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NRI Pulse

November 2019

Atlanta’s Premier South Asian Newspaper November 2019

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November 2019


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NRI Pulse

November 2019

Atlanta’s Premier South Asian Newspaper November 2019

Dilip Tunki & Brian Weaver Headed For Run-off In JC

Atlanta, GA: The keenly watched election to Johns Creek City Council Post 2, with Indian-American Dilip Tunki in the fray, is headed for a run-off on December 3. Tunki, who garnered 2160 (30.38%) votes, will face Brian Weaver who got 3253 (45.76%) votes. The third candidate, Royce Reinecke, received 1,696 (23.86%) votes. “I am immensely grateful to each and every one of you, who so generously contributed your valuable time and effort for the campaign during last two months,” Tunki said in a statement, after the results were declared. “Now that we are in the runoff, need your support for another four weeks to get through the finish line on December 3!” The Johns Creek City Council elections were for the council seats of Post 2, Post 4, and Post 6. None of the candidates in these races secured 50%+1 votes to avoid the runoff. Tunki, a resident of Johns Creek area for the past 19 years, has over 25 years of business experience with engineering and management educational background. He is also a real estate investor. Brian Weaver recently retired from the Johns Creek Police Department.

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India-born, Georgia-bred Ghazala Hashmi Is First Muslim Woman Elected To VA Senate

BY VEENA RAO

Atlanta, GA: India-born, Georgia-bred Ghazala Hashmi created history becoming the first Muslim woman elected to the Virginia state senate. A first time candidate, Hashmi defeated Republican Sen. Glen Sturtevant yesterday in a key win for Democrats. “This victory, is not mine alone. It belongs to all of you who believed that we needed to make progressive change here in Virginia, for all of you who felt that you haven’t had a voice and believed in me to be yours in the General Assembly,” Hashmi tweeted after her win. “After flipping the Senate, I’ll have Democrats by my side to fight to protect Virginians from the climate crisis and senseless gun violence, and work to expand our access to affordable health care and funding for public educa-

tion. I can’t wait to work together in the state Senate,” she added. Democrats wrested full control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in over twenty years. Hashmi had received the endorsement of former

president Barack Obama. Hashmi was born in Hyderabad, India and moved to the U.S. as a young girl with her family fifty years ago, says her bio on her website. She was raised in a small town in Georgia and “saw firsthand how community-building and open dialogue can bridge cultural and socioeconomic divisions, uniting people from all walks of life”. Ghazala earned a BA in English from Georgia Southern University and a Ph.D. from Emory University. Ghazala and her husband Azhar moved to the Richmond area in 1991, and Ghazala has spent the past 25 years as a leading educator in Virginia’s college and university system. She and Azhar have two daughters. Hashmi campaigned on the issues of education, gun violence prevention, and health care.

Gang Leader Sentenced For Indian Home Invasions

Atlanta, GA: A Texas woman was sentenced to 37 years in prison for her role as the leader of several robbery crews that conducted armed home invasions of families of Indian and Asian descent in several Atlanta suburbs and other states across the US. Chaka Castro, 44, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced after a five-week trial, and convicted of one count of RICO conspiracy, four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and four counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. According to evidence presented at trial, from 2011 to 2014, Castro and her robbery crews

committed a string of home invasions in Georgia, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Texas. The leader of the robbery crews was Castro, who would generate lists of robbery targets in various states around the county, specifically families of Asian and Indian ancestry, and then assign crews to carry out the armed robberies of these families within their homes. Once Castro assigned a crew to a particular area,

members of the group would travel to that location, conduct surveillance and execute the robberies. The crews utilized a particular modus operandi in each of the robberies. They disguised their appearance with clothing and bandanas so that victims of their robberies would have difficulty identifying them. They would openly carry and brandish firearms to gain control of the victims and then immediately corral the victims, including children, into one location in the home. At least one robber would then restrain the victims with duct tape and threats of violence, as another partner would ransack the home.

Consulate Briefs Media About Steps Taken For Normalcy In Kashmir

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA: The office of Consul General of India, Atlanta hosted a media briefing on October 17, 2019 at the India House to provide updated information about the state of affairs in Kashmir post the abrogation of article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution. The briefing stressed upon various issues in the area including separatism/terrorism, and the region having remained away from development processes with only limited improvement despite having received 10% of Central grants amounting to USD 40 billion for 1% of population of India,

in the past 15 years. Underlining the fact that a reorganization of this kind was one among 12states of India, the briefing focused on the fact that a single constitution for the country benefits everyone. The reorg is aimed to improve governance and benefit to the disadvantaged sections in J &K, who could not previously avail of these benefits. Accentuating that not a single bullet had been fired so far, the briefing lauded people of J&K for helping in maintaining peace and public order. Addressing the current status, the briefing said public transport and inter-district transport had started functioning, government offices have

been made fully functional since 16th August, all schools and colleges are operational and functioning smoothly, banking and ATM facilities are operating normally, all post-paid mobile phones have been restored since October 14, mainstream newspapers, satellite channels and cable TV networks are operational, travel advisory to tourist has been lifted, pilgrims going on and returning from Haj are specifically facilitated, cultural and sporting activities such as Naropa Festival, cricket tournament continue to thrive without any threat, and, elections to 310 of the 316 Block Development councils are to be held on October 24. The briefing included various government plans to boost economy. Developmental initiatives,

among others include filling up 50,000 job vacancies, and the National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) being set to procure 60% of apples grown in Kashmir directly from farmers by December 15. The state of Maharashtra is the first buy land since the abrogation. PM Modi has addressed that the people would have the opportunity to elect their representatives as soon as normalcy is restored. The Supreme Court of India has observed that the Government needs to be given more time in its sincere efforts to bring normalcy in the area, stated the briefing.


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Over 4000 People Celebrate United Diwali Fest

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

“We have more than 80 Indian-American associations participating, with well over a dozen dignitaries Atlanta, GA: Pouring rain and Diwali festivities and over 3000 people. We expect to have more and at home notwithstanding, nearly 4000 people gathmore each year,” said Dr. Vasudev Patel, organizing ered together at the Infinite Energy Center on Octo-

Mahesh Pawar, Anand Rathi, Amit Arora, Rajiv Menon, Navin Patel, Rina Gupta, Chand Akkineni, Raj Patel, Mayank Shah, Kaushal Tripathi, Ravi Chander. Marketing Committee: Vishwanth Gan-

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Photos by Suresh K. Volam, Sri Photos. ber 26 to celebrate the festival of lights at the second annual United Diwali Fest, hosted by the Consulate General of India, Atlanta in cooperation with Indian-American Associations across Atlanta. The event was open to everyone with no entry fee, and food was provided free of cost to all attendees. “We as the Consulate, want to partner with all the Indian organizations and celebrate our culture together, just the way we do International Yoga Day and now Diwali. Our strength is unity is diversity,” said Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Consul General of India, Atlanta. Dr. Kulkarni was instrumental in bringing all associations together to celebrate Diwali when she put forth the idea at her welcome reception. Community leaders came forward to implement the idea for the first time in 2018 and continued the tradition this year. Dr. Kulkarni cited the Howdy Modi event which brought together well over 50,000 people, an unprecedented gathering, also attended by US President, Donald Trump. Representatives of Consular Corps of Germany, Nigeria, Israel and Barbados and prominent politicians including State Senators/Representatives joined Dr. Kulkarni and Consul Lakhtakia in lighting the lamp. The invited guests of honor included Dr. Heike Fuller, German Consul General, Mr. Alex Gandler, First Secretary, Israel, Ms. Aishatu Aliyu Musa, Nigerail Consul General, Mr. David Cutting, Hon. Consul, Barbados, Mike Glanton, GA State Representative, Greg Dolenzal, GA State Senator, Sheik Rahman, GA State Senator, Anglika Krausch, GA State Representative, Richard Woods, GA State School Superintendent, Donavan Head, GA State Deputy School Superintendent, Curt Thompson, Ex-GA State Senator from Duluth running for Gwinnett County Chairman as Democratic candidate, and Lynne Homrich, Senior Home Depot executive running for US Congress as Republican candidate. The five-hour event brimmed with vibrant performances representative of all states across India. Classical to contemporary, the states of north, south, east and west presented their folklore at their delightful best. “’Unity in Diversity’, which India is proud of, was much evident at the event which was put together with the help of various organizations on Indian origin belonging to different states and the diverse cultural performances which enrich our culture,” said Consul Shailesh Lakhtakia, who lead the event. He thanked all the sponsors, donors, partners, the media and individuals who came together to put in place a “truly memorable free-for-all event,” as he described it.

secretary of the Overseas Friends of BJP. Patel Brothers was the Diamond Sponsor, and 27th the Gold Sponsor, along with several individual donations, sponsors and partners. “GCANA President Amit Shah was key in finalizing the venue, food, and insurance,” said Barot. Various community leaders put it all together by assigning themselves to different committees, with Consul Lakhtakia assigned the lead position. Welcome/Venue Committee: Sunil Savili, Sudhir Agarwal, Anoop Kapoor, Kusum Khurana, Jay Patel, Kranti Chennupati, Dilip Mehra, Swati Sudhini, Ani Agnihotri, Sandip Sanvla, Jayantibhai Patel, Roshan Patel. Cultural Committee: Pushkar Deshpande, Jonty, Chirag Thakkar, Nisha Patel, Ramesh Krishnan, Shyam Mallavarapu, Mandar Vengulkar, Laxmi Thesam, Shweta Dhawan, Sanjay Prakash, Deepa Bajpai, Geetanjali Talukdar. Dignitaries Invitation Committee: Vasudev Patel, Paddy Sharma, Ritesh Desai, Neera Bhal, Karthik Bhatt, Swadesh Katoch, Ajay House, Srinivas Lavu, Ramesh Valluri. Fund Raising Committee: Amit Shah, Anil Bodireddy,

ti, Manoj Barot, Mustafa Ajmeri, Sachin Bhagat, Shreekant Upala, Chaitanya Bhatt, Ravindra from NATA, Dhananjay Gupta, Sai Ram Pamulapati, Seema Garg, Raju Kotak, Viren Mayani. F&B Committee: Pravin Master, Badri Joshi, Rakesh Patel, Sreedhar (Gates), Prashant Podduturi, Rajan Vedak, Kishore Patel, Kirti Mehra. The festival of lights celebrated with communities of different Indian origins illuminated the true spirit of Diwali.


