Indo-American News: November 26, 2021

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Friday, November 26, 2021 | Vol. 40, No. 48

Indo American News


November 26, 2021


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) •

YLDP Students Learn about Leadership

Fifty-five future leaders of YLDP Houston gathered at the Houston Food Bank on Saturday morning to answer the essential question, “Why Should Anyone be Led by You?”. The session was led by Mr. Brian Greene, the CEO of Houston Food Bank.

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Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •



November 26, 2021

IAPAC Hosts ‘Gratitude for Global Cultures’ Lunch with Elected Leaders Houston The Indian American Political Action Committee of Greater Houston (IAPAC) is fulfilling its promise once again of being the only non-partisan voice for Indian Americans in the political arena. On November 20, 2021, IAPAC hosted “Gratitude with Global Cultures,” a Thanksgiving Lunch, focused on being grateful for the diversity within our region. Keeping in line with the theme of “Gratitude with Global Cultures,” elected officials from both major political parties and guests representing a multitude of countries and cultures were invited, including India, Cameroon, Nigeria, Taiwan, Turkey, Philippines, Malaysia, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Greece, Bangladesh, Iran, Israel, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Latin America. A beautiful collection of what gratitude means was shared by representatives from faiths that are Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jain, Jewish, Scientology, Sikh and Zoroastrian. Elected officials were each also given the opportunity to share their thoughts about gratitude before IAPAC team with Sam Merchant (far left) lunch. As lunch was served, Congressman Al Green arrived to share words on what coming together during Thanksgiving means to him. Congressman Green also thanked IAPAC for bringing together community leaders with love and gratitude at the forefront. Elected officials who attended included: Fort Bend County Judge, K. P. George; State Representative, Ron Reynolds; State Representative, Jon Rosenthal; Houston City Council Member, Robert

Gallegos; Houston City Council Member, Edward Pollard; Stafford Council Member, Ken Mathew; Sugar Land Council Member, Naushad Kermally; Sugar Land Council Member, Carol McCutcheon; Stafford Council Member, Xavier Herrera; Regional Director for Senator Cruz, Jason Fuller; 434 District Court Judge, Christian Becerra; Fort Bend District Attorney, Brian Middleton and Community Outreach Coordinator for Representative Lizzie Fletcher, R. J. Coronado. Ramesh Anand, President of IAPAC expressed his pleasure with the feedback from the event saying, “IAPAC believes that Indian American lives are affected by elected officials at every level as much as business opportunities are for both India and the US. IAPAC is committed to evolving new ways to create relationships at each level - be at the City, County, State and Federal level - with EVERY elected official whether Democrat, Republican or Independent.”

Tourist Visas from Nov. 15


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New Delhi: The Government of India has decided to issue fresh tourist visas with effect from 15 November, 2021 for individual travel. In this context, the following may be noted: Such travel will be allowed through Vande Bharat Mission, Air Bubble Scheme or by any scheduled/ non-scheduled commercial flight allowed by the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation. Foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter India through land routes on e-Tourist Visa/regular paper Tourist Visa. A Single Entry e-Tourist Visa/regular paper Tourist Visa valid for a stay of up to 30 days will be issued, which will have to be utilized within a period of 120 days from the date of issue. This visa will be issued on a gratis basis for a limited time once to each applicant. The process of obtaining e-Tourist Visa/Regular Tourist Visa may be accessed at the following links: e-Tourist Visa - evisa/tvoa.html. The applicant may note that the Consulate does not process e-visas and any enquiries in this regard will need to be made directly on the e-visa portal. Regular Tourist Visa through the Consulate – Applicants are also advised to go through the guidelines for international travel to India available at

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Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •


November 26, 2021

YLPD Houston: Learning about the Qualities of an Authentic Leader


Houston Food Bank CEO Brian Greene

By Srinivasa Mahankali Houston: Fifty-five future leaders of YLDP Houston gathered at the Houston Food Bank on Saturday morning to answer the essential question, “Why Should Anyone be Led by You?”. The session was led by Mr. Brian Greene, the CEO of Houston Food Bank. He showed us the operations of the non-profit organization through his lens and helped answer the question, “how to earn employees trust in you?”. The main four qualities of an authentic leader are having the ability to reveal your weakness, becoming a sensor, showing tough empathy, and being a unique leader. The commonality between all four qualities is the revealing of

