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Friday, June 3 2011 | Vol. 30, No. 22 Published weekly from Houston, TX

www.indoamerican-news.com

Partnered & Syndicated with Times of India, Sulekha.com, Google, Yahoo & Bing

Houston’s Indo American community is joining Baba Ramdev’s Bhrashtachar Mitao Satyagraha and will fast on June 4 and 5 in solidarity with his worldwide movement against corruption.

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in celebration of the Lofty Ideals, Art and Poetry of tagore HOUSTON: This year marks the 150th birthday of Rabindranath Tagore, the man who gave not the words and music to the National Anthems of India ((Jana Gana Mana) and Bangladesh ((Amar Shonar Bangla) and received enduring worldwide recognition for his prowess as a poet by winning the Nobel Prize for Litterature in 1913 after his collection of 103 poems were widely translated as Gitanjali and became famous in the West, and became the world’s first Asian Nobel laureate. In celebration of the prodigious body of works that Tagore had produced over his lifetime, ever since he started writing poetry as an eight-year-old, the Tagore Society of Houston began an 18-month-long celebration, called Tagore150Fest, of the writer’s sesquicentennial birthday, which kicked off on May 7. The celebrations continued this past weekend with cultural activities on Saturday, May 28 at the HDBS Sur Auditorium including drawing, photography and creative writing followed by Songs and dances and “Mukti” a dance interpretation by Ratna Kumar, Supradipta Dutta, Uma Nagarsheth, Nantu Chowdhury and Soma Dasgupta of Tagore’s expressive dance style, by fusing Indian and Western elements. That same evening, two exponents

Tagore150 Fest, an 18-month-long celebration, of the writer’s 150th birthday, kicked off on May 7

of Tagore’s music and modern Bengali songs, Sasha Ghoshal who gave soulstirring renditions of Tagore’s songs with relevant explanations and S.I. Tutul who is famous for his modern compositions and remix old Sufi songs by Lalon Fakir and whose performance kept the audience enthralled till 1am. The following day, the second part of the cultural extravaganza was held at the Old Stafford Civic Centre with the opening act called “Prerna”, an inspirational journey in search of Tagore featuring Bollywood music and video clips interspersed with other cultural influences and directed by Keka Kar

and choreographed by Jasmeeta Singh, Sunanda Nair, Divya Unni and Arpita Mukhopadhyay. Following Prerna was a tribute called “Glimpses of Tagore”, an audiovisual cornucopia of Tagore’s genius, from melodious songs to short plays and dance dramas and powerful poems. A cast of artists made the characters come alive. The program was conceived and scripted by Ruma Acharya Deysarkar and directed by Partha Sen, with over 150 performers involved in two productions in just slightly less than 3 hours. The grand finale came later that evening with a dance recital by Pandit Chitresh Das’s Dance Company, who mesmerized the audience once again after a two year lapse

since his last visit here. The speed of his feet has not slowed down nor have the expressions of his face lost any charm. Tagore150Fest will continue with two movies at the Museum of Fine arts on June 10 (a documentary on Tagore, introduced by Houston-based writer Chitra Divakaruni) and June 17 (Charulata), both by Life-time Achievement Oscar winning director, the late Satyajit Ray. The play “The Prophet and the Poet” and a seminar on Tagore is planned for later in the coming months. Surjit Dasgupta contibuted to this story Below: Scenes from Prerna, an inspirational journey in search of Tagore featuring Bollywood music and video clips interspersed with other cultural influences.Below left: the play Chitrangada. Top: Jasmeeta Singh (left) and Keka Kar performed with their dance troupes during Prerna.

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Fast by the Furious: Houstonians Join Swami Ramdev’s Movement

HOUSTON: Hundreds of prominent activists and stalwarts of the Indo-American community will join Baba Ramdev’s Bhrashtachar Mitao Satyagraha on June 4 and 5 and fast in solidarity with the yoga guru’s movement demanding the repatriation of black money stashed abroad and the issuance of an ordinance for the means of bringing it back to India. The Indian government’s efforts to get Baba Ramdev to call off his fast seem to have fallen through. Having turned down Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s appeal, the Baba said his fast-unto-death would go on as planned. On May 31, Singh had appealed to the guru to call off his proposed fast-unto-death. “This is not a personal issue. We all agree with Ramdev that corruption is a big problem and that we are committed to tackle it with all the resources at our disposal,” Singh told reporters, promising to find “pragmatic” solution to tackle the scourge of corruption. “Our motto is not to terrify the government. Neither are we against any individual or party,” added the yoga guru, stressing that the government should announce the black money deposited abroad as ‘national property’. The government virtually rolled the red carpet for the Baba in a bid to prevent the repeat of a situation that evolved when Anna Hazareled civil society mounted a cam-

Swami Ramdev planted a sapling at the India House during his visit in 2008, the first official event at the nearly complete Phase I of the complex. Photo: Krishna Giri

paign against corruption in April. In an unprecedented move of major proportions, Singh dispatched four of his senior cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, and Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay to meet with the Baba on his arrival by chartered jet from Ujjain and to persuade him to reschedule the satyagraha until talks are held. “Over one crore people from across the nation will take part in our satyagraha  in Delhi,” Baba Ramdev said after meeting with the government emissaries in the capital. “Until and unless there is an agreement on all issues with the

government”, he would not relent, he added. To support the movement, persons of Indian origin are organizing similar events across the globe including many major cities in the USA. The Houston events will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on June 4 and 5 at the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston with a special program from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both days. Dr. Bhishma Kumar Agnihotri, former Indian Ambassador to the USA and Chairman of Bharat Swabhiman Overseas, will be the chief guest. “For more than five years, Ramdev has been visiting nook and corner of India, village to village, state to state, and educating the masses about the problems facing

India. Swamiji believes that the systems in India require change and it’s not possible unless the masses join the movement and uproot the entrenched current systems, built on corruption or inefficiency and supported by powerful vested interests. People have to wake up as a united force to save India,” remarked Dr. Agnihotri. Others taking part in Houston include Ramesh Bhutada, Jugal Malani, Ramesh Shah, Shekher Agrawal, Devinder Mahajan, Vijay Pallod, Indra Singhal, Sharad Amin, Mahesh Shah, Hari Agrawal and Chad Patel. “The issues of Black money , corruption and fast justice against corruption, the legacy of unjust laws, economic   and   education system left over from the British Raj even after 63 years of independence taken by Swamiji are of utmost importance to Bharat. Swamiji has proposed concrete steps to tackle these issues in a letter to the Prime Minister. Resolution of these issues will make India shine all over the world  and in a true sense will be even able to guide the word in the coming decades. Not only we but our children and grand children will be proud of our mother country and will be interested in imbibing the best in our culture and heritage. I just got a call yesterday from District coordinator of Bharat Swabhiman  of  my own district Buldana

(one of the backward districts of Maharashtra ) and more than 200 people are going to New Delhi to join Swamiji’s Satyagraha. Time is ripe and the whole Bharat is fired up. Hence in our self interest, and in the interest of our mother country as well as the worldwide humanity we need to join and support Swamiji in this Satyagraha here in USA,” observed Ramesh ji Bhutada, businessman, philanthropist, and trustee of Patanjali Yogpeeth (USA). “During early part of this year, I spent about 8 weeks in India and was totally shocked to see all kind of major corruption and scandals being exposed on television and discussed in newspapers. The amounts discussed in such cases of embezzlement and bribes were in the thousands of crores of rupees which were beyond my comprehension. I wondered how long any country can survive where corruption is so rampant and it seems as   if there is a competition who can grab more.  In such a dire situation somebody has to challenge the government to save our country. I am so happy to see that Swami Ram Dev ji, who has the moral authority, took this challenge” said Dev Mahajan, President of Arya Samaj of Greater Houston. Arya Samaj is located at 14375 Schiller Rd. To register for fasting, call Indra Singhal at 832-607-3977 or visit bharatswabhimanusa.org

10554 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77036

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Indian Idol for 55+: They Love to Perform! By Jawahar Malhotra HOUSTON: The secret’s out now. When the Indian Senior’s Association gets together, they love to cut up and tell jokes, hold little drama acts and above all, they love to sing! And all along we thought that they only sat around in groups to chat about their grandkids and discuss religious topics! That’s the impression you got at the Annual Salute to Seniors that the Indo American Charity Foundation held last Saturday, May 28 at India House, this time arranged by the IACF Executive Director Surender Talwar who himself has a deep love of music and songs and has been known to break into a deep voiced melody or two at the hint of a request to sing. This year, rather than have people from the community entertain the seniors, Talwar decided to turn the tables on them and have the seniors entertain everyone. Thirteen of them came forward to compete in front of four judges – Tej Ganju, Vaneeta Arora, Jamuna Maurali and Talwar - who are known for their ear for music and are themselves performers within the community. So, after a little promotional video on Pujya Deepakbhai Desai who will be holding a a Satsang and Gnanvidhi on June 14, 15 and 16 in Houston, the nearly 200 seniors, along with some of their adult children, listened and watched in amusement as the contestants came forward to the stage (some with a helping hand) to perform for the audience the song they had rehearsed in Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalee or English. As they finished, the judges asked them to sing a few lines from another genre, and they gladly obliged, some with another entire song! It was a hard choice for the judges to narrow down the three winners, but the rest of the performers were also recognized with prizes, all of which were donated by the city’s desi media: Indo American News, India Herald, Voice of Asia, Music Masala, Shoba Joshi and also trophies from the India Culture Center. Just before a buffet lunch (catered by the BAPS Swami Narayan Mandir) was served, the judges performed a solo number each, Lalit Chinoy had the audience in stitches with his jokes, and yes, Surender Talwar did sing too, with his golden voice!

