Indo-American News May 24, 2019

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Friday, May 24, 2019 | Vol. 38, No. 16

Indo American News Published weekly from Houston, TX


Special Reports Community Briefs Local Politics South Asians in the News

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NDA is Poised to Win 349 Seats in Lok Sabha P2 Indian Ambassador Shringla Enjoys a VIP Tour of Indian Presence in Texas

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May 24, 2019

World Will Have to Recognize India’s Democratic Strength: PM Modi New Delhi: Heading towards a grand finale, the BJP, on Thursday, is poised to return to become the second political party in the Indian history to come back to power, even stronger this time. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won in six seats and is leading in another 316 seats, with the UPA coalition leading in only 86 seats. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking reelection from Varanasi struck gold, garnering over 63% of total votes polled. His rival Ajay Rai, of Congress, has polled 53,385 votes, about two lakh votes lesser than Mr. Modi. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is trailing in his sitting constituency of Amethi in UP, is heading for a record victory in his second seat of Wayanad in Kerala. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses party workers in a Live Hindu report: “Today, the 11 crore citizens have filled the jholi (bag) of this beggar,” says PM Modi. “This is the most decisive mandate any party has won in so many years of independence, and that too in around 35-45 degree temperature. This in itself is a miracle,” he says. “The world will have to take note of India as a superpower now,” he adds. “I want to thank the Election Commission, the soldiers and the guardians of our democracy for keeping alive the faith in this,” says PM Modi. He goes on to explain the significance of the verdict in terms of a metaphor involv-

PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah at the BJP headquarters on Thursday night.

ing Mahabharata. ‘World will have to recognise India’s democratic strength’ “This election was not fought by netas, but by the common man,” he says. “This is highest voter turnout India has seen. World will have to recognise India’s democratic strength,” says PM Modi. “We had gone to people seeking mandate to build a new India. People have given us their blessings for it,” he says. He goes on to congratulate the leaders elected to four State Assemblies and says he will work with them for the development of the nation. “Crores and crores of party workers are working towards just one emotion: ‘Bharat mata ki jai’. Workers have worked selflessly to ensure this victory,” says Mr. Modi.

He pauses, as crowd chants ‘Modi Modi’. “I was very busy today, so I wasn’t able to pay attention to the election results. I did not have the complete information,” says PM Modi. He reiterates: “This is not Modi’s victory, this is the victory of the citizens who were craving a corruption-free India. This is the victory of farmers who sweat so that they can feed the nation.” Mr. Modi goes on to list the policies his government had undertaken during the 2014-2019 period. “The taxpayers did not know earlier if the tax they payed were being put to the right use; they have been reassured of that now.” Ridiculing the “secularism tag”, he says “no one can dare cheat the country wearing the mask of secularism any more.”


“This was the first election where no political party could accuse the ruling party of corruption,” says Mr. Modi. “There are only two castes. One is poor and the other is the one who wants to remove poverty,” he adds. “Between 1942 and 1947 people did everything for the nation and independence. With the same spirit, from 2019-2024, we will make India prosperous.” “Whatever was said during campaigns, that is the past. I’m looking towards the future now. I accept this huge victory with all humility. The Constitution is supreme, and we will work within that framework.” “In the time to come, I will not do anything with bad intent and motive, and I will not do anything for myself. Whatever I say in pub-

lic, I’ll implement with determination and humility.” He ends his speech with shouts of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’. BJP leaders Narendra Modi and Amit Shah appear at the BJP headquarters to address the party workers, their first since the results of the elections have become clear. Visuals showed Mr. Modi being garlanded by the BJP leaders including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and other dignitaries. “Bharat mata ki jai,” says Mr. Shah, addressing the crowd. “This is the most historic victory ever since the independence of India, and it is a matter of great pride that we have achieved this under Mr. Modi. I thank the citizens of our country for this victory - this victory is your victory,” he says. “This victory belongs to every BJP member - from booth worker to leaders. It is a victory for the past five years of our goverment’s ‘Sabka saath sabka vikaas’ policy,” says the BJP president. “There were some who could not digest the exit polls a few days back and decide to create doubt over the electoral process. But today’s result has even surpassed the exit polls, PM Modi said. “I want to congratulate Y.S. Jagan and Naveen Patnaik for being elected as Chief Ministers of AP and Odisha respectively. In Arunachal Pradesh Assembly too, our youthful Chief Minister Pema Khandu has registered a great victory,” he says. -- The Hindu

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May 24, 2019


Ambassador Shringla Gets Upclose View of Indian Presence in Texas By Pramod Kulkarni Houston: A state visit is usually reserved for heads of state. But Indian Ambassador to the United States Harsh Varshan Shringla received a state visit to Texas during May 20-22 thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Dr. Anupam Ray, Counsul General of India in Houston and the entire consular staff. On Tuesday, the Shringla team paid a visit to Austin to meet with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner George P. Bush at the State Capitol. Governor Abbott welcomed Ambassador Shringla to the state, and discussed ways to further expand economic ties between Texas and India. The Governor and Ambassador spoke on the importance of the oil and gas, healthcare, manufacturing, and IT sectors, as well as the need for skills-based training opportunities for Texas community colleges in India. As the meeting concluded, the Governor thanked the Ambassador for his visit and reaffirmed the Lone Star State’s commitment towards strengthening the TexasIndia relationship. Governor Abbott visited India in 2018 as part of a trade mission promoting Texas, where he also met with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. On Tuesday, Ambassador Shringla had a breakfast meeting with representatives of the local Indo-American media and Indian businesses operating in Texas. Later that evening, he met about 100 Indo-American dignitaries at a dinner reception. He also paid a visit to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and UH Chancellor Renu Khator. On Wednesday, Ambassador Shringla enjoyed a VIP tour of the NASA campus in Clear Lake City courtesy of Astronaut Sunita Williams.

