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NRI Pulse

February 2020

Atlanta’s Premier South Asian Newspaper February 2020

3 Atlanta Indians Sentenced For Fraud Three Indians from the Atlanta area were among eight defendants who have been sentenced for their roles in an Indian based call center fraud scheme that victimized thousands in the United States resulting in over $3.7 million in losses. The sentences ranged from six months to four years and nine months in prison. Mohamed Kazim Momin, 33, of Norcross, Georgia, was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Mohmed Sozab Momin, 23, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Palak Kumar Patel, 30, Clarkston, Georgia, was sentenced to ten months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $19,142.60 in restitution. According to U.S. Attorney Pak, these defendants were involved in a sophisticated scheme organized by co-conspirators in India, including a network of call centers in Ahmedabad, India. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators called potential victims while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service or individuals offering fictitious payday loans. The call center operators would then threaten potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, or fines if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government. If the victims agreed to pay, the call centers would immediately turn to a network of U.S.-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds by purchasing prepaid debit cards or through wire transfers, including through MoneyGram and Western Union, to the attention of fictitious names and U.S.-based defendants and their co-conspirators.

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Atlanta’s Dr Jag Sheth Receives Padma Bhushan

Atlanta, GA: Atlanta’s Dr. Jagdish N. Sheth is among the 16 Padma Bhushan awardees announced by the Government of India on the eve of Republic Day earlier this month. Dr. Sheth is the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Business at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University and a world-renowned management Guru. Dr Sheth is part of the NRI Pulse family through his regular column, ‘Jag’s Thoughts’. “I am very humbled and grateful for receiving this award. I am grateful because I got free education in India, and that foundation led me to who I am today,” Dr Sheth told NRI Pulse. He said the award was a recognition of the intangible soft power of the Indian global diaspora. “The 20 million strong Indian diaspora is a very important asset for India. We have done exceptionally well, integrated into our adopted countries and rise to the occasion when India needs us.” “This award is not only about my research and writings; it is also about giving back to India.” Dr Sheth also acknowledged the support of his wife Madhu and expressed his deep appreciation and love for her. “I am grateful to Madhu for standing beside me through the years,” he said. Also known as “Jag,” Dr. Sheth has published more than 350 research papers and 30 books in various areas of marketing and management including consumer behavior, multivariate methods, competitive strategy, relationship marketing and more recently, marketing for emerging

markets. His most recent book is, ‘Genes, Climate and Consumption Culture’. His memoir ‘The Accidental Scholar’ narrates his journey- from a refugee from Burma to an academic scholar. Prior to coming to Emory University, Dr. Jagdish Sheth was the Robert E. Brooker Professor of Marketing at the University of Southern California and the Walter H. Stellner Distinguished Professor of Marketing at the University of Illinois. He was also on the faculty of Columbia University and MIT. Dr. Sheth is an American Psychological Association Fellow and past President of the Association for Consumer Research (ACR). He is also a Fellow of the American Marketing Association and the Academy of Marketing Science. Among his past and present accolades, Dr. Sheth was the recipient of the Viktor Mataja Medal from the Austrian Research Society in Vienna (1977) and the 1989 Outstanding Marketing Educator Award from the Academy of Marketing Science. In 1991 and again in 1999, Dr. Sheth was also recognized as the “Marketing Educator of the Year” by Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI). This year the President of India has approved conferment of 141 Padma Awards including four duo case (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one). The list comprises seven Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri Awards. Thirty-four of the awardees are women and the list also includes 18 persons from the category of foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 12 posthumous awardees.

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NZ Volcano Eruption Claims Lives Of Sewa Atlanta President, Wife

Pratap Singh Chouhan, the president of Sewa USA’s Atlanta chapter passed away at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland on January 28th morning after suffering burn injuries in the devastating December 9 eruption of the White Island/ Whakaari volcano in New Zealand. The eruption also claimed the life of his wife Mayuari Singh on December 22. The Singh family was on a cruise in Australia and New Zealand when the tragedy occurred. The couple is survived by their 11-year-old son and twin six-year-old girls. A prayer meeting in memory of Chouhan held at Ashiana Banquet Hall in Global Mall on January 30th evening was well attended by friends and well-wishers. “Pratap was well known for his philantrophic work, especially in the African-American community in downtown area,” said Sewa Atlanta’s Swadesh Katoch in a statement. “He was (instrumental) in bringing Baba Ramdev to Atlanta.” Chouhan was a big supporter of Sewa International’s Sponsor-a-Child project. in India. His family supported several Hindu temples in Atlanta, especially ISKCON, Katoch said. There were 47 people on or near the island at 2.11 p.m. on December 9 when Whakaari/White Island erupted, spewing gas and ash into the air. A total of 21 people have died in the tragedy.


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NRI Pulse

P.O. Box 191124 Atlanta GA 31119 Tel: 404-380-1031

Email: NRIPulse@gmail.com www.NRIPulse.com Publisher NRI Pulse Media Inc. Editor-in-Chief Veena Rao editor@nripulse.com Community News Editor Jyothsna Hegde Video News Anchor Namita D. Sudan Reports/Features Mahadev Desai Supriya D.G. Columnists Dr. Jagdish Sheth Rani Sharma P.S. Lakshmi Rao Kristen Moon Navami Naik Marketing Manager Raju Kotak 404-786-5392 raju@nripulse.com Advertising 404-664-2805 ads@nripulse.com ________________________ NRI Pulse Newspaper is a free monthly news and features publication of NRI Pulse Media Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, duplicated, reprinted or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher. Disclaimer: Any views or opinions published in this publication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. NRI Pulse Media Inc. accepts no liability for the errors and content of advertisements in this publication. Where to get NRI Pulse: NRI Pulse is available FREE at major retail locations in Atlanta. Call 404-664-2805 for more details.

.....City News .....

February 2020

Koyal Ansingakar And Sripriya Srinivas Are New Atlanta Indian Idols

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

na hojaye in the final round secured her victory in the senior category. The phenomenal rendition of Jo mere Atlanta, GA: The eloquently decked halls of dil ko dil banati hain by Sripriya Srinivas whose rich, Lassiter Concert Hall reverberated to harmonious deep voice seemed to emerge from a bottomless pit renditions of Bollywood music as new champions within soaring effortlessly above the crowd to reach were crowned from a rich array of singing talent at the ears and hearts of everyone including the judges, the 2020 Atlanta Indian Idol (AII) Championship took home the crown in the Junior category. presented by India American Cultural Association Cobb county Commission Chairman Mike Boyce (IACA) on January 25, 2020. and CGI Atlanta Dr. Swati Kulkarni presided as guests Koyal Ansingakar’s flawless rendition of of honor. Emcees of the night, Navin Gurnaney, CEO, Kuhu-Kuhu Bole Koyaliya in the semi-final and Der Tata Starbucks and Nivedita Rath Garabadu, Past IACA President delighted the audience with their natural wit. The championship round was the culmination of several qualifying rounds held through December 2019. Charged with energy and melody, the almost five-hour long program included high-octane dance performances from students of several dance academies. The championship, which follows the same format as American and Indian Idol, kept up the standards with high caliber judges who provided feedback Photos by Bytegraph.com and encouragement after each performance. Contestants were judged on various aspects of their performance including rhythm, diction, tonal quality and accuracy and overall mastery of style etc. “Year 2020 is a landmark year in the history of IACA. This is IACA’s 50th year of existence. We have started the year with a bang. This event will help IACA achieve greater heights during this very important year. Kudos to President Tushar Sanghvi and Program Director Dr. Raktim Sen and the rest of Atlanta Indian Idol team. Every detail of the event was carefully executed, “said Dr. Yogesh Joshi, Chairman, IACA, also commending the sound system at Lassiter and the artistic décor. Jyotsna K Nanu’s soulful rendition of Saanware secured first runner up position and Kasturi Banerjee who sang Yeh mera dil was the second runner-up in the senior category, which saw 12 contestants battle it out for the champion’s trophy in the semi-final round. Six singers were eliminated in the semi-finals, and the six who made it to the final round gave it their all for the trophy. Shreya Khanna singing Jiya Jale was the first runner up and Anushka Chaudhury’s “Tandi Hawa” and Anjali Kandur’s (joint) Nachdi Phira won them both second runners up position in the junior category which comprised of outstanding singing talent this year. Senior Sanika Pendse with 624 votes and Junior Shreya Khanna with 455 votes were winners of the Audience Appreciation Award, a contest that polled in highest scoring Reactions (likes, love, exclamation, etc) on Facebook of all 89 contestants, who auditioned to enter the contest.

SMS Polling system by TextByChoice offered an interesting addition, allowing the audience to vote for their favorite singers by texting the codes provided. Koyal Ansingkar with 130 votes in the Senior category and Sripriya Srinivas with 141 votes in the Junior category were winners of SMS Polling. “28 juniors and 60 seniors auditioned for a spot in the Grand Finale of which 12 very talented singers in the SENIOR group and 8 budding talents in the JUNIOR group qualified. Such is the talent level that, as the Program Director, I have started thinking about tie-breaking rules! The poise, maturity and talent of the juniors assure me that the next generation is in very good hands!” said Idol impresario, Dr. Raktim Sen. Dr. Sen picked Senior Jyotsna K Nanu and Junior Sripriya Srinivas for the Director's Choice Awards, who were his personal choices. The evening began with wonderful renditions of the national anthem of the USA by Dr. Srijita “Tuly” Kumar and India by Asawari Joshi, Champion, AII 2016. The judging panel included Sujatha Rayburn, Sri Sangodkar, Madhuri Jadhav, Lakshmi Rao and Dr. Kakali Bandyopadhyay. Neeta Shenvi was the Statistician
and Pragna Sangvi, the scorer. An enigmatic performance by students of Kalaivani Dance Academy, synchronized, striking formations by students of Deeksha School of Performing Arts, energetic piece by Shiv’s Institute of Dance and vibrant fusion show by Geet-Rung School of Music and Dance only elevated the complete Bollywood experience. A musical presentation by AII alumni, Asawari Joshi, Navin Gurnaney, Anupama Krishnan, Atanu Das & Saras Jain enthralled the audience. Brainchild of Chand Akkineni, Event Director, AII made its foray in 2013 opening to resounding success. “We wanted to create a platform to identify talented singers in Atlanta to promote and create visibility for their performances. Today, many of the past winners are performing in different events in Atlanta. We gave them an opportunity and they have been promoting our brand. This year, we were back with a bang of 94 talented contestants,” said Akkineni. Akkineni recognized gold sponsors Kiran Bhat and Drs. Annapurna & Subrahmanya Bhat, silver sponsors Bina and Bharat Desai, Dr Paddy Sharma, SVK Systems, IT Job Café, EXQ Infinite know how, and Goddard School, Snellville, décor sponsor WeddingsInStyle, partners in technology -TextByChoice, ticketing - Events4Us, audio-visual – Bytegraph, Dr. Raktim Sen, Jyothsna Hegde and all volunteers and team AII. “I got into this to nurture my passion of music and it was gratifying to see it bear fruition in a fabulous way. Everything from the venue, decor, and singers, turned out to be outstanding,” said Bina Desai, Fundraising Chair. Organizing committee included Tushar Sanghvi, Dr. Raktim Sen, Chand Akkineni, Bina Desai, Vidya Prakash, Jyothsna Hegde, Anil Patel, Asawari Joshi, Chaitanya Bhatt, Kaushal Tripathi, JV Ramakanth, Neeta Shenvi, Nik Mainthia, Nishikanth Gunjal, Nizar Bhojani, Paddy Sharma, Praful Desai, Haresh Sanghvi, Pragna Sanghvi, Preeti Naik, Rani Singh, Vishwanath Ganti, Niloy Bhattacharya, Rituparna Joshi, Priya Bagdi
and Deepak Bagdi.


