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Friday, March 23 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 12

Indo American erican News Happy Ugadi

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Passion for Compassion

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Charismatic and compassionate, young power couple Nidhika and Pershant Mehta have carved a niche for themselves in the hearts of those on the receiving end of their beneficence. Their generosity has had far-reaching and positive consequences in improving the lives of children and the less fortunate locally and globally. The Mehtas will be celebrated at the UNICEF World Ball at the Hilton Americas as the 2012 recipients of the prestigious The Spirit of Compassion Award on March 31, 2012.

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Standard Sweets Offers Homestyle Cooking

BY KALYANI GIRI HOUSTON: When Najjar Singh left his native Punjab in India for America in 1990, he brought with him cherished memories of his mother’s kitchen where the family gathered in the richly redolent atmosphere of simmering Saag Punjabi and sizzling pakoras. Those are comfort foods that he joyfully replicates at his newly opened establishment on South Highway 6, Standard Sweets. The quaint, homely, pure vegetarian family-owned restaurant threw open its doors just two months ago, but has already gained a steady and loyal clientele throughout the day. A self-taught career chef who honed his skills at restaurants in California before moving to Houston, Singh’s latest venture sees him doing all the cooking while his wife Jasbir Kaur manages the storefront. On occasion, the couples’ children Mansharan Kaur, 13, and Gursharan Singh, 12, come in after school to help. The eatery is open seven days a week from 11.00am to 10.00pm. Though the restaurant is small with the capacity to comfortably seat about 50 guests, the Standard Sweets menu is extensive. Appetizers, chaat, parathas and other hand made breads such as the unfathomable Bullet Naan, vegetable dishes like Paneer Burgi, Vegetable Malai Kofta, and the storied and cream-less Saag Punjabi, a rich Dhal Makhni, Punjabi Curry Pakora, various rices, a sterling array of Indian desserts, sweets, and drinks, stand out in flavor and freshness. Fresh sugar cane juice also has an avid following. Singh consults with clients and cooks fresh food according to given specifications. He mixes and grinds his own masalas, shunning commercial ones. Evenings, said Singh, are busiest as there are residential areas nearby with a multicultural flow of families and couples dropping in for authentic home cooked food. Working couples have placed standing orders for weeknights and Singh neatly packages the food to – go. Soon, he plans on starting a lunch




Standard Sweets, the quaint, homely, pure vegetarian family-owned restaurant, is run by Najjar Singh and his family.

buffet weekdays to accommodate working clients. Singh’s experience in the food industry has him comfortably and confidently catering for weddings, parties, and other events and occasions. He is unfazed by large crowds and has catered for several Vaisakhi festivals. He has the competence and the staff to make on location foods, like dosas or rotis and works with the client in customizing the menu. Also attractively displayed is a range of pre-packaged sweet and savory snacks for customers to purchase for the teatime or late night munching. Standard Sweets is located at 11102 South Hwy 6, #112, Sugar Land, Texas 77478. For more information or to make a catering appointment, call 281-530-9200 or 832-6061413.

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March 23, 2012

UNICEF’s Spirit of Compassion Award for Nidhika and Pershant Mehta

BY KALYANI GIRI HOUSTON: Prolific young power couple Nidhika and Pershant Mehta have been named as recipients of the prestigious Spirit of Compassion 2012 Award by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. The award, instituted in 2005, will be presented to them at the UNICEF World Ball to be held at the Hilton Americas on Saturday, March 31, 2012. The accolade is UNICEF’s way of expressing appreciation to the Mehtas as philanthropic leaders who opened their hearts and used their considerable and inimitable influence to help draw attention to UNICEF’s mission of providing a safe and happy childhood to children all over the world, and helping them survive and thrive. The most recent recipient of the Spirit of Compassion Award was Olivia Harrison, founder of the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF. This year’s UNICEF World Ball will feature entertainment by the Houston Children’s Chorus, and Mango Punch. The Mehtas, parents to nineyear-old twins, began their involvement with the Southwest Region of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in 2007 and soon started hosting events, raising awareness and contributing to programs. They co-chaired the record-breaking wildly successful Mystique of India gala in 2008, and thereafter joined the Board of Directors. Pershant became a member of the Executive Committee, has served on the U.S. Fund’s National Development Committee, and is an advisor in the development of a new, soon-to-be-launched business partnership program, UNICEF Enterprise. “The Mehtas’ financial support has provided critical funds to support UNICEF programs in India, emergency relief in Haiti, and unrestricted revenue to address needs where they are the greatest,” said Sonya Renner, Southwest Regional Director at U.S. Fund

Mehtas with the late MFAH director, Dr. Peter C. Marzio (1943-2010) at left Photos: George Ramirez Photography

for UNICEF. “Nidhika and Pershant’s exceptional philanthropic legacy extends to the next generation; their twins Trick-or-Treat events for UNICEF, and the twins’ school is hosting a water walk and hydro-fair to raise awareness of the global water crisis and funds to provide clean safe drinking water for children,” added Renner. Beyond UNICEF, the Mehtas’ commitments embrace both local and international communities as benefactors of the Nidhika and Pershant Mehta Arts of India Gallery, named for and made possible through a major donation by the formidably munificent couple. They also give generously of their time and resources to Stream of Change Foundation, Pratham, the Houston Symphony, Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Children’s Assessment Center, March of Dimes, Herman Park Conservatory, Daya, and Houston Community College, to name a few. In 2009 Nidhika chaired the Texas Children’s Hospital Ambassadors’ Family Day and Book Drive. In 2010 she co-chaired the HCC Passion for Fashion Luncheon, an event she chaired in 2011. Nidhika served as the MFAH 2010 Family Circle Event Chair and recently received the “Best Dressed” rec-

ognition from the March of Dimes and Houston Chronicle. The Mehtas constantly host events at their home to help raise money for many a different non-profit organizations. Last year, literacy organization Pratham honored them for their altruistic endeavors in offering succor to hapless women and children globally. The Mehtas odyssey to success stems from hard work ethics, universal education, practicality, humility, adherence to their cultural roots, and a strong cognizance of the global community as one entity. Kuwait-born and raised, Nidhika left for India during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and completed an Honors degree in Psychology at the Mary and Jesus College in New Delhi. Pershant was born in New Delhi, India; his father was in the shipping industry so the family spent some years in India and Malaysia before moving to the US when Pershant was 8 years old. “Houston is pretty much my hometown,” confided Pershant with a smile.

The couple were introduced to each other by mutual family friends in 1995 and after a short courtship, married in 1996. Nidhika moved here the same year. While she takes care of the children and the home and the various organizations that she supports, Pershant owns an India-based company that creates and invents market ready innovative consumer products and sells them through his own and Fortune 500 companies. Previously he was a fashion designer of high-end social apparel and bridal wear and supplied to clientele in the upscale ilk of Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Cache. Indo American News visited the Mehtas at their tasteful Memorial area home for an informal interview. The following are excerpts from that conversation: IANews - How does it feel to be honored by UNICEF? NM – (softly) Very humbled, very honored. What were the events leading up to this award? NM - We started small, by just helping one child. It gave us an adrenaline rush to know that this kid who could never have traveled out of India, got a scholarship to England. Now he’s supporting his own family. Then our kids kept me very busy initially but when they started school I had all this time. I had the choice of lunches with friends or to do something meaningful. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I love socializing and having fun, but this work made me feel that I’m helping making a difference. There was a point when I thought…I’m a daughter, a wife, a mother, but what else? I owed it to myself to make a difference. Then Nat and Leela Krishnamurthy (activists from the local community) introduced us to UNICEF.


With this organization, you can see your work making a difference. What inspired the MFAH Indian exhibit? PM - It inspired us actually. The India Gallery is the creation of many prominent individuals here in Houston. This was the brainchild of the museum and the community. We were just one of the components in making it happen. It was in conception long before we came in. What inspired us was the connection between India and Houston. Growing up here, if someone asked where I’m from, I’d say I’m from India. When I asked my kids the same question, they’d said “we’re American”. And it struck me that of course they were American, but of Indian origin. This is where they were born and this is where they’re going to live. I had an epiphany at that point that we could get confused about who or where we’re from, or we could bring our culture here in a more prominent way where it exists in the mainstream in the normal lexicon of where we are. Our family has always being involved in creating cultural places like Arya Samaj in Houston to bring out the community. So when the opportunity at MFAH came up, Nidhika and I thought it was perfect. Our culture could be blended, and India wouldn’t just be a place in a movie or a magazine. NM – We are very fortunate that we can travel back and forth to India with the kids. Our kids are very desi because I keep instilling it in them and don’t want them to lose it. But there are a lot of our friends who cannot do that, regardless of being Indian or American as time or money may not permit it. We have a piece of India back here where people can get in touch with CONTINUED ON PAGE

Indo American News (ISSN 887-5936) is published weekly every Friday (for a subscription of $30 per year) by IndoAmerican News Inc., 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036, tel: 713-789-6397, fax:713-789-6399, email: Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Indo American News, 7457 Harwin Dr., Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036


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March 23, 2012

Indian Artists Perform at Rice Radio’s 21st Annual Outdoor Show

HOUSTON: For many years, Rice radio has been the preferred choice for Houstonians who boast an insatiable desire for eclectic music. Rice radio offers a wide genre of music this includes the Navrang show. Navrang show plays music from the Indian subcontinent on Saturdays 10 am to 12 noon. Rice radio, KTRU, is a student run radio station operating 24 hours for more than 40 years, originally broadcasting on 91.7FM now on and 90.1FM HD2, also available free with iPhone and android apps and via iTunes college radio station. KTRU’s mission is “to bring alternate forms of making music to Houston radio.” The idea is “to let people know that good music doesn’t only come in electric guitar”. This initiative transpired at the 21st annual KTRU outdoor show on Saturday March 17, the SwaraRagaLaya artists played nontraditional western instruments like the Indian flute, mridangam, tabla, ghatam, khanjira, veena and the Indian style violin, which was new to KTRU’s audience. KTRU’s Facebook post reads SwaraRagaLaya “opened the show with wonderful sounds and a receptive audience”. Accolades resonated of an outstanding performance by talented artists of Indian origin assembled under the brilliant organization of Vidushi Rajrajeshwary Bhat. The concept and conductor for this South In-