Akbar Lakhani, ,

Second Place: Ruma Datta

Indo American Charity Foundation President Anu Bala

Vijay Khara,

Third Place: Davindra Gandhi

Mohan Gore, Banu Shah

First Place: Bindu Malhotra

POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo-American News, 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036

Dinesh Bhavsar

Mohini Thomas

Comedy Lalit Chinoy

Jayanti Lal Patel Drama Vibash Patel

The Winners and Contestants First Place: Bindu Malhotra Second Place: Ruma Datta Third Place: Davindra Gandhi Singers Vijay Khara, Akbar Lakhani, Dinesh Bhavsar, Banu Shah, Mohan Gore, Jayanti Lal Patel and Mohini Thomas Drama: Vibash Patel Comedy Lalit Chinoy, Shailesh Desai Indo-American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $30 per year) by Indo-American News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036, tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-789-6399, email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas.

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Comedy Shailesh Desai Left: The judges (from left) Jamuna Maurali, Tej Ganju and Vaneeta Arora announce the winners. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra Send your important documents to

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Indo American News • Friday, June 03, 2011

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Annam Indian cuisine c serving Traditional delights in cozy eatery s By Kalyani Giri HOUSTON: Fueled by confidence born of years of culinary experience, Mariadason Visuvasam (Das) had no doubt when he opened his restaurant Annam Indian Cuisine that it would be a wildly successful venture. Just a short three months later during a bustling lunchtime, eager customers hover outside the small restaurant prepared to wait for an available table. The affable man with the inimitable touch with food has brought his brand of mojo to the I10 and N. Highway 6 intersection, a crucial commuters gateway teeming with businesses and nearby residential areas. His eatery tucked cozily in a strip mall a little away from the street is just 1500 sq. feet, and seats about 60 guests comfortably. “I am now looking for a larger space in this area,” said Das with a smile. Annam, meaning food in several south Indian languages, was named for Das’ s mother Annamma; he believes the symbolic nature of the name is his talisman. A well-known chef in this city, Das lent his expertise at two major Indian restaurants here over the past two decades. Hardworking, and dedicated, Das offers an à la carte menu predominantly replete with the tantalizing food that hearken back to his native South India; he has also included several popular North Indian

Above: Annam’s chef owner Visuvasam Mariadson; his wife Auxilia, son Godwin, daughter Stefi and brother-in-law Anto Lusin Welington Below: A view of the cozy eatery Photos: Krishna Giri

items, dishes he gained skill at while working at a restaurant in Mumbai in the early ‘80s. More recently he added several mouthwatering Indo-Chinese items to the menu. Das prepares food as per the customer’s request, so there’s no buffet at Annam. The restaurant is for the most part, a family operated business. Das’s brother in law Wellington manages Annam. His wife Auxilia and their children Stefie and Godwin (both students at the University of Houston) help part time in the kitchen and in the restaurant. Das has in his employ four efficient kitchen staff and two wait-staff that help smooth out the edges during busy peak hours. The restaurant does not have a liquor license as yet; Das has applied and expects it to be issued in July. He hopes to serve beer and wine. Annam does not have a typical clientele, said Das. On any given day, when he serves any one of his three lunch specials with naan, rice and dessert, it isn’t unusual to see oilcompany executives in suits and ties seated near families with toddlers and grandmothers. The Vietnamese communities from residential pockets nearby are a constant at the restaurant and have grown to enjoy dishes like the flavorful Vada Curry, masala dosas, and the fish kolumbu that Das is an expert at. The eatery is easily accessible to Katy and

Sugarland and has garnered a fan base in both of those suburbs. Word of mouth by satisfied customers has done wonders for Annam in a short three months, confided Das. On weekends when Das makes his signature appam, fat rice pancakes with thin filigree edges served with korma and coconut milk, the place is crowded. Other weekend crowd pleasers include dum biryani, fish curry simmered in Chettinad spices, chicken malai kebab sizzler, and Das’s tender lamb and shrimp creations. Tandoori dishes are coveted at this eatery. The secret to his success as a chef is his adherence to the use of fresh ingredients and a keen balance of the bold and the subtle flavors that best authenticate a dish, said Das. Open for lunch and dinner all week and on weekends, the food is reasonably priced and parking is ample. The chef hailing from Koottapuly in Tamil Nadu has come a long way. “I have no worries. If the food is fresh and tasty and presented well, the people will come. So far, the response has been excellent. I feel very blessed,” said Das. Annam Indian Cuisine is located at 1029 N. Highway 6, Suite # 200, Houston, Tx 77079. Telephone numbers are (281) 492 1688) or (832) 350 9424. For more information visit www.annamus.com.

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Ayurvedic Therapies o offered by santhigram s

HOUSTON: Santhigram Centers offer various types of rejuvenation therapy for healthy people wanting to refresh themselves from the frictions of daily living and also provide curative therapies which help to alleviate a number of chronic ailments like Spondylitis, Slip Disc / Back Ache, Arthritis, Joint Pains, Muscle pains, Sprains, Frozen Shoulder, Obesity, Sinusitis, Migraine, Psychosomatic disorders due to stress & strain, depression, insomnia, skin diseases like Psoriasis, Eczema etc.

Uzhichil or Abhyangam

This is the ultimate therapy with constant flow of warm oil for relaxing mind and body. It is slowly and gently applied to the full body by two masseurs working in com-

Some of the Ayurvedic & Panchakarma procedures used in the therapies are: Uzhichil or Abhyangam Uzhichil or Abhyangam means “Oil Massage”. Ayurvedic Massages with herbal oils tones up the muscle, improves the blood circulation, increases the skin luster, rejuvenates and strengthens all the tissues so as to achieve ideal health and longevity. This increases primary vitality (Ojas) and resistance. It is also beneficial to the eyes and gives sound sleep. It is also is a cure for rheumatism. Abhyangam when massaged with medicated oils keeps your body fit, controls fat, reduces sagging and makes the skin younger and reduces stress. Pizhichil (Oil bath with gentle body massage)

plete harmony. This therapy makes one feel peaceful, calm and relaxed. This therapy is also useful to treat muscle spasms and other degenerative diseases that affect the muscles Shirodhara: This is amazingly relaxing therapy which Pizhichil gently releases stress and tension from the mind and body. This usually accompanies Abhyangam. A steady stream of warm, aromatic oil/ decoction using special devices flows rhythmically across the forehead calming the mind and soothing the nervous system. It induces feeling of profound peace and happiness. It is also used for treating various psychosomatic disorders, insomnia, chronic cold , sinusitis, etc.

Indo American News • Friday, June 03, 2011

Room for Rent Needed Decent Indian Lady looking for room with bath for rent. Safe community with utilities Contact: bhilak_80@yahoo.com 832-660-4721

For more information, visit www.santhigramusa.com or call 281-969-8062

Shirodhara

Hindu Family camp at radha madhav dham, Austin Friday, July 1- Monday, July 4

This upcoming camp is an opportunity for you and your family to spend quality time together at our beautiful ashram over the Fourth of July weekend. Some highlights include: concurrent classes for all ages, campfire, seva projects, yoga, dholak lessons and hikes. Classes with our sanyasi teachers offer everyone to receive a firm faith and pride in being a Hindu living in America. Not only will your kids have fun, they will spend time with others their age learning invaluable spiritual teachings. • Enrich your children’s lives in a fun and meaningful way • Deepen your devotional feelings through satsang and kirtan • Enjoy classes by Sanyasi teachers of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj For more information visit www.hindufamilycamp.com or call Braj Rani at 512-288-7180 ext. 323 or Mary ext. 333 “Barsana Dham family camp gives you the essence of what life should be like. Through various religious and recreational activities, we all bond together because of the great fun, forming a huge family, full of immense love for one another.” Ilu, Houston, TX, age 14 Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, Ay, JUne 03, 2011 • Online editiO A ditiO ditiO On: n: www.indOamerican-news.cOm

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community ommunity Leaders speak speak o out on Indian Visa Issues, media Barred

HOUSTON: A meeting organized by GOPIO and held on Tuesday, May 24 at India House allowed about 50 community leaders to express their dissatisfaction over the current visa problems to B.K. Gupta, Secretary from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for Consular and Ajay Chaudhary, Asst. Secretary, MEA in New Delhi. Both men were in the US on a fact-finding mission.The Indian Consul General of India Sanjeev Arora and other senior officers from the Houston office also attended. The local media was not invited to the meeting. The community leaders showed a Video clip of the fast held on April 30 at the VPSS (see IAN dated May 6, 2011) and explained the general opinion of the public. They also showed a slide presentation regarding the issuance of Surrender Certificates; unduly high fees collected and lack of refunds; the requirements for submitting US passport for long periods when applying for an OCI card and explained their grievances. About 21 community leaders related their experiences in dealing with the Houston consulate and their unhappiness with the service provided. They gave an ultimatum of July 15 to solve these issues or a nationwide fast in protest will be held again in August. Consul General Arora’s explanations were similar to those previously offered, namely that the Consulate was over worked, the demand was high, and that they were following the rules of the Gov-

ernment of India. “We were clearly upset that he never admitted that there are problems,” lamented one community leader. Secretary Gupta said that approximately 12 million visas were issued worldwide in 2010. Of those who applied, 196 people were caught using their old Indian passports for reasons of land ownership but none of these cases was considered a security threat. He agreed that there were shortcomings and scope for Improvement. He said that the GOI wants the Indian Diaspora to have the OCI card and is working on the issue of depositing the US passport with the Consulate. He added that the Surrender Certificate fees have been reduced to $20 for those who became US Citizens before June 2010 but any refunds of excessive fees paid before was not possible. Asst. Secretary Chaudhary said this fact finding mission made it clear that there were many problems, but that every step had to be taken to avoid any misuse of Indian passports. According to some of the community leaders who attended the meeting, neither the Secretaries nor the Consul provided a convincing reason for imposing the Surrender Certificate Rule or the OCI requirements of depositing the US passport. The expressed a fear that these matters would be swept under the rug under the guise of a fact finding mission and that no significant improvements would be made in the near future.