one’s own humanity. This is what leads to having trust in someone as a leader. One of the key aspects of an authentic leader is having the ability to reveal your weakness to others. It establishes trust by allowing others to see that the leader has flaws of their own, just like other human beings. The key word is human, and it establishes the perception that the leader is also human, giving them authenticity. During the keynote, Mr. Greene mentioned that he uses “his weaknesses and finds others who can fill in those weaknesses”, transforming those weaknesses into strength. This is the focal point of creating your own team that works for you, and thus is what

creates the strong foundation of the organization. Being a sensor means to use intuition to gauge appropriate timing and course of action. When asked of how he used his sensing abilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Mr. Greene responded saying that he utilized his board team and met once a week to figure out best course of action. He used the available data at the time and applied it. The amazing part of his leadership was that he did not need to be there to lead his team. This had stuck out to me. His team could function properly without his appearance, which is especially useful in emergency situations. I believe this is the forefront of why the Houston Food Bank is a successful non-profit.

Tough empathy is an integral part of a leader. A leader must empathize with their employees to create a good flow. Leaders should provide to what employees need instead of what they want. They must listen to and give what the employee needs. In essence, they care about their employee’s work. With tough empathy, employees can know that their leader understands them and can therefore follow under them. Being a unique leader is what sets you apart from other leaders AND what sets you apart from the employees. For example, one of Mr. Greene’s unique qualities was his emphasis for ethics and courage. Ethics is a core foundation for a non-profit and Mr. Greene believed that this code was es-

sential to the Houston Food Bank. He also believed that every leader needs to work on ethics every day. Another one of his unique qualities from before was his ability to command his team without him being there. This allowed for him to have a social distance from others while running the organization efficiently. Summing it up, to have trust placed in you as a leader, it is important to have the four qualities of an authentic leader: the ability to reveal your weakness, becoming a sensor, showing tough empathy, and being a unique leader. A true leader’s goal is to fulfill the obligations of the organization while keeping the trust of others around them.

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November 26, 2021

Milestone for UH Tamil Studies Chair

Houston: Thursday, November 11, 2021 was another historic day for the Tamilians living in Texas and specifically those in the Houston Metropolitan area. On this day, the Houston Tamil Studies Chair inc. (HTSC), a Texas non-profit corporation with a primary purpose of setting up a Tamil Studies Chair at the University of Houston (UH), made the first payment of $500,000 in a series of payments to fund this important project. The event was attended by UH President Renu Khator, president of UH, Vice President for Advancement Eloise Dunn Brice, Daniel P. O’Connor, Interim Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Ms. Kim Howard, Senior Director of Advancement, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. HTSC was represented by its board consisting of President Sockalingam (Sam) Kannappan, Tupil Narasiman, Thiruvengadam Arumugam, Perumal Annamalai, N. Ganesan, Sockalingam Narayanan, Caldwell Velnambi. Consul General, Hon Aseem Mahajan, also attended the event. The event was live streamed by UH for viewing by HTSC donors and supporters. President Khator proudly observed that UH has enjoyed significant amounts of funding from the community in the recent years and repeated her intention to transform UH into one of the Top 50 universities in the U.S.A. She said was very happy to note that HTSC is setting up a Tamil Chair, making this was the first Indian language chair at UH and in the entire state. The Consul General applauded the achievements of the Indian Government in the field of education while HTSC President , Kan-

nappan, thanked the UH officials as well as Consul General of India at Houston Mahajan for their continuous support. He also thanked the Tamil Nadu State Government for contributing one crore rupees ($140,000). Mr. Caldwell Velnambi, president of Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) and a member of HTSC board, spoke about FetNA and in-


vited the UH executives to the annual FeTNA convention. HTSC is committed to raising $2 million by the end of 2026 to set up a permanent Tamil Studies Chair at the UH. The plan calls for funding the first million dollars by July 31, 2022 and the rest by 2026. Now that the first $500K has been paid, HTSC hopes to raise the remaining $500K by July 31, 2022.