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.....City News .....

February 2020

Nazeera Dawood Appointed To GA’s First Ever Conviction Integrity Unit Atlanta, GA: In USA and across the world, hundreds of people have spent time in prison for crimes they did not commit. Wrongful convictions mean the real culprit walks free. The reason for wrongful convictions result from multiple factors: Eyewitness misidentifications, poor crime scene visibility, bad police procedures, and coerced false confessions from defendants, lying informants, and bad forensics science. When public defense lawyers are incompetent and prosecuting attorneys suppress important evidence, wrongful convictions increase. Organizations such as the Innocence Project have contributed to 2542 exonerations across US since 1989. These are people who have served an average of 14 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. That means 22,540 years of human capital lost. To date, 367 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing alone, On Wednesday, January 8, 2020, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. officially announced the commencement of its Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), the first in the Southeastern United States in a DA’s Office. During the inaugural reception at Tyler Perry Studios, the first defendant to be released from prison as a result of the work of the Fulton DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit received

a surprise job offer from Tyler Perry Studios. This new unit will re-examine questionable convictions and help guard against future conviction error. Staffed with a dedicated Assistant District Attorney and investigator, the CIU’s primary charge is to review and investigate convicted offenders’ legitimate claims of innocence and wrongful conviction.

Cases will be evaluated by a Review Board made up of five individuals including Indian-American Nazeera Dawood who is a Fulton County leader and activist. Other board members include Michael Lash who is a citizen advocate, Richard Rose who is the President of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP, Bettieanne Hart who is a former Fulton County

District Attorney’s Office Deputy District Attorney and Kate Boccia who is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Incarceration Association. As a symbolic gesture, DA Paul Howard handed the keys of the Fulton County jail cell to the review board members. It symbolized that they carry the keys to the freedom of innocence responsibly. Following conviction cases in Fulton County will be evaluated by the staff and the review board. * Claims of Actual Innocence Involving Provable Evidence * Forensic Testing of Relevant Evidence * Claims Involving Relevant Evidence Not Presented Prior to Conviction * Alleged Misconduct on Part of Prosecutor/ Law Enforcement Officer * Sentence Modifications Due to Nature of Offense/Defendant’s Lack of Criminal History * Cases Determined to Warrant Review in “Interest of Justice” The CIU is committed to ensuring all submissions receive a thorough and equitable review. Anyone who wishes to submit an application for review to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit should do so by emailing convictionintegrity@fultoncountyga.gov.

Forsyth County Withdraws Support To Asphalt Plant After Protests

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: The power of the people is stronger than the people in power, they say. And it was proven right by a No Asphalt group, formed and led by Yun Chen, Vikas Sood, Neetu Chauhan, Krish Palath, Chandra, Pratima, Summer Li, and many other Asian Americans who succeeded in getting Forsyth County to withdraw application to support relocation of an asphalt plant near Johns Creek. All five county commissioners voted to terminate the county-initiated Conditional Use Permit (CUP) request for an asphalt plant relocation by CW Matthews (CWM) Contracting Co Inc.

It all began back in October 2019 when 20 neighborhood families in the vicinity of the proposed plant received letters to be part of a public participation meeting initiated by CWM. Very few of the 20 families were able to attend and naturally opposed the proposal owing to its close proximity to their homes. The plant was supposed to operate 24x7 and a few 100 feet away from residences, day cares, schools and heavy traffic businesses on Johns Creek Parkway. Their opposition was ignored. The expedited application was scheduled to be approved at a voting meeting in just over three weeks. The residents only had until Novem-

ber 21, 2019 to gather strong opposition. Word of mouth came in handy. Only two days after the CWM meeting, a No Asphalt Team was formed. A Whatsapp group with members from neighboring subdivisions followed. Other groups with specific purposes such as reaching out to media, planning, drafting legal documents quickly came into existence culminating into a physical meeting and selection of Yun Chen as President for the movement. At the meeting, an initial action plan was created including contacting more HOAs and other subdivisions, contacting commissioners, creating flyers and website, and organizing more volunteers. That was week one.

With rudimentary knowledge of county process related to CUP and zoning, and not aware of the HOA’s position, the group had a lot to learn, and quickly. “In the second week, Yun Chen adjusted the plan based on the HOA's position, and turned the plan into a people movement, “said Neetu Chauhan, adding that the goal of having 500 people attend the 11/21 BOC voting meeting to oppose the application, and buy more time. Fact based flyers were created and circulated along with completing the noasphaltplant.ga website launch. The joint force meeting attracted media attention with reports in ABC and Forsyth newspaper and increased awareness. It helped the cause to have

Commissioner Dennis Brown hear directly from the community. The hearing, scheduled hours before the voting on 11/21/19 was the only opportunity for the community to speak on record, since the application was expedited with no extensive public hearing before. People delivered and how. A sea of petitioners, over 650, in red t-shirts reading “No Asphalt” flooded the Forsyth County Admin building, filling the hall, spilling out into stairwell and lobby. “Nine people were scheduled to speak for 20 minutes and we were prepared,” said Chauhan. The movement’s turning point proved to be the concluding part of the meeting with Commissioner Brown bearing responsibility for introducing the idea of the application. "I asked for this, not this board. I live less than a mile from the plant, and I would never put my family or home in jeopardy. I thought this was a good idea and would be in the greater good for our community," said Brown. Dan Garcia, President, CWM, said the plant was updated, efficient and environmentally friendly, in his defense. Meanwhile a petition on change.org created by an anonymous person had garnered well over 7000 signatures before the 11/21 meeting. But a new petition was required for the next meeting scheduled for 1/9/2020 since change.org does not support a petition after it is released. Donation goal of $30K was achieved by mid-December. Commissioners were set to discuss the agenda item at their Jan. 9 meeting, after tabling it on Nov. 22. Christmas came earlier for all opposing petitioners when, on Dec 19, 2019, Commissioners voted to terminate the county-initiated CUP for the plant. “Democracy requires community participation,” said Chauhan. Indeed. People had spoken. And eventually the government listened.


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.....NRI News .....

Over 10,000 Attend Hindu Temple of Atlanta’s Navodaya 2020 BY MAHADEV DESAI Photos by Suresh Volam, Sri Photos and Krish Photography

prepared in the temple’s kitchen, by the kitchen staff under the supervision of Food Committee Chairperson, Tulasi Vanapalli. Team of volunteers helped in arrangement and in cheerfully serving the food in the spacious banquet hall. Children had lot of fun with face-painting, balloon-twisting, popcorn and cotton candy.

Atlanta, GA: More than ten thousand devotees and visitors from all over the Southeast thronged the Hindu Temple of Atlanta (HTA) Riverdale, Georgia on Wednesday, January 1st to celebrate a joyous and spiritually suffused 17th Navodaya 2020 festival. All the deities in the Balaji and Siva Temples wore a dazzling look in their ornate fineries and colorful garlands. The learned and revered priests Sri Gopal Bhattar, Sri Srinivas , Sri Pavankumar, Sri Ravishankar, Sri Murali Krishna, Sri Shivanaga , Sri Govardhanam, Sri Sunil Kumar, Sri Vedavyasacharyalu, Sri Bharath, and Sri Subramanyam cheerfully and reverently performed Suprabhatam, Siva abhisekham and Lord Nataraja abhisekham, followed with Arudra darshan HTA President Sheela Lingam with priests and Narender Reddy. and then half-hourly archanas throughout the day blessing all the devotees who came to offer their prayers. Both temples echoed with soul-soothing prayers, chantings of shlokas, and devotional songs. Around 10.00 a.m. Priest Sri Govardhanam ji performed a pooja ceremony inside the auditorium, chanting shlokas and conferring his blessings for the New Year to the vendors. Sanjay and Hemisha Pandya who arrived with the HTA Calendar 2020 were also conferred blessings by the priests. As the day progressed, more and more devotees arrived inside the two temples and after offering prayers, went around visiting and shopping at HTA Gift Shop and also at various vendor booths inside the auditorium, which were selling Indian Food committee chairwoman Tulasi Vanapalli with her team. apparel, household appliances and gadgets, jeweling his debut novel ‘We of the Forsaken World’. ry, beads, devotional music CDs and DVDs. The Tasty food is essential part of festivals. The Sheela Lingam reflected on her first year as budding young author, Atlanta born Kiran Bhat, varied menu of South Indian vegetarian splendors HTA president and effusively commented, “2019 who now resides in Melbourne Australia, is a glolike spicy idli sambhar, tamarind or curd rice, upma, was a very blissful and fruitful year for HTA and betrotter, and a polyglot sat in his booth, autographboondi ladoos, and spicy snacks were lovingly our community, thanks to HTA board members,

trustees, priests, employees, devotees and volunteers. We celebrated four major events during the past year, Maha Lingarchana in the form of Dwadasa Jyothirlingas, Skanda Shasti along with Soora Samharan, Soundaryalahari Homam and Pratistapana of 108 Karanas along with Maharudram.HTA is the only Temple outside India to install carved Karanas in modern times. We celebrated our regular festivals during Sankranthi, Andal Kalyanam, Sivarathri, Ugadi, Sita Rama Kalyanam, Brahmotsav for Lord Venkateswara and Lord Ramalingeswara, Ganesh Utsav, Thaipusam, Devi Navrathri and Diwali. For children, we introduced the Bhogi Pallu ceremony for the first time on our premises. More than 1500 kids participated in our Ganesh Utsav making 2500 clay Ganeshas.The Temple has initiated Telugu teaching class “Manabadi’ in addition to classes by Balavihar.County approval has been received for the perimeter wall around the temple and we hope to see its completion and beautification of the temple grounds during the current year.” “I am very happy with the unprecedented turnout of over 10,000 devotees today to seek God’s blessings on ‘Navodaya,” she added. “A very special thanks to the parking crew, dedicated priests, temple staff, EC members, Volunteer Committee Chairman Ravi Chander, Vaisheshi and Naveen Bhatini, Food Committee’s Chairperson Tulasi Vanapalli and her team of cooking volunteers, Pooja Committee Chairperson Padmavati Koganti, our security personnel, and finally, the Clayton county police. My special thanks to the Vice-President Subbiah Emani, Secretary Aravind Goli, Joint Secretary Ravi Kari, Treasurer Sairam Surapaneni and Sujatha Reddy to name a few. I wish all a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year 2020,” she said.