c citigroup’s ceo Pandit Gets r retention Bonus

Announcement

NEW YORK: Citigroup has awarded its Indian American CEO Vikram Pandit a multimillion-dollar package to keep him at the helm for at least four more years. According to the Wall Street Journal, the step is indicative of a vote of confidence in an executive who almost was ousted at the height of the financial crisis. Pandit will receive a multiyear, ten million dollar stock grant, plus new options valued at an estimated $6.7 million and profit sharing, to encourage him to stay through 2015. P andit became CEO in December 2007, only to preside over the New York bank’s near-collapse a year later under the weight of losses he inherited. As the U.S. government rescued the bank with more than $45 billion of taxpayers’

money in 2008 and 2009, Pandit came under attack from one of its regulators, who questioned his ability to run the banking giant. Some shareholders also criticized him for an 87 percent drop in the stock price. Pandit, however, helped restore the ailing bank to profitability, shrank its balance sheet by shedding unwanted assets and repaid the federal aid in a move that yielded a profit of about 12 billion dollars for the government. In a May 18 statement, Citigroup chairman Richard Parsons said Pandit’s team “has navigated Citi through the crisis, returned Citi to profitability and is executing a strategy for sustainable growth.” - Indiawest

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c chinmaya mission Gita competiton m

By Vidya iyer HOUSTON: The Bhagavad Gita Chanting Competition on the auspicious occasion of Swami Chinmayananda’s birthday was held May 7 at Chinmaya Prabha, Houston . This annual competition aims to promote the mission of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda to spread the message of Gita to a spiritually thirsty world. This year, Chapter 9 was the focus and 138 kids from ages 3 to 18 participated in this competition. . The kids were classified into four groups based on grade level

nations from the teenagers in this group.. Somehow, as parents worry, year after year, how these schedule-driven teenagers can make time for the Gita, it is amazing that time magically appears. Then, all of a sudden instead of arguing in the car, kids are chanting the Gita! While playing, they are chanting completely unaware, and the younger siblings use the power of listening to learn more number of verses because of an elder child’s preparation. Other members in the household begin to learn as well and soon, the house is completely immersed in the study. Photo: Jayesh Mistry On the bright morning of May 7, the children, parents, teachers and judges eagerly waited for the joy of putting their learning to test. The day began with a prayer to Lord Krishna, the Giver of the Gita and Pujya Gurudev who dedicated his life to spreading that Divine message. Shortly thereafter, sweetly sacred chanting was heard all around the Chinmaya Mission halls. Every kid chanted the verses with devotion and a fresh innocence and fearless joy. Every parent in the hall that day looked proud and pleased to see their children and the largest group was the Group II kids giving their best on Gurudev’s birthday. from grades 3-5. It is notable that partici- Each judge’s job was very difficult since pation in youngest, Pre-K level doubled as it was hard to determine the winners where 12 kids between ages 3 and 5 chanted this all children excelled themselves. year. However, since it was a competition Calling for an inspired participation in where some children gave great attention this year’s Gita chanting, Acarya Gaurang to detail, the winners were identified as: Nanavaty had asked the parents to support Uma Kamath, Ayush Manoj, Yashwanth and motivate the kids to learn the chapter Arra in Group1; Bhavya Kethireddipalli, 9. He told that parent must patiently cajole, Aarushi Das, Charvi Negandhi, Avaneesh entice and guide the children to learn these Joshi from Group II; Shreyas Ganesh, Nisacred verses as this knowledge will bring dhi Wunnava, Amogh Pandey from Group great benefit in the years to come. The III; Gaurav Nayak, Sumedha Rao, Krishna children and the parents took his request Narra from Group IV. to heart and began preparing since March Every child who participated received a for this momentous occasion; many of small gift recognizing their hard work and the parents themselves were taking on the dedication. With the blessings of the Acstudy of the Gita for the first time. Week aryas of Houston, the dedicated parents, after week, kids stayed after Balavihar volunteers and teachers, the children disclasses to learn the Gita from the teachers cover the joy of the Gita every year, buildor listened to the audios to sharpen their ing a strong foundation for a great future pronunciation and learn the meanings of based on immortal ancient wisdom. This is the words and shlokas. the best birthday gift we can offer to our Group IV with children from grades 9 to Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda. 12 faced a tough challenge of explaining For more information on Chinmaya Misthe key concepts of the whole chapter, us- sion Houston and its activities visit www. ing particular verses. In spite of their de- chinmayahouston.org or Jcall ay Deshmukh manding school work and other activities, at 832-541-0059 or Bharart Sutaria at 281it was amazing to hear the beautiful expla- 933-0233

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From left: Dr. Aakash Gajjar and Dr. Ravi S. Mani at the seminar

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By ritu raJu HOUSTON: As part of its ongoing outreach to increase cancer awareness in the South Asian community, the Indian American Cancer Network presented a talk “Colon Cancer: How Screening and Early Detection Can Be a Life Saver” on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at India House. Gastroenterologist Dr. Ravi Mani and colorectal surgeon Dr. Aakash Gajjar discussed the pressing need for greater awareness of the importance of screening as the first step in the treatment of colorectal cancer; they also discussed various treatment modalities and options. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancerrelated deaths and the third most common cancer in the United States. According to statistics for 2010, cases of colorectal cancer numbered 142,570 while 51,370 people died of this form of cancer. Both Dr. Mani and Dr. Gajjar lamented the futility of these deaths since CRC can be effectively treated in the early stages. As Dr. Mani put it, “Early detection and treatment is of paramount importance.” Usually, the interval between the appearance of the first stage (adenoma) and the diagnosis of CRC is long—as many as 7-10 years—and early detection via screening enables proactive treatment. Dr. Mani stressed that a number of diagnostic measures are available for early screening of CRCs; the community needs to be informed and confident about requesting these during regular physicals. The most basic screening tool is the Digital Rectal Exam performed by family physicians during routine physical exams; an occult stool test for blood may

follow. The colonoscopy is the gold standard for CRC screening; both physicians recommended colonoscopy for people of normal health from the age of 50. In the case of patients with higher risk factors such as family history or pre-existing conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, screenings should be performed much earlier and at regular intervals. Early detection is the key to survival. Dr. Gajjar explained the various steps in the treatment of CRC after diagnosis—open or laparoscopic surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy for advanced stages—and presented a brief summary of common chemotherapeutic regimes. In addition to early and timely screening, Dr. Mani outlined a number of measures that everyone can adopt in order to enjoy good health while keeping colorectal and other cancers at bay. These actions include: • Increased activity: regular exercise is important to reduce Body Mass Index (BMI) and maintain a high level of fitness • Reduce fat intake: diets high in saturated fat are proven to increase the risk of CRC • Avoid red meat: opt for white meat instead; red meat produces more carcinogens • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables: The role of dietary fiber in colon cancer is wellknown. Fiber not only helps dilute carcinogens and controls bile acids but also may contain anticarcinogens. The importance of fiber in our daily diet cannot be emphasized enough • Reduce consumption of alcohol and stop smoking • Avoid high temperatures

Indo AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, Ay, JUne 03 , 2011 • Online editiOn: A On: www.indOamerican-news.cOm O

and direct flame while cooking to avoid overcooking, which increases the presence of carcinogens • Take a daily calcium supplement: Dr. Mani recommended a daily calcium supplement to decrease the risk of CRC (any supplement should be taken only after consulting a doctor) • Take a daily dose of baby aspirin: aspirin not only reduces the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and stroke, but also has been shown to decrease the risk of CRC (again, consult a doctor before taking any medications) In the lively question-andanswer session that followed, both doctors provided clarifications and further stressed that we should not allow patient barriers such as attitudes and inhibitions or problems with the healthcare system or clinician indifference to come in the way of proper screening. We need to be informed and proactive in requesting screenings and tests; at the same time, we need to actively educate ourselves, our families, and the community at large about the benefits of early screening and preventative lifestyle choices. IACAN’s service in this area is remarkable; they offer invaluable empowerment to the Indian American community through their educational outreach. As one of the attendees remarked, every IACAN event begins promptly at the assigned time and ends as scheduled. Events are extremely well-organized, useful, and relevant. These educational outreach events are free and open to all. IACAN hopes to reach out to greater numbers of Indian Americans and make its services available to all sections of the community.


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dr. V. GuruMurthy (Hindu) Each year, May 31 is observed as ‘World no tobacco day’. The day just comes and goes without leaving a palpable impact on the global health scenario. The killer weed tobacco continues to grow, gets cured and rolled into products. The powerful and purely profitoriented tobacco industry flourishes at the cost of human lives. More than one billion people — about one-third of the world’s population older than 15 — smoke worldwide. Most of the smokers begin smoking before the age of 21. Each day, tens of thousands of teenagers are getting initiated into smoking. The deadly poison is freely available at every nook and corner without restrictions. People enjoy and relax over tobacco, committing a chronic leisurely suicide. Health care costs and productivity loss are massive and staggering. In cigarette smoke, there are more than 4,000 toxic chemical compounds and over 40 cancercausing chemicals. Very early on, in a short span of time, nicotine in tobacco builds up a strong addiction. It is as powerful an addictive substance as cocaine or heroin is. Within seconds of lighting a cigarette, nicotine reaches the brain and has its transient salutary ef effects. When the body gets deprived of nicotine, it fights back with vigour, desperately wanting nicotine. Cravings are similar to hunger pangs — a hunger for nicotine. Over the last century, around 100