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BAPS Enlightens Community Through The Celebration Of Diwali Atlanta, GA: A new year, a fresh new start. A time to come together to reflect and introspect for individuals, families, and communities. “I can count on BAPS every year,” expressed Congressman Rob Woodall as over 6,000 Hindus and community members gathered at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, Georgia to celebrate Diwali. “This is why I am at Diwali again this year. When I crossed through the gate at the very front of the facility, I feel the warm embrace of family that this community has given to me time and time and time again.” The ancient tradition of lighting lamps,

holds special significance to Hindus. Diwali is a five-day celebration that culminates with the Annakut celebration (a decorative offering of vegetarian sweets and food) on the Hindu New Year's on October 28th, 2019. The five days of Diwali include a set of joyous cultural traditions that symbolize new beginnings and a renewed commitment to family and society. Individuals take this time to start anew and commit to spiritual growth and familial harmony. Diwali presents Hindus an opportunity to connect with and celebrate the traditions of their roots with fanfare and a sense of community.

during Diwali, symbolizes the transition from darkness to light. The physical act of lighting lamps on Diwali symbolizes an individual's efforts to remove the darkness from one's self in forms of anger, envy, greed, arrogance, and resentment. Diwali is known as the festival of lights and

Offering his prayers to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj prayed for devotees’ spiritual, personal, and professional growth in this new year. This Diwali, Mahant Swami Maharaj emphasized the importance of leading spiritually centered lives,

grounded in strong values and increased attachment to God for individuals and families. Similar celebrations took place at over 100 mandirs across North America. The auspicious five days of Diwali were celebrated with an elaborate Annakut, lighted divos and rangoli, fireworks, and even a special children's Diwali celebration.

Attendees participated in celebration activities, offered prayers for new beginnings, and had the opportunity to partake in the delicious offerings of the Annakut. The celebrations were open to all members of the local community and attendees included Congressman Rob Woodall; Chief Lou Solis, Gwinnett County Sheriffs Office; Mike Levengood, Chair of Gwinnett Parks Foundation; Peggy Levengood, President of Gwinnett Parks Foundation; Lois Allen, Board member Gwinnett Parks Foundation; Chris Steverson, Sheriff of Telfair County; and Wendy Davis, Rome City Commissioner. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace, and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families, and individuals. Through various spiritual and humanitarian activities, BAPS endeavors to develop better citizens of tomorrow with high esteem for their roots and culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www.baps.org.

Diwali Celebrated With Cultural Gaiety At Fulton Board Of Education

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

in IT, Kenny Wilder- Director of IT Infrastructure, Emily Atlanta, GA: Diwali lights brightBell, Director of Enterprise ened the halls of the Administration Applications, Jennifer DeBuilding of Fulton County Board of EdDuonni, Director of Student ucation (FCBOE) at Powers Ferry Road Information Solutions, Rayon Oct 15th, 2019 at a luncheon held in mond Lee, Director of Data celebration of the festival. With attendees Warehouse, Derrick Johnson, in Indian clothing, vibrant Rangoli decDirector of Information Seorations and perfumed candles, music in curity and various the background and the exotic aroma of staff members were Indian food spread across, the spirit of Dihappy attendees of wali had descended in full bloom across the event. the room. Bhavinani initiA presentation elaborating the meanated the celebrations ing of the festival and various ways it is when she joined celebrated was very well received by the the county office 3 attendees. years ago. Having “It is great to see all staff members served in IT at a regardless of race or color sitting down Serena Sacks, Chief Information Officer, school in Alpharetta, and having a celebratory luncheon at work alongMarvin Dereef, Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Bhavinani decided to educate the staff side of the custodians, building maintenance Burke, Chief of Operations, Ron Wade, Chief of about Diwali when the tests at school and security resource officers,” said Poonam Human Resources, Cliff Jones, Chief of Academ- were scheduled on the day of Diwali. Bhavinani, who serves as a Systems Analyst at ics, along with Directors of different departments “The staff and administrators enthe FCBOE, and put together the event.

joyed the festivities and getting to know our culture. I simply decided to continue the tradition to the Administrative building where it has also been received very favorably,” she added. “I am still wearing my dot!” commented one of attendees about the bindi she was wearing as part of the celebrations. Bhavinani and her team received many compliments from their team for sharing Indian culture.

Poonam Bhavinani (center).


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Rotary Club Of Emory Druid Hills Celebrates 10th Anniversary

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE Atlanta, GA: Staying true to its motto, “Service above Self”, The Rotary Club of Emory Druid Hills (RCEDH), which has contributed to society in various ways held a multiple celebration night in honor of its 10th Anniversary, the World Polio Day, Diwali, and induction of two new members into RCEDH on October 23, 2019 at Ashiana Restaurant in Global Mall. Past President and emcee Upendra Bhatt welcomed the audience. “Each Rotarian is a leader who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way,” said Chittaranjan Jyotishi, President, RCEDH. He also introduced 6 members of Rotaract, the youth wing of Rotary, that was introduced to the charter this year. Jyotishi also delivered the devotional grace. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Rani Singh and Nehal Vyas rendered the National Anthem. “We are very proud to say that Polio is almost eradicated except for very few, much through the

efforts of Polio Plus, and India is Polio free. Now the focus of Rotary International is to support Polio affected victims.” said Jyotishi. “Our club is contributing $50K for a project, globalgram which maybe above $200K after matching from Rotary Foundation and our District Governor’s Fund. I want to congratulate Manoj Barot, Executive Director, Narayan Seva Sansthan, and Kumud Savla who donated all of the proceedings of her annual recital to the cause,” stated Jyothishi. “I want to recognize the children aged 6 -18 who raised 33K at a 3-week long camp sponsored by the GCANA. Each camper was encouraged to select one of the hundreds of Indian children waiting for orthopedic surgery. The campers then turned into entrepreneurs, selling lemonade, popcorn, and samosas, and even hugs to raise money,” elaborated Barot about the fundraising efforts of kids. “Thank you, Rotary, for helping the people of India, in eradicating Polio at home and across

the world. This is a great achievement. Rotarians are lighting lives,” said Consul Shailesh Lakhtakia, from the office of CGI, Atlanta, recognizing the contribution of Rotary. Diwali was felicitated with the lighting of the lamp by the Mr and Mrs. Jyothishi, Consul Lakhtakia, Bob Hagan, Mustafa Ajmeri, Chandler Sharma, Upendra Bhatt and other Rotarians present at the event. “Having been induced into Rotary 25 years ago, was one of the most life-altering events,” said Hagan who formally induced 2 new members, Ismail Ghanchi and Dr. Dilip Patel, to the club. He elaborated the rotary 4-way test to live by - Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build Goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? The new members were handed the Rotary pins. Hagan spoke about Rotary’s role in near eradication of Polio and urged to end the disease. “Diwali is a festival of lights. And lights is

an acronym. Life is good when hope, trust and service is involved. And that is what Rotary is, including elements of love, give, help, trust, and service. Diwali is not just for Indians, but for the whole world,” said Jyotishi. Bhatt commended the various projects of RCEDH including safe drinking reserve osmosis water plants, Dialysis machines, CT Scan machine to hospital in India, Urology department equipment, completing over 1000 Cataract eye surgeries in India, helping victims of Haiti. “A Rotary club from California picked RCEDH to donate 50K, because they believe we will use it for the right purposes,” he added. Pravin Kataria, Chandler Sharma, Geeta Mehrotra representing Khabar, Jyothsna Hegde representing NRI Pulse from the media and all Rotarians were recognized at the event. The night ended with a Ganesha song by Nehal Vyas, vote of thanks by Jyotishi and a sumptuous dinner.

IAC For Atlanta Community Food Bank Targets Hunger Crisis

Atlanta, GA: On October 2, 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – the Indian American Council (IAC) for the Atlanta Community Food Bank was launched to a packed room of community members including city and state government officials. With the rallying cry of “Hunger Mitao!”, which means Wipe Out Hunger, the council aims to raise hunger awareness, improve engagement, and channel resources and contributions of the region’s Indian American community in support of the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s mission. An exciting legacy-building opportunity was also announced at the launch: individuals and businesses who commit to funding the IAC’s first 1 million meals for the Atlanta Community Food Bank will be inducted into the Food Bank’s IAC Founders Circle. Many participants have already stepped up and committed to the “Hunger Mitao” movement! In addition, the Food Bank is hosting a holiday volunteer opportunity especially for Atlanta’s Indian American community on Saturday, December 7th, from 1:00-4:00pm at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Space is limited to 50 people. Philanthropists and Co-founders of the Indian American Council, Raj and Aradhana (Anna) Asava originally launched the IAC in Dallas for the North Texas Food Bank in September 2017.

“The IAC is a volunteer movement which enables us to increase our impact exponentially through collective philanthropy,” said Aradhana. “In the spirit of ‘give where you live,’ the Indian American community – led by IAC – has enabled 7 million meals through food banks across

the country in just two years,” said Raj. “We are confident that the Atlanta Community Food Bank will soon see the impact of an engaged Indian American community”. “We cannot thank the Asavas, Food Bank board member Raghu Kakarala, and all who attended the kick-off

event enough for their amazing show of support right out of the gate,” said Kyle Waide, President and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “The Indian American community in Atlanta has always shown support for the Atlanta Community Food Bank but to have this dedicated group form an official council solidifies their commitment to helping their neighbors in need. We look forward to this meaningful new partner-

ship,” added Waide. For more information about the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Indian American Council, visit www.acfb.org/iac or contact Greg Sims, Director of Individual Giving, at IAC@acfb.org.


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Heartfulness Atlanta And GATS Host Wellness & Meditation Festival

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE Atlanta, GA: Peace and tranquility washed over attendees of the Wellness and Meditation Festival, organized by Heartfulness Atlanta in partnership with Greater Atlanta Tamil Sangam (GATS) at Brookwood Elementary School Elementary School on Oct 19th 2019. Dennis T. Brown, Commissioner, Forsyth County, Madhu Kota, President, Sai Mandir, Sendil Karpanna, Chairman, GATS Kumaresh

Nataraj, President, GATS, a representative from Consulate General of India presided as chief guests of the proceedings. Designing Destiny, a book authored by Kamlesh Patel, affectionately known as Daaji, was unveiled by the invited guests. Youth meditators Suraj Sehgal and Charishma anchored the event with their tender touch connecting well with the audience. Dr. Aarthi Sridhar, an abhyasi (meditator) herself, opened the event with a talk about med-

ical benefits of Heartfulness Meditation. “Stress relief, balanced immune system, better quality of sleep. Concentration and inner peace are some of many benefits of Heartfulness meditation,” said Dr. Sridhar. She also shared the recommendation of American Heart Association which relation between Meditation and Cardiovascular risk reduction. Dr. Sridhar also presented the research by Heartfulness and testimonials from various doctors. The talk ended in Q & A session. Sanjay Sehgal, Atlanta lead, Heartfulness, elaborated the significance of identifying mental illness and the role of Heartfulness in dealing with these issues. The audience was initiated to a session of relaxation and meditation for 30 minutes. An interesting Yoga format, Chair Yoga,

conducted by trainer Yoga teacher Apporva enthralled the crowd. A demonstration of Brighter Minds, a training program designed for kids lead by Lakshman and 4 other kids intrigued the audience. The session ended with Green Tea, Sundal, Coconut water and Mango drink sponsored by Patel Bros and Suvidha groceries. Heartfulness Meditation is offered free of cost to everyone, with over 50 trainers in Metro Atlanta area. You may visit https://www.facebook.com/HeartfulnessAtlanta for details. The Atlanta chapter of Heartfulness was recently awarded by Gwinnett County Government for its efforts to combat mental distress in Gwinnett County and around the world.