Indian-Americans Come Out In Support Of CAA In Atlanta Atlanta, GA: Over 200 people of Indian origin assembled at the Consulate General of India in Sandy Springs for a rally in support of the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by the Indian Parliament in December. The Act grants Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. The lively crowd assembled in the front lawn of the consulate amidst a sea of Indian and American flags. They raised rousing cries supporting the CAA interspersed with chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ (‘Victory to Mother India!’) and Vande Mataram (‘We bow to the Mother’). The gathering consisted of participants from across Atlanta’s Indian communities who raised slogans in several Indian languages including Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi. The demonstrators were carrying placards and posters reading ‘CAA inclusive not discriminatory’ and ‘CAA grants asylum to persecuted minorities.’ The support rally was aimed at dismissing the false information and myths about the CAA

and to counter the propaganda of hate and lies by the anti-India organizations and media in the US, said Rajeev Menon, one of the organizers of the rally. He also stated that, instead of having a civil debate on the act, some of these organizations are

freedom, constitution and democratic values whenever they are challenged,” Menon said. Suresh Krishnamoorthy, one of those present at the support rally dismissed the protesters as ‘not serious’. “Look at the language they are using,” he remarked. “They are calling it a genocide and a sign of fascism. That is an insult to the memory of the victims who were killed in real genocides – The Holocaust, and at the hands of dictators like Pol Pot, Idi Amin and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia or the genocide in Rwanda. Comparing a law that grants asylum to persecuted minorities with genocide means they either don’t know their history or they are deliberately being provocative by using inflammatory terms. Either way, we cannot take them seriously.” The supporters were met by a small group of anti-CAA protesters. In their midst was Nabilah Islam, who is a contender in determined to subvert the truth and by doing that, the democratic primary for the 7th District of US they are ignoring the plight of those people who had already suffered enough in these countries Congress from Georgia. The rally concluded with a rendering of the and had to flee for their life. Indian national anthem by the participants. “We are going to be here to defend India’s


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Atlanta’s Hansinee Mayani Releases First EP Album

Atlanta, GA: Atlanta’s 18-year-old Hansinee Mayani, a Freshmen at University of California, Davis released her first EP Album, aptly titled "Here" with four songs written, composed, and sung by her. The album was produced by Robert Grimes III and her as well. Other credits include solo guitarist for the track Not Your's (Carter Rosales), Background vocals for the track Put it Down (Messenger), photo and video: Anushka Karnik. This is Hansinee's first venture in mainstream pop music. Hansinee began playing the violin early on, at the age of three and has received several accolades along the way. In 2017, she auditioned for the Honor’s Performance at the Sydney Opera House and was among the 150 candidates selected out of 12,000 international nominations to perform at the prestigious event. A STEM Honors graduate of Lassiter High School, Hansinee launched her music career in December 2018 with “Lamhe Ishq Wale,” composed by noted Indian music director Nikhil Kamath. Hansinee wrote and sang the background vocals and English fusion for this song. It was produced by Sydney Bollywood Melody Group. Her music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and You Tube.

..... NRI News .....

Pharma Billionaire John Kapoor Body Of Student Found In Lake Sentenced To 66 Months

Atlanta, GA: John Kapoor, the 76-year-old Indian-American pharmaceutical billionaire, was sentenced last month to five years and six months in prison after being convicted of orchestrating a scheme to bribe practitioners to prescribe Subsys, an opioid, often when medically unnecessary.

Kapoor was sentenced in Boston federal court to 66 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay forfeiture and restitution to be determined at a later date. The sentence is less than the 15 years recommended by the government. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs explained that she reached the lesser sentence after considering Kapoor’s advanced age and philanthropy, as well as “his central role in the crime,” The Associated Press reported. In May 2019, Kapoor was convicted by a federal jury of racketeering conspiracy along with four other Insys executives. Kapoor was accused of developing a spray delivery system for a generic drug, then marketing it as a premium product. Kapoor privately funded Insys as it developed Subsys, which was eventually approved to treat cancer patients suffering intense breakthrough pain. “With such significant personal financial investment, Kapoor was committed to ensuring that Insys was successful, and he did so by exercising tight control on all aspects of corporate decision making. Kapoor hired, or authorized the hiring of, several top executives who became co-conspirators in the criminal scheme to bribe practitioners, many of whom operated pain clinics, to prescribe

Subsys to patients, often when medically unnecessary,” said a statement issued by U.S. District Court. In 2012, Kapoor authorized the use of “speaker programs” purportedly intended to increase brand awareness of Subsys through peer-topeer educational lunches and dinners. However, the programs were used as a vehicle to pay bribes and kickbacks to targeted practitioners in exchange for increased Subsys prescriptions and increased dosage, according to the DA’s office. “Kapoor insisted that profits generated should double the amount of money spent paying doctors. In October 2012, Kapoor instructed the Vice President of Marketing to calculate the return on investment (ROI) for each speaker to determine if the speaker had a “positive ROI.” Practitioners who failed to meet satisfactory prescribing requirements were ousted from the speaker program. Kapoor approved bribing doctors that he knew abusively prescribed opioids,” said the statement. Kapoor is accused of controlling and enforcing the criminal scheme on a daily basis during a morning meeting, referred to as the “8:30 call,” which also involved many of his co-defendants. One of the topics discussed was the scheme to bribe doctors. Kapoor routinely discussed the suitability of additional funds, and which doctors were writing prescriptions for Subsys or a competitive drug. The painkiller, which was intended for cancer patients, could cost as much as $19,000 a month. Two other executives pleaded guilty and became cooperating witnesses.

Texas County Gets First Sikh Deputy Constable

Houston: (IANS) Indian-American law enforcement officer, Amrit Singh, has created history by becoming the first ever turban-wearing Sikh to be sworn in as Deputy Constable in Texas state’s Harris County. The 21-year-old wears the articles of his faith — turban and beard — proudly while serving in the line of duty, Indica News said in a report. Singh was sworn-in on Tuesday. Constable Alan Rosen Harris County tweeted: “A historic day as we swear in Deputy Constable Amrit Singh – the FIRST Sikh deputy Constable ever in Harris County. We’ve also now adopted a new policy which specifically allows our deputy constables to wear articles of faith in uniform.” After the swearing in ceremony, Singh said: “Growing up, I always wanted to be a Deputy and my Sikh faith was also very important to me. Constable Alan Rosen was the first one to give me a call back. He opened this

February 2020

agency with open arms for me.” that allows law enforcement officers in nearly Singh will now have to undergo months of every single Harris County Constable’s Office to field training, after which he will be assigned to wear articles of their faith while in uniform. The policy came into force to honour the memory of Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, the first Sikh Deputy in Harris County who was shot dead while on duty last September, reports Indica News. In 2009, Dhaliwal became the first Sikh to join the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and in 2015, he became the first Sikh law enforcement officer to be allowed to wear his articles of faith in uniform. Following the death of the officer, law enforcement agencies in California, Washington and in Texas have signalled willingness to change their policies, said Manpreet Singh of the Sikh Coalition. patrol. The new policy has been welcomed by the The swearing-in ceremony also coincided members if the Sikh community residing in the with the adoption of the new policy by the state US.

The body of a female Indian-American student, who was reported missing since January 21, was found in a lake in the state of Indiana. The 21-year-old victim, Annrose Jerry, a student of the University of Notre Dame. The body was fished out from the St. Mary’s Lake on Friday and an external examination of showed no signs of trauma, according to a coroner. A source close to Jerry’s family told the American Bazaar that when the body was recovered, her phone and earbuds were intact, adding that most likely she might have accidentally fallen into the lake, while taking a walk or jogging. A senior, Jerry was set to graduate from Notre Dame this year. She was a science-business major and had hopes of going to dental school. In a statement, the University of Notre Dame offered condolences to Jerry’s family. Jerry was born in Ernakulum, Kerala, India, and immigrated to the US in the early 2000s, along with her family. Her father Jerry James is an information technology professional and mother Reny Jerry is a dentist.

Trump Appoints Indian-American

An Indian-American has been appointed in President Donald Trumps Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islander. Prem Paramesvaran, the Group Chief Financial Officer and President of Indian motion picture production and distribution company Eros International’s North America operations, happens to be the only Indian to be selected in the commission comprising 13 members. The new members were administered the oath of office by Vice President Mike Pence on January 27. Born, brought up and based in New York, Parmeswaran joined Eros in 2015 and comes with a varied experience in fields such as global telecommunications, media and investment banking. He is also on the boards of Columbia University.


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NRI Pulse

..... City News .....