Indian Ambassador Shringla met with Texas Governor Greg Abbott (above left), received a guided tour of NASA with Astronaut Sunita Williams (above right) and had a breakfast meeting with the media and Indian businesses operating in Texas. Photos by Bijay Dixit.

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 24, 2019 • Online Edition:



May 24, 2019

UNICEF Gala Raises $1 Million, Honors Boggios, Lester Smith By Jawahar Malhotra

Houston: The 6th Annual UNICEF Gala was held at the Post Oak Hotel on May 3 to a ballroom full of the cream of Houston society drawn to the common cause of helping children worldwide. Honorary chairs for the event were the Houston power couple of Nat and Leela Krishnamurthy (also a Director of the UNICEF Southwest Region) who have been active in the organization since the chapter started. The event was held in the newest five-star hotel Post Oak at Uptown Park, named after the boulevard itself, where guests were escorted in and had their runway pictures taken before entering the ballroom. Part of the fundraiser featured silent auction items whose increasing bid prices rolled over on an electronic tickertape billboard hoisted on an elevated stage at the entrance to the ballroom. After a sumptuous dinner, the remainder of the largeticket items were auctioned off live by Stephen C. Lewis. By the end of the evening, the gala raised over a million dollars for UNICEF. The emcee of the event was television personality Debra Duncan. Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO of UNICEF, USA illustrated the organization’s work with the story of a young boy in a refugee camp in Jordan who never complained even as he shared his biscuit with

Clockwise from top left: UNICEF Honorary Chairs Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at the Gala held on Friday, May 3 at the Post Oak Hotel; Sue Lester flanked by Margaret Alkek Williams (left) and UNICEF USA President & CEO Caryl Stern; Mayor Turner with Dan and Susan Boggio who received the Helena Pantaleoni Humanitarian Award for their tireless efforts for the Houston chapter through their Boggio Fund for UNICEF programs.

his sister. She described the Kid Power program which emphasizes “Kids Helping Kids” events and shows that even Houston kids can make a difference to other less fortunate kids overseas. Joining her onstage, Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner (who sat with the Krishnamurthys) added “these are our children, wherever they may be. Children are our message to the future.” The gala honored Susan and Dan Boggio, its largest contribu-


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tors, who were presented with the Helenaka Pantaleoni Humanitarian Award by Stern. The award is named after the late Polish American silent film actress who raised more than $113 million in the 26 years she headed UNICEF, and is

the mother of actress Tea Leoni. Dan is founder and Chairman of PBK Architects, a national design firm, and along with his wife has created the Susan and Dan Boggio Fund for UNICEF programs. They narrated a short video of the field work they have done over the past year. “We are 99.1 per cent the same, but we live in a world where we lose 16,000 kids a year worldwide,” explained Susan. “UNICEF is already there making a difference.” The Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award was presented by Williams herself to Sue Smith in memory of her late husband Lester Smith who died this past March. Lester was an oilman and generous philanthropist who was known for his playfulness and deep pockets. Together, the couple recently gave a whopping $50 million to the Texas Children’s Hospital and were generous with other charitable causes too, including UNICEF. Lester loved dancing and in his memory, as the guests left, they were given complimentary copies of his book “You Gotta Dance like No One’s Watching.” As the evening ended, The Garden State Guys performed a golden oldies tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and soon filled the dance floor. NextGen hosted a silent disco after the party.




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Kermally, Mansoor in Sugar Land Runoff By Jawahar Malhotra Sugar Land: The recent elections in Fort Bend County on May 4 draw a long slate of Asian Americans contending for seats on the FBISD Board and Sugar Land City Council. Mohammed “Jazz” Aijaz lost his bid to Steve Porter for the District 1 Sugar Land Council seat while Ashish Agarwal (receiving 16.39% of the vote) and Afshi Charania (with 27.39%) lost to incumbent Jim Rice in the FBISD Position 3 race. However, two others – Naushad Kermally and Nabila Mansoor - made it to a runoff and if either wins, they would make history by becoming Sugar Land’s first Muslim American Council member. Both are first-time candidates and they will face each other in the runoff election on June 4 (early voting is from May 28 to June 3) to replace term-limited Bridget Yueng for Position 2. In the May 4th election, Kermally received 39.2% (or 1,634) of the votes to Mansoor’s 34.2% (or 1,428 votes). Both candidates are longtime Sugar Land residents. Naushad Kermally, an Ismaili, moved to Ft Bend County with his family 23 years ago and later moved to Sugar Land where he

Naushad Kermally (left) and Nabila Mansoor made it to a June 4 runoff and if either wins, they would make history by becoming Sugar Land’s first Muslim American Council member.

has served on the board for Child Advocates of Fort Bend and other committees. He is an Executive Vice President for Prime Communications, a wireless company Kermally’s top priority is public safety and quality of life issues, and he wants to make strengthen emergency responders with necessary tools. He also believes that mobility and drainage are key issues facing Sugar Land and need to be addressed immediately. Nabila Mansoor, an attorney, has lived in Sugar Land for 17 years


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India will play their first World Cup warm-up match against New Zealand on Saturday