Saptami Foundation Hosts Classical Music & Dance Competition

Veena Rao (center) with the judges and organizer Malathi Venkat (R). Atlanta, GA: Saptami Atlanta regionals 2019, was held on Oct 12, 2019 at Yugal kunj, Duluth, GA from 9am-6pm. Saptami is a regional (followed by national) music and dance competition being held for the past four years in Atlanta. This year, the program commenced with an invocation song rendered beautifully by Anjana Shravan. “We had participants at various levels of music all the way from Geetham to advanced Krithi categories in both vocal and instrumental competition. This year also saw the unique performance of Harikatha in the Namasankeerthanam category,” said organizer Malathi Venkat. Dance competition also had participants in basic, intermediate and advanced levels. The contest also had Kuchipudi participants for the first time. Once all the competitions were over in all

the categories, there were two performances given by two of the distinguished judges. One of them was a Veena and vocal recital by Vidushi Shashikala Narayana Swamy, a well-known artist, from Bengaluru, India and a wonderful dance performance by Rekha Subash, one of the dance judges, who is artistic director of Sahasra Dance Academy from Atlanta. The judges Sudha Raghuram, Chandrika Chandran, Rekha Subash (three dance judges), Rajashree S.Narayan , Anu Ram, Anjana Shravan and Shashikala Narayana Swamy were all felicitated by chief guest for the evening, NRI Pulse editor, Veena Rao. The MC for the evening was Sanjana Venkat, a sophomore from KSU, who also kept the parents and kids entertained by interviewing the participants and judges getting their feedback and

comments. The coordinator for this year was Dr. Ms. Malathi Venkat, in leiu of Soujanya Madhusudhan, who could not attend Saptami this year due to a personal emergency. Veena Rao commended the efforts of the students and some judges gave a feedback that they were amazed by the kids’ performances for their ages. Saptami has been known for its high quality performances and unique unbiased and quality based judging system which was well maintained this year as well with the participation of nearly 75 students, inspite of long weekend holidays and other conflicting cultural programs around the region at the same time. It was a rewarding effort and experience for one and all. The program was well coordinated starting and ending at the scheduled time. “Thanks to all the volunteers without whom

Saptami would not be a success anytime. Last but not the least, thanks to Shrikant, the founder and main coordinator of Saptami, for giving us this opportunity all these years to have a great musical experience in Atlanta nurturing and encouraging our tradition and culture to the upcoming generation,” said Venkat.


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Consul General Hosts IndiaSoft IT Team At India House

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

will display products and solutions to buyers from India and global markets. While delegates from the US, Britain, Japan and Germany are expected, the Indian SMEs and start-ups will be major target audiences. “The larger IT companies such as Infosys, Mahendra Tech, Wipro, have already established partnerships in the US, so we are focusing on Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies,” said Kohli. He went on to elaborate that the twenty-three-hundred-member companies, part of the council, had started exploring other parts of the USA since he took over as Chairman. Set up in 2000, INDIASOFT was meant to showcase Indian companies, the Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies in particular, to emerging markets. “Two years ago, we received requests for International exhibits and GLOBALSOFT provided a platform for foreign companies to exhibit their products to the Indian and other emerging markets. The advantage for US companies is the opportunity to choose obtaining partnership from 250 companies and they can decide based on mutual interest, who they can partner with and also have 400 buyers from more than 60 countries,” said Kohli. “This is just the beginning. We look forward to companies from this part of the US to participate in the show,” said Kohli. At least 10 companies from Georgia are expected to participate in the show in 2020.

Atlanta, GA: “The credit for getting us to Atlanta goes entirely to Consul General Dr. Kulkarni. In the past we have always looked into Silicon Valley,” stated Nalin Kohli, Chairman, INDIASOFT, who was in Atlanta on October 17, 2019 at a dinner hosted by CG Dr. Swati Kulkarni, at the India House. Kohli was speaking in reference to Georgia being identified as one of unexplored markets, which will now be part of the upcoming GLOBALSOFT 2020, to be held in Hyderabad on March 3-4, 2020. GLOBALSOFT 2020 is part of 20th edition of INDIASOFT, a two-day flagship IT event of Electronics and Computer Software Promotion Council, sponsored by the Government of India. The event facilitates home-grown ICT companies showcasing their ICT products and services to foreign buyers, forge meaningful business ventures to enhance India’s ICT exports globally particularly in the new and emerging markets. GLOBALSOFT is collocated with INDIASOFT for International exhibitors. INDIASOFT 2020 will showcase India’s capabilities in areas such as automation, Internet of Things and robotics. Approximately 250 Indian IT firms are expected to participate in the show, with 500 ICT buyers from 60 countries. The second edition of GLOBALSOFT 2020 will feature over 50 foreign IT companies that

Rajen Sheth Honored With USHA Conference To Highlight 2019 Top Entrepreneur’s Award Persecution Of Voiceless People

Atlanta, GA: Rajen Sheth, CEO of Boardwalk Development Group, was recently awarded a 2019 Top Entrepreneur Award, hosted by TiE Atlanta. “I am truly honored to be awarded TiE-Atlanta’s Top Entrepreneurs Award. I owe this award to the encouragement I received from my parents, the support of investors – many of whom are TiE Charter Members – and to the TiE-Atlanta organization. Without TiE, I would never have had the guts to become an entrepreneur,” says Sheth. The awards recognize Atlanta entrepreneurs who have built and grown their companies to bring in a minimum revenue of $2 million and

no more than $100 million, and has been in business since 2015. The awards are based on revenue growth, profitability, sustainability, leadership, culture and innovation. The Atlanta CPA Alliance selected and honored entrepreneurs from the Metro Atlanta area. They were recognized at TiECON 2019: Built In Atlanta, the annual entrepreneur and small business conference held at Crowne Plaza Ravinia at Perimeter in Dunwoody, GA. Boardwalk Development Group is a real estate development, acquisition and management firm based in Suwanee, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. The company owns and operates several self-storage properties in the Southeast US, on behalf of its shareholders. The company brands its facilities as Boardwalk Storage. Boardwalk’s management has been nationally recognized and has won several awards for excellence. Since its founding in 1998, TiE Atlanta has raised more than $1.5 billion in venture funding for Atlanta-based entrepreneurs who run public and private companies and have generated more than $2 billion from acquisitions. TiE Atlanta is a top-five chapter of TiE Global, the world’s largest entrepreneur organization with over 60 chapters in 20 countries, and over 10,000 members.

Atlanta, GA: The United States Hindu Alliance (USHA) plans to organize the first global human rights conference to “highlight the persecution of 3.2 billion voiceless people worldwide, including Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, Romas and various native traditions of Asia, Africa and the Americas”, said a press release issued by the organization. HREEM 2019, which will bring together human rights leaders from around the world, representing various countries, ethnicities and religious traditions to work collectively to protect the rights and interests of this vast population, will be held in Atlanta at Gokuldham from December 6 to 8, 2019. “The magnitude of persecution against such a vast and diverse population has gone unnoticed for decades and it is time to take decisive actions to protect human rights through collective effort”, said Gokul Kunnath, President of USHA. HREEM, USHA’s human rights project, is an acronym for Human Rights Education

and Empowerment Mission. USHA strives to educate all about widespread persecution around the world and empower the affected voiceless populations so that they could prevent becoming victims in the future. Several initiatives will be launched at the conference to protect and promote human rights worldwide. Prominent human rights leaders and supporters will be honored at the global event. “Various religious, ethnic, humanitarian and human rights groups as well as governmental agencies from around the world are supporting this historic event”, said Archana Iyer Sunil, the Chair for the conference. “We are actively soliciting support from all who sympathize with the plight of these voiceless victim populations around the world”, she added. Dr. Ved Prakash Nanda, internationally recognized human rights champion, jurist and academician will be the Chief Guest at the event. Many other eminent personalities from the world of human rights are expected to grace the conference. For more details, registration, volunteering, speaking opportunities or sponsorships, please visit www.ushaonline.org or send an email to contactushaoffice@gmail.com.


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November 2019

I See My Book As A Window To The Community: Murali Kamma BY VEENA RAO Not Native: Short Stories of Immigrant Life in an In-Between World Wising Up Press Order at www.muralikamma.com

title of one of her novels. Yes, to a certain extent, I’m drawn to that label. But it doesn’t have to be negative. For a writer, especially, it’s good to have that detachment and outsider perspective. We are observers rather than participants.

Murali Kamma is the Managing Editor of Khabar magazine during the day, and a fiction writer in his spare time. In ‘Not Native’, his newly released anthology of twenty well-crafted short stories, Kamma keenly examines the immigrant lives of Indians in America, or characters reconnecting with their Indian roots. The stories are nuanced and insightful, even when they portray ordinary moments in the everyday lives of everyday people. That may well be because the seemingly ordinary characters are real, sensitive, and highly relatable. “I enjoy stories that seem to flow naturally,” Kamma says in this interview. Readers will no doubt find this realistic style of writing deeply engaging. Are some of the themes of Not Native a reflection of your own experiences as an immigrant from India? Broadly, sometimes. The themes I explore are a preoccupation, both as a writer and an immigrant, more than a reflection of my experiences. As a fellow writer, I'm sure you'll agree that multiple factors come into play when we write fiction: observation, experience, imagination. The people we meet make an impression, and sometimes it could be something we read or heard. How these strands come together is a mystery, but I think that's how it should be to work well. Not Native isn't only an exploration of immigrant life and its challenges, it is also about Indian-Americans reconnecting with their roots, or with childhood memories. What sparked this interest? Last year, in a talk at Emory, the author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni said, “Immigration made me a writer.” I can relate to it. That journey is also internal, and I think it prompts us to look back on our former lives and seek connections. Maybe we want to hold on to certain things. I’ve been reading immigrant writers for years, and I’ve mulled over the issues they talk about and what we experience in our bicultural lives. Writing fiction is one way to understand myself better.

“Fragments of Glass” is my favorite story. I loved the way issues like caste and class divide, social injustice and marginalization have been woven into a story of redemption. Do you have a story that is closest to your heart? Or a character that you can relate to the most? Thank you. It got an Honorable Mention in the Katha contest India Currents used to sponsor. It’s hard for me to pick favorites. My readers do a better job, and based on the feedback I’ve received, it’s gratifying that not everybody picks the same stories. I think what we like tends to depend on who we are as readers. One story I can mention successful, prosperous, family-oriented group. is “River of Silence,” which I wrote from a young Yet, the protagonists of Not Native are often woman’s point of view. That was unusual for me, broken, conflicted, alone, live in apartments. though I enjoyed the experience. The ability to transcend barriers, both as writers and readers, is Why? “All happy families are alike; each unhappy fam- one of the joys of fiction. ily is unhappy in its own way,” Tolstoy famously wrote. Reading about people who have everything, and who seem to be leading wonderful, enviable lives, is not only boring but also unrealistic. It’s like a family’s carefully curated social media activity. Their lives appear perfect, but is that true? Our job as fiction writers is to go beyond that façade, and I’ve found that having characters who are not stereotypically successful can be useful in exploring certain immigrant themes. Conflict is needed to make a story engaging—and a divorced man, I think, will be more interesting than a happily married one. Having said that, you’ll find different kinds of people in my fiction, including successful and happily married ones. Variety is key.