February 2020

Consulate Celebrates India’s Republic Day With Patriotic Fervor

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: Well over hundred people gathered at the office of Consulate General of India, Atlanta on a cold morning in January 26, 2020 for the Flag Hoisting Ceremony to mark the 71st Republic Day of India. The occasion was also celebrated in the evening at the Studio Theater at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. This year’s celebration also included demonstrations in support and against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Government of India. The event was graced by Padma Bhushan Dr. Jag Sheth, Rep. Gloria Butler, Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, Sen. Sheikh Rahman, Rep. Mike Glanton, Rep. Angelika Kausche, Mayor Rusty Paul of Sandy Springs, June Wood, Henry County Board Chair, along with Consul Generals Aishatu Aliyu Musa, CGI, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Vincent Hommeril, CGI France, Nadia Theodore, CGI, Canada, Young-jun Kim, CGI, Korea, Jorge Lopez , CGI Argentina, Alex Gandler, Vice Consulate General of Israel, Shane Stephens, CGI, Ireland, Ken DeSimone, Sandy Springs Police Department, Bollywood actor Ajinkya Deo, Elliot Paige, Hartsfield Jackson International airport, faculties from various universities in Alabama, Georgia, Robert Kennedy, President ACIR, team from WTC Atlanta and TiE Atlanta. Republic Day honors the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India, thereby forming a new republic. As Consul General Dr. Swati V. Kulkarni unfurled the Tricolor, the patriotic fervor was quite evident with the singing of the National

Photos by Magic Dust Photography.

Anthem. An energetic instrumental ensemble of Dhol and Indian trumpets elevated the nationalistic milieu. Dr. Kulkarni read out the Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the nation. She also highlighted the same during her address at the evening gala. CAA seeks to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and

Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without documentation. They will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. So far 12 years of residence has been the standard eligibility requirement for naturalization. While center argues that these minority groups have come escaping persecution in Muslim-majority nations, protes-

laying at the King’s center. “Naturally, I am humbled for this great honor to be recognized at the launching of the week long celebrations of Dr. King’s birth Anniversary,” quoted Razdan. “I am dedicating this to the Gandhi Foundation, King Center, National Park Service, Indian Embassy/Consulate and Subash and the diverse community team and partnership,” said Razdan. “I’m particularly grateful to the friendship of the King family and leadership starting with Late Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and followed by Dr. Christine King Farris, Isaac Farris, Dr. Berniece King from the mid-eighties. Our friendship is still going strong.” “Name one place in the world (outside of India) where you have a full life size Gandhi Statue and a Gandhi Room in close proximity,” asked Razdan, following up with gratitude to the King family for making it a reality. Razdan spearheaded the call for the installation of the Mahatma Gandhi Statue in Atlanta since 1991.

His dream finally bore fruition on January 24, 1998. Razdan recognized members of the Gandhi Foundation present and thanked them for their support. He also thanked his life-partner, Raj Razdan for her support through the years. Raj Razdan has a dedicated record of civic-social and professional accomplishments and Raj Razdan. recognition. Winners in other categories included Alexis Scott, The Georgia Gang, Media Award, Reverend Gerald Durley, Environmental Responsibility Award, Dr.’s Joseph & Marjanita Ripley, The Body of Christ Church International, Pastors and Founders, Faith Based Leadership Award, Jennifer Swain , Youth Spark, Executive Director, Community Service Award, and Senator Emmanuel Jones, Elected Official Award. Razdan, an honor roll IIT Delhi Alumni is the recipient of the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2003, the “Pride of India” award for outstanding contribution towards betterment

tors argue that the act ringfences Muslim identity by declaring India a welcome refuge to all other religious communities. Supporters with slogans and banners expressed their approval of the act. There were protestors as well. The sprawling Studio Theater was brimming with a sea of people, so much so, that there was no seating available and a large number of them had to stand and watch the proceedings. Dr. Kulkarni recognized Dr. Jagdish N. Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University, who was one of the 16 illustrious honorees of the Padma Bhushan, which is awarded to distinguished service of high order this year. She also recognized Presidents of all organizations, the media, and all her guests. Reading from the President’s address, Dr. Kulkarni’s speech focused on the various achievements of the Indian Government. Students of Subhatra Sudarshan, NNKB, and a dance medley choreographed by Neeta Surange wowed the audience with their vigorous and vibrant dance performances. A sumptuous spread of Indian delicacies by Madras Chettinaad restaurant completed the festivities.

Subash Razdan Honored By King Center With Dream Forward Award

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: It is awards galore for Atlanta Indian-American community leaders and trailblazers, Subash Razdan and Prof. Jag Sheth. While the former was recognized in the United States for his distinguished contributions to International Affairs, the latter was felicitated with India’s highest honors, Padma Bhushan award 2020. Incidentally, Razdan was nominated for the Padma Bhushan award in 2011. Razdan, Chairman and Co-Founder of Gandhi Foundation USA (GFUSA) was felicitated with the Dream Forward Community Service Award in the International Affairs award category on Friday January 14, 2020 at the King Center in Atlanta. Dream Forward Awards are an initiative by The King Center to recognize people and groups that have made significant impacts in their communities and those who work closely with The King Center. The 2020 tribute marks the 52nd anniversary of King’s death and the 36th consecutive year that DeKalb has hosted the employee-planned event honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King. “King’s 2020 Vision: The Beloved Community – The Fierce Urgency of Now,” was held on Jan. 17, at the Maloof Auditorium, in Decatur. GFUSA celebrated Dr. King’s 91st birthday on January 20 with the garlanding of the Gandhi statue and peace march and homage/wreath

of Indo-US ties at the American Center on January 12, 2008, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award during the 2008 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations in New Delhi, India, “Ambassador for Peace” by the Universal Peace Federation and the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace in a ceremony in November 2007 in USA, the 2007 Mahatma Gandhi Award at a Banquet in Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in California by the Mayor of Los Angeles, 2006 Georgia Minority Business (GMB) Neophyte Award, among many, many more. A small testament to his intellect and leadership are the many firsts Razdan stakes claim to, including selection in the inaugural class of Diversity Leadership Academy, introduction of the first Indian-American TV show, first Spelling Bee in Georgia and Alabama, first beauty pageant under IACA, lobbying successfully for the first mobile Indian visa/ consular services, and organizing film festivals. Razdan has facilitated a $100,000 charitable contribution, through Coca Cola, India, for Andhra Pradesh Cyclone Relief Fund, amongst several fundraisers. Razdan has been a much sought-after speaker, a judge for various events, and has written editorials/articles for the prestigious Atlanta-Journal Constitution and various other Indian American newspapers. Razdan also serves in advisory capacity for the boards of many organizations, such as GCC, LWV, amongst others.


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..... City News .....

February 2020

Consulate & Dhoop Chaoon Group Host International Hindi Day

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: The office of the Consulate General of India, Atlanta in association with Hindi Natya Group Dhoop Chaoon celebrated the fifth annual Vishwa Hindi Diwas (International Hindi Day) with much patriotic fervor on January 12, 2020 at Ashiana Restaurant in Global Mall. Vishwa Hindi Divas is celebrated every year on January 10, in commemoration of the anniversary of the first World Hindi Conference held between 10 and 12 January, 1975 in Nagpur. “Speak in Hindi,” said Consul Asim Kumar in his welcome address, adding that the goal is to establish Hindi as an International language. He was joined by Seema Sharma and Ritambhara Mittal who emceed the event in shuddh Hindi. “Shubh Sandhya,” said CGI, Atlanta Dr. Swati Kulkarni, highlighting three milestone celebrations of Vishwa Hindi Diwas, the Constitution Day and Vivekananda Day. “I speak in Marathi but fight in Hindi,” quipped Dr. Kulkarni. Citing PM Modi and late Sushma Swaraj who took pride in speaking in Hindi, she said it was essential to build love towards the language. “Dr. Kulkarni also cited the “Dekho Apna Desh” campaign, a bid by the Modi government to encourage more footfall on domestic tourism destinations, which asks Indians to take pledge to visit at least 15 different tourism locations in India by the year 2022. She also named the “Incredible India” campaign, international tourism campaign maintained by the Indian government since 2002, to promote tourism in India. She highlighted various tourist options including the luxurious Palace on Wheels, wellness and medical tourism, adventure and wildlife tourism, religious and heritage tourism. Initiatives by the Indian government to boost tourism, Dr. Kulkarni elaborated, included extending of e-visa facilities to over 165 countries, enabling issuance of e-medical, business, tourist, conference and medical attendant visas at several Indian ports of entry, and an update of Incredible India campaign with the launch of a

daru & Radhika Suda in a quiz format, Jokes by Sanjay Jha, and recitations of Hindi poems by Hindi patrons of all ages, including an endearing 4-year-old. With an intention to promote Hindi language around the world, the first World Hindi day was observed on January 10, 2006. “The Indian diaspora in foreign nations has been instrumental towards the propagation of Hindi throughout the world. Photo by Vinod Sharma, SFA Productions.. Their enthusiasm is palpable when events related to Hindi are organized as people from even non-Hindi speaking States of India actively participate in good numbers,” commented Consul Shailesh Lakhtakia. H i n d i is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, afla, a comedy where the teacher tries to teach Hindi in English, written ter Mandarin, Spanish and English. English has Photo by Vinod Sharma, SFA Productions.. and directed by Sandhya Saxena borrowed a great number of words from Hindi, Bhagat, Founder of Dhoop Chhaon, such as avatar, bungalow, guru, yoga, to name a new mobile app. A skit, Pappu, by Asish Chaudhry few. The word Hindi originated from the Persian The rich range of cultural presentations in- and Sachin Subhedar, dance and music presen- word Hind, meaning the land of Indus river. It is cluded rendition of Vande Mataram, two plays tations by Atlanta’s popular dance academies in- derived from Sanskrit and written in Devanagari Samvidhan, an abstract from Shyam Benagal`s cluding NNKB, a Fashion Show Naari Sashakti- script. series of the same name, depicting how the con- karan by Hetal Mehta and team, an India tourism The night concluded with vote of thanks by stitution was made and a Nathkaton ke Paathshaa- promotion “Dekho Apna Desh” by Karthik Ban- Consul Asim Kumar and delightful delicacies.

