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Friday, June 01 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 22

Indo American erican News Published weekly from Houston, TX

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TNF 2012: Mission Education Photo: Krishna Giri

Creating awareness about Tamil Nadu Foundation (TNF) projects aimed at furthering education in the rural pockets of Tamil Nadu, and raising funds for this cause was the purpose of the 2012 TNF convention. The keynote addresses were delivered by actress Suhasini Maniratnam and director SP Muthuraman.


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TNF 2012 Convention Supports Education

BY BALA BALACHANDRAN HOUSTON: The 37th Tamil Nadu Foundation 2012 (TNF) convention was held at Hilton Houston North from May 26-27. People from eighteen other states and also from neighboring Canada attended. The TNF, Inc., established in 1974 primarily aims at socioeconomic development of rural regions in the state of Tamil Nadu . This project was initiated about two years ago at the Philadelphia Convention to uplift the educational levels in rural areas of Kancheepuram. TNF adopted six panchayat union primary schools and around 300 students benefit from it every year. TNF 2012 conveners Sam Kannappan and Dr. Padmini Ranganathan, highlighting the aims of the current convention said, “The main focus of this convention is to increase awareness about TNF

and to raise funds for the education project”. According to Dr. Padmini, who visited some of the pilot project areas in Tamil Nadu recently, villages are the back bone of India but get neglected when it comes to education and basic infrastructure. She said, “According to one report in Tamil Nadu, the drop out rate before high school is over 50%. Fifty two percent of small schools do not have usable toilets and that contributes as a major reason for girls to drop out. Lack of transportation and skilled teachers are another reason for it. TNF is working on all such problems”. The event was inauguarted on Saturday, May 26th by Dr. Deivanayagam, TNF Inc President and Consul, Consulate of India, Houston, Anil K Matta, Mayor, City of Pearland, Hon. Tom Reid and Consul General of Germany, Hon. Roland Herrmann. The key

TNF 2012 Excellence Award presented to Mr.Karumuttu Kannan by Dr.Deivanayagam. Also pictured are Mr.Sam Kannappan and Mrs. Kannan.

Dr.AK Subramanian, MR.Narayanan, Mr.D.Kannan, Dr.Appan, Mr.Rajan Radhakrishnan, Dr.Vaduganathan, Dr.Padmini Ranganathan, Mr.Sam Kannappan,Dr. Deivanayagam, Mr.Srikanth Venugopal, Mrs. Usha Chandrasekar, Mr.Aravazhi.

note addresses were delivered by actress Suhasini Maniratnam, (who spoke on “Aangore Ezhaikku Ezhuththarivithal” - promoting literacy among rural poor), and director SP Muthuraman. During the inauguartion, Dr. Deivanayagam detailed the history of TNF and presented the different projects that have currently been undertaken. Dr. Rajan Natarajan, Deputy Secretary of State, State of Maryland, released the TNF 2012 souvenir. Merin Rajadurai, Counsel, Office of India Affairs, US State Department cut the ribbon by opening up the trade booths. Rom Rammohan, prior President of TNF said, “When we educate one girl, one family automatically earns knowledge. This knowledge lightens up the whole

community and simultaneously contributes in the development of a whole village. This is the motive behind Tamil Nadu Foundation’s current pilot project aimed at stopping school dropouts in rural Kancheepuram” Other invitees included educationist and famous orator, Prof. Gnanasambandam, playback and folk singer, Pushpavanam, and his wife, singer and laureate, Anitha Kuppusamy, educationist-Prof. Parveen Sultana, new star singers Haricharan, Rahul Nambiar and Saindhavi, a great debater, Sollin Selvi Umayal Muthu, and Nature healer, Dr. R. Subramaniam. Fundraising Chairperson Dr. Appan indicated proudly that more than $350,000 was raised during the event. He himself set an


example by donating $25,000 to the foundation. A total of $10,000 was raised in the silent auction of a sari worn by actress Aishwarya Rai in the movie ‘Raavan’ and a jersey shirt autographed by all members of Chennai Super Kings team. TNF 2012 Committee leaders gave a check for $50,000 to Dr. Deivanayagam, TNF President, Usha Chandrasekar, TNF Treasurer and PK Aravazhi, TNF Secretary. Continuing Medical Education (CME ) co-chairs Dr. Vasanthi Janarthanan and Dr. P. Vaduganathan stated that the CME Program organized in conjunction with UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, from 7.30 -10.30 am CONTINUED ON PAGE



June 01, 2012



June 01, 2012


Bi-annual Telugu Convention in Houston After 16 Years HOUSTON: It’s been 16 years since the last bi-annual Telugu convention was held in Houston. It was an event to remember and savor. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it was undoubtedly one of the finest conventions and drove people to various parts of the country to attend the subsequent conventions. The financial implications of attending an out of city convention are quite a burden with the added cost of travel and lodging. The wait is over as the North American Telugu Association (NATA) is having its first National convention at the George R Brown Convention center in Houston from June 29 to July 1, 2012. The event promises to showcase the rich cultural heritage and tradition of Telugus while providing wholesome entertainment. The convention shall provide a platform for various professionals from business, spiritual, literary, medical, entertainment and sports to interact with. The convention provides for countless networking possibilities. It has something for everyone including a dedicated committee for youth and sports to entertain and engage the next generation. The convention provides a unique platform for the young and old to showcase their talent by providing for some exciting Talent shows and competitions in dance and music. The grand finale of the event will feature an electric live performance by three of the current reigning music directors of the Telugu film industry along with an entourage of accomplished singers who are being flown exclusively for this event. NATA intends to be different by design and in their pursuit of uniqueness has designed a special segment to commemorate the unique art of Burrakatha and Harikatha. These programs shall definitely regale the

audience with their unique rendition of popular epics and stories. A host of political and business dignitaries from India along with the reigning stars from the Telugu Film Industry shall be present at the convention to meet and greet the attendees. Generally such conventions cost a sizeable amount but thanks to generous donations from several members of NATA, Houston’s convention shall cost only a fraction of the actual cost (only $140 per person with early registrations for nonmembers). It costs even lesser for its registered members. The ticket price includes 6 authentic Andhra vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes per person. The admission provides for an opportunity to enjoy 36 hours of nonstop entertainment, informative seminars and an opportunity to visit various vendors exhibiting their products in the 120 commercial booths. Microsoft is providing for a Chill out lounge replete with big screens and game consoles. The convention is a great place to meet over 7000 fellow Telugus at the same venue! It may be another 16 years for another convention to come to our town again! Register by visiting http://www.nata2012. org

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June 01, 2012


Houston’s Shiv Shakti Mandir Celebrates Ganga Avataran

The priest Virat Mehta explains the significance of Ganga Avataran. HOUSTON: Ganga Avataran is the manifestation of the River Ganga from the heavens to the earth. It is a commonly held belief that a dip in the Ganges cleanses one of all worldly sins. The Ganga occupies a very important position as an auspicious river in the Hindu religion. The Ganga Avataran festivities usually fall during the end of May or the middle of June in the Indian month of Jyeshta. Virat Mehta, the priest of the Shiv Shakti Mandir established in 2003 in Houston, said that this is the first of its kind Ganga Avataran celebration in the US. All the deities in this temple are from India. The main Shiva Linga is from Jaipur. The day Ganga landed on Shiva’s head from the heavens, on to earth, is the most important day in these celebrations –called the Ganga Dasahara - the day Ganga cleanses human kind of ten types of sins. This year, Ganga Dasahara was on May 30, Wednesday. A Ganga Puja was performed at the temple in the morning. Although this signifies the end of the Ganga Avataran, the Shiv Shakti Mandir will continue celebrations until Sunday, June 3. Legend has it that when Lord Vishnu dressed as a Vaamana asked Mahabali for three steps, one-foot step covered the earth, the other covered the heavens and for a third, Mahabali offered the Lord his own head. When Vishnu’s step covered the heavens, the creator, Lord Brahma washed his feet with some water and from this was born a beautiful girl, the River Ganga. Ganga, light hearted and mischievous in nature danced and sang beautifully. Many came to watch her including the austere sage Durvasa. On one such occasion, Sage Durvasa’s clothes were blown away by a gust of wind and Ganga laughed openly. Durvasa cursed her in anger and doomed her to flow on earth and not the heavens. When she begged for forgiveness, he modified his curse making her the river that would flow on earth, capable of cleansing all sins. In the meanwhile, on earth, King Sagara, father to 60,000 sons, evoked the jealousy of Indra as he was performing the Ashwameda Yagna, in which, if Sagara’s horse

entered the territories of other kings, they either surrender their kingdoms to him, or they fight him. Indra feared that this would make Sagara more powerful than Indra himself. So Indra stole the horse and hid it in the ashram of Sage Kapila. When Sagara’s sons came looking for it, they were angry to note that Sage Kapila had stolen it. They were rude to him and in return, he reduced them to ashes. The Hindu religion believes that if the last rites of dead people are not performed in the correct fashion, their souls roam the earth, never reaching heavens. It was up to Sagara’s grandson, Anshuman to free his uncles. Anshuman begged forgiveness for his uncles’ mistake and Sage Kalipa revealed to him that the Ganga will have to be brought to earth for their souls to be cleansed, after which their souls would reach the heavens. Neither Anshuman nor his son Dilip could accomplish the task. Dilip’s son, Bhageeratha did severe penance to Brahma who agreed to send Ganga to earth but told him that he would need Lord Shiva to help bear the force of Ganga’s fall from the heavens. Bhageeratha prayed to Lord Shiva who agreed to hold Ganga on the matted locks of his head and release her on earth gradually. That day when Ganga came down from the heavens on Lord Shiva’s head and then flowed on earth is the most important day of the Ganga Avartan period. Once on earth Ganga, unable to contain her pranks, flooded the ashram of Sage Janu and was swallowed by him. Bhageeratha explained his situation to the sage who then released Ganga again. Since Ganga was reborn of Sage Janu, the river is called Janvi. Since it was Bhageeratha’s laudable efforts that brought Ganga to earth, the river is also called Bhageerathi. Bhageeratha’s hard work was of such great magnitude that any task achieved with enormous effort has come to be known as Bhageeratha Prayatnam, referring to the enormity of the trials of Bhageeratha, which led to the purifying of his ancestors’ souls and took them to heaven. Gaanga Puja celebrates the river’s miraculous powers to cleanse people’s sins.

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June 01, 2012 7 COMMUNITY TNF 2012 Convention: Great Success in Houston



on May 26 and 27, was well attended, and provided up to six CME credits for the participants. The youth program was conducted effectively by Abirami Kannappan by coordinating a panel of speakers. Kids fashion show and dance performances from Houston, San Antonio, Artists at the press meet Austin and Dallas were one of the main & Anitha Kuppuswamy group. The conferattractions. Other events included TNF ence was full especially during the evening Idol, cooking contest, light music and Trade concert timings on both days. Show. TNF Idol finalists and cooking conEducationist Karumuttu Kannan, Chairtest winners were awarded trophies by man of Madurai Thiagarajar College, the visiting artists. was honored with TNF Singers Rahul Nam2012 Excellence Award biar, Haricharan and by Sam Kannappan and Saindhavi sang Dr.Padmini Ranganathan. numerous famous Rajan Radhakrissongs including hanan, TNF Cultural “Why This Committee CoordiKolaveri nator was instruD i ” . mental in bringing Peothe artists from p l e Tamil Nadu. a l s o He also emdanced to ceed part of the folk the cultural music preevent. The Fashion show participants sentation, three day ‘Nattuppura Kalaigal’ by Pushpavanam event took about a whole year of planning, organizing and implantation lead by five main organizers, supported by twenty eight committee coordinators and hundred plus volunteers.

Ribbon cutting by Merin Rajadorai

Left: Recognizing the artists. Below: TNF CME


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June 01, 2012


India Culture Center Houston Hosts Donor Appreciation Dinner

Rhythm India dance group performed at the function.

BY SWAPAN DHAIRYAWAN HOUSTON: ICC Houston, hosted, a first of it’s kind, Donor Appreciation Dinner, at the India House, on May 20, Sunday. Chaired by Col Raj Bhalla, it was a ‘by invite only’ event, with more than 180 attendees. A fun filled, pressure free evening with no agenda, there were also no speeches by VIPs & dignitaries. An evening of entertainment and socializing, invitees were treated to a welcome drink, after which they moved to the mock

casino tables, an open bar and an elegant setting for clicking portrait pictures. As promised, there was no lengthy formal program, but the evening had an interesting last minute event – A Live Auction conducted by “Houstons Christie” Dr Subodh Bhuchar. All the seven items auctioned, including gold rings, paintings, Indian rug, I pad and Xbox were fervently bid for and the “Patels” were the clear winners of the evening. The highest bid was for a beautiful Ganesha Tanjore paint-

ICC Executive Committee with the Live Auction item donors and bidders and Dr. Subodh Bhuchar (far left), the auctioneer for the evening.

ing in 24kt gold and Jaipuri gems. The painting was donated by Anju Mittal and was bid for by Lachhman Das. In a brief address to the audience as to how and why this event evolved, ICC President Rajiv Bhavsar stated that this was the ‘ICC way’ of thanking its long time supporters who have given

cash, time and numerous donations in kind, to the organization. Col Raj Bhalla in his address said that he wanted ICC teams in the future to continue this legacy of appreciating its donors every year and not wait another 38 years to organize such an event. The sumptuous dinner was catered by Bombay Brasserie. There

were also mouth watering desserts and a live “Paan” stall at the venue. The assisting team included P V Patel, Jasmeeta Singh, Swapan Dhairyawan, Harshad Patel, Falguni Gandhi and Sarada Akunuri. For more information and upcoming events visit Photos: Sanjay Sohoni

Left to right: Bela Bhavsar, President Rajiv Bhavsar, Nalini Mathur, Dr Virendra Mathur, Kanwal Bhalla, Event Chair Col Raj Bhalla, Swapan Dhairyawan and Pallavi Dhairyawan.