KTRU team with the SwaraRagaLaya artists

dian Carnatic music ensemble was Vidushi Rajrajeshwary Bhat, the music faculty head of Swaralayam Arts Forum. KTRU’s annual outdoor shows are held in the month of March/ April from noon to 10 pm at Rice University’s Central quad. This year’s lineup included music from specialty shows like the hip-hop show, the Navrang show, the electronic show, the Post Punk show. More information regarding specialty shows are available on KTRU’s website. A wide range of music and musicians provided an incentive for more people to attend this year’s outdoor show. With heavy promotion by the In-

dian artists there was a good attendance from the Indian community at the KTRU outdoor show. Rajrajeshwary Bhat’s effort to accommodate eleven artists with various instruments was a brilliant demonstration of her innate ability as a composer and conductor. Providing the much needed platform for artists of Indian origin has been a crusade for Varsha Vakil, KTRU’s Navrang show director. She observed that artists of Indian origin are often content performing within their community and refrain from showcasing their exceptional talent beyond their set norms. Besides playing exclusive set lists for the Navrang show, Var-

sha makes an ardent effort to reach out to these artists. Varsha’s true passion for music and culture is appreciated not only at KTRU, but is valued by the community and greatly cherished by the artists. Indian artist profile often make it to the Rice radio folio, artist featured range from Indian folk artist Diwaliben Bhil to Houston-based world renowned artist Nanda Banerjee. KTRU, an American music based radio station in Houston, hones its eclectic taste with live shows, concerts and outdoor shows for artists from Indian origin. Pandit Shantilal Shah’s tabla group Laya Taal Saadhna performed

at KTRU’s 18th annual outdoor show. Other artists to perform at KTRU are Hindustani music connoisseur Pandit Suman Ghosh and his group, acclaimed sarod player Dr. Shankar Bhattacharyya with his accomplice tabla artist Sri Gauri Shankar. KTRU shows and concerts are free for the public. KTRU’s vision for its specialty shows is passed on and maintained through generations by the Rice University’s student station managers and show directors. Varsha vividly recollects Navrang show’s vision explained by a former station manager Nick Schlossman who is a great admirer of music from the Indian subcontinent. Nick explains, “growing up in Houston I was fascinated by the music played on KTRU’s Navrang show, I would like future generations of Houstonian and Rice University students to experience this incredible music from a far away land”. Besides concerts and shows, touring artists from India like Padmabhushan Jagjit Singh, Padmashree Shubha Mudgal and others have been interviewed. Artist interviews can be accessed via the website navrangktru.blogspot. com. KTRU believes successful interaction with artists from Indian origin residing in Houston may opens doors not only to portray their talent at KTRU, but bring to them the much desired recognition at many levels.



March 23, 2012


Sangam 2012 Rocked at Texas A&M

COLLEGE S TAT I O N : Sangam is a talent show hosted every spring by the Texas A&M Indian Students Association (ISA) in College Station. Since it’s inception only A&M teams have competed, but this year for the first time ever, ISA opened up the competition to other teams from all over Texas. Starting with the Indian and American national anthems and a graceful classical exhibition act, six teams participated from out of town and four local A&M teams competed for a grand cash prize. A packed Rudder Theatre filled with family, friends, and performers enjoyed a tough and great competition. The team, Roarin’ Raas bagged the first place for dance taking home a cash prize of $700, Texas Bhangra came in second winning $300. Arjun Adapalli (student from the University of Texas) won the music category with a cash price of $400!

Other fun awards include: Fan Favorite went - Maroon Mayhem, Best Costume - Wreckin’ Raas and Most Spirited - Texas Bhangra. Decked in Indian attire, the ISA officers and Sangam co-directors were excited to have been part of a team that put on a successful talent show. The idea of inviting teams from out of town for the event proved to be a triumph! The ISA looks forward to doing bigger and better things every year!

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March 23, 2012

South Asians Meet with Obama at Private Fundraiser in Houston

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March 23, 2012


Dharun Ravi Found Guilty of Hate Crimes for Spying on Gay Rutgers Roommate

BY JONATHAN ALLEN & AMAN ALI NEW BRUNSWICK (Reuters; A jury convicted Dharun Ravi of hate crimes on Friday after he used a computer webcam to view his Rutgers University roommate kissing another man in a case that sparked a national outcry over gay bullying. Ravi, 20, faces 10 years in prison on the most serious charges of bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi, 18, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge days after learning that his gay encounter was seen by webcam. Ravi, who invited others to watch the feed from the camera mounted on top of his computer, was not charged with causing Clementi’s death. Ravi, an Indian citizen who has lived most of his life in the United States, will be sentenced on May 21 and continues to be free on $25,000 bail after surrendering his passport. After 12 hours of deliberations over three days, the jury convicted Ravi on all 15 counts. Ravi covered his mouth with his hand and his eyes widenened as the verdict was read in a courtroom in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Juror Bruno Ferreira said it was “very difficult” to reach the guilty

Dharun Ravi, center, is hugged by his father, Ravi Pazhani, right, as they leave court around noon in New Brunswick, N.J. Photo: Mel Evans

verdicts on the hate crime counts, which were tied to Ravi using and attempting to use a webcam twice to spy on his roommate’s encounter with an older man in their dorm room. “Thinking about it not being done once, being done twice, not just on one day,” was what convinced the seven-woman, fiveman panel to convict on the hate crime charges, said Ferreira, who appeared to be in his 30s. Clementi’s death on September 22, 2010, came amid a spate of gay teen suicides nationwide, triggering President Obama to condemn bullying, speeding passage of New Jersey’s anti-bullying law and prompting Rutgers to offer “gender-neutral housing,” which

gives students more options when it comes to choosing a roommate. The case intially sparked headlines about cyber-bullying, in part because of incorrect media reports that Ravi recorded Clementi having sex and broadcast it on the Web. In considering the hate crime charges, the jury had to decide whether Ravi was deliberately trying to intimidate Clementi or the other man because of their sexuality, or, alternatively, if they thought that Clementi could reasonably believe he was being targeted for being gay. Going to trial was a gamble for Ravi, who turned down the prosecutor’s offer of a plea deal

recommending probation, community service and the promise to help Ravi, who is not a U.S. citizen, if immigration authorities tried to deport him to India. Ravi was accused of using the webcam to watch Clementi’s date with a 30-year-old man, identified only as M.B., on September 19, 2010, and for attempting to do the same when M.B. returned to the room on September 21, 2010. Ravi said he had disabled his webcam before leaving the room on September 21. In any case, Clementi unplugged Ravi’s computer that evening. Ravi told investigators he accessed his webcam from a friend’s laptop on September 19 only to find out what was going on in his room. He said he wanted to be sure his belongings were safe after Clementi asked to use the room alone with M.B., whom Clementi had met online. According to the defense, Ravi turned off the webcam seconds after he unexpectedly saw the two men kissing. He said his Twitter post two days later, that dared others to remotely access the camera to spy on Clementi and M.B. was a joke. No video or images were seen that night. Matched randomly as freshmen roommates, Ravi from Plainsboro, New Jersey and Clementi from

Ridgewood, New Jersey, seemed to have little in common: Ravi was an outwardly confident and popular student who enjoyed tinkering with computers and playing on the university’s Ultimate Frisbee team; Clementi was a quieter, more insular young man with a talent for the violin. Both seemed wary of each other at first. On Rutgers move-in day, Clementi described Ravi to a friend in an online chat as “sooo Indian/first gen americanish... his rents defs owna dunkin (donuts).” While Ravi’s comments ranged from Clementi’s economic status to his shyness, it was comments about Clementi’s sexuality that prosecutors tried to use to bolster the hate crime charges. Prosecutors said Ravi accessed his webcam fully intending to see the gay encounter on September 19 and was so pleased with himself when he did that he posted on Twitter. In the days before he committed suicide, Clementi checked Ravi’s Twitter page 38 times, the prosecutor said. Among the messages was Ravi’s Tweet from September 19: “Roommate asked for room til midnight. Went into Molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

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UNICEF’s Spirit of Compassion Award for Nidhika & Pershant Mehta



who they really are, their roots. What surprises me, is that people think that non-Indians think lowly of us if we’re not speaking English in their accent or whatever it may be. But it will amaze you how much they love our culture, are hungry for all those ancient texts which we ourselves don’t give enough respect to. When I walk into a mainstream gala wearing a saree, I see the respect in their eyes. We must get away from the myth of inferiority. Despite your high profile, you’ve both remained approachable and down-to-earth in your attitudes, treating everyone with equal respect. How do you strike the balance in all your various roles? PM - There’s nothing high profile about us. We are just very blessed with lots of fabulous opportunities in life. NM – It also stems from not being given everything on a silver platter. We worked for everything. It ties into the fact that it makes us very humane and we know that wealth and fame is transient. PM – One has to get their priorities straight and with us, our children, family, close friends, our community - it’s the relationships, the people in your life that matter. NM - We can go to a huge event with celebrities present, but coming home with a few friends, kicking off shoes and sitting on the sofa with feet up, and recapping the evening and laughing over a cup of chai, that truly is what we find meaningful. The challenge for us is to keep our children humble. We have worked for everything but they have been given everything. They have to know that this isn’t something that comes easily when they have to work.

