet) inspired the kids and youth with her journey on being selected to attend the elite 2023 Commander of US Naval Air Forces Flight Academy this summer. There were several cultural activities like singing Powada, Shivaji Maharaj Skit, Dhol Tasha and Lazim, Kids dance, Rangoli, Costume competition and Classical signing during the function. Kids also presented the historical information of 14 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Forts and explained the importance of each fort.

Founding members of Mavla Group Tanaji Dabade, Gajanan Gaikwad, Rahul Ghag and Gurunath Musale shared Mavla Group’s core vision of uniting the Marathi community in the USA with the goal of preserving its cultural and historical heritage. Mavla group has been doing several Charity and social work primarily in Maharashtra and other states of India.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 2023 • March 3, 2023 5 For Advertising in Indo-American News call: Jawahar Malhotra
Top: Mavla Group volunteers, Middle: Dhol-tasha-lexim group, Bottom: Shivaji Maharaj biopic. Photos by Raji Pardeshi
Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 2023 • March 3, 2023 6


JK Yog’s Grand Holi Fest in Houston on 12th March at India House

Houston: JKYog Houston invites all to celebrate Holi Festival, an afternoon of fun, color play with organic colors, dancing, live music, shopping, and mouthwatering food on Sunday March 12th, 2023, from 11 am to 4 pm, in the outdoor grounds of India House, 8888 W Bellfort Ave, Houston, TX 77031.

From small children to adults of all ages, there will something to be enjoyed by everyone, cheered on by the Live Concert by Bollywood stars Harry Anand and Aditi Singh Sharma. But best of all, 100% of the proceeds from this celebration will fund JKYog’s charitable initiatives for Education and Healthcare for the under-privileged.

So come & join the Holi Fest. Have fun, be merry with Organic Color Play, enjoy the DJ, Dancing, Desi Bazaar, Carnival Rides, Fashion Shows & More. Details at

In addition, the star attractions of this festival will be Live Music with Harry Anand & Aditi Singh Sharma.

Harry Anand is a 13-time Award winning Bollywood Music Producer / Singer / Song Writer / Video Director, with music for twenty-three films. He is also known as Remix King for his re-


Aditi Singh Sharma is a Bollywood’s Indian Playback Singer. She has performed multiple LIVE Concerts. Some of her biggest hits include Dhoom Machale Dhoom, Dhoom 3, Ki & Ka, Veere Di Wedding, Teraa Surroor, & more.

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. https://www.

Come & celebrate not only the joy of Spring with an afternoon filled with colorful festivities, but one of hope and opportunity for many, as it is also a mega charity event for education and healthcare for the under-privileged.

Event Date and Time: Sunday March 12th, 2023, 11 am to 4 pm

Venue: Outdoor grounds of India House, 8888 W Bellfort Ave, Houston, TX 77031

Tickets: $10, parking is Free. Available on at https://www. & & Eventbrite. Contact: (832) 871-2320, (281) 630-5982

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 2023 • March 3, 2023 7

International Mother Language Day: Preservation of Languages is Challenging

The International Mother Language Day is celebrated on February 21, but I got reminder this year a month earlier. Which was in form of a news item about the Canadian Government agreeing to settle class action claim “seeking reparations for the loss of language and culture brought on by Indian residential schools, for $2.8 billion.”

My mind was filled with thoughts and feelings for the loss of the Indian tribes. Suddenly a thought occurred, wait this could be fate of my mother tongue too, if we fail to safeguard and make efforts to preserve it. According to UN, “Every two weeks a language disappears taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.” The telltale sign were noticed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469 -1539), when he observed this trait in Punjabis over 500 years back, as reflected in these words:

“Ghar ghar mian sabhanaa(n) jeeaa(n) bolee avar tumaaree. 6.” (SGGS, Pg. No. 1191)

Translation: In each and every home, everyone addresses using the term “Mian” for greetings (as used by the rulers); even your speech has changed, O people.


That was Guru Ji’s take on the language of Indian subcontinent then, but now it has been replaced by Hindi and English instead. The push to impose one national language over the regional languages can become the cause of their death knell.

Brief History of International Mother Language Day

February 21 is observed as the International Mother Language Day since 2020, based on the UNESCO declaration in 1999. It has been observed throughout the world since 21 February 2000. The declaration came up in tribute to the Language Movement by Bangladeshis (East Pakistan then). When Indian subcontinent was given independence in 1947, it was divided into India and Pakistan. The division was based on religion and the state of Pakistan had two geographically separate parts called East and West Pakistan. These two parts were very different from each other in the sense of culture, food, ideology, and language. In 1948, the Government of Pakistan declared Urdu to be the sole national language of Pakistan, even though Bengali or Bangla was spoken by the majority of people combining the populations of East Pakistan and West Pakistan. The East Pakistan people protested and refused to accept Urdu, as their mother language was Bangla. They demanded Bangla to be at least one of the national languages, in addition to Urdu. The rulers came down heavily on the protesters

with protest rallies being outlawed and curfews imposed. On 21 February 1952, police opened fire on rallies killing many, plus injuring hundreds. This was a rare incident in history, where people had sacrificed their lives for their mother tongue.