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Open Letter to Chairman of the Governing Board, Mr. Gururaj Deshpande, and CEO, Ms. Madhu Sridhar, of Akshaya Patra USA From: K.T. Shah MD, Former Chairman (2006-11), Akshaya Patra chapter, Houston, TX. My team of volunteers, members of Akshaya Patra Houston Chapter and I, worked tirelessly and with great dedication to spread the word about Akshaya Patra in the Houston community from 2007 to 2011. The Houston Chapter members and I, organized a very successful fundraising event in Houston on October 17, 2010 and raised a total of $750,000 in one evening for Akshaya Patra. I had donated $10,000 of my own money to pay for various expenses necessary for the ultimate success of the fund raising event – for example, printing and mailing 700 post cards asking everybody to save the date, photographer for the event, providing food to the volunteers who worked in the evening once a week for 3-4 hours, advertisements in local Indian newspapers and local radio stations, preparing ribbons for volunteer staff, etc. I have the following comments and questions for Chairman of the Governing Board of Akshaya Patra and the CEO of Akshaya Patra: Letter: After the October 17, 2010 event, I wrote a letter to both of you describing the multiple difficulties I had encountered in dealing with the CEO of Akshaya Patra. In my letter I raised several questions for both of you. I also wrote that we all need to discuss the difficulties I had with the CEO and I titled the letter, “Lessons Learned”. My purpose was that we will all learn from our mistakes and do a better job next time. Question: Why have you deliberately ignored that letter and refused to answer any of my questions and comments for the last 20 months? Booklet: The CEO knew that I was working for two months to prepare a souvenir booklet for distribution at the fundraiser on October 17, 2010. I had collected enough advertisements from my friends to make the cost of the booklet budget neutral (no cost to Akshaya Patra). Why did the CEO try to stop me from completing this booklet at the last minute when the booklet was about to go to press? Selection of caterer: This was done by the CEO, even though my suggestion was to select another caterer who had served at previous Akshya Patra events very professionally. The caterer selected by the CEO did a very unsatisfactory job – lots of my friends did not get even enough rice, after paying $250 to $1000 donation to attend the function. I had to suffer through a lot of complaints from my friends.

Booth: The CEO refused to grant permission to me to have a booth at Jaina convention held in Houston in July 2011. Why did the CEO use a completely false excuse to deny permission for a booth at the Jaina convention, even though I had arranged for donors who were ready to pay all expenses for this booth? By-Laws: The CEO told me on phone that according to the by-laws of Akshaya Patra I had to get permission from her before I could talk to any potential donor in Houston. Why did the CEO and Governing Board Chairman not take any corrective action when I pointed out to them that this was the most ridiculous and impractical rule I had ever seen in any organization? Role of arbitrator: The Governing Board had appointed one of its members, Mr. Navin Khurana – as arbitrator, who took multiple verbal and written statements from me that I was able to substantiate with email documents. After several weeks of phone talk and written e-mails he told me that he was very frustrated and he resigned. Why did he resign without giving his final verdict? I kept on asking him to find out from both of you, what have I done wrong? What are my mistakes? Is pointing out some glaring mistakes on the part of the CEO my mistake? Why did I never get a reply? Lack of transparency: Any time I called to find out regarding pledges made by some of my friends (whether they had paid their pledges or not), I was told that I cannot get that information. Why could I not get to know regarding donations from the Houston area? I was not asking for any details of donors from other cities – I was asking for information only regarding the Houston area where I had worked so hard and so long to build up support for Akshaya Patra! Why does the Akshaya Patra web site not give any details of financial status – how much money was collected from each event, how much money was spent and how much money was reaching Akshaya Patra in India?

The CEO did not bother to answer the six e-mails I wrote in the first two weeks of March 2011, and I was not given any explanations for that.

Why does the Akshaya Patra website not display a copy of their yearly income tax filings for the last 5 years? Why does the Akshaya Patra website claim transparency when in reality there is no transparency at all? I want the Houston community to know that because of very uncooperative and dictatorial behavior on the part of the above named Akshaya Patra USA office bearers, I, (and the whole Houston chapter) resigned from Akshaya Patra USA organization as of September 2011. These are some of the facts and some of the questions I have for the Chairman of the Governing Board and for the CEO of Akshaya Patra.

Why did the CEO refuse and delay paying the legitimate invoice from the printer even though she knew that by getting advertisements I had made the booklet budget neutral (no cost to Akshaya Patra)?

K.T. Shah, MD Cell: 281-772-4139 email: Date-May 29, 2012.

Why did the CEO pay the caterer fully within three days after the event without even bothering to talk to me?



June 01, 2012

Reckless Biker Kills Civic Activist Gita Vir, Mother of Houston Businessman Atul Vir

PUNE: The elegant Gita Vir, 76, known to the city for her passion towards civic activism, on Saturday, April 22, ironically came within the fold of some of the very issues she fought for. As she was stepping out of her residence in La Shanz, on Boat Club Road, on Saturday afternoon on her way to the Inner Wheel Club Meeting, a speeding motorcyclist hit her. Such was the impact that she crumbled head down on a heap of interlocking blocks stacked up on the side of the road. Hearing the sound, the watchman of the society rushed to the spot, and with the help of the house maid drove a bleeding Gita to Ruby Hall Clinic. Gita was a trustee of Shelters Associate. Since her family settled in the city, she worked as a volunteer in Balwadis and for dropouts in slum schools. The growing heaps of garbage dotting the city veered her towards environmental concerns. She became a well-known civic activist and protested against issues with the Pune Municipal Corporation, Pune Cantonment Board, police, and other departments. She was a founding member of the National Society for Clean Cities (NSCC) in Pune, and her work as a Shelter Associates


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Trust Member spanned nearly a decade. Vir was also the mother of longtime Houston businessman and community activist Atul Vir who has served on the India Culture Center Board and is active in other organizations too. Atul had just returned from visiting his parents after a business trip to China and rushed back to attend the funeral. Vir died on Sunday afternoon between 12.30-1 pm. According to doctors in Ruby Hall Clinic, where she was being treated, Vir had sustained injuries to the brain and was not responding to treatment.

The Koregaon Park police on Sunday arrested Sachin Vitthal Kodak (23), a resident of Dighi for his alleged negligent and rash driving which caused the death of Vir. Senior police inspector Shivaji Kamble told Mirror that Sachin is an engineering student studying in a city college. He was going to college when he knocked down Vir, who was waiting to cross the road. Sachin was released on Rs. 5,000 bail. Credit: Pune Mirror

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12 June 01, 2012

IACCGH Small Business Reception and Lecture with Manuel Gonzalez U.S. SBA District Director discusses SBA loan guarantee programs

SUGAR LAND: During the Small Business Outreach, on May 24, organized by The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IAACCGH), The District Director, (Small Business Administration, SBA, Houston), Manuel Gonzalez, addressed the gathering. Gonzalez provided a list of the many programs and services that the SBA offers - capital/financial assistance, contracting assistance (8a, HUBZone & woman-owned small business programs), counseling, training, disaster assistance, advocacy, laws/ regulations, implement special initiatives including ‘Young Entrepreneurs and Startup America’ to name a few. His talk was centered on an overview of three SBA Loan Guarantee Programs; 7(a) Guaranty Loan Program, 504 Debenture, and SBAEXPRESS Loan. He expressed that many well known companies like Nike, AOL, Apple and others have taken advantage of such loans. The 7(a) program is the very basic type of loan the SBA offers to small businesses. It is not a loan per se, but a guaranty that the SBA provides participant lenders, making it easier for them to make a small business loan which they otherwise wouldn’t consider. The 7(a) loan program has a maximum loan amount of $5 million with a guaranty of 75 percent. The lower the amount, the higher the guaranty, which goes up to 85 percent on loans of $150,000 or less. The SBA encourages longer terms, but actual loan maturities are based on the purpose of the loan and the useful life of the assets financed. In general, though, 7(a) loan maturities can go from seven years for working capital, to a maximum of 25 years for land and buildings, or debt refinancing. Interest rates are negotiated between the borrower

Manuel Gonzalez District Director, U.S .SBA Keynote speaker

Ajit Thakur CPA (President, IACCGH)

Mark Winchester(SBA) Swapan Dhairyawan (Treasurer, IACCGH), Manuel Gonzalez(District Director US SBA), Ajit Thakur CPA (President, IACCGH), Katrina Lava (SBA) Joya and the lender. However, since interest rates Shukla(Secretary IACCGH), Dennis David (Wells Fargo) Jagdip Ahluwalia(Executive can be an important factor in the repayment Director, IACCGH)

ability of borrowers, the SBA has established limits that vary according to the size and maturity of the loan. Gonzalez said that the 504 loan program is a long-term/fixed-rate financing tool for major fixed assets. The SBAEXPRESS Loans are expedited loan processing and closing. Lenders use internal loan documents, not SBA documents. This particular loan program has the same criteria as the standard 7(a) Guaranty loan Program. Ajit Thakur, President of IACCGH, thanked Manuel Gonzalez and Mark Winchester, SBA, Katrina Lava of Wells Fargo Bank, and Priscilla Burroughs of Port of

Houston, for sharing beneficial information with the attendees. Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director of IACCGH, highlighted the importance of small businesses connecting and building relationships with organizations such as SBA, Wells Fargo, Port of Houston and Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum. He encouraged IACCGH members, guests, and supporters of the Chamber to make a strong effort to seek out and utilize Houston’s many resources, for greater success in their businesses. This event was sponsored by Wells Fargo. The Bank was represented by Dennis David,

Katrina Lava and Dennis David of SBA

Vice President specializing in SBA Lending and Katrina Lava, Vice President, Business Development, who wrote to the organizers of the event: “I commend you, for your excellent leadership in facilitation of networking and inclusion of participation/acknowledgement of partners/resources for IACCGH members’ benefit. You are creating a fantastic culture by asking members to be aware of what benefit they are giving AND receiving from participation in chamber connections! How I wish your leadership could be duplicated to other “network” events I attend around the city. I watched you yesterday and thought to myself, “That is how it is done!”. IACCGH Small Business Outreach Program’s purpose is to provide community business professionals with tools and information to grow their businesses and create jobs in the Houston area. This outreach also provides community members with guidance to start a small business. IACCGH has promoted small business in the past 12 years of the Chamber’s existence and has partnered with agencies that help small businesses succeed. The SBA is one of those agencies. “Created by Congress in 1953, the SBA is an independent federal agency with a mission to aid, assist, counsel, and protect small business. We accomplish this mission through a variety of programs and with a variety of partners. As the nation’s largest single financial backer of small business, the SBA guarantees loans made by private lenders or certified development companies.” For detailed information about SBA programs and services, visit the SBA Web site at html.


