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NRI Pulse

March 2019

Atlanta’s Premier South Asian Newspaper March 2019


Free Copy


NRI Pulse

March 2019


NRI Pulse

March 2019

Atlanta’s Premier South Asian Newspaper March 2019


Free Copy

Trump Plans To End $5.6 Bn Preferential Trade Program For India

New York: (IANS) US President Donald Trump has announced that he is ending India’s $5.6 billion trade concessions under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, accusing New Delhi of not providing Washington “equitable and reasonable access” to its markets. Trump, who is on a mission to expand marker access abroad and end trade deficits, made the announcement recently in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence in his capacity as the Senate President. The US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) said that the preferences will end in 60 days after the notification to Congress and the Indian government. Meanwhile, Trump said that he will continue to monitor if India is “providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets” and meet the GSP eligibility criteria. India had opposed proposals to end the GSP saying that it would be “discriminatory, arbitrary” and hurt the country’s development. India is the largest beneficiary of the GSP exporting goods worth $5.6 billion to the US under the program. Congress establishes the conditions of eligibility for GSP, which include “providing the US with equitable and reasonable market access, protecting workers’ rights and combating child labor”. Trump wrote in his letter: “I am taking this step because, after intensive engagement between the US and the government of India, I have determined that India has not assured the US that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India.” The USTR said: “India has implemented a

wide array of trade barriers that create serious verse developing country with unique challenges”. negative effects on US commerce”, but did not The primary aim of the GSP is to help developmention the specifics in its statement. ing countries, particularly in sectors where the bene“Despite intensive engagement, India has fits can reach the poor. failed to take the necessary steps to meet the GSP Trump also said that he was ending the GSP for Turkey because of its economic success and rising living standards that would no longer make it eligible for the program that is meant to help developing countries. The President has been on a warpath against what he said were high tariffs on US imports to India. While criterion”, it added. pushing for the Reciprocal Trade Act in January, he The total India-US trade was $126.2 billion brought up India’s duty on American whiskey, which in 2017, with a $27.3 billion deficit for the US, he said was 150 per cent and on Harley Davidson moaccording to the USTR. India’s total exports were torcycles that he asserted he had gotten reduced from worth $76.7 billion and the end to GSP affects 100 to 50 per cent. only a small part of it limited to $5.6 billion. The decision to end the GSP may not entirely be At a hearing held by the USTR last June on influenced by high tariffs imposed by India on US imwithdrawing India’s GSP, the Minister in charge ports. The two countries have had differences over the of Commerce at the Indian Embassy in Washing- restrictions placed on e-commerce by Amazon and on ton, Puneet Roy Kundal, said that withdrawing Walmart subsidiary Flipkart and on data housing by the GSP benefits “would be discriminatory, arbi- Visa and Mastercard. trary, and detrimental to the development, finance The decision comes as the US is reported to be and trade needs of India, which is a vast and di- making headway in trade negotiations with China

aimed mainly at cutting American trade deficits with a deal expected soon. Ironically, a trade group warned that taking ending GSP for India could end up helping China. The American Apparel and Footwear Association said in a written testimony that if GSP benefits are withdrawn for India as well as Indonesia and Thailand, “companies will have no choice but to return to sourcing from China”. It pointed out that Trump has threatened to impose 10 per cent punitive duties on US travel goods imports from China and ending the GSP for India “means that not only will sourcing return from China, but American consumers will pay far higher prices for their travel goods”. The US dairy industry was a strong advocate of ending the GSP for India citing its difficulties in exporting to India. Shawna Morris, Vice President of the National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council, at the the June USTR hearing accused India of refusing to provide them equitable and reasonable access to its markets through “unscientific sanitary and phytosanitary requirements”. These requirements by India were that the exports should not come from cows that have been given cannibalised feed that includes offal or other meat products. Another opposition came from the medical sector based on price controls on medical devices imposed by India. Kundal said that these were necessitated by India’s need to provide affordable health care to its citizens.

Last Name Gets Indian-American Falsely Arrested In Sex Sting Atlanta, GA: Charges against a married Indian-American father of two were dropped in an ongoing Florida spa sex sting operation, after police admitted they had the wrong guy. Sandipkumar Patel, 47, was wrongly identified as having patronized Florida Therapy Spa for sex acts in Stuart on Nov. 19. He was arrested Feb. 25 on misdemeanor charges of use of a structure or conveyance for prostitution and soliciting prostitution, according to media reports. Charges against Patel were dropped in court papers filed recently. A day earlier, attorney David Golden entered a not-guilty plea. His attorney said the arrest has been devastating for his client. “On Feb. 25, I thought my life had ended,” a tearful Patel said, as he sat in the office of his attorney, Golden. “Shame and dishonor not only

fell upon me, but upon nable,” Golden my family and our said. family name. Imagine Patel’s wife thinking about killing said she was led yourself.” to believe, “the “This did not have man I love and to happen, and there is trust with our nothing that can erase lives not only the hell my family and broke the trust, I went through.” but brought Golden said depshame to our uties went to his home family name.” and told Sonal her hus“His face band was caught on was plastered all video paying money over the internet Sandipkumar Patel for sex acts. for the world to “To show her his picture as causing her to see. My husband’s only crime was being a Patel.” believe that was him at that spa is just unconscioGolden said he plans to file a lawsuit against

the Martin County Sheriff’s Office seeking compensation, accusing it of being “willing to sacrifice proper investigative work and our civil liberties for yet another arrest.” The case of mistaken identity stemmed from a four-door Porsche that was registered to a woman with the last name Patel. It was also co-registered to a man, not named Patel, who was not the man seen on video going into the spa. Officials began researching the car to see if Patel had a husband. Investigators found Sandipkumar when looking up Patels in Martin County. They believed his license photo resembled the man seen in the video, TC Palm reports. Cops admitted it wasn’t him in the Porsche.


NRI Pulse

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

Email: Publisher NRI Pulse Media Inc. Editor-in-Chief Veena Rao 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 Dr. Panchajanya Paul Kristen Moon Marketing Manager Raju Kotak 404-786-5392 Advertising 404-664-2805 ________________________ 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.

March 2019

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

Community Pays Tribute To Fallen Pulwama Heroes


Atlanta, GA: Despite short notice, over 500 Indian-Americans turned up at the Global Mall in Atlanta on Sunday, February 17 to pay their tribute to the CRPF jawans who were martyred in the deadly terror attack by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Kashmir. The tribute/candlelight vigil was organized by Federation of Indian Associations, Georgia (FIA), an umbrella organization of Indian-American associations in Georgia. A couple of state lawmakers were also present to express their solidarity and support. The brief program included an introduction by Rajeev Menon - General Secretary of FIA, and addresses by Vasu Patel, president of FIA, Consul Asim Kumar and Consul Shailendra Lakhtakia from the Indian Consulate, State Rep. Jasmine Clark, State Senator Sheik Rahman, former Indian Navy officer Sudhakar Reddy and former Indian Air Force officer Krishna Gouranga. In his address, FIA president Vasu Patel said terrorism has no race or religion. He had contacted over a dozen Georgia lawmakers requesting them to condemn the terrorist attack. He got seven responses. “We have influential people in the gathering. We want terrorists and their supporters eliminated, isolated, so they don’t dare to do it again,” he said. Consul Asim Kumar said the timing of the attack during the time of elections, was notable. “Perhaps, the perpetrators thought the government will not be able to retaliate,” he said, adding that he had full faith that the Indian government would avenge the attack. “Our soldiers at the borders do not celebrate holidays or festivals so that we are happy with our families.” Consul Kumar added that he was glad to see the large gathering. “It shows the unity of purpose inside India and outside India.” Consul Shailesh Lakhtakia led the group in raising patriotic slogans. “We condemn terrorism in one voice,” he said. “We will ensure that this poisonous snake does not raise its hood again.” State Rep. Jasmine Clark said terrorism is never good, “and we must do whatever we can to eliminate it.” “There are lives being lost, communities being

Photos by Magic Dust Photography.

torn, families being affected by these things. I am here to stand with you, and to pray with you for the lives lost. My heart is with you all,” she added. Sheikh Rahman, who had just returned to Atlanta from a trip to Washington DC made it a point to attend the vigil to show his solidarity. “There is no place for any terrorist activity in the world. I am a follower of Gandhi and MLK Jr. We need peace. We do not achieve anything by killing others,” he said, adding that the leaders and politicians don’t suffer. It is average folks who suffer. “We need to do whatever it takes to uproot terrorism from this world,” he said.

Sudhakar Reddy reminded the gathering that this is the 20th year of the Kargil war. “Five hundred people died in the Kargil war. Since then we have lost 5000 people to terrorism and we are not even aware of it,” he said. “We should not forget the others who are not even counted. I appreciate that people have come together to recognize the loss (in the Pulwama attack), but this is a starting point. It should become a wave. Force the PM to take strong action so that no more lives are lost.” Krishna Gouranga said Indians in the US still remember our motherland and recognize the services rendered by the brave soldiers. “This attack is condemned by 45 countries. Terrorism is no longer acceptable for anyone in the world,” he said. Religious leaders representing diverse faiths led a prayer session. Hindu prayers were led by Pandit Gyan Prakash Upadhyay and Acharya Brahmdev, Christian prayers by Reverend Younis Farhat, Muslim prayers by Dr. Rasheed Ahmad and a Sikh prayer by a member of the Sikh community. A 2-minute silence was also observed as a mark of respect to the brave hearts. The program ended with a candlelight march through Global Mall where hundreds of Indian-Americans walked silently, candle in hand, some waving the Indian tricolor, to express their tribute to the fallen jawans. The program ended with renditions of the Indian and American national anthems.

Terrorist Attack Condemned In Georgia Senate

Atlanta, GA: The recent terrorist attack in Pulwama, Kashmir was condemned on the floor of the Georgia Senate recently by State Senator Sheikh Rahman. “All Senators welcomed the note of condemnation of these kinds of terrorist activities,” said a press release issued by Federation of Indian Associations, Georgia (FIA). After Senator Rahman’s address, the Senate observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to the CRPF jawans who were martyred in the deadly terror attack by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed last week. FIA president Vasudev Patel, and executive team members Sanjay Prakash, Amit Shah and Amitkumar Tiwari were present on the occasion. Their names were announced on the floor of the Senate, and they were accorded a standing ovation by all Senators. The team later also met with Governor Brian Kemp. Senator Rahman, an immigrant from Bangladesh, is the first Muslim ever elected to the Georgia legislature.