Since then, Bangladeshis celebrate the International Mother Language Day as one of their tragic days. It was again in 1998, by the efforts of Vancouver based expatriates from Bangladesh that UN took the step of recognizing it as International Mother Language Day. The situation in India was slightly different in the sense that although Hindi was declared as the national language with English as the link language, the regional languages were given a place. Although there was a strong opposition to this threelanguage formula (English, Hindi, Regional) but still the turmoil was not so devastating as there was some accommodation to the regional interests. Still with the thrust on Hindi and its overwhelming presence in media as TV, movies, music, and radio resulted in more and more people switching to it over regional languages. The effect is more pronounced when the children’s mother tongue is not the regional language where they are studying. Thus, they are missing that mother

language connection in learning as the void is being filled by the national language. Another way the children are losing their connection to their mother tongue is

when their parents have moved to other parts of the country because of their job or other economic opportunities.


The worldwide migration and internet has changed the way we have live and how we communicate. So, the preservation of languages is going to be challenging and will become a bigger and more immediate challenge if the speakers of that language are smaller in numbers. But the threat exists for all the languages that cannot make the top cut in terms of number of speakers and interest in that language. We need to take page from Hawaiian and make efforts to protect our

own mother tongue today



2. UN. Multilingual Education – a necessity to transform education.

3. Ackerman, Diane. We Are Our Words. Parade, May 30, 2004.

4. Diamond, Jared. The Benefits of Multilingualism. Science. abs/10.1126/science.1195067

5. articles/why-mother-languagebased-education-essential UNESCO Report: MOTHER TONGUE MATTERS: LOCAL LANGUAGE AS A KEY TO EFFECTIVE LEARNING. 2008

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 2023 • March 3, 2023 8 COMMUNITY


Woodlands Hindu Temple to Celebrate Holi

UH to Establish Geoscience Data Center

Houston: The University of Houston and the Directorate General Hydrocarbon (DGH), the technical arm of the Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the UH-DGH Data Center, which will house a geoscience data repository with display capability and software to interpret key exploration and production (E&P) data and extensive knowledge of India’s sedimentary basins and fields.

key oil and gas hub, and UH, which is a Tier One research university with globally renowned researchers, were a natural strategic choice for the data center.

tHe woodlands: Hindu Temple of The Woodlands, a center for culture and devotion serving Greater Houston, invites community members and neighbors to celebrate “Holi – Festival of Color” at the temple this weekend.

The event starts at 11 AM on Saturday, March 4 with a small procession around the temple followed by music, dancing, food, and the Holi Color Run.

The Holi Run begins at 11:30 AM and continues to 12 PM. It is a 1K untimed event open to participants of all ages and activity

levels. Once the race is over the fun continues at the Holi festival with music and dancing. Other activity includes booths with local vendors.

People spread small amounts of color on each other’s faces celebrating the beginning of the colorful spring session. More massive color throws which create unique color combinations bring smiles to the faces of the participants. The colors used are biodegradable and non-toxic. No outside colors are allowed as a safety measure.

Every year more and more of our non-Hindu neighbors and friends attend the temple’s festival. In ad-

dition to other activities, snacks and sweets are available for sale. These are all made on the temple premises by volunteers and the temple chef. Everyone agrees they are exceptionally tasty. Among the most popular are samosas, chole batura, and dahi vada. Beverages such as mango lassi, thandai, and chai are also available.

Although parking is not available at the event inside the temple, visitors may park on the streets where it is legally allowed, but not in the neighborhoods. Overflow event parking lot is located at an easy walking distance in the medical building parking lot at 10867 Kuykendahl Road, The Woodlands. 77382.

Join in the fun and welcome spring with brilliant color at Hindu Temple of The Woodlands Holi Celebration. For more information, please see the temple’s website at or its Facebook page.

The aim of this five-year agreement is to provide reliable and highquality information – including seismic, well, reservoir and production data – for research and development as well as to investors and companies based in the Greater Houston area and the Gulf Coast to encourage commercial opportunities involving Indian offshore offerings.

Houston, which is home to more than 4,500 energy companies and a

“This MoU is essentially an agreement to spur collaboration and combine the strengths of the involved parties for greater good,” said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice president of energy and innovation at UH. “UH is in Houston, the Energy Capital of the World and the DGH has this wonderful wealth of information in its National Data Repository. By working together, we will maximize the potential of this important data and it will serve as an excellent research foundation.”