IamhEalthNEWS E EalthNEWS

Indo American News • Friday, June 03, 2011

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Let not nicotine n s seduce you Again y For a smoke-free life, you have to face a tough foe, the craving for nicotine. If you falter and slip in your great effort, do not give up. million people perished because of smoking. For this century, the projected figure is a grim one billion tobacco-related deaths. About one in every five deaths is causally

related to smoking. The so-called welfare societies have no time left for vital issues to cry over and correct this mass calamity. There is no governmental policy or political will or societal drive and urge to scuttle this scourge. These are all marginalised low profile Bhopal tragedies silently happening all the time. Smoking or use of tobacco in any form or name is the number one cause of cancer, ‘the emperor all maladies’, lung destruction and diseases of the heart and blood vessels, to list a salient few. It accounts for more than one-third of all cancer deaths. Smoking during

pregnancy is especially dangerous. If a pregnant woman smokes, the foetus too smokes and gets af affected seriously. Women smokers run the risk of infertility. Smoking contributes to impotence in men. It can also lead to blindness. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness. Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health. The long-term health benefits one gains by quitting are innumerable. Most smokers know that tobacco is bad for their health and they want to quit. More than three-fourths of the current smokers have tried to quit at least once. Quitting smoking is tough. It takes time, planning, patience, effort and energy and a strong motivation. To start with, life may feel a bit empty, without the comforts and rituals of smoking. There are very many ways and options to quit — counselling, smoking cessation programmes, nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medications. If one has a markedly strong will, quitting cold turkey without the help of other modes is possible. A well planned, ideal and customized combination of options greatly reduces the pain and discomfort of quitting that may prove intense during the initial few days or weeks. The following guidelines may sound like sermonising and seem to be harsh orders born out of scientific arrogance. But, really, they are health-literacy directed well-meaning guidelines born out of deep concern, extended to unknown and unseen ‘smoking’ friends. For a smoke-free life, you have to face a tough foe, the craving for nicotine. If you falter and slip in your great effort, do not give up. Get right back on track and fight,

to ultimately become a successful quitter. Do not let nicotine seduce you again. Avoid smoking in your home. Declare your home a smoke-free zone. Throw away your ash trays. Save yourself and your family from the toxic effects of secondhand smoke. Your family and friends can play a valuable role in your new life as a non-smoker. Encouragement from loved ones is extremely helpful. They form your biggest cheerleaders. You are taking a momentous step towards good health. Anytime is perfect

to snuff out your habit. Be serious and firm in your resolve. Stay motivated and focus all your attention on quitting, giving it the highest priority. Be busy both physically and mentally all the time. Exercise more. Indulge in outdoor activities, enjoying fresh air. Every smoke-free day is a good day. As a non-smoker, declare victory over addiction and start celebrating your new life. I often have a vivid and fond dream, imagining a world where the killer shrub is totally replaced by health-promoting vegetations.

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society

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Radio Hungama Celebrates 4th Anniversary with Year-Round Festivities Founder Sridhar Dadi lauds community for program’s success

By Kalyani Giri HOUSTON: From the time that he was old enough to ride the bus on his own, Sridhar Dadi was a regular fixture at events all over his native coastal city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. He had no qualms about representing his parents at weddings and other family events. He enjoyed being visible, recognized, and had the outgoing personality to carry it off. By the time college rolled around and he moved to Guntur to pursue a degree in engineering, students at the campus soon knew his name through his unflagging determination in organizing cultural programs and activities and getting everyone

Sridhar Dadi with Shankar Mahadevan on his recent concert tour here. (File photo)

“I am so indebted to the community for supporting me when all I had was a dream. It made me want to give back, and today if I can help facilitate or connect individuals or groups in a manner that benefits them and their businesses, I do it willingly” Sridhar Dadi involved. Dadi became the go-to man for au courant news on movies, the latest dance moves, and anything wildly resembling entertainment. It would be several years later that he would found Radio Hungama seas away from his land of birth. This year the program triumphantly celebrates its 4th anniversary. As part of the yearlong festivities honoring the community for supporting his vision, Dadi has planned several satellite melas in several suburbs in the city. Along with the American Telugu Association (ATA), he will host Vaada Vaadaku Hungama at the Seven Lakes High School on Fry Road in Katy on June 18. Billed as an evening (5.30pm – 10.00pm) of entertainment, masti, and food, the program includes a cooking contest, Tollywood/Bhangra/Classical dances, fun quizzes, games and other activities. Sponsors include this publication IANews, Green Mountain Energy, Don McGill Toyota, and Pavani Express, to name a few. It all began back in the year 2000, when Dadi emigrated to the U.S. He completed a master’s degree in environmental engineering at Texas A & M University in College Station, after which he moved to California and settled into a regular 9 – 5 job. But there was a void in his life. He missed showmanship; he missed mingling with a crowd who shared his interests. In 2006, a random job search landed him in Houston. En route to his hotel room from the airport, he fidgeted with the dials of the radio in the rental car, and found to his great joy several stations spinning In-

dian music and enthusiastic radio jockeys engaging listeners with playful banter in Gujarati and Hindi. “I immediately felt like I was home,” said Dadi. “I also saw an opportunity to do something like that for the Telugu community.” He did the research and found that there wasn’t a Telugu program on the airwaves. He approached a local radio station and did a trial run for the very first time in June 2007. It exhilarated Dadi to have found his niche. He made flyers detailing his program, and handed them out at the temple and at events where the Telugu community gathered. As interest piqued, the community supported him by advertising on his show. After six months, Dadi was on his own with a 10am – 1pm program every Sunday on KCHM AM 1050. And Radio Hungama was born of one man’s tenacity. “I am so indebted to the community for supporting me when all I had was a dream. It made me want to give back, and today if I can help facilitate or connect individuals or groups in a manner that benefits them and their businesses, I do it willingly,” confided Dadi. His show throws the spotlight on the Telugu community through music, concerts, festivals, newyear eve parties, math and spelling bees, local and international news and views. It also addresses the professional, legal, medical, and social issues relevant to the community. While the median age of listeners is 30 years of age, the program reaches a wide swathe of the Telugu community young and older. Dadi’s popularity surged when, on the strength of Radio Hungama, he was requested to join the Telugu Cultural Association (TCA) where he served as Cultural Secretary; through this portfolio, he introduced the TCA to a broader audience through the radio. On its first anniversary in 2008, Radio Hungama hosted a bumper party at the Durga Bari Mandir Hall with food and entertainment; about 650 attended. The second anniversary at the same location was overcrowded. So Dadi, with

the cooperation of the Ashtalakshmi Temple board, hosted the third anniversary on the temple grounds. He hired people to fashion an outdoor stage and put up floodlights, hired security officers and a DJ, and sold booths to vendors who ran bustling businesses with food, jewelry, and clothing. There were face-painting booths for kids, and in the carnival atmosphere of an outdoor mela,

over 2000 people congregated and danced in the moonlight. Dadi has a rotating team of radio co-hosts; on any given Sunday, one can hear him banter with fellow RJs Mani Sastri, Hema Nalini, Pallavi Vadrevu, or RaagaVahini. He has established connections with many organizations in this city regardless of language; one such is the North South Foundation that specializes in excellence in education. Dadi successfully coordinated immigration seminars by Guerra and Johnson, a well-known team of attorneys advertising with Radio Hungama, for immigrant college students from Texas A & M, Lamar University, and on other campuses in and around the city. He has also liaised closely with organizations such as India Culture Center, Sewa International, and VIBA, as well as being the media partner for the South Asian Chamber of Commerce a few years back. Dadi’s fulltime job as an environmental engineer is in total contrast to his Radio Hungama persona. He balances both ad-

Indo American News • Friday, JUNE 03 , 2011 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

mirably, and is also a family man. But there are play-lists to compile, new ideas to conceive, events to plan, and people to meet. Does the double workload detract from his time with his wife and young son? “Sometimes,” admitted Dadi. “But my family is supportive and understand that sacrifices have to be made.” The program has attracted huge advertisers such as Kingfisher Airlines, City Bank, Western Union, Prudential Insurance, Green Mountain Energy, Kohinoor Diamonds, Mayuri Restaurant, Emirates Airlines, and Guerra and Johnson, to name a few. Does he plan on quitting his day job anytime soon? “No,” laughed Dadi. “But I’m hoping for that sometime down the line. It would have to be financially feasible.” To listen to Radio Hungama, go to KCHN AM 1050 on Sundays from 10.00am to 1.00pm. For more information visit www.radiohungama.net or call Sridhar Dadi at 281-217-9736.


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IambusinessnEWS

Metlife Launches New Whole Life Insurance Product

NEW YORK: In today’s economy, consumers need affordable financial solutions to meet their individual needs and goals. To help families keep their promise of protection and financial security to their loved ones, MetLife, the number one life insurer in the United States*, recently launched MetLife Promise Whole LifeSM insurance. The new whole life insurance product has flexible options and provides guarantees that families can count on. “We have over 140 years of experience in providing solid guidance and solutions that help families achieve long-term financial security,” says Laurel Daring, assistant vice president of Diverse Markets, MetLife. “Our new whole life insurance product offers innovative features that can be tailored to meet the multiple financial needs of today’s families.” MetLife Promise Whole Life is a permanent life insurance policy that provides lifetime protection. It is an attractive product for those who want guaranteed cash value, guaranteed death benefits and a potential annual dividend payment, which, if paid, may increase the cash value and death benefit

of the policy over time. With MetLife Promise Whole Life, consumers can add options, at an additional cost, that are affordable and provide the flexibility they may need. These options are called riders: • The Enricher® – allows policyholders to pay extra premiums

and purchase additional permanent life insurance to increase coverage and cash value as circumstances change without having to re-apply. The additional insurance will increase policyholders’ death benefit and cash value, while also earning dividends. • Flex Term Rider – this option offers policyholders the ability to customize their policy by combining whole life and term life insurance to keep the right amount of coverage for an affordable price. With this option, the term portion of the policy can be gradually replaced over time with whole life protection. Policyholders who purchase this rider are guaranteed coverage until the insured is age 85 as long as the required premium is paid each year.

• There are several other options, such as a Disability Waiver, Accidental Death Benefit, and a Guaranteed Issue Rider. *Based on life insurance inforce as of 12/31/2009 (A.M. Best) MetLife has a knowledgeable team of financial services representatives who are dedicated to helping individuals and families reach their goals. For more information or to find a local MetLife representative who can provide one-on-one consultation about MetLife Promise Whole Life, call 1-800-6385433 or visit www.metlife.com. About MetLife Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and MetLife Investors USA Insurance Company are subsidiaries of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), which through its subsidiaries is the leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 60 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.