Atlanta Kannada Community Gathers At HTA To Celebrate Sankranti

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: Sankranti Sambrama, Nrupathunga Kannada Koota (NKK)’s annual celebration of the festival of Sankranti gathered Kannada community of Atlanta in large numbers to The Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale on January 18, 2020. The day-long celebrations were brimming with traditional fervor, be it food, games or entertainment. Sweet mixture of ellu & bella (sesame & jaggery) along with many fun activities like rangoli competitions, antakshari, karaoke, super minute, chess, carrom, chowka-bara and art competitions for all age groups along with cultural programs kept the crowd entertained throughout the day. Many of the BOD and EC members along with volunteers personally hosted the traditional games and distributed prize to all winners. Deepa Anand anchored the event. “NKK event was very successful in depicting our Karnataka culture. Our games and songs were focused on preserving and bringing back traditional games and music,” said Dr. Anu Bhat, BOD, NKK. Beginning with a recitation of prayer, an ar-

ray of cultural programs enthralled the audience including Karaoke performances by many singers from the community. “It was wonderful to see many kids sing in front of larger audience,” said Diwakar Dyamanna, EC member, NKK. Polyglot author Kiran Bhat presented his latest novel WE, of the forsaken world. Saving the best for last in the primetime

segment, India’s first female ventriloquist Indushree Ravindra captivated the audience with her clean acts of comedy including her puppet friends Dinku, Ajji, and Thata. Indushree took ventriloquism to new heights of imagination and ingenuity as she invited audience to become real live puppets on stage, offering irresistible fun and laughter as they engage in conversations totally

unknown to them. Makara Sankranti, also known as Magh Bihu, Lohri, Thai Pongal in various parts of the country, is dedicated to the Sun God. It is one of the few ancient Indian festivals that has been observed according to solar cycles, observed on a day which usually falls on 14 January of the Gregorian calendar, but sometimes on 15 January, rather than lunar. From its humble beginnings in 1973, NKK has come a long way. NKK has donated to various charitable causes, runs Kannada classes at three locations through their Kannada Kali programs, and organizes events throughout the year. NKK has adopted Douglas Highway - Adopt a Mile program, which this year, Drs Anu and Subrahmanya Bhat personally tended to, along with Manu Rao and Joshi.


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NRI Pulse

February 2020


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NRI Pulse

.....Health Pulse .....

February 2020

How To Reduce Your Risk For Cancer

February 4 is World Cancer Day and the theme this year, “I Am and I Will,” calls for a personal commitment to help reduce the global burden of cancer. According to BY NAVAMI NAIK* the Union for International Cancer Control, which organizes World Cancer Day, 9.6 million people die each year from cancer. That’s more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. According to a report published by the American Cancer Society in 2016, cancer is the leading cause of death among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Lung, liver and colorectal cancer are the three leading causes of cancer death among men while lung, breast and colorectal cancer are the three leading causes of cancer death among women. However, more than one third of cancer cases can be prevented and another third can be cured if detected early and treated properly. We spoke to Dr. Swaminathan P. Iyer, Professor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and President of the Indo-American Cancer Association to understand how we can reduce our risk for developing cancer.

Who Is at Risk of Developing Cancer?

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. If the spread is not controlled, it can result in death. It is usually not possible to know exactly why one person can expose us to cancer risk facdevelops cancer and tors, such as smoking and excess another doesn’t. But body weight. Also, Indians have research has shown a high incidence of Type 2 diathat certain risk facbetes, which shares several modtors, such as use of ifiable risk factors with cancer, Dr. Swaminathan P. Iyer tobacco in a smoked including excess body weight, or smokeless form, poor diet, and physical inactivity. may increase a person’s chances of developing cancer. Another example is that 80% of all can- What can we do to reduce our risk? cers in the United States are diagnosed in people According to a recent study by American 55 years of age or older so we can conclude that Cancer Society researchers about 750,000 newage is a risk factor. For many types of cancer, ly diagnosed cancers cases in the US in 2020 can risk is higher with a family history of the disease, potentially can be prevented by adopting healthy especially if one or more family members have practices. Tobacco use remains the leading preventbeen diagnosed with cancer at a younger age. able cause of death in the US. Aside from avoidAmong Indian Americans, residing in the ing tobacco use, maintaining a healthy weight and US for a longer duration is generally associated limiting alcohol consumption are the most effective with the adoption of an American lifestyle, which strategies for reducing the risk of cancer.

Certain cancers caused by infectious agents, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be prevented through behavioral changes or vaccination to avoid the infection. Having age-appropriate and regular screening can help prevent colorectal and cervical cancers and can also detect some cancers early, when treatment is more often successful. Additionally, we need to be aware of changes in our body, such as the breast, skin, mouth, eyes, or genitalia, and bring these to the attention of a health care professional for early detection of cancer. Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2016 , Cancer Facts & Figures 2020.

*Navami Naik is an Atlanta-based public health and communications professional.


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NRI Pulse

NY Jewish Institute Builds Collection Of Indian Prayer Books

..... NRI News .....

February 2020

Five Indian Asylum Seekers On Hunger Strike

Washington: (IANS) Five Indian asylum seekers have been on a hunger strike for well over 90 days at a detention center in the US state of Louisiana, a media report said on January 31.. Each of the men — four Hindus and one Sikh — have formal sponsors in the US who have committed to housing and supporting them while they fight their asylum case, the American Bazaar report said on Wednesday. The men coming from different parts of India have varied reasons for seeking asylum in the US, and their legal situations are also varied, acNew York: (IANS) The Parker Jewish Insti- cording to the report. tute in New York is building a collection of Indian It added that all the five men were undergoprayer books, thanks to the donation from mem- ing forced-hydration and force-feeding at the La bers of the community, a media report said. Salle detention centre in Jena. Parker's Indian Cultural Unit now features a Volunteer Michelle Graffeo from the San burgeoning collection of prayer books and reli- Francisco-based NGO, Freedom for Immigrants gious poems. has been regularly visiting the men in the facility. Carefully selected, the books bring residents After a recent meeting with two of them, she and patients a sense of spiritual wellness, India-West news said in the report on Sunday citing the institute as saying. In December 2019, Asa'Mai Temple in Indian-American Sabrina Singh, who Hicksville, New York, donated seven religious served as a former top aide to New Jersey Senbooks, and members of a Long Island family reator Cory Bookers unsuccessful White House cently published, printed and donated 12 small bid, has been appointed as the national spokesbooks of religious poetry, in memory of their late person for Democratic candidate Michael father, the institute further said. Bloombergs presidential campaign. Sujata Seth, an Indian-American marketing Singh, who also previously served as a associate at the cultural unit, arranged for the spokeswoman for the Democratic National books' wire-binding, making the texts easier to Committee (DNC), took to Twitter on Thurshandle. day to announce her new innings with a vow "The library of books is just one example of to help defeat President Donald Trump, The how the unit meets the growing needs of the local American Bazaar said in a report. South Asian community." “Some personal news… I have joined Parker's Indian Cultural Unit provides spe@MikeBloomberg @Mike2020 as national cialized care to the increasing population of oldspokesperson! I’m beyond excited to work with er Indian-Americans in Nassau and Queens. The this incredible team to defeat Donald Trump,” she unit is staffed by Indian physicians, nurses and tweeted. other associates who are fluent in Indian languagOn Friday, she put up a photo of Bloomberg, es, including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi and Punthe former New York Mayor who announced his jabi. bif last November, at a campaign event, saying:

Freedom for Immigrants has filed complaints with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) on behalf of the five men, demanding the DHS address the systemic civil rights violations the five asylum seekers have faced in custody. Many asylum seekers from South Asia in the past have also resorted to hunger strike to protest against the inhumane conditions they are held in at detention facilities. Acsaid: “It was reported to me that three of the five cording to the South Asian Amerimen are now being held in isolation as punish- cans Leading Together civil rights organization, ment for not drinking Boost. the pattern of abuse towards South Asians in “This means that they are alone for 24 hours detention facilities include inadequate language a day and all five men are wheelchair bound and access, medical neglect, solitary confinement as unable to get out of bed without assistance.” well as high bond amounts.

Bloomberg Names Indian-American As Spokesperson

up to Super Tuesday.” Even though Bloomberg would miss the next Democratic debate on February 7, his campaign is actively targeting the Super Tuesday Democratic primary on March 3. Singh also served as a regional communications director for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, said the American Bazaar report. She comes with a varied experience in politics. Besides being a top aide to DNC Chairman Tom Perez, Singh has also overseen party’s coalition programs and several other “My first all staff and @MikeBloomberg is rallyimportant activities. ing the troops with some jokes.” Singh comes from a family deep-rooted in The Bloomberg campaign also issued a American politics. statement welcoming Singh on board, saying: Her grandfather J.J. Singh was the head of In“We are thrilled to have Sabrina on board – she’s dia League of America. Back in the 1940s, he along a veteran of multiple races who will add to our with a group of Indians, channeled a campaign talented team as we continue to grow in the run- against racially discriminatory policies in the US.

WeWork Appoints Indian-American Sandeep Mathrani As CEO

San Francisco: (IANS) Co-sharing workspace company WeWork has named Indian-American real estate veteran Sandeep Mathrani as the new CEO of the company. The new role for Mathrani, who most recently served as CEO of Brookfield Properties’ retail group, will be effective from February 18. He will also be a member of the company’s Board of Directors, WeWork said. Mathrani will report to Marcelo Claure, who will remain Executive Chairman, WeWork said, adding that Mathrani’s deep real estate experience and skills are complementary with those of Claure. Mathrani’s appointment comes at a crucial time when WeWork is trying to stabilise its business following its failed attempt to go public last year and the departure of the its Co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann. Following the setback which led to dramatic fall in its valuation, Japan-based technology investor SoftBank took 80 per cent ownership of the company and infused into it $5 billion in new financing. “I am honored to be joining WeWork at

this pivotal time in its history. The company has redefined how people and companies approach work with an innovative platform, exceptionally talented team and significant potential if we stick to our shared values and maintain our members-first focus,” Mathrani said in a statement. “I am grateful for the confidence Marcelo and the Board have placed in me and look forward to partnering with Marcelo and the very talented employees at WeWork.” Mathrani succeeds co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham. Minson and Gunningham will remain with the Company through

a transition period to ensure a smooth onboarding process, WeWork said. “Over the past 100 days since I joined WeWork, we have made tremendous progress strengthening the business. As an important first step, we have recapitalised the business and have a plan that will provide us access to in excess of $2.5 billion in liquidity to execute our growth plans,” said Claure who is part of the SoftBank Group. “With a strong liquidity position in place, we have also established a five-year, growth-led transformation plan that we believe will position

WeWork to achieve profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis by 2021 and positive free cash flow in 2022. We continue to make important changes to implement a strong management team that better enables the Company to execute,” Claure added. Prior to serving as CEO of Brookfield Properties’ retail group, Mathrani held the position of CEO of General Growth Properties (GGP Inc.) for eight years, during which the company was recapitalised in November 2010, experienced eight years of growth, and in August 2018 was sold to Brookfield Property Partners. Prior to joining GGP in 2010, Mathrani was President of Retail for Vornado Realty Trust, where he oversaw the firm’s US retail real estate division and operations in India comprised principally of office properties. During his tenure, he was responsible for stabilising and growing the portfolio. Before that, he spent nearly a decade as Executive Vice President at Forest City Ratner, where he was tasked with starting and growing a new platform of retail properties across the five boroughs of New York City.