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Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •

November 26, 2021 Job Posting


Job Description KTRK-TV, Houston’s #1 news source, is looking for an executive producer with big-J Journalism chops to lead across all our platforms. The right candidate is a head coach: calling the right plays each day, helping to build and train our teams and motivating team members to perform at their best. Exceptional digital skills are a must, from social media to connected television. We move fast and the right candidate will move fast with us. Responsibilities • Complete oversight for the newscasts and all content across our multiple platforms, including story selection, production and newsroom management while implementing innovative strategies to be competitive in the Houston market • Oversee newsroom and editorial decisions while ensuring content is consistent and appropriate • Design and implement strategies to engage and build audiences across platforms • Collaborate and mentor producers and newsroom staff • Conflict resolution and engage appropriate teams to resolve any issues that arise in the newsroom • Will be supervising and motivating a diverse group of broadcast and digital employees, as well as mentoring and coaching less experienced staff. • Managing staffing needs and schedules Basic Qualifications • Minimum 5 years previously in news production in a major TV market • Demonstrated ability work under deadline pressures and work in a rapid, fastpaced environment • Excellent verbal and written communication skills • Must be flexible with working hours and adaptable to change. Must be willing to work overnights, early mornings, weekends and/or holidays. Preferred Education • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication or related field Segment Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution To be considered for this position apply via, Reference # 889466BR KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

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November 26, 2021

Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •

November 26, 2021

India’s Lonely African

Understanding Withdrawal of Farm Bills


By Akhilesh Mishra

In 1998, a young elephant, at home in the vast Savannah grasslands of Zimbabwe, set off on a journey he hadn’t asked for. By the fiat of humans, he had been turned from elephant to emissary — a gift from the African nation to the Indian president. Here, in these arid climes, he was given a name, Shankar, and a home, an enclosure at the Delhi Zoo. He was not alone at first, but the female elephant who had accompanied him on that long journey died a few years later. It is hard for the African elephant, untamed and solitary by nature, to get along with Asian elephants or respond to human commands. The only other African elephant in India lives far away in Mysuru. And so, in this strange land, all that remained for Shankar was a long, stubborn loneliness. For centuries, emperors and imperialists have turned animals into a currency of power, or tokens of benevolence. The East India Company’s reign in India saw elephants make arduous voyages to Britain. After Independence, a nation without economic heft turned elephants into symbols of soft power. Under Nehru, baby elephants were dispatched as “messengers of affection from the children of India” to several countries. For designing an ash tray for Air India, the Spanish artist Salvador Dali asked for — and got — an elephant for his garden in Barcelona. This anthropocentric worldview — where the most magnificent animals are uprooted from their homes and habitats to be turned into playthings of human needs — is fortunately on its way out. In 2005, the Indian government banned the gifting of wild animals for diplomacy. The Delhi Zoo has stopped accepting such “gifts”. Prodded by online petitions against Shankar’s “solitary confinement”, it is now looking to import a mate for Shankar, or for a way to send him back home to Zimbabwe. Whether or not they succeed, the loneliness of Delhi’s only African elephant will continue to ask troubling questions of the cost sentient beings pay for human pride. -- Indian Express

The withdrawal of the three farm bills, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation, has generated much debate. From guesstimating the motivations for this move at this time to crystal gazing, and from predicting collateral fallouts to even predicting a political turn of events, the analytical responses have been many. But why go that far or guesstimate at all when the PM himself laid out the reasons for his decision? “The bills were brought in the interest of the farmers and they are being withdrawn in national interest,” said Modi in his address. What does this mean? Agricultural scientist Ashok Gulati wrote in these pages on May 18, 2020, that “The reforms, announced last week (three farm bills) could be a harbinger of major change in agri-marketing, a 1991 moment of economic reforms for agriculture.” An editorial published in this newspaper on January 22, 2021, noted that “Dismantling the monopoly of state-regulated mandis in agricultural produce marketing, doing away with stocking restrictions and allowing processors, organised retailers and exporters to enter into contract cultivation agreements with farmers are all steps in the right direction.” So, by now, especially since the withdrawal of the bills, there is wide consensus among policy analysts that the bills were in the interest of the farmers. So, Modi was right when he said, “The bills were brought in the interest of the farmers.” But what about the second part of the assertion that “they are being withdrawn in national interest”? What does this mean? Consider the sequence of events after Modi’s announcement. The Prime Minister of the country announced in a televised address to the nation that the three bills will be withdrawn as soon as the Winter Session of Parliament begins later this month. The announcement was made on the Prakash Parv of Guru Nanak, perhaps driven by the desire to send a message to Punjab

in particular since that is the state, which was the most agitated. The protests in Punjab, parts of Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh originated after the bills were proposed and legislated. The bills have now been withdrawn. So, the situation is back to what existed before. And yet, have the agitators withdrawn their protest? On the contrary, they have announced programmes to continue their agitation, including a farmers’ march to Parliament every day once it is in session, The “farmers’ march” in January 2021 had ended in violence and the defiling of the Red Fort. If the concern of the protestors was only the implications of the bill, surely they would have at least cancelled their scaled-up plans, if not outright ended the stir? What other reason could there be, then, for continuing with the agitation even after their demands have been met? Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh’s statement gives us a clue. Reacting to Modi’s announcement, he said, “We had worries that there were some groups in the agitation who were trying to distance themselves from the Sikh philosophy, history, sentiment and tradition during the agitation. Then there were other groups that were attempting to turn the farmers’ agitation into a Sikh vs Indian government or Sikh vs Hindu issue. We, as a community, could face serious implications due to such attempts. We are relieved from such worries for now. I thank the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for neutralising the big crisis that we were able to see heading towards