London: Team India hit the nets at the Oval Cricket Ground in London on Thursday, a day after they touched down in England for the 2019 World Cup. Captain Virat Kohli was seen taking guard in the nets in a video posted on Twitter by BCCI. The team had departed from Mumbai late on Tuesday night, after a press conference by Kohli and Ravi Shasti, and reached London on Wednesday. The 15man squad was joined by the coaches, support staff and physios. India play New Zealand on May 25 in the first of their two warm-up matches followed by the second in against Bangladesh on May 28. They will play their first World Cup match against South Africa on June 5. For the first time since the 1992 edition, all teams will play each other once to decide the semifinalists. After South Africa, India will take on Australia (June 9), New Zealand (June 13) and Pakistan (June 16). India captain Virat Kohli believes handling the pressure “is the most important thing in the World Cup and not necessar-

ily the conditions”. He said as much a day before the team’s departure for England, for the tournament beginning on May 30. Second on the ICC ODI rankings behind hosts England, Kohli said his team was “very balanced” and “very strong”. “White-ball cricket, playing in England, playing an ICC tournament, the conditions are not that different or that difficult I would say, compared to Test cricket,” Kohli said in Mumbai. “Pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup and not necessarily the conditions. From that point of view, it will be helpful. Secondly, all the bowlers that are in the squad, even during the IPL they were preparing themselves to be in the zone for 50-over cricket. And if you saw the guys bowling - no one looked tired or fatigued after bowling four overs. They were very fresh. The mindset or the ultimate goal is to be fit for the 50-over format and not let their fitness come down and that was communicated before the IPL started. “We go into the World Cup feeling very balanced very strong as a side. You saw in the IPL as well, all the players that are in the squad were in great form and played really well.”

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May 24, 2019

Sensex Zooms Past 40k as NDA Takes Healthy Lead in Elections Mumbai: The BSE Sensex hit another lifetime high of 40,030.86 on Thursday as the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was seen leading in the Lok Sabha vote count. At 10.37 a.m., the Sensex was trading 914.68 points or 2.34%, higher at 40,024.89. The Nifty too jumped by 259.40 points or 2.21% to 11,997.30. Earlier, equity markets opened strong on Thursday as initial trends showed BJP heading towards a strong majority — in line with most exit polls. At 9:55am, the benchmark Sensex was trading at 39,833, up 722 points or 1.85%. The broader Nifty gained 214 points or 1.82% to touch 11,952. Interestingly, India VIX index, which is looked upon as a barometer of near term volatility, drooped over 26%.

According to traders, investor sentiment was boosted by initial trends that suggested a win for the ruling NDA. Amid market euphoria, the rupee also appreciated 26 paise to 69.40 against the US dollar in opening trade. The 30-share index zoomed over 2% to hit an intra-day high of 39,901.59. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty too spurted more than 2% to touch a record of 11,968.95. In the previous session, the Sensex ended 140.41 points, or 0.36%, higher at 39,110.21; and the broader NSE Nifty rose 28.80 points, or 0.25%, to 11,737.90. Top Sensex gainers in morning trade include IndusInd Bank, SBI, L&T, PowerGrid, Yes Bank, Kotak Bank, ICICI Bank, RIL, HDFC, Bharti Airtel and Axis Bank, rallying up to 7 per cent.


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May 24, 2019

De De Pyaar De Review: Ajay Devgn-Rakul Preet film A Mixed Bag By Shubhra Gupta Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Rakul Preet Singh, Jimmy Shergill, Kumud Mishra, Jaaved Jafferi Director: Akiv Ali Rating: Two and a half stars De De Pyaar De is a mixed bag. Starting off as a breezy older man-younger woman sex comedy, tipping over into an emotional family drama, and trying to sustain a progressive stance while keeping up the randy quotient: it’s both hit and miss. Only in Bollywood will a 50-year-old be labelled a ‘buddhha’ not once, but several times over, just in case we didn’t get it the first time. Ajay Devgn plays said ‘buddhha’, Ashish, a wealthy Londonbased man-about-town whose chance encounter with twenty-something hottie Ayesha (Rakul Preet Singh) plunges the two into that elemental space where age is just a number, and hormones do all the happy jigging and jogging. Up until then, once we get past the considerable shock of an A list Bollywood star embracing his middle age minus the spread (Devgn’s washboard abs are as consistent as his pumped-up slomo walk, with the Singham background music swelling up), things are as they should be in a raunchy rom-com: the older, experienced, urbane man taking it slow as the younger woman first plays hard to get, till the time she doesn’t. Devgn



plays it sardonic-cool, Preet Singh is bouncy, flouncy and flirty, and the classic man-woman chase has its moments. Post-interval, the film turns into a sludge of tired stereotypes, with the filmmakers finding scenes in which to insert old conservatism. Ashish the serial dater suddenly and improbably discovers he has left-over scruples connected to his older, forgotten life which includes a still-attractive wife (Tabu), two grown kids, and a couple of disapproving grandparents. The film from here on gets tonally confused. Is it trying to beat the drums for equal gender roles in the dating game and strong women

who refuse to roll over whenever the men in their lives want them to? Or is it going nudge-nudgewink-wink at the temerity of ‘oldies’ to go after curvy young things, especially when there will come a time, as a dialogue so succinctly puts it, when the older man will be capable of ‘doing nothing’? Haha, or hawww? Ashish’s son and daughter seem to exist only to point fingers at their errant dad, the former sighing over Ayesha, the latter turning into a screeching banshee. Poor Jimmy Shergill appears in an ill-conceived sketch of yet another middle aged fellow with misplaced romantic notions (he has his eye on Manju,

the abandoned wife). Hoary practices of tying a ‘rakhi’ to denote a ‘bhai-behen ka rishta’ between two people who are clearly not siblings is a lazy, overused trope. And the presence of Alok Nath, who is facing a MeToo charge in real life, as a moralistic older man, is both discomfiting and ironical: it’s perfectly apt that the creepiest line in the film, which he delivers while ogling at a young woman, belongs to him. The calling card of the film is in its backing up its older manyounger woman pair. When Ashish’s pal-cum-shrink (Jafferi in a walk-on part) tells him– it is not a gap, it is a generation gap– we