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Indian Owned US Businesses Rake in $150 Billion Revenue

WASHINGTON (TOI): Owning nearly a fifth of 1.5 million nonfarm US businesses owned by Asians operating the US in 2007, Indians raked in over $150 billion in revenue, according to a new survey. With their number going up by over 40.4 percent since 2002, these Asian-owned firms accounted for 5.7 percent of all nonfarm businesses in the US, employed 2.8 million persons (2.4 percent of total employment) and generated $507.6 billion in receipts (1.7 percent of total receipts). Of them Asian Indians owned 308,514 firms (19.9 percent of all Asian-owned firms), with receipts of $152.5 billion (30.0 percent of all Asian-owned firm receipts), according to the US Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO), released last week. Asian- Indian owned businesses recorded a growth of 38.2 percent. Among Asian Indian-owned US firms, 48.9 percent were in the professional, scientific, and technical services; the retail trade sector; and the health care and social assistance sector. Asian Indianowned US firms accounted for 1.7 percent of all US businesses in these sectors. Retail trade, wholesale trade, and professional, scientific, and technical services accounted for 59.1 percent of Asian Indian-owned business revenue. California had the largest number of Asian Indian-owned firms at 58,995 (19.1 percent of all Asian Indian-owned firms), with receipts of $29.1 billion (19.1 percent of all Asian Indian-owned firm receipts). New York and Texas were next with 47,760 (15.5 percent) and 27,748 (9.0 percent) Asian Indian-owned firms respectively, with receipts of $17.2 billion (11.3 percent) and $14.0 billion (9.2 percent) respectively. Among US counties, Los Angeles County, California, and Queens County, New York, had the largest numbers of Asian Indian-owned firms in 2007 at 16,730 and 16,324 respectively. The metropolitan statistical areas with the largest number of Asian Indian-owned firms were New York-Northern New JerseyLong Island, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania (64,457); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, California (23,151); and ChicagoNaperville-Joliet, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin (17,362). “Asian-owned businesses continued to be one of the strongest segments of our nation’s economy, bringing in more than half a trillion dollars in sales in 2007 and employing more than 2.8 million people,” said Census Bureau Deputy Director Thomas Mesenbourg.

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India’s Promise & Peril Last month, Rajbala was the first girl ever to appear for Class 10 exams in modern-day Rajasthan’s block of Kishangarh Bas, where the female literacy rate ranges from 6% to 25% (nationally, it is 65%). Rajbala is a Dalit. She, her parents, both agricultural workers, and five siblings live in a two-room house. “My parents never wanted me to go to school,” said Rajbala. “They needed me for house and farm work. But I persisted. I convinced them.” Rajbala’s achievements showcase the determination that drives the world’s youngest nation, which has raised its literacy rate by 9 points to 74% in the last decade. India now has the world’s largest demographic dividend, or share of working-age people — about 781 million between 15 to 64 years old. Rajbala’s story also represents why India is in danger of forfeiting that dividend. Too poor for tuitions, Rajbala learned science in Class 9 and 10. Her government school has no qualified teachers. It is extraordinary she got this far. Many students get a substandard education and eventually drop out. Many “literate” Indians can do no more than sign their names. Rajbala wants to be a teacher. That seems difficult. If she cannot continue her studies in Jaipur, 150 km south of Alwar, she may end up working the fields. As we spoke to her, one of her brothers, Daya Ram, a class V dropout, smirked and said: “We can allow her to go to Jaipur, if need be. But who will pay for her education. Will you?” By 2020, the median age in India will be 28, in China 37, in the US 38 and in western Europe 45. But this demographic dividend could turn into a deficit if these young people — more than 500 million are under 25 — remain undereducated, unskilled, unemployed or unemployable. India’s successes mask a potentially crippling shortage of skilled employees in almost every sector. By next year, India could be short of 5 million with the right skills, says a report from the Boston Consulting Group, at a time when there already are 1.3 million unskilled and unqualified school dropouts and illiterates. Prima facie, India’s education advances appear decent. The 2011 census shows India’s literacy rate has jumped 9% since 2001 to reach 74%. But India is last even in its club of emerging economies, the BRICS. The literacy rate in Brazil is 90%; Russia 99.4%; China 93%; South Africa 88%. Hindustan Times

editorial

By Jug Suraiya Everyone’s long known that politics in India is a potentially lucrative business. Just how lucrative it is has been revealed by studies conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW). According to these organisations, the assets of recontesting MPs in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections had increased by 289% over the five-year period of their previous tenure. Compared with this, gold registered a rise of 138%, or less than half the increase that accrued to our netas. Other investment options - such as the stock market, mutual funds and bank fixed deposits - saw far more modest gains: 64% for the sensex; 67% for mutual funds on an average; and 46% for bank fixed deposits. While MLAs didn’t fare quite as profitably as their counterparts in Parliament, they didn’t put up a bad showing either. According to an ADR survey based on legislative assemblies from four states and one Union territory - Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala, West Bengal and Puducherry - over a five-year period the MLAs had notched up gains ranging from 71% (for West Bengal) to 195% (for Tamil Nadu). In Tamil Nadu, no fewer than 97 MLAs tripled their asset values. The number of crorepatis in the four states and Puducherry has reportedly risen from 97 in 2006 to

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Midas Touch 268 in 2011. Such figures corroborate what the recent spate of scams and swindles has brought to the forefront of public attention: that Indian politics is arguably the most remunerative of all career options for the enterprising individual. Our politicians are the best wealth generators in the business, much more so than any professional mercantile banker, portfolio manager, market analyst or hoarder of gold bullion. The only glitch is that the wealth they generate - and have been generating all these years - is only for themselves and not for the rest of their fellow citizens. Which helps to explain the economic paradox that has long puzzled many: why is it that India is a potentially rich country inhabited by an overwhelming majority of extremely poor people? Just how poor the poorest of India’s poor are can be gauged by the fact that the Planning Commission has proposed an expenditure cap of Rs 20 a day to identify the below the poverty line (BPL) population which is eligible for benefits under the government’s projected social security scheme. How do you get at least a little bit of the wealth-generating capacity so ably demonstrated by our political representatives to trickle down to those whom they supposedly represent? One suggestion has been to confiscate to the public exchequer the assets of any public office holder

caught in a scam. But this not only limits the field to proven scamsters and their assets but is also tantamount to killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Or rather, the geese that lay the golden eggs. The geese are our elected politicians. And instead of metaphorically killing them, we should turn them into negotiable instruments open for investment by the general public, like government bonds or mutual funds or shares floated by individual companies. Investors should be enabled to invest in a particular MP or MLA, or in a diversified portfolio consisting of various MPs and MLAs, much as people do now in mutual funds. The mutual fund so created - call it the Midas Touch Funda, or whatever you will - would invite investments from individuals and from social and economic groups representing all strata of society, from the lowest to the highest. As in the case of other mutual funds, the MPs’/MLAs’ fund would declare regular dividends, based on the performance of the participating politicians, which would be distributed on an equitable basis among all the shareholders. Next time round, don’t just vote for your local MLA and MP. Put your money where your ballot is and buy shares in them. It’s likely to be the best investment you ever made. Times of India

the executive leisurely examines the details of the case and takes its own time to put up the file before the president for his /her signatures. Despite serious concerns expressed by a cross section of people over the undue delay in taking a call on the mercy petitions, the government has ruled out the possibility ofamending the law that could offer a fixed outer time limit for completing the exercise. There is no denying the fact that capital sentence is a constitutionally valid form of sentence which is given only in the “rarest of rare”. The format of its execution by a well-oiled rope has also passed the judicial test. But the core issue remains, whether an accused should be given the extreme penalty in a case where judges

differ; or to put it alternatively, if one judge disagrees, should the view of other two members of the bench be given finality. It is understandable that in cases of death where right to life is involved, judges shouldn’t have fractured opinions. After all death is a question of finality, the judgment Day. On other hand, high courts and the top court give top priority to the law suits that seek enforcement of fundamental rights or relate to violation of the basic rights. Needless to say, right to life and liberty figure top in the list of priorities of any constitutional court. Strangely, the president of India, who is under oath to protect the interests of people and uphold the Constitution, has maintained silence on the need for expeditious disposal of mercy petitions. - DNA

Death Sentence Caught in a Row

By Rakesh Bhatnagar NEW DELHI: Though the Constitution abhors subjecting an accused to the punishment which is not awarded by the court, it’s an irony that several accused persons sentenced to death have to undergo imprisonment of five to 10 years, waiting for the outcome of their mercy petitions filed before the president. It has been held by the Supreme Court too that a person can’t be forced by the government to suffer a sentence that’s not handed over to him by a court of law. This has been held to explain the role of the executive which is liable to execute the orders passed by the top court. But, in the absence of a time limit for disposing of a clemency plea under Article 72 of the Constitution,

IndoAmerican 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 Business & Recreation: Jacob David Graphic Design: Saqib Rana correspondents Chicago: Nand Kapoor, UK: Aseem Kulkarni New Delhi: 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: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: indoamerican-news.com

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Tihar jail Awaits How many more VIPs? By aBhay Vaidya NEW DELHI (DNA): Never before in Indian history have so many powerful and influential people been sent to jail on charges of corruption and denied bail week after week. On Monday afternoon, Cineyug Films director, Karim Morani, became the latest high profile accused in the 2G spectrum case to enter Tihar Jail after his bail plea was rejected by a special CBI court. Till this case and the Commonwealth Games scam erupted and the courts were seized of the matter, the Kanimozhis and Kalmadis of Indian politics and the Balwas and Goenkas of Indian business could virtually buy anything with their money. They flew in their own planes and helicopters, lived luxurious, five star lives and used their power and influence to not just bend rules but create their own. From this rarefied environment of the rich and the mighty, they have been brought down to living a prisoner’s life and reporting every morning for the mandatory roll call. At the last count, three politicians who were immensely powerful in their own domains (A Raja, Kanimozhi and Suresh Kalmadi), four heads of large business enterprises (Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Sanjay Chandra and Karim Morani) and four high-ranking corporate executives (Gauatam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, Hari Nair and Sharad Kumar) have been in prison for periods ranging from less than a day to more than three months. Not to be forgotten are the nearly dozen bureaucrats arrested in the CWG and 2G scams.

Pictures by Ramakant Kushwaha

Tihar Prisons, also called Tihar Jail and Tihar Ashram, is the largest complex of prisons in South Asia.

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From top: Karim Morani, Kanimozhi’s mother Rajathi Ammal and husband G Aravindan at the Patiala House courts on Monday.

All ofthem are crying that they are innocent till proven guilty, which is true. It is, however, worth ponder pondering on the judge’s comments while dismissing the bail pleas in the 2G spectrum scam. On May 23, Justice Ajit Bharioke of the Delhi high court observed: “When loss is caused to the state exchequer, every citizen suffers because the money could have been used for the development of the country or for public welfare measures like food, health, education, etc. In this case, the petitioners’ criminal conspiracy caused financial loss and gains in their companies. This is an offence of the highest magnitude, which not only impacts the society at large but also puts a question mark on the governance of the country and adversely affects the economy of the country.” With a man of impeccable integrity like justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia at the helm in the Supreme Court, do not be surprised if the courts are gripped with a new awakening and seriousness while dealing with high profile corruption cases. In fact, this is already serving as a beacon to the high courts dealing with similar cases (e.g. the Adarsh housing society scam in Mumbai). Being imprisoned- and convictedon corruption charges is humiliating, worse than any heavy fine that could be imposed for tax evasion. However, prison life per se, is not necessarily humiliating. The great freedom fighters who constantly went in and out of jail, valued their prison experiences- it offered an opportunity for silence, reflection and contemplation. Mahatma Gandhi felt it was honourable to go to prison for a just cause. A major portion of his autobiography was dictated in Gujarati while in Pune’s Yerawada Jail. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote copiously in prison. His famous Glimpses of World History is a collection of 196 letters that he wrote to Indira Gandhi from various prisons during 1930-33. While in the Dhule prison, Vinoba Bhave gave discourses on the Bhagwad Gita which were transcribed by Sane Guruji and later published as Gita Pravachane- Vinoba’s incisive commentaries on the Gita. Life in prison can be positive and transformative. If you allow it to be.


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By Jimmy Abraham What is the sign of a good decision? It’s knowing how a company is run – one factor that can help you decide which is right for you. There are many reasons to choose a life insurance company to help meet your financial needs: protection for your family or business, products to help provide supplemental income, and the confidence of knowing you will be better prepared for the future. Two common forms of insurance companies – mutually owned and publicly traded There are two common forms of insurance companies: 1) mutually owned, and 2) publicly traded. So why does a life insurance company’s ownership structure matter to a policyowner – to you?

When choosing a life insurance company, it’s important to know how a company is run. While both a mutually owned company and a publicly traded company can provide you with life insurance protection, the company’s ownership structure is one factor that can help guide you as to which company is right for you. Key considerations By asking the following questions, at a high level, you may learn the differences in how a company is run and what drives its business strategy: • When making decisions, who comes first – policyowners? Shareholders? • Does your insurance company have the financial strength to always keep your needs a top priority? • Will you be able to take some role in the decision making process of your insurance company by exercising certain voting rights? Mutually owned insurance companies A mutual company is owned by and accountable to its members and participating policyowners, not stockholders. Mutual companies have no shareholders; instead, policyowners and members are often described as sharing in its ownership. Members who are insured under certain policies issued by a mutual insurance company may be eligible to vote for its board of directors and,

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those who also own the policy, may be eligible to share in dividends the company may declare. Of course, dividends for a given policy are influenced by such factors as policy series, issue age, policy duration, policy loan rate, smoking status, changes in experience, and are not guaranteed. Publicly traded insurance companies A publicly traded company must balance the interests of its policyowners with the earnings expectations of its shareholders. Shareholders typically judge a company’s performance based on a number of factors, including projected earnings for the next quarter or the next year, which might conflict with the longterm interests of policyowners. Knowing how a company is run may be one factor to help you decide which works best for you. Learn more about prospective companies before deciding which company is the right choice. Jimmy Abraham is a financial representative with Strategic Financial Group, LLP, a MassMutual agency who represents Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and other companies, courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) © 2010 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. CRN201201-129572


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r ramesh t tainwala: life Packed in a suitcase l s

The group president of Samsonite, Asia- Pacific, has led his company’s revival; today they’re worthy competitors in a luggage war By sapna agaR gaRwal Rwal (Mint) By his own admission, Ramesh Tainwala is not comfortable with PowerPoint presentations and prepared speeches. But that doesn’t stop him from tossing numbers and telling the story of how the company that filed for bankruptcy in September 2009 is back on track post restructuring and is looking at a billion-dollar listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by midJune. Tainwala, 52 —executive director at Samsonite InternaInterna tional SA, the world’s largest luggage company, and group president for Asia-Pacific and West Asia—likes telling stories. In his first interview in April with analysts and bankers to present the story of Samsonite and get investors to buy into the issue, the 15-year veteran at the company went against the instructions of his bankers Gold-man Sachs Group Inc. to run through a prepared presentation and spoke to the audience “from the heart”. “This is our story, we know it the best. How can they tell me what to speak?” he says. Not surprisingly, when I meet him at Indigo Deli at Phoenix Mills in Mumbai over tea, he is chatty, relaxed and cheerful. Not surprisingly again, the evening lasts close to 2 hours because Tainwala likes telling stosto ries. As a postgraduate from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, Tainwala applied for jobs with Asian Paints and Century Spinning and Indian luggage manufacturer VIP Industries Ltd, India’s largest luggage company—but was rejected. That was in 1981. Nearly two decades later, he became the president (AsiaPacific and West Asia) of Samsonite Asia Ltd, VIP’s biggest competitor. Tainwala today heads this most profitable region, which accounted for over 40% of the operating profit and a third of the $1.2 billion (around Rs5,400 crore) net sales of the parent in 2010. He is also one of the key people in the management team of six for the parent holding. There is more than one twist to the Tainwala-Samsonite-VIP saga. Tainwala’s connection with VIP runs deep. He started his career in 1981 with a plastic trading company that was a vendor to VIP Industries. After a five-year stint, he started his own company, Tainwala Trading and Investment Co. Pvt. Ltd, for commodities trading and plastic sheet manufacturing and once again became associated directly with VIP Industries and Asian Paints as a vendor. “I was always aware that I had not got a job with these companies and yet am crossing paths with them time and again,” says Tainwala.

The next twist came in 1995. Samsonite was in talks with VIP Industries for a joint venture. The talks failed and the company, unable to find any other suitable partner, took on Tainwala, a vendor, as a silent partner for the India entry. “I was lacking the experience and funds,” he says, explaining that he had approached the company in the past and even hosted management on their visits to India, but was never considered worthy of being a partner. By 2000, Samsonite had failed to make inroads into the India market and was almost ready to pack its suitcases and exit the country. VIP Industries, a clear

market leader with over 90% mar market share in the or organized trade, had proved too tough a competitor. “It was an embarrassment for me. I could not face my family and friends as a failure,” says Tainwala. He requested the American parent to change his partnership status and give him management control for two years. He became chief operating of officer of Indian operations in 2000, and general manager of West Asian operations in 2007. Samsonite hasn’t looked back since. According to a Samsonite-commissioned Frost & Sullivan report released earlier this year, Samsonite, which also owns the American Tour Tourister brand, gained the leadership position in December in India with a 16.8% market share. The study is part of the prospectus submitted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange ear earlier this year. VIP Industries, which operates the VIP, Carlton and Delsey brands, has a market share of 15.8%, according to the report. The sales figures are a bone of contention between the two companies. Samsonite saw sales of $77.9 million, or about Rs350 crore, in India in 2010, according to the prospectus. In 2010, VIP Industries posted sales of Rs679.2 crore in India, almost double the figure (an independent 30

September Networth Stock Broking Ltd report says VIP Industries is the leader, with a 58% market share). Tainwala discredits VIP sales figures as “inflated”. In turn, Dilip Piramal, chairman, VIP Industries, debunks the Frost & Sullivan report and Samsonite’s leadership claims as “inaccurate”. The turnaround in India saw Tainwala rework the price, size, design and colour strategy for India. Consultants had told the multinational corporation (MNC) that Indians consider black inauspicious, so products in that colour should be avoided. Samsonite followed the advice till Tainwala became chief operating officer. Today, black accounts for 70% of its overall sales. In addition, Samsonite sold at a premium to VIP in India, so for the value-conscious, Tainwala got in American Tourister, a brand the company had acquired globally. More than half of Samsonite’s sales in India are from American Tour Tourister. The organized retail trade channel was dominated by VIP. Samsonite worked around the challenge by launching its own retail store network. In 2000-02, the company opened 200 retail stores. Today, company-owned showrooms account for 60% of Samsonite’s retail trade in India; in other parts of the world, the figure is just 10%. The change in strategy worked. “Sales in India soon equalled the rest of Asia, excluding Japan,” says Tainwala. Samsonite’s turnaround in India got Tainwala acceptance within the company. In 2004-05, he was of offered a partnership for the West Asia, Central Asia and Africa regions. In 2007, this was extended to include China. In February, he became the executive director. Looking back, Tainwala says he realized the company’s model of having a team of expatriates running an operation in a market they were not clued into was never going to work. “They used to come in, start training and implementing processes without understanding how the market works,” he observes, sharing an anecdote of how approval for opening a showroom would take three-five months. By then the property would be off the market and the company would have to start all over again. “Asians were not empowered to make any decisions and that was one of the biggest failings of the company,” says Tainwala, who divides time between Hong Kong, the region which the MNC has chosen for its public listing, and Mumbai, where his family lives. Even as he scales new heights, Tainwala may still be carrying past baggage, so his most momentous achievement may still be in the making. After all, to lead the company to a clear win in the home market would be incomparable payback.

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This upcoming camp is an opportunity for you and your family to spend quality time together at our beautiful ashram over the Fourth of July weekend. Some highlights include: concurrent classes for all ages, campfire, seva projects, yoga, dholak lessons and hikes. Classes with our sanyasi teachers offer everyone to receive a firm faith and pride in being a Hindu living in America. Not only will your kids have fun, they will spend time with others their age learning invaluable spiritual teachings. • Enrich your children’s lives in a fun and meaningful way • Deepen your devotional feelings through satsang and kirtan • Enjoy classes by Sanyasi teachers of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj For more information visit www.hindufamilycamp.com or call Braj Rani at 512-288-7180 ext. 323 or Mary ext. 333 “Barsana Dham family camp gives you the essence of what life should be like. Through various religious and recreational activities, we all bond together because of the great fun, forming a huge family, full of immense love for one another.” - Ilu, Houston, TX, age 14

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Redefining Indian Spirituality in 21st Century When you live in India, you want to get out of it as fast as possible. And when you are out, you want to get back in- as if you are missing something. (TOI) What is it? The sights and sounds? The festivals and colours? The myriad cultures, religions and communities? The races, faces or the mystic land representing one of the first cradles of civilisation, long before any other society labelled themselves developed, progressive and civilized. India is a land where the quest to live life as per someone’s spiritual beliefs is a constant ongoing process. The journey is a way to reach complete harmony and ‘Nirvana’; so as to finally dissolve into the Universe after his/her end and get ‘Mukti’; from the constant circle of Life and Death for a worldly ‘Being’;. In fact, India’s first King in the true sense, Chandragupta Maurya, and Asoka’s grandfather ,whose empire stretched from the present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Mynamar died by fasting himself to death in a small cave. That was his way of achieving salvation when he gave up his throne towards the end of his life and became an ascetic under a Jain saint Bhadrabahu. Yes, India indeed is a strange country! With almost a billion strange men! Most people spend all their lives trying to achieve a lot but still die struggling to fulfill the basic necessities of life. Food, water, clothing, shelter, electricity. The list is as endless as any man’s desire for material things and comfort! Just as you see and meet various kinds of strange and interesting people in any country, you would also find scores of people in India who live life on their own terms ---away from all earthly pleasures just like gypsies, wanderers and nomads. In India, sadhu, is a common term for a mystic, an ascetic, practitioner of yoga (yogi) and/or wandering monks. The sadhu is solely

dedicated to achieving the fourth and final Hindu goal of life, ‘Moksha’; (liberation), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sadhus often wear ochre-colored clothing, symbolizing renunciation. ‘S?dhu!’ is also a Sanskrit and Pali term used as an exclamation for something well done. There are 4 or 5 million sadhus in

India today and they are widely respected for their holiness, sometimes feared for their curses. People find innumerable ways to define their spiritual quest. The thirst for knowledge (Brahman), trying to find the right balance in social and financial engagements (Vaish), the ability and spirit that nurtures the seed into a full-fledged crop , the search to learn the best art of war (Kshatriya), the right strategy, all define the spiritual hunt that everyone on earth has to go through to get his/her rightful balance of body, mind and soul. All things have to be in perfect harmony of each other so as to work with perfect coordination to their finest ability. In their search for peace and enlightenment, Indian intellectuals and religious thinkers have devised so many ways and means that it’s almost impossible to follow everything. Often, at times, people get confused and brush off things that they do not know about. And that’s simply because it would be too time consuming in

this ultra-fast modern world to spare few minutes by them and try to understand what these stupid sounding and funny- looking customs actually mean! But the fact of the matter remains, any custom, tradition or ritual which looks stupid or sounds silly always has a much greater meaning attached to it. People take the easy way out and prefer to laugh and sideline things they do not know or understand. We all are wanderers and nomads now, thanks to globalization and thanks to our ambition and desire that knows no bounds! Today, people travel and work all over the world and are not just confined to their own space. Constant movement from one place to another, from one country to the other. Coming in contact with different cultures and traditions has both direct and indirect influence on your personality and manners. The way you talk, the way you walk, how you approach things around you and eventually what you believe in or not. A man has to be at peace with himself. Ambition, desire, even greed is good to a certain extent. As those who are not able to overcome these always walk the danger line where these personal demons can engulf an individual and he becomes a prisoner of his/her own dreams and aspirations. In his journey, every man always carries a spirit with him, an unknown spirit, showing him the way through his troubles and misfortunes, his moral dilemmas. When he reaches at a crossroad in his life, the same spirit and the same voice within him reaches out from his heart to his head and helps him make a correct decision. That’ s what spirituality meansthe feeling of being near to a power which you cannot see or experience but still feel- no matter where you go in the world!

Ganga Flows to France

Rajasthan has a role to play in the two-day annual event around river Ganga (TOI) France is a country of cultural festivals – something or the other is always happening there, and this year, it’s Indian themes that are creating a buzz there. After FrancheComté Fair of France, the theme for which was Rajasthan, earlier this year, there’s a festival themed around river Ganga now. This sacred river of India will be the centre of attraction in the two-day Festival de l’Oh! (river festival) organised in Val de Marne, a suburban county

Divana groups have been chosen to transform the banks of Marne river into a colourful desert. Artistes of the Divana group are ready with their instruments – the kamaicha, sarangi, dholak and khartals, and folk songs to bring the desert culture alive and acquaint Parisians with its many facets. Acrobatic performances by the Kawa Circus will make for some very exciting spectacles. But the real highlight of the fest would be the beautifully

near Paris, near the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims, northeastern France. And even in this, there’s a Rajasthan connect... This annual river festival will be held on June 18 and 19 this year, and will be organised on the river Marne. It is usually dedicated to different rivers, and this year, it’s the Ganges. Also, Festival de l’Oh, will have Rajasthan’s artistes performing there to depict the grace, charm and significance of Ganga. Rajasthan’s Kawa Brass Band, Dhod and

decorated boats on which artists – both French and Rajasthani – will present a unique and spectacular show. These special boats, ornately carved and painted will take the rounds of the city so that the entire city can witness the cultural extravaganza on different banks of the river. Talking about the fest, Hameed Kawa, director Kawa Brass Band says, “Our special show, which we have named as Lady Ganga will bring the mythological story of Ganga’s creation alive, that too in a unique show presented by Rajasthani and French artistes through acrobatics.” There will be elaborate ornamentations and lavish arrangements on the riverside. “Artists will be presenting a visual and musical trip with a mix of eastern and western traditions. It will be a confluence of various arts and cultures including musical performances, dance, drama and puppetry. It’s a matter of pride for all Indians as the pride of honour has been given to our sacred river Ganga. It is also an issue of current debate related to water and environment along with its unequalled religious and symbolic forces,” says Hameed.

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society

Hindu Prayer at Houston city c council HOUSTON: The Houston City Council starts its session with opening prayers from dif different faith. On Wednesday June 1, Hinduism prayer was chosen for the first time at the start of the session at Council Chamber, II floor of City Hall. Jolanda “Jo” Jones, Houston City Council member , At Large 5 was the person in charge for prayer and requested Hindus of Greater Houston to arrange Hindu priest to recite Hindu traditional prayers. At the behest of Hindus of Greater Houston, Sri Ganesh,

for his uplifiting prayer this morning and the Hindus of Greater Houston for exposing us to their faith, and I look forward to continuing to work with Houstonians of all faiths as we do the important work of our City” said Houston prayer Annise Parker. She also thanked the priest and Houston Mayor Annise Parker thanked the priest and congratulated the Hindu community leaders. “This was pioneering effort to introduce the Hindu prayers and indeed history making event. The freedom of speech and religion is the first Amendment of the US constitution and said it is imperative that everyone join in prayer on this momentous occasion” Said Council Member Jolanda Jones. Mini Timmaraju, President of IAPAC (Indo American Political Action Committe), coordinated the program along with Mechelle Phillips. IAPAC is pleased to facilitate activities like this between the From left: IAPAC President, Mini Timmaraju; Sri Ganesh, Indian American community chief priest at Saumyakasi Sivalaya; Mayor Annise and our elected officials. SpeParker and Secretary of Hindus of Greater Houston, Thara cial thanks must go to Council Narasimhan Member Jolanda Jones for her idea to invite a Hindu faith chief priest at Saumyakasi Sivalaya temple leader to conduct today’s prayer. She has been of Chinmaya Mission, recited prayers invok- and continues to be a strong advocate of Indoing on Lord Ganesh for auspicious beginning, American community as also Mayor Parker. Goddess Saraswathi, Goddess Lakshmi and a Prominent Hindu Repesentatives of the verse from the Vedas, the mantra for Universal Hindu Community attended the Prayer. Thara Peace. The short one and half minute prayer Narasimhan, Secretary of Hindus of Greater was well received by the Houston City Leg- Houston, Padmakant Khambati, Sanatan Hinislative Council du Center, Dilip Mehta of Hindus of Greater “Houston is a diverse city and it is one of Houston, Kusum Mehta, ND Narasimhan and my privileges to welcome all Houstonians to Raghu Dass, Rath Yatra Coordinator attended City Council. I want to thank Swami Ganesh the event.