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NRI Pulse

Facebook VP Of Engineering Jay Parikh To Leave Company Facebook's Vice President of Engineering Jay Parikh has announced that he is leaving the company, joining a number of executives who have departed the social networking giant over the past few years. Parikh, who joined Facebook in 2009, announced his decision to leave the company in a post. "I have some bittersweet news to share. It's time for me to step out of Facebook to explore what's next," Parikh said in the post. "As for what's next -- I'm not going anywhere just yet. I'll be focused on the transition for the next few months. I don't have any immediate plans thereafter. I'm excited to spend time rediscovering what else is happening across our industry and to meet up with many new people," he added. Parikh is credited for building Facebook's crucial data centre infrastructure on which numerous apps and services of the social network are built. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thanked Parikh for his contrition towards building the engineering infrastructure for the company.

NRIs Not Taxed In Any Country Will Pay Tax In India There is a killer provision pertaining to non-resident Indians in the Union Budget for 2020-21 which states that an NRI who is not taxed in a foreign country will become taxable in India. This provision will hit those who have moved to tax havens and are yet to take up citizenship. Not only does taxation kick in for those not paying taxes elsewhere, the definition of NRIS has been changed in the Union Budget with a new stipulation much more tougher. To be categorized as an NRI, an Indian now has to stay abroad for 240 days, as against 182 previously. An Indian national who wants to claim the non-resident status can’t stay in India for more than 120 days or more in a year. Daksha Baxi, Head, International Taxation, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, on tax amendments for NRIs said, “The number of days’ presence in India for remaining non-resident is reduced for those who are non-resident to 120 days from 182 days. This means that those who actually have their businesses in India and stay in India for more than 120 days while they are resident elsewhere, would now become resident in India”. NRIS have to live outside India for more than 245 days to be able to remain out of Indian tax net, Baxi said. “Also an Indian citizen, who is not taxed elsewhere in the world for whatever reason and also not taxed in India because not being present in India for more than 120 days, will now be taxed in the country. This will hit those who have moved out of India to tax havens, but have not yet got their foreign citizenship”, she added.

.....Biz Pulse .....

February 2020

IITian Arvind Krishna Named New IBM CEO

Indian-American Arvind Krishna will take over as the CEO of IBM -- the world's oldest technology company that began operations in 1911 -as long-serving Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty has decided to retire, the company announced on Friday. Currently working as IBM's Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software and touted as principal architect of the company's $34 billion acquisition of open source software giant Red Hat, Krishna will also be a member of the Board of Directors, effective from April 6. "Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM. He is a brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing and blockchain," said 62-year-old Rometty. Krishna earned an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined IBM in 1990. "Krishna is also a superb operational leader, able to win today while building the business of tomorrow. He has grown IBM's Cloud and Cognitive Software business and led the largest acquisition in the company's history," Rometty added. Krishna, 57, leads the IBM business unit that provides the cloud and data platform on which clients build the future. His current responsibilities also include the IBM Cloud, IBM Security

and Cognitive Applications business, and IBM Research. Previously, he was general manager of IBM's Systems and Technology Group's development and manufacturing organization. Prior to that, he built and led many of IBM's data-related businesses. "I am thrilled and humbled to be elected as the next Chief Executive Officer of IBM, and appreciate the confidence that Ginni and the Board have placed in me," said Krishna. "I am looking forward to working with IBMers, Red Hatters and clients around the world at this unique time of fast-paced change in the IT industry," he added.

Indian Govt Invites Bid To Sell Air India & Air India Express

In its second attempt to sell national carrier, the government recently invited expression of interest (EoI) from prospective buyers for divesting its entire 100 per cent stake in Air India along with its wholly-owned subsidiary Air India Express and 50 per cent ground-handling joint venture AISATS. The last date for submitting the EoI is March 17, 2020. The qualified bidders would be intimated by March 31. While the flagship Air India has been put on the block, four of its subsidiaries which include engineering arm AIESL, feeder airline Alliance Air, ground-handling and cargo service provider AIATS and hotel arm Hotel Corporation of India (HCI) would not be part of the proposed disinvestment. The Modi government's move to sell Air India and its subsidiaries had failed in 2018 as not a single private party evinced interest. While it had earlier offered 76 per cent stake in the airline along with management control, the government has offered to sell its entire stake in the airline this time. As government proposed to hold 24 per cent stake in the company and corresponding rights, many prospective buyers had apprehensions about interference and hence stayed away from the bid process. High amount of debt and adverse macro environment such as high fuel prices were

cited as major reasons for the no-show. Global consultancy EY is the transaction advisor for the strategic disinvestment of Air India. As per preliminary information memorandum (PIM) inviting the EoI, Air India is one of the most extensive flight service providers in India with network coverage of 98 destinations (56 domestic destinations with around 2,712 departures per week and 42 international destinations with around 450 departures per week). The airline offers 75 additional destinations through its secondary network of code share operations covered under 25 code share agreements with foreign carriers. During FY 2019, Air India carried around 22.1 million passengers and recorded operational revenues of Rs 25,508 crore. The government has sweetened the deal this time taking a major chunk of the debt from the books of Air India. The PIM said that at the time of closing of the proposed transaction, debt of Rs 23,286 crore will remain with Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express. The remaining debt will be moved to Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL). Air India has a total debt of about Rs 60,000 crore. It has never reported a net profit since 2007 and its accumulated loss in the past decade is estimated to be about Rs 70,000 crore.

The company also announced that James Whitehurst, IBM Senior Vice President and CEO of Red Hat, will now be IBM President, effective April 6. "In Arvind and Jim, the Board has elected a proven technical and business-savvy leadership team," said Rometty, who will continue as Executive Chairman of the Board and serve through the end of the year, when she will retire after almost 40 years with the company. Rometty became Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM in 2012. During her tenure she made bold changes to reposition IBM for the future, investing in high value segments of the IT market and optimizing the company's portfolio. Under Rometty's leadership, IBM acquired 65 companies, built out key capabilities in hybrid cloud, security, industry and data, and AI both organically and inorganically, and successfully completed one of the largest technology acquisitions in history. Nicknamed Big Blue, IBM is one of 30 companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and one of the world's largest employers, with over 350,000 employees, known as IBMers. At least 70 per cent of IBMers are based outside the US, and the country with the largest number of IBMers is India.

6,000 Acres Of Land Identified In J&K For Investors

The Jammu and Kashmir government has identified 6,000 acres of land across the Union territory for potential investors who will take part in the J&K Global Investors Summit in April, officials said. Forty thousand of the total 50,000 kanals of land have been identified in the Jammu region as against 10,000 in the Kashmir Valley. The land identified mostly falls in the districts of Samba and Kathua in Jammu region, and Pulwama and Anantnag districts in the Kashmir Valley. "The summit will be open for all the global investors and to local industrialists as well as those from other parts of the country who want to set up and expand their businesses in Jammu and Kashmir," Ravinder Kumar, MD, SIDCO told IANS. On January 20, Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Girish Chandra Murmu had said that the first ever Jammu and Kashmir Global Investors Summit will be held in J&K in April. The government has started a campaign to bring Jammu and Kashmir on the industrial map of the country. "We will be organising road shows in other states and holding conclaves to attract investors to Jammu and Kashmir," Kumar said. He said it is going to be a three-day summit that would be held in Srinagar as well as Jammu.


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NRI Pulse

..... Entertainment .....

February 2020

Amazon’s ‘The Forgotten Army’: An Epic Drowned In Melodrama

"The Forgotten Army: Azaadi Ke Liye" (Amazon Prime series); Cast: Sunny Kaushal, Sharvari Wagh, MK Raina, Karanvir Malhotra, TJ Bhanu, Paloma Monappa, Amala Akkineni; Direction: Kabir Khan; Rating: * * & 1/2 (two and a half stars) Kabir Khan garnered ample curiosity when he announced "The Forgotten Army: Azaadi Ke Liye", simply because he set out to narrate a saga that perhaps remains the most intriguing in India's military history. Independent India has rarely ever discussed Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army (INA), or Azad Hind Fauj. So, when one of Bollywood's most high-profile filmmakers sets out to narrate the story, you sit up to take notice. Without maintaining unity of time, place or action in a bid to augment the drama, Khan divides his story into two tracks that move parallel to each other. The first is the account of the INA in the time of World War II, spearheaded by the fictitious officer Colonel Sodhi (Sunny Kaushal). The second track unfolds in 1996, when we see an aged Sodhi (M.K. Raina) getting involved in the students' uprising of Myanmar. The two storylines are connected by the relationship that Sodhi has with the INA soldier Maya (Sharvari Wagh). The series starts off on a dramatic note but gets into the mode of mush and melodrama by the time it settles down on elaborating Sodhi's blooming love for Maya. Her character, though fictitious, is meant to be important because she becomes the face of the INA women's regiment in the storyline. Netaji's Azad Hind Fauj was one of the earliest armies anywhere in the world to include a combat regiment exclusively comprising women. Khan's objective to draw up parallel narratives obviously also tries to highlight the fact that

from the time of World War II till the modern era of students' protests, nothing has changed. Absolutist regimes and exploitation of the many by a few continue to be met by demands for freedom and the right to a dignified existence, in turn triggering off revolution and war. So, what holds true in the INA's battle for freedom against the British during Sodhi's youth also applies during the Myanmar sojourn of his oldage. The problem is the writing (Kabir Khan, Shubhra Swarup, Heeraz Marfatia) fails to balance the two tracks of the story. It doesn't take long for filmi melodrama to take over, as the fictional track of Maya and Sodhi takes precedence over the real account of the INA. Any attempt at engrossing the audience with a slice of history is marred by efforts to induce drama into the script. In the 1996 track, grandpa Sodhi shoots Myanmarese soldiers and escapes on a train with his bunch of accompanying youngsters. The stretched sequence, obviously forced into the narrative at the end of one of the middle episodes to kickstart the climactic drama, dilutes the basic intention of the story owing to its sheer Bollywoodish treatment. The arduous journey of the army in the penultimate episode, through the Myanmar jungles towards India, leaves a few brutal sights and an ominous expectation of something intense coming up in the climax. But nothing of that sort happens. As the story finally starts to taper down to a finale that is all about the Maya-Sodhi track,