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dutifully chortle. But for a Bollywood blighted by its unshakeable anti-aging male star syndrome, of which Devgan is a long-time practitioner, the creation of this couple is significant. Going forward, can we get more ‘mature romances’, in which the filmmakers are not forced to find sleazy jokes as a padding-up device? The real takeaway is, of course, the character played by Tabu, who speaks up for her former partner and the shared responsibility of broken relationships. And for herself. A lovely moment the actress fully owns will resonate with all the women who have to be strong and resilient all the time, and who wish, just for once, they could also be silly and giggly and carefree. There’s also a pleasing expressiveness in Rakul Preet Singh’s playing of the younger woman who falls for a much older man. She’s sexy, but she’s also got feelings. You wish the film had been braver in its intention of creating a really cracking rom-com, instead of playing its clichés for a laugh. At his best, dialogue writer Luv Ranjan has the ability to pull off the difficult task of making actors sound like real people when they are in stormy, messy relationships, and those are the moments in which De De Pyaar De does best. Pity it didn’t have more of those. -- Indian Express

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Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 24, 2019 • Online Edition:


May 24, 2019

Our Eye in the Sky: RISAT-2B

With the successful predawn launch of RISAT2B satellite on May 22, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has added another feather to its cap. The satellite will enhance India’s capability in crop monitoring during the monsoon season, forestry mapping for forest fires and deforestation, and flood mapping as part of the national disaster management programme. Given that overcast skies are a constant during the monsoon season and during times of flood, the ability to penetrate the cloud cover is essential. While optical remote sensing that relies on visible light for imaging gets obstructed by clouds, RISAT-2B will not. Much like the RISAT-1 satellite that was launched by ISRO in April 2012, RISAT-2B will also use microwave radiation. Unlike visible light, microwaves have longer wavelength and so will not be susceptible to atmospheric scattering. Microwave radiation can thus easily pass through the cloud cover, haze and dust, and image the ground. Hence, RISAT-2B satellite will be able to image under almost all weather and environmental conditions. Since it does not rely on visible light for imaging, it will be able to image the ground during both day and night. The satellite does not have passive microwave sensors that detect the radiation naturally emitted by the atmosphere or reflected by objects on the ground. Instead, RISAT2B will be transmitting hundreds of microwave pulses each second towards the ground and receiving the signals reflected by the objects using radar. The moisture and texture of the object will determine the strength of the microwave signal that gets reflected. While the strength of the reflected signal will help determine different targets, the time between the transmitted and reflected signals will help determine the distance to the object. The RISAT-2B satellite uses X-

band synthetic aperture radar for the first time; the synthetic aperture radar was developed indigenously. Unlike the C-band that was used by RISAT-1, the shorter wavelength of the X-band allows for higher resolution imagery for target identification and discrimination. Since it has high resolution, the satellite will be able to detect objects with dimensions of as little as a metre. This capacity to study small objects and also movement could be useful for surveillance. As K. Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, had said last month, the satellite could be used for civil and strategic purposes. RISAT-2B will have an inclined orbit of 37 degrees, which will allow more frequent observations over the Indian subcontinent. With ISRO planning to launch four more such radar imaging satellites in a year, its ability to monitor crops and floods as well as engage in military surveillance will be greatly enhanced. A radar imaging satellite is complex to assemble. Interpreting its images is equally complex. ISRO took almost 10 years to realise RISAT-1, said an another expert who

did not wish to be named. It sends much heavier data than plain remote sensing satellites. India has almost kept pace with the world with radar sats, said Arup Das Gupta, former Deputy Director, ISRO’s Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, currently managing editor of Geospatial World. Radar imaging satellites pick up structures, new bunkers very well, and sometimes help to count them, too. “In India we also use radar imaging for crop estimation because our main crop growing season of kharif is in May-September when it rains and gets cloudy. We have used this data extensively for forestry, soil, land use, geology and during floods and cyclone.” In a recent conversation with The Hindu, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K. Sivan had said many RISATs were planned. RISAT-2B is to be followed by RISAT-2BR1, 2BR2, RISAT-1A, 1B, 2A and so on. If ISRO orbited its first two radar satellites in 2009 and 2012, it plans to deploy four or five of them in 2019 alone. When it is cloudy or dark, ‘regular’ remote-sensing or optical imaging satellites — which work like a light-dependent camera — cannot perceive hidden or surreptitious objects on the ground. Satellites that are equipped with an active sensor, the synthetic aperture radar (SAR), can sense or ‘observe’ Earth in a special way from space day and night, rain or cloud. This all-weather seeing feature is what makes them special for security forces and disaster relief agencies. “Radar imaging satellites are at a premium in the Earth observation scene,” said Mukund Rao, former Deputy Director of Earth Observation Systems at ISRO and now professor at the National Institute for Advanced Studies, Bengaluru. “Worldwide, quite a few of them are planned to be launched. There is also a large availability of radar images data in the market.”