NRI Pulse

March 2019


NRI Pulse

March 2019

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

Community Continues Efforts To Increase Safety At Cherians Intersection


Atlanta, GA: On the fateful evening of January 17, 2019, a Chevrolet Silverado traveling northbound on Peachtree Parkway pulling a trailer and backhoe struck a Honda Civic which was turning left into Callaway Court from Peachtree Parkway southbound. The driver of the Honda, Sriram Sundaram, 42 was transported by ambulance to North Fulton Hospital, but did not make it. His wife Sarnya Sekar who was with him at the time of the accident escaped without any life-threatening injuries. Sundaram, father of two girls aged 12 and 7 was an IT executive in the US on a work visa. Following his tragic death, the community rallied around the family and initiated efforts to prevent such a tragedy from reoccurring at the busy intersection that leads to Cherians, a popular Indian grocery store. A group of community members including Tommy Cherian of Cherian’s, Dr. Nazeera Dawood, Ponni Chinnamuthu met with Forsyth County and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) officials on January 25 to discuss safety measures at the intersection. The group also started an online petition to address safety concerns at the intersection with Nathan Danapalan, HOA president of Greystone community which is located behind the shopping strip at Callaway Ct , Sai Krishna Natesan, a close friend of Sriram, among others. The petition has over 4000

signatures, both hard copy and online. As a result of the community efforts, GDOT agreed to do a comprehensive study for the best recommendations. To keep the momentum going, a group led by Dr. Nazeera Dawood including Sai, Ponni, Vijay, Priya, Sabari, Praveen, Ramya and others spoke at the County Commissioners’ Meeting. The group made a heartfelt appeal to the board of commissioners on February 7, 2019 about their concerns and possible solutions. Tharini, an emerging driver herself presented her fears of her and her parents driving at the intersection on a regular basis. “Imagine walking across the stage for high school graduation, walking down the aisle for your wedding or getting your first pay check. Now imagine all that never happening or your loved ones not being able to share in that happiness” said Tharini. “Sriram was on a work visa which put the family under extreme pressure to wind up and relocate to India in just a few days. We had to sell

some stuff, donate most to goodwill, return their leased car, get kids school reports vaccination records before they left,” elaborated Sriram’s friend Sai Krishna Natesan. 12-year-old Shakti and Akshaaya Dhandapani talked about the good times with Sriram’s daughters and said she did not want to lose her parents because of lapse in safety measures. Senthil Ramaswamy highlighted some basic safety concerns including absence of street lights or reflectors along dividers that are hazardous conditions for driving around the area. Various solutions including installing a traf-

fic light, closing the intersection altogether with provision for a right lane merge are on the table. A traffic light installation, at the cost of $250,000 warrants for minimum of 75 cars in 8-hour period. GDOT, based on their study and inputs from the county will decide upon the best possible safety measures. “We would like to thank all the Commissioners including Cindy Mills, and Brown for their time, Sheriff Ron Freeman and members of his team going above and beyond to find Sriram’s phone, Deputy Coroner Chris Felton and GDOT for keeping us safe,” said Dr. Dawood. Commissioner Mills lauded Dr. Dawood and the community for their continued efforts to bring forth positive change in the aftermath of a tragedy. Currently the Forsyth county officials are in touch with GDOT, following up on the comprehensive study, setting up meetings to discuss proposed changes. A GoFundMe account set up to help Sriram’s family resettle in India and help with the children’s education raised $372,683 by 8528 donors, surpassing its $300,000 goal. The money will be managed by investing in several low risk investments, according to an update on the GoFundMe page.

Rotary- Emory Druid Hills Celebrates 114th Birth Anniversary Of Club


Atlanta, GA: Rotary Club of Emory Druid Hills (RCEDH) held a special meeting on Saturday February 23, 2019 at Ashiana restaurant in Global Mall. The meeting marked two momentous occasions including proclamation of February 23 as the Rotary Club of Emory Druid Hills Day by Mayor of Norcross, and the 114th birthday celebration of Rotary International. Consul General of Atlanta, India Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Norcross Mayor Craig Newton, and Rotary District Governor nominee Kirk Driskell presided as chief guests of the event. Speaking of the history of Rotary International, RCEDH President Upendra Bhatt highlighted its various achievements over the years including PolioPlus that, joined by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in their efforts, has almost succeeded in eradication of polio worldwide. Bhatt also underlined the work of RCEDH, which was founded 10 years ago. RCEDH projects include providing safe drinking reserve osmosis water plants in 200+ villages in Telangana costing $238K, Dialysis machines in Rajkot costing $268 K, CT Scan machine to hospital in India costing 200K, Urology department equipment to a hospital for the poor costing 423 K, completing over 1000 Cataract eye surgeries in India at $30K, helping victims of Haiti costing $10K. “In 10 years, we have given 32 Paul Harris fellows to our district and today we are adding 42 new Paul Harris fellows and that is a record,” said Bhatt. “This is the only club in the US with all Indian origin members,” he added, joking that the added bonus was the Indian food at an Indian restaurant for the meetings.

Avantika Sridhar, a sophomore from NY made an appeal for donations for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. NRI Pulse was also recognized at the event. A book released during the 100th year celebrations at a convention in Atlanta was handed to the guests of honor. Ali Bhai Asani’s soulful music, cake cutting, and a sumptuous lunch wrapped up the celebrations. Current RCEDH team includes Upendra Bhatt, Chatur Chhabhaya, Shiv Aggarwal, Pravin Kakadiya, Krishan Goyal, Ramesh Suhagia, Parag Vaishnav, Yunus Farahat, Chittaranjan Jyotishi, Ravindra Dave, Chandler Sharma, Tarla Daftari, Mustafa Ajmeri, Sumant Khan, Rani Singh, and Kumud Savla.

Rotary team members and guests blow the candles on the cake. Presenting a special membership pin made with the theme of India to Consul General Dr. Kulkarni, Bhatt said she was the new honorary member of the club. Dr. Kulkarni thanked RCEDH for the honor and talked about the progress of Rotary. Citing a passage from Matthew: For I was hungry, Mayor Newton thanked Rotary for its hard work for the community and beyond. Driskell highlighted the role of Rotary and its significance to society.

Bhatt invited fellow Rotarians Mustafa Ajmeri, Chatur Chhabhaya, Pravin Kakadiya, Rani Singh to hand out bouquets to guests and prominent members. He recognized Rotarian couple Chandler and Dr. Paddy Sharma who visited Rotarian projects in India. All Rotarians present were also recognized for their efforts.

Singer Alibhai Asani being felicitated with flowers.


NRI Pulse

March 2019


NRI Pulse

March 2019

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

New Office Bearers Introduced At NKK Sankranti Celebrations


Atlanta, GA: Sankrati Sambhrama, Nrupathunga Kannada Koota (NKK)’s annual celebration of first day of sun's transit into the Makara (Capricorn), gathered the Kannada community at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale on Feb 2, 2019. Games, music, violin performances and introduction of the new office bearers were part of the festivities. Makara Sankranti, one of the few ancient Indian festivals observed according to solar cycles, is known by various names and celebrated differently across India. For people of Karnataka the celebration involves preparing Ellu Bella, a mixture of peanuts, coconut and jaggery with sesame seeds and exchanging them between relatives and friends. Kannadigas at the event enjoyed traditional and contemporary games of Chowkabaara, carrom and chess. Super minute games added to the thrill. Founding member, Dr. H.N. Ramaswamy and his wife Indira Ramaswamy, who were chief guests of the evening, were honored. All past directors, chairpersons, presidents and office bearers were recognized. Past President Ramesh Bakshi and his wife Vijaya Bakshi were also present. Having returned to NKK after a gap of few years, Dr. Ramaswamy commended the new NKK Chairman Dr. Subra-

making NKK stronger financially and culturally, bringing in quality artists from India and gaining better visibility to NKK among other US and Indian Organizations are some of my visions for NKK,” said Dr. Bhat. The Karaoke segment had adults and kids in singing spirit. Emcees Chinmayee Mahishi and Mehul Rao engaged the audience. Strings of Violin by Pranav Swaroop playing top hits of Sandalwood in the primetime slot captured hearts. A student of Georgia Tech, Swaroop has performed with renowned artistes. After a vote of thanks to volunteers and sponsors, a delicious dinner concluded the night.

manya Bhat and Dr. Anu Bhat for their efforts, adding that he felt like a parent bird returning to his nest after a long day of search for food. New Board of Directors include Dr. Subramanya Bhat as Chairman, Bharatish Shirahatti as Vice Chairman, Dr. Ganapathy Bhat, Santosh Krishnamurthy, Satish Shivarudappa, Dr. N.S.Prasad, Jayanth Palakshiah and Aruna Gadekar. Executive Committee members include Vinay Venkatesh, President, Bharath Tejaswi, VP Public Relations, Avinash Geethananda, Treasurer, Krishnananda Achar, Jt. Treasurer, Varsha Krupananda, Sec-

retary, Shruthi Anil, Jt. Secretary, Kavitha Hegde - VP Administration and Vinay Nataraj, Jt. Secretary PR. “With well over 1200 Kannada speaking families under our wings,

Ananthaadi Rayara Matha Celebrates Purandara Daasara Aaradhane BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: Ananthaadi Rayara Matha, Atlanta (RAMA) celebrated Purandara Daasara Aaradhane on February 9, 2019 at the Ivy League School in Cumming. The program included performances from local talent and Nandini Rao Gujar, a popular visiting artist from India who was accompanied by Atlanta artists Madhusudhan Rao on the mridangam, Shivprasad Kotagal on the tabla and Pranav Swaroop playing the violin. A separate concert of Gujar was held February 10 at Duluth High School as a fundraiser for RAMA. Saint Purandara Dasa, a disciple of the celebrated Madhwa philosopher, Saint Vyasatirtha was a composer, singer and one of the chief founding proponents of the South Indian classical music. Aaradhane is a religious-devotional observation, held annually, to remember and honor the departure of saintly people from this world. Purandara Dasara Aaradhane is held on a new moon day, generally in February-March. Musicians and art aficionados in the state of Karnataka and many art and religious centers around the world observe this occasion in religious and musical fervor. His compositions are sung by established and upcoming artists on this day. As a part of their tribute to Purandara daasaru, devotees performed Madhukara Vrutti (Uncha Vrutti), where haridaasas go from door to door asking for alms, singing the glories of God and dancing without any inhibitions. Literally translating to job of a honeybee, Madhukara Vrutti is a tradition that ha-

Mridangam accompaniments, ending with devotees offering bhikshe (offerings) such as rice, dals, pulses, chickpeas, jaggery, dry coconut, fruits, ghee, dry fruits, cash and check to a devotee who had dressed up as Purandara daasaru. Bhiksha was then offered to Lord Narayana as a HarivaaNa sewa.

ridaasas adopt, like a honeybee that collects madhu (honey) from different flowers, the daasas put together people in loksangraha to enlighten people, also known as Yaayivaara. Madhukara Vrutti involved devotees singing and dancing with the violin,

Gujar and accompanying artists enthralled the audience with mellifluous renditions of Purandara Dasa compositions including Guru purandara daasare Nimma charaNa kamalava nambide , Karedaru barabaarade, Gajavadana beduve, Yantaha cheluvage, Indina dinave Shubhadinavu and many more. The event concluded with traditional south Indian food. Brindavana Naada Taranga, the concert by Gujar and the same team of accompanying artists held next day featured songs in different languages including Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi, including musical gems Maate Malayadwaja-Kamach, Muttayya Bhagavatar composition in Adi taalam, Maha Ganapathim, a Muttuswami Deekshitar composition in a Nata-Adi, Indu Enage Govinda, Raghavendra Swami composition in Bhairavi-Mishrachapu, Brahmamokate by Annamacharya in Bhowli-Adi and Bolava Vittala Brindavana, a Tukaram composition in Saranga-Adi.