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14 June 01, 2012


George, Bhuchar Lose Texas Primary Races

SUGAR LAND: Two closely watched Indo-American candidates lost in the Texas primary races in the Sugar Land area. Democrat K.P. George lost a closely contested U.S. 22nd Congressional District race to his opponent Kesha Rogers by only 106 votes. George, who led in the early returns, garnered a total of 3,553 votes (49.26%) to 3,659 votes for Kesha Rogers (50.73%) from a total of 162 precincts. Rogers will now face off against incumbent Representative Pete Olson. With all the 41 precincts countK.P. George and Sonal Bhuchar lost their Texas ed in the May 29th Republican primary races, but blazed a path for future generaPrimaries, Sonal Bhuchar, the tions of Indo-American leaders. sole Indo-American seeking a 41% (5,997) votes. Chaumette has been chance to run for the Texas House a longtime friend of the Indo-American of Representative race for District 26 lost a community and will face Miller in the runchance to be in the runoffs by a less than off elections on July 31. Both candidates 1,000 votes. thanked their volunteers and supporters, In the final tally, Bhuchar had 21% but have yet to reveal their plans to run for (3,043) of the vote to Jacquie Chaumette’s political offices in the near future. 27% (3,949) who edged her out of a runoff with front runner Rick Miller who received

WRITERS ....... TAKE NOTICE Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information, Call 713-789- NEWS (6397) or email us at: स�यमेव जयते

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June 01, 2012


ICCL Seniors Luncheon for Graduating Seniors from the Indian Subcontinent

CLEAR LAKE: The annual felicitation of Indian Graduates (from the Clear Lake area) organized by Radha Golikeri took place on May 24, at the Mogul Indian Restaurant. The festivities began with the singing of the American and Indian National Anthems. Welcoming the gathering Golikeri reminded us that this annual event was started in 1998 by Late Sri Sanjeeva Rao Allam to honor, cherish and bless the next generation of Indian students as they graduated from high school and headed to college. Stating that there was a Valedictorian and a Salutatorian amidst them, she strongly advised the children to remember three concepts: 1) When you climb the ladder of success, make sure it is leaning against the right wall. 2) In all things in life, make sure you are progressing in the right direction. 3) There are three kinds of people in the world – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened – Be the captain, the leader and make things happen. She ended her address by telling the graduates to live, progress, prosper and earn well, and to always have pride in their Indian heritage. ICCL President Sri Pradeep Kadambi suggested that the group be renamed from ‘Senior Club’ to ‘Wisdom Club’. He told the students, – 1. Make things happen. 2. Being an Indian child in the US comes with its own responsibility. People expect you to be (a) Smart (b) Outgoing. Go above and beyond the expectations and excel. 3. Do the right thing always – This is never easy but you can do it with support from family, the right company of friends and will power. Remember you are the next generation of leaders, game changers and trail blazers.

Guest speakers with the Class of 2012 graduates from the Clear Lake area.

Madhuri Dasmohapatra introduced Dr. Alok Kalia, retired professor from UTMB Galveston and a specialist in dialysis and kidney transplants in children, and now an international speaker on healthy eating. Dr. Kalia started by saying that graduates feel they know everything and are generally riding a big wave. As an Indian American, he asked the graduates to know their Identity – Who am I? Where did I come from? Who laid the foundation for who I am today? He said that the Indian community is larger than just their immediate family and the community is perceived as making this country a better place. He said, the tenets that made Indians

unique were: 1. Self-Selected and motivated group, 2. Adventurous, 3. Good educational skills, 4. the Indian World View/Perspective and 5. hailing from a civilization that is over 5000 years old, predating language and ethnicity. He then traced the history of the Indian Civilization emphasizing the contributions to Mathematics, Yoga, the concepts of all being a part of one whole, the connectedness of all living beings, and Nonviolence or AHIMSA India was invaded by conquerors who eventually were conquered by the Indian ways and became part of the Greater Indian Culture. India is: A land of cohesion and contradiction, divided and united by

languages, has more religions co-existing than any other country (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jewish Faith, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.). Further elaborating on the degrees of Indian secularism, he said that in 2004, India had a Sikh Prime Minister (Dr. ManMohan Singh), a Muslim President (Dr. Abdul Kalam), a Hindu opposition party leader (L.K. Advani) and a Christian Defense Minister (George Fernandez). Dr. Kalia concluded by asking the graduating seniors to give thanks to those who made their success possible – grandparents, parents, teachers, well wishers, the community, etc. Dr. RadhaKrishna Jaggi then invited the graduating class to the podium to receive a gift and to make a few remarks. Students covered majors from Heathcare to Engineering to Audiology in Universities from Virginia to California and Texas. Pooja Yesanthrao spoke on behalf of the graduating class thanking ICCL for the generosity of spirit, also for Holi, Diwali and other celebrations through the years, and their effort to inculcate Indian values. B.G. Harchandani gave the vote of thanks naming the donors and thanking the Allam family for the use of their Mogul Indian Restaurant and their help in hosting the event.

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16 June 01, 2012 COMMUNITY DAVSS Graduation Ceremony Held at Arya Samaj HOUSTON: During the Memorial Day weekend, as the nation pays tribute to its soldiers, DAV Sanskriti School (“DAVSS”) held its graduation ceremony on Sunday May 27th. DAVSS is a Sunday school run at the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston for students 5-19 yrs old, imparting Vedic values and Indian culture along with Hindi speaking & writing skills. The five graduating students were Soham Chanchalani, Rupal Mehta, Avichal Gulati, Arjun Agarwal and Pooja Salhotra, all of them 2012 high school graduates beginning their pursuit for higher education in colleges across the land. The ceremony began with the yajna performed by all the graduates along with their families and Acharya Surya Nanda ji blessed the new graduates and others for their bright future. Neil and Uma, Emcees for the day, handled the whole program with aplomb. It began with a song presented by Smriti ji’s music students, followed by a beautiful performance by young dancers from Jhilmil ji’s DAVSS class. In between, Neeraj Salhotra, one of the pioneer members of DAVSS Fraternity, an organization of the DAVSS alumni, described the establishment of the fraternity in 2009. He thanked Avichal

Acharya Praveen with grads Pooja, Arjun, Roopal, Soham and Avichal, with Emcee Uma Gulati for creating a web site for it, and commended the other pioneer members - Eesha Gulati and Swati Verma for their mentoring activities in DAVSS classrooms last year. Neeraj invited the 2011 graduates to join the fraternity. Acharya Praveen ji, the Acharya & the guide of DAV Sanskriti School, in his Diksha (message) to the departing graduates, reminded them of putting all acts of theirs to a test assuring that each of their act uplifts all three of their body, mind and spirit. The DAVSS graduatesArjun, Soham and Pooja displayed great ingenuity in presenting a skit

which depicted how they have benefited from applying some of the principles they have learnt at DAVSS – following the path of non-violence, truthfulness and to be discerning. Each of the graduates also took to the podium recalling the memories of their years at DAVSS, thanking their volunteer teachers and parents for the dedication and sincerity in planting the seeds Vedic culture and nurturing them. They remembered the great times they have had, during their years at Arya Samaj. This was followed by a Tabla performance by DAVSS students learning from

Vineeta Arora ji, which was really heart-warming as this was the first year that these students have started learning to play this rhythmic instrument. Sh. Dev Mahajan, thanked the volunteer teachers and Acharya ji and the parents for their dedication and support to the DAVSS and also gave an update on the school building expansion, something all the DAVSS students and teachers are looking forward to. The building, which should be ready in time for the next school year beginning in fall 2012, will now have dedicated class space for DAVSS,

which until now they have been sharing with the DAVMS that operates during the week days. The program ended with all DAVSS students on stage, singing Aarti.

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18 June 01, 2012

Empty Pockets

There is a story about an economist who would take money from his left-hand pocket and transfer it to his right-hand pocket. Then he’d take the money from his right-hand pocket and put it in the left-hand pocket. And so on, in an attempt to make both pockets feel as though they were full, at least momentarily. Is the Indian government transferring money from one pocket to another in a juggling act to create the illusion that the country’s hisaab book balances out in the end? The complicated give-andtake of fuel subsidies has ignited a fierce debate following the steep increase in petrol prices. Not since Anna Hazare emerged as the self-appointed champion of the anti-corruption crusade has any public issue generated quite so vociferous a response from people as has the fuel price hike. Like corruption, it’s hit us where it hurts most: in our pockets. Cashing in on the widespread anger caused by the painfully sharp increase in petrol prices, political parties ranging from UPA ally Trinamool to the opposition BJP have staged public protests across the country. In a fire-fighting exercise, Congress-ruled Delhi has cut VAT on petrol partially to soften the blow. What’s added fuel to the fire, however, is the disclosure that the money being taken out of customers’ pockets by the petrol price increase is being put into the pockets of government-owned oil companies — which are boasting up to a 224% jump in net profits — by way of subsidies. Why should super-profitable government-owned oil companies be subsidised at the cost of the consumer? Because, in the financial juggling act of subsidies, the subsidised oil companies in turn subsidise users of kerosene, diesel and LPG. It would be politically suicidal for any government to stop subsidising kerosene, the so-called ‘poor man’s fuel’. But what about diesel and LPG? The common argument is that if you stop subsidies on diesel — used mainly for transport of goods — the price of everything transported will go up, adding to inflation. LPG subsidies are needed because economically weaker households can’t afford unsubsidised LPG to cook with. But do such subsidies actually protect anyone or do they only create the illusion of protection? Subsidies account for 2.5% of India’s GDP, and add to the country’s fiscal deficit: the amount by which the government’s spending exceeds its income, or revenue. The greater the fiscal deficit, the greater the inflation: the government creates more money to bridge the gap, decreasing the purchasing power of the currency. The more we subsidise, the less will our money be able to buy, of fuel or anything else, which means that we’ll need more subsidies, which in turn will further add to inflation, and so on. Subsidies are not just a juggling act but a dangerous juggling act. As was discovered by the economist who juggled money from one pocket to the other and one day found both pockets empty. With all that coming and going, both pockets had developed holes through which all the money had fallen out. Jug Suraiya in Times of India


Where Does Anna Go from Here? BY MINHAZ MERCHANT Anna Hazare’s movement has fizzled out. The Lokpal bill is in cold storage. Anna himself is a rustic old man, out of touch with modern thinking. Right? Wrong – thrice over. The drawing rooms of south Mumbai and south Delhi took to Anna with great enthusiasm last year. The middle-class gathered at Jantar Mantar and Azad Maidan but the intellectual elite provided drawing room and television studio support. Anna was the flavour of 2011. What went wrong? Anna’s first mistake was to make his movement a one-issue crusade – the Jan Lokpal Bill. His team did not advocate – as it should have – a “strong Lokpal Bill” but “the Jan Lokpal Bill”. The rigidity jarred even the faithful. Anna’s second mistake was to allow the allegations of financial impropriety, however minor, against team members Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal to remain unresolved. By December 2011, public sentiment, desperately looking for an anti-corruption messiah, began turning against Anna. The living rooms of south Mumbai and Delhi, never known for intellectual stamina over public causes, began to mock the “rustic” Anna and his hubristic team. Battered for months by Anna’s movement, the UPA 2 government activated its DTD (Dirty Tricks Department). The DTD had in mid-2011, at the height of Jantar Mantar, used sections of the friendly media to discredit individual members of Team Anna. There were initially two DTD ploys: 1. A CD of Prashant Bhushan, purportedly in conversation with Amar Singh, was played up in the press by the DTD. But when it was proved that the CD had been doctored, the story and the retraction were quietly buried. 2. Anna was quoted by the DTD (faithfully reported by a section of the press) as saying: “Voters are corrupt”. In fact, he’d said – right-

The middle class gathered at Jantar Mantar and Azad Maidan but the intellectual elite provided drawing room and television studio support. Anna was the flavour of 2011. What went wrong? ly – that voters are being corrupted by politicians who use money and muscle power and deliberately cause religious and caste divisions in order to win votes. Again the true quote was buried. Once seeds of doubt had been planted by such Machiavellian disinformation, the sheen around Anna began to dull. Team Anna made it worse by not countering the DTD’s Goebbelsian methods more robustly. It compounded the problem by not being more transparent about the allegations of financial impropriety against Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal. The government used Kejriwal’s Hissar election campaign to claim Team Anna’s motives were political. By the time Anna had broadened his crusade to include electoral reforms (especially proposed legislation barring candidates

Indo American News FOUNDER: DR. K.L. SINDWANI EDITOR: PRAMOD KULKARNI BUSINESS MANAGER: JAWAHAR MALHOTRA MANAGING PARTNER: KRISHNA GIRI COMMUNITY REPORTER: KALYANI GIRI COMMUNITY EDITOR: MANASI GOKHALE ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER: VANSHIKA VIPIN GRAPHIC DESIGN: SAQIB RANA COMMUNITY CORRESPONDENT: SOWMYA NANDAKUMAR CORRESPONDENTS CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR, UK: ASEEM KULKARNI INDIA: RAJ KANWAR ®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 5 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-NEWS or 6397 Fax: 713-789-6399, email:, website:


facing magistrate-framed criminal charges from contesting elections), the damage had been done. Congress spokesman Manish Tewari had been forced to apologise in writing for calling Anna “corrupt from head to toe” and barred from TV for two months. Now he was back, in fine fettle, grin firmly in place. Finally, a myth surrounding the RTI needs to be buried for good. The UPA government claims credit for passing this fine piece of legislation in 2005. But in the decade from 1995 to 2005, it opposed it tooth and nail. Who pushed through the Maharashtra RTI in 2003 after years of fasting and agitation – a bill that was used as an inspiration and model for the central RTI? Why, Anna Hazare. But public memory is short and selective. Politicians are delighted by this and claim credit for the RTI which they have since systematically tried to weaken, including taking the CBI out of its purview last June. Where does Anna go from here? His team’s allegations against 15 ministers, including the prime minister, should be resolved in court. If found false, the signatories of the letter to the PM containing the allegations, led by Anna, should be sued for defamation. Team Anna has simultaneously in its letter to the PM outlining these allegations asked for a judicial probe against Team Anna members as well. The government must accept this offer. Let us, however, not be distracted in the fight against corruption. Anna may not be the messiah people thought, but at least he has made corruption an issue no government can afford to ignore anymore. For this alone he should be lauded. The anti-corruption movement must continue. Individuals don’t matter. Anna, Kejriwal, Bedi, Bhushan, Sisodia have all played their parts, for better or worse. It is up to the larger public now, India’s citizens, to take up the baton and continue the battle against graft till it is won. -ToI


income tax

A Message to Dharun Ravi from a Fellow Indian-American

BY ARJUNE RAMA Like many other Indian-Americans and people of Indian descent around the globe, I read with dismay your tweets detailing Mr. Clementi’s private life. I cringed at your secret webcam used to document and broadcast his sexual relations to other equally insensitive college students. While your actions would likely anger me regardless of our shared ethnicity, your actions have hurt me and other Indian-Americans in more personal ways. As I’m sure you’re aware, prior to your case and 30-day jail sentence, people who’ve never met us see our faces and instantly think the words “terrorist,” “job-stealer,” and “smelly” among other more unsavory and racist descriptors. Of course I can’t blame you for the hateful thoughts and actions of others against our people. Instead, my frustration with you is that through your thoughtlessness you’ve built the foundation for yet another Indian stereotype: homophobe.