“The Path of a Wanderer” A Personal Journey with a Universal Appeal By Varsha Halabe When I first held the poetry book “Path of a Wanderer” in my hand, it was a mesmerizing feeling. The hard bound cover, the illustrations and the various intriguing fonts of Ketaki Mujumdar’s Poetry collection had an aura about it. I was tempted to read it. So, do we really not judge a book by its cover? Jokes apart; this collection of Ketaki’s poems is a personal journey with a universal appeal. Many of her poems are strewn with bold streaks of Nature. In some, there is an internal struggle that is apparent. But, one thing is assured; they come straight from the heart. The poems are not in traditional rhyme and yet hold a certain rhythm that grows on you. The elements, to her, almost are a living entity that awakens the reader’s senses. Most of the poems are very picturesque taking the reader on a journey of dreams, fulfilled and not – like she says in Merry-Go-Round, “…where limitless possibilities grabbed by a dreamer…” Sometimes, the illustrations, however befitting, tend to enhance the message of a particular poem, which I guess is the intention. The poet, however, achieves to convey a deep message through few words like in Wanderlust she says, “…lost in a yearning, an exciting thought, a desire, a quest, a relocation” Such

ascending thoughts put the reader in an inspirational spin. But as she says in Only Words, “…poetry is just a hallucination…” that is meant to play with the readers’ emotions and invoke thoughts of comfort, passion, pensiveness and contemplation and which the poet achieves in doing. Many of the poems are odes to Nature pertaining, both, to the Eastern and Western world since there are references to the Peepul tree and Magnolia trees. The poet’s soul is lingering and wants to connect to the larger Cosmos; as she says in the last line of her last poem in the collection – Connected, “…as time spanned, some sacred force kept us together.” Similarly, the reader is kept engaged until the last poem wanting to hear more.

Indo American News Founder: Dr. K.L. Sindwani Publisher: Jawahar Malhotra Editor: Pramod Kulkarni Advertising Administrator: Sarita Mehta Correspondent: Sanchali Basu ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The 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 & fax: 713-789-6397 email:, website: www.

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May 24, 2019

Sri Vasavi Kanyakaparameswari Jayanthi Celebrations at MTS

Devotees gather in front of the deity (left) and Vasavi Vanithas dancing (Kolattam) on MTS Raja Veedhi (above).

By Dr/ S. Pabbisetty Houston: Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Vasavi Kanyakaparameswari Jayanthi on Sunday, May 19th,, 2019. It couldn’t have been a better festive day with a picture-perfect weather and ecstatic devotional kolattam dance by Vasavi Vanithas for Sri Vasavi Kanyakaparameswari in the Raja Veedhi of Meenakshi Temple. The festivities are a part of Sri Vasavi Jayanthi Celebrations — an Annual Celebration to worship Sri Vasavi as an incarnation of Adi Parasakthi and to commemorate Her birth as well as the legacy She left behind: An oldest Apostle of Love, Peace and Non-violence be-

India House Houston

sides being an upholder of women’s freedom of choice. Bharath Ratna Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Past President of India, has indeed very rightly described Goddess VASAVI as the first ever known embodiment of non-violence in the world. Her path of non-violence was later tread by Jesus Christ, Goutam Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. She taught the world harming oneself or others isn’t the way forward but bringing a change of heart is what matters in averting wars. Her incarnation was to help a cursed gandharva prince (Shapa Grastha Gandharva) who takes birth as King Vishnuvardhana at-

tain salvation. According to Vasavi Puranam written by Sri Bhattacharya She was born into the royal vysya couple, Kusuma Shreshti and Kusumamba after Her parents performed the Yagna for children. From a young age, Vasavi was interested in fine arts, philosophical and spiritual subjects. She had no interest in the material world but did show human empathy and served the needy. She devoted Her life to be in the service of Lord Shiva and vowed to remain celibate as Gowrabalika. In quite contrast to Her virtuous desire King Vishnuvardhana, who was served by Her father as a tributary king, was captivated by Her beauty and desired to marry Her.

Much against Her fierce resistance to his desire, he decides to marry Her even if that necessitated waging a war against Her father. To prevent blood-shed and uphold the dignity and Honor of Women Goddess Vasavi condemned his desire and decided to sacrifice Herself into the sacred fire (Atmahuthi or Atmarpanam). She performed agni-pravesham along with elderly couples from the 102 Gotraja families. At that time she was only 10+ years and hence regarded as Kanyaka. From this sacrificial fire, she revealed Her Vishwa Roopam as the Mother Goddess Adi Parasakthi to the 102 families gathered and gave Her message. She advised them to lead a life of non-violence and to

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practice agriculture, commerce and gau (Go) Raksha and blessed the community with prosperity and abundance. From there on she was worshipped as Sri Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari Devi. At the MTS Temple all the Vasavi Devotees gathered as annually done, to do homam followed by Shodasa Upachara pooja ably conducted by our learned priests. After Aarathi Her Pallaki with Her Utsav Vigraham was carried in a procession around the temple as the enchanted devotees sing Bhajan and dance in ecstatic mood. Overall it had been another memorable holy event at our temple. Please click on the link to view a short video of the kolattam dance:


May 24, 2019


Chinmaya Mission Bala Vihar Children Chant the Bhagavad Gita with Utmost Faith By Disha Udtha, Photos by Rajesh Thatte Houston: On May 5th, 2019, Chinmaya Mission Houston held their annual Gita Chanting Competition to commemorate the birthday of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda. It was wellknown that Gurudev loved two things the most - children and the Bhagavad Gita. He also felt that children would be more inclined to do their best if it was posed as a competitive event. And hence, the annual event. This year, over 83 children from ages 4 to 18 participated in the event. The competition began promptly at 9 am on that Saturday with bhajans and an aarti to the Guru. All participants, parents, judges, and volunteers were welcomed to the competition with a beautiful and encouraging address by Brahmacharini Shweta Chaitanya. She said that the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita taught Arjuna, the great warrior and hero of the epic Mahabharata, how to be free from stress, anxiety and uncertainty - not just in his current situation but in all situations. Learning this sacred teaching is a rare and valuable opportunity for us, regardless of the depth of our understanding at this time. We are planting the seeds for the sweet fruits of practical wisdom later. She mentioned that it doesn’t matter who won in the