you begin to realise this is essentially all about love in the time of war. Bose's army and its battle are indeed forgotten. Khan's lack of willingness to get into absorbing factual details is also reflected in the very little focus allotted to Netaji Subhash Bose, his strategies or maxims. A lot of the pertinent points that the series makes is through Shah Rukh Khan's voiceover, when he narrates chunks of background information from time to time. The point is, there was an explosive saga here, waiting to be explored, which this series somehow does not manage to do. Khan and his co-writers seem satisfied using the INA and its brutal travails as a mere prop to create skin-deep emotions. They avoid delving deeper to show the socio-politics that might have led the army to their plight. Instead, ample runtime is spent in showing a mystical blue bird that leads Maya to the safe haven of a cave with a Buddha statue, when she is cut off from the army. Years later, the same bird guides Sodhi in the same jungle. War and its violence do not make for a pleasant watch, and Kabir Khan judiciously keeps such depictions to a minimum. However, he could have been more aggressive while bringing alive the latent drama in the piece of history he chooses to narrate. The show boasts of top-notch tech-specs,

with cinematography (Aseem Mishra) and editing (Peter Alderliesten and Rameshwar S. Bhagat) harmonising the melodrama and brutal battle scenes with the serenity of the wild terrain where most of the action takes place. Seasoned actors as MK Raina and Amala Akkineni (as Maya's mother) come up with credible performances, just as a greenhorn young cast led by Sunny Kaushal and Sharvari Wagh. The series ends solemnly noting how nearly 26,000 out of INA's 50,000 soldiers laid down their lives for India's freedom. Survivors who made it back to the country were neither re-inducted into the army of free India, nor were they given freedom fighter's pension. Yet, as Raina's aged Sodhi tell a bunch of youngsters, the battle to uphold freedom is tougher than the battle to attain it, and the former-mentioned is the battle today's generation has to constantly wage.


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NRI Pulse

When Lata Mangeshkar Cradled Baby Rishi Kapoor In Her Arms

..... Bollywood Pulse .....

Kashmir Finds A New Narrative In Bollywood

Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor recently walked down memory lane as he shared a throwback picture in which the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar is seen cradling him in her arms when he was just an infant. "Hello Lataji, See with your blessings, I got my picture of my two or three months. Your blessings have always been on me. Thank you very much. May I share this with the world by posting it on Twitter? This is a priceless picture for me," Rishi tweeted. Responding to Rishi's post, Mangeshkar shared that she got very happy on seeing the picture. "Namaskar Rishiji. I felt so happy seeing this photo. Even I could not find this picture. I missed Raj bhai and Krishna bhabhi so much after seeing this photo. Bhabhi had put you in my arms before this picture was taken. It's'nice that you shared this with everyone. I pray to God that you always stay healthy," she added.

Filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopras "Shikara" will bring to the big screen the story of exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley. This aspect of Kashmirs history has never normally received Bollywoods attention, which has so far explored Kashmir only as a gorgeous backdrop for filming songs or, since around early nineties, as script material to make films about Islamic terror and cross-border violence. While beauteous locations and terrorism as a plot continue to inspire Bollywood, a few filmmakers are now casting an unflinching gaze at the subject of the Kashmiri Hindu identity and the community's plight. In all these years, there was just one film that squarely touched upon the subject -- Ashoke Pandit's 2004 release "Sheen". Apart from Chopra's film, Vivek Agnihotri will take forward the narrative with his next "The Kashmir Files", based on the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. The film is scheduled to hit screens on August 15, 2020. The newfound interest in the Kashmiri Hindu also saw Madhu Mantena announcing a film on Kota Rani, the last Hindu queen of Kashmir who ruled until 1339. "Kashmir has always been used to showcase its beauty. It has always been used as an integral part of the narrative of Indian cinema. The beauty and landscape have been used to enhance beautification of the Valley," trade expert Girish Johar told IANS, adding that "now filmmakers are looking for relevant stories, which are unheard and share it with the audience". Chopra's "Shikara: The Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits" is being touted as a "story of resilience in the face of insurmountable odds", and is being described as the story of a love that remains "unextinguished through 30 years of exile. A timeless love story in the worst of times". "Shikara" addresses the issue of ethnic cleansing and riots that took place in 1989 and 1990 in Kashmir, which had a direct and lasting

Anuradha Paudwal Gets SC Reprieve Over "Daughter" Claim

Priyanka Chopra Jonas In Talks To Join Keanu Reeves In 'Matrix 4'

The Supreme Court recently stayed proceedings initiated in a Thiruvananthapuram court by a 45-year-old woman, claiming to be the daughter of renowned singer Anuradha Paudwal. A bench issued notice to the woman on a plea filed by Paudwal, who moved the top court seeking direction to transfer the case from the Thiruvananthapuram court to Mumbai. The woman in a Thiruvananthapuram family court claimed the couple was her biological parents, which has been denied by Paudwals. She demanded compensation Rs 50 crore from Paudwal and 1/4th share of their assets and properties. Karmala Modex, a city resident, had claimed Paudwal had handed her over to her foster parents -- Ponnachan and Agnes -- in 1974 citing a busy schedule and also that she was not inclined to raise the child then.

February 2020

Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas is "in final talks" for a role opposite Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves in the fourth "The Matrix" movie. The Warner Bros. and the Village Roadshow film is being directed by series co-creator Lana Wachowski. She will join the previously announced Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Neil Patrick Harris, reports variety.com. Details about her prospective character are currently under wraps. The "Matrix 4" cast has been in fight training for weeks for production start, which will begin in Northern California. Priyanka is a National Film Award winner with more than 60 films to her credit. Her US tele-

impact on the lives of Kashmiri Pandits. The film chronicles the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir on the night of January 19, 1990, through the story of Shiv Kumar Dhar (essayed by Aadil Khan) and Shanti Dhar (essayed by Sadia). It also shows the layers of blooming romance in the conflict-ridden state of Kashmir. "It has been 30 years and nothing has been done yet. Koi shor nahi macha (There was no clamor about this)," Chopra said recently at an event, adding: "My hope is that ab toh shor macha do." "I want people to go online and just write 'Sorry to all the Kashmiri Pandits' as we didn't do anything. Sorry to all of you who continue to live in refugee camps even after 30 years of the exodus. This is my only hope. We are still waiting to hear we are sorry, Kashmiri Pandits'. The only thing to hate is hate. I hope this message goes out all around the country," added Vidhu, who worked on the film for 11 years. The love affair between Bollywood and Kashmir is long-standing -- from being a mirror to the winter wonderland with snow-swept peaks and slopes to showing a glimpse of the land with fantastical touch with sparkling waterfalls, green meadows and landscape full of flowers. No

vision debut was with drama "Quantico", which ran for three seasons. She made history as the first Indian-born actor to star as the lead of a primetime network series and won a People's Choice Award for this role in 2016. She was featured on the cover of TIME magazine's coveted TIME 100 issue in 2016, named as one of the "Most Influential People" in the world, and recognised as one of Forbes Most Powerful Women. Priyanka recently starred in and co-produced "The Sky is Pink". She will next be seen in Netflix's "We Can Be Heroes", by Robert Rodriguez, and an adaptation of the Man Booker Prize winning novel "The White Tiger". She'll film "Matrix 4" concurrently in tandem with "Citadel", an Amazon series with Richard Madden from the Russo brothers.

one can forget Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore's "Kashmir Ki Kali" or Saira Banu's song "Kashmir ki kali hoon main". In fact, late Shammi Kapoor had such an admiration for the Valley that it is believed that going to Kashmir to capture the beauty of the state in at least one song became an important deal-breaker for producers of his films. The love faded with stories getting consumed by the tension in the Valley. The second phase of Bollywood interest in Kashmir was all about chaos, clashes and conflicts -- these themes were woven together to narrate tales from Kashmir in Bollywood. It started with border conflict appearing in films of the early nineties like Mani Ratnam's "Roja" and Raj Kapoor's "Henna". Then there was Vidhu Vinod Chopra's war drama "Mission Kashmir" and Shoojit Sircar's simple "Yahaan" reflecting the cracks of the state. The socio-political complexity also formed the crux of Vishal Bhardwaj's "Haider" and Sajid Ali's "Laila Majnu". Trade expert Rajesh Thadani feels the end of Article 370 has marked new beginnings for stories coming out of Kashmir. "After Article 370, people will shoot there more often and show these films. It has become easier to shoot at new locales of Kashmir instead of going to foreign locales," Thadani said. However, "Hamid" director Aijaz feels it's not that easy. "I haven't been able to go to Kashmir since the scrapping of Article 370. But my friends tell me that things are not normal in the Valley. Not many people get to know the truth, but things are still bad. I hope it becomes better," Aijaz said, adding: "There are many stories waiting to be told from Kashmir."

Actress Sejal Sharma Commits Suicide

TV actress Sejal Sharma committed suicide recently. She was known for her role of Simmy Khosla in the show "Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji". "Yes, this is true. I am shocked to hear the news. It's very difficult for me to believe as I had met her just 10 days ago and we had even chatted on WhatsApp on Sunday. I am unable to come to terms with the news. I met her 10 days back and she was absolutely fine," Aru K. Verma, Sejal's co-star in "Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji", told TimesofIndia.com. Reports claim the possible reason behind the suicide might be some disturbance in the late actress' personal life. Sejal hailed from Udaipur and came to Mumbai in 2017 to try her luck in showbiz. Before her debut on the Star Plus show "Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji", she appeared in a few commercials. She had also featured in a web series titled "Azad Parindey".


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..... Features .....