Perhaps surprising to you, I am pleased by the relatively light sentencing you received. I don’t think your actions were rooted in hate. I don’t believe you intended to hurt Mr. Clementi. Instead I think your actions stemmed from homophobia, immaturity, selfishness, and a nastiness that you were able to conceal via the facelessness of social networking. I don’t think prison time would have done anything to change your perspective on how you mistreated this young man. To illustrate my point, you tolerated constant personal attacks in the international press over the course of the last two years, sat in court mere feet from Mr. Clementi’s family and still were not moved to issue a single apology to his grieving family. If these experiences don’t move you to an apology I’m not sure what prison would do but to perhaps simply embitter you towards the American justice system. I realize that in our culture’s enthusiasm to prepare us for academic and profes-

sional success, some crucial elements of how to interact in the socio-cultural melting pot of the American college system may be lost in translation. While this doesn’t justify your actions, your upbringing is similar to that of many Indian-Americans, including myself. However, unlike most Indian-Americans, now that the world has placed a spotlight upon you, you have a unique opportunity to take a highly visible stand against homophobia on college campuses or anywhere where people from different ways of life intersect. Additionally, by finally apologizing to the Clementis and publicly denouncing your own homophobic behavior, you will not only be standing up for the Tyler Clementis of the world but you will also be standing up for yourself and our community. My hope is that you will pay back the court’s leniency in your case to help promote and elevate the discussion of this issue.

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Britons Largest Clients of £ 1-Billion Surrogacy Industry in India LONDON (TOI): Britain is the single biggest source of clients for India’s booming 1.5 billion pounds surrogacy industry known as the ‘baby factory’. The Sunday Telegraph reported that there were nearly 1,000 unregulated clinics in India, many specialising in helping Britons become parents. Britons reportedly pay an average of 25,000 pounds for a child produced using surrogate mothers in India. “It is estimated that 2,000 births to surrogate mothers took place in the country last year, with most experts agreeing that Britain is the biggest single source of people who want to become parents in

this way,” the report said. “Britain may account for as many as 1,000 births last year in India. In contrast there were 100 surrogate births recorded in Britain last year”, it said. Women in India were being paid up to 6,000 pounds to donate eggs and carry babies, something British women are banned from doing, the report said and added that bankers, senior civil servants, executives at multinational companies and even National Health Service (NHS)

doctors have become parents through surrogacy in India, according to British doctors. There was also concern at the toll that becoming parents can have on Britons, as they face long waits in India to gain citizenship and passports for their babies, the report said, and added that currently British authorities can take up to a month before granting British citizenship to the children and weeks more to issue passports.


U.S. Bill Against Call Center Outsourcing of Gets 106 Co-Sponsors WASHINGTON, DC (India Tribune): A Congressional bill that bars the US companies outsourcing call center jobs from receiving federal grants and loans now has 106 co-sponsors, its promoter has said. The US Call Center and Consumer Protection Act (HR 3596), introduced in the US House of Representatives by Congressman Tim Bishop now has as many as 106 lawmakers as its co-sponsors. In a statement, Bishop hoped this would compel a hearing on the legislation in the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The US Call Center and Consumer Protection Act, if passed by the Congress and signed into law, would require the US Department of Labor to track firms that move call center jobs overseas; the firms would then become ineligible for any direct or indirect federal loans or loan guarantees for five years. “The provision is partially a response to the practice of companies taking millions in incentives from local taxpayers to open call centers in the US, only to off-shore their operations a short time later and leave local communities devastated and still paying the bill,” Bishop said. The bill also requires overseas call center employees to disclose their location to US consumers and gives customers the right to be transferred to a US-based call Center upon request. “Recent reports of theft and misuse of sensitive information from British

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and Australian customers of Asian call centers are deeply disturbing, and it is impossible to believe that the financial and medical information of Americans has not been similarly compromised,” Bishop said. “It is clear that overseas call centers simply cannot provide the same level of security for sensitive personal data as facilities in the US, and Americans should be guaranteed the option of a domestic call center to conduct their business. Taxpayer dollars should not be supporting companies that choose protecting their bottom line over protecting their customers,” the Congressman said. “American companies should be taking all measures necessary to protect the identities and personal information of their customers, and these incidents strengthen the case to keep call centers in the US,” said Congressman Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent. “Furthermore, it is important that we do all we can to preserve American jobs and prevent them from moving overseas. This bill ensures that companies receiving

taxpayer-funded federal aid or tax incentives don’t use those incentives to move their call centers abroad,” Grimm said. The Communications Workers of America (CWA), who represent 150,000 call center employees across the US, have supported US Call Center and Consumer Protection Act.“Americans are fed up with good-paying, family-supporting call center jobs here in the US being shipped overseas,” said CWA chief of staff Ron Collins, who began his career in a USbased Verizon call center. “Now, to hear that personal information is being stolen at overseas call centers just days after T-Mobile USA announces it will be closing seven call centers in the USA -- affecting 3,300 American workers – just makes your blood boil,” Collins said.


KTRK, the ABC – owned and #1 Television Station in Houston, is seeking to fill a Sales Account Executive position. Candidates must have excellent selling and communication skills and must be able to develop new business. The ability to prospect for and close new business accounts will be the primary focus of this job. KTRK offers a full portfolio of digital assets including KTRK-TV,, Live Well and multiple new/creative mobile platforms that will meet the needs of any new prospective client. Candidate must be a self-motivated team player with computer skills including Excel, Word, & Powerpoint. Candidates must apply on-line at by uploading a resume file. Please reference Job ID: 46051BR on all materials submitted. No phone calls please, no third parties. Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/D/V.



Gasoline Price Increase in India Causes Political Storm Amongst UPA Partners BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT India’s political arena is becoming dirtier with each passing day. Like her various regions, which are different, diverse and often divided, the numerous political parties – both in opposition at the Center and in power in some of the states – too are divided by their mutual acrimony and distrust. They all, however, get united when it comes to opposing the ruling dispensation at the Center. Mamata Banerjee and a coalition partner at a protest march against It is indeed a funny the gasoline price hike. spectacle watching as such no control over its price, it nevertheless such disparate groups appearing on a common has much leverage since it is the largest shareplatform to stridently oppose the Central gov- holder in these marketing companies. Hence, ernment on a real or even imaginary issue so the opposition finds it easy to throw mud at the long it would bring them a few brownie points Centre and it stays stuck in the midst of all of and some extra votes. this cacophony. The price increase in gasoline This sort of political opportunism is under- was long overdue and became inevitable when standable for these groups since their influence the rupee underwent a freefall and its exchange and area of operation is confined only to one value vis-à-vis the US dollar came tumbling state, but to find a national party like Bhartiya down like humpty dumpty, making all imJanata Party (BJP) making a common cause ports including that of crude oil expensive by with these regional outfits merely to embarrass 12-13%. Incidentally, the gas station price of Congress and to gain political mileage is not gasoline per liter includes as much as 40% of amusing. No doubt the Congress is the largest central and state levies such as excise, custom political party in the country and has now been and VAT; the balance 60% is the cost of the in power at the Centre for the past eight years crude, transportation and refining and of course under the tag of United Progressive Alliance the gas stations’ commission. The VAT in states (UPA). However, with the Congress gradually like Andhra Pradesh is as much as 33% while it losing in popularity, BJP is licking its lips in is 28% in the Punjab and Assam. anticipation of capturing power at the Center Thus it is quite amusing to see the BJP-led either on its own strength or in alliance with state governments or Mamata Banerjee’s adone or more of the regional outfits. Just like ministration in Bengal crying hoarse over the everything is fair in ‘love and war’, BJP finds price increase by the oil marketing companies that nitpicking and fault-finding against the when every state makes an additional killing by Congress a fair game. In this political game of way of higher VAT when the price is increased. chess, the Congress too provides an easy handle Probably, there would have been no protest to BJP by its own numerous acts of commission over price increase of gasoline, had these comor omission. panies were privately owned as is the case in The latest issue that has been blown into a the USA. In fact, it was the BJP government at major confrontation between the Congress the Center under the prime minister ship of Atal at the Center on the one hand and the rest of Bihar Vajpayee that had excluded gasoline from the political groupings including BJP on the Administrative Price Mechanism (APM) and other pertains to about 10% increase in the deregulated its price. Other major petroleum price of gasoline by government-owned oil products like LPG, kerosene and diesel still are marketing companies. In this game of political controlled by APM. India also had a unique one-upmanship, Trinamool Congress of Ma- subsidy system in place under which the Cenmata Banerjee, the second largest party in the tral government gives subsidy to marketing oil Congress-led alliance, has ironically been in the companies for the losses they incur on selling forefront of this agitation. It was a sorry spec- these products at a substantial loss. Incidentally, tacle watching on Kolkata streets West Bengal both the Central and state governments get chief minister Mamata Banerjee and a coalition substantial tax revenues from public sector oil partner at the Center spearheading a protest marketing companies. For instance the Central march against the gasoline price hike. government last year collected an amount of Political expediency certainly makes strange Rs. 100,000 crores (please change into million/ bed-fellows. In this agitation against the increase billion). Likewise the state governments too in the price of gasoline, parties across the entire collected as much as rupees 80,000 crores in political spectrum have joined hands. This taxes during the same period. bonhomie amongst the traditional rivals like the However, the funny part of this strident oppoLeft parties, Mamata’s Trinamool Congress and sition to the increase in the retail price of gasoBJP is indeed rather odd. Even regional parties line is that all this is being done in the name of have apparently joined hands with their local protecting ‘aam admi’ or ‘common man’ from rivals irrespective of the fact whether they are the effects of the crippling price increase. While in opposition or ruling in the state. in reality, those owning cars, motorbikes or Strictly speaking, the price of gasoline is in the scooters cannot possibly be put in the category deregulated category; it means that the market of common man. The poor common man in forces and the oil companies will determine its whose name all this agitation is being carried on price. Even though the Central government has cannot afford to purchase even a bicycle.


June 01, 2012 “I will Quit Public Life if Graft Charges Proved”: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tells Anna

PM Manmohan Singh (right) takes on Team Anna NEW DELHI (TOI): Strongly rebutting Team Anna’s allegations of corruption against him, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today offered to quit public life and face any punishment if charges on coal block allotments are proved. “Let the people of India decided as to what crime the Prime Minister has committed for which such hard and harsh words are being used against him. “If I have indulged any such misdeed, then my entire public career, be it as finance minister, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha or as Prime Minister ... whoever levels allegations in this regard should substantiate it,” Singh told reporters on his way back from Myanmar. He said it was unfortunate that irresponsible allegations relating to irregularities in allocation of coal blocks are being made without confirming facts. “If there is even an iota of truth in it, then I will

give up my public career and the country can give me any punishment,” he said, adding his public life has been an open book. Singh deprecated use of harsh words against him by Team Anna. “To use such words, which have been used without reason or rhyme, I think, the public in India should make up its mind whether this sort of politics will rule the roost in the country,” Singh said. This is Prime Minister’s first reaction to Team Anna members Prashant and Shanti Bhushan’s allegations last week accusing him of corruption for the first time when they referred to a draft CAG report on allocation blocks when he held charge of coal ministry. He also termed as “unfortunate and irresponsible” the corruption allegations levelled against him and 14 of his ministerial colleagues by Team Anna.

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22 June 01, 2012

ENTERTAINMENT Famous Personalities at India’s Shrines

Ranveer Singh at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Yuvraj Singh at Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai

ya Balan actress Vid Bollywood linga iv yers to Sh offering pra ain, jj U Temple in at Mahakal desh. Madhya Pra

Asif Ali Zardari’s son and Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari waves while visiting the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, in Ajmer.

Nita Ambani seeks blessings for her IPL team ‘Mumbai Indians’ at the Ambaji Temple in Ahmedabad.