Mehtas at the MFAH Nidhika and Pershant Mehta Arts of India gallery opening

How do you instill those values in your children? PM – I started working at age eight for my father and granted it wasn’t a 9 – 5 job. Last year when my son turned eight, I made it a point for him to come to the office. He did odd jobs like emptying trash cans or giving out snacks and water, essentially instilling in him a sense of a work ethic. Nidhika was worried that he may have been bored and

wanted to send the driver to pick him up. But my son said, no, he was going home with me at 6.00pm. NM – I grew up with lots of help in the house in Kuwait. But my mother always told me to learn to do everything. When we first married and came here, I could manage on my own. Our daughter helps around the house. We must give our children the weapons to fend for themselves because we don’t know what the future will bring. Are you’ll spiritual? PM – Yes, of course. NM – We have a mandir upstairs and we are religious to an extent. Hinduism to us is a way of life. But we are very global and open to all religions. We have poojas in the house to keep the children attached to their culture, and we explain various aspects of it to them. What do you do as a family? Hobbies? PM – Well, with the kids, it’s basketball and hockey. We love to travel and show the children the world. I have a hectic schedule and I miss my wife and children when I’m on the road so I really enjoy being with them when I’m here. Is the Indian community doing enough for society? The Indian community is reaching out in many ways. Firstly they are helping each other, as we believe charity must begin at

home. When you see organizations like a gurudwara, Arya Samaj, Daya, India House or Indo American Charity Foundation, you realize that Indians are doing a very good job. We’re still young as a community in Houston, and in the natural course of evolution we are doing great. We should be so proud! Indians are generally more adaptive and are becoming more prominent and visible in this city. We’re in every profession and industry. How do you envision the future? PM – Well, the best is yet to come. There’s a lot more to do and a lot more that’s going to happen. Opportunities get broader. I think it’s not only about money - it’s also about lending your name or your time or simply stuffing an envelope or making a call. Houston is one of the most important cities in terms of job creation, economic growth, and international prosperity. We are seeing more Indians in the energy business, becoming professionals. All of these people are going to make India more important. Ten years from now I can see Indian food becoming more loved and recognized out of all cuisines here. NM – We constantly challenge ourselves, we see the world getting smaller, as all are becoming one. To learn more about UNICEF, visit www.


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Shingari’s School of Rhythm Expands to Dallas Award-winning Bollywood dance school will offer weekly classes in April

MISSOURI CITY: In response to an overwhelming need for more Indian dance schools in the Dallas area, Houston-based Shingari’s School of Rhythm (SSR) will be expanding its program to offer weekly lessons in Farmer’s Branch, Texas. The School has built a great reputation for its breathtaking performances that incorporate exceptional technical skill as well as modern and innovative dance styles. Classes will be held every Saturday beginning April 21 at Christ the King Knanaya Catholic Church, 13565 Webb Chapel Rd., Farmer’s Branch, Texas 75234. The class fee is $60 per month. (Those register online by Saturday, March 31 will have the $10 registration fee waived and will receive a free “Shingari’s School of Rhythm – Dallas” tshirt.) School Director Clair “Shingari” Johny is looking forward to beginning classes next month. “Over the past few months, we have received

Clair Johny (also known as Shingari Makkora) is the Founder and Director of Shingari’s School of Rhythm. The dance school, specializing in cinematic Bollywood styles, will be expanding to Dallas this month.

several requests to bring our dance classes to the Dallas area. We’ve ensured that the classes will be of the highest quality and are excited

to share our School’s unique style with all the new students at the Farmer’s Branch location. We are thankful to the Knanaya Church and Fr. Joseph Sauriamakil for reaching out to the community and offering this program to the public,” she said. Shingari’s School of Rhythm specializes in Bollywood cinematic dance and has won multiple, prestigious awards at local and national competitions. SSR students have performed on stages throughout the United States and the world, including Houston, Dallas, Chicago, California, New York, Florida, Mexico and India. The School performed for the Jay Sean concert and at the kickoff of the A.R. Rahman concert. They have been invited to perform with celebrities including Sreenivasan, Manoj K. Jayan, G. Venugopal, Gayathri, Bala and Indrance. For more information and to register online, visit


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•Quality Advocacy •Creating Working Relationships •Honesty and Objectivity Indian Student Association at UH brings back its

5th Nasha 2012 annual talent show An evening filled with dance, food, masti, and unbeatable talent competing for a

$2,000 cash prize. Friday April 13 at the University of Houston Cullen Performance Hall 7PM. TIckets are $10 presale

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AYouth Day Camp at Woodlands Hindu Temple

WOODLANDS: Hindu Temple of The Woodlands (HTW), one of the newest temples in the Greater Houston area, celebrated for the first time ever, two fun events this weekend. One was Holi and the other, a day camp for kids and youth. The day camp, on Saturday, March 17, organized by HTW’s Education Youth and Service (EYS) committee was for kids

around specific moral values. Sunil Gopalkrishna, a young computer hardware engineer and HTW adult scripture instructor, held an exclusive session only for the youth, middle and high-school students. Participants talked about their interactions and experiences at school with friends from diverse religious backgrounds. In the absence of parents and guardians, kids freely expressed and shared

and teens from 6-18 years. Despite the short notice especially during spring break when a number of families were out of town, about 30 kids participated. Khyati Vaidya and her team of young volunteers coordinated the camp along with some adult volunteers from the temple. The younger volunteers who had prior experience working with children and youth during their Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) activities, put that to good use in this camp, and handled the young participants well. The camp struck the right balance between games and educational activities. The participants enjoyed the outdoors and the wide variety of activities throughout the day, made new friends, and gained from the experience of playing and learning together. The highlights of the camps’ activities were yoga, jeopardy and skits. The participants were divided into groups and enacted thematic skits centered

their ideas with their peers in this session, and received appropriate guidance from Sunil. The Youth group finally decided to continue friendly discussions on various topics on a regular basis. The camp day ended with the temple’s priest, M. M. Chakrapani Bhattar’s blessings to the youth volunteers from HSS. HTW has other new activities for the youth. Early 2012, a youth club for teenagers was formed. Members of this club have expressed interest in providing service to the Hindu community through temple projects, and to the general community at large. They participated in recycling of cans, plastic and more at the temple. They also recently volunteered on a workday Saturday at the Montgomery County Food Bank. They often help with the Annadaanam (food to all) at the temple on Sundays. Classes in which children and youth will learn bhajans (devo-



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tional) songs have been scheduled to start early this spring. For a number of years, language classes (Hindi, Tamil and Telugu) for children and youth have been in operation as part of the temple’s educational program. On Sunday, March 18, a delayed (due to weather) Holi celebration was held at the temple. The morning started with a puja performed by the temple’s priest. Colored water was available for youngsters (and some older people!) to spray on friends and families. Lots of colored powder was available to share and enjoy. Various games and contests including a hulahoop contest and a dance contest for teenagers were part of all the fun. Temple volunteers provided a variety of snacks - bhel puri, pani puri, chana batura, idli with chutney and sambar. One of the adult volunteers stated that this was one of the best Holi celebrations she had ever attended, that she was looking forward to the other up-coming temple celebrations. A heart warming moment in all this plethora of color, was an 80-year-old man gently applying a bit of color to the cheek of one of the youngest devotees, 9-month old Eshan Vasisht. The Hindu Temple of The Woodlands will be installing Goddess Lakshmi and Radha-Krishna on April 6-8, 2012. It is located at 7601 S. Forestgate at Woodlands Parkway, The Woodlands, TX 77382. It currently has installed Deities of Lord Venkateswara, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and the Navagrahas. The temple’s mission also includes education and community service. For more information, visit www.

Neighborhood Tax Centers Offer Free Tax Preparation HOUSTON: The tax filing deadline of April 17 is fast approaching. The IRS just announced $1 billion in unclaimed tax return money from 2008 tax year which must be claimed by this year’s filing deadline. People in Houston and its surrounding areas can have their current and prior year tax returns prepared and filed for Free with Neighborhood Tax Centers. The service is available to families with earnings up to $70,000, singles earning $40,000. Services offered include free efiling and free direct deposit for faster refunds. In addition, there is free ITIN assistance for those who do not have social security numbers. Prior year tax returns from 2005 forward can also be prepared and even returns prepared elsewhere can be amended, all at no cost. There are 15 Houston area Neighborhood Tax Centers operating throughout tax season including a location open year round at the Baker Ripley Neighborhood Center in southwest Houston. A complete list of locations and business hours is available by call-

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March 23, 2012



14 March 23, 2012

With the Blessings of HH Sri Sri Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji

Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple JET USA Houston Chapter

Vasantha Navaratra Mahostavams Ugadi Nandana naama Samvatsaram - Sri Rama Navami Friday, March 23 thru Sunday, April 1, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012 Ugadi and Sunday April 1, 2012 Sri Rama Navami in Mutvala Pandiri Visesha Puja, Sri Ramayana Parayanam Sri Vishnu Sahsranama Stotram

Friday, March 23, 2012


Panchaanga Sravanam

Saturday, March 24 to Saturday, March 31, 2012 Sunday. April 1, 2012

Sri Rama Navami

9:00 am - 12:00 pm 6:30 pm - 7:00 pm 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Sri Ra:ma Aaradhana & Archana, Samkshepa Ramayanam, Sundarakanda Samgraham, Aaditya Hrudayam, Gayatri Ramayanam and Sri Ramaraksha Stotra Parayanam.

9.30 am - 11:00 am

Sri Si:ta Ra:ma Thirukalyanam

10.00 am - 12:00 pm

Followed by theertham & prasadam

Sri Ra:ma Navami - Sri Si:ta Ra:ma Kalyana Maho:tsavam - Sunday April 1st.

10.00 am - 12:00 pm - Sri Si:ta Ra:ma Kalyanam 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm - Bhajans lead by Sri Raja Rajeshwari garu Followed by theertham & prasadam Sri Sita Rama kalyanam: Kalyanam Sponsorship is $51

If you already have Sri Sita Rama parivaram please bring them with you so that you can perform Kalyanam. Special kalyanam sponsorship: $251

The tradition of offering pearls or Mutyala Talambralu on the occasion of Kalyana Mahotsavan is observed every year in Bhadrachalam for the past 400 or more years. Yajamani of this sponsorship will be offering Mutyala talambralu (pearls), Pattu Vastram for the divine couple here in Ashtalakshmi temple during Sri Sita Rama Kalyana Mahotsavam. Please take advantage of this unique opportunity. This special sponsorship opportunity is available only to the first 27 devotees. Just like the 27 nakshatras for the moon (Chandra), only the first 27 devotees can avail the opportunity of becoming a bhakta nakshatra for Lord Sri Rama Chandra. After Kalyanam, sponsors will receive Mutyala talambralu, pattu vastram and a coin with the image of the divine couple.

Contact us for more information: 281 498 2344 or 832 455 7923 “Sree Rama Rama Ramethi Rame Rame Manorame Sahasra Nama Tat Thulyam Rama Nama Varanane” Jal Srlmannarayanal ALT Address: 10098 Synott Road, Sugar Land, TX. 77498

For more infonnation visit ALT Website: -Tel: 281-498-2344 INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2012 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

March 23, 2012


16 March 23, 2012

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March 23, 2012


‘Don’t Take Life too Seriously’: Advice of ‘Pocket Hercules’ Mr Universe Champion as he Celebrates his 100th Birthday

BY DAVID BAKER KOLKATA (Dailymail) :Rippling his muscles and flashing a toothless grin a former Mr Universe known as the ‘Pocket Hercules’ celebrates his 100th birthday. And what has been the key to long life for the super-fit centenarian who has battled poverty, a stint in prison and a minor stroke - not taking life too seriously. The diminutive Manohar Aich, who is 4ft 11ins tall, overcame many hurdles to achieve his body building glory. Born in the small town of Comilla in Bengal, he was attracted to exercising and building his muscles when as a schoolboy he saw a group of wrestlers in action. After leaving school in 1942, he joined the Royal air force under India’s British colonial rulers and it was there that he began his relentless pursuit of body building. Encouraged by a British officer named Reub Martin, who introduced him to weight training, Aich earned praise for his physique from his peers in the air force. Some years later, however, he was thrown into prison when he protested against colonial oppression. He said: ‘It was in that jail that I began weight training seriously. This helped me prepare myself for the world championship. ‘In jail I used to practice on my own, without any equipment, sometimes for 12 hours in a day.’ The prison authorities were so impressed with his perseverance and hard graft he was given a special diet to help build his stamina and it was India’s independence in 1947 that led to Aich’s release. Dogged by poverty, Aich and his wife struggled to put their four children through school.

gym. Although his two sons did not take up body building, Aich says his mentoring has earned him many rewards. It has produced India’s eight-time national champion, Satya Paul, while another protege, Premchand Former Mr Universe Manohar Aich flexes his muscles as he poses Dogra, scooped for a photograph on the eve of his 100th birthday in a gymnasium in the Mr. Universe Kolkata Photo: Dibyangshu Sarkar title in 1988. There was little cash to indulge his passion for Despite tough body building, but Aich took up odd jobs to earn times and his tireless a little on the side. His 1950 win of a ‘Mr. Hercules’ contest efforts to make it as spurred him to set his sights on the Mr. Universe a muscle man Aich tournament in London and a year on Aich came says his ability to take second in the contest. He decided to stay in Lon- his troubles lightly don to prepare for another shot at the title and and remain happy to India with the crown after bagging the title are the secrets to his in 1952. What followed were a host of awards, long life. That, and a simple including top positions in Asian Body building Championships, and his more popular title of diet of milk, fruits and vegetables along ‘Pocket Hercules’ due to his small frame. Six decades later, Aich still heads to the gym with rice, lentils and to help his sons run a fitness center and spends fish have kept him his days guiding juvenile hopefuls to reach the healthy. He does not smoke heights of body building that he did. A minor stroke last year has robbed him of and has never touched the ability to lift weights, but he keeps a watch- alcohol, he said. ‘I ful eye on young body builders training in his never allow any sort

of tension to grip me. I had to struggle to earn money since my young days, but whatever the situation, I remained happy’ Sitting in a room decorated with posters and pictures of his many bodybuilding triumphs today he said that he did have one regret however. That he never had a chance to meet his more famous counterpart, and fellow Mr Universe winner, Arnold Schwarzenegger. ButAich says he’s seen many of Schwarzenegger’s action films. ‘I like the incredible stunts he does in the movies,’ he added His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered in the eastern city of Kolkata to celebrate his birthday the day before. Hindu priests chanted prayers while a feast was laid out to honour him. The muscular Manohar Aich shortly after being crowned as Mr Universe back in 1952


18 March 23, 2012 Above and Below the Poverty Line Any public debate on poverty tends to blend reason and emotion. The poverty line for 2009-10 — per capita consumption expenditure on a monthly basis — based on the Suresh Tendulkar committee recommendations works out to Rs 672.80 in rural areas and Rs 859.60 in urban areas. One can argue if these amounts are sufficient for an individual in rural or urban India to meet her monthly needs. But reducing the entire debate to just this benchmark is missing the point. Of course, the poverty line — based on consumption spends or calorie intake — can be pegged higher but what is significant is how these numbers are changing over time. The latest set of data released by the Planning Commission on Monday, based on the National Sample Survey household consumer expenditure survey for 2009-10 and arrived at by updating the Tendulkar poverty line for 2004-05 to 2009-10, shows the task is cut out. Between 200405 and 200910, India’s poverty numbers reduced from 37.2 per cent to 29.8 per cent, or 1.5 percentage points a year on an annualised basis. This pales in comparison with the 2 percentage points a year reduction target set by the Eleventh Plan. But criticising the poverty line and ignoring emerging trends stand in the way of analysing the disaggregated data and drawing the right lessons. Higher growth rate during the period has certainly helped, but factors such as the job guarantee scheme, a revamped public distribution system and mid-day meal scheme too have enabled low-income states to do extremely well. For instance, the percentage of people below poverty line in Orissa has dropped sharply from 57.2 in 2004-05 to 37 in 200910. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have also seen large drops but these are high-income states that posted decent growth rates. Bihar witnessed high growth, but surprisingly its BPL percentage has reduced by just one percentage point to 53.5 in 2009-10; inequality has surged between the top 10 per cent and the bottom 10 per cent of Indians; poverty is dropping faster in villages than in cities. Understanding these to push initiatives — like Aadhaar — to better target the bottom of the pyramid is the real governance challenge. The debate over poverty lines should not drown out what lies between. - Indian Express


Is Carrom a Sport?

BY INDRAJIT HAZRA Football is the Beautiful Game and golf the ugliest. But where does carrom fit in the grand hierarchy of sports? I can hear you snigger already. Carrom a sport? At best, it’s a board game on par with an unplugged version of an ‘80s Atari video game. (They’ve recently brought out a Carrom 3D ipad app.) At worst, it’s what a type of middle-aged man tries to convince newspaper readers on a Sunday to be a sport so as to delude himself into believing that he’s not un-sporty at all. But that’s where you’re wrong. Carrom is a sport that requires skill, involves passion and forces the player to make strategic decisions. And I’m not extolling its virtues out of nostalgia. Sweet as it is to remember one’s wonder years with the sight and cracking sounds of the carrom board, getting nostalgic about carrom-playing can actually get in the way of a sport that’s crying out to reach at least table-tennis status from becoming popular. Cricket, for all our memories of swinging an arm and a bat in ‘half pants’, has reached its unstoppable popularity not because we vividly miss those bouts of galli cricket but because a whole superstructure has grown around the sport propping it up beyond just the games. Carrom has an intelligent beauty about it: a square wooden board around which two or four players sit or stand with the object of knocking into the pockets (the four holes in the four corners of the board) nine carrom men (the disks that are

sent cracking about the board) of one’s colour (white or black) and hopefully the high-value red coin by using a striker (a larger disk) and Newtonian physics. If measuring the right force, mass and acceleration to propel a disk with the force emanated from the tip of one’s fingers is a crucial aspect of carrom, having an intuition for Euclidian geometry is another. How to knock one of your coins that’s partially eclipsed by your opponent’s piece into a pocket is a skill that mixes neuro-engineering with a Jedi knight’s feel

for the Force. And when a particularly acute-angled shot leads to a coin sliding across the wooden board and into a pocket - hit not too hard that the striker too goes but also not too slow that the disc freezes midway - we witness a beautiful act of the calibre of a Federer forehand, an Azharuddin leg glance, or a Messi chip. But the beauty of a sport - or rather, how beautifully it is played - alone is not enough to make it popular. Cricket’s popularity comes from great players, great games and the great hinterland that covers cricket, highlights it, exaggerates it, commentates about it, writes about it, and mythologises it. Carrom needs that kind of ‘theoretical support’ where experts will talk about

matches, make legends out of great games, build heroes, disseminate and discuss key moments of carrom history. Chennai-based A Maria Irudayam may not be a household name even in India despite being a two-time World Carrom Champion, a nine-time national champion and a recipient of the Arjuna Award in 1996. But countries like Switzerland, Germany and Holland - not to mention Sri Lanka and Pakistan - have serious carrom enthusiasts too. The fifth World Carrom Championship was held in Cannes, France, in 2008. (Sri Lanka beat India in the final.) The host nation and dates of the 2012 World Carrom Championship will be announced soon. ESPN had telecast the championship in 2008. Very few people knew about it then, which is just as well as the production quality sucked. They had simply replicated camera angles meant for billiard match coverage. The commentary, too, was as bland as a Doordarshan on Republic Day. Carrom can well be made into the next big spectator sport. The thought of a crisp, super slo-mo TV replay of a glorious bisecting shot pocketing a coin along with an intelligent bit of commentary could give you goosebumps. I’ll certainly watch out for the dates for this year’s world championship. What carrom needs is theoretical support through coverage, word-of-mouth banter (read: Facebook noise) and a critical apparatus set around it. It’s time carrom, the finest noncontact contact sport, gets its due buzz so that it can erupt and ricochet as a cracking phenomenon. I can feel the air near my fingers quiver already. -- Hindustan Times

Indo American News FOUNDER: DR. K.L. SINDWANI

EDITOR: PRAMOD KULKARNI BUSINESS MANAGER: JAWAHAR MALHOTRA MANAGING PARTNER: KRISHNA GIRI COMMUNITY REPORTER: KALYANI GIRI COMMUNITY EDITOR: MANASI GOKHALE ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER: VANSHIKA VIPIN GRAPHIC DESIGN: SAQIB RANA 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:, website:



March 23, 2012 income tax

“I have Learnt a lot from my Experiences”: Sarita Joshi, Popular Theater and Television Star

BY RACHANA SRIVASTAVA Sarita Joshi, a popular figure from the Star Plus television soap, Ba Bahu Aur Baby is currently in the USA to present her Gujarati play, Tu Che Lajawaab. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

Open 7 days a week

Welcome to America Sarita Ji. How do you like it here? Thank you. It feels good to be here. I was a bit tired initially but am all set now. As actors we are always ready to contribute some new work to the world of art. How did your acting career begin? I belong to a family of actors. Also, living in Baroda, theaters including Prithvi and Gandharva were an inherent part of my life. I started work as a child artist in plays and became famous. I am not highly educated for sure but life has taught me a lot. My father passed away and my mother had to fend for our family. My work as a child artist was a great help for my family. I kept on getting roles by chance. If someone could not make it for their role, then I got the part. A succession of such roles finally made me an actor in my own right with my fan calling. Your serial Ba Bahu Aur Baby was quite famous. How do you feel about it? I have got name, fame, glory and love, all of it, through Baa Bahu Aur Baby. I look at this serial and the character I played in it, as something that mirrors my own life experiences. The drama and the characters involved can probably be encountered quite often in everyday reality. How was your experience working in Maniratnam’s film Guru? My role was small but it was quite a cute one. Maniratnam is a huge name. Working with him even for ten days is a big thing. You get to learn a lot from him. Abhishek and Aishwarya were very nice to me too and I am in touch with them even today. How did you like working with Vinay Pathak in Dasvidaniya? Dasvidaniya is a lovely film. The directors, Shashank Desai and Vinay Pathak, were very good to me. I got a lot of love and respect from them when I worked on that film. Tell us something about your up-

coming films and serials. I recently finished a serial “Chand Chupa Badal Mein”. My upcoming film Gangu Bai directed by Priya Swami is in my opinion both classic and commercial. I have two television projects lined up, one of which is Gajendra Singh’s. The name is yet to be decided. How did you manage your work and home when you lost your husband? It was very difficult in the beginning. I had to leave my kids at home and head out for work. I have felt bad about doing that but really had

no choice. The children used to miss having me around but eventually they got accustomed to it. My Hindi play Saku Bai did well for 11 years and my Gujarati play Saturangini was well received. The success of these plays really helped. Having worked in cinema, daily television soaps and theater, which is closer to your heart? I am an artist and I enjoy all sorts of acting but still I feel close to theater because I have been associated with it since my childhood. It has a very important place in my life. The theater enabled me to support my family and raise my kids. After I lost my husband Praveen, I feel like it was theater which saw me through thick and thin. My daughters Ketki, Poorvi and my son were able to get a good education because of the theater. I owe my life to the theater, which also brought me many national awards. Tell us something about your play Su Che Lajawaab. It is a satirical play about a house wife managing her home, raising kids and how one woman takes care of another, in the event of a misfortune. I am pretty sure that those who see the play will take home long lasting memories from it.


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Who Killed Baby Falak? BY FARAH NAQVI (The Hindu) A child died and we collectively mourn. She was just two years old. And she fought bravely, but the tubes and wires connecting her to life support in the AIIMS Trauma Centre were no match for the systemic failures that carried this baby to her death. For the truth is that Falak never really stood a chance. What we know of Falak’s life are odd fragments from media reports. A 15-year-old girl brings an unnamed baby to a hospital. The baby has human bite marks on her body, and has been beaten, almost to death. It turns out the teenager is not the mother, and has herself been abused by a partner who dumped the baby on her just months ago. Some days later, the real mother is found — 22-year-old Munni, trafficked across many State borders, from Bihar to Delhi and sold into a second marriage in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, forced to leave her three children to the mercy of strangers who promise to look after them but never do. Names of several men pop up along the way — Shah Hussain from Bihar, Munni’s husband, who sold her; Sandeep Pandey, husband of the teenager’s friend Pooja, who raped her, then tried to sell her in marriage to an old man in Etah in Uttar Pradesh, and then passed her on to a taxi driver Rajkumar; Rajkumar, the teenager’s current partner and pimp; Jitender Gupta, the teenager’s father who beat her so badly that she ran away into the arms of these pimps. There are other odd fragments — a man named Manoj and his wife Pratima, arrested from Patna — they are the ones who eventually handed the baby to Rajkumar and to the 15-yearold, leading finally to Falak’s death. Confusing human dots How do these confusing human dots really join? There is much we might never know. All we really know is that the desperate, violent lives of Munni and a 15-year-old girl unknowingly crossed, and a little baby girl went from the arms of a helpless, trafficked mother into the care of a raped, abused, and disturbed teenager. These tiny fragments are like a million shards of broken glass, which when pieced together create a hideous distorted mirror. A mirror to what we are — a nation with no state or social safety nets for the most desperate. Falak, Munni and the unnamed teenage girl were in free fall through every crack in our system. Their lives tell a thousand stories. Girls in India are often born unwanted, if they are born at all. The decline in the child sex ratio (0-6 years), from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and further to 914 females per 1,000 males in 2011 — is the lowest since independence. Falak was probably among those unwanted, devalued girls, easily dispensed with. And had she lived, she may have been among the malnourished millions, among the 42.3 per cent of under-fives in India who are underweight or the 58.8 per cent who are stunted (The HUNGaMA report, Naandi Foundation, 2012). As a girl, she was at the

The two-year-old died a horrible death because the system did not care enough to want her to live. lowest end of this malnourishment ladder. Perhaps if she were stronger she would have survived the abuse. And what of the young 15-year-old teenager who first battered and then tried to save Falak? A run-away from the slums of Sangam Vihar, right in the heart of the capital. Her mother died and her father abused her, and so she ran for security to her would-be pimps. They prostituted and raped her, again and again. And yet this frightened young girl did not reach out to any system for help. Should she have gone to the police? Could she have? Rape, it seems now, is such an everyday occurrence, and justice so elusive, it may have made little sense. For where would she go from the police station after lodging her FIR, with no family backing, no one to take her in? Where does she stay, how does she live as she fights a rape case? No support before, during or after. We offered her nothing but rape laws and a gender blind criminal justice system. Although the NCRB claims a conviction rate of 26.5 per cent in 2010, (marginally up from 26.12 in 2003), these figures are hugely misleading. According to legal activists, given the number of convictions overturned in appeals, a better approximation would be a 5 per cent rate of conviction in rape cases. So did this underage, runaway girl from a slum stand any chance of help through the courts? The rules of evidence, the procedural hurdles, a hostile police, the lack of community and public support to a rape survivor, and the enormous social stigma — these are the odds she would have been up against. What she did have was a damn good chance of being called a liar or a disobedient slut and being sent right back home. The truth is that we failed to give this young disturbed abandoned girl a choice more “real” than the one she sought in a violent abusive relationship. Today she probably needs psychiatric care

more than the bars of a prison cell, but even that it seems is not on offer. Falak’s mother Munni was apparently sold and trafficked across two State borders from Bihar to Delhi to Rajasthan. Year 2010 saw 3,422 incidents of crime related to human trafficking reported compared to 2,848 in 2009, an increase of 20.2 per cent (NCRB, 2010). Clearly our men in uniform didn’t manage to see or stop these traffickers. And this year they will add Munni to their statistic. But will we do anything to offer her a better life? Where are the “rehabilitation” programmes for women like Munni? As Munni went from a husband who sold her, to a pimp who re-sold her, did she have anyone to turn to? Look at the condition of the Nari Niketan shelter homes we have in India for women in distress, where abuse is the norm rather than the exception. Central schemes consist only of Swadhar and badly run short-stay homes. Not an aberration Thetragedyisthatneithertheabused teenager nor Munni is an aberration. According to NFHS III (2007), one in three Indian women aged 15-49 years has experienced physical violence; and one in 10 has experienced sexual violence. Nearly two in five married women have experienced physical or sexual violence by their husband. Sixteen per cent of never married women have experienced physical violence since they were 15 years of age by a parent, sibling or teacher. One in four abused women have never sought help to end the violence. Two out of three abused women have not only never sought help, but have also never told anyone about the violence. Abused women most often seek help from their families. Very few abused women seek help from institutional sources. (Quoted in Psychosocial Care for Women in Shelter Homes, UNODC & NIMHANS, 2011) And as for Baby Falak — child abuse remains among the most rampant and hidden forms of everyday violence in Indian homes. Systematic data, information and services on child protection are still not easily available. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights set up in March 2007 is a beginning. But there’s a long way to go. In the meantime, a child has died a horrible death. She was just two years old. And she died because we didn’t care enough, and we didn’t care in time. She symbolises many. Let us plug every hole in our safety nets for women in distress and for victims of child abuse, so that her death does not go in vain. The author is a writer & activist, and a member of the National Advisory Council. Views expressed here are personal.


March 23, 2012



22 March 23, 2012

9.00 AM-01.00 PM Vishwaksena Aaradhana, Vasudeva Punyahavachanam Puja Bhajans, Kirthans , Lunch Prasad 4.30 PM-08.30 PM Deepa Prajwalana, Anugyan Vishwaksena Aaradhana,Puja, Vaastu Puja and Homam, Mritsamgrahanam, Ankuraarpanam, Raksha Bandhanam, Bhajans/Kirtans/Cultural Program 9 PM-9:30pm Dinner Prasad, Shayyadhivasam

Saturday, Apr 7th 2012 6.00 AM-1.00 PM Viswaksena Aradhana Kalasha Puja and Sthapana, Go(Cow) Puja Vimana Kalasha Sthapana Netra Unmeelanam, Lunch Prasad 1:30 PM-5.00 PM Ratnadhivasam, Yantra Sthapana Bimba Sthapana, Ashta Bandhana ( Murti Sthapana) 6.00 PM-9.00 PM Deepa Sthapanam, Maha Lakshmi Puja Shodhashanyaasam, Dinner Prasad 9.30 PM-Midnight DANDIYA RAAS

Sunday, Apr 8th 2012

Our Hindu community’s efforts to build a temple are culminating on April 6th - Apr 8th 2012. The murties of Sri Radha Krishna and Sri Lakshmi will be installed using Hindu rituals, as prescribed in the ancient Agama Shastras. We request your enthusiastic participation in this once in a lifetime opportunity. To view the schedule of events, and to RSVP please go to

6.00 AM-8.30 AM Vishwaksena Aaradhana Puja 8.30 AM-2.00 PM


Friday, April 6th 2012

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(Sun Sign) Visit us Online ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20: engage yourself in activities related to research You have been going great and development, and planning and implemenguns as long as work is con- tation. Impressed by your work, your superiors cerned. But, you wish to grow may give a pat on your back. Some good news even more ? personally, profes- about your professional achievement may be sionally and financially. Here, on its way. Apart from work, financial and you foresight and focus will help you to aim legal matters will be constantly on your mind. higher in life. You may travel far and wide, and But dont forget to spare some time for yourself tap on the new opportunities that come your and relax. SCORPIO Oct 24 - Nov way. You may also take up work related to 22: Your will be unstoppable research or analysis to prove your professional as you chase your dreams. skills. Success will be yours, during this period. You will grab every opporYour progress will be a reason good enough to tunity that knocks your door. celebrate with your family. Bonding with your You will invite new and talspouse and kids will give you joy and happiness. ented people to build your business, and to TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 You may be bogged down collaborate with you. These small steps may act with responsibilities. And this as building blocks of a huge business empire. time, domestic matters will But, there may be occasions when tensions and take the forefront. Deteriorat- worries may surround you. It may take a toll on ing health of a close family your health. Divert your mind by being close to member may keep you worried. Mounting your near and dear ones. Their love and support expenses may be another reason to worry will provide you security that you may require about. But there’s no need to put your business during this phase. SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 expansion plans on hold. In fact, new projects Dec 22: You will want to take will to improve your financial position. If you your relationship to the next are a professional, you may be lured to take up level, this week. Already hava lucrative job, which may come your way. The ing passed the phase of getting going may get tough at times, but don’t lose attracted or infatuated, you hope. This phase shall pass soon. GEMINI May 22 - Jun 21: will be ready to commit in a relationship. Those Your are likely to swing into of you who are already committed will enjoy high gear as the work pressures blissful moments. Space and transparency in may be unrelenting. Thinking your relationship will only make the bonding about your professional goals stronger. As far as your business is concerned, and revising your financial you are going to rule the market. You will mint policies may be on your agenda this week.At the money, and secure your future financially. A same time, you may be in a mood to celebrate, as truly fantastic week lies ahead of you. CAPRICORN Dec 23 you may even be rewarded for your outstanding Jan 20: The trends of last performance at work. Apart from work, your week will continue as your health too may need attention. You may not activities will be family-cenrealise, but you may be over-exerting yourself. tric. However, there’s a lot In case of even a minor health trouble, you must more happening in the other visit a doctor to avoid complications. spheres of life, and this may CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 23: There may be few situations at domestic leave you confused. Work will demand more as well as professional front, hours, while matters related to finances will which may disappoint you and need to be sorted out. Religious ceremonies depress you. You may have to and social occasions will keep you on your struggle a lot to reach the set toes. Although you will enjoy being busy, take target, at work. Avoid getting some time out to relax or your health may play into arguments with your superiors. On the do- a spoilsport. AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb mestic front, there are chances of conflicts with 19: Your patience and willyour near and dear ones. This may be one of the power will be put to test this unfavourable phases for your relationship. But, week. Some undercurrents don’t worry, soon, this phase will pass. will result into disruption of LEO July 24 - Aug 23: mental peace. Sensing your Lately, there may have been changes in your life. Although troubled mood, your friends and family may initially you may have been give you a reason to relieve your tensions. reluctant to accept them, this Attending social functions, exchanging ideas, week you may realise that they or going on a holiday together will prove to have benefited you in many ways. Personal and be a welcome break for you. However, don’t professional gains are on the cards. You are forget to keep a watch on your coffers. Majoralso likely to show interest in spiritual matters ity of you may experience a financial crunch during this phase. However avoid conflicts in a during this phase. So, try to avoid unnecessary personal relationship or business partnerships. expenditures. Too many challenges at a time VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23: may bog your down. Meditation may help you to relax. Relocation, promotion or new PISCES Feb 20 - Mar job is on the cards for you. At the 20: Give your best shot durpersonal front, you may want to ing this phase, and it will get out of a relationship, which reap you benefits like never may be like a burden for you, before. Yes! Whatever you and this may be the right time to do so. However, avoid the break-up in a bitter way. The changes touch, will turn into gold this week. The mighty are likely to be fast paced, making it difficult for planet Mercury is showering its blessings upon you to adapt to them. But you need to go with you. Official tours and travel, meetings and the flow. And soon you may realise that changes conferences, interviews and collaborations are some of the activities that will keep you have turned many situations in your favour. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23: occupied. Enjoying special attention this week You will swing into high gear will be the people from the media fraternity. to realise your ambitions and Your popularity will soar, and the credit goes live your dreams. Making to your outstanding contribution at work. Your the most of your managerial achievements will help you to scale new heights and analytical skills, you will and chalk out new plans for the future.

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South Indian Classical Music Festival South Indian Classical Music Festival MarMar 30 to Apr 1, 2012 . 30 to Apr 1, 2012. Sri Meenakshi Temple Kalyana Mantapam Meenakshi Kalyana Mantapam 17130SriMcLean Rd,Temple Pearland, TX 77584 . McLean Rd, Pearland, TX 77584. Festival Details: Festival Details: • Four• vocal concerts by leading visiting artists from India. Four vocal concerts by leading visiting artists from India. Sashikiran & Ganesh; R.Vedavalli & SumitraVasudev; Suryaprakash; Manimaran Sashikiran & Ganesh; R.Vedavalli & SumitraVasudev; Suryaprakash; Manimaran (Violinist: Nagai Sriram; Percussionists: T.Murugaboopathy, Raja Rao, K.V.Gopalakrishnan) (Violinist: Nagai Sriram; Percussionists: T.Murugaboopathy, Raja Rao, K.V.Gopalakrishnan) • Festival combined with MTS Kalyanam on Sat 31 at319:30 AM.AM. • Festival combined with Sita-Rama MTS Sita-Rama Kalyanam onMar Sat Mar at 9:30 • The•traditional Unchavritti procession & Pancharatnam singing on Sun Apr1 at 9atAM. The traditional Unchavritti procession & Pancharatnam singing on Sun Apr1 9 AM. • Lecture demonstrations, children's • Lecture demonstrations, children’s quiz, quiz, etc, etc, • & Group & Individual performances by Sangita Upasakas of community our community • Group Individual performances by Sangita Upasakas of our • Utsavam is dedicated the Centenarian 2012 Centenarian of Carnatic Music • Utsavam is dedicated to the to 2012 iconsicons of Carnatic Music - Sri Madurai Man Iyer, Sri Palghat Mani Iyer, & Smt. T. Brinda. Sri Madurai Man Iyer, Sri Palghat Mani Iyer, & Smt. T. Brinda. The Festival is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. The Festival is supported solely through your tax-deductible donations. Festival is free and open281-242-4914, to the public. Anuradha: Donations281-265-2416 are welcome. Please callThe Nalini: 281-777-2800, Prabha:

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Budget 2012: Televisions, Cars, Colas and Eating Out to Cost more

BY CHANCHAL PAL CHAUHAN & WRITANKAR MUKHERJEE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA (Economic Times) : The budget proposals to increase tax rates will hit consumers as early as this week with a host of products and services set to cost 2%-5% more. Makers of cars, consumer electronics, home appliances, digital cameras, soft drinks and milk, wellness service providers and restaurateurs told ET that they will increase prices despite fears that it will impact demand. “There is a lot of pressure on margins and it’s not possible to absorb the hike in excise duty,” Kamal Nandi, VP (sales and marketing) at Godrej Appliances, said. Budget at ET: Budget 2012 | Union Budget | Live Union Budget Blog | Railway Budget | Budget News | Economic Survey of India Godrej plans to increase prices of refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners and televisions by minimum 2% from next week. “It will definitely have an impact on demand since the industry was already going through a bad phase,” Nandi said. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget proposals increased excise duty and service tax to 12% from 10% and widened the service tax net to include all barring 27 types of services mentioned in a negative list. Those who plan to pass on part of this to consumers include Panasonic, Godrej, Canon, Coca-Cola, Amul, Specialty Restaurants and VLCC besides all major carmakers. The country’s largest milk products brand Amul plans to increase prices of ice cream and flavoured milk by about 5%, said RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, makers of Amul products. Top beverages maker Coca-Cola

plans to increase prices of 1.5- and 2-litre PET bottles of its drinks such as Coca-Cola, Thums Up and Sprite by about 4%-5% in a month, but there will be no price rise for smaller packs, a Coca-Cola India spokesperson said. Rival PepsiCo is expected to follow suit, although the company declined to comment on any proposed price increase. Potholed road ahead All major carmakers have announced price increases in the range of 2%-5% across segments due to an increase in the excise duty, in a move that will most certainly impact sales in an industry already fighting slowing demand due to rising fuels prices and loan rates. “Rise in excise and import duty is not be very conducive for the auto industry as it will directly affect buyers sentiments and would lead to slowdown in sales in the next few months,” Toyota Kirloskar Motor deputy MD (Marketing) Sandeep Singh said. Popular cars such as Maruti Alto and Swift, Hyundai i10 and i20 and Tata Indica cost anywhere

between Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000 more, depending on the different variant from Saturday. Bigger cars like Honda City or the Toyota Camry as well as the expensive sports utility vehicle like the BMW X1 or the Audi Q5 and top end sedans like Mercedes SClass can go up by anything between Rs 35,000 to Rs 3 lakh. Neeraj Garg, member of board and director at Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, said the new duties will act as a growth deterrent and impact carmakers’ longterm strategy. Boost to grey market? Japan’s largest electronics company, Panasonic plans to increase prices of air conditioner, refrigerator, washing machine and microwave ovens by 3%-4% from April, while prices of LCD and LED TV will also go up by 2%. “If anyone wants to buy at lower price, one should complete their purchase as early as possible this month,” Panasonic India Managing Director Manish Sharma said. The Rs 38,000-crore consumer durable industry feels growth rate may take a hit by 10%-15% this year due

to the increase in duties. The growth rate had more than halved to 6% last calendar from 13% in 2010 due to a slowdown in economy, rising prices and high consumer loan rates. Prices of digital cameras and camcorders too will increase due to 2% hike in countervailing duty (CVD), while prices of highend digital SLR cameras will rise as much as 14% due to a renotification of cameras with video recording capability. The new notification puts 10% basic custom duty, up from zero, on digital cameras of minimum 4.8 megapixel that can record videos at more than 23 frames per second and are capable of more than 30 minutes of continuous video recording. This may boost the grey mark as most



digital SLR cameras fall under this category, Canon India Senior VP Alok Bharadwaj said. Pay more for services Eating out and beauty services too will now cost more due to a 2% increase in service tax. Vandana Luthra, founder, beauty and slimming services chain VLCC, said most services will become costlier due to the raise in service tax, but declined to share details such as the increase in rates and effective date. Anjan Chatterjee, chairman and MD of Specialty Restaurants, which runs Mainland China and Oh! Calcutta restaurants, said the company will raise prices by 2%, but only over the next six months when the restaurants revise their menu.

March 23, 2012



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March 23, 2012


The Tragedy of Being Mamata Didi BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT “Tragedy is if you get what you have always wanted”, said a wit a long time ago. This seems to sum up the quintessence of Mamata Banerjee’s political career spanning more than three and a half decades. With a lower middle class background and a string of degrees including a master’s in Islamic History, Mamata had joined the Congress in 1970s. Steadily but surely she rose in the political hierarchy becoming an important functionary both of the Mahila Congress and Youth Congress. It was during her initial years in politics that West Bengal came under the spell of the Left Front government headed by CPI (M) in 1977 and it continued in power uninterrupted for the following 34 years. Its rule was authoritarian and Mamata soon became obsessed with dislodging the Communists’ government in West Bengal. Then onwards it had become the very raison d’être of her politics; everything else took a second place in her scheme of things. Mamata’s parliamentary career began in 1984 when she created a sensational upset by defeating the Communist veteran Somnath Chatterjee from Jadavpur constituency. In an anti-Congress wave, she lost her seat in 1989. However, she reentered the parliament in 1991 from Calcutta South Constituency which, in a way, ‘adopted’ her as its favorite Didi. Thereafter, it was no stopping her and she retained her South Calcutta seat in every successive general election. She also held many ministerial portfolios including sports, railways et al in the Union governments both under the NDA and Congress. Her raison d’être In the course of her tenures in the Lok Sabha, Mamata took to adopting ‘direct action’ in order to compel the Union government to accept the various proposals including those for improving sports infrastructure that she had submitted as a minister in the country. Sometime in 1996, she started nurturing a feeling that the Congress government was behaving as a stooge to the CPI (M) in West Bengal. Since the communists were her main bête noire, she started losing confidence in the ability of the Congress to contain the growing tentacles of the communists’. The following year in 1997, Mamata left

Mamata Banerjee

Dinesh Trivedi

the Congress party and founded her own party and named it as All India Trinamool Congress. Her party soon assumed the role of the principal opposition party to the Left Front government. In the meantime, she had also become paranoid about each and every price increase irrespective of the fact whether it was justified or not. In 1996, as a minister she sat on a dharna in the Lok Sabha to voice her protest against the increase in the prices of petroleum products. Thereafter Mamata became her own woman; and opposed every price increase of whatever nature; it thus became the very essence of her political philosophy. Two important factors marked Mamata’s entire political career. One, populism of every hue became her credo. Two, Mamata was against levying any new tax and also made it a point to oppose any price increase. She had never been steadfast in her political ideology and easily shifted her allegiance between the Congress and NDA without feeling a twinge of guilt, though she carried a pathological hatred of sorts against the Communists. A foretaste in the likely change of direction of political winds in West Bengal came in 2009 when her party Trinamool Congress won 19 parliamentary seats on its own while its Congress ally won just five. As a railway minister for two years in UPA-II, she was credited with introducing many populist measures, especially favoring West Bengal, and thus putting the railways into heavy debt. 2011 – a watershed year The year 2011 became a watershed year in Mamata’s life when she was

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able to achieve her life’s dream of dislodging the Left Front rule from West Bengal. Mamata’s victory in the elections was more impressive than expected and her party on its own strength obtained an absolute majority in the state assembly. She was duly anointed the first ever woman and the first non-communist chief minister of West Bengal in 34 years. For Mamata, the ousting of the Left Front from West Bengal was her life’s ambition and was akin to scaling the Mount Everest. Once she had achieved her life’s ambition, there were no more peaks to scale, and no more forts to win. Her tragedy essentially lies in her inability to change her mental track from having been a virulent opposition leader in West Bengal all of her life to becoming the chief minister of the state. Somehow, she still considers herself as a ‘maidan politician’and would not think twice even to take up cudgels against the policemen of the state of which she herself is the chief minister. Recently, she had barged into a police station in Kolkata to ‘free’ some of her party supporters. She is believed to have developed a brusque style of administration. She doesn’t hesitate to insult officers in the presence of ministers and vice versa. This is unfortunate that she is unable to do a ‘makeover’ from Mamata Didi to Mamata the chief minister. This same mindset led Mamata to strongly oppose the Centre’s decision on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail sector and the constitution of National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC). It was Mamata’s this opposition that compelled the Manmohan Singh government to put on the back

burner both these otherwise sensible proposals. Her opposition came notwithstanding the fact that her party is the second largest partner after the Congress in the UPA-II coalition at the Centre. The straw that broke the camel’s back came last week when she demanded the resignation of Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi for presenting an ‘audacious’ budget increasing the rail fares across the board. It must be remembered that Trivedi was nominated as her party’s representative on the cabinet. Her grudge was ‘how dared he increase the fares against the party policy and without consulting her’. She has even ‘appointed’ Mukul Roy as the next railway minister, even though this is strictly the prerogative of the Prime Minister. Mamata’s shrieking protest has come as a godsend opportunity to the opposition parties particularly BJP and CPI (M) who have unleashed an organized campaign against the Manmohan Singh’s government making fun of its own internal dissensions. If anyone has emerged with credit in this ugly episode, it is the Railway minister Trivedi who has won many new admirers for his transparency and sincere statements on news channels. He justifiably claimed that the increase in the fares that had remained unchanged for the past 10 years was totally inevitable and absolutely justified. He further said that his action was only to bring the railways out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where it had been confined for last few years. Believing in ‘direct action’, Mamata flew into Delhi Sunday night to ensure that her writ still ran large in the Union government. Trivedi too phoned Mamata and eventually offered to resign. Mamata’s new nominee Mukul Roy met the Prime Minister on Monday and was sworn in Tuesday morning as the new railway minister in place of Dinesh Trivedi. Even objective critics have taken Manmohan Singh to task for yielding so easily to Mamata’s ‘blackmail’. Thus it is unfortunate that

an honest and conscientious minister has been sacrificed at the altar of coalition politics. In a strange twist to this tale, the two Uttar Pradesh adversaries Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today came to the rescue of the government in different ways when BJP moved an amendment to delete reference to NCTC in the President’s Address. The government would have lost the confidence of the House had this amendment was carried. Both BSP and Mamata’s Trinamool Congress walked out of the Lok Sabha thereby substantially reducing the number of members present and voting. The Samajwadi Party stayed in the House and supported the government. As a result, the BJP amendment received only 141 votes while the government supporters numbered 226. Politics certainly makes strange bedfellows and this exactly happened. The CPI (M) along with other sundry parties supported BJP, while the latter paid back the Communists by supporting the amendment that they had moved which had received only 144 ‘yes’ votes while 227 members opposed the amendment. In a way, this victory of the ruling UPA-II government at the Center was a poor consolation after it had meekly surrendered to the illogical demand of Mamata Banerjee. Nevertheless, the government survived the unexpected onslaught from BJP, the principal opposition. Mamata’s continuing tantrums have put the Manmohan Singh government on a notice and wiser by this experience, it is now looking for relatively more dependable support elsewhere. SP’s Chieftain Mulayam Singh, after his party’s resounding victory in the recent UP assembly elections, has offered his support to the government from outside without joining it. Even the BSP with its pride wounded and arrogance eroded with its crushing defeat in UP might even make a common cause with UPA-II from outside.

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March 23, 2012

Despite Simmering Differences in Congress, Bahuguna XI Takes Over in Uttarakhand

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BY RAJ KANWAR IAN INDIA CORRESPONDENT Vijay Bahuguna who was arbitrarily nominated by the Congress High Command as the chief minister of Uttarakhand on 10 March, was able to cobble up a team of 11 ministers. His ministerial team was formally sworn in by Governor Margaret Alva Tuesday at a special function held in ONGC’s Dr. Ambedkar Stadium in Dehra Dun. Congress had had to pay a heavy price for ‘buying’ support from three victorious independent candidates, the lone winning member of Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) and a representative from the 3-member Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The remaining six ministers are from the various factions of Congress. Choosing ministers had been an uphill task for Bahuguna since under the rules his ministry could not exceed 15% of the total strength of the assembly. Thus 15% of the 70 comes to 11 and that made his choice more difficult. The Congress was committed to give a ministerial portfolio to each of the five new entrants. Thus Bahuguna was constrained to pick only six of the 32 elected Congress members, leaving many genuine and capable legislators sulk in anger and disappointment. A Congress MLA who was very hopeful of being made a minister rued the fact that the party was compelled


flock of legislators yet untested, will be the election of the Speaker. In the assembly where Bahuguna enjoys a razor thin majority, it will have to nominate one of its members for the post of the Speaker. This will thereby cut into its already slender majority. If it passed this test, the next will be the election of a member to Rajya Sabha for which both BJP and Congress have put up their respective candidates. The electorate in this case is the 70 legislators in the state assembly. BJP has put up a wealthy businessman as its candidate and if he can ‘tempt’ some of the ‘others’, it could even cause an upset. Many of the discontent Congress legislators who have been denied the ‘perks’ of power might even cast their secret ballot in favor of BJP if the price is right. The ‘cat’ will be out of the bag on 30 March when the voting for the Rajya Sabha takes place.

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to make each new inductee a minister as his ‘pound of flesh’ for getting his support. He further said that the new cabinet would have five ministers who had actually opposed and defeated the Congress candidates in the elections, and each one will have its own agenda to pursue. Even this job of putting together a team of 11 ministers has been quite daunting for Bahuguna since not being a grass root Congress worker, he was not very familiar with most of the elected legislators and thus had to depend on the advice of his personal lieutenants some of whom too had a personal axe to grind. This has naturally left much heart burning amongst those who obviously could not be accommodated in the ministry. Many sterner tests lie ahead before Chief Minister Bahuguna in days to come. The first test of strength and his acumen, to manage his disparate

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March 23, 2012


Uday Kotak: “Thinking Out of the Box”

BY SACHIN KUMAR & TEJEESH N S BEHL NEW DELHI (HT): One of India’s 48 billionaires - the latest Forbes rich list ranks him at 270 with a net worth of $4.1 billion - Uday Kotak, 53, vice-chairman and managing director, Kotak Mahindra Bank says leadership is about being disruptive and thinking out of the box.Excerpts from an interview: What would be the defining trait of leadership, according to you? Leadership is building a team having a common purpose, and executing that purpose. It is about identifying an opportunity in advance and most of the times people see it after it’s gone. For example, nobody saw an opportunity in tablets but Steve Jobs. Even the consumer didn’t know that they have a need. So when an opportunity flows most people ignore it. And once you get that opportunity, your ability to execute it - that is the key difference between success and failure. There are many visionaries but success is with the person who executes that vision. People underestimate the importance of execution. How do you identify opportunity and execute it? You have to follow your own instinct. Humans have a tendency to think that it is too risky, or I can’t do that. In India we have two diseases, what I call needling and tolding. You ask any manager and he will say we need to do this - in that case why don’t you do this. And second is tolding - I have told him, or passed on the work to someone else. Why have you told him, why haven’t you done that yourself. What is your leadership style? I like to build consensus, but once I’m clear about something then I decide. I try to carry my team along but I am not scared to take a decision if it is not popular. I also think leadership should not be predictable. If it’s too predictable

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then people know that if they behave in a particular manner, then the boss will react in a set way. But unpredictability does not imply inconsistency - you have to be consistent in your philosophy but must have the ability to think out of the box. Any such instance of unpredictability you can recount? It was not an easy decision for us to buy back the Goldman Sachs stake in 2006. The predictable thing was to sell out but we finally looked deep inside and went with our conviction - which brings to another important issue about leadership. That the line between conviction and foolhardiness is very thin. Has the job of a leader become tough in times of a slowdown, especially when he has to take a decision on downsizing? Every downturn is an opportunity because if you have the right strategy and you execute it right, then post-downturn you have chances of getting a higher market share. But often employees are the last to know about developments. Is that due to a lack of respect or is the leader too scared to tell the truth? I think it is both. It is extremely important to carry your team in good and bad times. And when leadership does

not have the trust of its people, it’s a huge sign of weakness of the firm. The two most important constituents of any firm are customers and employees. With both these categories I put disproportionate importance to trust. Conduct of a person builds trust and trust is fragile, it has to be nurtured. A firm must give as much importance to internal communication as to external communication. So where do most leaders go wrong? Most of the times people struggle on the ‘who’ and lose the sight of ‘what’. It is not about who is right, but what is right. Stick to the principle of what is right and manage the who separately. Which historical leader do you admire most and why? Mahatama Gandhi, he was the smartest negotiator in the world. What negotiating leverage did he have when he went to the queen in a dhoti and yet, he shifted the negotiating leverage in his favour - as if saying that I am half naked because of what you have done to my country. The way Gandhi used fasts as a negotiating leverage, smartly, time and again, that too in era of no mobiles - he is the one of the smartest negotiators history has seen.

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March 23, 2012

Sony Expands Primetime with Marriage Show Shubh Vivaah

NEW YORK: Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is expanding its prime time band with the launch of a new fiction show, Shubh Vivaah, which first aired February 27th. The show will run every Monday through Friday at 7.30 pm. Eijaz Khan and Neha Janpandit

began on a successful note with the launch of Kyaa Hua Tera Vaada. Our second fiction this year, Shubh Vivaah will enhance the existing line-up of premium entertainment shows on SET for U.S. viewers.”

are the lead actors of the show. Produced by UTV Television, the show talks about middle class girls in India that fanaticizes about getting married as young girls. When married, the show portrays how each girl struggles to keep the marriage and love alive. UTV Television COO Santosh Nair said, “Shubh Vivaah is an adaptation of the award winning Tamil show ‘Metti Oli’ and we are glad to bring this show to our Hindi audiences through Set. The show has a heartwarming storyline which will definitely strike the right cord with the audience. We look forward to this show being another stupendous success like its Tamil counterpart.” Jaideep Janakiram, SVP International Business-Head of North America stated, “2012

About Sony Entertainment Television Asia: Since its launch on the Indian subcontinent in 1995, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has enjoyed rapid success, leading to the establishment of European, North American and African feeds known as SET Asia. SET and SET Asia are now available in over 150 countries. The channels offer their viewers a distinctive blend of entertainment programs twenty four hours a day, including, soap operas, dramas, sitcoms, concerts, movies, and game shows. Besides SET Asia, SET also has three other leading channels: MAX, India’s #1 premier movies and special events channel, SAB, the only dedicated comedy channel and Aath, the only dedicated T:10” Bengali Movie channel.



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March 23, 2012

ECC Beat Rattlers in TCC Winter 2011 T20 Taped Ball Cricket Tournament

ECC winners with Chief Guest Nanda Kumar, president of TCC and HCL. HOUSTON: ECC won the TCC Winter 2011 Taped Ball Cricket T20 Tournament. ECC beat Rattlers by 48 runs. ECC won the deserving championship in the well fought out tournament that had 16 participant teams. On a beautiful day for cricket, ECC won the toss and elected to bat first. They lost their first wicket in the first over of Mahesh. Gautam, the ECC captain scored 20 runs in quick time before he got out to Aditya. Sandip and Pankaj batted carefully not to lose any more wickets. At the end of the 10th over, the score was 55 for 2. After the break, Sandip and Pankaj opened up and scored 53 runs in the next 5 overs. The shots included square drives, straight drives and some huge hits on the onside. Pankaj got out for a quick fire 19. Sandip continued the aggressive play with Vasu. They ran hard and smashed 4 sixes to score 50 runs in the last 4 overs. Sandip ended up with a match winning score of 75 and Vasu scored 24 runs. It was brilliant, smart and explosive batting by ECC in the last 10 overs due to which they scored 105 runs. The target was 162 in 20 overs for Rattlers which required some chasing. For Rattlers, Mahesh, Adiyta, Senthil and Sagar took a wicket each. They were not able to contain the run flow for ECC. Rattlers got off to quiet start with a maiden first over bowled by Bharat. They lost two quick wickets in the 4th (Vinod, 11 runs) and the 5th over (Aditya). Ashwin and Ram rebuilt the innings. Ashwin got out in the 7th over after a well compiled 22 runs. At the end of 10 overs, the score was 58 for 4. The match was evenly poised and required big scoring by Rattlers in the next 10 overs to win the match. Manik and Ram started aggressively after the break and scored 30 runs in 4 overs. Manik(23) and Ram(16) got run out in quick succession. After

that it was difficult for the rest of the Rattler’s team to score against the steeply growing required run rate. Rattlers were all out in for 112 runs in 17 overs with only Sarang (11) managing to cross double digits in the lower order. For ECC, Kumar took 3 wickets, Praveen took 2 wickets. Avinash and Venkat took a wicket each. The game had high quality great umpiring from two neutral umpires Natraj and Srinivas. The game was followed by a well organized prize distribution ceremony arranged by TCC. The presentation party had members of TCC EC (Krishna and Srinivas) and chief guest was Mr. Nanda Kumar president of TCC and HCL. Mr. Nanda Kumar was honored with a memento by TCC. Jagadish Biradar, organizer for TCC Taped Ball tournament coordinated the presentation ceremony. Gautam Singh, the captain of ECC was presented with the championship trophy and Senthil, the captain of Rattlers was presented with the runners up trophy. The players of the winners and runners up received individual trophies. Man of the match for the finals was Sandip from ECC. Arun from Houston Arrows won the Best Batsman trophy with 223 runs. Rajesh from Cougars won the Best Bowler trophy with 16 wickets. Srinivas from Panthers won the Best All Rounder trophy with 164 runs and 10 wickets. Trophies were also given to the man of the match for Semi Finals and Quarter Finals. Senthil from Rattlers and Bharat from ECC were the recipients of the man of the match for Semi Finals. Ashwin from Cougars, Trilok from RCC, Pankaj from ECC and Vinod from Rattlers were the recipients of the man of the match for Quarter Finals.


Saina Retains Swiss Open Crown BASEL (The Hindu): Saina Nehwal defended her Swiss Open Grand Prix title in style, beating second-seeded Shixian Wang 2119, 21-16 in the final here on Sunday. In a close encounter, the thirdseeded Indian kept her nerve in a close first game before pulling ahead in the second in the 48minute encounter. It was a neck-and-neck affair and there was nothing to separate the two players throughout the match. Saina was dominant at the net, winning 11 points, and also smashed well to put pressure on Shixian. Though the Chinese put up a gallant fight, it was Saina who had the last laugh. Earlier, in the semifinal, Saina registered a straight-game victory over Japan’s Minatsu Mitani. The Indian ace took 35 minutes for a 21-16, 21-18 triumph. Shixian beat eighth seed Inthanon Ratchanok of Thailand 21-17, 21-15 in the other semifinal.

Saina, who turned 22 on Saturday, didn’t allow the Japanese to come close to her as she opened up a 3-0 lead and kept extending it to pocket the first game. In the second game, Mitani showed some aggression and led 7-3, but Saina caught up with her and then moved ahead to seal the match. The World No. 5 Saina had beaten sixth seed Xin Liu of China 21-12, 21-13 in the quarterfinals.

Olympic Hopes Alive for Banned Indian Athletes NEW DELHI: The Anti Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP) has upheld the one-year sanction imposed on India’s top quarter-milers with a rider that paves the way for them to take part in the Olympic trials. The date of the sample collection of four athletes —Ashwini Akkunji, Sini Jose, Tiana Mary Thomas and Priyanka Panwar—for doping was June 2011, but they were handed one-year ban sentence in December 2011. India’s top women quarter-milers were each handed one-year ban by a NADA disciplinary panel, headed by retired district judge Dinesh Dayal, in December 2011 after they were caught using banned steroids. All the four athletes had subsequently filed appeals to the Justice Mahajan-led Appeals panel against the one-year ban, which virtually ruled all of them out of Olympics. But coming to the rescue of these athletes, the ADAP has now decided to uphold the sanction and consider the ban tenure from the day their samples were collected, according to a NADA release. Sini Jose’s date of sample collection for doping was June 12, 2011, while Ashwini and Priyanka’s collection date was June 27, 2011 and Tiana Mary’s dates were June 12 and 27 last year. As per the ADAP’s decision, the athletes’ ban would end by the end of June this year, and they would be able to compete in the trials, which could give them a chance to

Banned athlete Ashwini Akkunji

qualify for the Games, to be held from July 27 to August 12. Earlier though, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had demanded for an enhanced two-year ban for all these athletes.



March 23, 2012

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