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Trapped from All Sides

Young women and girls in red light areas face extreme levels of desperation, stemming partly from poverty, but also because of sheer physical exploitation, even by husbands and fathers By Ruchi Choudhary (IT) Soma is a woman in her forties - fair complexion, soft facial features, her black hair loosely tied in a pony tail, with a flick of it coming out in front. She has a charming smile. She was born in Nepal to very poor parents. Her father was a construction worker. At the age of 11, she and one of her cousins were sold to agents in an auction in the middle of the whole bazaar. She doesn’t remember the price she fetched - she was too young to understand the various denominations of money. She was brought to a brothel in Sonagachi - literally meaning ‘the golden tree’, the biggest red light area of Kolkata. She initially resisted when she was locked in a room with a client and suffered heavy thrashing, along with other girls of her age. “I was afraid of the tall, elderly men. I was very small then. Now I don’t fear clients. I have gotten used to [them].” she recalls. The money from the client was collected by the brothel owner. Soma says, “I do not remember what rates I fetched, but it was very low. We never got to see the money. Life there was very harsh - no food, sleep and constant beating.” Soma escaped from Sonagachi one night, and her face turns pink when she mentions about how she fell in love with the cab-driver Sunil Saha and married him. “He left me for another woman”, she says casually. She landed up in Kalighat - the oldest red light area of Kolkata. Here she began to work independently as a sex worker and started earning money for herself. The Kali temple in Kolkata is a busy area, where thousands of devotees come daily to offer puja. The tradition of worshipping Goddess Durga, considered to be a symbol of shakti or strength, is more than 500 years old in Bengal. At the corner is Nirmal Hriday - Mother Teresa’s home for the dying destitute, and the Kalighat Police Station. In front of the Missionaries of Charity home runs the street called Kalighat Road, and about 500 meters from the temple, there is small lane - hardly four feet wide. Waste water runs from the middle of the

lane, barely leaving space for a person to walk. The sides of the lane are occupied by chulhas outside the mud houses and the air smells of alcohol. At the entrance to the lane, one sees a group of woman - ranging from age 13-45, all dressed up, wearing bright red lipsticks, their hair neatly tied, with sindoor between the parting of the hair, stand in anticipation of ‘clients’. This is 162, Kalighat

per cent. Extreme levels of desperation and helplessness drive hundreds of women to these red-light areas. Mostly, it stems out of two reasons, which are interlinked to a large extent - acute poverty and spineless men leaving their wives and kids (which are not even born in most cases). Rekha mother of Nisha and Isha, 13 and 11 years old respectively, has been

Sanjana, who claims to be 18, is a prostitute and her younger sister Simran (6) will follow in her footsteps

In the evening, one can easily spot the men playing cards and gambling, dead drunk. Ironically, hardly any woman blames her husband for forcing her into this.

Road - the oldest red-light area of Kolkata. Almost 1000 sex-workers work here to earn a living. They live in homes which house a half-bed (most of the time a wooden board resting on bricks), a small 14’ television, a pile of clothes, liquor and sometimes drugs for the clients and a couple of posters of Bollywood film stars on the unpainted walls. All these years, I believed that the sex trade flourishes because of trafficked women like Soma who are forced into the profession at an early age. After all, no woman would herself voluntarily opt for selling her body. But the reality is shocking. Most of the women that I interviewed had voluntarily opted for ‘the line’- as the profession is commonly referred to here. A panIndia survey of 3000 sex workers puts the number at a whooping 71

in ‘the line’ for eight years now. Her husband left her for another woman when Isha was 2 months old. She tried finding work, but was unable to feed herself and her daughters. In the majority of cases, such women at first looked for work elsewhere in society, before getting into the sextrade. Some of them even do some other work, moving in and out of the trade occasionally. Fatima Bibi, 20 years old, became pregnant while she was only 14, and her husband left her while she was still carrying her daughter. She worked as domestic help in a flat, where the owner raped her while the family was away - not once but repeatedly. She went to a different place, but everywhere the harassment from the male members of the family continued. She was promised good work by one of her ‘aunts’ and brought to Kalighat. “As a single mother, I get

the same treatment wherever I go. In a way, this is no different than where I used to work earlier. Just that I get paid here.” Fatima supports her mother, father, ailing sister and two kids. It does not take too much of an analysis or reasoning to see that lack of education and child marriage lie at the root of this vulnerability of women whose husbands leave them. Under extreme poverty and with kids to support, they adopt prostitution, which is an economically viable option to earn a livelihood. The rules of the game are simple and the language is money. Rs.200300 per hour, depending upon the age of the girl. The younger, the better. Don’t want to use the condom? Shell out an extra 20 or 50. Plus the alcohol is free. If the sex-worker rents a room - about 2000 per month. An extra 500 for the TV. The ones who cannot afford to rent a room follow adhiya - where the house owner waits outside the house and gets half of what the client pays. However, marital separation and early pregnancy are not the only factors fuelling the system. There is another, more direct force acting in conjunction. Quite often, the husband acts as a pimp - getting clients for his wife (and daughters sometimes). Saroj Balmiki, a woman in early twenties, told me she opted

Indo American News • Friday, june 03 , 2011 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com

for the trade, without telling her husband, when she and her husband went hungry for 3 days. I later found out that her husband forced her to become a sex worker and till date, gets clients for her. Another person around the corner, Bipul, who made his wife get into the line, has already started to look for clients for his daughter who is ten, and sexually abused her to welcome her in the trade. In the evening, one can easily spot these ‘hard-working’ and ‘helpless’ men playing cards and gambling, dead drunk. Ironically, hardly any woman blames her husband for forcing her into this. “Ki korbe je? Chesta korbe tarpore kaaj milbo naa” (“What can he do? He tries but he cannot get work”), they tell you. As for the future - almost all of them have resigned to their fate. The only hope in their lives is their children - whom they want to keep away from this and raise them as respectable citizens. “I refuse to recognise my customers when my son Sudipto comes home”, Soma remarks. Rekha’s eyes sparkle on the mention of her daughters. She tries to explain, as if it is a simple arithmetic equation, “See, I have ruined my life, so I don’t have anything to look forward to. But I want my daughters to lead a respectable life.”


horoscope

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WEEKLY HOROSCOPE

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ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20: You can’t be pinned down indefinitely. You will refresh your outlook for the month ahead. You will make spectacular progress with your hard work, creativity, and forthrightness. Communications, contacts, and correspondence will be the predominating features whether in matters relating to your work or your personal relationships. Romantic and leisure activities will keep your spirits high. However, you firmly believe that home is where the hearth is, and you will spend quality time with your family. TAURUS Apr 21 - Watch it! The laid-back pace of last week is about to be dramatically transformed into a hectic phase in which you will come in contact with a lot of people. All these could translate into welcome monetary gains. Setting your goals high and expanding your business activities beyond present geographical limitations could really excite your senses, but, be careful of jealous elements and your critics. Don’t retaliate, just relax at home pursuing your hobbies in order to calm your nerves. GEMINI May 22 - Jun 21: For the most part of last month you had been engrossed in domestic affairs. It is exactly because of this involvement of yours at home that you now enjoy a sense of peace. Health of your children could cause concern. Events this week could leave a dent in your wallet, and you will have to take urgent steps to improve your monetary condition. For financial security in the future, invest judiciously now. You will continue to devote your physical and mental resources to the pur pursuit of advanced studies and research. Your life will seem more meaningful now. CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 23:As you frantically reach out in all directions, you will experience a flurry of relationships. This is a phase in which you are prone to making mistakes. Although money matters are playing in your sub-conscious, and you hunt for various opportunities to make a quick buck, you find yourself going round and round in circles, without really getting anywhere. There is nothing in particular that draws your interest, except people as a whole, but even here your affections get diluted and you could land yourself in a huge mess. You get easily distracted and none of your ef efforts bear fruit. LEO July 24 - Aug 23: You will be functioning at full throttle. You will shuttle all across the globe and renew old contacts. Perhaps you have been elevated to a position of high responsibilities too fast. Though you will find it difficult to cope with the added workload initially, You will eventually manage quite well. You will improve your man-management skills over time as you gain in experience. You realize the importance of relationships and will amaze your superiors with your abilities and brilliance. You gain in maturity and develop a balanced personality. VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23: You will apply your mind to the growth of your business. You are being well appreciated and rewarded for the efforts you have made. Success comes with loads of friends, admirers and those looking to get onto the gravy train. You love the acclamation and, though you can discriminate between the genuine and false praise, you are clever enough to flow with the current. There may be some domestic issues to be sorted out, even as foreign shores beckon. Joint ventures too may materialize. Though you will be short

of time, you will spend it judiciously. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23: You’ve spent a lot of time thinking about your future and under understanding the way life goes on. Introspection has made you aware of your likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Well, it’s time you focus on family and loved ones. The new moon suggests that your life will revolve around family and friends. You’ll again find solace and strength in their company. Your career graph may become stagnated at this point, however, learn to look at the bigger picture. Life can never be all about money and career. SCORPIO Oct 24 - Nov 22: You’ve had your share of ups and downs, and the challenges have kept you on your toes. It’s time to rest and relax. Try to look at the bigger picture. Develop a holistic approach towards life, or you’ll find it extremely difficult to deal with unfavourable circumstances. The new Moon is in Gemini and the Twins are known for their hospitality, you too will find yourself very cordial. You’ll go out of your way to host parties and make everyone happy. It’s okay if financial matters are put on the back burner for a while. Enjoy the good times! SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 22: Not that you don’t like being surrounded by people, but you often go for long spells of solitude. Not a bad trait unless you disappear without a trace, which is often the case. Your near and dear ones find it difficult to deal with this side of your personality. But, you need your privacy to think about important matters of life. You’re developing a philosophical approach about life, and to get some vision and direction, you’ll also visit religious places and meet spiritual leaders. CAPRICORN Dec 23 - Jan 20: There’ll be some new people or passions, but they will make a positive difference in your personal as well as professional world. You’ll make efforts to expand your social network. Meaning, you’ll move over to material gains. You establish contacts, work hard and do as much as you can for a better future. The associations you’ve built so far will certainly come to your aid in the time of need. AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19: An action packed week is on the cards for the Water Carrier. You think out of the box, display extra-ordinary wisdom, and empathise with those in need. Professionally, you interact with the top notch people in your field that will certainly raise your status and bank balance. Also, your talents will be visible to the world now. No wonder your actions aren’t money centric, as you very well know that money can’t buy you everything. But you’ll never experience cash crunch as well. Spending quality time with friends and family will be like an icing on the cake PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20: Your mind is bursting with new ideas and insight. Excited and energetic, you want to share them all around you. Those who don’t know you well enough may find you over-excited and may not understand your enthusiasm. Friends and family will appreciate your zest. You’re drawn towards spiritualism, meditation and religion. You may join yoga classes or learn meditation techniques. You consider it to be the right way to seek answers to the questions nagging you. Keep up the spirit!

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