NRI Pulse

March 2019

..... Feature ..... Record-Breaking 66ft. Rudraksha Maha Shiva Linga Darshan At Somnath Mahotsav 2020 BY MAHADEV DESAI

Batukbhai Vyas is a highly popular, engaging and eloquent narrator of ‘Shiv Maha Puran’ in Gujarati and Hindi, a Vedic Vastu Scholar and also an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva for the past 32 years. A Brahmin priest and author of “Rudraksha: A Nectar of Divine Life, Batukbhai, has for many years, nursed a big dream of a mammoth, spectacular Somnath Mahotsav and Rudrakshotsav, at the holy and sacred iconic Somnath Mandir in Gujarat, India, where millions of devotees will be able to do Shivalinga Pooja of a record-breaking 66ft. Rudraksha-Maha Shivalinga. He is poised to realize his dream with the planned celebration of historic Somnath Mahotsav 2020. The Somnath temple located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat, is believed to be the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot of Gujarat. Rudraksha itself symbolizes Lord Shiva and Shivalinga. Batukbhai thought of an innovative way of offering devotees an opportunity to pray and get darshan of lakhs of shivlingas simultaneously through the Rudraksha Shivalinga. He began with a Shivalinga of eleven inches, progressing successively to 15 inches, three feet, 33 ft. (with 2.5 million rudrakshas. He is regarded as pioneer of Rudraksha Maha Shivalinga. Batukbhai has visited Atlanta frequently. During his last visit in Atlanta in August 2018 he recited Shiva Katha in Hindi, at the Sanatan Mandir in Smyrna. He has been invited to visit Atlanta again in July this year and hopefully will be able to accept the invitation. The Somnath Mahotsava will be held from 15th February to 23rd February 2020. The event will consist of the world’s tallest 66 ft.Rudraksha Maha Shivlinga’s Pooja Archana, Abhishek ,151 Kundi Homatmaka yagya, collective Rudrabhishek,and Shiv Maha Puran Katha. 51 Lakh Rudraksh will be used for the Maha Shiva Linga. The diameter of the Maha Shiva Linga will be 27 Ft. Daily Abhishek by Teerthajal (holy waters) from every sacred Tirth in India and with one crore (10 Million) Bilva patras on the opening day puja ceremony. All the four Parampujya Shankaracharya Maharajjis from the four Mathas (monasteries) will be invited along with many noted saints and Mahant Swamijis, civic leaders ,and celebrities. At the opening ceremony, about one lakh (one hundred thousand) Brahmins will recite ShivaMahimna Stotra. Maharudra and AtiRudra Yagya will also be performed. The organizers cordially invite your family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances to participate in this one of a kind, historic Holy undertaking. Also invited are all those devotees and Brahmins who can recite or would like to recite the Shivamahimna stotra. More than 135 crores (One Billion Three Hundred Fifty Million) handwritten “Aum Namah Shivaya” mantra-in the form of booklets- will be enshrined in a temple for eight days. Attendees will be able to do pradakshina and darshan of the same On February 23, 2020 the conclusion of the Katha, purnahuti (concluding ceremony of the Yajnas), submerging of the 135 Crore mantra in the Ocean and the Visarjan (Concluding rite) of the Rudraksheswar Shivalinga after the evening aarti will take place. The devotees are requested to write the Panchakshara Mantra –Om Namah Shivay (in either Gujarati,Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, English etc.), in the books that are being distributed by the organizers. Each book will have space for 5040 mantras. In India, so far, 20 crore mantras have already been written. In North America, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA will assist in distributing books to all the 700 plus temples. About 1,500 books will be distributed in Metro Atlanta. The completed books will be displayed for eight days at the venue during the celebrations. You are also requested to support this event either by sponsoring an event, the booklet or in kind by volunteering your time and talents. For further information, kindly contact Praful Desai at


NRI Pulse

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

March 2019

Allatra Meet Discusses Media’s Role In Creating Future Of Society


Atlanta, GA: An international conference organized by participants of ALLATRA International Public Movement (IPM) as part of the “The Universal Grain” project (UGP) was held at Cameron Pkwy Forest in Johns Creek on February 10, 2019. The open round-table discussion focused on ideas and ways the mass media can contribute towards development of moral and spiritual potential within society, based on the principle that the way we want to see society tomorrow is the way we show it in the media today. Founded in 2011, based on Lagoda International Public Organization ALLATRA IPM is a global, worldwide movement, joined by millions of people from over 180 countries of the world. UGP is committed to uniting all nations in friendship on the basis of cultural, moral and spiritual values. Towards this goal, participants of the movement launch and implement public, cultural and socially significant constructive activities, projects and programs. Centered around journalism, the conference

featured over 150 participants from USA, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Italy, Pakistan, India, Czech Republic, Canada, Belarus, Slovakia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, South America, who joined through online conference. Hosted by Marina Ovtsynova, Olga Pikus snd Janna Kats in Atlanta, were joined

Third Grader Raises Funds For Kids’ Heart Challenge


Atlanta, GA: While most people were busy finding a heart shaped gift for their valentines this February, third grader Sheehan Banka of Findley Oak’s Elementary school got busy initiating a fundraiser to support American Heart Association’s (AHA) Kids’ Heart Challenge. The family fun-fair held on February 9 at a subdivision clubhouse in

Alpharetta was well attended by over 125 people. Banka, moved by a close friend’s heart issues at birth in a previous school, expressed his desire to support the cause and host the school’s annual fundraising event. Having knocked on doors to raise funds last year, Banka decided to take a different route this time around. After brainstorming with his parents, he came up with the idea of getting families together for a fun-fair, which would cater to adults and kids’ games, food and fun so that, in his words, their hearts can stay healthy. Banka reached out to neighborhood friends and stores for support. Nine friends from his grade Aadi

Havanaur, Nathan Noyce, Shivam Kataria, Ansh Santosh, Leela Arvind, Jui Jadhav, Jay Pekky, Karan Patel, and Mark Ma pitched in to support the cause and host the event. The event was all heart, with Banka penning his own poem to invite the guests. Team members created their own banners and marketing campaign. Kids went out requesting local stores for donations to keep their investment down, maximizing the contribution to AHA and they were certainly not disappointed. Chili’s, Jason Deli at junction of Medlock bridge/ McGinnis Ferry donated free kids’ meal coupon. Marco’s Pizza agreed to sponsor free Pizza for the event. Some of the kids brought their unused toys and gift items to make up the reward list. Kids sold 1204 tickets which were used to play games or purchase food items, 270 food ticket items, 934 game tickets were sold giving away more than 180 gift items as rewards. It was heartening for the kids to know that their target of $500 had surpassed expectations and reached $665 dollars in all. Sheehan Banka is thankful to all kids, families and friends, parents who baked cookies and brownies and the stores who supported his efforts.

by Leslie, personal trainer, Sneha, an independent movie producer, Anna Avramenko, Shivkumar Sarma, TV9 reporter, Vikas Goel, social Journalist, Arthur newspaper/ web portal, Sarvesh Tiwari, researcher and blogger. NRI Pulse was represented by this writer. A video presentation of participants of AllatRA IPM interviewing thousands of people for the fundamental social research project revealed that people regardless of social status, age nationality, race, religious affiliation want to live love, unity, happiness, and joy. So, the discussion laid focus on the role of mass media in creating the future of our society.

While opinions varied about the approach, with some arguing that it is best only to feature positivity in the media, others countered that unbiased flow of information was the key and it was up to the reader/viewer to extract the good or bad from it. The theory that negative information floats in the media because of the demand in society transported the conversation to fundamental human instincts that propel this behavior. UGP believes that feeding negativity leads to seeing negativity in the world around. Drawing from the principle of fractality of the Universe, that states that each fractal is divided into infinitely small parts, but reflects the properties of the whole, Ovtsynova said people should strive to change not the external conditions and the whole world, but simply to start with themselves. Highlighting the importance of attention, Ovtsynova said person’s attention (inner potential) to good or bad becomes his reality. Based on the fundamental principle that every person is a carrier and conductor of information, the UGP believes it is important for individuals to independently analyze the reliability of the information presented in the media and spread the news that appeals to the spiritual component of people.

Atlanta Student Wins Big At Harvard Debate Competition

Atlanta, GA: Vinayak Menon and Bobby Missell, both eighth-graders at Riverwatch Middle School, took first place in the middle school public forum division at the 45th Harvard National High School Invitational Forensics Tournament held at the university’s Cambridge campus over President’s Day weekend. Vinayak Menon was also recognized as the top speaker in the competition. The Harvard National Forensic Tournament held in Cambridge each President’s Day Weekend, is the largest and most prestigious debate tournament in the country. The competition was a three-day event with round robin preliminaries and elimination rounds.

The topic of this year’s debate was ‘The United States should end its arms sales to Saudi Arabia”. S t u dents were evaluated on the validity of their arguments and presentations. Vinayak has been learning to debate for the last two years, developing skills for public speaking, analysis and critical thinking. Vinayak has been an Atlanta resident since 2015. Outside of debate, Vinayak is active in supporting after school programs for under-privileged kids. “To bring home the top prizes from this prestigious competition is a thrilling experience. It was an amazing experience to walk through the Harvard Square and debate in the historic class rooms of that institution. All of this would not be possible without the support of wonderful coaches and teachers helping me in this journey”, Vinayak said.


NRI Pulse

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

March 2019

GA Tech Student’s Band Project Mishram To Perform At UK Fest


Atlanta, GA: How many times does a music band receive calls from the prestigious international UK Tech Fest 2019 to perform on the main stage alongside some amazing bands from around the world? Not many. Georgia Tech grad student Pranav Swaroop, a violinist trained in Indian classical music, and his Bangalore based band Project MishraM, are thrilled to receive the call to perform with wonderful artists and bands including Sarah Longfield and Monuments, to name a few. MishraM is the only band from India to be invited to play at this festival with an expected footfall of over 3000. UK Tech Fest 2019 scheduled between July 4th and July 8th at Newark Showgrounds, Nottinghamshire, UK, was founded in 2011 with focus on technical, progressive metal music. A seven-piece Carnatic fusion band from Bangalore, MishraM, is an amalgamation of western genres such as rock, metal, jazz, reggae and electronic music centered around the Indian classical music. The team, with Pranav Swaroop playing the violin/vocals, Shivaraj Nataraj playing vocals/beat-boxing, BN Anirudh Koushik on the flute, Sumant Nemmani playing Lead guitar , Srishankar Sundar on the rhythm guitar, Ram Srinivas the bass, and Sanath Shanbhogue playing drums/other percussion

of Karnataka in both Carnatic Vocal and Violin, Swaroop is also the recipient of Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya academy fellowship from Govt. of Karnataka for both disciplines. MishraM, in addition to performing at UK Tech Fest,

has performed across the country. The team has won several awards including Yamaha Swagbash (2017), Forum Rock On (2018) and the Maruti Suzuki-Colors of Youth-Season 7 amongst others. MishraM has performed at venues including The Hard Rock Cafe, Music Mojo at Kappa TV-Season 5, amongst others. The band was invited to perform during the official launch of ‘Monster Energy’ in India. MishraM was recent-

ly invited for a TED talk and performance during TEDx NitteDU (2018) . Team player Shivaraj Natraj has represented India at the World Vocal Conference, Italy and recorded with popular music directors of South India. Pranav Swaroop has performed in over 700 concerts in India and abroad and with artists such as Raghu Dixit and Benny Dayal. Having topped the ‘Vidwat’ examination conducted by the Govt.

plans to perform at more venues in the UK around the same time with a do-it-yourself concert-tour showcasing Indian music and culture. They are reaching out for financial support from the community. If you are interested, you can fund their ambitions at or You may check more details about the band on their Facebook page


NRI Pulse

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

March 2019

Ritesh Desai, C B Yadav On Kemp’s Georgians First Commission

Atlanta, GA: Indian-AmerThe commisican Republican activists Ritesh sion also has the Desai and C B Yadav are among role of reviewing Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s regulations and Georgians First Commission. modifying proceKemp made this announcement at dures in order to a press conference. streamline governThe 18-member panel will ment, remove ineflook for ways to streamline govficiencies and cut ernment regulations that serve as red tape. obstacles to small business growth. At the press Cade Joiner and James Whitley conference, Kemp will co-chair the commission, and said Georgia is report recommendations back to currently the epithe governor’s office. center for job The Commission was estabgrowth. lished earlier this year through an “We have executive order and is a follow-up been the top state on a campaign promise to promote for business for small business growth in the state. six years, a leader L to R: C B Yadav, Governor Brian Kemp and Ritesh Desai. In the order, Kemp states that he in countless induscessful private-sector solutions to state governhopes to promote growth through tries, but we cancommon-sense initiatives and by applying suc- ment, reports not rest on our laurels, we have to keep chopping,

as we say. And I believe together we can make Georgia the best state in the nation for small businesses as well,” GPB quoted Kemp as saying. Ritesh Desai is the founder and executive vice president of A civic leader as well, Desai has served as president and chairman of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the South Asian Journalists Association’s Atlanta chapter. He currently serves as director of public relations for BAPS-Atlanta and southeast representative to the National Government Relations Committee of BAPS North America. Desai was also named to Kemp’s Georgians First transition team in December 2018. Kingsland, Georgia resident C B Yadav is the owner of the Gope Group of companies. He was a member of the Deal for Governor finance committee. He is an advisory board member of the Georgia Lottery Corporation and the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. He is also a board member of the Camden County Board of Commerce.

Dr Chethan Pandarinath Of Emory Neera Bahl Appointed To Judicial Nominating Commission Awarded Sloan Fellowship

Atlanta, GA: Chethan Pandarinath, Ph.D of Emory University is among the 126 researchers who have been awarded this year’s prestigious Sloan Fellowship by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowships, awarded yearly since 1955, honor early-career scholars whose

achievements mark them as among the most promising researchers in their fields. “Sloan Research Fellows are the best young scientists working today,” said Adam F. Falk, president of the Sloan Foundation. “Sloan Fellows stand out for their creativity, for their hard work, for the importance of the issues they tackle and the energy and innovation with which they tackle them. To be a Sloan Fellow is to be in the vanguard of 21st-century science.” Winners receive a two-year, $70,000 fellowship to further their research. Dr. Pandarinath is an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and in Emory’s Department of Neurosurgery as well as the Emory Neuromodulation Technology Innovation Center. Pandarinath also leads the Emory and Georgia Tech Systems Neural Engineering Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University. Pandarinath and an Emory-Georgia Tech

team, including biomedical engineers, neurosurgeons and neurologists, are working to better understand how large networks of neurons in the brain encode information and control behavior by using sophisticated methods from the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In studying the activity of these brain networks, Pandarinath’s team hopes to design new brain-machine interface technologies to help restore movement to people who are paralyzed, including those affected by spinal cord injury and stroke, and by Parkinson’s disease and ALS. Several Indian-Americans from around the US were named in research fields including chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics. Valued not only for their prestige, Sloan Research Fellowships are a highly flexible source of research support. Funds may be spent in any way a fellow deems will best advance his or her work. Drawn this year from 57 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, the 2019 Sloan Research Fellows represent a diverse array of research interests. Open to scholars in eight scientific and technical fields — chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics — the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in close coordination with the scientific community. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and CEO of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economics.

Atlanta, GA: Indian-American attorney, Neera Bahl was among the 25 Georgians appointed by Governor Brian Kemp to the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) recently. The JNC will make recommendations to the Governor to fill vacancies in state, superior, and appellate courts in Georgia. Mark Middleton, Vincent Russo, and Shannon Wallace will serve as Co-Chairs of the Commission, with Russo serving as Administrative CoChair. “As governor, I am honored to appoint this impressive coalition of attorneys to the Judicial Nominating Commission. Together, we will work tirelessly to ensure that members of the state’s judiciary branch represent our values and serve with integrity and humility,” stated Governor Kemp. “I thank each of these distinguished individuals for accepting this call to service on behalf of hardworking Georgians across our state.” Neera Bahl started her legal career when she joined Dixit & Youn, LLP as an associate in 2005. Thereafter in 2007, she became a name partner in the firm changing the firm name to Dixit, Youn, & Bahl, LLP. In April 2009, she founded Neera Bahl & Associates (now One Path Legal) for her independent practice of law. Earlier, Ms. Bahl interned at the Jimmy Carter Center (Human Rights

Division); worked as a Constituent Representative for U.S. Rep. Denise Majette (GA Dem. ’04’05), focusing on immigration issues; and served as law clerk for Fulton County Superior Court Judge Honorable Gail S. Tusan. Licensed in Georgia, she received her J.D. from John Marshall Law School – Atlanta (2000). Prior to that, she served as a Sr. Research Special-

ist for 16 years at the Emory Univ. Dept. of Dermatology, and for 5 years at the Univ. of Alabama. She received her M.A. in English from Punjab University, India (1979); B.Ed. in Psychology from D.A.V. College, India (1977); B.S. in Chemistry & Biology from D.S. College, India (1976). The is the current president of U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce-South East Chapter (USPAACC-SE) and sits on the board of several organizations.


NRI Pulse

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

March 2019

Georgia Girls Win Big Laurels At Ms India USA National Pageant

Atlanta, GA: Two Georgia girls, earlier winners of the IACA Miss India pageant, made it to the top three at the 37th annual Miss India USA organized by New York-based India Festival Committee in New Jersey in February. Aishwarya Vallem and Tanvi Gujral were declared first and second runner ups in the Teen India USA category. Two other Georgia girls won important titles. Sunanda Dhar was crowed Mrs Congeniality India USA. Rozy Malik Balwani won the Most Beautiful Eyes title. Seven Winners of the IACA Miss/ Teen and Mrs Georgia Pageant 2018 participated in the pageant. It was a tough competition amongst 75 contestants, but the Georgia winners made their way to the top with grace, confidence and poise. The contestants were trained and guided by a dedicated team of volunteers: Kiran Agnihotri, Sonjukta Halder, Dr Lakshmi Rao and Shally Venkatesh. Aishwarya Vallem was the First Runner Up, Miss Teen India GA 2018, Miss Popularity and Miss Beautiful Eyes. She is a sophomore at Johns Creek High School and hopes to become a doctor. She is a trained singer in both classical Indian and Western music. She is a huge supporter of early childhood education for girls. She mentors and encourages girls to enter STEM careers. Aishwarya has recently started her YouTube Chanel called Aishwarya V. Tanvi Kaur Gujral is Miss Teen GA 2018, Miss Personality GA and Miss Congeniality GA. A sophomore at Lambert High School, she is working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Kathak Dance. She plans to join the Medical profession.

She volunteers at a nursing home, helping patients suffering from dementia. Sunanda Dhar was the top five winner at the IACA Pageant in the Mrs Category. A mother of two young children, Sunanda is also a certified

Montessori teacher, shaping young minds. She loves dancing and has combined it with her fitness goals. She has choreographed serval shows and has also started a zumba group. Her goal is to start her own elementary school one day. Rozy Malik Balwani, a finalist in the IACA Miss India pageant is an ambitious young girl pursing a degree in marketing while also working full time. Rozy is also a professional model having done many shows for many local designers and makeup artists. Her passions include dancing

and cooking. She hopes to open her own gourmet restaurant one day. The other IACA Miss/Teen/Mrs winners who participated in the pageant were Jiya Malbari, Sarika Datta and Rati Sarkar. Jiya Malbari, the Second Runner Up, Miss Teen India GA 2018, is currently a Sophmore at Peachtree Ridge High School. She actively volunteers at the Humane Society helping foster animals who can’t be adopted right away. She is also a Youth Ambassador of the Himalayan Children Charities, an organization that sponsors orphaned children in Nepal. Her future plan is to become a psychiatrist to follow her passion of helping others. Sarika Datta was crowned Mrs. India Georgia USA 2018 and Mrs. Congeniality 2018. Sarika who won her first beauty pageant at the age of 17 in India is also the founder & president of Jijivisha World Inc. that stands for animal rights and promotes a vegan lifestyle. Sarika has earned three master’s degrees, majoring in business economics, commerce, and business management. She is a certified esthetician too. She brings thirteen years of experience in teaching at colleges and universities, and, as a head-hunter in an executive search. Rati Sarkar was crowned Miss India GA 2018, and Beat Talent at the IACA Pageant. She is sophomore in college majoring in Public Health. Upon completion Rati hope to work at CDC .A lover of classical Indian performing arts, Rati is

a professional Bharatnatyam dancer. She has also learned other dance forms and has performed in several shows. Her motto in life is, “You never know until you try”. Kim Kumari from New Jersey was crowned Miss India USA 2019 and Vidhi Dave of Connecticut as Mrs. India USA at the national pageant. Esha Kode from New Jersey was crowned Miss Teen India USA.

Hindu Economic Forum Networking Meet Discusses Startups


Atlanta, GA: The Hindu Economic Forum of Georgia (HEFGA) held a networking event at the Ashiana Restaurant in Global Mall on February 21. The theme of the event was, ‘Startup Knowhow’. A team from the Georgia based Quantum National Bank shared various investment options for new startups and small business owners. The meet also featured startup Unwrinkly, the world’s first affordable automatic clothing cleaner HEFGA president Shiv Aggarwal, a successful entrepreneur himself, shared his vision on how to start a new business. The Quantum National Bank was represented by Amy Amorose, Group Vice President, SBA Lending; Eric Walker, North Fulton Market President and Michael Jones, Commercial Loan Officer. Not all banks are the same, said Jones. Some banks have a focus on real estate, some in commercial or industrial startups. “So, get to know several bankers in your community. Understand what banks have a focus on and how it aligns with what you want to do in your business.” Amrose said, as a banker, she looks to see whether the customer is passionate about what they are doing. “That is the key to success of the business,” she said. Experience in the field of proposed start-up in also important, she added. “In SBA loans, I look for owners who run the show, who stick with their business and are always accessible,” she said. Walker explained the differences between

SBA loan versus conventional commercial loan, and which loan fits which business needs better. The team later took questions from the audience. Photos by The second half of the evening included a presentation by Rahul Seth, co-founder & COO of startup Unwrinkly, the world’s first affordable automatic clothing cleaner. Unwrinkly sanitizes, deodorizes, de-wrin-

kles and freshens up to two garments in less than ten minutes, using only one cup of water. “It has a beautiful design, is enSuresh Volam, Sri Photos. ergy efficient, portable and is customizable according to the interior of your home,” Seth said. At $250 for the machine and an additional $10 for pods per month, the eco-friendly cleaner is affordable, too.

“Unwrinkly increases the life-time of clothes. You can have the dress you want to wear in ten minutes,” he said. The Unwrinkly team is initially targeting older millennials in the 25 to 35 age group, the largest generation in the work force. “They have the most disposable income, live in urban areas, work crazy hours, and are looking for convenience.” Unwrinkly currently has a working prototype that has been tested with thirty people, and a mailing list of over 2000. Seth and his team have raised $150,000 but are looking for angel investors to meet their goal of $450,000. The team is planning to run a crowd-funding campaign in the summer and will start accepting pre-orders on its website soon after. Seth graduated from Georgia Tech in 2015. Previously he was the CTO for CoachCam, where he hired a team of five to build a smart basketball camera. Before CoachCam, he was a technical consultant for IBM. Raghava Tadavarthi, who emceed the proceedings, said the takeaway from the discussion was, “how to make it work.” “We encourage you to continue this journey with us to create economic ideas and collaboration, as we share the platform with entrepreneurs, startups and investors to create economic activity,” he said. HEFGA was set up with the mission to promote and encourage entrepreneurship and startups who can go on create and build the next FAANGs (Facebook, Amazons, Apple, Netflix, Google) in our community.


NRI Pulse

Modi Serves Akshaya Patra’s 3 Billionth Meal

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi commemorated The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s serving of cumulative 3 billion meals at an event held at the organization’s campus in Vrindavan, Mathura, on Feb. 11, 2019. The Prime Minister was joined by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Ram Naik, and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Akshaya Patra is the world’s first NGO-run school meal program to achieve the milestone of serving 3 Billion cumulative meals. It is a major milestone in the Foundation’s pursuit of the mission to serve meals to 5 million children every school day by 2025. With the support of the Government, donors, and all the other stakeholders, the organization is poised to realize its vision ‘nochildinIndiashall be deprived of education because ofhunger.’ In 2012, Akshaya Patra reached its first major milestone of serving 1 billion cumulative meals since the inception of the program in 2000. By 2016, the organization had already served a cumulative 2 billion meals. TPrime Minister Shri Narendra Modi began the ceremony by paying homage to Srila Prabhupada, the inspiration behind Akshaya Patra’s meal program. Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa welcomed and felicitated the dignitaries. An invocation was sung by Akshaya Patra beneficiaries from Vrindavan. It was followed by speeches by Yogi Adityanath, Mohandas Pai and Madhu Pandit Dasa. Modi unveiled the commemorative plaque to mark the serving of 3 Billionth meal by Akshaya Patra. He addressed the gathering and showed his support to the Foundation’s initiative by serving the ceremonial 3 Billionth meal. The Prime Minister, much to the delight of the children, even shared meals with them. Madhu Pandit Dasa expressed his delight over having reached this milestone and conveyed his gratitude to all the stakeholders, including the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), State Governments, corporates, donors, partners, and the community at large, for their continued support.

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

March 2019

Teen Awarded For Invention To Medha Narvekar Improve Brain Cancer Treatment Named UPenn VP

Washington: (IANS) An Indian-American teenager has been conferred with the 2019 National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education Award for her ground-breaking invention designed to improve treatments for glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain cancer. The $10,000 award given by STEM Education US, recognizes Kavya Kopparapu, 19, of Herndon, Virginia, as an “extraordinarily talented and accomplished” individual “who has meaningfully promoted STEM education”, The American Bazaar reported. A freshman at Harvard University studying computer science and biology, the budding scientist has invented GlioVision, a precision medicine platform powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) that predicts brain tumor characteristics in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods by using a scanned image of a biopsy rather than a DNA

sample. It is a major step to targeted treatment for patients with cancer which uses a deep learning computer system to determine the molecular and genetic signature of a brain tumor with 100 per cent accuracy. Kavya has been recognised for her commendable efforts to battle a rare but deadly disease, and to encourage others to pursue their expertise in STEM-related fields. Also a social entrepreneur, Kavya is the founder and CEO of Girls Computing League, a non-profit organisation which has raised over $100,000 for computer science programming that impacts more than 3,800 American students. An experienced speaker, she has delivered talks at the Smithsonian Institution, NASA Kennedy Space Centre, and participated in several AI conferences.

Atlanta, GA: Medha Narvekar has been named vice president and secretary of the University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1.Narvekar has worked in Penn’s Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) Office for 32 years, beginning shortly after she earned an M.B.A. from Penn’s Wharton School. Most recently, she has served as senior associate vice president of DAR, working closely with the president and many trustees. “Medha is both renowned and respected across Penn,” Penn President Amy Gutmann “Very few people know Penn as well or have worked so successfully with so many people across our University. Her extensive experience across all areas—including working directly with trustees, overseers, and Penn’s most generous donors— gives her a unique capacity to step into the important position of vice president and secretary.”

Mother Accused In Death Of Toddler Walks Free

Atlanta, GA: Mathews, the adoptive mother of three-year-old Indian girl Sherin Mathews who was found dead in a ditch in Texas in 2017, was released from jail recently after the child endangerment charges filed against her were dismissed due to insufficient evidence. The Dallas County District Attorney’s office said prosecutors could not make a case against Sini Mathews – but left open the possibility of refilling the charge, reported WFAA, an ABC-affiliated television station. “After extensive investigation it has been determined that the state cannot prove this matter beyond a reasonable doubt at this time,” read a motion filed by prosecutors and signed by state District Judge Amber Givens-Davis. Sini Mathews was released from jail on Friday afternoon while her husband, Wesley Mathews, still faces a capital murder charge in the child’s death. He has been indicted on charges of capital murder, injury to a child and tampering with evidence. The Richardson Police Department released a statement on the case recently. “The Richardson Police Department, with the assistance of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, conducted a thorough investigation of the Sherin Mathews case and developed sufficient probable cause to

obtain an arrest warrant for Sini Mathews,” the statement said. “The case was presented to and accepted by the District Attorney’s office. A Grand Jury subsequently heard the case and returned an indictment against Sini Mathews. Sini

Mathews has been incarcerated for over a year, during which time several bond reduction hearings were held, none of which were successful.” “While we are disappointed with this turn of events, we will continue to work with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to ensure justice is done,” the statement added. Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini adopted the girl in June 2016 from Bihar. Sherin Mathews disappeared on October 7, 2017, and her foster

father initially told the police that he had sent her out in the wee hours of the morning as punishment for not drinking her milk. On October 22, Sherin Mathews’ body was found in a culvert in Richardson under a road about one kilometre from her home in suburban Dallas. Wesley Mathews then admitted to the police that the child choked while he was making her drink milk and died in their home. He also said that the family had gone out to dinner and left Sherin behind, a day before she died. The man was later indicted for capital murder by a grand jury and for tampering with evidence. His wife Sini Mathews was charged with endangering a child. Dr Suzanne Dakil, a paediatrician and child abuse expert, had testified before a court earlier that the three-year-old had a series of broken bones and injuries and that the the pattern of injuries led her to believe that Sherin Mathews was abused on separate occasions. Talking to reporters after her release from the Dallas County Jail, Sini Mathews said she felt “blessed” to be released and that her time in jail was “challenging”. She said she “absolutely” loved Sherin. Wesley Mathews remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail. His trial is scheduled for May.

Man Who Pretended To Be Homeland Security Official Admits To Multi-Million Dollar Fraud

New York: (IANS) A 70-year-old man of Indian-descent, who pretended to be a US government official, has admitted to running a multi-million-dollar immigration fraud that duped over 100 people, according to federal prosecutors. Hardev Panesar admitted to the crimes in the San Diego Federal Court on Thursday and agreed to pay back $2.5 million to the victims, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Over a five-year period, he told numerous victims that he was an official of the Department

of Homeland Security and that he and his associates could get them and their families legal immigration status, according to the DOJ. Just before his trial was to begin, Panesar jumped bail and fled to Mexico last June and hid there till he was caught by Mexican authorities who deported him to the

US in August, the DOJ said. Cutting short the trial process, he made the admission of guilt before Federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, who is to sentence him in May. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. One his associates was sentenced to three years and ten months for his role in the

scheme. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is continuing its probe as the fraud could have begun earlier and is asking anyone who may be a victim to contact the agency. The DOJ said that Panesar showed victims fake government IDs and took their fingerprints. Taking fingerprints is a part of the immigration process and getting them would have made the scheme seem official. He often demanded more money to speed up what he said was the immigration process, the DOJ said.


NRI Pulse

Couple Found Dead In Murder-Suicide An Indian-American couple was found shot to death at their Sugar Land, Texas home in what police are investigating as a possible murder-suicide. Police said a disconnected 911 call led them to the couple’s home around 6 a.m., where they found 46-yearold Shanti Nakirekanti dead in the driveway with a gun-shot wound. Police then found 51-year-old Sreenivas Nakirekanti’s body in the bedroom, with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the chest and a small gun nearby. The deaths of Sreenivas and Shanti are being investigated as a murder-suicide. The couple’s 16-year-old daughter who was in the house when the shooting took place, was found unharmed. She is in the custody of friends. An aunt was expected to be arriving in Houston from out of state. Sreenivas sent an email to several of his friends at about the same time he called 911. The details of the email are not known at this time. People close to the couple said Sreenivas was a director at an energy company in Houston. Shanti was a computer programmer. The couple also has a 21-year-old son who attends the University of Texas.

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

Doctor And Hospital Owner Convicted In $20 Million Fraud

Atlanta, GA: A federal jury has convicted a 50-year-old internal medicine doctor and 47-yearold hospital owner of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 17 counts of health care fraud and three counts of money laundering. The jury

deliberated for less than four hours following a two-week trial before convicting Dr. Harcharan Narang and Dayakar Moparty. Narang, a doctor who owned and practiced at North Cypress Clinical Associates, and Dayakar Moparty, who managed and operated Red Oak Hospital, conspired to commit health care fraud, said a press statement issued by the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. During trial, the jury heard evidence that Narang and Moparty unlawfully enriched themselves by submitting false and fraudulent claims for medical tests that were not medically necessary, not provided or both and then billed at Red

Oak Hospital at a higher reimbursement rate. Additionally, Narang and his co-conspirators falsified home health patient assessment form documents to make the beneficiaries appear sicker on paper to receive higher reimbursement rates from health care benefit programs such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and Aetna. Moparty also instructed his employees to falsely bill the medical services at Red Oak Hospital and other entities associated with Moparty, when in fact, the patients never received services from Red Oak and the other entities, the statement said. At trial, patients consistently testified that they had merely but a Groupon for weight loss shots. However, after meeting with Narang, they all received the same battery of medical tests that were not needed or provided. Health care benefit programs paid Red Oak Hospital approximately $3.2 million. Moparty then covertly paid Narang approximately $3 million to various corporate entities Narang owned. Narang and MoParty’s co-conspirator, Dr. Gurnaib Sidhu, 67, of Houston, had previously pleaded to conspiracy to commit to health care fraud and is awaiting sentencing. Narang and Moparty face up 10 years in federal prison for each count of health care fraud and up to 20 years for each count of money laundering. Narang and Moparty were permitted to remain on bond with an ankle monitor pending their sentencing hearing, set for June 20, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake.

March 2019

Convenience Store Clerk Shot Dead

Hyderabad: (IANS) A man from Telangana was shot dead by unidentified persons in Pensacola, Florida. K. Goverdhan Reddy (50), who hailed from Yadadri Bhongir district of Telangana, was killed when unknown assailants opened fire at a convenience store where he worked. According to information reaching his family in Hyderabad, Reddy was killed when some armed men barged into the store and opened fire. The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday (local time). Another employee of the store was reported to have been injured in the attack. Reddy had gone to US seven years ago. He is survived by wife and two daughters. His family has appealed to the Government of India to arrange to bring his body home.


NRI Pulse

.....Tech Pulse .....

March 2019

Youtube Tightens Rules To Keep Sexual Predators Away From Minors

San Francisco: (IANS) In the face of allegations that YouTube is being used by paedophiles to target minors, the Google-owned video streaming platform said it is now disabling comments on videos featuring minors that could be at risk of attracting predatory behaviour. Due to the on-going paedophilia content controversy on YouTube, several international companies including Disney, Nestle and Fortnite maker Epic Games pulled out their advertisements from the platform this week. Many users also alleged that YouTube was being careless with monitoring content on its app. YouTube, however, claimed that it has been terminating accounts and channels over the past few weeks that have violated the platform's policies. "No form of content that endangers minors is acceptable on YouTube, which is why we have terminated certain channels that attempt to endanger children in any way," YouTube said in a blog post.

Hackers Earned $19 Mn In Bug Bounties

San Francisco: (IANS) Hacker-powered security platform HackerOne said its community earned $19 million (nearly Rs 135 crore) in bounties in 2018 and hackers from India and the US alone accounted for 30 per cent of the total community. The hacker community has doubled year over year and the bug bounty last year nearly matched the total bounties paid to hackers in the previous six years combined, the platform said in a statement. "While India, the US, Russia, Pakistan and Britain are the top locations where hackers reside, representing over 51 per cent of all hackers in the HackerOne community, six African countries had first-time hacker participation in 2018," HackerOne added. For helping organizations become more secure, top earners on HackerOne are making up to 40 times the median annual wage of a software engineer in their home countries, said the "2019 Hacker Report". "The perception of hackers is changing," Luke Tucker, Senior Director of Community and Content at HackerOne, said in a statement. "With the frequency of cyber attacks swelling to new highs, companies and government organizations are realizing that in order to protect themselves online, they need an army of highly skilled and creative individuals on their side -- hackers. As more organizations embrace the hacker community, the safer customers and citizens become," Tucker said.

"Over the past week, we disabled comments "A small number of creators will be able to from tens of millions of videos that could be sub- keep comments enabled on these types of vidject to predatory behavior," YouTube said, adding eos. These channels will be required to actively that over the next few months, it will be broad- moderate their comments, beyond just using our moderation tools and demonstrate a low risk of predatory behaviour. We will work with them directly," the company wrote. YouTube said it has a new comments classifier in place that is more sweeping in scope, and will detect and remove two times more individual comments. A study by the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute of the University of Toledo in Ohio, US recently showed that human traffickers are exploiting ening this action to suspend comments on videos social media platforms such as Facebook, Instafeaturing young minors. gram or SnapChat, as well as dating apps such as But the platform is not introducing a blanket Tinder, Blendr and Yellow to hunt for potential ban on comments for all videos featuring minors. underage victims.

Traffickers educate themselves by studying what the victim posts on these sites to build trust. The study, which was requested by the Ohio Attorney General's Human Trafficking Commission, revealed how traffickers quickly target and connect with vulnerable children on the Internet through social media. Grooming children for sex trafficking consists of convincing someone to send a risky picture and then using it to extort them. The traffickers use fear of repercussions as a way to compel the youth to move from a monitored page to a less monitored page by saying, "You don't want your parents to find out what we're talking about", the study suggested. With a global user-base of over 1.3 billion people, every eight out of ten 18-49 years old people watch YouTube. With the penetration of Internet and smartphones, users below 18 years of age today are also heavily exposed to the platform.

Apple To Empower Over 90,000 US Girls In Coding San Francisco: (IANS) In a bid to empower "Women have earned the opportunity to women coders and creators, Apple has partnered have our ideas shape the future. We're excited to with "Girls Who Code", a US-based non-profit organization, to create coding avenues for girls in the US. "Using the 'Everyone Can Code' curriculum, 90,000 girls and 'Girls Who Code' club facilitators in all 50 states can learn to use Apple's easy to learn programming language, Swift, (with which) hundreds of thousands of apps are built," the iPhone-maker announced in a blogpost. Headed by Reshma Saujani, an American lawyer of Indian origin, the "Girls Who Code" is working to close the gender employment difference in technology aiming to change the image of what a programmer looks like. The organization supports and encourages women participation in the field of technology support 'Girls Who Code' as they empower girls and computer science. to be the developers and tech innovators of to-

morrow," said Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Apple. As part of the program, visitors are allowed to attend over 60 sessions of the "Made By Women" series, led by artists, musicians, photographers, app developers, scientists and entrepreneurs. Marking the International Women's Day that falls on March 8, the App Store would daily highlight an app founded, developed or led by women. Apple Music would also feature visionary women in the music industry with highly-curated playlists and editorial packages.

Facebook, Telegram Working On Cryptocurrencies

New York: (IANS) More than 50 engineers at Facebook are reportedly busy giving shape to the social media giant's own cryptocurrency and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is quite bullish on the project. Not only Facebook, highly-encrypted mobile communications apps Telegram and Signal are also on the job to roll out new cryptocurrencies over the next year, The New York Times reported. "The most anticipated but secretive project is underway at Facebook. The company is working on a coin that users of WhatsApp, which Facebook owns, could send to friends and family instantly," said the report, citing people familiar with the project. Telegram, with an estimated 300 million users globally, is also working on a digital coin. "Signal has its own coin in the works. And so do the biggest messaging applications in South Korea and Japan, Kakao and Line,a the report

mentioned. With Facebook's plan to merge its three platforms -- Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram -

the digital currency would reach nearly "2.7 billion people who use one of the three apps each month". Last year, David Marcus, a long-time incharge of Facebook Messenger, said in a blog post that he is setting up a small group to explore

how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch. Facebook also promoted one of its senior engineers Evan Cheng as the Director of Engineering at its Blockchain division, signalling the importance of the project. According to Zuckerberg, the users may soon login to Facebook with Blockchain-based authentication. In a public interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain late last month, Zuckerberg said he is "potentially interested" in putting the Facebook login on the Blockchain technology. "I'm thinking about going back to decentralised or Blockchain authentication. Although I haven't figured out a way to make this work out but this is around authentication and basically granting access to your information and to different services," Zuckerberg told Zittrain. According to him, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps.


NRI Pulse

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

March 2019

How Climate Determines Consumption And Culture


Everyone knows that there are differences across cultures in our consumption of necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing. However, we don’t know why these differences persist despite

globalization. In a recent book I published, Genes, Climate and Consumption Culture: Connecting the Dots (Emerald Publishing), I document that consumption as well as cultural differences such as punctuality, planning, and uncertainty avoidance are due to the North-South climate differences ranging from the arctic to temperate to tropical climates. My interest in climate grew out of a research study we were doing for Coca Cola International. Coca Cola consumption varied enormously from country to country. It was as low as 64 bottles per year per capita in one country and as high as 400 bottles per year per capita in other countries. Given that this was an empirical observation, a largescale correlation analysis revealed that more than 95 percent of the differences in Cola consumption can be explained by two factors: climate of the country and age of the population. Warmer countries with young populations consumed more Coca Cola and vice-versa. The highest per capita consumption was in Mexico (400 bottles) and the lowest per capita consumption was in Sweden (64 bottles). Furthermore, the country’s climate was twice as important as the age of its inhabitants. Climate is the root cause of who we are genetically, how we behave culturally, and how we consume three basic necessities common to all civilizations: food, shelter, and clothing.

Climate and Consumption

The best way to illustrate consumption differences in food, shelter, and clothing is to contrast Northern and Southern Europe. In the North

ern Europeans prefer multiple layers and tight-fitting clothes to create insulation, but in warmer climates loose, single-layer, free-flowing garments that provide ventilation are more prevalent. Given that vegetation is not possible in Northern Europe, the preference is for pastel colors in clothes. On the other hand, warmer climates prefer a colorful display of clothing, as exemplified by Genes, Climate and Consumption Culture: Connecting Indian Saris, native the Dots (Emerald Publishing) by Dr. Jagdish N. Sheth is African garments, and colorful Paavailable for purchase on cific Island outabove the Alps, the source of protein, calories, fits. Finally, boots and fat is animal because of the lack of vegetation. are replaced with shoes, shoes are replaced with Therefore, the Northern European diet tends to be sandals, and sandals substitute for thongs when what we refer to as meat and potatoes. In contrast, migrating from the arctic to the temperate to the the Mediterranean cultures have more lentils, veg- tropical climates. etables, nuts and fruits in their diet because they The shelter differences are also due to clican grow them. The Northern European diet tends matic adaptions. Northern Europeans have mounto be less spicy, whereas tropical countries such as tains and forests; therefore, most construction India have an enormous variety of spices. In my raw materials are wood and stone. In tropical cliresearch on cheese consumption, I was surprised mates, the preference is for clay and bricks. Wood to discover that the fat content of cheese (Swiss) material is indeed undesirable in tropical climates in cold climates is very high (40 percent or more); due to termite and other insects. The roof design it drops to low-fat content (2 to 3 percent) in the in the North is typically “A” shaped to allow for Mediterranean temperate climate (feta and mozza- snow to roll off the roof, whereas it is usually a rella); and the concept of cheese is conspicuously flat roof with a gentle slope for rainwater to drain absent in tropical climates. For inhabitants of trop- in warmer climates. The outdoors and indoors are ical climates, saturated fat comes from olive oil, insulated in cold climates, and one often sees the coconut oil, and avocado, for example. presence of a foyer as transition space. In warmer Northern Europeans depend on animals for climates, indoor and outdoor boundaries are often clothing materials and, therefore, their preference blurred and indistinguishable. This type of housis for wool and leather. Whereas, warmer climate ing is best typified by Spanish or Greek villas. cultures have access to cotton and linen. North- High ceilings are most prevalent in hot and hu-

mid climates such as the deep South in the United States, to allow air to rise. Finally, color preferences are significantly different for homes in arctic, temperate, and tropical climates. Cultures also vary in punctuality, planning, and uncertainty avoidance. In general, Northern Europeans tend to be more punctual and time conscious while the Southern Europeans tend to be relatively relaxed. This is because in Northern Europe, weather is harsh and unpredictable. If you do not plant and harvest in time, you starve for the whole year. In warmer climates, weather is the same from one day to another and it is more predictable, and therefore survival is less dependent on unpredictable weather. In tropical climates, such as Mexico and India, time is not as important as the occasion. Northerners also like to avoid uncertainty and believe in risk management; therefore, insurance appeals to them. They also tend to plan ahead, whether it is annual budget or long-term planning. Planning for the future is generally less prevalent among the temperate or tropical cultures. Living in the moment appeals to them more. Today’s Asian kids are just like their cousins in the West and now we are experiencing the Easternization of the world, starting with popularity of yoga and meditation in the West to fusion in dance, cuisines, and music. “Slum Dog Millionaire” movie was a great reflection of this fusion. What matters instead is to look at the NorthSouth differences in our food, clothing, and preferences. This explains consumption and cultural differences between the North Indians and the South Indians as it explains differences between the Northern Italians and the Southern Italians.

*Jagdish N Sheth, Ph.D. in Behavioral Science from University of Pittsburgh, is the Charles H Kellstadt Professor of Business at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He has published more than 300 research papers and authored more than 20 books in consumer behavior, globalization, marketing strategy, and relationship marketing.

Shortage Of Skilled IT Workforce Looms Over India: Nasscom

As the demand for disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics grows, shortage of a skilled IT workforce to run them is posing a challenge to the stake-holders, Nasscom, the industry's apex body, has said. "There is an urgent need to re-skill about 50 per cent of India's IT workforce, as demand for it in new technologies remains unmet," Nasscom's IT-ITeS (IT enabled Services) Sector Skills Council chief executive Amit Aggarwal told IANS. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) is the apex body representing the country's IT and business process management (BPM) industry. The demand-supply gap for skills affected the industry's performance in 2018, due to shortage of 140,000 skilled techies for 500,000 jobs in the industry across verticals. "Going forward, the industry will face a shortage of 230,000 skilled techies as jobs in

AI and Big Data are estimated to be 780,000 by 2021," Aggarwal pointed out. In a report titled 'The Future of Jobs 2018', the World Economic Forum (WEF) said around 54 per cent of the global workforce had to be reskilled or up-skilled to work in disruptive and digital technologies spawning the virtual world. AI, big data analytics and cloud computing will

dominate businesses across verticals till 2022, changing job profiles for geeks, while legacy jobs will vanish, the report said. Admitting that the multi-billion-dollar IT industry had a vital role in creating jobs as well as in churning out the required skilled workforce, Aggarwal said India was well-positioned to bridge the demand-supply gap, as it had a wealth of talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). "Adoption of new technologies will change the profile of present jobs, which will evolve into higher domains with more automation that pose challenges to the $167 billion Indian IT services industry," Aggarwal asserted. One of the challenges is to identify the nature of jobs in future and re-skill the present workforce for the transition to digital work. As the industry adopts to new technologies

spanning AI, machine learning (ML), data analytics, automation, robotics, blockchain, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), companies with legacy systems and obsolete workforce face challenges to survive the disruption. The apex body's 'Future Skills' digital platform, unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2018, has identified 10 key technologies in which maximum job creation can occur in the IT and IT-enabled Services sectors. The digital portal makes resources available for techies to hone their skills. According to the platform, technologies which will create new jobs include AI, cyber security, IoT, virtual reality, robotic process automation, big data analytics, blockchain, three-dimension (3-D) printing, cloud computing and social and mobile. "About 70 job roles were identified across 10 technologies that will require the future workforce to have about 150 varied skills," Aggarwal said.


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NRI Pulse


We (Kapil Gupta & Swati Gupta) have changed our minor son's name from Parth Gupta to Paarth Gupta.

To advertise in our Classifieds section, call 404-664-2805!

Saffron A Promising Herbal Medicine For Treating ADHD: Study Saffron could be a promising herbal alternative for treating children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), finds a pilot study. ADHD is one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders of childhood and adolescence. The study, from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, showed that saffron, which

has anti-depressant and memory-enhancing properties, can be as effective at controlling symptoms as methylphenidate, the commonly prescribed drug Ritalin for treating ADHD. Saffron, known as a spice and nutritional supplement in traditional medicine, could be particularly effective for the 30 per cent of patients who do not respond to or cannot tolerate stimu-

lants like methylphenidate, which causes side effects like nausea, stomach pain, decreased appe-

Tips For High School Students To Make Summer Productive


Summer might seem far away, but many of the most competitive summer camps and programs have already opened their applications. For students planning on applying to top universities, filling their summers with productive activities is a great way to stand out. Some programs accept just a handful of students a year, so to get in, you have to have a stellar transcript, extracurricular activities that display leadership and growth, and an excellent essay.

that frames your perspective and relates to your chosen discipline. Include personal examples to help the committee get to know you better.

Summer Camps and Programs local to Georgia

Summer Academy at University of Georgia UGA offers a series of specialty summer camps for middle school and high school students. They offer a wide variety of topics including arts, animation, architecture & design, Tips On Applying To Summer Programs engineering, coding, medicine, 1. Do Your Research EDUCATION robotics, video game design, and If you haven’t figured out what more. Registration for the summer camps opened February 6, 2019. CEISMC Summer Programs for Enrichment and Accelerated Knowledge in STEM (PEAKS) at Georgia Tech PEAKS provides a hands-on interactive learning opportunity to learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) concepts for students in 4th-12th grade. The application for the program will open in early spring.

Saffron, which has anti-depressant and memory-enhancing properties, can be as effective at controlling symptoms as methylphenidate, the commonly prescribed drug Ritalin for treating ADHD. tite, insomnia, and headache. For the study, researchers included 54 ADHD patients aged six to 17 years and compared the effects of saffron or methylphenidate over a sixweek period. The patients were randomly assigned to receive either 20-30 mg/d methylphenidate or 20-30 mg/d saffron capsules depending on weight. The findings, published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, showed no significant difference in effectiveness. Previous studies have shown that one-toone support and a focus on self-regulation may improve academic outcomes of children with ADHD. In addition, a computerized test of attention and activity to standard care can reduce the time needed to make a diagnostic decision on the disorder.

March 2019

you are going to do this summer, now is the time to get started. Many of the summer camps have applications that opened in early winter. Find a program that fits your future career goals and make sure that you fit the minimum requirements. 2. Choose Your References Carefully and Early You often will need a letter of recommendation from one or two people. Consider who you can choose and ask them early, well in advance of the application deadline. You want them to be able to write a personalized letter that helps to recommend you to the program.

Pre-College Program at Emory College Emory offers a summer academic program for high school students that helps them see how life at a university will be. Students can take two-week long courses not for college credit in a variety of subjects including psychology, biology, economics, marketing, writing, and more. Students can also take a six-week long course and earn college credit. The application is now open, and deadlines for the sessions begin May 31. Summer At Agnes Agnes Scott College, an all women’s college and member of the CTCL (Colleges that Change Lives), offers summer camps for talented students. They offer a variety of camps such as writing, STEM, robotics, and foreign languages. The camps aim to encourage team building and problem-solving in a fun way that challenges children of all ages. Registration for these courses is now open.

About the author: Kristen Moon is an independent college counselor and 3. Tell A Compelling Story founder of Moon Prep You can use your essay as a chance to provides one-on-one coaching services come alive and bring your entire application together. Try to brainstorm a personal experience catered to university admissions.


NRI Pulse

..... Books.....

March 2019

Review Of Hindi Poet Bikash Kumar’s ‘Pratibha Ka Vikas’


Many people in the community know Bikash Kumar as a conscientious, compassionate and focused bureaucrat in the Consulate General of India in Atlanta, who also writes poetry. Kumar has taken his poetry writing skills to the next step with his just published first book, ‘Pratibha ka Vikas’, a collection of more than fifty poems, on varied topics. Initially only 200 copies of ‘Pratibha ka Vikas’ have been printed. His prize-winning poem “Genda aur Gulab” is included in his book. A few poems “Samosa”, “Sone ke Daant” (Teeth of Gold’),’’ “Vartalaap” (Conversation) and “Samman” (Respect) are amusing. In the poem “Jeevan ki sikh”(Counsel for living), a tiny twinkling star advises the moon not to be proud of its shape and size, to be humble and learn to light up the dark night together with it. In the poem “Make in India,” he calls on the nation to work together to end poverty, provide jobs and skills training for the young generation, help farmers, help in fulfilling the ‘Swatchh Bharat’campaign and help India attain progress at a rapid pace. He applauds the ‘Notebandi’ measure initiated to uproot black money, corruption and terrorism. In his poem “Aarakshan” (Reservation), he says God has made all equal and it is high time to get rid of class and communal divide, sectari-

an dogmas, untouchability, discrimination of any kind and end reservation. In his poem, “Rishte” (Relationships) he pleads to the neighboring country to shun terror and extend hand of friendship. In “Maa”, ”Maa ko naman” and “Buzurg” (Respected elders) he pays tribute to the love and sacrifices of his own mother as well as all mothers and venerable elders. The poem “Dahej” (Dowry) deals with the social evil of dowry. The poet implores all to end this practice which results in gender inequality, domestic violence, financial burden on girl’s parents, etc. Kumar uses simple but effective words to convey his thoughts and feelings. He is a keen

observer of nature and life around him. His poems reflect self-introspection, self-discovery, optimism, hope, inspiration, motivation and patriotism. Kumar was born in 1982 in Bihar to a government office. He is married and has two children. He earned an Economics Honors degree from Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribag, Jharkhand. After graduation, he worked for Indian Railways from 2007 to 2012. His former boss Santosh Kumar Jha in the Indian Railways motivated him to write poetry. He wrote his first poem Genda aur Gulab (Marigold and Rose), which won third prize in a Hindi diwas competition organized at

the Western Railway Headquarters, Church Gate, Mumbai. After being selected in the Indian Foreign Service group B in 2012, he joined the Ministry of External Affairs Headquarters, New Delhi and was assigned to the highest office of External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna and later also worked under Salman Khurshid. In April 2013, he was posted to the Embassy of India Tripoli, Libya, which was going through a critical period after the assassination of Gaddafi. After completion of his tenure in Libya, he was transferred to the Indian Consulate in Atlanta in September 2015. His hobbies are playing cricket and listening to music but he enjoys reading (Hindi/ English) and writing Hindi poetry the most. His mother Pratima Sinha’s blessings have inspired him most to write poetry. He is an admirer of the iconic Hindi poet, author and essayist, Munshi Prem Chand. Bikash Kumar is well versed in Hindi, Bhojpuri and English. “My future goal is to be a good writer and with God’s blessings, a noted Hindi poet,” he says. This debut book of deeply moving, thoughtful,and engaging poems is a must read for all, especially the younger generation. For a copy of this book, please contact Bikash Kumar at (678)717-9393.


NRI Pulse

Vicky Kaushal Likes Complicated Roles

Mumbai: (IANS) Actor Vicky Kaushal, who has been on a roll in the Hindi film industry, says that in real life he is quite a "safe" person but he doesn't mind experimenting with the roles he takes on-screen. "I'm a safe person. I'm that guy who has a favorite ice cream flavor, who'll go to the same ice cream parlor and order that one flavor he likes. When it comes to fashion, I'm more of a solids and stripes guy. "If I even feel like experimenting, it will be with shoes or sunglasses - I'm a sucker for white sneakers. With my roles, though, I'm experimental: I don't like simple things, steady things, easy things. I want to make it complicated. I want layers, I want colors, I want shades," Vicky said in an interview for GQ India's March 2019 issue. "The key is to be open, to be like a magnet. But it's important to know what you want to attract. For me, it's good scripts. The day I limit myself, thinking that I want to do only a certain genre, a certain kind of film, I'll be making things difficult for myself," Vicky said. His process of approaching characters is also nuanced. "Living in the moment is important. Also, observing people. No experience goes to waste as an actor.�

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

March 2019

Patriotic Films On A New 'High' In Bollywood

New Delhi: (IANS) The 'josh' for patriotic films is 'high' in Bollywood. After the success of "Uri: The Surgical Strike", Hindi movie buffs can gear up to watch "Kesari", "Major", "RAW", "Batla House", "Panipat", "Saare Jahaan Se Accha", "Mission Mangal", "'83" and a biopic on Kargil war hero Vikram Batra, among others. Amid the escalating tension between India and Pakistan, netizens turned to past and recent patriotic films to dig out memorable dialogues, the most recent being from "Uri: The Surgical Strike", based on the surgical strikes that India conducted on terror camps in Pakistan in 2016. The Indian Air Force's air strike on terror camps in Pakistan, which was in retaliation to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, led to social media speculations that a "Surgical Strike 2" could be made. From wars to fighting social evils and telling heroic tales of sportsperson -- various shades of patriotism have been depicted on the big screen through a stream of films in recent times. The narrative shall continue through 2019 and beyond. "D-Day", "Baby" and "Phantom" are some films that have brought alive stories of counter-terrorism operations, mostly inspired by real life. And these have found a resonance with the audience. As the treatment and subjects around patriotic films evolve, there is a greater influx of stories themed on combating terrorism, celebrating the country's glorious achievements and talking about social issues. Army-based films like "Border", "LOC Kargil", "Lakshya" and "1971" have been celebrated

Stop Asking Actresses When They Are Making A Comeback: Madhuri New Delhi: (IANS) Actress Madhuri Dixit break from movies to devote time to her personal life. Nene is looking forward to a time when actresses, She said: "I have been asked about my comepost marriage or pregnancy, are not asked about back so many times... I didn't work for years and when they would make a "comeback" to films. there was one mandatory comeback question always asked to me. "I don't know what to say about it, but now I hope this thing will change in future and there will be no more 'comeback' questions being imposed to working women." Madhuri has just featured in the comedy entertainer "Total Dhamaal". Taking a break was very much a conscious decision for her. "It was not that I took a complete break from the industry or was not associated with the industry... I was just not doing films for sometime. I was not really away from the industry for a long "When a hero is away from a screen for a long time. People just have a perception that I took a long time, no one asks him when he would be making a break. comeback, but actresses have to face this question, "I wanted to enjoy new phases of my life. I 'When are you coming back in films?' every single time. wanted to have kids, and apart from work, I have "If actresses are not doing films for sometime, had other dreams for myself which I wanted to fulit's their personal choice. Don't constantly ask them fill. I love my sons and I wanted to spend good qualabout their return to showbiz or films. Like other ity time with them during their initial years. So after people, our priorities also differ from time to time," giving birth to my sons, I didn't do films," she added. Madhuri told IANS here. Having started her career in Bollywood with Be it during the time of her marriage with Shri- film "Abodh" in 1984, the "Dhak dhak" girl owns a ram Madhav Nene in 1999 or after the birth of her huge body of work despite her sporadic appearancsons Arin (2003) and Raayan (2005), Madhuri took a es on-screen post-2000.

in the past. This March 21, the audience can look forward to "Kesari", on the 1897 Battle of Saragarhi in which 21 Sikhs of the 36th Sikh Regiment (now the 4th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment) of British India, defended an army post against more

than 10,000 Afghan and Orakzai tribesmen. Even "Lagaan" and "Swades" director Ashutosh Gowariker is looking forward to evoking the patriotic fervour again with "Panipat" on the battle of Panipat. There will also be a yet untitled biopic on Kargil war hero Vikram Batra. It will front actor Sidharth Malhotra. A newly announced project is "Major", on the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a National Security Guards (NSG) commando who lost his life while fighting terrorists at the Taj Ma-

hal Hotel in Mumbai in 2008. Actor-producer John Abraham, who has already trodden the path of patriotic films with titles like "Madras Cafe", "Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran" and "Satyamev Jayate", is set to pack a punch with "Romeo Akbar Walter" and "Batla House" -- both films inspired by real life events. John had earlier told IANS the intent of his films is when the audience walks out of the theatre they should get the feeling: "'Wow, I am proud to be an Indian‌ This is cool that India did this. I didn't know this'." Women-led films like "Neerja", "Raazi" and "Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi" have held the flag of patriotism high as well in recent times, as has an actor like Akshay Kumar who has lent a new meaning to 'patriotic cinema' by dabbling in films like "Rustom", "Baby", "Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty", "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha", "PadMan", "Gold" and will next be seen in "Kesari" and in space drama "Mission Mangal". There are heroic stories from the sports field too. "'83", starred by Ranveer Singh, will narrate India's historic victory in the 1983 Cricket World Cup. A film on badminton star Saina Nehwal is in the works.

Jonas Brothers Reunite, Priyanka Stars In Video

Los Angeles: (IANS) The Jonas Brothers have reunited for a single titled "Sucker" after a gap of six years. Its video features Nick Jonas' actress wife Priyanka Chopra too. Excited about having worked on a video of her husband and brothers-in-law's song, Priyanka says it was fun working with them. "This is the first time we've worked together but not for a moment did it feel like work. Such a fun family affair... Proud of you husband," Priyanka tweeted while unveiling the song among netizens. The video also stars Kevin Jonas' spouse

Danielle and Joe Jonas' fiancee and "Game of Thrones" fame actress Sophie Turner. Priyanka added: "Such a fun family affair... Jonas Brothers and the J sisters cheering each other on." Nick also took to Twitter to announe the band's come-

back. He said: "'Sucker' video is officially out! We really had the best time shooting this video in England with our family. Hope you guys love it. Feels good to be back." Nick also complimented Priyanka saying she looks "so beautiful in this video". Jonas Brothers' band was formed in 2005. The band has created hits like "Burnin' up", "Hold on" and "Fly with me". The Jonas Brothers split up in 2013.


NRI Pulse

New Treatment Offers Promise For Reversing Parkinson's

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

March 2019

Today's Earphone Users Could Be Tomorrow's Hearing Aid Users: Experts

Kolkata: (IANS) Experts have urged everyone to get themselves checked to prevent unsafe listening practices, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating a rising trend of hearing impairment across the globe. "Earlobes have two important functions - localization of sound and reflecting the unwanted sound. Using earphones, one bypasses them. We think we are hearing very well, but today's earphone users are going to be tomorrow's hearing aid users," said Sudipta Chandra, ENT, head and neck cancer specialist. However, there is no significant study that can provide a fixed duration of hours of earphone usage that is safe. Using headphone and portable speakers are fine if the volume is below 85 decibels. London: (IANS) An experimental treatment As per a WHO estimate, there were 466 that delivers a drug directly to the brain has shown million persons in the world with hearing loss in promise for slowing, stopping, or even reversing 2018 and the figure is likely to increase to 630 Parkinson's disease, say researchers. million by 2030. Also, 1.1 billion young people The study, by a team led by University of are at risk due to unsafe listening practices. Bristol researchers, in a clinical trial investigat"This year's theme of World Hearing Day ed whether the treatment called Glial Cell Line Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) -- a natural protein, found in the brain -- can regenerate dying dopamine brain cells in patients with Parkinson's and reverse their condition, something no existing treatment can do. The results potentially demonstrated that New York: (IANS) Despite the addition of the new treatment was starting to reawaken and healthy foods such as salads and sprouts to the restore damaged brain cells and that repeated menu, fast food is less healthy today than it was brain infusion is clinically feasible and tolera- 30 years ago, and is increasingly contributing to ble, according in the Journal of Parkinson's Dis- obesity, say researchers. ease. The study, led by Boston University, demonThe study "represents some of the most strates that the calories, portion sizes, and sodium compelling evidence yet that we may have a content overall have worsened (increased) over means to possibly reawaken and restore the dopamine brain cells that are gradually destroyed in Parkinson's", said principal investigator Alan L. Whone, from the University of Bristol in the UK. After an initial safety study of six people, 35 individuals were enrolled in the nine-month double blind trial, in which half were randomly assigned to receive monthly infusions of GDNF and the other half placebo infusions. All participants underwent robot-assisted surgery to have four tubes placed into their brains, which allowed GDNF or placebo to be infused directly to the affected areas with pinpoint accuracy, via a port in their head. After implantation the team administered, more than 1,000 brain infusions, once every four weeks. After nine months, there was no change in time and remain high. the PET scans of those who received placebo. On "Given the popularity of fast food, our the other hand, the group who received GDNF study highlights one of the changes in our food showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key environment that is likely part of the reason for area of the brain affected in the condition. the increase in obesity and related chronic con"This trial has shown that we can safely and ditions over the past several decades, which are repeatedly infuse drugs directly into patients' now among the main causes of death," said lead brains over months or years," said Steven Gill, investigator Megan A. McCrory, from the varlead neurosurgeon at North Bristol NHS Trust, sity. Bristol, UK "Our study offers some insights on how fast "This is a significant breakthrough in our food may be helping to fuel the continuing probability to treat neurological conditions, such as lem of obesity and related chronic conditions," Parkinson's, because most drugs that might work McCrory added. cannot cross from the blood stream into the brain For the study, published in the Journal of the due to a natural protective barrier." Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the team ex-

is 'check your hearing'. People should act immediately as loss of hearing is preventable, curable and treatable," another ENT specialist M.N. Bhattacharya said He explained that getting an early screening

ing Screening is mandatory and it is slowly catching up in the country," Bhattacharya said. Oto Acoustic Emissions (OAE) and brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA) are the two tests that can evaluate hearing. These are painless methods and the cost charged by a private hospital here is around Rs 1,600. Another ENT specialist, Aniruddha Majumder, explained that deafness or low hearing is either by birth or acquired. The three stages of the problem range from mild, moderate to severe loss of hearing. It is important to act at the slightest of signs where a person needs to increase the volume, missing parts of conversations. Proper immunization of pregnant women and newborn babies will also prevent infections like meningitis can prevent hearing loss. and measles that can impair hearing, he said. By curable, Bhattacharya meant that the WHO has launched a free mobile applicaperson can hear normally after a small operation tion 'hearWHO' compatible on iOS and Android or through medication. The problem can also be devices. This app gives the general public access treated using a hearing aid. to a hearing screener to check their hearing status "In the developed countries Newborn Hear- and monitor it over time.

Fast Foods Less Healthy Now Than 30 Years Ago, Says Study

amined changes offered by 10 of the top fast-food restaurants over the 30-year period from 1986 to 2016. They found that the total number of starters, desserts and side dishes increased by 226 per cent, or 22.9 items per year. Calories in all three categories increased significantly, with the largest increases in desserts (62 kcals per decade), followed by starters (30 kcals per decade). These increases were mainly due to the increase in portion size, which was statistically significant in entrees (13 grams per decade) and desserts (24 grams per decade) categories. Sodium also increased significantly in all menu categories, while iron levels increased significantly in desserts. Changes in calcium and iron levels, particularly in desserts, is a positive development since these nutrients are important for good bone mass and preventing anaemia. There are, however, better sources (foods) that do not come with high calories and sodium, the researchers said. "We need to find better ways to help people consume fewer calories and sodium at fast food restaurants. The requirement that chain restaurants display calories on their menus is a start," McCrory said.

Learn How To Promote Positive Body Image

London: (IANS) Making people more aware of their own internal body signals, such as heartbeat or breathing rate, could promote a positive body image, says a new study. The findings, published in the journal Body Image, suggests that awareness of internal body signals can affect the way we see ourselves. "Our research finds associations between the awareness of internal body signals and measures of body image. This could have implications for promoting positive body image, for example modifying interoceptive awareness through mindfulness-based practices," said lead author Jennifer Todd. For the study, the researchers recruited a sample of 646 adults and found that there were statistically significant relationships between people's interoceptive awareness -- the extent to which people are aware of internal signals given out by the body such as heartbeat or feelings of discomfort or hunger -- and body image. The study, which included both men and women aged between 18 and 76, found that people who can sustain attention towards their internal body signals tended to report higher levels of positive body image. The researchers also found that people who trust their internal body signals are more likely to hold a positive view of their own body, and be less preoccupied with being overweight.


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..... What’s Cooking? ..... Key Lime Pickle

the limes along with juice in the oven with light on for a day. Keep the oven door open a little to have air circulation. Turn the limes twice. By this process limes will lose their bitterness and moisture. If the oven door is closed, the moisture will make the limes soft and the pickle will be spoiled after a while. It is very important to keep the oven door open slightly. Cool the lime pickle completely before storWash limes and dry them thoroughly with a ing. Keep the pickle in a glass jar with plastic lid. paper towel or clean cloth. Slit all the limes from Taste improves when the pickle gets older. Tastes bottom side four ways, keeping the stem side in- good with rice and ghee or with dal curries as a side dish. tact. Mix red pepper, ½ cup salt, and hing. Stuff the limes inside the cuts very tightly with the red pepper mixture. Pour the lemon juice into a 10x10 inch or 9x13 inch glass dish. Place all the stuffed limes, cut side up in the juice. Cover the bowl with a glass or plastic lid. After two days rotate the limes on their sides. For the next eight days soak the limes in the juice. Spoon the juice over the limes once in a while to keep the limes’ moisture on all sides. Do not use any wet spoons when mixing. After eight days, place 40 key limes 3/4 cup ground red pepper ½ cup salt ½ teaspoon hing (asafetida) P.S. LAKSHMI RAO 2 cups fresh or bottled lime juice (or one cup fresh and one cup bottled juice) mixed with 1 tablespoon salt

Dry Roasted Chana Dry roasted chana, a nutrition powerhouse, delivers a lot of fiber that helps regulate our blood sugar and is also loaded with nutrients that help save us from seasonal disorders by boosting our immunity. You can find packaged chana at your local Indian store. Or you can make them yourself,

spicing them up however you like! There are two ways to do it yourself. 1. Soak dry chana for 6 hours or overnight. Then boil them for 15 minutes or until they are tender but do not burst from their skin. Drain fully and dry with a clean towel.

March 2019 2. Or you can use canned chana that have already been boiled. Drain fully and dry with a clean towel. Once you have your cooked chana, heat your oven to 400F. Roast the chana for 20 minutes, mixing them around halfway through. Take them out and cool them completely. Then re-bake them at 400F for 10-15 minutes, tossing frequently, until the chana is crunchy and golden. Cool them completely before storing them. Variation: For a great variation, you can add a bit of oil to the chana before you roast them. Sprinkling them with any number of spices after they emerge from the oven (if your spices are raw, you can add them to the peas before they bake). A combination of salt, chili powder and turmeric would be great, squeezing fresh lime juice on them upon serving. Or you could use salt and chaat masala.

..... InVogue .....

Celebrating 100 Years Of Khadi Fashion designers such as Rohit Bal, Rajesh ed the centennial of Khadi and presented the fabPratap Singh and Rina Dhaka along with Bollywood ric as a style statement on the runway in India. actors Arjun Rampal and Aditi Rao Hydari celebratFicci Ladies Organisation (FLO) along with All India Women's Education Fund Association (AIWEFA) organized an event called "Khadi Goes Global" at The National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum here. Kashmir born designer Rohit Bal showcased a pastel collection, which included sarees and lehengas made from Khadi. Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal, who looked dapper in a black sherwani with an embroidered shawl, walked the runway as his showstopper. Bal described Khadi as the "fabric of the soul." "It's the national fabric of our country. It stands for freedom, independence and self discovery. It's the fabric of now, before and the future," Bal told IANS. Next on the runway was Rina Dhaka, who not only showcased a collection made out of Khadi, but also paid a tribute to the martyrs of the Pulwama attack, which took place on February 14. Her white and beige collection had "Jai Jawaan" written on them. An emotional Dhaka said: "The message is my way of expressing the current scene... For me it is very important. In my way I am also trying to tell with this story my message to have gratitude

for our soldiers." The show honored promoters and producers Asked about Khadi and its popularity, the of Khadi such as Bal, Pratap Singh, Chaman Siju designer told IANS: "Khadi is the fabric of a jour- and Rta Kapoor Chishti, among others. ney. It is a warp and weft of one else has the Khadi story, only we have it." Rajesh Pratap Singh was up next. He presented a wide array of dhotis, pants, shirts and sherwanis in plain white. Bollywood actress Aditi Rao Hydari concluded the show as she sauntered the runway in a white and gold lehenga for the label Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. FLO President Pinky Reddy talked to IANS about the importance of Khadi, which is also called the fabric of freedom. "Our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has done a lot for Khadi and I feel we have to encourage what was started by Gandhiji. Khadi has become an international name and we should not forget it," Reddy said.


NRI Pulse

March 2019


NRI Pulse

March 2019

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NRI Pulse March 2019 Print Issue  

NRI Pulse March 2019 Print Issue  

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