Pooja Bedi and Akashdeep Saigal offered prayers and chaddar at the shrine of Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti during their visit to Ajmer.

Actress Hansika Motwani comes out after offering prayers at Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala in Tirupati.

isits andarkar v Madhur Bh fter he a le p m ak Te Siddhiviny case. in the rape gets relief Actor and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha being presented a memento by Ashok Khambekar, Trustee of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (Shirdi), during his visit to Saibaba Temple in Shirdi.

Actor Ali Zafar during his visit to Nizamuddin dargah in Delhi.

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5/3/12 4:11 PM


June 01, 2012

Choco Vanilla Biscotti

Would it be wise to say that biscotti is man’s best friend? Well....I think this statement holds true for the man of my life :) He loves biscotti’s and that’s the reason I keep baking them and trying different flavors every time. This time I baked the Choco-Vanilla and it turned out as a big hit with my husband. INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of all purpose flour 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 4 tbsp melted butter 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 3/4 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 2 tbs cocoa powder 1 tbsp milk

METHOD: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, sieve together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 2. Using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer, beat eggs till they are fluffy. Stir in the vanilla essence. 3. Add in the sugar and butter and beat at medium speed until it’s well mixed. 4. Now change to the paddle attachment and slowly add the flour mixture and beat it on medium speed. 5. Now dip your hands in some flour (as dough will be sticky to handle) and transfer half the batter to the greased cookie sheet/baking

sheet. 6. Now add the cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of milk in the rest half of the batter and mix with light hands using a spatula. 7. Transfer chocolate batter on the side of vanilla batter, overlapping it. Now shape the dough into a log of 12 inches long and approx 3 inches wide. 8. Bake in the preheated oven for

about 30 minutes or until it is firm to touch. (Log will spread during baking) 9. Take it out and let it cool for 10 minutes. 10. On a cutting board cut the log crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices. 11.Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet, cut side down and bake for 10 minutes on each side, or until they are pale golden. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Dunk in your favorite cup of coffee and enjoy!

Italian Herb Bread

INGREDIENTS: 1 package active dry yeast 1 cup warm water (105-115 degree F) 1/2 cup olive oil 3-3 1/4 cup all purpose flour 2 tbsp sugar 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt 1 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp dried basil 2 tsp italian seasoning 1 tsp dried parsley

METHOD: 1. Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 tbsp of sugar and keep aside for 10 minutes. If yeast is good, it will become frothy and increase in volume. 2. In the mixer of your electric mixer add 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 cups flour, 1 tbsp of sugar, garlic salt and all the herbs. With the dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix until well blended. You can mix all these ingredients by a spatula if you plan to knead by hand. 3. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time and continue on speed 2 (or knead by hands) until dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl and gets smooth and elastic. With hands, it will take about 10-15 minutes. 4. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until double in bulk. 5. Punch down down and divide in to 6 equal portions. Roll out each on of them in a rectangle, brush with olive



oil and shape into a loaf. 6. Put all the 6 loafs in greased baking tray and let them sit until doubled in size (approx 30-40 min). Brush with olive oil and bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 15-18 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down for about 10 minutes. Serve Warm. - Both Recipes by Vaishali Sharma

Visit or visit Zestyflavors-Adding-Zest-to-yourCooking/145518712165348 Also “Like” Zestyflavors on Facebook


24 June 01, 2012

Fareed Zakaria: 2012 Commencement Speaker at Harvard

BY SOWMYA NANDAKUMAR The host of CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show, Time Magazine’s Editor at Large, columnist for the Washington Post, and a New York Times best -selling author – Dr. Fareed Zakaria! On May 24, Dr. Zakaria delivered the 2012 commencement address at Harvard University. In his speech he candidly admitted (much to the crowd’s amusement) that he almost slept through his undergrads commencement ceremony at Yale University because he had celebrated a little too much the night before. In the case of his doctoral degree in Harvard, he got a job in New York and could not get a day off to be present for commencement at Harvard. He had to receive his degree via the mail. He said that now, he was truly honored to be present at a Harvard commencement ceremony, 19 years after he had graduated. In his address, he projected to the graduating class, a positive view of the world, and its current scenarios –he talked of a world filled with immense opportunity, peace, prosperity and overall human progress in all realms, clearly explaining and validating with data, exactly why he thought so. He touched upon several questions science and research had endeavored to answer over the last century, always achieving success in their quest. He traced with data the enormous progress the world has made over the last eight decades or so, in the realms of health, life expectancy, economic prosperity, human genome research, global peace, technological advancement, and even the global war against terrorism. In the context of this all inclusive global evolution and development, he said, “Look at the number of graduates globally, from colleges – that number has risen four fold in the last forty years for men, it has risen seven fold for women. And if you are wondering whether or not that age old question of ‘are women smarter than men?’ has been answered, the evidence is now overwhelming; the answer is yes.” He said that he looked forward to a world, where, from the African villages to the corporate boardrooms of America, there will be greater participation by women, which will further enrich the world. He also emphasized on how the world as a whole is much more stable and cooperative now in comparison to perhaps even five or six decades ago. Citing the USA’s approach towards the problem of the H1N1 virus outbreak in 2009, he highlighted how as a global society we have become a lot more responsive and reactive, and in general are able to cooperate, react, respond, and contain/address problems before they reached larger magnitudes.

he was just 28 years old. He earned his doctoral degree in political science from Harvard University in 1993. In 1999 Esquire Magazine called him “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.” In Oct 2000, he took up the position of editor of Newsweek International. From 2002-2007, Zakaria was a news analyst with ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He hosted the weekly TV news show, Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria on PBS from 2005–2008. In 2007, he was named one of the 100 leading public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines. In June 2008, his weekly show, Fareed Zakaria GPS (Global Public Square) premiered on CNN. In January 2009, Dr. Zakaria was named one of the most influential liberals in the American media, by Forbes magazine. On March 20, 2009, he was awarded, the India Abroad, Person of the Year 2008. Mira Nair, the recipient of this award in 2007, presented it to Zakaria. In 2010, Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the top 100 global thinkers. After spending 10 years with Newsweek, managing Fareed Zakaria delivers the 2012 commencement address at his alma mater, Harvard the magazine’s editions abroad, in Oct 2010, University, on May 24. Dr. Zakaria was announced as TIME Editor at As an immigrant, who has experienced treAs a final word of advice, he said, he did not Large. That very year, the Government of India mendous success in this country, he said, “The know this from books but from life experience, honored him with the Padma Bhushan for his United States is also a vital society. It is the that one can never understand how much par- contributions to the field of journalism. In April 2011 he appeared as one of the guests only country in the industrialized world that is ents love them until one becomes a parent! He demographically vibrant. We add three million told students not to wait that long to understand on Jay Leno’s show where he said that he was people to this country every year, that is itself their parents’ love for them and instead to take the last Western journalist to have interviewed a powerful life force and it is made stronger the commencement day as an opportunity to let the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and he shared his political views on Gaddafi and by the fact that so many of these people are their parents know how much they are loved. immigrants. They, I should say, we, come to It is an absolute honor to the Indian diaspora the American intervention in Libya. He also this country with aspirations, with drive, with community that Fareed Zakaria, anAmerican of mentioned in this show that he initially thought determination, and we develop a fierce love Indian origin, was the commencement speaker that he was cut out to be an academic but realof this country. America in 2050 will have a at his Alma Mater, Harvard University! Zakaria ized that wasn’t the case and moved on. This better demographic profile than China. This was born on Jan 20, 1964 in Bombay, (now definitely seems to have been the right decision country has its problems but I’d rather have Mumbai), to a Konkani Muslim family. His in retrospect! Dr. Zakaria has received several honorary America’s problems than most other countries mother, Fatima Zakaria, worked as editor of in the world”. the Sunday Times of India, for a while, and his degrees from universities including the UniverAs he wrapped up, he told the audience that father, Rafiq Zakaria was an Islamic scholar, sity of Miami, Oberlin College, Bates College, he was not going to be able to tell them which and a politician linked to the Indian National Brown University, Harvard University, and Johns Hopkins University. He now lives in New route to take in terms of their decisions for fu- Congress. ture study, career’ etc. but, “human beings will Zakaria went to the Cathedral and John Con- York City (in the Jay Leno show he confesses always reward those talents of heart and mind non School in Mumbai. He came to the US with to being completely at home in NYC because that they have always rewarded for thousands a scholarship to do his Bachelor of Arts at Yale it resembles his home town, Mumbai), with of years – intelligence, hard work, discipline, University. During his under grad years, he was his wife, Paula Throckmorton Zakaria, son courage, perhaps above all, love and faith”. president of the Yale Political Union, editor-in- Omar, and daughters Lila and Sofia. He is a These are the profound life traits that result in chief of the Yale Political Monthly, a member New York Times best-selling author, and has rewarding and satisfying lives. He told students of the Scroll and Key society, and a member of written The Future of Freedom and The Post American World. that they did not need an ethics class to teach the Party of the Right. For Zakaria’s 2012 Commencement Adthem what was right or wrong; they already, In 1992, during his Ph.D program, Zakaria intrinsically knew what was right or wrong, it directed a research project on American foreign dress at Harvard, visit: http://news.harvard. was only a matter of tapping into that existing policy, at Harvard, after which he became man- edu/gazette/story/multimedia/fareed-zakariaresource within to make life’s decisions. aging editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, when commencement-2012-speech/

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ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20: There shall not be any dearth of opportunities for you this week. It is a rare phase when you will be able to pick and choose what you want to do. Some abrupt changes in your life shall give you the opportunity to change your line of work, as per your preferences. And, it is more than welcome because you have become tired of the monotony in your life. Being open to suggestions and ideas from people around you, especially your loved ones will help. TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21: This is a very favourable phase for you during which you make many new friends, come across new opportunities, and travel a great deal. Though you are normally reserved by nature, during this phase you will surprise many with your wholehearted interaction. Your social popularity will soar and people will seek out your company to brighten up their parties and some will even seek your guidance to overcome their problems. It will give you immense pleasure to see that people are enjoying your company. You will work harder to achieve your goals. GEMINI May 22 - Jun 21: You have laid a strong foundation and this week you will look to building upon it. You will strive harder for more success to enhance your social standing, and also to provide more worldly comforts to your family. Towards this end, you will review your goals upwards and take your responsibilities more seriously. You are developing a more positive and optimistic frame of mind to help you achieve your revised targets. Your self-confidence will increase and you will work with more resolve. CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 23: This week you strike the purple patch. The cosmos is aligned in such a favourable way for you that whatever you do during this phase will bring you immense success. Make the best of this phase, and strive to your utmost to make faster progress towards your goals. Whether it is striking deals with clients, interviewing people, communicating with partners, you come out with flying colours. Don’t neglect your health - any nagging problems, however trivial need to be investigated promptly. LEO July 24 - Aug 23: The endless tide of events will keep you constantly busy. There are so many things happening all at once that it is enough to confuse any person, but you have got your priorities all sorted out .You are blessed with an unusual dose of creativity and you will use this talent to the hilt this week. However, when it comes to communications, you will have to be careful what you say, even hold back your tongue so as not to offend anyone. VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23: You will make major headway in your career now, as the circumstances and people you associate with are all in your favour. You are progressive and flashy, and sometimes tend to rub people the wrong way, but they will not only take it in their stride, they will even support you along the path to success. Financially you will be comfortable and will be able to pay off all the loans you may have taken. On the personal side, you will


June 01, 2012

re-establish contact with old friends and spend some nostalgic time with them. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23: Although there will be some niggling problems, the fact that you will be bubbling with energy, and raring to go on the professional front in order to achieve all your goals will more than make up for it. You will inspire everyone around you, and your world will be abuzz with activity. In such a situation, ideas flow naturally and you find more efficient ways of reaching your goals. Take care of health and undue expenses. SCORPIO Oct 24 - Nov 22: You now take stock of your current situation, review your progress, and if necessary, make appropriate changes, either in the goals or in the path you have chosen to achieve them. You will have to work because of the quick pace at which events are taking place in your life and you have to take the responsibility for them. There is travel on the cards and the likelihood of your monetary outflow increasing, so keep a keen watch on your bank balance. SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 22: You forge ahead with new confidence this week, which will be brimming with activity. You will socialise a great deal. Your main desire now is to acquire knowledge of the self and spirituality. As you embark on this fascinating journey, you also realise that you cannot give up your material life completely and will need to blend the two with a great deal of maturity. You gain a new perspective on life, and your heart expands to encompass everyone in your range with more affection than ever before. There is a romantic relationship on the cards for those of you who are single. CAPRICORN Dec 23 - Jan 20: During this successful phase, you realise that you have been showered with more blessings than most people around you, and you will be thankful to the Almighty for it. Your dream run will continue, and with your spirits and selfbelief soaring high, you will resolutely make new plans and chalk out the course of action meticulously to achieve them. AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19: Life this week is a mixture of challenges and opportunities, and the results will largely depend on how positively you approach things. You definitely do your best to improve the quality of your work and by making the most of the chances that come your way. Your rapport with people who matter professionally as well as your near and dear ones will improve, and this will give you greater confidence in your attempt to achieve all your targets. PISCES Feb 20-Mar 20: Overall this is going to be a rewarding week, as it is smooth sailing on all fronts. There is plenty of joy with friends and family, and no dearth of money to lavish on them. You will throw parties and present your loved ones with gifts to keep them happy. Be careful with the money, and set aside something to secure your future first. Even on the work front, you will enjoy the respect of your peers and superiors for your sincerity and diligence. There is a distinct possibility that you may be moved up in the hierarchy of your organisation.