competition. All participants had already won, because they won the heart of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Pujya Gurudev by learning these shlokas. This year, the Houston Bala Vihar children were to memorize and recite verses from the 17th chapter of the Gita. Grouped according to their ages, they needed to also give age-appropriate explanations. Older children were expected to conduct a deep study of the teachings to present application of this Vedantic philosophy to real-life situations. The judges were given the daunting task of evaluating the scholarly performances, scoring the well-prepared children based

on pronunciation, diction, tune, posture, and understanding of the verses. The children who were most distinguished in each age group were awarded 1st through 3rd place. Contestants who clinched the first place with their near perfect renditions were Vashi Banavalikar and Shyam Jayant (KG-2nd grades); Ahana Rao and Pranav Sriram (3rd-5th grades); Meghana Prabhakaran (6th-8th grades), and Bhavya Kethireddipalli (9th-12th grades). The 2nd place winners were Cira Parikh (KG2nd grades), Diya Parikh (3rd-5th grades), Aditi Chaubal (6th - 8th grades), and Disha Udtha (9th- 12th grades). They were followed by

the 3rd place winners: Hariharan Jayant (KG-2nd grades), Sree Shodasi Veruva (3rd-5th grades), Veda Suresh (6th-8th grades), and Varun Wunnava (9th-12th grades). In the chapter 17 chosen this year, the central idea was about Lord Krishna’s guidance to Arjuna about the process to identify the texture of one’s own faith. The Lord says that faith can be classified into three separate groups. Sattvic faith is filled with pure goodness. Rajasic faith is that which is filled with passion, and Tamasic faith is born from ignorance. This was in response to the question posed by Arjuna - when one does not have access to scrip-

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 24, 2019 • Online Edition:

tural guidance, would it be okay to use one’s own faith in making decisions? Gurudev spent a lifetime spreading this beautiful knowledge to seekers all over the world. Inspired by their Guru’s tireless spirit, a special event team of over 50 Gita volunteers came together this year to make this event a memorable success. For more information about Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities visit, or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233



May 24, 2019

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Why You Need Uninsured (UM)/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurance to Protect Yourself By Mala Sharma There are many types of auto insurance from minimal to full coverage, to protect your damages. Most states, like Texas, require car owners to carry liability insurance or the minimum car insurance. With liability insurance, recovering all damages caused by a driver who is at fault will depend on how much their liability insurance policy is. This minimum amount of coverage does vary by policy and, unfortunately, in catastrophic auto accidents, liability insurance is not enough to compensate for more serious injuries including brain damage or spinal damage. In such situations, a person injured from an at-fault driver may recover the remaining damages or all damages through their own insurance if they have uninsured and underinsured or full coverage. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects those hit by an atfault driver who does not have liability insurance and therefore unable to pay any damages they have caused in an auto accident. If the negligent driver who caused the accident is affluent and does not have insurance, you may sue this person to recover all damages. Most often however, uninsured drivers do not have significant assets in which you may attempt to recover from. On the other hand, many motor-


ists carry minimal policy limits which do not cover all damages and leave you with outstanding bills to pay. Thus, underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), protects those involved in an accident with an at-fault driver whose insurance coverage does not cover all damages and/or medical expenses. In this scenario, after the minimal policy for the at-fault driver has been exhausted, your underinsured motorist coverage will step in to pay all outstanding bills and other damages. Although car owners are required by law to carry the minimum car insurance policy or liability insurance, it is highly recommended to get full coverage insurance including UM/UIM insurance. The minimum insurance coverage or liability insurance only covers damages to another vehicle if you are found at fault for the accident. However, if you are hit by a reckless, negligent driver who has no insurance or not enough insurance to cover all your property damage and bodily injury damages, you would only be able to recover these expenses through your own insurance if you have UM/UIM coverage. There have been too many accidents where the no-fault driver ends up with many medical bills and expenses and unable to pay these damages because they do not have full coverage on their auto insurance policy and the at-

fault driver does not have insurance either. Full coverage policies also include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) which, depending on how much the policy offers, allows you to recover your medical expenses no matter who is at fault for the accident. It is in your best interest to protect yourself with full coverage auto insurance policy so you are not left with outstanding medical bills or other damages caused by a negligent driver. About the Author: Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997 with over 42 years of combined experience. Mala is a Board of Advocates for the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association GP Solo YLD, member of the Houston Bar Association, President Emeritus of Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association. This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you require advice on any particular legal question, you may contact Sharma & Associates at 281-893-8644 or by email at to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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May 24, 2019


is Reimagined Dr. Syamal Poddar Recognized for Tagore’s Shanti Niketan lently upon you. The two people behind PfP – Ruma and Impactful Contributions to Global C B J P M5 Asoke Acharya DeySarkar – had formed Tagore Center Foundation when they Petrochemical & Refining Industry H : It is a testament to the persua- the pursued the statue project. But their love for ontinued from y





sive power of his philosophy of life and harmonious coexistence that Rabindranath Tagore is immortalized the world over in one manner or the other. In the Bayou City, his presence has been felt since 1974 when the Tagore Society of Houston was formed around the nucleus of a growing Bengali community that has since made its mark through other events and structures, chief among them the Durga Bari Temple. Every year there is an Annual Tagore Talk gathering with prominent speakers (this year it is on June 1 at India House). In 2013, the TSH along with the PfP Industries and Techno India Group created a Tagore Grove in Ray Miller Park (on Eldridge near Briar Forest) where a 76-inch tall bronze statue of Tagore on a pedestal graces down benevo-

Job Posting

Tagore and his vision of international peace and harmony went much further as five years later, in May 2018 - almost coinciding with Tagore’s birthdate – Asoke bought a 14.6-acre plot of land west of Diary Ashford at Brantrock with the intention of building an ashram-like environment, modeled after Tagore’s residence Shanti Niketan. The vision that the power couple had is now complete, and on Saturday, May 4, they unveiled it at a ground-breaking ceremony on a sunny morning after a heavy rainfall the night before. The Deysarkars shared their vision with close friends and a few dignitaries like District F Councilman Steve Le and Dr. Anupam Ray, the Indian Consul General. Sanchali Basu, a close friend of the Deysarkars was the emcee for the event.