WE, Of The Forsaken World:

Of Connected Global Stories

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: “I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole,” Albert Einstein famously said. In his cavernous epic of interwoven allegories, WE, of the forsaken World, Kiran Bhat amalgamates seemingly arbitrary connections across the globe into a singular precipice of humanitarian consciousness. Bhat’s strength lies in the fact that he draws his characters and locales from within the framework of everyday struggles, be it social, environmental, psychological and sometimes, even spiritual. Bhat’s characters, much inspired from his global travels, range from the tribal population to crowded metropolitan city dwellers, all of who represent different lives that inhabit this planet at every second, everywhere. Tracing the lives and times of sixteen people spread across four distinct places on the planet, Bhat entwines several narratives and narrative styles, infusing a reflective monologue in passages that serve as connections of language and selfhood. The passages are highlighted in bold type font, lest you miss the profound poetic significance. She blinked at me with the small wick of someone who had felt their inner candle– The Home Maker WE, of… connects four distinctive stories sprawling across different terrains of the world, connected in the context of globalism. Bhat allows the reader to imagine a real place of their choice on his magical journey across the globe, ever so careful never to actually mention an actual name, be it the parables of a man who travels to his birthplace, a tourist town, “The Lake of Sacred Salt” which is now a scene of devastating tragedy when a once sacred body of water is contaminated by industrial waste, a homeless, a one armed woman in a the dichotomous “Black City” that draws contrast between its sleek modernity and its neglected slums, on a mission to avenge men who trafficked her, birth of a chief’s second son in a remote tribe, “Tribe of the Silt,” and the struggle for succession, or a milkmaid in a “Global Village” who watches helplessly as her so called friends betray her trust, allured by the world of cellphones and the gross misuse of it. The “Tribe of the Silt,” for the reader could be the Amazon, or a remote tribe nestled in an Indian forest area, depending on their worldview. Each of Bhat’s parables exist very much on their own, offering an insight into human nature

that remains a constant, irrespective of what part of the world, or the strata of society they belong to. These primal instincts of human beings are portrayed in fine detail, be it the inequality in the tribal community, conflict of the journalist, a sense of mistrust and betrayal brimming within the milkmaid and the vengeance that burns within the one-armed homeless woman. Bhat braids each of his supporting characters into his narrative with just as much finesse as he does his main characters, each gliding in and out in a story cycle, operating with their own narra-

BOOK REVIEW

Atlanta native, and polyglot author Kiran Bhat has visited132 out of the 195 countries in the world, been based out of 18, and knows 12 languages. He has authored six books so far, including one in his native language of Kannada. tive structure with connections sometimes linear, sometimes abstract. The sixteen ‘WE’s’ of Bhat’s world, be it the sex columnist, the preacher, the famous singer, or Lyrica who longs for her son, intensely immerse the reader in their forsaken worlds, gently drawing attention to the trials and tribulations they experience in each of their context and humanity as a whole. The simplistic introductory “map”, also a characteristic Bhat seems to embrace, is hardly simple in its structure or narrative. The creative journey unfolds layers of human nature in its raw and rustic form, offering glimpses of reality that exists, tribulations each must tread, and a mirror to the soul of humanity. Do grab your copy of WE of the forsaken world. You will enjoy the ride. The book is available on Amazon. You may check https://kiranbhatweldgeist.com for details.

February 2020

Private vs. Public Universities: Which One Is Right For You?

BY LINDSEY CONGER*

one. Due to government funding, public universities tend to have better research facilities. However, if you know what you would like to study, especially if you want to continue onto a doctoral or graduate program, a private institution can offer you a more specialized learning experience. You’ll likely get more one-on-one mentoring within your specific field. Before choosing, ask yourself: * Is my major available at a private university? * Do I want to customize my field of study? * Which is more important: innovative facilities or direct contact with faculty?

Private vs. Public: Tuition According to the College Board, the average tuition and fees for a four-year public university were $10,230 for in-state students and $26,290 for out-of-state residents during the 2018-2019 school year. To attend a private school, the average cost was $35,830. The difference is due to funding. Public universities are funded by taxes paid to their respective state governments. Because state residencies are funding higher education in their state, they have more of an incentive to attend college within their home state. Private universities don’t Private vs. Public: Graduareceive any government fundtion Rates ing and can either be non-profit According to data pubor for-profit institutions. Rates lished by the National Center COLLEGE PREP may vary depending on how much it for Education Statistics, 48.3% of is to run the school. students at private non-profits universities earned No matter where you choose to attend, degrees within four years, whereas 35% of stuscholarships and other financial aid can help dents at public universities graduate on time. you pay for college. Private vs. Public: Class Size Because public universities tend to be much cheaper than their private school counterparts, there typically will be higher rates of admission, with tens of thousands of students attending. On the other hand, a private university might have a student body of less than a thousand. At a public school, you might feel lost in a sea of people while at a private university, you will get more individualized instruction.

Private vs. Public: Campus Life At a public university, campus life tends to be more energetic and spirited. You’ll find a greater range of extracurricular activities, like competitive sports teams, Greek life, or even career-focused clubs. At private colleges, you’ll still have access to clubs, but the atmosphere tends to be a little quieter. The focus is more likely to be on academics than Greek life, partying, or sports. Before choosing, ask yourself: * What type of college experience do you want? * Do I thrive when surrounded by people?

Before choosing, ask yourself: * Do I learn best independently or with Final Thoughts close contact with a professor? When deciding between a public or private * Can I learn in discussion-based classes? university, there is a lot to consider. The character* Will large classes be overwhelming? istics laid out in this article were generalizations. You’ll be able to find a large private university or Private vs. Public: Academic Opportunities a small public university. Ultimately, which colNot only are the class sizes bigger at publege you choose comes down to what you prefer lic universities, but there will also be more acaand where you believe you’ll be able to thrive. demic choices available. The variety of majors, minors, courses, and degrees typically are more Lindsey Conger is a college counselor diverse at public universities than at a private

for Moon Prep.

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NRI Pulse

February 2020

..... City Pulse .....

Celebration Of Culture, Tradition & Food At Sankranti Restaurant

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: Well over 1000 people lined up at Sankranti, one of the premium Indian restaurants in Johns Creek area on January 19. The crowd had gathered to celebrate Sankranti, the Indian festival after which the restaurant is named. The restaurant’s “Dress, Pose, Click and Win” contest invited guests to pose at the door or the idol of Lord Ganesha at the entrance, click a picture to post on the restaurant FB page to enter the contest and win first, second or third prizes. The winners were decided by maximum shares, likes and comments. Kishore Tadikonda took home the first prize of $250. Ramya Raj won the second spot worth $175. Archana Reddy won third place and $125. “In many ways, Sankranti is similar to Thanksgiving where families meet and celebrate the festival with sumptuous food, love and gratitude. The festival is a time for communal Ramya Raj and family won 2nd prize. celebration for a bountiful harvest,” said owner Srinivas Nimmagadda. brating here at Sankranti and both times we have “It took us two years to build the restaurant,” had at least 1000 people coming in for lunch. And said Nimmagadda, adding that since its opening since we introduced the contest inviting guests to a year and half ago, the restaurant had come a wear traditional Indian clothes to pose and win, long way, hosting many events on its sprawling it has become more of a cultural center. Even the 20,000 sq. ft property which houses three banquet City of Johns Creek uses the restaurant for their halls, a two-story restaurant and a 4,000-square- official events and they want to recognize it as a foot kitchen with the ability to cater up to 10,000 cultural center,” said Nimmagadda. people. “Sankranti brings back sweet memories “This is the second Sankranti we are cele- from back home. We enjoyed the traditional dé-

cor and food served here today,” said Neelima Singh, Mrs. Bharat USA, runner up 2019. “I enjoyed being here with my family and this is one of favorite Indian restaurants,” said Manvi Voleti Ms. Teen Bharat USA, both present at the venue. “The selection for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian is very good. Sankranti catered at the AAPI convention and it was wonderful,” said Dr. Shailesh Gandhi, who said he had been a regular at the restaurant for over a year. “We have a full-service elegant bar, and our ambience is quite unique to the north American continent. We happen to have one of the largest buffets in North America upstairs and the menu and service is unprecedented in our fine dining area during the evening. We specialize in our mixed sizzler platter, and our fish in the banana leaf. We have a massive vegetarian selection and an assortment of halal meats also,” said Aurang Nasiri, General Manager, Sankranti.

Kishore Tadikonda and family won 1st prize.

Archana Reddy, 3rd prize winner.

..... What’s Cooking? ..... 3/4 cup – Sugar ¾ cup- Dark Brown Sugar 2- eggs 1 tsp- Baking Soda 1 tsp- Salt 1 tsp- Cinnamon Powder 1 tsp- Vanilla Essence For the frosting 1 ½ cup - Dark Brown Sugar 6 tbsp. - Butter 1 tsp- Vanilla Essence ¼ cup- Cream ½ cup- Pecan 1/2 cup Shredded Coconut Flakes

Rasmalai Tiramisu Ingredients: Rasmalai 4 Instant coffee powder 2 teaspoons Mascarpone cheese 1 cup Whipped cream Eggless sponge cake 1 eight inch Icing sugar Cocoa powder Method: Heat 1 cup water in a pan. Add coffee powder and boil. Whip mascarpone cheese in a bowl for a minute or so then add whipped cream, mix well and set aside. Cut vertical roundels from the cake with a cookie cutter and further cut them horizontally into e inch thick round slices. Place 2 glasses then place a cake slice at the base of each glass. Pour 2-3 tbsps coffee in each glass and then add 2 tbsps mascarpone cheese-cream mixture in each. Squeeze 2 rasmalai and place one in each glass. Pour 3 tbsps coffee over it. Squeeze the remaining 2 rasmalai and place one in each glass. Put 2 tbsps cheese-cream mixture in each glass and spread it with the help of a spatula.

Method: Collect all ingredients together. Add cocoa powder and icing sugar on top Heat oven 170 degree and your Rasmalai TIramisu is ready. Celsius. Grease baking tray and keep aside Put oat meal in a bowl and add boiling water. Stir to combine and let stand for 15 min. Ingredients: Combine ½ cup butter with sugars in a mixing ½ cup- Sesame Seed white bowl and beat on high un1 1/3 cups – Quinoa Flour til light and fluffy. 1 Cup – Oatmeal Add eggs, oat meal, 1 1/3 cup- Boiling Water and quinoa flour, baking ½ cup- Butter

Gluten-free Sesame & Oatmeal Cake

soda, salt, sesame seed cinnamon and vanilla and beat until thoroughly blended. Pour cake batter in prepared baking dish. Bake for 40 min. Combine frosting mixture, while the cake is baking. After cake comes out from the oven, spread the frosting mixture evenly over the top of the hot cake. The cake needs to be broil about inches above from the broiler, until it turns the frosting in golden brown. Cool it down before serving.


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February 2020


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