Indo American News 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: www.

Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •

the community.” This is the Akal Takht Jathedar speaking, not a BJP or a government functionary. His allusion is clear. Using the farm bills as a ruse, an entire industry sprung up to seed discord. The game of these groups is particularly diabolic since they fuse religious sentiments into what was an economic decision. “Attempting to turn the farmers’ agitation into a Sikh vs Indian government” issue, these groups use all the resources at their command, including international funding. Their agenda is not economic but political. Their target is not farmer welfare but Modi in particular and the Indian state’s acceptability in general. Had it been limited to just hatred of Modi, it would have been par for the course. After all, in a democracy not everyone supports the most popular leader of the time. But the agenda of these groups transcends Modi. They are targeting the Indian state and its unity. We have seen in the 1980s what can happen when such religious toxicity is introduced in a border state. It has been Modi’s lifelong project to bury any chances of a recurrence of those dark days. If this meant that in the national interest, Modi had to take a step back on the farm bills then he did. In the coming weeks and months, we will know how sagacious he has been in fronting the withdrawal himself, putting his own image and reputation at stake. For a lifelong karmyogi like Modi, the nation always comes first. -- IE The writer is CEO, Bluekraft Digital Foundation and was earlier the director (content) at MyGov



November 26, 2021

Suryakumar Replaces Injured Rahul in India for New Zealand Tests

Houston: KL Rahul has been sidelined from the upcoming twoTest series against New Zealand with a strain in his left thigh. He will now undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, and Suryakumar Yadav has been added to the squad in his place, two days out from the start of the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur. ESPNcricinfo understands that the Indian team management is optimistic about Rahul’s recovery, which they expect will be in time for the senior batter to board the flight for the tour of South Africa in December. In the absence of Rahul - Rohit Sharma has been rested for the series - Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal will be the likely opening pair for India. Along with Rohit, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, as well as regular Test captain Virat Kohli, have been rested, though Kohli will return to lead the side for the second Test, in Mumbai. Suryakumar, the 31-year-old middle-order batter, was also a late addition to red-ball squad that had toured England earlier this year, but he is yet to make his debut in the format. He might now be in contention for a middle-order spot along with Shreyas Iyer. Suryakumar, who has become a regular in India’s T20I side, has been a key player for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. In the most recent first-class season, in 2019-20,

Suryakumar tallied 508 runs in ten innings at an average of 56.44 and strike rate of 95.13, with two hundreds and two fifties. Of the 77 first-class matches he has played, 71 have been in the Ranji competition. India squad for New Zealand Test series: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara (vice-capt), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav Wriddhiman Saha (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna; Virat Kohli to join squad for second Test and lead the side. New Zealand are the No. 1 Test side in the world and the World Test Champions too, but this se-

ries will be their toughest test after they lost in Australia in 2019-20. They have not won a Test in India since 1988, and their last tour of

the country was a comprehensive 3-0 whitewash. They have fewer resources than the hosts, so there is little room for error in their selections, which have been hampered significantly already by injuries and fatiguerelated absence. Tom Latham will definitely open, but he will miss Devon Conway, who had made an impressive debut in England and carried a reputation for being a good player of spin. They have Tom Blundell and Will Young as possible replacements. Playing Daryl Mitchell or moving Henry Nicholls up is an outside chance. Young has played most of his first-class cricket at No. 4. Blundell has batted at 5 and 6 in domestic cricket, but in Tests, he has had to open in 12 of the 17 innings he has played. With BJ Wa-

tling finally retired, Blundell might have thought he could slot back in the middle order, but for this series at least, either he or Young will have to make the switch. Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville should be New Zealand’s two first-choice spinners, but depending on the conditions, they might be tempted to play Mitchell Santner too. If they play Santner, he could play as the allrounder, ahead of Kyle Jamieson, or replace one of the two specialist fast bowlers, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner. This is the kind of juggling attack you will see sides having to do when they travel out of their comfort zone. They don’t have any tour games to inform their decision-making process any further. -- ESPN Cricinfo



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Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •


November 26, 2021

PM to Launch Noida International Airport Noida Uttar Pradesh is poised to become the only state in India to have five international airports as Prime Minister Modi will lay the foundation stone of the Noida International Airport in Jewar, Gautam Buddha Nagar, on November 25 at 1 PM, the PMO said. The development of the first phase of the airport is being done at a cost of over Rs 10,050 crore, it said. Spread over more than 1,300 hectares of land, the completed first phase of the airport will have the capacity to serve around 1.2 crore passengers a year and work on it is scheduled to be completed by 2024, it added. It will be executed by international bidder Zurich Airport International AG as concessionaire. The groundwork for the first phase regarding land acquisition and rehabilitation of the affected families has been completed, the statement said. This airport will be the second international airport to come up in Delhi-NCR, it noted and added that it will help decongest the Indira Gandhi International Airport. It is strategically located and will serve the people of cities including Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Agra, Faridabad and neighbouring areas, it said.

The airport will be the logistics gateway of northern India and due to its scale and capacity, it will be a game changer for Uttar Pradesh, the PMO said. It will unleash the potential of Uttar Pradesh to the world, and help establish the state on the global logistics map, it said. For the first time, an airport in India has been conceptualised with an integrated multi-modal cargo hub, with a focus on reducing the total cost and time for logistics, the statement said. The dedicated cargo terminal will have a capacity of 20 lakh metric tonnes, which will be expanded to 80 lakh metric tonnes, it added. By facilitating seamless movement of industrial products, the airport will play a crucial role in helping the region attract huge investments, boost rapid industrial growth and enable reach of local products to national and international markets, the PMO stated. This will bring new opportunities for numerous enterprises and also create tremendous employment opportunities, it said. The airport will develop a Ground Transportation Centre that will feature a multi-modal transit hub, housing metro and high-speed rail stations, taxi, bus services and private parking, according to the PMO. This will enable seamless connectivity of the airport with road, rail and metro.

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Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •



November 26, 2021

Arya Samaj of Greater Houston Celebrates Diwali Yajna with CGI

Diwali outdoor yagna with CGI Aseem Mahajan and ASGH Sanjeev Jain and seven yajman Children’s Diwali cultural performances, Megh Nath, by DAV Sanskriti School student families. Eehan Nanda.

By Maya & Shriya Bindal Houston: On November 6, 2021, members of Arya Samaj Greater Houston gathered to celebrate Diwali Yajna in a safe and festive environment. Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, celebrates the spiritual victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and new beginnings. In order to celebrate this grand occasion together, the organizers of ASGH’s Diwali celebration planned many cultural events while still implementing COVID-19 protocols. The program began with outdoor Yajna prayers with Consul General of India, Houston Shri Aseem Mahajan Ji, Sanjay Jain Ji with their spouses along with

seven Yajmaan families sitting around Havan Kunds in a beautiful paradise evening next to Brays Bayou lake. Everyone was welcomed with a tikka by Arya youth members to start the celebrations. Soon after, the Yagya (Havan) performed by Acharyaji in the grand outdoor Yagyshala began. With the combined efforts of the AYM youth, volunteers, DAV teachers and event coordinators, the Diwali celebration continued smoothly. After prayers CGI emphasized that India is celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Commemorating 75 years of Independence, culture and glorious history of people, freedom struggle and rich traditions with many cultural programs planned in 2022 by artist from In-

dia and requesting local audience to participate in them with fervor. After the Havan, the cultural events, performed by the children in the DAVMS and DAVSS, began. DAVSS students in the singing elective started the performances with a beautifully sung bhajan. Following the bhajan, DAVSS and DAVMS students from various age groups performed a variety of dances. These students attend Arya Samaj every Sunday, and they practiced for weeks to present stunning performances. As DAVSS classes are held online, all performers had to learn online and practice on their own. Through these performances, the children were able to have fun and present what they learned in their elective

classes throughout the year. There was also a new competition this year called the fancy dress competition. Everyone that participated in this event portrayed a different character from the Ramayan. Through this experience, participants were able to creatively show what they learned about the Ramayan in their classes. Following the cultural events, a raffle was held where everyone who purchased tickets had the chance to win prizes such as a ring doorbell or a lego set. As last year’s Diwali festival had to be done online due to COVID, the event organizers were eager to have this year’s event be in person. Audience members were socially distanced, and seats were placed

Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •

3 feet apart. To further secure a COVID safe celebration, boxed food and fireworks were distributed to guests. The safety protocols put in place allowed the members of Arya Samaj to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate Diwali to its full extent. Arya Samaj strives to bring the community together and create a close and familial environment where everyone feels at home. Through these events, and their classes, they hope to pass on knowledge of Hindu culture to younger generations. The Diwali event is not only a way to celebrate and learn about Hindu culture but to bring the people of Arya Samaj together in these difficult times.

SUDOKU/MOVIE REVIEW 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.

November 26, 2021


‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’: Saif-Rani Kindle Old Spark

Send us the correct answer before November 31. 2021 Email us at Please send us your solved Sudoku for your name to be published.

Solution Next Week

By Shalini Langer

Last Week’s Solution

Bunty and Babli worked for several reasons. Apart from the great music, one of the primary ones was that it tapped into the frustrated aspirations of small-town India. That year was 2005. More than 15 years later, the sequel is bogged down by the closing distance between the two Indias, the desperate tapping into the verve of the 2005 film, and confusion about what is Bunty and Babli 2 all about. So there are the cool-as-cucumber Chaturvedi and Wagh, as at home in their roadside west UP engineering college as ordering Beluga caviar in Abu Dhabi; and manipulating the system as cleverly as teaching the right weightlifting positions at the gym. They are the new Bunty and Babli, having conned their way to that position by audaciously tapping into Uttar Pradesh’s two biggest symbols — Ganga and politicians. Then there are the old-as-vinegar Saif Ali Khan and Rani Muk-

erji, who still carry the sauce but only a whiff of the sting. Reprising Abhishek Bachchan’s role from the original, Saif is sporting about playing a man bearing life’s regrets and a lifetime’s paunch. The original Bunty and Babli have resigned themselves to domestication and parenthood — though the child they have produced will probably keep them in a life of crime for the foreseeable future. When the new con artists take on their name, and hence fame, the old ones get dragged in. Writer-director Varun V Sharma obviously does not think Saif and Rani, who is in prime form, are enough to repeat the success of the original. Hence, he keeps falling back on Sharvari and Siddhant, who are not bad but nothing we haven’t seen before. However, his bigger crime is reducing the original Bunty and Babli to colourful, atrocious parodies of their selves — with Babli heartlessly forsaken, ignoring the kurti-salwar trend she set off in 2005. Here she seems

dressed up for sheer laughs, particularly when contrasted with the perfectly manicured Sharvari. The director’s idea of having a kid recreate Kajra Re is also highly dubious, with the same girl subsequently uncomfortably sexualised at other moments. Still, the film comes alive in parts. Especially between Saif and Rani, who are trying to kindle the old Bunty-Babli spark; between the two Buntys and Bablis as they try to outsmart each other; and between the lines when it surprisingly veers into political territory. Whether it’s the charade of clean Ganga, the game of renaming cities like Allahabad to Prayagraj, and the state of our system. An STF arriving late to the crime scene on bicycles and a bullock cart — well, we can’t say it is impossible. Director: Varun V Sharma Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Sharvari Wagh, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Pankaj Tripathi Rating: 2.5 stars

Nawazuddin, Vir Das at International Emmy Awards

Last Week’s Winners

Sanchali Basu, Krishna R. Vuddagiri, Ramana Vadrevu, Kirit Suthar. Kanubhai Patel

New York: Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui and actorcomedian Vir Das attended the International Emmy Awards 2021 in style. While the Gangs of Wasseypur star was nominated in the ‘Best Performance by an Actor’ category for his Netflix movie Serious Men, Vir was nominated for his comedy special, Vir Das: For India. For the event, Nawazuddin chose a traditional red carpet outfit — a classic white tuxedo, paired with black trousers and a bow-tie to complete the look. Styled by Jahnvi Bansal, the actor’s outfit was teamed with classic black shoes. Vir, who recently found himself embroiled in controversy, opted for a flattering black, buttoneddown jacket styled with a short white kurta and black trousers. The stand-up artiste also took tiemmys” The duo looked dapper as they posed together on the red carpet.

Sushmita Sen was also nominated in the ‘Best Drama Series’ catego-

ry, for her role in Aarya, but lost to Israeli series Tehran.

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Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •

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November 26, 2021

Indo-American News • Friday, november 26, 2021 •

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