The agreement was signed by Krishnamoorti on behalf of UH and Akash Goyal, addl. director general – coordination with DGH.

The MoU helps strengthen the strategic partnership between the United States and India.

UH to Partner Hydrogen Transition Hub

Houston: The Gulf Coast Hydrogen Transition (LIGH2T) Hub consists of the Southern States Energy Board, the National Energy Technology Laboratory and the University of Houston as the lead academic partner. Commercial partners include INEOS, Linde, MPLX and 13 other organizations.

UH, a Tier One public research university, has put together an academic consortium of eight universities and five community colleges to work on this important project. In addition, UH Energy’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy (CCME), a multidisciplinary academic research center focused on carbon management and the broad-based commercial deployment of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS)

that is fundamental for global energy sustainability, will be a major contributor to the hub.

“UH is the Energy University and it is committed to being part of the solution by sharing our research and expertise in clean energy, carbon capture, hydrogen and more,” said UH Energy’s Hydrogen Program Officer Paul Doucette. “To do this right, it was important to collaborate and bring together a broad base of perspectives and complementary knowledge in several key areas to make our proposal the best it can be. This is especially important in areas such as environmental justice and equity, community, labor and stakeholder engagement, policy and regulation and workforce and skills development” Doucette added.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 2023 • March 3, 2023 9

‘Selfiee’: Interesting Premise Overshadowed by Hero

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 7, 2023. Email us at Please send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published.

Solution Next Week

The good thing about Selfiee is that it doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. The bad thing about it is that it is not even trying.

An interesting premise offering an opportunity to talk about the transience of fame, the meaning of it in the time of social media, the nature of genuine stardom, the manipulation of media, the pitfalls of petty egos, and whether Big Bad Bollywood is really all that big or all that bad, is explored, but not really allowed to overshadow its larger-than-life hero Akshay Kumar himself.

Akshay even does a piece-tocamera at the start as himself, dedicating the film to the “fans”. And while the fans have reciprocated the film industry’s faith most recently in powering Pathaan to

super-success, Selfiee is dishearteningly not as nice to its little man as it is to its big guy.

A remake of the Malayalam critical and commercial success Driving Licence, Selfiee has at its heart superstar Vijay Kumar (Akshay Kumar) and one of his most ardent fans, Om Prakash Aggarwal (Emraan Hashmi). A film shoot brings Vijay to Bhopal, and then to the RTO, as he needs a new driving licence for the climax shot. That also brings him to Om, Bhopal’s sole (it seems) RTO Inspector.

There is a third angle in the form of an actor who started out with Vijay but is now a nobody, doing ads for stuff like groin scratch cream etc. He reaches out to a tarot card reader (Kusha Kapila) in the hope of bringing Vijay “down to my level”. Meghna Malik is criminally misused as a corporator seeking

her 15 minutes of fame, wherever she can get it.

A misunderstanding leads Vijay to humiliate Om in front of his seniors and his son, who dotes on the star equally. And Om swears payback.

Selfiee is unpredictable in the choices that Om – the quintessential good guy, family man – makes. As well as the pressures Vijay –the quintessential arrogant star, wannabe parent – faces. Hence, where the two will let their egos take them is interesting to follow, with Akshay’s impatient snapping and quiet seething effective, as is Hashmi’s helpless adulation. Up to a point.

As the film goes on and on, and the fights get ridiculously petty, Vijay and Om are reduced to children who need a good shaking down. -- Indian Express

‘Shehzada’: Crime to Make This Movie in 21st Century

It should be a crime to make certain films in the 21st century. And a film where a boy (would you call Kartik Aaryan a man, think hard) turns out good simply because his genetics are originally of a rich family, even if he had been swapped at birth into a clerk’s abode, as opposed to his counterpart who never really rises above his poor clerk family genes despite living in privilege, should surely qualify.

Particularly when the clerk who is instrumental in this baby swap is called, only and only, Valmiki. He does this out of all kinds of wrong reasons, and has almost no redeeming feature.

The rich Jindals in contrast, who have lost their Shehzada unknowingly to Valmiki, are nice enough people.

Valmiki pretty shittily. The filmmakers even splurge on acting talent when it comes to the Jindals, putting Sachin Khedekar (the patriarch), Manisha Koirala (his daughter) and Ronit Roy (his sonin-law), all in that corner which they clearly care more for. -- Shalini Langer in Indian Express.

Last Week’s Solution

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Kumud Athavale, Ramana Vadrevu, Krishna R. Vuddagiri, Sanchali Basu, Yudhveer Singh Bagga, Taranjit Singh, Kanubhai Patel, Prabhu Narumanchi, Prabha Barvalia, Saeed Pathan

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, mArch 3, 2023 • March 3, 2023 11 ENTERTAINMENT
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