Broadcast & IT Systems Specialist

KTRK-TV ABC13, the ABC Owned TV Station located in Houston, TX is seeking an experienced Broadcast and IT Systems Specialist. Responsibilities include providing technical and IT troubleshooting for all systems, installing, configuring, and maintaining broadcast and IT equipment, interfacing with third party vendors and support technicians as well as responding to help desk tickets and calls. Other duties include testing and updating software, leading projects for new system installations, adhering to IT policies and best practices for Broadcast IT Infrastructure, facility support and completing regular training and continuing education.

Ian Glasgow (left), Past Chair of F&PD of the AIChE presented the Distinguished Service award to Dr. Poddar at the Spring national meeting.

By Pramod Kulkarni HOUSTON: Dr. Syamal Poddar, a dedicated leader in the Indo-American community and a well known executive in the global Petrochemical and Refining industry, was recognized recently for his impactful contributions by the AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), an acclaimed, 110-year-old professional organization. Dr. Poddar, president of Poddar & Associates, received the Fuels & Petrochemicals Division (F&PD) Award, which recognizes individuals, who have made substantial technological contributions to the advancement of the fuels and petrochemicals industries. The selection criteria is based on a long and recognized record in the nominee’s areas of achievement. The selection committee also looks at the impact of the nominee’s combined contribution in the areas of technical achievement, management skills, business acumen, academic leadership, and general service to the profession. This distinguished service award was presented to Dr. Poddar at the Spring national meeting of the AIChE at the F&PD dinner meeting on April 1, 2019. Previously, Dr. Poddar was recognized for his volunteer work for the F&PD with the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2013. “I am gratified, humbled and touched by the presentation of this award,” said Dr. Poddar during his acceptance speech. “I thank my senior colleagues for their role in my selection for this award and I could not have achieved my professional and volunteering successes without the support of my wife, Susmita.” In his speech, Dr. Poddar also pointed out the role of chemical engineering in providing food and energy to the growing global population of over 7 billion, and expressed

his appreciation of the emergence of a new generation of young professionals in the AIChE. Dr. Poddar’s 40+ year industrial career includes working for two major companies, Exxon Research & Engineering Company and Bechtel Corporation, with diversified management and global professional and leadership responsibilities. In addition to his industrial career, he maintained his teaching interest as an adjunct faculty at University of Houston, for several years. As a part of his consulting activities, Dr. Poddar is engaged in giving several technical, project & business development and leadership courses, both nationally and internationally. With BS and MS degress in Chemical Engineering from Jadavpur University, India, Dr. Poddar earned his Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Candidate must have a passion for and be comfortable working with current IT and TV technologies, concepts and emerging trends. This individual must be a self-starter and able to learn quickly in a fast paced environment, working both independently and as part of a diverse team. The ideal candidate must excel in our departmental foundations of communication, customer service, accountability, planning and preparation, and responsiveness. Additionally, there must be an ability to work a schedule that may include weekdays, nights, weekends, and holidays and be willing to be on call or work overtime. Strong troubleshooting skills for computer workstations, laptops, software, broadcast systems, and servers is required as is excellent organizational and documentation skills. Qualified candidates must be able to lift 50 pounds. Preferred qualifications include an advanced knowledge of new and traditional TV broadcast equipment and systems including but not limited to master control and newsroom automation, routers, asset management systems, non-linear editing systems, and networked storage systems. Knowledge of IT networks, enterprise software platforms, switches, cloud technologies, and virtual machines as well as experience in installation and implementation of broadcast and IT systems. A proven track record managing projects and experience using AutoCAD and Microsoft Visio are preferred. Associate degree in a television, engineering, or IT related field, or at least five years’ experience in TV or IT related industry is required. To be considered all interested applicants must apply online at, reference job # 669670BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Job Posting

Temporary News Producer

KTRK-TV the ABC Owned station in Houston, TX is looking for an experienced, dynamic, creative television news producer to join our team on a temporary basis this spring. Must be available from late April until mid-July. There is no guarantee this will lead to a permanent producer position, but this is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door of one of the best local news stations in the country. You must have hands-on experience producing or working as an associate producer for a live newscast. Knowledge of ENPS and desktop editing a plus. Must be able to perform efficiently in a fast-paced, high-energy environment. Should be able to demonstrate excellent news judgement and strong writing skills. To be considered all interested applicants must apply online at, reference job # 668043BR. Please upload a cover KTRK-TV is an Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orienta-

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 24, 2019 • Online Edition:


May 24, 2019

Kala Kunj and Gujarati Samaj of Houston Celebrate Gujarat Day Houston: Last Saturday, May 18, Kala Kunj and Gujarati Samaj of Houston celebrated Gujarat Day by organizing a concert with all Gujarati songs in the name of Gata Gulmahor. Mr. Rasesh Dalal, President of Kala Kunj, informed that such program of Sugam Sangeet was presented for the first time in Houston by local artist. He added that more then 800 people attended the program and enjoyed for three hours with no break or Interval. Shri Gaurangbhai Nanavati, Gopalbhai Savjani, Sureshbhai Patel and Kalpana Naik graced the function as Chief Guest. The evening was full of music and entertainment and people enjoyed until last song of the concert. Prominent singers like Kashmira Naik, Smita Vasavda, Hemant

More than 800 people attended the program and enjoyed for three hours with no break or interval.