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Technology Pioneer Patni Bids Adieu MUMBAI (HT): It will be the end of an era next Monday, when shares of Patni Computer Systems de-list from the Indian bourses. And with it will also go out a name that spawned a software revolution in India at the end of a somewhat unsung story. iGATE , a much smaller peer of Patni Computer that acquired it in January 2011 for $1.22 billion has decided to drop the brand Patni - named after the founding family —from the combined entity. Patni Computer, along with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is counted as a pioneer in placing Indian software expertise on the global map. It was at Patni that dozens of IT pros learnt their ropes. The company turned out to be an early launchpad for technology entrepreneurs (a tag later usurped by Wipro). Most notable among the Patni alumni is NR Narayana Murty, who walked out of the company and took along with him his colleagues Nandan Nilekani, S Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal. The rest, as they say, is history. Infosys was born and went on to become nearly two decades later as the first Indian company to list on the tech-laden Nasdaq exchange. Meanwhile, Patni, which showed the way for others, itself stumbled. Industry watchers blame this on internal differences between the promoter Patni brothers — Narendra, Ashok and Gajendra. Efforts by HT to reach the Patni family for

their views did not succeed. The latter-day Patni clearly painted a sad picture. One Murty left Patni to launch Infosys, and it took an Infosys alumnus, Phaneesh Murthy, to breathe life back into Patni, but in the process, its identity ebbed. Patni had already sold a big chunk of itself to private equity firm General Atlantic Partners. “Patni had a highly dysfunctional board at that time (of our buyout),” Phaneensh Murthy, iGATE’s CEO who is no relation to NR Narayana Murty, told HT. “General Atlantic was not in smooth communication with the brothers. The brothers themselves were not in communication with each other,” he added. Phaneesh painted the picture of a man in an introspective mood a day after selling off his company to the much smaller iGATE, sitting in his office the whole day alone and meeting no one. “This showed a fairly close emotional connect,” Phaneesh said. It was in the early 1970s that -

while working for technology research firm Forrester - that Narendra and his wife Poonam tested their offshore outsourcing model from their apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They converted handwritten data into magnetic tapes - a process later shifted to Pune. Thus was born Data Conversion, the precursor to Patni, which faded later before being acquired last year. It was not easy for the Patni brothers to let go, though it became a 25,000-strong, $1-billion sales company in the process. “One of the emotions for Patni brothers was that we were the first to start IT and yet we are now being acquired rather than acquiring (a company ourselves) -- what’s more by a smaller company,” Phaneesh said. “I think I saw traces of all of these emotions in both Ashok and Narendra Patni.” Achen Jakher, CEO of Virginiabased IT firm Svelte Systems, who had met Patni brothers on several occasions said the decision to selloff was based on commercial logic, but at the cost of sentiments. “Patni had all the right ingredients to grow into another Infosys or a Wipro but unfortunately we saw a great institution being dissolved,” Jakher said. And so, Patni joins the ranks of companies that create industries but losing their own identity in the inevitable churning of market economics.

After Protests, No Hike in Diesel NEW DELHI (HT): Still battling the fallout of last week’s steep Rs. 7.54 a litre hike in petrol price, the government on Monday said it is not considering raising rates of diesel, domestic gas (LPG) and kerosene for the moment. “We are not considering hike prices of diesel, domestic LPG and After protests against the rise in petrol prices, the kerosene. It is out of ques- Government is reluctant to raise other fuel rates. tion right now,” oil minister S Jaipal Reddy told reporters after The government is believed to a meeting called by finance min- be buying time to let flared temister Pranab Mukherjee to discuss pers cool before calling the meetthe impact of fuel price hike on ing of the EGoM where the Coninflation. gress party’s ruling allies TMC Reddy said no dates have yet and DMK are also represented. been fixed for convening a meet- Both TMC and DMK have held ing of a ministerial panel to decide street protests against the hike in on revising rates of diesel, LPG petrol price. and kerosene. The minister had last week stated The Empowered Group of Min- that he was urging Mukherjee to isters (EGoM) on fuel prices, convene meeting of EGoM soon. headed by Mukherjee, hasn’t met Reddy said he was not considersince June last year even though ing dual pricing of diesel -- subsidepreciation in the rupee and rise dised price for trucks and another in international oil prices have rate for high-end luxury cars and raised the cost of imports. power gensets, as it was not practi“It was only a meeting of the cal to implement. inter-ministerial group to look at Also, his proposal for levying the question of inflation. I was a one-time duty of Rs. 80,000 on requested to come and offer my diesel cars was under considerinsights before they finalise their ation of the Finance Ministry. group recommendations,” Reddy Reddy had stated last year, “The said. logic in favour of increase in price “I focused on the price of diesel of diesel is unassailable but poliand its impact on inflation as a tics and logic don’t go together. whole,” he said without elaborat“What is desirable is known. ing. “No date has been fixed for Politics is the art of making desirEGoM on diesel price deregula- able (politically) acceptable.” tion.” State-owned oil companies curThe EGoM had in June 2010 rently lose Rs. 512 crore per day taken an in-principle decision on selling diesel, domestic LPG to deregulate or decontrol diesel and kerosene. Diesel is currently prices but its implementation was sold at a loss of Rs. 15.35 a litre, deferred. kerosene at Rs. 32.98 per litre loss “In my perception, the EGoM and oil firms lose Rs. 479 on sale will not meet soon... certainly not of every 14.2-kg domestic LPG this month,” an official said. cylinder.




INDIA June 01, 2012

Indian Capital Flowing to Singapore in Search of Tax Havens

SINGAPORE (Outlook): Mumbai-based businessman Nalin Patel’s wife works for a financial services firm in Singapore, so he travels there regularly. On his last trip, he couldn’t help notice that the flight was chock-a-block with banking ‘suits’. In Singapore, the general chatter around the drawing room was about Indian friends looking at making investments or buying real estate in the city state. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a more investment-oriented chat over drinks at home before,” says Patel. “It almost sounded like an exaggerated exodus and I know for a fact that’s not true. But clearly there’s a lot of noise and movement.” Singapore has always been a financial and business hub, globally. But for rich and powerful Indians, it is today the investment destination of choice. Increasingly, private bankers, wealth managers, lawyers and chartered accountants dealing with the monies of high net worth individuals, or HNIS, (and companies) are advising clients on banking or investing in the lion city. And do note that it’s not just the advantages of a low-tax regime—along with a favourable regulatory environment and infrastructure to manage investments— that are drawing wealthy individuals to this hub. Strong banking secrecy laws are the perfect foil to help the country

on the way to replacing Switzerland as a tax haven. This has not escaped the notice of India’s black money crusaders, much in demand at the moment. K.V.M. Pai, former chief commissioner of income tax, who filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against black money parked in tax havens, says, “Singapore has already been a tax haven for the last few years. It is now trying to become a bigger tax haven though its economy does not depend on parallel economy unlike some of the other tax havens.” Similarly, Arun Kumar, professor of economics at jnu, and a key authority on black money in India, admits that increasingly he’s hearing about the emergence of Singapore as a hub for illegal funds. Some of this talk is, of course, fuelled by the fact that Singapore houses some of the wealthiest people in the world, many of whom flocked there after the global financial crisis struck in 2008-09. It

has a reasonable tax rate for both corporate and individuals (a maximum of 17 per cent). Indian companies, especially those wanting to invest globally, are choosing to set up a base in Singapore. Residents are also not taxed on income earned overseas and any gains generated from investments made in Singapore are exempt from tax. Singapore has come to forefront of the black money debate in India based on the dealings in the 2G scam; and the pressure on Switzerland and Mauritius as tax havens and routes for directing money to other parts of the world through accounts or shell companies. Says Dr Nagesh Kumar, chief economist, United Nations Economic


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and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, “If you have a treaty with a country having a relatively lower rate of tax, that gives business the option to declare the profit in the country with lower tax. It’s why some businesses are transferring funds or declaring their

profits there.” “It has complete economic freedom, corruption is minimal, it’s easy to start and do business there because the laws are clear, the jurisdiction is clean,” avers Nishith Desai, head of international tax law firm Nishith Desai Associates. As per Transparency International, Singapore is the fourth “least corrupt” country among 183. India ranks 95 on that list. Ironically, though, in a recent comment at an Interpol global programme on anti-corruption and asset recovery, CBI director A.P. Singh said, “Fifty-three per cent of the countries said to be the least corrupt by the Transparency In-

ternational index are offshore tax havens, where most of the corrupt money goes.” Singapore allows depositors to open accounts in the form of trusts, corporations or even limited liability partnerships. Indians have started taking “full advantage” of the remittance limit allowed by the Reserve Bank of India to the extent of $2,00,000 per person per year. “Savvy investors want the benefits of parking their wealth in different geographies in order to diversify the risks. Singapore also allows the opportunity to invest in innovatively structured products,” says Rahul Johri, head, consumer banking, DBS Bank India. DBS offers its private banking customers the facility to open accounts in Singapore while they are sitting in India. It’s interesting to note that even though the growing importance of Singapore is acknowledged, the taint of being a tax haven and the associations of black money have so far not marred its reputation as a business and financial centre. The noose on tax havens is tightening and the demand for more transparent exchange of information between countries to avoid illegal funds is becoming a reality. Given India and Singapore’s strong political relationship, there’s no hurdle on securing information. That is, if the Indian government really chooses to push the issue.


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Sibal Sets New Test Format for IITs and NITs NEW DELHI: From 2013, aspiring candidates for IITs and other central institutes like NITs and IIITs will have to sit under new a format of entrance test which will also take plus two board results into consideration. The announcement was made today by HRD minister Kapil Sibal after chairing a meeting of the joint councils of IITs, NITs and IIITs. Emphasising that there was no “dissent” among the councils about the move, he acknowledged there “was a lot of resistance during the consultation process from the IIT system”. IIT senates especially the faculty federation had been opposing the new format. But Sibal said the selection of the candidates for the IITs and other central institutes would be different even as all the aspirants will have to go through all the steps under new format. This system will replace the IIT-JEE and AIEEE. Students will sit for a main test and an advance test conducted on the same day. For admission to all the centrally funded institutes, there would be 40 percentage weightage for performance in class XII (after normalisation of marks), 30 per cent weightage to performance in main and 30 per cent in the advanced test. In case of IITs, there would be a filtering process involved. The board results and the main test will be given 50 per cent weightage each. Only the top 50,000 students will be selected for the advance test after taking into account their performance in the board results and the main result. “The merit only in advanced examination will be considered for admission” to the IITs, Sibal said. At the same time, he added, the IIT

Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal wants a 430% weightage for a main test, 30% to an advance test and 40% for perforance in the Class XII test.

council has agreed to move to the other system by 2015. Explaining the selection of candidates under the new format for the IITs, one of the IIT directors said results of advance test of only those students who have crossed the “barrier” of the 50 per cent weightage to board marks and mains will be counted while preparing the merit list. Even as the process of selection to the IITs would be different then other institutes, he said the counselling to IITs and other institutes will be done jointly and allotment of seats will be done together. “I as a student will get a rank in IIT and also get a rank for NIT and IIIT. I will give my choice in both and depending on which is my first choice in either, I will get a seat,” he explained. While the main test shall be multiple type paper, he nature and modalities

of the advanced shall be determined by the joint admission board (JAB) of the IITs. Sibal made it clear that JAB of the IIT system would have complete control on matters such as paper setting, evaluation and preparation of merit list over the advanced test while CBSE will provide administrative support for conduct of the examination. For conduct of the main examination, an expanded joint admission board will be constituted including the NIT, other centrally funded institutes and state government representatives. Noting that state boards would have the flexibility to adopt the new format the determine their own relative weightages, the minister said Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana have evinced interest adopting the new format.

Bihar Super 30 Cracks the IIT Entrance Exam PATNA: In another big score, 27 of the 30 students from Bihar’s Super 30, a free coaching centre for underprivileged students, have cracked the highly competitive Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) this year, its director said on Friday. “It is again good news that this year, 27 out of the 30 students made it to the IIT-JEE... it has underlined how with proper opportunity, students from poor families can also reach the prestigious IIT,” Super 30’s founder-

director Anand Kumar told IANS. The successful candidates include the wards of a truck mechanic, a farmer, a daily-wage labourer and vendors. “All of them have managed to successfully chase their IIT-JEE dreams at Super 30 with their commitment and hard work,” he said. Last year, 24 students of the institute had cleared the IIT-JEE. Super 30, which helps economically backward students crack the IIT-JEE, was selected by Time magazine in the list of The Best of Asia 2010. Students from poor families have to

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pass a competitive test to get into Super 30 and then commit themselves to a year of 16 hours a day study routine. Coaching, food and accommodation are free for the students. Anand Kumar said the institute is supported by income generated from his Ramanujam School of Mathematics, which has students who can afford to pay fees. In 2003, the first year of the institute, 18 students made it to IITs. In 2008, for the first time, all 30 students of the centre cracked the exam, a feat which was repeated in 2009 and 2010.


Nepal Plunges into Turmoil KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal sank into political turmoil Monday after lawmakers failed to agree on a new constitution, leaving the country with no legal government. The premier called new elections, but critics said he lacked the power to do so. Security forces went on high alert and riot police patrolled the streets after several political parties called for rallies to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and protest his unilateral decision to call elections for November. Only a few peaceful protests were reported. “The country has plunged into a serious crisis,” said Ram Sharan Mahat, a senior leader of the country’s second-largest party, the Nepali Congress, who said that six months would not be enough time to prepare for new polling. “This government has no legitimate grounds to continue,” he said. The squabbling political parties in Nepal’s Constituent Assembly had failed to agree on a new blueprint for the Himalayan nation by their own deadline of midnight Sunday, despite repeated extensions of the due date over the past four years. A key sticking point was whether the country’s states should be drawn to give regional power bases to ethnic minorities. Writing the new constitution was supposed to cap an interim period aimed at solidifying details of Nepal’s democracy after the country turned the page on centuries of royal rule and resolved a decade-long Maoist insurgency by bringing the former combatants into the political mainstream. Bhattarai, from the party of the former Maoists, said the previous constitutional assembly, elected four years ago, had failed and must be dissolved, and that he would head a caretaker government until the Nov. 22 elections. “We have no other option but to go back to the people and elect a new

Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has described the government’s decision to hold fresh election of the Constituent Assembly as “constitutional and democratic step taken out of compulsion, which is in line with the Supreme Court’s verdict”.

assembly to write the constitution,” Bhattarai said in his announcement. However, his plan immediately drew criticism from legal experts, who said any plans for new polling should be made in consultation with the country’s other political parties. “It was politically, legally and morally incorrect of the prime minister to announce fresh elections,” said constitutional and legal expert Bhimarjun Acharya. Police spokesman Binod Singh said thousands of police officers had been deployed in the capital, Katmandu, and major cities across the country to stop any violence in the coming days. At a rally Monday in Katmandu, small groups of college students burnt effigies of Bhattarai and demanded his resignation. The Constituent Assembly was elected to a two-year term in 2008 to draft a new constitution but has been unable to finish the task. Its tenure has been extended four times, but the Supreme Court rejected any further extensions.

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June 01, 2012

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able. DRESDEN (Daily ‘I just asked myself, Mail): A 16-year-old ‘Why not?’,’ explained has managed to crack Shouryya. puzzles which have ‘I think it was just baffled the world of schoolboy naivety. I maths for more than didn’t believe there 350 years. couldn’t be a solution,’ Shouryya Ray has he added. been hailed a genius Modest Shouryya beafter working out the gan solving complicated problems set by Sir equations as a six year Isaac Newton. old but says he’s no geThe schoolboy, nius. from Dresden, Ger‘There are other things many, solved two at school I wish I was fundamental particle better at - football for dynamics theories one,’ he said. which physicists For years Shouryya has have previously been enjoyed what he calls ‘inable to calculate only trinsic beauty’ of maths. by using powerful When he was young, computers.Boy wonhis father, an engineer, der: Shouryya Ray began testing his brain has been hailed a by setting him arithmetic genius after working out the problems set Math whiz Shourvya Ray has solved mathematical problems. by Sir Isaac Newton puzzles posed by Isaac Newton and have beffled After arriving from Calcutta four years ago Boy wonder: experts for 350 years. without knowing any Shouryya Ray has German, Shouryya is cians for more than 350 years been hailed a genius His solutions mean that scien- now fluent in the language. after working out the problems set His intelligence was quickly tists can now calculate the flight by Sir Isaac Newton Schoolboy ‘genius’ solves puz- path of a thrown ball and then pre- noted in class and he was pushed zles posed by Sir Isaac Newton dict how it will hit and bounce off up two years in school - he is currently sitting his exams early. that have baffled mathematicians a wall. Modestly Shouryya has pointed Shouryya only came across the for 350 years Brainy: Shouryya Ray cracked problems during a school trip to out he has weak points as a mathpuzzles set by Sir Isaac Newton Dresden University where profes- ematician, and says he is not as which have baffled mathemati- sors claimed they were uncrack- competent in sport.


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June 01, 2012

Brother Seeks New Trial for CIA Accomplice

PESHAWAR (VOA): The brother of a Pakistani doctor jailed for helping the United States track down Osama bin Laden says he is innocent and should be granted a new trial. Jamil Afridi told reporters in Peshawar Monday his brother did not get a fair trial and will appeal the verdict. He said Shakil has been made a “scapegoat” by Pakistani politicians and called on Pakistan’s chief justice to facilitate the appeals process. In an interview with VOA’s Deewa Radio Monday, Jamil Afridi expressed concern about his brother’s detention and said Shakil should be given protection inside prison. He also said he should be given the opportunity to meet with his brother. A tribal court in northwest Pakistan convicted Shakil Afridi of treason. He was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign to help the CIA obtain DNA samples of the al-Qaida leader and members of his family to confirm bin Laden’s presence at a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. In his first comments on Afridi’s conviction, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called the doctor’s action a “serious offense” and “wrong” but said he had the right to a fair trial. In an interview with Pakistani Geo TV Monday, Gilani said Afridi’s “deed is a serious offense” but that he should have access to the judicial pro-

Dr. Shakeel Afridi has been jailed to aiding the U.S. in tracking down Osama bin Laden.

cess. The United States has criticized Shakil Afridi’s conviction and sentencing as “unjust and unwarranted” and called for his release. Pakistan has rejected the criticism, saying the U.S. should respect its judicial system. The verdict comes amid already tense relations between the United States and Pakistan. Islamabad has not yet reopened a NATO supply route to Afghanistan that was shut down after U.S. airstrikes mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops last November. Pakistan’s parliament has demanded an apology for the crossborder attack and an end to U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani soil.

But the U.S. has shown no sign of stopping the drone attacks, which have picked up pace since last week. In the latest attacks Monday, two separate airstrikes near North Waziristan’s main town of Miran Shah killed at least nine militants. At least five militants were killed in the first attack on a compound in the town of Hassokhel, while the second attack targeting a militant vehicle in Mir Ali killed four militants. In other violence Monday, gunmen opened fire on a passenger van carrying Shi’ite Muslims in the Lower Kurram tribal agency, killing three people and wounding six others. The area has seen sectarian violence between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shi’ites. And police in the northern district of Kohistan are investigating reports that a local cleric has issued decrees sentencing two men and four women to death for dancing together at a wedding. Local official Khalid Umarzai told VOA’s Deewa Radio that video of the dancing, which was taken on a cell phone, seems to be manipulated and that eight people have been detained for leaking it. He said officers have been dispatched to the area to provide security for the four women, who have been confined to their homes since the decree was issued. The men shown in the video reportedly ran away.

India, Pak Agree to Liberalize Visa Regime ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India agreed on Friday to introduce a liberalised visa regime, but put off the signing of the document to an unspecified date. The progress towards much-anticipated easing of visa restrictions at the end of a two-day meeting of interior secretaries of the two countries was accompanied by an incremental, but significant, advance on counter-terrorism cooperation and a consensus that terrorism continued to pose threat to the peace process. “Both sides welcomed the finalisation of the visa agreement and agreed to sign it at an early date. The Pakistan side said some internal approvals were under process and the agreement will be signed once they are in place,” a joint statement said. The two countries, which have witnessed a remarkable turnaround in bilateral ties over the past year, were expected to ink the much-anticipated agreement on visa.However, it had to be delayed on two counts. First, the Pakistani side had yet to get the proposed agreement approved by the federal cabinet, and secondly, Interior Minister Rehman Malik insisted the pact be signed by the political leadership, instead of bureaucrats.

The much-talked about relaxed visa regime is anything but revolutionary. It appears aimed at promoting bilateral trade than peopleto-people contacts. Businessmen, once the agreement is concluded, may get oneyear multiple entry visas, which would allow them to visit five cities in each other’s country instead of the previous three. Beyond the visa regime, the joint statement carried a number of significant steps towards rebuilding confidence between the two countries. The agreement on enhanced cooperation between premier investigative agencies of India and Pakistan, NIA and FIA, and reiteration of commitment to fight terrorism may have been a regular feature of such statements, but proposals like setting up a hotline between the interior secretaries and agreement on initiating negotiations on a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) denoted progress. It was particularly interesting to note that both countries agreed to expeditious execution of pending red notices. The Indian list of 50 fugitives includes Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. The Pakistani

list is not known. India’s CBI and FIA would now meet to discuss the issue of red notices, in addition to deliberating on human trafficking, counterfeit currency and cyber crimes. Similarly, an exchange of updates on investigation into the Mumbai attacks and Samjhauta Express bombing may look a formality for such an interaction, but Pakistan’s willingness to receive an Indian judicial commission, which it had hitherto resisted, was yet another sign of forward movement. The two sides also took up the issue of inadvertent crossings by fishermen. The Indian Coast Guards and the Pakistan Maritime Agency will meet next month to see how to handle the inadvertent crossings. The two countries, which have witnessed a remarkable turnaround in bilateral ties over the past year, were expected to ink the much-anticipated agreement on visa.However, it had to be delayed on two counts. First, the Pakistani side had yet to get the proposed agreement approved by the federal cabinet, and secondly, Interior Minister Rehman Malik insisted the pact be signed by the political leadership, instead of bureaucrats.


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June 01, 2012

Konkan Railway: The Iron Line between the Cliff and the Coast

MUMBAI (Live Mint): For all Mumbaikars who keep hopping on trains to Goa, it’s probably hard not to take this service for granted. It’s not their fault—they didn’t have to struggle for decades with the unappealing routes between Mumbai and Goa. For those of us with family split between the two places, travel was utterly exhausting. There were nausea-inducing buses, but also a short-lived catamaran service by Damania Shipping, and a really roundabout railway route, which took almost a day to traverse. The weak-stomached had to take expensive flights. That changed in 1998, when the Konkan Railway launched services. A project stuck in red tape from the 1960s was completed in a short time after the incorporation of the Konkan Railway Corp. Ltd in 1990. A railway line already existed between Mumbai and Roha in Maharashtra—the challenge was to extend this up to Mangalore, which was no easy task. The railway line was to meander between the Western Ghats and the coast, possibly the most challenging railway project independent India had seen. E. Sreedharan, chairman and managing director of the Konkan Railway Corporation, who, a friend claims, has demolished mountains by sheer force of willpower, headed the project. The completion of the railway was a proud family moment as well— my uncle, Shivanand V. Salelkar,

the lush greenery that the was one of the chief enengineers worked so hard gineers. to preserve. So now, you have After boarding the Manwonderful options to dovi Express and enjoyget to Goa—the Jan ing the bread-omelettes, Shatabdi or the Manmy first stop would be dovi Express. The usual Mangaon to enjoy the favourite is the Konkan beaches at Dakshin Kashi Kanya—you can go to (Harihareshwar). The next work, come home, eat morning, board the train dinner, pack and wander again and after a snack, try on to Dadar station for and score some transporits 11.20pm departure. tation to Mahabaleshwar A good night’s sleep from Khed, especially if it later, you’re at Karmali is strawberry season. station, maybe an hour or two late, but it’s Goa, The Konkan Railway, plying from Mumbai ro Goa, Those interested in architecture and history may right? On the way back has completed ten years of service. make a trip to Suvarnato Mumbai, catch the to the egg one. durg, or Harnai Fort—Shivaji’s train at Thivim at 7pm and you’re As you stuff yourself, the rounds fort-in-the-sea. If I wasn’t feeling in Thane at 5am. begin—of cold creamy matka up to the long, winding road, I’d What about dinner, you ask? On dahi, fruit salad and hot, syrupy stay in the train for lunch and get the train, you are seduced by the gulab jamuns. When you’re done down at Chiplun instead, which is smell of deep-fried treats in the air. spreading your bedding and rest- about an hour from Guhagar’s virThe Konkan Kanya and the Maning your weary bloated belly, a gin beaches. dovi Express are filled with culisoft voice will ask if you want a History buffs can visit the artisnary delights, thanks to the innoglass of masala milk, and your tically done Shivaji memorial at vations of Ahuja & Care Catering, hand is already looking for Rs. 12 Dervan on their way back to the a relatively unknown company. in change. station. If you’re into the weird, Samosas and vadas are passé—on Every time I travel, I try to think Marleshwar, about an hour from this train, you can fill up on cheese beyond Goa, and imagine what the the next major station, Sangameshchilli toast, and spring rolls, all gorgeous coastline has to offer me. war, is home to the temple of freshly made in a pantry car. My ideal vacation is to start from snakes that apparently don’t bite Many snacks later, dinner arMumbai and hop off every major devotees, and a beautiful waterfall rives. Do not miss the well-cooked station on the route, alternating be- as well. chicken curry (but don’t try the rotween the Konkan Kanya and the I’d rather go on to Ratnagiri, tis). For biryani fiends, the chicken Mandovi Express wherever con- spend a day on the Ganpatipule is tender, the rice is plump, longvenient. Don’t be silly and book beach, and board the Konkan Kangrained and full of whole spices. AC berths for this journey—the ya early the next day. By about The vegetarian one is no disaptinted windows do no justice to 8am, I’m in Kudal, enjoying the pointment either, and I’m partial


great seafood and coastline (and mangoes, depending on the season) at Vengurla and Tarkarli. After crossing the MaharashtraGoa border, you could stick on the train and explore Goa, or you could venture into more anonymity by changing to the Verna-Mangalore Passenger after a clean-up and lunch at Madgaon (don’t miss the Mario Miranda-designed murals at the station) and disembark in coastal Karnataka. Karwar is a short distance from Devbagh, a beautiful island resort where you can even go snorkelling. At Gokarna, the autorickshaw drivers will single you out for a one-way trip to the famed stuck-in-the-1970s Om Beach. If you want to really get away from it all, Kundapura facilitates a lovely time at Maravanthe—arguably Karnataka’s most beautiful beach. Murudeshwar is home to the world’s second tallest Shiva statue, and some beautiful beach resorts as well. Scuba-diving off Netrani island, 12 miles (around 19km) off the coast of the town, is its best-kept secret. On the rest of your way to Mangalore, you can detour through Honnavar for the Jog Falls experience, find out exactly why Bhatkal is called “mini Dubai”, and indulge your inner foodie where it all began— in Udupi, where you reach in time for dinner. Don’t think. Just board.


June 01, 2012


IPL 5 Exciting Finish Makes Up for Mediocre IPL 4

India Beats Malaysia to Stay in Azlan Cup

The IPL’s audience in India CHENNAI (ESPNCricwas given a great gift in some info): On a steamy Chennai very tawdry packaging. night, IPL 5 had a finish that The IPL’s defence has alit could not have dreamed of ways been its money talk. So, or prayed for, with all the good if it is ready to buy into one set bits of an entire season coming of figures, it is only fair that together in symbolic representhose figures hold over time. tation. Brand Finance India, whose Major finals tend to be flat UK arm had valued the IPL and forgettable because the at $4.13 billion in 2010, has occasion ends up too big, the now said the league is now teams too tense. The 2010 worth $2.92 billion. World Cup football final will Whatever the numbers may be remembered for a boot in be, the consulting firm’s conthe ribs, the 2011 World Cup clusions tell another story: rugby final was a dour, dewhen judged on cricketing fensive struggle that the All excellence, corporate govBlacks endured. The World ernance, and marketing and Cup cricket final a year ago commercial strategies, it was ended splendidly for India but the second element that was left its audience so emotionconsidered the league’s weakally exhausted that IPL 4 was played to vast tracts of empty KKR owner Shah Rukh Khan celebrates the IPL 5 victory over the Chennai Super est link. Kings with his team members. On Sunday, Anil Kumble stands and dipping TV ratings. The IPL has been given the was heard saying on television that Not including the final, there were After 2012, however, the IPL 18 last-over victories to batting healthiest signs of relevance and, the credibility of the IPL would lives again, breathes again and teams, seven chases ending on the with it, profitability by the crick- rest on “more discussion about makes some good news again. On last ball - all, it must be said, in the eter and his fan. Now there is an off-field issues”. In his mind, Sunday, there was a full stadium batting side’s favour. opportunity for payback, for In- young domestic cricketers needed at Chepauk for the first time since The IPL’s popularity in the global dian cricket to give to its specta- tending in how to cope with two the World Cup, a new champion, cricket village, due to its enormous tors what has been owed to them months in the blinding spotlight. a successful chase of 191, nine financial rewards for two months’ for decades: gratitude and appre- Given that the IPL’s sporting quoneeded off the last over, play- work, is well known. Its cricketing ciation at their presence, and the tient is expected to be authentic, ers sweating buckets, spectators advantages are much advertised. chance to make a trip to a high- the tamasha could become par for sweating anxiety. Yet what underscored the league’s profile match in India worth the the course. Of the entire set of scandals that If anything has rescued the IPL sustainability after a dry run in trouble. from its turkey of a 2011, and lift- 2011 was the crowds who turned Every game had commentary erupted in the space of a week, the ed it, regardless of a frequency of up at every venue. Every franchise in English but the pre-game show sting operation that was centred allied scandals, it is its cricket and can now have ticket sales as a lapsed frequently into Hindi - a around spot-fixing and black-monits crowds. genuine source of income beyond new push that is believed to be ey transactions required the most Over seven weeks, the IPL’s the BCCI’s media rights handouts the result of a massive survey attention; the rest - SRK v MCA, presence spread through its au- - which will begin to shrink in size conducted by Set Max, but most Pomersbach and the rave party dience like the heat of a genuine as the league gets older - and shirt of it, it appears, in the part of In- raid - were reflective of a culture Indian summer. An annual league sponsorships. dia called “the Hindi heartland”, of high-earning, high-spending cethat takes far longer than the footThe idea of an evening’s enter- which speaks the language of the lebrity entitlement now commonly ball, cricket and rugby world cups tainment through cricket - eight soaps televised on Sony. Yet of found in Indian public life. In its fifth season, the IPL is a actually produced memories that matches over two months in a city the nine franchises, six come from may just survive the season. Dale near you - was bought into by a outside that Hindi-speaking belt. creature of multiple personalities: to start with, the Indian board’s Steyn bowling pure poison in four- very wide Indian demographic. Go figure. over bursts, the pure bafflement A media industry executive finds In the league’s fifth season, this own definition of it as a “BCCI caused by Sunil Narine, Ajinkya the IPL “more inclusive than go- strategy ends up preaching to the sub-committee”. Which to the Rajane’s clean strokeplay and ing to a Test match”. The league, converted: India loves Twenty20, public eye is actually a cricket Chris Gayle’s fiercest statements she says, is Indian cricket’s “baby breakaway leagues have flourished event. Which to its lucrative meof independence - this even before pool” and its “shallow end” where at state level blessed or cursed by dia vehicles means a summer enBisla and Kallis snatched the tro- “you can paddle around and be regional cricket associations, the tertainment show on TV. In 2012, the cricket event showed phy eastwards. happy”. The sight of casually audiences loves the party, can genThere was enough of the Twen- dressed stars, with Nita Ambani erate its own noise and will waves itself off in the glittering lights. ty20 format’s madness in there “sitting in the stadium with the any flag given free. Ramping it up The other two need some personal too. Even before the final week, as guy who has bought the cheapest with stand-up comedy, film and reinvention - much like the Kolkmany as 22 - or 30% - of the total ticket … that has something that TV promos, and cake-consuming ata Knight Riders required before they eventually won the IPL. 72 matches ended in the last over. connects with India”. crassness is overdoing it.

IPOH (Malaysia): Five-time champions India defeated hosts Malaysia 3-2 to put their campaign back on track in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Monday. Bouncing back from Sunday’s loss to Great Britain, India played a brisk game in a fast-paced encounter and led from the start, but had to ward off Malaysia’s determined fightback. But the highlight of the day was title favourites Great Britain’s 2-3 shocking defeat at the hands of Argentina which completely opened up the tournament. New Zealand still leads the standings with nine points from three successive wins, while both Argentina and India lie second with six points from four matches each. Against Malaysia on Monday, India’s defence faced some anxious moments early on as goalkeeper Bharat Chetri first came out to block a shot from Tengku Ahmad in the second minute and then blocked a penalty corner shot by Shahrun Nabil in the sixth minute. Two minutes later, young Malaysian striker Faisal Saari missed a sitter by flicking wide of an open goal after his initial push rebounded off the Indian custodian’s pads. After the initial burst, Malaysia were at the receiving end as India produced two goals in the space of two minutes to take charge of the game. Danish Mujtaba deflected in Sarvanjit Singh’s shot into the boards in the 10th minute and then Shivendra Singh sent a scorching grounder into the boards from top of the circle in the next minute. Shivendra’s quick reflexes helped keep up the pressure after he had failed to stop the penalty corner push, but dribbled the ball back into the scoring area to take the shot. This was Malaysia’s first loss in three outings, having drawn their previous two matches. Among other teams, South Korea’s 4-0 win over Pakistan earlier in the day boosted their points tally to four from as many matches. Great Britain have four points from three games, while Pakistan have three points from one victory and two losses. India will play Argentina in their next game on Wednesday.




June 01, 2012

The Ghost Who Talked: Story of India’s First Talkie, Alam Ara

MUMBAI (Outlook): Indian cinema, having found its voice in silent reels, was still enjoying its burgeoning, hypnotic pull, when sound turned it on its head in the year 1931; in a stroke, its euphoric silence was relegated to a past age. The man who initiated the revolution was an enterprising 46-yearold Parsi by the name of Ardeshir Marwan Irani (1886-1969), who, it seemed, breathed films for a living! The night he saw Universal Picture’s Show Boat (a 40% talkie) at Bombay’s Excelsior Cinema sometime in 1930, he had resolved to bring into being India’s own ‘talking-singing’ film, though, as he admitted later, he had no clue how! The phenomenal commercial success of Dadasaheb Phalke’s Krishna Janam and Kaliya Mardan at his theatres inspired Irani to enter film production. He set up a production company (Star Films Limited) in 1920 in collaboration with Bhogilal Dave, a graduate from the New York School of Photography, who had earlier managed Dadasaheb Phalke’s Hindustan Film Company in Nasik. Before parting ways, Irani and Dave made 17 films together under the Star Films banner, most of them blockbusters directed by Irani and photographed by Dave. Irani went on to set up Majestic Films in 1925, followed by the Imperial Film Company in 1926.

Film-maker Ardeshir Irani (left). Master Vithal, Zubaida in Alam Ara Five years later, Alam Ara was produced under the Imperial banner. The film had six more hit songs, most of them sung by Zubaida. Nevertheless, there was no mention of a music director in the original credits of Alam Ara. Irani justified it in an interview. He said Alam Ara had no fullfledged music director as such. “I chose the lyrics and the tunes myself,” he said. “I had only two musicians—a tabla player and a harmonium player, who were kept out of the camera’s range, and the actors sang into the hidden mikes.” This, at times, led to some awkward posturing. In later years,

however, the names of Ferozshah M. Mistri and B. Irani kept appearing as music composers. Alam Ara opened on March 14, 1931, at Bombay’s Majestic Cinema to packed houses. The first-day-first-show saw a virtual stampede outside the cinema hall, with huge crowds clamouring for tickets. The police had to be summoned to restore order for the screening to begin. Cashing in on the desperate demand, four-anna tickets were sold for Rs 5. Thus, in neat concurrence, the ‘black marketing’ of cinema tickets in India started with the very first talkie! The sound revolution took a

heavy toll on many a leading female star, most of them Anglo-Indians. Their glamorous presence, uninhibited approach to work and flair for dancing had given them an edge over local girls, but, with the advent of the talkies, their inability to speak Hindustani proved to be a crippling impediment. The worst hit was the numero uno heroine of the time, Sulochana (Ruby Mayers), who was of Jewish origin. She used to command an incredible (for those days) salary of Rs 5,000 a month with all the perks of stardom, including a swanky Chevrolet. Her popularity was such that to ensure a good draw


for a short film being screened on Mahatma Gandhi inaugurating a khadi exhibition, they screened a smash-hit dance number of Sulochana’s from the silent film Madhuri alongside it, with sound effects. Sulochana was riding the crest of glory with a series of back-toback blockbusters when the talkies threw her career on the skids. However, unlike most contemporaries, she didn’t give up. Instead, she took a year’s sabbatical to learn Hindustani and staged a dramatic comeback with ‘talking’ remakes of silent hits like Anarkali, Bombay Ki Billi and Indira BA (renamed Indira MA). They were so successful that Sulochana was soon back on her lofty perch. But Sulochana was an exception. Most of her rivals called it quits, paving the way for a new breed of heroines who could ‘talk, sing and dance’, like Jahanara Kajjan. Besides the first talkie, Ardeshir Irani has two other significant milestones against his name: he made the first ever Indian color film (Kisan Kanya) in 1937 and the first ever Farsi talkie, Dukhtari-Lor. The latter was said to have created quite a sensation in the Iranian press as a Muslim girl had been cast in a film for the first time in the history of Iranian cinema. That film too was an instant boxoffice success.

June 01, 2012

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