“My work as an editor of nonfiction complements my fiction writing. If Khabar is a passport to the Indian-American community, as we say, I see my book as a window to the community...”

Many of the stories are gentle observations of the conflicts and dilemmas the characters face, and end without a firm resolution. Was this a conscious style of storytelling? Anton Chekhov, whom I greatly admire, once said this about conventional endings: “Either the hero gets married or shoots himself.” I like the open endings he was known for, because they make the stories more realistic and show us that life goes on. Sometimes, of course, we may want to know more. That’s where the reader comes in to fill the gap. I’m not opposed to firm resolutions, but they shouldn’t feel contrived. I enjoy stories that seem to flow naturally. The protagonist in one of the stories feels like a “Nowhere Man.” Is there a “Nowhere Man” The general image of the Indian-American hidden inside you? community is that of an intelligent, highly I borrowed it from Kamala Markandaya; it’s the

What do you hope for readers to gain after reading Not Native? My expectations are relatively modest. I hope readers will get some pleasure and satisfaction out of the book, and perhaps even gain a few insights. Do you think immigrant voices like yours and mine are underrepresented in American publishing? Yes, I do. But I’ve also seen progress in recent years. So that’s good news, and we immigrants should do our part by spreading the word. We should buy, promote and—most important—read books written by immigrants and other underrepresented authors. Is it a fiction writer's responsibility to write to bring about social or political change? Not directly. Fiction that comes across as a lecture would be tedious to read. Our goal is to tell a good story that engages the reader. But certainly, if we care about these issues, we s hould address them in a subtle and seamless manner, which will be more effective. This also addresses your earlier question about why I gravitate towards certain themes and types of characters. How has your work as managing editor of Khabar magazine influenced your fiction writing? My work as an editor of nonfiction complements my fiction writing. If Khabar is a passport to the Indian-American community, as we say, I see my book as a window to the community. Do you plan to write a full-length novel? That’s my goal. I’m a fan of short stories, but the long form has some advantages if we are seeking a wider readership. Fiction is strongest, at least for me, when I write about things I know. But how do we take something that’s interesting to us and make it interesting—and meaningful—to other people? That’s the challenge of writing fiction, as I see it. One possibility I’m considering for a novel is a set of long stories that are interlinked.


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Diwali Celebrated At Washington Airport

Washington: (IANS) In a historic first, Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, was celebrated at the Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), which was a riveting sight for passengers, visitors, airport personnel, flight and cabin crew. Akanksha Sharma, marketing associate for Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and the brainchild behind the celebration, told The American Bazaar: “This is the first event of its kind both in the region and at IAD.” The airport authority operates both IAD and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. A gateway to the world, Dulles Airport serves over 24 million passengers a year. It is located in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, some 26 miles west of downtown Washington, DC. Together, the counties house over half of Virginia’s Indian population which equates to some 65,000 residents. Air India inaugurated its capital-to-capital connection between Dulles and New Delhi in 2017 and the airport has seen a steady increase in passengers of Indian origin. “We wanted to showcase the rich Indian culture,” said Sharma hoping the initial efforts will lay the groundwork for a sparkling annual event. “We have a lot of passengers of Indian and Asian descent who travel through our airport, and who celebrate Diwali. The goal is to organize the event on a large scale.” The festivities included Indian dance performances by students of the Sterling-based Nrityaki Dance Academy, henna art demonstration, giveaway cookies embellished with “Happy Diwali” and freebie international chargers. “This event is a fantastic initiative promoting our culture in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area,” Sneha Misra, winner of the 2019 Miss India DC pageant, told The American Bazaar. “Nrityaki artistes performing at Dulles Airport is something new…. Indian-Americans are always making strides in new directions,” she said.

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Two Indian-American Teens Arrested For Using Racial Slurs, Urinating On African-American Girl

Atlanta, GA: Police have arrested two Indian-American teenage boys following an alleged bias incident at a football game. “It is alleged that racially derogatory names were being used and that someone urinated on one of the victims while using this language,” Lawrence police said in a statement. “As a police department, we take these incidents very seriously and we will continue to investigate until all of the facts are uncovered. This type of behavior will not be condoned in our community.” The incident first came to light on social media when a parent reported that someone urinated on her daughter and used the n-word during the football game. “One student allegedly pulled his penis out and urinated on an eighth-grade girl who is black, according to a parent and statements made to the police,” reports Planet Princeton. “Some students allegedly targeted younger black students …calling [them] the n-word, taunting them, and screaming that they hate black

people,” the report added. Later, Lawrence Mayor Christopher Bobbitt, through a social media post, said he was made aware of a possible racial bias crime that occurred at the Lawrence High School Homecoming game. “I was and am deeply disturbed by the account of the incident on Facebook. I immediately informed the Chief of Police, the Township Manager, and the School Board liaison to Township Council.” “As I have said publicly before, hate has no

home in Lawrence Township. As someone that has felt its sting, I know that bigotry exists and sadly will continue to exist but that doesn’t mean that I give up. Instead I look to find allies that will help me fight the cancer of bigotry,” he added. Mayor Bobbitt said when an antisemitic incident occurred in Lawrence, he joined with allies in Trenton to speak out publicly against bigotry “against our Jewish brothers and sisters. Now it is time to find out what happened last night and to deal with it appropriately.” The Lawrence Township Police Department later, through a statement, said the two teens had been arrested. They were charged with harassment, bias intimidation and lewdness.

Techie In Green Trump Reiterates Commitment To Defend Religious Freedom On Diwali Card Backlog Dies their beliefs and conscience,” he said in his Diwali message on Friday. “The observance of Diwali throughout America is an important reminder of the significance of one of our nation’s core tenets – religious liberty.” He celebrated Diwali at a White House ceremony during which he lit a lamp while surrounded by administration officials and invitees. “We pray that this year’s observance brings love, joy, and eternal peace,” he said in New York: (IANS) Sending out his Diwali his message on behalf of his wife Melania and greetings, US President Donald Trump has reiterated his commitment to defending religious himself. “For many Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Budliberties, which he said is a core tenet of the nadhists in the United States and around the globe, tion. “My administration will continue to defend this sacred period is an opportunity to commemothe rights enshrined in our Constitution that en- rate the victory of light over darkness, good over able people of all faiths to worship according to evil, and knowledge over ignorance.”

Indian In FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List, Hunt Launched

Considered as one of the biggest ever simultaneous chases in the US and India, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is hunting for an Indian fugitive, Bhadresh Kumar Patel, for the past four years. Patel, who hails from Viramgam in Ahmedabad, figures in the FBI’s top 10 list of most wanted fugitives and carries an award of $100,000. FBI considers Patel as a cold-blooded murderer and an ‘extremely dangerous’ criminal who killed his young wife at a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Hanover, Maryland, in a most bizarre way. Palak (21) and Patel (then 24) were working in night shift in the Dunkin’ Donuts store. The CCTV

November 2019

footage retrieved from the store shows Bhadresh and Palak walking together towards the kitchen before disappearing behind the racks. Moments later, Patel reappears. He then shuts off the kitchen oven and walks out of the store, as if nothing had happened. His body language and facial impression seem to be very normal. The FBI investigation into the brutal murder, which sent shock waves in Maryland, disclosed that the body of Palak, found hours later in the night of

April 12, 2015, carried multiple stab wounds. After brutally beating and stabbing Palak to death, Patel left the store and returned to his nearby apartment by foot. He then picked up some personal items and hired a cab to a hotel near an airport in Newark. CCTV footage revealed that Patel later checked into a hotel in Newark and was seen at the counter paying in cash for a room. He slept over the night and left the hotel in the morning. Since then the FBI sleuths and their vast network of informers are trying hard to gather clues about Patel’s whereabouts. The hunt for Patel is on in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi.

Washington: (IANS) A US-based software engineer, whose name was listed in the Green Card backlog, died suddenly and as a result, his pregnant wife has been rendered out of status resulting in her inevitable return to India. Shiva Chalapathi Raju, who was based in North Carolina, died suddenly recently, The American Bazaar reported. Because the family was in line for Green Card, Raju’s sudden death would mean that his pregnant wife, Bobby Sowjanya, was now rendered out of status and would have no choice but to travel back to India. Raju had been working with Oracle as a developer client in High Point, North Carolina. In the past, he had also worked for Wipro and British Petroleum in Michigan and Illinois. The Indian Green Card backlog community took to Twitter on Thursday and described the plight of another Green Card backlog family on the micro-blogging platform by using the hashtag #DurbinWidow and #DurbinOrphan. Many Indians expressed their outrage at Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s opposition to S.386. or Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act 2019. Many held him directly responsible for the uncertain fate of a number of such families, who were having to reconsider their lives due to their long wait to obtain a Green Card in the US. Meanwhile, the Piedmont Area Telugu Association (PATA) has started a GoFundMe page to help Raju’s family.


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Gurpreet’s Death No Deterrence To Indians With American Dreams

New Delhi/Mexico City: (IANS) The death of six-year-old Gurpreet Kaur in the Arizona desert in June this year, shocking as it was, was also a pointer to the sharp rise in the number of Indians seeking to surreptitiously cross into the United States from the southern border. The deportation of 311 Indians from Mexico comes amid data that over 7,000 Indians are facing deportation proceedings in US courts. Gurpreet, along with her family, had sneaked into Arizona from Mexico. While she died of hyperthermia in the hot desert, her family merged among the millions seeking to migrate to the US with dreams of a better life. For the National Migration Institute (INM) of Mexico, the deportation of the 311 Indians, comprising 310 men and one woman, was the first case of flying back such a huge number of illegal migrants. In a statement, the INM said: “There is no precedent in the history of the INM – neither in the form, nor in the number of people – of a transatlantic air conduction, such as that carried out on this day,” said the Mexican agency that is under the Ministry of Interior. The Indians had entered Mexico irregularly and were found on different dates in eight different parts of the country. The Indians had been detained in Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Sonora, Durango, Baja California and Mexico City before being transferred to the migrants’ centre in Acayucan, Veracruz, for identification and transfer to Toluca. The INM was constantly in touch with the Indian embassy in Mexico to confirm their Indian citizenship, after which they were put on

a Boeing 747 charter flight from Toluca to New Delhi on Wednesday. They were accompanied by migration agents and national guards. “This was carried out thanks to the excellent communication and coordination with the Embassy of that Asian country, with which the recognition and return of these citizens was worked under strict adherence to the Migration Law,” added the Mexican agency. The Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment on the issue. However, a source said that India does not support illegal immigration anywhere in the world. But in cases where the rights of documented Indian migrants are affected, including in the US, the Indian government takes up their case. The deportation of the 311 Indians came after the Mexican government deployed thousands of National Guard troops at the border with Guatemala in June following pressure from US President Donald Trump, who threatened to levy tariffs on Mexican goods if Mexico did not slow the flow of drugs and migrants to the US. According to the INM, nearly 4,800 Asian migrants – of whom 2,823 were from India – were referred to the Mexican immigration agency during the first eight months of this year.

Mexican authorities have reported cases of Indians being picked up as they walked along roads of eastern Mexico or were being transported by traffickers in cargo vehicles, along with central Americans. The Mexican police recently arrested two leaders of a traffickers’ organization that got Indian migrants to Mexico through the airport in Cancun, Quintana Roo (southeast), and then pushed them into the US by bus. According to figures, in 2019, over 7,000 Indians were involved in deportation proceedings in courts across the US. India figured among the top 10 nations whose citizens were undergoing asylum hearings in the US, after Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba and Venezuela. The death of Gurupreet Kaur and now the deportation of the 311 Indians has brought the focus on Indians seeking to cross into the US border without documentation. According to the Washington-headquartered Migration Policy Institute, between 2010 and 2014, there were 2,67,000 undocumented Asian Indian immigrants in the US. US Border Control figures show a massive

jump in the number of Indians seeking to slip in illegally into the US. In 2008, there were 77 Indian nationals seeking asylum in the US, which jumped to 3,000 in 2017, and tripled to 8,997 in 2018. While Indians made up just one per cent of the total illegal migrants apprehended in 2018, the sharp rise in numbers has been striking. Between 2007 and 2018, the number of Indians apprehended rose from 188 to 9,234 – an increase of more than 4,811 percent, according to CQ Roll Call’s analysis of Customs and Border Protection data. The greatest jump was along the southern border, where Indian apprehensions in the same time period increased from 76 to 8,997. According to a North American Punjabi Association report of last November, 2,400 Indians were languishing in US jails for illegally crossing the border. According to NAPA figures of October last year, 377 Indians were detained at California’s Adelanto Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Processing Center, 269 at Imperial Regional Adult Detention Facility, 245 at the Federal Correctional Institution Victorville, and 115 at Washington State’s Tacoma ICE Processing Center. Most of the Indians who seek to migrate illegally are from Punjab, as was also the case of the 311 Indians. The traffickers reportedly lure young Punjabis to migrate to the US illegally and charge between Rs 35-50 lakh per individual. Almost 6,00,000 migrants arrived at the southern US border from Mexico till June this year, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

She Wanted To Fly, I Let Her Fly: Kalpana Chawla’s Dad

Mumbai: (IANS) February 1, 2003 was a memorable day for every Indian who was watching the return of the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS -107 that disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. The disaster killed a seven-member crew including Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian to go to space. Sixteen years later, her proud father Banarasi Lal Chawla says his daughter was an angel who came to inspire many before she flew away to find her “space” among the stars. Reliving those memories before his eyes through the documentary “Dreams That Touched The Sky”, Chawla told IANS: “I think she came to this world with some blessing of the Almighty. She was different and she was special from her childhood. As a father, all I did was not to clip her wings. She wanted to fly, I just let her fly. She came, conquered and flew away after inspiring many lives. She was one of those girls who excelled in everything that she did, every job that she tried.” The documentary was screened at the Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival, and will be aired on National Geography channel. According to her father, Kalpana, who hailed from the town of Karnal, was a nature lover since her childhood and her house was filled with plants. In fact, her last wish was to live in the mountains. Chawla recalled: “We read the letter in which

she mentioned that if she didn’t come back, her ashes should be scattered on either the Himalayas or a mountain at the Zion National Park. when I went there with my wife, family and two close friends, her mother told me Mantu (Kalpana’s nickname) had taken her her to the place before.” What surprised Chawla and his wife was a girl who was sitting at the spot and crying. On being quizzed, the girl shared how Kalpana had helped her with her education. “The girl was crying so hard that I felt bad. She said she is the mayor of Hawaii now. She

wanted to study science and technology but, coming from a middle-class family, she never had the money though she was a good student. Kalpana kept sending her fees, to help her complete her education. She said she felt broken knowing Kalpana had left us,” said Chawla. Growing up with her two siblings, Kalpana was keen to fly since her childhood, and at the age of four took her first flight when her father took her to the Karnal Flying Club. So, being an astronaut, was Kalpana a studious child? “She wasn’t a naughty child but she was not

overtly studious either. Kalpana was very curious, sincere and very focused. In school, she was not the first girl in class but she was very serious about her study. What her mother and I used to wonder is why she never flaunts her achievement. She won so many prestigious awards but never exhibited them in her house. When we went to her office and her room, all we saw were books, a photo frame with us (a photograph of her parents), and toy aeroplanes.” Kalpana received several awards, including Congressional Space Medal of Honor posthumously. There are streets, awards and medical colleges named after her. As a scientist, she has also been awarded by NASA. “I think she was never ‘overtly proud’ of her achievement — only engrossed in her goal to serve humanity. But I am not like her, I feel proud to be the father of Kalpana,” smiled the 86-yearold man. In a state like Haryana, where the voice of women is often curtailed by patriarchy, what would the proud father’s advice to all the parents be? “As a father I can say that the role of a parent should not be restricting children in the name of protecting them. Let them think and explore independently. As parents, we should just keep an eye that a child should not indulge in negative habits. Naya kadam uthaye to udne do, dhyan rakkho, koi galat kadam na uthaye. Then, see how every child can become an achiever,” he said.


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Relations With India Not Of Dictation But Partnership: US

New York: (IANS) The United States does not dictate to India but partners with it, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells declared on Tuesday at a Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia at which Representatives leveled caustic criticism of India’s action in Kashmir after rescinding its special constitutional status. “This is not a relationship of dictation, it is a relationship of partnership,” she said. She was responding to Democratic Representative Anthony Brown who suggested that the US should take economic or other measures against India on the restrictions it has placed on Kashmir. Wells said that India, a country of 1.3 billion people, has survived four wars, the suspension of the constitution under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, “it has survived Maoist insurgencies and insurgencies in Kashmir, and at the same time it has continue to lift people out of poverty and incrementally make advances. We respect that. So that conversation with India will continue. When we see Indian institutions have failed or responded slowly it is something that we take up but this is not a relationship of dictation, it is a relationship of partnership”. During the hearings by the House of Representative Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in Washington that was to cover all of South Asia, almost all of the discussions centred on India, mostly ignoring human rights issues in Pakistan as Representatives repeatedly brought up the restrictions placed by India on Jammu and Kashmir, often based on what they heard from some of their constituents with ties to Kashmir. Wells said in her opening remarks to the subcommittee that the US welcomes “actions by the Indian government to improve the situation and address local grievances” in Jammu and Kashmir while being concerned about the detention of local political leaders and activists and the internet blackout. But she also said that Washington was “concerned about reports of local and foreign militants attempting to intimidate local residents and business owners in order to stymie normal economic activity”. “While conditions in Jammu and Ladakh have improved, the Valley has not returned to normal,” she said. The US supports the Indian government’s objectives “to increase economic development, reduce corruption, and uniformly apply all national laws in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in regard to women and minorities,” she said.

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Man Drives To Police Station With Body In Car; Admits To 4 Murders

Atlanta, GA: Police have arrested an Indian-American man in California who is accused of murdering four members of his family, then driving up to the police station to confess, with a dead victim in the back seat of his car. At a press conference recently, Roseville Police Department spokesperson Capt. Josh Simon identified the alleged murderer as 53-year-old Shankar Hangud. Two of the victims were adults and two were minors. A press release issued by Roseville PD says at 12:11 p.m. yesterday, cops received a call from the Mt. Shasta Police Department reporting they had detained a suspect involved in a homicide that took place in Roseville. The adult male claimed to have murdered individuals at his residence in Roseville. Another victim was inside his vehicle at the Mt. Shasta Police Department in Siskiyou County and other victims were at an apartment in Roseville. Officers who were dispatched to Hangud’s apartment complex in Roseville confirmed that three additional victims were found dead at the scene.

Hangud is the sole suspect in the four homicides. The identities of the victims have not been released yet, but it has been confirmed that the body found in Hangud’s car was of a man of Indian origin. Hangud was taken into custody by the Mt. Shasta Police Department. He has since been transported to and booked into the Placer County Jail charged with four counts of murder. He’ll be prosecuted in Placer County. “It appears the victims were killed by this suspect over a few days’ time span, we’re still working to put that timeline together,” said the police statement. Cops have not released a motive for the murders yet but are seeking the help of the public to put together a timeline of the murders. The suspect, police say, within the last week, left his home in Roseville with one adult male victim, of Indian origin. They drove away in a maroon sedan from Roseville to unknown places in Northern California and ended up in Mt. Shasta. Hangud is an IT professional, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has an M.B.A in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

November 2019

Amit Sachdev Among White House Fellows

Atlanta, GA: An Indian-American gastroenterologist from New York is among 15 people appointed to the prestigious 2019-2020 Class of White House Fellows, the White House said. Amit Sachdev is placed at the Department of Health and Human Services. Amit is an interventional gastroenterologist and board certified internist who completed his training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is focused on developing novel approaches to fight obesity, transforming healthcare delivery, and is passionate about healthcare innovation. The highly regarded White House Fellowship provides professionals from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to engage in public service for one year by serving in various roles in the Federal Government. Created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the White House Fellows Program was designed “to give the Fellows first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal Government and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.” Amit has led large-scale social media campaigns, and he has won numerous awards for his community outreach initiatives and research. His work has been published in peer-reviewed literature and presented both nationally and internationally. Amit has worked in large, diverse clinical settings, including Bellevue, Kings County, and Los Angeles County hospitals.

White House Official Caught In Impeachment Crossfire

New York: (IANS) An Indian-American White House official has been caught in the crossfire of internal politics arising from the Ukraine controversy that has engulfed President Donald Trump in an impeachment. The expertise of Kashyap Patel, the National Security Council’s (NSC) senior Director of counter-terrorism, on Ukraine has been questioned by another NSC official, Lt Col Alexander Vindman, during the impeachment inquiry hearings, Politico reported on Wednesday. The sniping brings to the open the conflicts inside the Trump administration between those like Patel, who are considered his loyalists, and those opposed to him. Vindman told the secret inquiry that Patel had “misrepresented” his expertise on Ukraine to Trump, Politico reported. He said that had been prevented from participating in a briefing for Trump on Ukraine because the President believed Patel was the expert on that country instead of himself, Politico reported. Vindman said that the NSC Senior Director for European and Russian affairs, Fiona Hill, told him that she and then-National Security Adviser John Bolton felt that his presence at the briefing would create “an uncomfortable situation,” according to Politico. Politico had earlier reported that Hill testified before the impeachment inquiry that Trump

thought Patel was in charge of Ukraine policy for the NSC. Vindman, who was born in Ukraine and came to the US as a refugee when he was a child, is a decorated veteran of the Iraq war. He was on the line listening to Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in July during which he asked for help in investigating former Vice President Joe Biden’ son’s connections to a Ukrainian gas company and if his father had interfered in an investigation of the company. Vindman has been hailed a hero by the Democrats and the media for his testimony against Trump. He had asserted that Trump had undermined national security by asking Ukraine for a favour against the Bidens because that could undermine the bipartisan support for Kyiv. While he said that he was not allowed to

make some changes to the reconstruction of the Trump-Zelensky phone conversation that was made public, it did not appear from leaked accounts of his impeachment testimony that he had established that Trump had made the Ukrainian probe of the Bidens a condition for releasing aid, as has been alleged. Vindman’s questioning of Patel’s competence gives and insight into internal politics of the Trump administration where officials are split between Trump loyalists and those whom he calls the members of the “Deep State” – a reference to the entrenched bipartisan Washington establishment that is ranged against him. Patel is considered a Trump loyalist, having worked for the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, when it was controlled by the Republicans and David Nunes was its chair. As an aide to Trump’s vociferous supporter Nunes, Patel raised questions credibility of the allegations against Trump of colluding with Russians that led to the protracted inquiry by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who ultimately did not find such collusion. Patel was the principal author of a memo issued by Nunes that accused the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department of bias against Trump and of abusing laws to get warrants to conduct surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.


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NRI Pulse

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

3 Indian-Americans In Top 10 Best Performing CEOs List

Canada, Australia and the USA have moved the World Trade Organization (WTO), raising objections over ban on import of certain pulses by India to check falling prices in the domestic market. They have also submitted fresh questions on the validity of the steps taken by India under global trade rules and asked New Delhi to justify the restrictions under the WTO rules. India is the biggest producer and consumer of pulses and consumes about 240 lakh tonnes of pulses a year. Vimal Kothari, Vice-President of the India Pulses and Grains Association, said India had reduced pulses’ import from 60 lakh tonnes to 1520 lakh tonnes. “India is moving towards self-reliance in production of pulses. The import ban is necessary to provide the best prices to farmers. But moong and urad crops have been damaged due to excessive rain this year, which will be compensated by import,” Kothari said. As pulses fetched good prices over years after the government announced incentives, farmers started showing interest in its cultivation. It led to quantum jump in production — from 231.3 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 to 254.2 lakh tonnes in 201718, according to Agricultural Ministry website.

US Regulator Is Probing Whistleblower's Charges: Infosys

Bengaluru: (IANS) Global software major Infosys said American capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated a probe into the alleged unethical business practices of Chief Executive Salil Parekh and Chief Financial Officer Nilanjan Roy. "The Company has been in touch with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the anonymous whistleblower complaints and has learnt that the SEC has initiated an investigation into this matter," said Infosys in the statement. Infosys pledged to cooperate with SEC's investigation. SEC's mission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets and enable capital formation. Infosys shares are traded on American stock exchanges as American Depository Receits. A few anonymous employees of Infosys have accused Parekh and Roy of unethical practices for many quarters, along with concerns on Parekh's travels to the US and Mumbai. "Parekh and Roy have been resorting to unethical practices for many quarters, as evident from their e-mails and voice recordings of their conversations," said the complainants, who called themselves 'ethical employees' in a 2-page letter to the city-based IT behemoth's board of directors on September 20, a copy of which has been accessed by IANS.

According to the whistleblowers, Parekh directed the employees to cook account books to show favourable numbers and coerced staffers not to reveal crucial data to board members.

Ecommerce, Social Networking Top Disruptive Biz Models: Survey

AWS Evaluating Options After Losing US' $10bn Cloud Contract

business leaders globally, Amazon, Apple and Alibaba emerged as the most disruptive companies while DJI, Google, Netflix, Airbnb, Microsoft, Facebook, and Baidu rounded out the top 10 list. Maintaining its position on the list of most-disruptive business models over the next few years, e-commerce continues to capture attention with its dramatic growth prospects. "The question is, can the companies on this list, and those seeking to join the list, run the gauntlet of evolving competition, regulation, and geopolitics while remaining innovative and nimble enough to retain their leadership positions and aspirations," Tim Zanni, KPMG Global Technology Sector Leader, said in a statement. Global e-commerce spending is expected to

Surprised at the US Department of Defense (DoD) decision to award a $10 billion Pentagon contract to Microsoft, Amazon's Cloud arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) has said it is evaluating options. In a shocker to Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the Trump government awarded the much-anticipated $10 billion Cloud contract for Pentagon known as the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) to the Satya Nadella-led Microsoft. "We're surprised about this conclusion. AWS is the clear leader in cloud computing, and a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly lead to a different conclusion," the company said in a statement. Despite being the frontrunner, AWS lost the prestigious Cloud contract that will provide enterprise level, commercial Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to support Department of Defence business and mission operations. Trump, who has been a critic of Amazon and Bezos over the company's tax arrangements, even got involved during the bidding process, saying the government was looking at the contract after "getting enormous complaints" from competitors to Amazon and Microsoft.

San Francisco: (IANS) Adobe’s Shan- puts Huang, 56, in the top spot on HBR’s list of tanu Narayen, Mastercard’s Ajay Banga and best-performing CEOs in the world this year,” Microsoft’s Satya Nadella are among the top the magazine said. The HBR list relies on objective performance measures over a chief executive’s entire tenure. The CEO are now ranked not only on financial performance but also on environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings. “For the past four years we’ve weighted ESG scores to account for 20 per cent of each CEO’s final ranking. This year we tweaked the formu10 best-performing chief executives in the la, increasing that share to 30 per cent,” HBR world, according to a Harvard Business Review added. (HBR) list. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos failed to make While Narayen ranks 6th in the list of this year’s list owing to the company’s relabest-performing 100 CEOs, Banga has been tively low ESG scores. On the basis of finanplaced at 7th position and Nadella at 9th. cial performance alone, Bezos has been the top NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang tops the 2019 CEO every year from 2014 to 2018. edition of the list. Four female CEOs made the ranking (all “From late 2015 to late 2018, the compa- are in the top half), up from three in 2018 and ny’s stock grew 14-fold – a performance that just two in prior years.

US Raises Concerns At WTO Over Indian Ban On Pulses’ Imports

November 2019

New Delhi: (IANS) E-commerce, social networking and digital payment platforms top the list of most disruptive business models, revealed a new KPMG survey. In a survey of over 740 technology industry

increase from $3.5 trillion in 2019 to $6.5 trillion in 2023, according to eMarketer. Social networking was second on the business models list and, similar to e-commerce companies, social media firms are striving to capture ever-larger shares of the consumer's attention and wallet, with new offerings like exclusive and original content, live sporting events, augmented/virtual reality, educational services, and cryptocurrencies. "India is seeing a similar trend in technology disrupting business models. With over 1 billion mobile subscribers and more than 665 million internet subscriptions, India's mobile first economy is shaping the contours of new business models in B2C and B2B businesses. "E-commerce and social networking have changed consumer behaviour resulting in traditional business models to innovate and transform. Retail, financial services, and technology are the sectors likely to be most disrupted because of tech innovations," said Satya Easwaran, Partner and Head-Telecom, Media and Technology sector, KPMG India. The study found some divergent views between tech industry millennials and tech industry leaders on the topic of emerging global technology innovation visionaries. Among tech business leaders, Google CEO Sundar Pichai topped the list, followed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Millennials also identified Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun, and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

Updating the bourses about the Indian capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Bengaluru-based company said the regulator demanded additional information about the anonymous complaints. Infosys stated that it is aware of the class action lawsuit filed against it in a federal court in the US because of the many whistleblowing complaints. "The Company intends to defend itself vigorously in such a lawsuit," Infosys stated.


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NRI Pulse

FaceBook, Insta Ban Eggplant, Peach As Sexual Emojis

San Francisco: (IANS) Facebook and Instagram have banned sexual use of eggplant and peach emojis on their platforms under new community standards. The new community standards refer to "(commonly used) sexual emojis or emoji strings" as criteria which qualify as "Suggestive Elements". According to adult industry news portal XBIZ, Facebook and Instagram are targeting sex workers with updated community standards. "The new language, under the guise of preventing 'sexual solicitation', restricts even further the posts that sex workers are allowed to share, making them even more exposed to targeted harassment campaigns by anti-porn crusaders," the report mentioned. Among the new things that could get someone Instagram's account flagged and/or removed are the eggplant or peach emoji in conjunction with any statement referring to obscene connotation or pictures with digital alterations and any mention of porn being available or any linking to pages offering adult material. "Sometime between September 7 and now, the new language was quietly inserted into the Facebook Community Standards, which are the ultimate arbiter of content for Facebook and Instagram," said XBIZ. The new language was brought to the attention of XBIZ by BBC journalist Thomas Fabbri, who covers sex worker issues. A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: "We often make updates to our Community Standards. We publish these changes on our Community Standards site so our community is aware. "With this update, nothing changed in terms of the policy itself or how we enforce it, we simply updated the language to make it clearer for our community."

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

1.3 Mn Indian Credit Card Details Up For Sale On Dark Web

New Delhi: (IANS) Nearly 1.3 million debit and credit card data of Indian banking customers that can fetch up to $130 million for cybercriminals are available on Dark Web for open sale. According to ZDNet, the cards' details is available on Joker's Stash -- one of the oldest card shops on the dark web which is known to be the place where major hackers sell card dumps. The researchers from cyber security form Group-IBA found the Indian card holders' listing. Joker's Stash is advertising it under the "INDIA-MIX-NEW-01" heading. The debit and credit cards belong to multiple Indian banks and are being sold for $100 each, in what security researchers have dubbed one of the biggest card dumps in recent years. "Early data analysis suggests the card details may have been obtained via skimming devices, installed either on ATMs or point of sale (PoS) systems," said the report. The card dump includes "Track 2 data, usually found on a payment card's magnetic stripe. The presence of this kind of data automatically rules out skimmers installed on websites (Mage-

cart attacks), where Track 1 and Track 2 is never used." Criminals who buy card dumps from Joker's Stash typically use the data to clone legitimate cards and withdraw money from ATMs in so-called "cash outs." In February, card details for 2.15 million Americans were put up for sale on Joker's Stash. In August, nearly 5.3 million card details obtained from gas and convenience chain HyVee customers were also dumped on Joker's Stash. Over the past five years, Joker's Stash has become one of the premier underground credit card shops through significant releases of stolen credit cards from data breaches at companies like Target, Walmart, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, and British Airways. On August 22, the dark web store released the first batch of stolen credit card data (dumps) from an alleged point-of-sale (POS) breach at the gas and convenience chain Hy-Vee. It is estimated that Joker's Stash lists 5.3 million credit card numbers related to this breach.

November 2019

You Can Soon Book Your .New Domain Courtesy Google San Francisco: (IANS) Google has announced that people can apply for a .new domain from December 2 that will be secure and served over HTTPS. The company last year introduced .new shortcuts for its products and now aims to open it for the rest of the world. Google shared 10 .new domains in its G Suite apps like docs.new, sheets.new, slides.new and sites.new. Spotify now has Playlists.new which lets users create new playlists quickly. Medium has got Story.new and Sell.new is a shortcut of eBay sellers. "With .new, you can help people take action faster. We hope to see .new shortcuts for all the things people frequently do online," said Google. Similar to .app, .page, and .dev, .new will be secure because all domains will be served over HTTPS connections. "Through January 14, 2020, trademark owners can register their trademarked .new domains. Starting December 2, anyone can apply for .new domain during the Limited Registration Period," the company said in a statement.

Unlike TikTok, Our Focus Is Urban Users: Firework CEO

If you are one of those parents who are averse to the idea of letting your 13-year-old daughter download TikTok and watch explicit, crass and inappropriate videos, here comes USbased short video-making app Firework that has ensured high-content quality on its platform -not only giving value to its users but also to the brands who come along. According to Sunil Nair, India CEO at Firework, their competition was never with TikTok as the whole philosophy is different between the two brands. "We don't want 300 million users. I'm happy with 50-60 million users who are part of the high-quality content creation. I am here to ensure a platform where I can not only give value to my users but also to the brands with clean storytelling which kids can watch too," Nair told IANS in an interaction.

Based in Redwood City, California, Firework entered India last month. The platform is part of a suite of apps created by Loop Now Technologies, a start-up that focuses on next-generation consumer mobile applications. Firework allows users to create 30-second videos and with "Reveal" feature, it allows creators to take both horizontal and vertical video in one shot from their mobile device.

"Unlike TikTok, our focus is on urban users and create premium, 30-second storytelling products which people can watch with families and gain useful insights how to make their life better. Content moderation is our topmost priority and this happens real-time with a right combination of machine-human interface at our US facility," Nair informed, adding that no explicit or vulgar content will be allowed to traverse their platform. In India, Firework will focus on working with some of the biggest names in entertainment and other industries. The company has announced its first original short format series titled "Reel, Reveal, Rajeev", based on actor Rajeev Khandelwal's life events, in India. "You can sell Mercedes Benz in a 30-second ad. Thirty seconds is enough for you to tell a crisp story. This is the future of video storytelling," he added.

Indians Binge Watch For Over 8 Hours A Week, Says Report

New Delhi: (IANS) Online video streaming has reached an all-time high as the world now binge watches for six hours and 48 minutes weekly -- with Indians binging one hour and 45 minutes more, taking the same figure to eight hours and 33 minutes leaving the global average far behind, said a new report by edge Cloud services provider Limelight Networks on Thursday. According to Limelight Networks' "State of Online Video 2019" research report, time Indians were less apprehensive of pre-roll spent on binge-watching is also on the rise in India, jumping more than 23 per cent from last advertisements, with 84.8 per cent being either afyear to an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes firmative or neutral if the content is free. Indians mostly watch online videos from home, followed at a time.

by travel or commute. "Since India is new to the digital bandwagon, it doesn't come as a surprise that 89 per cent are also subscribed to cable TV. This figure was observed to be the lowest for Japan, where the subscriptions turned out to be just 39 per cent or less than half as compared to India," the company said in a statement. The adoption of dedicated streaming devices is also gradually increasing in India with 27 per cent of the respondents saying they owned Google Chromecast and 34 per cent owned Amazon Fire TV Stick. Eighteen per cent of the respondents, however, didn't have any streaming device at all. "India is quickly opening up to the idea of

online video streaming. This ongoing trend has been highlighted time and again by our State of Online Video studies over the years. Now, as data costs are further lowering and smartphone penetration increasing, people living even in the remotest of regions are coming under the fold of digital technology and services," said Ashwin Rao, Director-Sales, Limelight Networks, India. Smartphones were the primary streaming device while digital devices such as computers and laptops came next on the list followed by a connected device or a smart TV. The top spot as the most popular content in India was shared by both TV shows and news, with movies and professionally developed content on social media coming next.


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NRI Pulse

..... Perspective .....

November 2019

Revocation Of Article 370 Will Benefit Marginalized Communities

BY BAL K. GUPTA*

Many authors are analyzing Revocation of Article 370 as a problem related to Kashmiri Pandits. Other, particularly Human Rights organizations, are analyzing it as human rights of Kashmiri Muslims. None of them are listing the problems of PoK refugees (refugees from Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir), Muslim Gujjars, WPR (West Pakistan refugees) settled in J&K, Dalits, minority Sikhs, Ladakhis etc, who have suffered discrimination since 1947. Revocation of Article 370 tremendously benefit all the above sections of population. WPR and some Dalits have been treated worse than Rohingyas in Mynamar. WPR like Manmohan Singh, Inder Gujral, Gulzari Lal Nanda became Prime Ministers of India and Lal Kishan Advani, the Deputy PM of India. But they did not provide any help for WPR to vote in J&K after many representations in Delhi and J&K since 1947. Can you think of people seeking asylum for 72 years in USA or any other country? Following are additional facts that I think support the revocation of Article 370 and will benefit other marginalized people of J&K.

Rajasthan. Many of them married POK refugee women settled in J&K. But their wives cannot inherit the property of their parents because of Article 370 and 35A. POK refugees settled in India, unlike Kashmiri Pandits, cannot buy property in J&K, the land of their ancestors. With the revocation of Article 370, some of them will be able to inherit and buy property in J&K.

BSP voted for revocation of Article 370. (Baba Saheb Ambedkar was not in favor of Article 370).

5. Minority Sikhs: There are about 2 % minority Sikhs in J&K, mostly settled in Jammu Province. They almost have no representation in J&K assembly and state government. They are mostly in transport business, Jat farmers and many are in Army and Border Security Force. With revocation of Article 370, they will be able to get their due share and voice in J&K government.

Sialkot, Jhelum and Rawalpindi districts of Pakistan crossed over and settled in border districts of Kathua, Samba and Jammu. Their number is 2. Gujjars and Bakerwals: About 3.4 million around 400,000-500,000. They are stateless citinomadic Muslim Gujjars and Bakerwals live in zens of J&K for the last 72 years and the poorest the mountains of J&K. Hindu and Sikh Gujjars of the poor. With the revocation of Article 370, 6. Ladakh: It consists of Ladakh (majority Budin Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan etc. are listed as WPR will be able to vote, buy property and get dhists) and Kargil (majority Shias). Ladakhis SC/ST and enjoy all the benefits of Indian gov- educational benefits. have always been dominated by Sunni Muslims ernment as SC/ST. Because of Article 370, J&K of Kashmir Valley and considered second class Muslim Gujjars were deprived of all the benefits 4. Poor Dalits: There is no special privileges citizens of J&K. By revocation of Article 370, under the Indian Constitution. With the revoca- and assembly quota for Dalits in J&K, who num- Ladakh has become Union Territory and will be tion of Article 370, J&K Gujjars will also be able ber around 2.0 million. Dalits in J&K consist on par with Delhi, Chandigarh, Pondicherry etc. 1. POK Refugees: During 1947 Pathan and Pa- to get all the benefits as SC/ST. Muslim Gujjars of Hindus, Christians and Sikhs. Many of them Army has already raised a battalion of Ladakh kistani invasion of Jammu and Kashmir, the en- are the first to bear the brunt of Pakistani firing in are stateless citizens of J&K (like WPR) because Scouts in jobs and business. tire Hindu and Sikh population was ethnically hilly districts of Pooncch, Rajouri etc. and have they were brought from Punjab during a strike of cleansed, most of the men massacred or wom- asked for raising a Gujjar Battalion in the Indian sweepers by during the regime of Bakshi Ghulam *The author was born in Mirpur en abducted. Majority of those refugees were Army to defend the border. Mohammed, chief minister of J&K during 1950’s. (PoK), and is the author of “Forgotpushed out of J&K to India by the then regime. With the revocation of Article 370, Dalits will be Their descendants number around 1.7 million and 3. West Pakistan Refugees (WPR): During 1947 able to get their due share in government jobs and ten Atrocities: Memoirs of a Survivor spread out in J&K, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Partition, many Hindu and Sikh refugees from benefits. That is the reason Ms. Mayawati’s party of the 1947 Partition of India”


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NRI Pulse

..... Features .....

November 2019

Drive: Neither Fast, Nor Furious 5 FAFSA Tips To Get The Most Film: "Drive" (Netflix Movie) ; Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Jacqueline Fernandez, Boman Irani, Pankaj Tripathi; Direction: Tarun Mansukhani; Financial Aid Rating: * & 1/2 (one and a half star) Y-a-w-n. We're back to the same old circus - slit and high heels! Bollywood wants to make a "Hollywood thriller" Quite cheesy, how the friendly female sideyet again, and this time they have raided Netflix kick tells her it's impossible to deduce which is for release space. sexier - Tara herself or her driving. Stream and scream away if you have the paTara, we learn, has a day job as the owner tience, for this one's dumbly rehashing the "Fast of a courier service that is not necessarily into & Furious" flavour, cocktailed with tricks that re- legit transactions. Neither are the other young veal the hangover of assorted Hollywood hits, no- speed maniacs at the nightly races making money tably "Ocean's Eleven". For whatever remaining through honest means. runtime they had to fill up, the "Dhoom" formula Elsewhere, a superthief who is identified is stuffed in (which itself never looked very orig- as King is wreaking havoc around town. He only inal in the first pace). steals from high-profile places, and MOVIE REVIEW likes to leave a calling card at the scene It doesn't take 10 minutes into the film for the of crime (visions of awful question to Hrithik in "Dhoom hammer your brain: 2", anyone?). Why was "Drive" One day, Vibha made at all in the Singh, top boss first place? If it had at a government to be made, why did agency, receives Netflix have to pick a call from Prime this up? The film, Minister's Office, with all its superstating King's next cars and sizzle, is target is Rashtralike a ramshackle pati Bhawan. The ride on four wheels caller also says an that struggles to keep moving. aide from PMO named Irfan (Boman Irani) will Okay, we don't expect pathbreaking storytell- contact Vibha and her right-hand man, Hamid ing from a film as this. It was always meant to be (Pankaj Tripathi), and they must work together to about the glamour impact, or, what's the word they nab King before he creates trouble at Rashtrapati use lately - about swag. Films like "Drive" bank Bhawan. primarily on three vital aspects more than story. "Drive" tries to keep you guessing by creatThe first is star power (think Aamir-Katrina in ing too many unholy characters. Everyone here is "Dhoom 3", or Hrithik-Aishwarya in "Dhoom 2). driven by greed and the lust for money. The second is some imaginative action thrills (the Karan Johar has produced this film. "Dhoom" series, once again stands evidence). And Sushant Singh Rajput tries his best to make finally, cutting-edge tech specs - cinematography, most of a character that hardly reveals any thought editing and sound sync have to be top notch. process. This isn't a film that will let him score "Drive" cuts a shoddy picture on all counts. either as actor or star and, coming after "ChhichNo swag here, only snooze. Despite a runtime of a hore", it is a gaffe of a choice. little under 100 minutes, you would be struggling Jacqueline Fernandez poses and preens in not to doze off. designerwear that looks as out of place as racing The utter plasticity of the film hits you right gear would on a spring-summer collection ramp. away in the opening sequence as Jacqueline She sounds inadvertently funny in portions, when Fernandez alights from a high-octane car at a she tries to put on a sultry act. late-night race at India Gate. She is Tara, an exBoman Irani and Pankaj Tripathi are wasted. pert driver who has just won the race, but she is "Drive" is a film without logic and also without dressed for racing as if she has arrived at a cock- magic. It reminds you Bollywood's days of untail dinner - in an evening gown with a thigh-high imaginative cinema are far from over.

BY LINDSEY CONGER*

As colleges get more expensive each year, students rely more frequently on financial aid to help offsets the costs of education. However, many students are making simple mistakes that cost them thousands of dollars in grants or scholarship money each year. Here are five tips to help you get the most financial aid possible.

3. Complete The Right Form Unfortunately, some people have created look-a-like websites to trick people into putting in their financial data or credit card information. Before filling out the form, check to ensure you are on fafsa.gov, which is the only official FAFSA website. Make sure you are filling for the correct year. For example, if you are planning on enrolling in college for the 20202021 year, make sure you are selecting the form for that year. Filling out the form ensures you get all the financial aid you are entitled to for that school year.

1. Fill Out The FAFSA One of the easiest ways to get financial aid for college is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While some students mistakenly believe that the FAFSA or CSS (College Scholarship Service) ProCOLLEGE PREP 4. Add ALL Your Schools file is only for students with extreme One of the biggest mistakes financial needs, this is false. All students, regardless of their economic background, students make is not adding in all their schools should fill out the FAFSA. This application not to the FAFSA form. Initially, you can only add only takes into account the income level but 10, but after you receive your Student Aid Realso the number of children in the family and port (SAR), you can send the FAFSA inforhow many are enrolled in college simultane- mation to all the schools. Even if you replace another school’s code with another one, it will ously. Each year, more than $24 billion in state, never delete your financial information from federal and institutional aid goes unclaimed be- that university's system.

cause people do not fill out the FAFSA. While the FAFSA can be a bit tedious, it is well worth 5. Finish it! The FAFSA takes time to do, but it is well the few hours it takes to complete. worth the struggle. In fact, a study by the NCAN (National College Access Network), found that 2. Submit The FAFSA Now The FAFSA application opens on October seniors who finish the FAFSA are 63% more 1, and it is beneficial to you to fill it out as soon likely to enroll in a university than students who don’t complete the form. as it opens. Many organizations that gave out larger financial packages will have early deadlines, often before the new year. Many of these organizations operate on a “first-come, first-serve” system, and by applying early, you give yourself the best chance to earn more financial aid. You can find the full list of FAFSA deadlines on the US Department of Education’s website.

Spend a few days completing the FAFSA! While it can be a complicated process, it makes college more affordable and is one of the necessary steps you should take when preparing for college.

*Lindsey Conger is a college counselor for MoonPrep.


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NRI Pulse

When Shah Rukh Spent Time In Jail

Mumbai: (IANS) Shah Rukh Khan's special episode with popular American host David Letterman has finally dropped on Netflix, and the superstar has revealed a lot of interesting details about his life in the show. From talking about his family to sharing how he achieved success and fulfilled his dreams, SRK reveals many unknown things for fans in the hour-long conversation. What will come as a shock to many is the superstar's revelation that he was once arrested in initial days and had to spend a few hours in prison. Shah Rukh recalled he got into a fight with an film magazine editor for spreading false and insensitive rumours about him and a co-star. He said that he got disturbed after reading the article. "I was new (in the film industry), so I used to react to every news item -- whatever appeared. And thankfully, there was no social media back then. Just the magazines and stuff.” “I got very angry and I called up the editor and I said, ‘You wrote this'. He said ‘But listen can you just take it... it's just a joke'. So I said, ‘I don't find it funny'. So I went down to the office and I misbehaved a lot and...", Shah Rukh remembered screaming a lot and threatening to hit people. He was then arrested. "I was shooting a film and the cops came. They sat down very sweetly and said, ‘we have a few questions to ask you'. I said, 'do you want me to pack and we can chat in my car?' Because I always assume anyone who meets me is a fan (laughs). They said, "no, we want you to come in our car!" said SRK. The took him to the police station and when he saw the small prison cell, he pleaded with the cops to let him go. "It was a small little prison. With all, you know, human faeces and ugh... it was really bad," he added. After getting out on bail, he even called the editor and said: "Now I'm in jail, and I'm not scared. Now you be very scared." The episode of "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman", featuring SRK, is available on Netflix.

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

November 2019

Priyanka Chopra: I Don't Take Pressure Now

New Delhi: (IANS) Priyanka Chopra Jonas is one confident actress and producer. She can now play roles and take up responsibilities without feeling the pressure. She says she stopped taking pressure when she reached the point where she could call the shots and make choices about the work that she wanted to do. The former Miss World made her Bollywood debut with "The Hero: Love Story of a Spy" in 2003. She made her presence felt with powerful performances in movies like "Aitraaz", "Don", "Fashion", "7 Khoon Maaf" and "Barfi!". Today, she is also a producer who has backed National Award-winning films such as "Ventilator" and "Paani". In her latest Bollywood film, "The Sky Is Pink", she played one of the central characters and also served as a producer. Was there any kind of pressure on her since she was playing dual roles? "I took pressure many years ago. Now I don't take pressure. I think I stopped taking pressure when I reached a point where I could make choices about the work that I wanted to do... when I didn't have to depend on people coming to me with the work. That sort of shifted not too long ago, just four or five years ago maybe," Priyanka told IANS. "Unfortunately with female actors, there is a lot of depending on a lot of people to approve before you are cast in a film. It is the truth. Hard to hear, but it's the truth. That shifted for me just

recently. I guess that gave me a sense of confidence to become a producer, to be able to helm films that I wanted to make," she added. But she likes to do films that make her feel nervous while going to the set. "I like movies that challenge me. I like fiction as well as reality-based. I like the immersive experiences. I like something that will make me nervous coming to set. I like films where I look at my scene and I am like 'oh my god! How am I going to do this?' When your fingers tingle, your

toes curl... I like experiences like those," she said. She still gets the jitters? "Every performer does because our outside environment influences us as a person. The only thing that experience has taught me is that between action and cut, no matter what is happening in my life, it won't affect me. Before that I would get influenced. If I had a fight or was in a bad mood, it would affect my work. Now it doesn't," said Priyanka, also a known name in American showbiz, thanks to her show "Quantico". Her list of upcoming projects is an exhaustive one, starting with "The White Tiger" and a superhero movie titled "We Can Be Heroes". "I can't tell you what I am playing in it (the superhero movie) but it will be really fun,' she promised. "I am also developing about six or seven other projects for the next year. Some of them will have me and some won't. They are regional, international and Hindi," she shared.

OTT Redefines Success For New-Age Actors

The ever-expanding world of OTT platforms in India has introduced a breed of new-age stars, who believe in the power of over-the-top content but not in the concept of over-the-top stardom. The stories being churned out from the world of OTTs are not only changing the storybook of the entertainment world, but also give a bigger playground to budding actors to break ground, court instant fame and be a part of this whole changing idiom of stardom where actors, and not glamor gods, are kings. "I really hope and pray that the idea of stardom doesn't take over the OTT platforms. I personally don't believe in it, and I am not someone who propagates it. We should be wary of bringing the Bollywood concept to OTT," said actress Kirti Kulhari, who has found a new standing as actor mainly thanks to her digital shows with "Four More Shots Please!" and "Bard of Blood". "With OTT coming in, I believe everything is about actors, about playing different characters and about playing them well. I hope there are actors getting better opportunities -- that you are cast not because you are a star but because you are apt for the role. I hope OTT brings this trend rather than again making stars out of people who are artistes," added the actress. New generation actors from various backgrounds are finding prominence thanks to OTT shows. The likes of Pankaj Tripathi, Sumeet Vyas, Maanvi Gagroo, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Shweta Tripathi, Kubbra Sait, Amol Parashar, Angad Bedi, Priyanshu Painyuli, Bani J, Sayani Gupta and Nidhi Singh are among the many names who can hugely attribute the advent of OTT for becoming household names. Many of these actors were struggling to make a mark in Bollywood for a while. With

good shows on OTT, their demand in the big screen world has also increased. Then there are more experienced actors as Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manoj Bajpayee, Saif Ali Khan, Emraan Hashmi, Radhika Apte, Ali Fazal, Kalki Koechlin, Huma Qureshi, Richa Chadha, Adil Hussain, Shefali Shah and Rasika Dugal who have taken their game to the next level thanks to the digital platform. According to Sumeet, who rose to fame with web series "Permanent Roommates", the idea of stardom has changed. "The audience finds people working on the web more approachable and human. For instance, people don't hesitate to come to me to have a conversation, or ask for a photograph. It didn't happen with the movie stars. The idea of stardom is not worship now, but likability, and relatability," he said. To this, Maanvi, star of Amazon Prime's "Four More Shots Please!", asserted that one

doesn't need to have connections to get on the ladder of stardom in the virtual world. "There is a different kind of stardom which has come in. Internet is a democratic medium. You don't have to be star kids or industrialist's or sportsperson's child to be famous on social media... You can just start creating content on YouTube or TikTok. There is new kind of stardom that has come in. Digital stars are in the middle of that stardom," Gagroo explained. There's another side to the OTT's story of stardom. Priyanshu Painyuli, who gave Bollywood a not-so-impactful shot with "Bhavesh Joshi Superhero" a while back, right now has focus trained on him after the release of his Netflix film, "Upstarts". He also has the Chris Hemsworth-starrer "Dhaka" added to his resume. "Stardom on big screens in theatres is completely different. It is difficult to achieve stardom on that level. But a huge audience follows and loves actors on the web as well, which creates web stars. I hope stardom doesn't hold back actors on web to experiment with stories and roles. Today, there are many stars on web but only few of them shine bright," he said. The lack of time restraint, more focus on character-building and detailing, and a vast canvas splashed with hues of different genres, are some of the factors that drive fame on the OTT platform in India and on the foreign shores. "Everyone is thinking out of the box, trying to tell stories which are different, and actors are a big part of the storytelling process," Kirti said. To this, "Mirzapur" star Shriya Pilgaonkar added: "While most films tend to bank on star power to sell themselves, OTT series mainly rely on strong scripts, and that is what makes an actor take risks."


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..... InVogue .....

November 2019

Classic Black & Gold Outfits For Every Wardrobe

BY RANI SHARMA We all are always on the lookout for that one party outfit which will rule our wardrobe. With the fashion trends constantly changing from time to time, it is very important to possess those timeless classic outfits that never go out of style . Evergreen black outfits and timeless gold jewelry are the ones that will never disappoint you. Yes, that’s the theme for this month’s column. With the classic black and gold color combination, you can never go wrong. Be it any Indian outfit or a little black dress with gold jewelry, the royal color combination can make you look like a million bucks. Here we bring you 4 different ways to wear

the timeless black and gold on your outfits.

so versatile and can be teamed up with most of contemporary style. Drape a traditional half saree your sarees. So, a good fitted embellished blouse or a contemporary lehenga skirt with a cropped 1. Sarees--The royalty a black and gold in black & gold is a must. blouse and you are sure to grab eyeballs. saree defines is incredible. You can experiment from the most traditional to edgy styles with a 3. The combination of black and gold is classic black saree and rock any occasion effort- enhanced in Indo-western outfits. From dhoti lessly in it. sarees, chic Indo-western gowns, tunics or midi For more info, contact Rani skirts and cropped tops, the wonderful combinaSharma of Raneez Fine Bou2. Blouses—A classic black and gold blouse tion will leave your impressed is a definite wardrobe essential to mix and match 4. Lehengas- A black and gold lehenga set tique at 404-386-2062. with your classic sarees and lehengas. They are looks fabulous as a traditional outfit as well as in


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