Dave, Shashank Trivedi, Dr. Omkar Dave, Dr. Nilam Patel, Alpa Shah, Uma Nagarsheth, Jigna Doshi and Udayan Shah made evening most joyful. The main attraction was a live orchestra led by Kamal Haji, Rishi Naik, Dilip Naik, Minesh Patel and violin player Aziz Khan . Rasesh Dalal performed as the master of ceremony with his hilarious style and poetic ability. Geetaben Patel, President of Gujarati Samaj, gave a welcome speech and Kala Kunj Secretary Vinay Vora offered vote of thanks. A special video was received from Government of Gujarat on development of Gujarat which people enjoyed. Kala Kunj promised to promote such cultural activities in Houston to maintain our culture and heritage and spread good message.

Hindi Graduations at Sri Govindji Matha Houston: Sri Govind ji Gaudiya Matha and International Hindi Association organizes Hindi classes at 16628 Kieth Harrow Blvd, Houston, TX 77084 on each Sunday. In thes photos, the students of class 2018-2019 are getting their certificates of completion the Hindi course .Classes are organized in three levels: Levels 1, 2 and

3. The teacher of Level 1 is Mrs. Saroj Upadhyaya, Level 2 is Mrs. Sangeeta Garg, and Level 3 is Mr. Abhay Tripathi. Alternate/substitute teachers are Mrs. Shalu Garg and Mrs. Vijay Laxmi Jain. To register your child For up coming school year, please call (832) 606-2025.



Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 24, 2019 • Online Edition:

May 24, 2019


Save a Life and Jaykay Wealth Advisors Host CPR Certification Class

By Ved Ratna Acharya Harish Chandra Save a Life class gathers for a group photo (left) and watch attentively to one of the CPR demonstrations. Sugar Land: On Sunday, May 19, 2019, Jaykay Wealth Advisors Inc. sponsored and organized its first annual CPR Certification Class for the public in collaboration with Save a Life, a nonprofit organization. Financial Advisors, Anasuya Kabad and Jay Kabad, recognized that people’s well-being include not only their financial health, but also their physical and emotional health as well. Jay and Anasuya believe that everyone should be equipped with the skills to come to the rescue and save a life, and they wanted to offer a program that was easily accessible and from which everyone in the community could benefit. Sunday’s training was conducted by the Save A Life Initiative, which was founded by high schooler, Alisha Aggarwal. Alisha realized that this is the kind of program her community needs.

Her story began in 2016, when her grandmother collapsed of a heart attack while on a walk in a community park. For thirteen minutes, over 50 bystanders stood helplessly and were unable to save her before the ambulance arrived. The failure to revive her grandmother’s cardiorespiratory system within the critical period eventually took her away from her family as she lapsed into coma. If only one out of the fifty people been well versed in CPR, this loss could have been avoided. This event motivated Alisha to spread awareness about the pervasive impact of CPR and its applications. It also led her to create the Save a Life Initiative, with the mission of training as many people as possible in CPR and Stop the Bleed skills to prevent any more losses. The comprehensive session covers how to overcome fears of CPR rescue and how to identify sudden

heart attacks, stroke, and cardiac arrest. Then attendees learn how to perform CPR and use an AED on adults, children, and infants, as well as how to help a person of any age if they are choking. The class ends with first aid training for arterial bleeding, shock, and concussions. After the training and passing a short test, participants are officially CPR certified by a trained instructor, signifying that

they are equipped with the skills to perform CPR if ever needed. Sunday’s session was well attended with over 35 attendees who left with a sense of accomplishment, knowing they had the handson training to help anyone in a CPR emergency. If you would like to organize a CPR Session with Save a Life, please contact them at Groups should have a minimum of 20 par-

ticipants and maximum of 40, and certification is completely free of cost for high school students. Jaykay Wealth Advisors and Save a Life are not affiliated. Securities offered through LPL Financial Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Jaykay Wealth Advisors, Inc. a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation

Best in Class Education Center Math & English Competition

Houston Chapter Presents

Vishwanath Batunge

Surili Shaam Ekal Ke Naam Nayana Sarma

Jayakumar Natu

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Daxesh Patel Divyansh Bhatt

Katy: Best in Class Education Center, located at Cinco Ranch Center, held their annual Math & English Competition to a full house of students and families at the Living World Lutheran Church on May 11th. Center Manager, Ira Giri, along with her teaching staff, awarded 1st through 3rd place tro-

phies to the competing students along with t-shirts for all participants. Best in Class Education Center helps students develop the skills and knowledge they need for a bright future. For further information visit

Fundraising Dinner

Complimentary Entertainment Show by Vishwanath Batunge Group Dinner: 6:00 P.M. - 7:30 P.M. (U of H Student Center) Program: 8:00 P.M. - 11:00 P.M (Cullen Performance Hall)

Tickets - VIP - $50 / General Admission - $30 Online Tickets : $5 Paid Parking

University of Houston, Cullen Performance Hall / Student Center 4800 Calhoun Rd, Houston, TX 77204 (832) 842-3100

Contact Information Kokilaben Shah - 832-443-0997 · Praveena Danda - 713-376-0534 · Urmi Desai - 832-498-7759 Shivani Shah - 908-392-3293 · Harish Gandhi - 713-858-2256 · Yogi Patel - 713-885-6241 Dharmendra Shah - 713-705-3892

Donation : WWW.EKAL.ORG

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 24, 2019 • Online Edition:


May 24, 2019

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 24, 2019 • Online Edition: