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Atlantaâ€™s Premier South Asian Newspaper April 2017
NRI PULSE 1
Atlanta’s Premier South Asian Newspaper April 2017
H-1B Visa: Computer Programmers Feel The Heat New Delhi: (IANS) Just a few days before the new season for H-1B visas for skilled workers started, the US authorities have tightened the norms for hiring computer programmers, putting a squeeze on Indian IT companies. On March 31, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a clarification that computer programmers, to be eligible under the H-1B visa norms, must prove that theirs is a specialty occupation. Merely obtaining a computer degree may not be enough. In its policy memorandum USCIS has mentioned: “Based on the current version of the Handbook, the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation. US Embassies around the world started accepting next year’s H1-B visa petitions from April 3. Indian techies are the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visas — obtaining around 70 per cent of such visas — with companies posting thousands of employees to the US. The visas allows work in the particular area for six years, extendable after that. It’s also the route to a US permanent residency or US Green Card. The memorandum says that “a petitioner may not rely solely on the Handbook to meet its bur-
den when seeking to sponsor a beneficiary for a computer programmer position. Instead, a petitioner must provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation…”
The US Congress has set a cap of 65,000 H1B visas per fiscal year. Additionally, 20,000 such visas are given to those with master’s or higher degrees from the US.
At the same time, the immigration services have moved to detect H-1B visa frauds in the US by taking a “more targeted approach” on site visits across the country aimed at finding out if employers were evading their obligations to make a good faith effort to recruit US workers. “Too many American workers who are as qualified, willing and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged,” says a press release issued by the USCIS on Monday adding that “protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment based immigration programs is a priority of USCIS.” The immigration services warned employers that they would not be allowed to “abuse the H-1B program” which it said affects US workers negatively, decreasing wages and job opportunities. A position that US President Donald Trump has often endorsed.
Free Copy India Snubs US Offer To De-Escalate Tensions With Pakistan India recently snubbed the US’ offer to help de-escalate tensions with Pakistan, sayNikki Haley ing that its position on bilateral redressal of all issues between the two neighbors has not changed. It also said that the international community needs to address the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistan. “Government’s position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn’t changed,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said. “We, of course, expect the international community and organizations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond,” he said. The reaction came after Nikki Haley, the US Permanent Representative to the UN, said that the US was concerned about the state of IndiaPakistan relations and President Donald Trump himself might get involved in a peace process between the two South Asian antagonists.
Indian-Americans Raise $100K For Man Who Took Bullet For Kuchibotla Washington: (IANS) The Indian American community in Houston has presented $100,000 to Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old American who was shot while trying to save Indian techies Srinivas Kuchibotla and Alok Madasani during a shooting in Kansas. The Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna, presented the check to Grillot at the annual India House gala in Houston on Saturday evening, The American Bazaar news portal reported. Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed when Adam W. Purinton, a white man, shot the Indians at the Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe on February 22. Madasani and Grillot, who tried to stop the killer, survived with injuries. A statement posed on the official page of India House Houston said: “On behalf of the Indian-American community in Houston, India House recognized this selfless act beyond the call of duty and has extended the community’s
gratitude to Ian Grillot by helping him to buy a house.”
Speaking at the event, Grillot said: “I don’t know if I could’ve lived with myself if I wouldn’t
t have stopped or attempted to stop the shooter because that would’ve been completely devastating. “I do now have a very powerful message and if I can help empower people and spread hope and love, then why not? “I am honored to be at India House that serves so many families from so many communities in the Houston area,” The American Bazaar quoted Grillot as saying. Jiten Agarwal, a prominent Indian American in Houston and chair of the annual gala, said: “It is not every day that one meets a genuine hero, a person who risks his life for another, and takes a bullet for a complete stranger. “Ian Grillot is a man who reminds us of the promise of America and its greatness.” Agarwal, with the help of its trustees, mobilized the community to come together to honor Grillot and raise funds.
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Atlanta, GA: The Consulate General of India- Atlanta in association with Tech Mahindra and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) organized an “India – US Economic Partnership” Forum on March 16, 2017 at the Buckhead Club – Atlanta. The goal of the event was to highlight the economic opportunities and business prospects that exist for Indian and American companies in the United States and in India respectively. It was also meant to provide a platform for companies already having operations in the two countries to share their experiences and give an SWOT analysis of India-US economic and commercial partnership. Around 75 guests from various industries, Fortune 500 companies, business associations and government institutions, including from the States of Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia attended this event. Mcwane Inc , Alabama India business partnership – Alabama, First Data, UPS, Agco, AT&T, Portman Holdings - Georgia , South Carolina Department of commerce – SC, Metro Atlanta, Gwinnett, Sandy springs – chamber of commerce to name the few. Consul General of India to the Southeast USA Mr. Nagesh Singh in his opening remarks highlighted the overall state of India US relations with a focus on ever growing trade and investment linkages between the two countries. He stressed on the large untapped potential for a more robust economic and commercial relationship between the two countries given the large size and high growth rates of the two economies. He
informed the audience of the contributions made by Indian businesses in the United States in terms of direct investments and job creation. Professor Jagdish Sheth, an eminent Professor of Marketing at Emory University and an acclaimed thought leader, shared his views on what lies ahead for the Global economy, including for India-US relations, under the Trump administration. Finding parallels between economic policies of the Reagan administration in the 1980s and policy pronouncements of Trump Administration, his prediction was the India-US economic relations will flourish under President Trump given the focus of his administration on bilateral trade relations rather than multilateralism. He also touched on the positive developments in the Indian economy since May 2014 and the fundamental reforms undertaken which will keep Indian economy on the high growth path in the years ahead. Professor Sheth found complementarities between ‘Make in India’ and ‘America First’ programs and he foresaw greater investments by Indian
companies in the United States. The panel of Indian companies in US comprised of Devesh Mathur – Global Technology Director Novelis (Aditya Birla Group Company) , Tom Valasak –CMO Mahindra Genze (Mahindra & Mahindra group company), Unmesh Mishra –Area Vice President - L& T Infotech ( L& T Ltd group Company). They shared their experiences in terms of an Indian-owned enterprise in the US and also the important contributions their companies were making to local economy and employment creation. They also shared their CSR initiatives being implemented to support local communities in STEM education, computer literacy, training, internship programs etc. The panel of US companies having successful operations in India consisted of Trey Kaisler – CIO Global operations, GE power , Bhaskar Ramani – VP (IT) Industrial Supply Chain GE Energy Connections, Sunil Ghatnekar – CFO Coca Cola Enterprises and Abhay Paranjape – Director India (Aeronautics) – Lockheed Martin. All panelists gave a glowing account of their companies’ business successes in India and the future plans of investing more in the Indian economy. They also shared the existing challenges & future prospects of the India story. Mr. Arvind Malhotra, Senior Vice President, Tech Mahindra moderated the event. Gargi Pawar from CII, Washington DC gave the vote of thanks and expressed confidence in the future prospects of Indo– US economic relation, despite the prevailing global economic challenges. Consulate General of India in Atlanta, through a statement, said it intends to hold more events like this to showcase the mutually beneficial business opportunities that exist between India and United States, especially in the Southeast region.
Farewell Dinner For Vice Consul Kamra Hosted In Atlanta BY SANJAY PANDYA Atlanta, GA: Gujarati Cultural Association of North America (GCANA) organized an appreciation and farewell dinner for Ramesh Kamra, Vice Consul (OCI/Visa) at Consulate General in Atlanta. Patel Brothers, Raja Foods and Millennium Investment Group of Atlanta were sponsors of the evening. Representatives from leading Indian associations like Shri Shakti Mandir, Gujarati Samaj, India American Cultural Association (IACA), Gokuldham along with leading businessmen like Kalpesh Patel of Patel Brothers, Jayant Bhindi of Bhindi Jewelers, attorneys, gas station owners and motel owners’ presence proved what an indelible impression Kamra has left on the community in his short span of service here. Prakash Parmer, an attorney, formally introduced
Kamra’s illustrious career in foreign services. Before arriving at the Consulate General’s office in Atlanta in 2012, Kamra worked at the Indian Consulates in the Middle East and Ukraine. Speaking on the occasion R. Srinivasan, Consul (Political/ /Consular & HOC) said it very appropri-
Photo by Hakim’s
ately, “an honor of one of ours’ is honor of entire group.” D.V. Singh Consul (Community Affairs/RTI/ Education/Commerce) also graced the occasion. Kamra very affably thanked everyone present for the honor bestowed upon him. From the opening of the new Consulate General office here in Atlanta, the community and people working here have enjoyed good camaraderie. The Gujarati Cultural Association of North America (GCANA) and Millennium Investment Group offered commemorative plaques to Kamra. Shri Shakti Mandir, Gujarati Samaj and Patel Brothers offered flower bouquets to Kamra. Amit Shah, president, GCANA & Millennium Investment Group proposed the vote of Studio. thanks.
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Rare Opportunity To Elect One Of Your Own, Says Congressional Candidate Atlanta, GA: A successful fundraiser was held recently by community leaders at the Global Mall for Dr Mohammed Ali Bhuiyan, the first South Asian candidate for Congress from Georgia. Dr Bhuiyan is one of the Republican candidates in the running for the Congressional seat vacated by Tom Price of the 6th district, who resigned to become the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Georgia’s state law requires the Governor to call for a special election to be held at least 30 days after the vacancy. In the special election, all candidates will run on one ballot. If no candidate earns 50% of the vote, a runoff election will be held on June 20 for the first- and second-place finishers. Advance voting for this special election started on March 27, 2017. The fundraiser was co-chaired by Professor Jagdish Sheth, owner of Global Mall, Shiv Aggarwal and Ali Katoot. The events hosts and sponsors included Is-Haq Awel, Dr. Gouranga Banik, Colin & Susan Brady, OBE, Zaidh Cuellar, Brian Faison, Rina Gupta, Dr. Shahzad Hashmi, Ahmed Hussein, Dr. Anita Jackson, Raj Jamadagni, John Kacergis, Musaddeq Khan, Prashant Kollipora, Rajan Luthra, Vankat Meesala, Arif Merchant, Atul Parvatiyar, Mehul Raja, Dr. Raktim Sen, Shiraj Shariff and Harry Staley. The candidate, Dr Bhuiyan, in his remarks, spoke about his love for America and becoming a citizen, the need for inclusion not division among
our residents and the need to find that which binds us together, not that which tears us apart. Dr Bhuiyan explained that with 18 candidates, the election was essentially a non-partisan
one. “Forget party affiliation; think about Desi/ South Asian/Asian American representation in the US Congress from Georgia for our safe future. We must do this for us and our children,” he said. “As you know, the 6th District is 70% Republican and only 30% Democratic. Yes, Trump and Hillary
were close at 44 and 45 percent. That is because both had very high negative ratings. But, for the rest of the tickets, it was over 65% Republican,” he added. Dr Bhuiyan said there was a possibility that with massive amount of money spent, one Democratic candidate may qualify for the run-off. But, it is absolutely certain that the Republican candidate will win the run-off as the Republicans have over 65% advantage. “So, the question then is why should you waste your energy, resources, and vote on others when you can join me now and make sure that you elect a Desi/South Asian/Asian American candidate who will represent you. If I go to run-off, I have sufficient support and will be able to beat the other Republican candidate,” he said, while urging vot-
ers to think seriously before it is too late. “This is a rare opportunity for Desi/South Asian/Asian American community to elect one of their own. With all the divisive talk by both parties, we must think about the way we can move forward. We must let everyone know that we are as American as anybody else. The best way to do that is to have us in the right places. My goal is to help at least 100 candidates from South Asian/Asian communities to run for offices in November 2018,” he said. Dr Bhuiyan’s name is the second one on the ballot. The Congressional candidate answered questions and spoke with those in attendance. He explained that victory is possible on his campaign. He said “This election is an amazing opportunity. This is a chance for all to have a voice in Washington. Voter turnout is the key to an election that is expected to have 40,000 voters or less. If we work together, and vote, we can win this election. This is a prime opportunity for voters, and not money to decide who will represent us.” Dr Bhuiyan will be taking people to the polls for early voting and helping those that are not registered voters register so that they can vote and have their voice heard. If you have any questions about voting or voter registration, please contact the campaign at 404.441.7881 or visit their website: www.MohammadAliForCongress.com
Nrupathunga Kannada Koota Celebrates Sankranti And Ugadi BY NISHA KASHYAP Atlanta, GA, March 18, 2017- Nrupathunga Kannada Koota (NKK) celebrated Sankranti and Ugadi on Saturday, March 18 at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale. Sankranti is the Hindu festival of harvest and falls on January 14th of every year, while Ugadi is an important festival celebrating the New Year for people from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. This year’s festivities featured many colorful and exciting cultural programs with participants of all ages, screenings of two original Kannada short films, and an interactive session with Police and Law departments. Consul D.V. Singh and Dr. B. Krishna Mohan and his wife also attended the program as chief guests. Following the recitation of prayer and the American National Anthem, the evening’s merriment began with a series of children’s dances, some of which were choreographed by children themselves. Tiny tots and young adolescents, and all children in between, set the atmosphere for a night of enjoyment by lighting up the stage in vibrant costumes to a variety of popular Kannada songs both old and new, with a shared theme of joy, energy, and passion. Soon after, a large group of adults ascended the stage to enthrall viewers with a charming presentation of Kannada folk songs. Cultural programs were then paused for an introduction of the new executive committee, presen-
tation of a scholarship from Drs. Subramanya and Anu Bhat, and an interactive information and panel session with the Police and Law departments. Chairman of NKK Pradeep Vittalmurthy introduced the new executive committee lead by
President Santosh Kumar. This year’s scholarship recipient was Spoorthy B. Nick Roberts of the Henry County Police Department and his wife Judge Pam Ferguson of the Clayton County Probate Court spoke to the audience about taking precautionary measures and police action in the case of racial hate crimes or robbery. Their presentation helped alleviate some of the growing fears of racial hate crimes in the Indian community. Consul D.V. Singh advised audience members to reach out to the Consulate Office at anytime for any reason and reminded everyone to act as a community and get more involved in Consulate events.
The second half of the cultural celebrations continued with high energy dances from some of the older children and adults. Talented children and ladies took to the stage to captivate the audience with fantastic displays of skill and fluidity. Mothers reminded the audience that no one is ever too old to dance or celebrate in a classical take on modern dance and music. Despite the night’s cultural programs coming to a close, the night was far from over. The audience witnessed two feature presentations of original Kannada short films “The Last Kannadiga” and “Refill” produced by Shruti Hariharan and actors Vashista Simha - from Godhi Banna - and Ashwin Rao Pallakka - from Kirik Party. “The Last Kannadiga”, set in a future where reading and practicing Kannada is obsolete, warned viewers against letting one’s mother tongue and culture die out and encouraged everyone to embrace their language and pass it on in all its forms. The central message of ”Refill” was to not take life for granted. A marvelous evening of dazzling dances, melodious songs, informative presentations, and outstanding short films concluded with a Vote of Thanks and the Indian National Anthem, leaving guests excited for the next Nrupathunga Kannada Koota Event. As per tradition, participants and audience members enjoyed a delicious dinner.An added delight of authentic holige, which was sponsored by Hanuma Vega International Courier, was also served.
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Nataraja Natyanjali’s Dance Recital Raises Funds For AmanVedika BY MAHADEV DESAI Photos by G.V. Rao Atlanta, GA: Nataraja Natyanjali Kuchipudi Dance Academy presented an enthralling 4th annual dance recital, ‘Darsayami 2017’ and it’s 5th fundraiser, this time for AmanVedika-a Hyderabad, India based non-profit orphanage that shelters, educates and empowers children in need, at the Berkmar High School on Sunday, March 26, 2017. The show was graced by leading members and leaders of religious and cultural associations of the Indian community; parents and well-wishers. Consul D.V. Singh could not attend the recital but gracefully conveyed his greetings and congratulations to all the performers, organizers and sponsors. The show was emceed with grace and verve by Malathi Nagabhirava and Juhitha Porika. Siva Gaddamanugu warmly welcomed all and noted, “Our academy was started in the year 2006 with goals of promoting kuchipudi dance, Indian culture and to respect, understand and contribute to social causes through the means of dance. In the past, the academy has helped raise funds for Hanuman Mandir, Alpharetta; Sravani - an old age home in Kakinada, India; Guru Datta Temple in Gangapur, Maharashtra and Govt. of AP - for HUDHUD Cyclone, Andhra Pradesh, India. Today’s recital is to raise funds for Aman Vedika, a chapter of Aman Biradari, which currently houses 400 children in four shelters in Hyderabad. They are sheltering and educating 250 girls and 100 boys aged from 6 to 19 years. The founder/Director of the Academy, my wife Neelima Gaddamanugu and I humbly request all of you to visit Aman Vedika when you are in Hyderabad and continue supporting this wonderful organization.” He thanked the 75 enthusiastic students of
the academy; some are as young as four years. Deepa prajwalana (lighting the diya) ceremony was performed by Bhogaravu Pappu - wellread scholar, true multi-linguist - a master in San-
votional content;innovative,imaginative, and creative choreography of Neelima and renowned Kuchipudi Guru ,late Vempati Chinna Satyam; fetching vibrant colors, brilliant lighting, pulsating
skrit, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu and Marathi, and professionally working as a VP at EBIX RCS; Shobha Gaddamanugu - Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank Winston Salem, NC; Padma Nuthivana ;senior freelance journalist Mahadev Desai and Neelima Gaddamanugu. The academy’s youngest students, from Tiny Bells section, confidently performed for the first time, a prayer dance to Lord Ganesh, Lord Siva, Goddess Saraswathi and Goddess Mahalakshami. This was a tribute to iconic Carnatic vocalist M.S.Subbulakshmi, the first musician ever to be awarded Bharat Ratna and earned wide applause. The Tiny Bells team also performed a second dance to ‘Devi and Krishna’ slokas, including the enchanting slokam ‘Kasturi Tilakam’. The youngest in this group, 5 years Aditi Sangam endeared herself to the audience and won resounding applause. The two other students who also shone out were: In Middle age group junior section Akhila Konakanchi and in Senior group - Akhila Ballari and Meenu Reddy. The show was a breathtaking magical and exuberant extravaganza of 17 traditional classical dances with spiritual and de-
music; shimmering costumes, facial,ankle,waist and hair adornments, , youthful exuberance, extraordinary depth and range of Carnatic music which mesmerized the audience. The dances were joyfully performed by Academy’s talented and welltrained 75 students ranging in ages from four to twenty years. The captivating dances had lot of
Shrutilaya Hosts Composers’ Day Celebrations Atlanta, GA: Shruthilaya composer’s day was celebrated on March 4th at Hindu Temple of Atlanta. The year 2017 is Saint Tyagaraja’s 250th birth anniversary. The event started with bhajans and keertanams followed by Saint Tyagaraja’s pancharatna kritis, which began with Sri Ganapathini in ragam Sowraashtram Kala Vasudevan led the group with Shruthilaya’s co teacher Gayatri Krishnan and senior students. Musicians who enhanced and enriched each and every kriti included Ravi Subramanian on the violin, Suresh Kothandaraman and Amit Narayan on the mridangam, Prashanth Kallur and Jayashri Venkat on the flute, Usha Venkatachalam on the Veena , Vikash Achutaramaiah on the morsing and kanjira. The afternoon segment began with senior students paying homage to Saint Tyagaraja and concluding with Brindavani Tillana, a tribute to Dr. Balamurali Krishna. Smriti & Archit Suresh contributed their talents in accompanying on the mridangam and kanjira This year’s event included a competition for varnams and kriti levels The competition has always been a motivation for children to improve their singing and to acquire more knowledge
Esteemed musicians Salem Shriram, Prashanth Krishnamoorthy and Suresh Kothandaraman were invited to judge the competition. Children were awarded prizes based on their performances and skills.
Excellence and recognition awards were given to selected children based on their consistent progress through the year. The sound system was well managed by Neal Geidd.
energy, precision, fast moves and formations and expressive nuanced facial gestures to convey a story or mood. Out of fifteen riveting dances, ten were choreographed by Neelima and five by the late Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. All the students put their heart and soul in showcasing their dancing talent and in their spirited effort to raise money for a very worthy cause. Lingastakam dance was choreographed by Neelima in a traditional format, whereas Subramanya Astakam and Annamacharya dances were in Kuchipudi fusion styles. The Hindustani Thillana in Kuchipudi style with 32 participants was a rare treat for the audience. After the finale, the beaming Neelima came on stage with all her participating students and the packed to capacity audience rose on its feet and gave a standing ovation. Complimenting her students, Neelima said, “I am so proud of my 75 kids who gave a tremendous performance this evening. Their performance is tremendous because they did this in the span of 5 weeks in the middle of exams, chess tournaments, advance courses and hundred other things that are happening around them.” “When you see groups of over 15 students performing one dance, learning and rehearsing during different schedules in their own pockets, and in a short period of time and then come here as one on the stage speaks volumes of their aptitude to learn, perform as a team and be fully committed to the noble cause.,” she added. Neelima thanked all the sponsors, parents, well-wishers and volunteers for their unstinted cooperation and support in helping present the academy’s annual shows and raise funds for worthy causes. “My heartfelt thanks to Srinivas Lavu & Bharat Maddineni from Delta Information Systems; Lakshmi Parimala & Sruthi Sangam from Native Trenz Boutique; Lakshmi & Radhakanth Swayampakula for the memento sponsorship; Praveen Bethi, Anjaih Chowdary Lavu—TANA Community services coordinator; Srinivas Nimmagadda —VenSai Technologies; Kiran Pasham – EIS Technologies; Satish Musuniri – Sri Krishna Vilas; Manasvi Reddy Gaddam - Dream Realty Group; Sriman and Neelima Jannu from Taste of India; Anika Kommareddy, Madhuri Vitta, Sri. Appa Rao Mantha from Birmingham, AL. and several other anonymous sponsors. Donations were also received from North Carolina, and California”. She also thanked Sri. Sridhar Vakiti of Vakiti Creations for their videography, Sri. Venkat Chundi, Dr. GV Rao – for photography, Jogy – Divinity Audio Visuals, tireless volunteers Sunitha Chaparala; Aruna Anathanu, Ram Durvasula; Musician/Singer Shanthi Medicharla and Violinist Jassotha; Berkmar School Management along with Biyanka and Josh. Neelima also thanked her family - Roshani Dronamraju, husband Siva Gaddamanugu & Son Amsh Gaddamanugu for their continuous support, encouragement and patience. Bala Reddy Indurti, Sandhya Bhagat, Anjaih Chowdary Lavu, Venkat Chundi, Radhakanth Swayampakula, Sunitha Chaparala, Malathi Nagabhairava presented trophies, prizes and certificates to students.
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Atlanta Hindus Protest CNN Documentary Over Depiction Of Hinduism BY NARAYAN SWAMY Atlanta, GA: Over 150 people, both young and old, weathered a cold, windy day to protest against the first episode of CNN’s ‘Believer’ series where its controversial host Reza Aslan picked a small sect of Aghoris while stating in the opening scene of the show that he had come to Varanasi in India to make a show about Hindus. “Aslan appears to have an axe to grind against Hindus by highlighting the caste system and pick on Aghoris as cannibals,” said an organizer. Concerned Hindus and associations in At-
lanta including Hindu Student Council, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, HSS, SEWA, United States Hindu
Alliance(USHA), Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Vedic Temple and representatives of all other temples and groups gathered in front of CNN on March 11 holding placards and marched silently to protest and boycott CNN. They educated a large number of onlookers and concerned people on why Hindus feel such smear campaign from CNN will increase Hinduphobia and develop negative stereotypes particularly affecting our young children. There were many leaders and representatives including Gokul Kunnath from United States Hindu Alliance (USHA), Parikshat Sharma from HSS, Manhar Valand from VHP, Dr. Ravi Sarma, Dr. Seshu Sharma, Anu & Dr. Shiv Nathan from Hindu Temple of Atlanta, C.K. Patel former chairman of AAHOA, Dr. Deen Chandora & Acharya Vedshrami from Vedic
temple, Amitabh Sharma, Shiv Aggarwal, Prashant Parikh, Narayan & Usha Swamy, Shobha Swamy & Easwar from AIM For Seva, Dhiru Shah from GIBC, Manjula & Malla Reddy, Dr. Ajay Houde and family from Ekal Vidyalaya as well as members of SEWA and many other groups. Protesters exhibited solidarity in condemning CNN and its lack of oversight to allow airing of such an illconceived program. Attendees expressed their anguish over CNN for not seeking the advice or opinions of Hindu experts from the community before producing or airing such a show. They felt this will have long term effect on the psyche of our young children and result in Hinduphobia. The group decided to continue the agitation to boycott CNN and seek justice for their cause and
prevent news media outlets in the future from misusing their power of mass reach and trust to air malicious stories and make the Hindu community in US vulnerable to attacks, bullying and discrimination. US Hindu Alliance (USHA) is working on a website www.BoyCottCNN.Org and maintains the Facebook page www.Facebook.Com/ CNNAntiHindu to mobilize the movement, establish goals for the cause and ensure CNN management comes forward to address its concerns before ending the campaign. Similar protests were organized at NY, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and other cities. “We can expect a huge following and support from the community. The momentum is building and there appears to be concerted and coordinated agitations planned in the months ahead,” said an organizer. Organizers expressed the larger need for more events and community support. Efforts are on the way to get more donations for the cause and leverage connections and strengths of India to stop CNN from this “audacious and insensitive attempt to marginalize a minority community that is only 1% of the US population.”
Ekal Vidyalaya Performers Get 58 Generous School Sponsors BY MAHADEV DESAI Photos by ByteGraph Atlanta, GA: On Sunday, March 12, Atlanta was in for a treat when a group of performers from Ekal India performed at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, GA to entertain Atlanta residents. These performers have been past students and teachers of Ekal Vidyalaya and came to US specifically to generate awareness about Ekal and appreciate the donors for their support. Ekal, a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit entity has been working since 1986 in neglected rural and tribal areas to eradicate illiteracy. It operates and supports innovative, single teacher non-formal schools for underserved communities, providing free basic education, healthcare, vocational training and empowering them. With support from 42 United States’ chapters and those in Australia, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Nepal, Ekal is changing the lives of over 1.5 million children through 1262 schools in Nepal and 54,764 operating successfully from Kashmir to Kerala in India. The program, emceed by Rina Gupta and Kiran Kodithala, started at 7:15 pm and included inspirational speeches by Arvind Sharma, Mitra Dasa and Kiran Kodithala. The event included dance,song and instrumental performances by well-trained students of Atlanta Nritya Academy;Geet Rung School of Dance & Music and Prem Dance Studio. The event opened with lamp lighting by Shiv Agarwal, Arvind Sharma, Rina Gupta and Deputy Consul D.V.Singh. Followed by lamp lighting, Ekal India team performed a beautiful recreation of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara to demonstrate the power of India’s “Unity in Diversity”. Audience members expressed great excitement and applauded the performance with standing ovation.
Arvind Sharma gave a speech on philanthropy and education. Arvind connected the dots between Gita’s message on perfection of renunciation and the need for collective action to eradicate the curse of Illiteracy. Murli Reddy, President of Charter
8-14 regaled the audience with dances to Bollywood favorites. Attendees danced, clapped and sang along to the amazing performances. 19 kids from Prem Dance Studio, a local Atlanta favorite Dance Institute also performed to
Global commented after hearing the speech that Ekal’s vision for literacy throughout the nation made him emotional. “If we want new India to compete on a global platform, it is our moral responsibility to provide basic education to some of these uncounted children so that they can participate in the opportunities new world has to offer.” Ekal India performed a heartwarming segment on Patriotism by dancing and singing to various Hindi songs. Audience stood up and danced and sang along to the all-time favorites. Sudakshina from Atlanta Nritya Academy performed a dance segment on women’s empowerment. During this segment, Sudakshina and team beautifully demonstrated the different emotions of women and how they can have an impact on generations for good. Divya Srivastav’s group – Geet Rung Dance & Music Academy’s students from age groups of
various Bollywood hit songs. Several attendees lauded on the high quality of performances from Ekal India,supported by high quality and entertaining performances by local Atlanta performers and their commitment to Ekal. During the intermission, Mitra Dasa, demonstrated the power of philanthropy by showing how he took a discarded can, wood and string to make a self-made string instrument. Mitra played this instrument and explained that each member of the audience is giving new life to students in India by supporting Ekal. Kiran Kodithala spoke about the power of giving by giving a motivational speech on purpose of life and the value one assigns to saving another human being. Mr. Kodithala asked – “how much are you willing to spend to save the life of your child, $10,000? $100,000? Or million?”. Every-
one agreed that they would spend as much as needed to save their child’s life. Mr. Kodithala concluded by requesting audience to spend just a $1/day to save a child’s life by saving him/her from illiteracy. The event concluded with a great rendition of Ramayan by Ekal India. Amoli and his team performed Ramayan in an impeccable fashion and the audience were mesmerized by the power of this great epic. The performers showed great singing, dancing and gymnastic abilities during this performance and attendees were impressed. The auditorium had reverberated to a thunderous applause after every item with later commendable reviews like: “par excellence”, “phenomenal”, “impeccable energy”, “very graceful” and “perfect expression” coming from attendees. They said it was a good idea that the instrumentalists, singers and dancers presented a variety of different flavors combining classical with film and folk elements, making the whole program flow in a well-balanced manner and to ensure that there was something for everyone to enjoy. All in all, Amoli choreographed a wonderful program for Ekal and helped Atlanta get sponsors for 58 schools at this entertaining and edutaining event. Ekal Georgia Chapter President, Shiv Aggarwal commended the fantastic team of volunteers who efficiently served dinner, managed the presentation and completed secure online credit card sponsorships. Since Ekal Sur Ekal Taal is on a national fund-raising tour for Ekal, which opens a school in the sponsor’s name for only a-dollar-aday or $365 for the whole year, this program can be enjoyed in other cities too. For details or progress of Ekal schools,please visit www.ekal.org and continue to change the lives of millions of underprivileged children.
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Jetblue Is Back In Atlanta After 13 Years
Atlanta, GA: JetBlue is back in Atlanta, after an absence of more than 13 years. The inaugural flight from Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) arrived at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) on March 30, making Georgia’s capital city JetBlue’s 101st destination. “It’s a new day for Atlanta travelers who, for too long, have faced high fares and limited choices,” said Dave Clark, vice president sales and revenue management, JetBlue. “As we connect our Boston customers with a top-requested destination, we’re also excited to show Atlanta why JetBlue is a favorite for flyers in the 100 other cities we fly to across the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America.” Atlanta becomes the 63rd nonstop destination from JetBlue’s Boston focus city where the airline is the largest carrier, recently reaching 150 daily flights. The addition of nonstop Atlanta service, which was the most requested destination by Boston travelers, is part of JetBlue’s plan to reach 200 daily flights at Logan in the coming years. Customers in both cities will benefit from convenient, five times daily service between Boston and Atlanta. Hartsfield-Jackson, the world’s busiest airport, welcomes nearly 35 million travelers to Atlanta each year. With attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, the Carter Center and Presidential Library, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Zoo Atlanta and numerous historic sites the city offers an array of experiences for every visitor. “With this new route from JetBlue, Boston’s business and leisure travelers can now connect to the South’s largest metropolitan area and a state that boasts a myriad of travel opportunities from the mountains to the coast,” said Kevin Langston, Deputy Commissioner of Tourism at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “We look forward to welcoming JetBlue passengers to Atlanta, and Georgia, and showcasing all that our state has to offer while providing a true taste of southern hospitality.” JetBlue marked its arrival in Atlanta with a commitment to give back to the community. JetBlue For Good volunteers and crewmembers, staff from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and College Park Mayor Jack Longino came together for a day of service at College Park Elementary School. The group donated 500 ageappropriate children books and read to nearly 150 first graders. The donation will provide the opportunity for students to take a book home to build their personal libraries. Flights between Atlanta and Boston will be operated on JetBlue’s Airbus A320 aircraft featuring the airline’s award-winning customer service with all-reserved comfortable seating; complimentary and unlimited name-brand snacks; more than 100 channels of free SIRIUSXM® radio programming and 36 channels of free, live DIRECTV® programming on personal seatback televisions; free Fly-Fi high-speed wireless Internet (a), and the most legroom in coach (b).
........ City News ........
Splash of Vibrant Colors At IFA Holi Hungama Atlanta, GA: Holi, a traditional Hindu festival, celebrates the beginning of spring as well as the triumph of good over evil. It is best known around the world for the powder that revelers throw on each other, leaving festival goers coated in color. Indian Friends of Atlanta (IFA) organized a spectacular Holi for the first time on March 11th, 2017 at huge ground in Skyland Business Centre. More than 600 member’s of Indian community and Americans thronged to the venue to enjoy the celebrations. Guests of honor, Consul D.V.Singh along with some prominent leaders of Georgia graced the event. The stage was decorated with the flags of India and U.S.
Dunwoody Indians Host Holi Contest
Atlanta, GA: On occasion of Holi on March 11, Dunwoody Indians organized a drawing and coloring contest for Dunwoody children in the Pre-K to 5th grade age group, to increase awareness about Indian festivals and culture. The chief guest for the event was Consul D.V. Singh. A total of 80 children participated in the contest, and around 200 adults came to witness the event. Top two drawings were selected from each of the seven categories. Prizes were awarded to the winners by Consul Singh. Dunwoody police department applauded the organizers and shared the complete
video of the event to their Facebook page. Dunwoody Indians founding member Shanker Bonaili said he was overwhelmed by the support and participation by the community and thanked Shanmuga Priya Karthik who received chief guest, Consul, Singh. He also thanked managers of the event Latha Bonaili,Shanmuga Priya, Bharathi Kornipalli,Srinivas Kornipalli, Aravinda Kashyap,Kiranmayi Vutukuri, Kalyan Kumar Vutukuri, Sarala Mogili, Fasiha Babanbhai, Subhashini Peddibotla, Lakshmi Bhuvanagiri, Ravali Gaddam,Sahitha Panta,Venu Panta,Swathi Deshpande,Pradeep Deshpande, Swarna M. Pradeep, Aparna Pingle, Niranjan Podduturi, Vidya Prakash and Vivek Joshi. Snacks and refreshments were served.
DJ Ameet rocked the event with his electrifying music and kept the crowd dancing to his tunes throughout the event. Photographers from Vakiti Creations were busy capturing the pictures and videos using their cameras and drones. Food vendors Bawarchi Biryani Pointe & Sanjha Chula were on site with live cookout of delicious Indian foods. Raja foods of Patel Bros served sugar cane juice, thandai etc. Suvidha Groceries provided organic colors which were safe to the environment and kids. The Holi event reiterates the organization’s vision to bring the Indian community together. “We had representation from various Indian organizations including American Telugu Association, Maharastra Mandal, Telangana American Telugu Association, Gujarath Samaj, Shiv Mandir, Greater Atlanta Telanagana Society, Greater Atlanta Telugu Association, etc.,” said a press release issued by IFA. IFA founding members Sunil Savili and Shyam Mallavarapu announced Sreekanth Uppala as President and Anil Bodireddy as Chairman for IFA. Sreekanth Uppala and Anil Bodireddy said that they were overwhelmed by the support and participation from the community. They also provided the updates on the next IFA events planned for the next few months. They thanked Suvidha Groceries, Bawarchi Biryani Point, Skyland Business Centre and Patel Bros for sponsoring this event. They also thanked IFA team members Srinivas Peddi, Sairam Pamulapati, Shyam Mallavarapu, Sunil Savili, Lakshmi Thesam, Shwetha Dhawan, Suyog Buche, Kishan Talapally, Deepa Sharma, Jamaluddin Masthakhan, Sanjeev Akula, Arun Darpally, Niranjan Podduturi, Suresh K Volam, Abay Radhakrishna, Ravi Balasubramanium and Sridevi Ranjit and said without them this event would not be a grand success and appreciated all the volunteers for their help, thanked local organizations, DJ Ameet for providing rocking music and Vakiti Creations for providing Photography & Video.
......... Features ........
NRI PULSE 11
Eat Your Spoon & Save The World BY SUPRIYA D.G. Atlanta, GA: When Grade 1 students at Henderson Mill Elementary School, Atlanta, a STEM certified school, contacted the creator of edible cutlery for a project, they were bridging the gap between education and science, innovation and conservation, and walking the powerful path of civic mindedness. In several ways, the journey of Narayana Peesapaty, founder of Bakeys Edible Cutlery has been a work in progress, like the recycling project of the children at Henderson Mill. Serendipity and uncertainty are the recurring themes in scientific discoveries as history would have us know. For Peesapaty, this Eureka moment was when he noticed several passengers scooping up their food with “Papad”, a crispy Indian snack served with meals, instead of using their plastic forks and spoons. This explanation came by way of an email response to questions from the Henderson school children, by Peesapaty’s wife Pradnya Keskar, who has taken on the task and role of managing communications for the company. She goes on to explain that in that instant he developed the idea of creating a spoon with Sorghum and some other grains, to mix and give it a shape of a spoon, soup spoon, chop stick so that one could use and eat it too. Keskar reminisces about Peesapaty’s initial foray and experiments, underscoring the learning, the continuous failures and never-say-die attitude and the luck that enabled the eventual realization of a dream. “For a man who struggled to make a cup of tea even”, she writes, “he started experiments in the kitchen after his job and could actually make spoons and other cutlery shapes successfully. Later, he experimented with various moulds and a variety of flour mix combinations to be sure he could make it a commercial venture and
start manufacturing spoons to sell as a small business. He started his own company towards the end of 2006 and left his job to pursue his dream project full time.” Keskar further explains that Peesapaty’s scientific background and work in the areas of researching ground water, power sector reforms, forestry, agriculture in India and policies in the aforementioned areas as well as rural development and rural livelihoods, forest products, post harvest products since 1992 laid the groundwork for his innovation. However, when he was researching semi arid tropic crops, he realized that debilitating economic practices and harsh realities in the agricultural industry contributed to the decline of productivity and desperate measures by poor farmers, she adds.
In an email interview with NRI Pulse, Peesapaty talked about how he arrived at the point of self-realization and the strong need to act, challenged by his earlier work experiences and encounter with the devastating forces of climate change. He writes, “It was the longest wait I had for recognition of the product and its purpose, followed by market pull and most importantly finance. I knew it was not money that I chased but the deep rooted concern that plastic will one day become a monster beyond control, that the farmers will give up crops that fed them healthy meals and ground water will be the most precious thing in the whole world.” Despite a failed partnership, loss of trust from family and friends, closure was not an option. The project to find a solution for society’s misuse of an ethical way of living became a mission, he adds. Yet, juggling roles as a scientist, a business-
5 GA Tech Students Participate In 10,000 Mile Rally BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE Atlanta, GA: ”The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” Lao Tzu quoted. Mixing their sense of adventure with a purpose to give back in the Summer of 2017, five Georgia Tech students have created a group, One Small Steppe – GT Mongolia Charity Rally. The team serves as fundraiser for U.K. based charity Go Help, which coordinates the rally as well as collects the funds donated. The Mongolia Charity Rally is a grueling 15,000 kilometer charity car race that starts in Brussels, Belgium and finishes in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. At the end of their journey, the vehicle they use will be donated to a family or city in Mongolia to potentially be converted into a service vehicle. Rohan Iyer, Mitch Hotop, Tony Chirumbole, Jonathon Murphy, and Gunner Robinson are gearing towards a journey across 2 continents, 6 mountain ranges, 2 deserts, and 23 countries. They will encounter over 20 languages, over a five-week period, with no GPS allowed, just to keep things interesting. “The rally’s daring nature and length is meant to gain attention and awareness to the needs of countries like Mongoliain ways other
high tech field doing business for social good. The goal of this team is to raise a minimum of $1,300 for Go Help and use additional donations towards purchasing and modifying the vehicle that will be donated. “The easiest way to help out would simply be a monetary donation by following the link http:// www.youcaring.com/ fundraisers cannot. This rally also raises awareness of the lack of emergency services and children’s educational centers in third world countries in such a non-traditional method, that I immediately knew it was the right one for us to compete in. We will be able to impact the people of Mongolia directly while also experiencing the beauties of the world.” says Iyer, senior Industrial Engineering student at Georgia Tech. He will be graduating this year and hopes to run his company in
OneSmallSteppe. “We are also seeking out corporate sponsors, and they can help in numerous ways in addition to monetarily such as by donating/sponsoring gear, flights, legs of the trip, and more. We would also be happy to trial products, post about them to our Facebook and Instagram followers, or even place logos on our vehicle. If there is any other way a company or individual Continued on Pg 16.....
man, conservationist and an entrepreneur-cum innovator has been tough for Peesapaty. “I thought I was master juggler and can do anything and all the roles belonged to me. The realization dawned on me when I could see the lacunae in technology that needed urgent attention and no one except me knew at that point what exactly I wanted the machine to perform. We had no money to create and pay a team. Workers became part of my tech journey and my wife managed several issues with three other volunteers.” Since November 2016, Peesapaty has turned his attention to developing and improving technology to enable large scale production. Having designated responsibilities, Peesapaty concurs that after nine years he feels sorted out as a scientist. “Innovation, R & D and the patience, perseverance and unending trials and errors come more easily to me rather than the trials to become a businessman which was a mistake, as one needs a different mindset to do business and I now know I don’t have one.” Peesapaty is hopeful of education as a means to leverage innovation and generate ecological consciousness. Reacting to the Henderson Mill Elementary School’s project on conservation by using less plastic and minimizing garbage, he says “I am glad the school children are thinking and willing to act at their own levels be it within school or in family or neighborhood. This trend is been in several schools now across the world. The teachers are taking it upon themselves to make children aware and also to take it up as a practice/ practical project to inculcate an experiential education. I certainly favor such moves by schools as the generation for who I created this product is made a part of my journey now. What else can I ask for. We have spoilt our life by indulgences and recklessness but let us do something positive and long lasting to make our kids healthy, happy and caring for one another and nature. “ Meanwhile, in a Skype conversation with this writer, Ms Tahtinen’s First Grade class at Henderson expressed their dismay at the 912 plastic forks and straws that they had collected in a week. They have been graphing their findings and working with the idea of reducing the use of plastic. They are pursuing their attempt to Skype with Narayana Peesapaty and exploring the possibility of using edible cutlery in their cafeteria. These students have brought a way forward to encourage an ethical minded pursuit of science that is both meaningful and beneficial to the world.
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Slain Woman’s Husband Allowed To Attend Funeral In India
......... NRI News ........
Sikhs In The US ‘Intimidated, Harassed’ At Alarming Rate Washington: (IANS) Sikhs in the US are reporting an increase in violent threats and harassment against the community amid rising incidents of hate crimes against Indian Americans in the country.
New York: (IANS) The husband of an Indian-origin woman killed along with her son inNew Jersey was allowed to go to India for the funeral, according to an official. Hanumantha Rao Narra’s “movements are not restricted in any way by the criminal justice system,” according to Joel Bewley, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s spokesperson, quoted by CBSPhilly TV. “He has not been charged with a crime.” The channel quoted a source involved in the investigation as saying that Narra had a strong alibi. The source was not identified. The channel said that Narra is expected to attend the funeral in India of his wife, Sasikala,38, and son Anish,6, who were found stabbed to death on March 23 in their Maple Shade home. Bewley told the channel he would not comment on whether Narra is a suspect because his office does not comment on past, present, or future suspects.CBSPhilly said that the source confirmed that Hanumantha Narra “was involved in a relationship with another woman as of last week”. The woman was not identified.
2 Sentenced For Credit Card Fraud Washington: (IANS)Two Indian-American men were sentenced by a US court for a $200 million international credit card fraud, one of the largest-ever exposed by federal authorities, said officials. Vijay Verma and Tarsem Lal, both of Iselin, New Jersey, were sentenced to 14 months in prison and a year of house arrest, respectively, after previously pleading guilty to their roles in the scheme, according to a statement from the US Attorney for the District of New Jersey, news website NJ.com reported. Verma and Lal, both owners of a Jersey City jewelry store, were indicted in October 2013 for fabricating more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards. The scheme involved an “elaborate network of false identities” and thousands of “drop addresses” across the country — including houses, apartments and P.O. boxes — which were used as mailing addresses for the false identities, according to the report. Credit reports were doctored, according to officials, to “pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards”. The men borrowed or spent as much as they could without repaying the debts, causing more than $200 million in losses to businesses and financial institutions. Verma and Lal both admitted to allowing people to come into their store to use credit cards they knew did not legitimately belong to them. The two men would then split the proceeds of the phony transactions with these other conspirators, said the report.
Chairman of the Sikhs Political Action Committee (SikhsPAC), Gurinder Singh Khalsa, said so far there have been two death threats and two reports of vandalism against Sikhs in the state of Indiana, TheIndyChannel.com, an ABC Television Network affiliate, reported. One incident included a direct threat against a Sikh from a man carrying a handgun in Fishers city, according to the report. “Somebody showed him the gun and asked him: ‘Who are you? What country do you belong to?’”
Khalsa said there have been other incidents too where Sikhs were threatened. Sikh-American physician Amandeep Singh said he was directly threatened last week with a text message and doesn’t understand why this is happening to Sikhs around the nation. Singh said he felt a range of emotions after the threats, including fear for his family and his patients. “Fear, especially if you have family, kids, the safety of your family and kids, that comes to mind first,” said Amandeep. “Then you try to make sense of it.” “I believe I’ve been living here 14 years and never experienced anything like that specifically,” Singh said. “My job is serving the people you know, everyday I’m there for the people and taking a stand with them and serving the community. It was hard for me to comprehend even something like that coming to somebody’s mind.” SikhsPAC has contacted the US Attorney General’s Office and is working with law enforcement. The threats were under investigation. Indiana is one of only five states in the US without a hate crime law, said the report.
Email Inventor To Challenge Elizabeth Warren In Senate Race Washington: (IANS) IndianAmerican entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai will challenge liberal icon and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren in the 2018 US Senate race from Massachusetts. The Indian-American, who claims that he invented the email, first announced his candidacy last month to “defend the American dream”. On his campaign website, Ayyadurai stated: “I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve found here (America). Now I’m committed to preserving, protecting, and expanding those opportunities for the citizens of Massachusetts and for all Americans. That’s the new American Revolution, and I hope you’ll join me in this fight.” The Mumbai-born entrepreneur has four Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) degrees and is also a contributor to BreitBart news, a far-right American news, opinion and commentary website. Ayyadurai, who is so far the only declared Republican candidate, has been going after Warren right from the beginning. In a recent tweet, he launched a rather “Trumpesque” attack on the Senator Warren. “Warren doesn’t REALLY understand Medicine or Innovation. Her mumbo jumbo is just about throwing $$’s. Dumb!” he tweeted.
Republicans Are Making A Bargain With The ‘Devil’: Ro Khanna Washington: (IANS) Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, a Democrat who represents the 17th Congressional District of California, known as the Silicon Valley, called US President Donald Trump a “devil” and his budget proposal “dumb”. “You talk to members of Congress and they don’t agree with everything he says. Even Republicans. They are as embarrassed,” Khanna — a teacher, lawyer and a politician — said in a video interview to news channel TYT Politics. “Why aren’t they speaking out? It’s because he is helping achieve their vision which is the dismantling of the administrative state. The dismantling of the new deal, in a way that Ronald Reagan even didn’t,” he said. “… So they are saying, OK, we are gonna make the bargain with the devil. He is giving us what we want. Let’s ignore everything else.” Responding to a question on what bothers him the most about the Trump administration’s budget proposal, which might get passed, too, Khanna said “foreign aid”. “I mean, I can’t think of a more dumb proposal than, frankly, than cutting that [foreign aid].” Khanna said that he is worried that the Republicans would not push back on cutting the US foreign aid. He said, on humanitarian grounds, the US should continue to extend help to other countries, reported the American Bazaar Online. Questioning Trump’s proposal to cut foreign aid, Khanna said that it is un-American. He said that America’s foreign aid budget is less than one percent and it should be defended as it goes for “humanitarian causes”.
The 40-year-old Khanna said that he felt “annoyed” after Trump commented that it is in “America’s national interest” and advised other nations to follow their self-interest. Citing former President George W. Bush,
Khanna said that even Bush helped resuscitate people from the HIV in Africa. “And here, you know, George Bush, I disagreed with him about everything Bush-Cheney did. The one thing he did, what we should all give him credit for is he helped save people in Africa with HIV,” Khanna said. “We put billions of dollars in foreign aid to help people with the anti-viral drugs.” Khanna said, “The whole idea about American exceptionalism is that we are not all nations… We care about morality. We care about humanity. That’s what makes America exceptional. So, we should care about the moral case of what we are gonna do for other countries.”
Man Attacks Woman In US Gurdwara, Held Washington: (IANS) A 37-year-old man was arrested after he attacked a woman inside a gurdwara in the US state of Oregon. According to the police, Timothy Walter Schmidt was intoxicated and was walking by the Sikh temple in Oregon’s Gresham city on Sunday night. He asked to use a restroom at the temple and was allowed inside, reported Fox 12 Oregon. When Schmidt came out of the bathroom, he saw a 26-yearold female in the gurdwara and attacked her. According to Detective Adam Baker, a temple member
heard the commotion and pulled Schmidt off of the woman and held him down until the police arrived. Schmidt was lodged into the Multnomah county jail and charged with assault, menacing, coercion, attempted rape, sex abuse and unlawful use of a weapon, said the report. The accused had a criminal history, including three DUII convictions, said police officials. It is not clear if religion or ethnicity played a role in the attack, but that is something the police were looking into, according to the report.
......... Tribute to Atlanta Naari ........
Raj RazdanA Tireless Social Worker BY DIVYA DESAI
aj Razdan has a dedicated record of civicsocial and professional accomplishments and recognition. She is a selfless social worker. She has facilitated and organized numerous charitable activities to support battered/abused women and also to help the victims of natural disasters in India and in the USA. Raj is an active public speaker, who has been invited as guest speaker on several occasions. Community Service record: Olympics: Raj organized the very first international/multicultural parade for the Indian American community participation at the Fulton County
NRI PULSE 13 the first Beauty Pageant contest for the Indian American Cultural Association. She trained participants for IACA and even National beauty pageants. She has organized many fashion shows including one for the J.C. Penny at the Atlanta Civic Center. Hands on Atlanta and Red Cross: Raj has served as volunteer for these two mainstream, non-profit charitable organizations. Senior Citizens Program, Inc: Raj founded the Senior Citizens Program in 1996. Presently she is serving as the Executive Director of this program which is being recognized for service to Elders in Georgia as well as nationally. Remembering Mahatma Gandhi: Raj volun-
Introducing our new series, ‘Tribute to Atlanta Naari’, a photographic ode to Atlanta women. They are mothers and wives, sisters and daughters. They are successful professionals and strong role models. They lead with their hearts and give back to the community. Let us salute the ‘heroes’ of our community!
Photography and Concept: Divya Desai Make up: Kripa Bhatt Hair Stylist: Tina Cash Stadium in preparation ofAtlanta Committee for Olympic Games (ACOG) marketing/ video proposal to bring the Olympics to Atlanta. This was before the announcement of Atlanta getting Olympics. She also served on the Mayor’s Task force for the Olympics. Atlanta International Museum: Raj served on the Board of Leaders for the Atlanta International Museum. Asia Pacific American Council (APAC): Raj arranged Cultural Programs and Beauty pageants for the Asia Pacific American Council for their Annual celebrations/ Banquets. Women’s Federation for World Peace: Raj was inducted as a “Sister” in Women’s Federation for World Peace which has had chief guests such as First lady Barbara Bush, Barbara Walters, and many other distinguished personalities. Interfaith sisters Dialogue Group within Atlanta Jewish Committee: Raj represents the Indian American community for the Dialogue on Hinduism and India. Indian American Cultural Association, IACA: Raj served as Chairwoman for IACA Board of Directors, 1998. Temple Activity: She was instrumental in acquisition of one of the properties in 1998 for the priest’s quarters. Raj has been actively involved in IACA Temple activities consistently. She took the lead and facilitated procurement of Temple idols from India for the ICRC Temple. She assisted with numerous Diwali and Navratri programs at IACA. Arts/Performing Arts: Raj organized IACA Exhibition booths at the Cobb County Arts Festival of Nations; at the opening of the Underground arts Festival Downtown; and at the high museum. Beauty Pageant & Fashion Shows: Raj organized
teers for the Gandhi Foundation of USA, a national organization founded and based in Atlanta. She has organized and coordinated refurbishment and decoration of Gandhi Room at the Freedom Hall at the King Center,Auburn Ave since its opening in 1987. She has served as hostess for various Gandhi (Oct.2) birth anniversary celebrations at the King Center/ Freedom hall. Raj has also assisted with the refurbishment of the Gandhi Room at IACA,Smyrna, particularly with procuring pictures, framing of pictures, procuring the cabinets, memorabilia and also the books. Speaking and Writing Activities: Raj has been invited as a guest speaker at the various churches and school events on Hinduism and on India. She has written editorials/articles for the prestigious Atlanta-Journal Constitution and other various Indian American newspapers and magazines. National and Atlanta TV and numerous print media (international, national and local) have interviewed/featured her. Recognitions/Awards/Honors: She is a recipient of many Outstanding Service awards. The Gandhi Foundation of USA (1998); Indian American Cultural Association, IACA in Georgia in 1992 and again in 2002; and many other citations and recognition. Raj is currently employed with Emory University doing scientific research and has many research publications to her credit. She has also done research at the Center for Disease Control. Additionally, Raj presently owns Asia Pacific Broadcasting Network (APBN), producing the popular community television show “Namaste Bombay” on Comcast Cable Systems in Georgia. She also anchors the news segment of this weekly TV show.
14 NRI PULSE
......... Biz Pulse ........
Visa Curbs On Indians Will Also Hurt US: Sushma
Contributed $10 mn Towards Community Development In India New Delhi: (IANS) Microsoft Philanthropies, created a year ago, said it has contributed a total of over $10 million towards community development in India last year. This contribution includes both cash and technology investments to transform the way nonprofit organisations deliver impact in India, offer educational opportunities to newcomers, and extend support during humanitarian crises. Microsoft Philanthropies was created to bring the benefits of technology to people in need. “As India moves on the path of becoming a digitally empowered society, at Microsoft we believe technology is a powerful force for improving people’s lives and solving India’s key challenges,” Microsoft India Associate General Counsel Madhu Khatri said in a statement. “Cloud computing has emerged as a vital resource for addressing the world’s problems, helping fuel breakthroughs across the full-range of economic and social challenges. These technologies will help serve the mission of Microsoft Philanthropies to drive digital inclusion and empowerment in India and across the world,” Kahtri added.
New Delhi: (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj recently said if the US puts restrictions on H-1B visas, immigration or business outsourcing, it will not just hurt Indians but will be bad for the US too. “We are not just talking with the US authorities (on H-1B visas and related issues), we are talking with logic and concrete statistics,” Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour. “This is a mutually beneficial partnership, and we have told them (the US) that if you snap these ties, it will not hurt us alone, it will also hurt you,” she said. She said that the Indian information technology (IT) companies operating in the US are generating jobs there and contributing to the US exchequer. “We have told them that it is not true that Indians are stealing their jobs. On the contrary, Indian companies in US are generating employment for the Americans. So far, Indian companies have given direct employment to 1.56 lakh Americans and supportive jobs to 4.11 lakh,” she said. She added that between 2011 and 2015, the Indian companies have made an investment of $2 billion, paid taxes worth $20 billion and Indian workers have contributed $7 billion to the social security scheme. Besides, she added, the American companies in India are earning $27.5 billion annually. The External Affairs Minister informed the
house that the Foreign Secretary and the Commerce Secretary visited the US between February 28 and March 3 this year and held meetings with
cabinet ministers and senior functionaries of the new US administration as well as with the Congressional leadership. “We have emphasised that Indian skilled professionals have contributed to the growth and development of the US economy and have helped the US retain its competitive edge and innovation advantage,” she said. Swaraj said that the Trump administration has so far not announced any comprehensive policy changes impacting non-immigrant work visa programs. H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the US which allows US employers to temporarily employ for-
eign workers in specialty occupations. It was first introduced in 1990 and since then the policy has seen a lot of flip-flop. When H-1B visas were first introduced, the cap was a total of 65,000. In the year 2000, it was raised to 1,95,000 for three years. In 2004, the number of these visas was again reversed to 65,000 by the US. The H-1B also allows visaholders to bring their spouse and children under 21 to the US as dependents. After President Donald Trump assumed office, there has been a lot of uncertainty over the future of H-1B visa-holder Indians working in the US with four bills about the H-1B visas pending in the US Congress. “There are 13 bills for consideration before the US Congress. Four of them are about H-1B visas, six bills pertain to outsourcing business to India and three bills are about immigration. But none of them has been passed so far,” Swaraj told the house. “The government of India is closely monitoring the developments that may have a bearing upon the movement of Indian workers and professionals to the US. We remain in active dialogue with the US administration and the US Congress at senior levels to safeguard the interests of Indian workers and professionals,” she said.
“Audience Will Be Surprised To See Ranbir As Sanjay Dutt”
Mumbai: (IANS) Actor Vicky Kaushal, who features in the Rajkumar Hirani-directed biopic on Sanjay Dutt, says the audience will be surprised to see Ranbir Kapoor reprising the controversial actor’s life on screen. “When the audience will see the film, they will be extremely surprised to see Ranbir in Sanjay Dutt’s character. He has been working hard for the film and he is getting into the skin of the character,” Vicky on the sidelines of a special screening of “Naam Shabana” here recently. The “Masaan” actor is very happy to be a part of the biopic, and said it’s like living a dream to be able to work in a project like this. “It’s my dream come true to work in Sanjay Dutt’s biopic. I have been a fan of Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi (writer), Ranbir Kapoor and Vidhu Vinod Chopra in my personal life, and sometimes I think that I am living my dream as I am getting to learn a lot during the shoot,” he said. “I didn’t expect that I will be working with these stalwarts so early in my career,” Vicky said. Talking about his own character in the film, the actor said: “I am playing Sanjay Dutt’s close friend in the film. The friend has been with him throughout his journey through thick and thin.”
......... Bollywood Pulse ........
India Is Ashamed Of Sexuality: Radhika Apte New Delhi: (IANS) Actress Radhika Apte, who has often been under the scanner for her “bold” approach in her films, says anything remotely associated with human body can turn out to be a problem in India — a country that is “very ashamed of sexuality and physicality”. Sex and sexuality are not the only veiled topics of discussion in the country. Menstruation also finds a spot on the list, and Radhika is happy that the topic is being handled in a “big way” in her upcoming Bollywood film “Pad Man” — which tells a true story of a man’s journey to make affordable sanitary napkins. Starting with the poster in the shape of a sanitary napkin, Radhika feels the film will help overcome the hesitation which surrounds a natural process that a woman goes through every month. “I think our country is very ashamed of sexuality, physicality, or human body. Anything to do with human body or sexuality is a problem here,” Radhika told IANS over phone from Mumbai. Despite the critical acclaim coming her way aplenty, Radhika has often been in news for being “bold” in her films — be it an intimate scene with co-star Adil Hussain in “Parched” being leaked online, or a clip of a semi-nude Radhika from an Anurag Kashyap-directed short film making its way on to the web. The actress has never tried to sweep the matter under the rug, and believes in talking about it instead of opting for silence. “Yes, there is a whole thing of generations of being awkward about things, but if you start taking a decision like ‘Okay, I am not going to
feel like that’, it will make a difference,” she said. The actress said a natural process like menstruation should be spoken about. “It should not feel awkward touching the pad in front of people. These are small things with which people have issues,” she said. According to Radhika — who is associated
with sanitary napkin brand Whisper India as an “influencer”, it is not only men who have issues talking about it. “Women also have issues about it. It is all a part of society and upbringing, and it is high time we changed it,” she said. Filmmaker R. Balki has picked the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham to narrate through “Pad Man”, with actors Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Radhika in the lead roles. “Pad Man” will chronicle how Muruganantham set out on a mission to make affordable sanitary napkins after seeing his wife’s
I Console Myself With A Career That Lasts: Twinkle New Delhi: (IANS) She started off as an actress, became an entrepreneur and she is now creating waves with her books and column. Twinkle Khanna, famous on social media as Mrs Funnybones, doesnt regret that she couldn’t score a success story in films. Asked if she finds it ironic that she didn’t receive as much praise for acting as opposed to her writing career, Twinkle told IANS over phone from Mumbai: “Maybe I am better at writing. So I console myself with the fact that I have a career that lasts me a lifetime.” Twinkle, the daughter of veteran actress Dimple Kapadia and the late superstar Rajesh Khanna, featured in films like “Barsaat”, “Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai”, “Mela”, “Baadshah” and “Joru Ka Ghulam”. But failed to make a mark. She then became an entrepreneur, exploring her interest in interior designing. Her writing skills came to be known via her column in a daily, and eventually she turned an author. She calls her professional journey gratifying.
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“Considering that I’m here at this platform at this point of time, I think it’s been quite gratifying,” she said. Be it her books “Mrs Funnybones” and “The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad”, her comments on social media or even the columns she writes, Twinkle has always managed to see the funny side of life. What makes her do that?
“Humor is nothing else but a part of candor... There is nothing that you can ever say which is funny unless it has a nugget of truth in it. All I do is unwrap a little bit conditioning and present it slightly in an incongruent manner,” said Twinkle, who is the wife of actor Akshay Kumar and a mother of two. Asked why she doesn’t star with Akshay in films, Twinkle, who is the brand ambassador of Loreal Professionnel, quipped: “You’ve just asked me a question that I am doing better as a writer. So why would I do something that I wasn’t doing as well as? Logic.” Currently, Twinkle is busy with her film production “Padman”, which stars Akshay and Radhika Apte. Directed by R. Balki, the film is inspired by Padma Shri awardee Arunachalam Muruganantham, and will chronicle his journey of finding a way to make cheap, affordable sanitary napkins for women in his village.
ordeal and poor menstrual hygiene, and was shunned by his own family and village. More than the end result of finally succeeding in making affordable sanitary napkins, it is the road that leads to it which makes for a compelling tale. From creating a fake uterus to test out his protype and raising eyebrows in the village for washing bloodied clothes in public, to being ostracised on the suspicion of having a sexual disease and being possessed by evil spirits — there are many facets to Muruganantham’s story. Ask Radhika about how his story is getting a Bollywood makeover, and she says she is “absolutely not” allowed to talk about it, but things are heading in the right direction. “All I can I say is that as you know it is about a pad man and has a sanitary napkin on the poster. So there is a lot of scope for imagination. “I am very happy that something like this is being handled at such a big level in Bollywood,” said Radhika, who hails from Pune and lives in London with her husband Benedict Taylor. Radhika entered the industry with a small role in the 2005 release “Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!”, and is known for films like “Shor in the City”, “Kabali”, “Phobia”, “Badlapur”, “Manjhi - The Mountain Man” and short film “Ahalya”. At the moment, all her focus is on “Pad Man”.
A Tribute To SRK At San Francisco Film Fest Shah Rukh Khan says he is excited to attend the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFILM), which is honouring him with a tribute in its 60th year. “Honoured to be at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival and looking forward to meeting my friend Brett Ratner. Also memories in San Francisco,” Shah Rukh tweeted on Friday. Shah Rukh, who has spent a quarter of a century in Indian showbiz, will be in an in-depth conversation with American filmmaker Brett Ratner. The discussion will precede a screening of “My Name Is Khan” on April 14. Officials at the fest find it an honour to welcome Shah Rukh — whom they have addressed as “one of the world’s most recognized film personalities” — at the gala. SFILM’s Executive Director Noah Cowan said in a statement of the fest’s official website: “Above Shah Rukh Khan’s fame as an actor is a man known for his pervasive curiosity about the world around him, about technology, about our collective future.” SFILM runs April 5-19.
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SuDoku Solutions 9 1 7 5 3 4 6 8 2
would like to help our cause, we would love to hear about it,” appeals the team. Inspired by a few friends, Mitch Hotop, a senior Aerospace Engineering student at GT who hopes to lead design of deep space exploration missions, entered the rally. “The thought of competing in the rally while also contributing to the less fortunate in an area we are going to” he says. “I love to help people, and the Mongolia Charity Rally offered a chance to be more involved than simply throwing money at a cause” says Tony Chirumbole, senior, Mechanical Engineering. Chirumbole hopes to conduct research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “Our vehicle will likely turn into an ambulance or medical cargo transport, which is going to help the fledgling Mongolian healthcare system” adds Jonathon Murphy, working as a co-op for the GTRI. Murphy aspires to work for Apple someday. Gunner “The Renegade” Robinson, a second year mechanical engineering student would love to work with developing communities to create laborsaving technology.” I’m stoked to bring a useful vehicle
Rules: 1.The 3 x 3 sub grids are called regions 2.Numbers already filled in the grid are called givens 3.The goal of the player is to fill the blank grids of · Every row · Every column and · Every 3 x 3 box · With the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 However: All rows and columns and regions (3 x 3) should contain numbers 1 to 9 without being repeated.
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Continued from Pg 11.....
to the people there and discover some awesome places along the way.” He says. Team members, with an affinity to help out for causes in their spare time at Georgia Tech, lead different organizations on campus raising funds in numerous ways. They champion a team each year to raise money for St. Baldrick’s, a charity that focuses on funding childhood cancer research. They raised nearly $10,000 over the course of a couple months last year. They are also leaders in Georgia Tech’s For the Kids, a childhood cancer focused organization that raised over $100,000 last year for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Go Help, a UK registered charity, started with the goal of launching and operating ambulances in third world countries. It has also expanded providing other emergency vehicles scholarship programs, and building children’s activity centers. The team of engineers is gearing for an adventurous journey to remember, with a purpose to offer. Here’s wishing the group success in their endeavor. You may find more information at http:// www.onesmallsteppe.com/, Facebook Page:http:// www.facebook.com/OneSmallSteppe/ and Donation Page: http://www.youcaring.com/onesmallsteppe/
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5 GA Tech Students Participate In 10,000 Mile Rally
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To list your forthcoming event, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Event Listing in the subjectline.
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Hasya Kavi APRIL 29 Sammelan organized by International Hindi Association (IHA) When: Saturday April 29th 2017 at 4PM Where: Berkmar High School, 405 Pleasant Hill Rd NW, Lilburn GA 30047 Artists: Padmsri Dr Sunil Jogi, Mr Sudeep Bhola and Mr Gajender Solanki Contact: Sanjeev Agarwal at 203.442.3120
I told a friend that if he scrolled down to the 93, spent 80 years sitting on a barstool in a UK pub very first Facebook post ever written he would called the Dog and Gun. Now most husbands know win a prize from Mark Zuckerberg and hes been that if we are 80 minutes late coming home because of scrolling for three-and-a-half days now. a visit to a bar, we’ll be in trouble. Our mistake is that I feel kind of guilty our sins are not big enough. but his family’s enjoying guy spends 80 years THE FUNNY SIDE This the peace. on a barstool and he is inLife is full of new ternationally celebrated. ethical questions triggered Of course, the ultiby social media. mate example of this is the Case in point: Police United States President. recently arrested a teenMany academics have age girl for armed robbery pointed out that in 2016 — and as she was being Donald Trump was by handcuffed, she turned far the most criticized and spoke some final man on Earth, by any words to her shocked fameasure — and as a rether: “Dad, can you take sult, he is now the most a picture of this so I can famous and powerful huput it on my Facebook page?” man being on Earth, unbeholden to anyone (except Not a joke. None of this soppy “sorry I let his bossy wife Melania, who I guess is thus techniyou down, dearest papa” stuff. Instead, cally Ruler of Planet Earth). Josephine Garczynski, 18, was operating on a The same thing happens in Asia. Rodrigo well-known internet principle known as “Pic- Duterte announces that he likes picking fights tures Or It Didn’t Happen”. and shooting people, and the people of the PhilAnd it could be argued that she made the ippines promptly make him their overlord. right choice: She achieved a measure of fame where Old way of becoming rich and powerful: I she lived, in the US state of Wisconsin. need to achieve something good for humanity. Wait a minute, I hear you say: Isn’t it bad New way of becoming rich and powerful: I to be famous for saying or doing something stu- need to tell the media that I totally hate kittens. pid or evil? Ah, that’s the mistake people make. How do you start to become talked about? Praise and notoriety both lead to fame, but noto- Write the following post before you disappear: riety is easier (and often more fun). “Going on a date with a mysterious stranger. The same week, there was a news report Will report back soon.” from the UK which said that Nelson Foyle, aged - Nury Vittachi
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Matrimonial 2017 APRIL 21-22 presented by GCNA. Matrimonial Atlanta 2017 is now open for registration. When: Friday - Saturday, April 21-22, 2017, Fri eve, Sat all day Where: Matiott Courtyard – Decatur, GA. Register: http://MatrimonialAtlanta.com/ Contact: Amit Shah 770-403- 1587
To Be Famous Today, Make Sure You Are Bad Or Stupid
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Asian Americans APRIL 15 Advancing Justice Atlanta Free Citizenship Clinic Please bring the following documents: Ï% Green Card Ï% Driver’s license Ï% All your passports Ï% Social Security Card Ï% Most recent tax return Ï% List of home addresses for the past 5 years Ï% List of employer names and addresses for the past 5 years Ï% Proof of public benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, SSI, etc. Ï% Dates you have been outside the U.S. since getting your green card, and the countries you visited during each trip Ï% Marriage certificate and divorce decrees or proof of death for previous spouses. Also, if married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder), bring spouse’s US passport or green card. Ï% Certified final court disposition for any traffic tickets Ï% For each of your children: his/her green card, complete name, date of birth, and address When: Sat April 15, 2017 from 10am-1pm Where: Culture Center of TECO in Atlanta, 5377 New Peachtree Rd, Chamblee, GA 30341. Register: Appointments are required. Make an appointment at http://bit.ly/clinic2017april. Contact: 404-890-5655
Updates and Early APRIL 18 Impacts of Trump Administration’s New Policies Sponsored By: USA India Business Summit, Fragomen Worldwide, US India Business & Research Center, Taj Hotels, Bhavya Chaudhry and Associates When: April 18, 2017 Seminar: 1:30 - 5:15 pm Reception: 5:30 - 7:30 pm Cost: Early Registration: $60/person Regular Registration: $75/person Where: Fragomen, Del Rey Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, 600 Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 4200 Atlanta, GA 30308 Contact: Ani Agnihotri at 404-394-6678 or email email@example.com
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USPAACC-SE APRIL 10 presents Capacity Building Workshop Series – Hosted by The Coca-Cola Company: Workshop will provide insight on how to develop and manage professional teams in business for positive impact on productivity and growth. When: Mon April 10, 2017 from 12:00 – 4:00 pm Where: The Coca-Cola Company Corporate Headquarters, North Avenue Tower, USA Room 2, 1 Coca-Cola Plaza, Atlanta, GA 30313 Contact: US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce uspaacc.com
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NRI Pulse Online Magazine The Complete Portal for NRIs www.NRIPulse.com News, Views, Blogs, Features, Perspectives, Debates, Community Profiles, Immigration, Health, Business, Youth, Fashion, Entertainment, Bollywood, Cookery, Free Classifieds and more...
..... Indians of Atlanta .....
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#IndiansOfAtlanta is our attempt at building an archive of local Indian-American stories, one story at a time. Help us popularize this feature by sharing our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IndiansofAtlanta/). If you’d like to be featured in Indians of Atlanta, write us at editor@ nripulse.com with ‘Indians of Atlanta’ in the subject line.
Growing up in Nairobi was like growing up in India: Mahadev Desai “My father (some time after he got married), left with his new bride for Dar-es-Salaam,Tanzania in 1929, to teach in a secondary school. I was born there. As a child, I was not conscious about identifying either as Indian or Tanzanian. I had not been to India then, so there was no question of missing it. When I was 9, my parents moved to Nairobi,Kenya, which was then part of East Africa and a British colony. Growing up in Nairobi was just like growing up in India. My neighbors were all Indians, so we played gilli-danda, hu-tu-tu, marbles, rode bicycles, climbed trees, swam in ponds, stole fruits and flowers from neighbor’s gardens and engaged in all kinds of pranks. Colonial rule in Kenya was very much like that in India. It was a three-tier society. Europeans at the top, Asians in the middle and blacks at the bottom of the rung. Housing, education, employment, etc. were segregated along racial lines. Indians initially helped build the railways and later, as they were not allowed to own land, virtually monopolized the retail trade, by setting up ‘dukas’-small shops even in the remotest interiors. The lower-caste Indians worked as masons, carpenters, tailors, car-mechanics, etc. The literate ones found jobs in civil service, teaching and other professions. Indians didn’t have a voice in politics, but before independence, they advised and supported Africans in their struggle for independence from colonial powers. However, Indians were often accused of looking down upon Africans. One black politician called it ‘cocktail integration’ because Indians interacted only at parties! On the whole, however Indians have contributed immensely in the
development of Kenya. They are also known for their philanthropy. The Indian community then comprised of Gujaratis, Sikhs, Ismailis, Bohras, etc. For a majority of Indians, cinema, sports (mainly cricket and hockey) and picnics were the most popular pastimes. Festivals like Holi, Diwali, and Krishna Janmashtami were celebrated with full fanfare. Trips to the coast at Mombasa and Zanzibar and safaris to watch the wildlife were also enjoyable. Cricket teams were along community lines. The Patels, Sikhs, Muslims, Shahs, Goans etc had their own teams, as did the Europeans. Inter-club matches and knock-out matches aroused lot of passion
It is our responsibility to support each other during bad times: Meenakshi Chugh I still wonder what childhood is like, because I did not have one. I lost my mom at age 12, when I became a mother to my three younger siblings who were only 9, 8 and 4 years old then. My dad, a civil engineer by profession, was posted in Bihar, while we children lived in Faridabad. We were left alone in a big house, and it was scary. I was responsible for cooking, cleaning, and the laundry. There were no dishwashers or washer dryers in those days. I used to do my homework after first helping my brothers and sister with theirs. I was often tired, and fell asleep at school. My dad implored relatives to come stay with us, but no one turned up to help. This went on for a few years until dad was transferred back to Faridabad. Then we weren’t alone anymore, but that did not reduce the work load. Along with studies, my sister and I still cooked and cleaned. My teenage years seem to have slipped past me. I think my hardships and my struggles have molded my outlook towards life, as also my father’s love and care. When I heard of my friend Preeti’s stage 3 cancer diagnosis, my only thought was that it can happen to anyone. Life surprises us in good and bad ways. I think it is our responsibility to support each other during bad times. I am a mother of 2 little kids, and have a full time job. Sometimes, I felt helpless because I wasn’t able to do as much as I wanted to. So, I started a Facebook support group for Preeti. I contacted all my Facebook friends and requested them to bring more people to help. We went to temples and gurdwaras to gather more support. We organized a big get together at my neighborhood club house where I introduced Preeti to everyone and familiarized them with her situation. Help began to pour in. We created an online calendar where people picked slots to bring food, and for her rides to the hospital. It made me realize there are so many good people around us. Honestly, I don’t think I have done anything award worthy. It is a big honor that Raksha recognized my work with the Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award. It moti-
among players as well as spectators! I was an avid cricketer, which probably helped me integrate well when I went to college in Bombay. I represented my college in inter-college matches! I graduated from Sydenham College in Bombay (Mumbai). I returned to Nairobi, got married, did a few jobs with an attorney’s office, an accountant’s firm, with the IRS, at an advertising company, etc. Life in Kenya was tough in the beginning as we had no car, telephone or domestic help. Slowly things got better. After independence in 1963,Kenya was short of teachers. I always wanted to teach, so I took the plunge. I went to London for a post-graduate degree in teaching commercial subjects, returned to Nairobi and taught Business subjects at Kenya Polytechnic, to Asian and African boys and girls. Teaching and journalism are the most fulfilling and rewarding parts of my career. After Uganda’s President Idi Amin expelled the Asian minority from Uganda, my wife and I decided to leave with our teenage daughter for London. The mood was panic and disappointment. Indians contributed a lot in developing Africa. There were some crooks who exploited the Africans but that was no reason to punish the whole community. Amin was a crazy military dictator so he was ruthless not only with Asians but even Africans. I was very sad not only because I was leaving Kenya, but also because I was leaving my aged parents and family. I had to struggle to find a job in London. My wife who was a housewife in Nairobi, also began working. My daughter had problems adjusting to studies in a British school. But she graduated from her secondary school, went to the US and earned her nursing qualifications. I love Africa and its people. I will always miss Kenya and its scenic beauty, its tropical weather and its hospitable people!” – Mahadev Desai Mahadev Desai is a prolific freelance journalist. His reports on community events, literary reviews, short stories, humor pieces, profiles of prominent community members, movie and play reviews have been appearing for over 20 years in India Abroad Newspaper; India-Today Magazine, Khabar Magazine, India Tribune Newspaper, NRI Pulse Newspaper Atlanta Dunia and other community publications.
vates me to keep going.” - Meenakshi Chugh Meenakshi Chugh is a pharmacist by profession. She has lived in Atlanta since 2004 where she met her husband. She is mother to a 10-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. She is now learning Kathak, a secret passion that she had to quit when her mother passed away. She is the recipient of the 2016 Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award from Raksha Inc.
........ What’s Cooking? ........
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BYP.S. LAKSHMI RAO
Lemon Karam (Hot Dip)
heat. Let it cool. Blend the spices in a spice blender until it becomes a soft powder. Mix the powder thoroughly with salt and lemon juice. Tastes good with rice, pakodas, bajjies, dhokla and samosas
1 Teaspoon oil 1 Tablespoon fenugreek seeds (methi) 1 Teaspoon red mus-
Note: Make the powder by doubling all the above ingredients except lemon juice. Keep it in a glass jar and store it in the refrigerator. Mix with lemon juice as needed.
tard seeds 25 Dried red chilies broken in to 4 pieces 1 Teaspoon cumin seed 1/8 Teaspoon asafoetida (hing) 1/8 Teaspoon turmeric (haldi) 1 Teaspoon salt or to taste Juice from two lemons
Mamidi Allam Relish (White Haldi) ¼ Pound mamidi allam (white haldi) washed and peeled 3 Carrots washed and peeled 10 Jalapeño peppers 6 Lemons plus 1/2 cup bottled lemon juice 1 Teaspoon salt or to taste
April 2017 Close the bottle tightly with lid and shake well.. Let it sit for two hours shaking it occasionally. The relish is ready to eat. Relish tastes great with dal curries and dals. Keep the relish in the refrigerator and it is good for at least for a week.
Cut ginger and carrots into half inch pieces. Slit peppers into and remove seeds. Cut them into half inch pieces. You may use gloves to prepare the chilies. Cut lemons into half. Squeeze juice into a glass bottle. Remove seeds. Add salt, ginger, peppers, and carrots into the bottled water.
In small pan heat oil and fry methi seeds until light brown. Add mustard. When mustard seeds start to pop, add chilies. Fry for 30 seconds then add cumin and stir to combine. Add asafetida and turmeric and remove from
........ InVogue .......
Sorbet Colors Rule The Runways This Spring If you are worried you all look washed out in lighter hues, follow the Vogue lead to nail the trend for all occasions. Think princess outfits with lots of bright pinks and neon colors. Summer is the best time for neon floor length and multiple bright accents on an outfit. Think peachy blush lace outfit with off shoulder and light gold accents. Silver is used this year as well, but gold was overwhelming popular for beading and embroidery on the runways. Many bridal outfits, especially for the reception, feature gold or silver beading for emphasis. The trickiest time to wear pastels is during
BY RANI SHARMA Raneez Fine Boutique This year’s Indian fashion season is focused on spring and summer wear, ranging from light pastels to bold hues. Textured fabrics and varied hem lengths added a unique volume to the outfits displayed on the runway, and there was definitely a lot to take in. Daytime is the best time to wear these paler shades. Think back to your favorite sorbet colors when you head shopping this season. We love candy colors tailor-made for hot summer days.
the evening. Light blues with embellishment with light and dark colors are perfect for a night out .
Makeup: Bronzer blush on, bright eye makeup with light nude lipstick.
Minty green, floor-length, front open is another option. Keep it cool in striped work that is beautifully hand crafted.
Footwear: We suggest pencil high heels but put comfort first. Purse: Clutches in gold
For those who prefer fusion, there’s a lot you can mix and match with skirts, pants and dupattas. So don’t lose hope yet. We believe that you don’t need to scream the loudest to stand out in the crowd. Jewelry: Polki earrings with bracelet go with all the dress options.
For more info, call me at 404-633-4966 or visit Raneez Fine Boutique in Decatur.
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